by Astrid Bösl (University of Munich)
In 1898 the first chair of Bavarian history was established at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. The beginning of the academic community that dealt with Bavarian history reaches back to the early 19th century, but was treated shabbily in historiography before the foundation of the chair.1 Sigmund Riezler became the first holder of the chair in Bavarian history. He defined Bavarian history not as an isolated or particular process, but rather as part of an all-German evolution. Due to this, critics accused him of having a too friendly position towards the German Empire. In 1917 Michael Doeberl replaced Riezler as chair. Doeberl’s work was shaped by terms of state, dynasty and church, and the evolution of the Bavarian state since the Middle Ages.2 His three-volume monograph Entwicklungsgeschichte Bayerns was probably his greatest work.3 The next historian to hold the chair, Karl Alexander von Müller, focused on the cultural history of the 16th to 19th century as well as on the political history of the 19th century, the history of parties, socialism and World War I. During the period of National Socialism, Bavarian history was subordinated to the regime’s broader worldview. A particularized view of history did not fit into the ideology of the new system. Von Müller’s work during that time focused more on the approaches of folklore.4
With Riezler, and especially Doeberl and von Müller, Bavarian history established two branches of research. The first branch focused on establishing a long continuity of Bavarian statehood (Doeberl), whereas the second branch used a greater number of categories and questions from social and cultural history (von Müller). After 1945, their respective disciples continued those approaches to research. Max Spindler, as the new chair holder, took up Doeberl’s understanding of the tradition and continuity of Bavarian statehood since the Middle Ages.5 His successor in 1960, Karl Bosl, was a disciple of Karl Alexander von Müller. Bosl soon dissociated himself from Spindler’s approaches. As a medievalist he had earned a good reputation through his work on constitution, state and people in the Middle Ages. Yet, he too focused more on social and contemporary history.6 With his work, Bosl opened Bavarian history through the introduction of new methods and topics, and involved a larger number of anthropological aspects.7 He also broke the hypothesis of a continuity of Bavarian statehood that had been expounded by Spindler and Doeberl. Although these lines of research do not exist in the archetypal form anymore, both of them had a formative influence on contemporary Bavarian historiography. These imprints enable us to classify and explain emphases in the current literature as well as to identify less explored topics within Bavarian history.
This essay seeks to examine the significance of Bavarian rule in Greece in Bavarian historiography, especially in the context of the previously discussed research traditions. The Wittelsbach Kingdom of Greece was probably one of the greatest successes of Bavarian foreign policy, but considering the focus of Bavarian historiography on the inner-Bavarian evolution of statehood, it seems unlikely that this event received a lot of attention by the students of Bavarian history. Subsequently, I will analyze which aspects of Bavarian rule are most reflected in the literature. In order to this, I will examine how this literature judges the representatives of the new kingship and the emergence and evolution of the Greek Kingdom as well as what reasons are given for King Otto’s fall in 1862. The focus of this examination will be on Bavarian historiography. Therefore the work of the chair holders of Bavarian history, in addition to that of historians with a university or other academic record and emphasis on Bavarian history, shall be analyzed. Standard and overview works will be evaluated as well as essays. Popular, non-scientific works about Bavarian rule are not part of this examination.8
The first acknowledgement of the Wittelsbach Kingship in Greece in a standard overview works of Bavarian history takes place in 1931 within the third part of Michael Doeberl’s Entwicklungsgeschichte Bayerns. Doeberl’s predecessor, Sigmund Riezler, had not mentioned the Bavarian kingship in his work at all.9 However, the attention given to this period of rule in Doeberl’s Entwicklungsgeschichte is very sparse. The comprehensive 600-page work devotes only five pages to Bavarian rule of Greece. This lack of discussion is characteristic of the topic in the overview works. Further examples of this include: Benno Hubensteiner’s Bayerische Geschichte10 (two pages) and the standard work of Bavarian history the Handbuch der bayerischen Geschichte11, founded and published by Max Spindler, wherein the section on the Greek Kingdom takes up five pages out of a total of 600. The same applies for the second edition published in 2003. In both editions, these five pages are part of the description of the governance of King Ludwig I (1825–1848), which is a striking feature in all of the overview works of Bavarian history. This is the case not only in the work of Max Spindler, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the topic of Ludwig I,12 but is also found in the work of his disciple and predecessor Andreas Kraus, who discusses the Wittelsbach Kingdom of Greece as part of King Ludwig’s politics.13 Similar to Riezler’s work, in some descriptions of Bavarian rule in Greece the topic is treated as a side note or not mentioned at all, for example in Karl Bosl’s Geschichte Bayerns.14 That the Greek Kingdom is mostly discussed by Max Spindler and his disciples may not be a coincidence because their research focuses more on aspects of statehood and governance. This includes the foreign policy of Ludwig I in Greece. The Greek Kingdom is less discussed in the works of historians, such as Karl Bosl, who include greater aspects of social and cultural history in their studies. This is because their research simply deals with other premises. Bavarian rule in Greece also does not play a great role in the work of Bavarian historians published in the last few years.
Besides overview works, there are a few articles about the Wittelsbach Kingdom, which confirms the first hypothesis of this essay, namely that Bavarian rule is not one of the most intensively researched topics in Bavarian historiography. The number of relevant articles published since the institutionalization of Bavarian history can be counted on the fingers of two hands. It is striking, that singular projects and works, like the anthology Das neue Hellas15 of an exhibition in 1999, are published not by researchers of Bavarian history but of Art History. The emphasis of Das neue Hellas is on the person and government of King Ludwig I as well as architecture and art related topics. Additionally, the title of an exhibition in the Glyptothek in Munich in 1985/86 “Ein griechischer Traum. Leo von Klenze – Der Archäologe”16 reveals that architecture is one of the more popular topics concerning the Wittelsbach Kingdom in Greece.
After analyzing the quantitative aspects of the literature, the contents and emphases in the historiography shall be examined. As we discovered, the description of Bavarian rule in the overview works is often included as part of the analysis of King Ludwig’s policy. Ludwig is attributed a decisive role in accomplishing Bavarian rule in Greece not only in the overview texts, but also in the articles.17 Descriptions of Ludwig’s philhellenism and his influence on the election of one of his sons as Greek king occupy a large space in the overview works. Ludwig’s policy is frequently characterized as having dynastic and power-political motivations18, but is more often described as selfless and idealistic.19 This is due to his enthusiastic support for the Greek fight for independence against the Ottomans.20 For the creation of political structures and society, historians often attribute major accomplishments to Ludwig.21 King Otto takes a subordinate position in these descriptions. The members of the regency council (Joseph Ludwig von Armansperg, Karl von Abel, Georg Ludwig von Maurer, and Karl Wilhelm von Heideck) received more attention.22 The regency policy during the first years of Bavarian rule is discussed in research articles and overview works. Judgments about the regency’s policy range from complimentary to strongly affirmative, such as that of Friedrich Prinz. He states: the, “hochmotivierte bayerische Verwaltung [machte] aus einem antiquierten mittelalterlich-orientalischen Herrschaftssystem ein modernes, europäisches Staatswesen.”23 The reforms made by the regency council in the fields of the judicial system, finances, school system, agriculture, and commerce are the most commonly highlighted.24 Beside accomplishments in domestic politics, aspects of architecture are often mentioned, most notably the preservation of the Acropolis, the building of the new city of Athens and the King’s palace designed by Leo von Klenze.25
Similar to the overview works, the articles are dominated by the policy and philhellenism of Ludwig I26 and the regency council. However, there also other aspects of Bavarian rule27 that are more or less specifically discussed. They are often reflected in context of Otto’s fall from power in 1862. In these discussions, Otto’s rule is frequently mentioned in brief without further explanation.28 Thus, one could say that more research into the aspects of his 30-year reign would be a significant way in which to advance the field. When discussing the reasons for King Otto’s fall, most of the overview works as well as some of the articles unanimously cite the conflict of interests between the protecting powers.29 These conflicting interests would have negatively influenced the political elite and situation of the country. The three powers – England, France, Russia – are said to not have had any further interest in maintaining Otto as King.
The articles are more specific in their explanation of the situation of 1862. Alongside the conflict of the protecting powers, the authors often see a mélange of different burdensome factors. For example, the authors note the dispute between the members of the regency council, the permanently bad financial situation of the Kingdom, the childlessness of the reigning couple, and the religious differences between the Greek-Orthodox population and the Bavarian representatives. The Catholic King Otto never adopted the Greek-Orthodox faith.30 Additionally, Friedrich Prinz speaks about mistakes that were made, such as the secularization of Greek monasteries.31 Ludwig Holzfurtner sees another cause in the lack of success in foreign policy and the unfulfilled Megali Idea, i.e., the irredentist ambitions of uniting all Greek-inhabited areas.32 Suppressed attempts to produce a constitution, a further reason for the king’s fall from power, are mentioned last.33 Altogether, the reasons for Otto’s fall are located in the activities of the regency council or in personal aspects and questions of religion. An intense discussion of Otto’s reign does not occur. If Otto is mentioned,34 then often it is stated that he was too young for the duties required of a king, that he did not have the caliber of his father Ludwig,35 or that he was not always well advised by him.36 The descriptions of Otto’s personality also vary. On the one hand, he is described as talented, with the ability to reign;37 on the other hand some argue he was dutiful but indecisive.38 Overall, Otto is judged as a weak king and was the “Victim of his father’s penchant for neo-Greekdom (Neugriechentum).”39 The majority of historians refer disproportionally to the few years of the regency council, if they render a judgment about the outcome of Bavarian rule in Greece at all. They state that the regency council did many things for the culture and administration of Greece.40 Max Spindler expresses the outcome in the following way: “In Greece, the path to the modern state leads through the Bavarian Kingdom.”41 The fact that during Bavarian rule many mistakes were made, and that King Otto eventually was overthrown, appears here only as an unfortunate side-effect.
The Wittelsbach Kingdom of Greece obviously belongs to the under-researched issues in Bavarian historiography. The cause of this lies in the strong emphasis on the evolution of Bavarian statehood and inner-Bavarian aspects found in the current literature. Otto, as King of a Wittelsbach secundogeniture, undoubtedly played a role in the evolution of the statehood of the Kingdom of Bavaria. It is not surprising, therefore, that the analysis of the Greek Kingdom focuses on the political agenda of Ludwig I and the accomplishments of the regency council, which are often seen as a result of an export of Bavarian experts and administrative ideas.
Reinhold Baumstark / Adrian von Buttlar, eds, Das neue Hellas. Griechen und Bayern zur Zeit Ludwigs I., München 1999.
Peter Frese et al., eds, Ein griechischer Traum. Leo von Klenze – Der Archäologe. Ausstellungskatalog der Glyptothek in München, München 1985.
Karl Dickopf, Die bayerische Regentschaft in Griechenland (1833 – 1835), in: Reinhard Heydenreuter et al., eds, Die erträumte Nation. Griechenlands Wiedergeburt im 19. Jahrhundert, München 1993, 83-98.
Michael Doeberl, Entwicklungsgeschichte Bayerns. Volume 3 Vom Regierungsantritt König Ludwigs I. bis zum Tode König Ludwigs II. mit einem Ausblick auf die innere Entwicklung Bayerns unter dem Prinzregenten Luitpold, ed. by Max Spindler, München 1931.
Heinz Gollwitzer, Ludwig I. von Bayern. Königtum im Vormärz, München 1986.
Reinhard Heydenreuter et al., eds, Die erträumte Nation. Griechenlands Wiedergeburt im 19. Jahrhundert, München 1993.
Ludwig Holzfurtner, König Otto von Griechenland. Die praktizierte Philhellenie König Ludwigs I., in: Wolf-Armin von Reitzenstein, ed, Bayern und die Antike. 150 Jahre Maximiliansgymnasium in München 1999, 135-161.
Benno Hubensteiner, Bayerische Geschichte. Staat und Volk, Kunst und Kultur, München 5th edition 1967.
Andreas Kraus, Geschichte Bayerns. Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, München 3rd edition 2004.
Andreas Kraus, Die Regierungszeit Ludwigs I. (1825 – 1848), in: Alois Schmid, ed, Handbuch der bayerischen Geschichte. Volume 4,1 Das neue Bayern. 1800 bis 1970, München 2nd edition 2003, 129-236.
Friedrich Prinz, Die Geschichte Bayerns, München 1997.
Hans Rall, Otto von Griechenland, Zeitschrift für bayerische Landesgeschichte 44 (1981), 367-380.
Horst Schmidt, Die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung Griechenlands während der Herrschaft Ottos I., Zeitschrift für bayerische Landesgeschichte 55 (1992), 191-200.
Max Spindler, ed, Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte. Volume 4,1 Das neue Bayern. 1800 bis 1970, München 1974.
Katharina Weigand, Griechenland. Otto auf dem griechischen Thron: eine Fehlspekulation König Ludwigs I.?, in: Alois Schmid / Katharina Weigand, eds, Bayern mitten in Europa. Vom Frühmittelalter bis ins 20. Jahrhundert, München 2005, 320-328.
- Katharina Weigand, Der Lehrstuhl für bayerische Landesgeschichte an der Universität München und sein erster Inhaber Sigmund von Riezler, in: Wilhelm Volkert / Walter Ziegler, eds, Im Dienst der Bayerischen Geschichte, München 1999, 307-350, 308-309. ↩
- Ferdinand Kramer, Der Lehrstuhl für bayerische Landesgeschichte von 1917 bis 1977, in: Wilhelm Volkert / Walter Ziegler, eds, Im Dienst der Bayerischen Geschichte, München 1999, 351-406, 357-358. ↩
- Michael Doeberl, Entwicklungsgeschichte Bayerns. Volume 1 Von den ältesten Zeiten zum Westfälischen Frieden, München 1906. Volume 2 Vom Westfälischen Frieden bis zum Tode König Maximilians I., München 1912. Volume 3 Vom Regierungsantritt König Ludwigs I. bis zum Tode König Ludwigs II. mit einem Ausblick auf die innere Entwicklung Bayerns unter dem Prinzregenten Luitpold, ed. by Max Spindler, München 1931. ↩
- Matthias Berg, Karl Alexander von Müller. Historiker für den Nationalsozialismus, Göttingen 2014. ↩
- Arno Mohr, Politische Identität um jeden Preis? Zur Funktion der Landesgeschichtsschreibung in den Bundesländern, Neue politische Literatur 35, No. 1 (1990), 222-274, 262-263. ↩
- Kramer, Lehrstuhl, 391/ 393-396. ↩
- Edgar Wolfrum, Geschichtspolitik in Bayern. Traditionsvermittlung, Vergangenheitsbearbeitung und populäres Geschichtsbewusstsein nach 1945, in: Thomas Schlemmer / Hans Woller, eds, Bayern im Bund. Volume 3 Politik und Kultur im föderativen Staat 1949-1973, München 2004, 349-409, 371-373. ↩
- Wolf Seidl, Bayern in Griechenland. Die Geschichte eines Abenteuers, München 1965; Wolf Seidl, Bayern in Griechenland. Die Geburt des griechischen Nationalstaats und die Regierung Ottos, München 1981. ↩
- Sigmund Riezler, Geschichte Baierns, 8 volumes, München 1878-1914. ↩
- Benno Hubensteiner, Bayerische Geschichte. Staat und Volk, Kunst und Kultur, München 5th edition 1967. ↩
- Max Spindler, ed, Handbuch der bayerischen Geschichte. Volume 4,1 Das neue Bayern. 1800 bis 1970, München 1974. ↩
- Max Spindler, Joseph Anton Sambuga und die Jugendentwicklung König Ludwigs I., München 1926. ↩
- Andreas Kraus, Die Regierungszeit Ludwigs I. (1825 – 1848), in: Alois Schmid, ed, Handbuch der bayerischen Geschichte. Volume 4,1 Das neue Bayern. Von 1800 bis zur Gegenwart, München 2003, 129-236. One of the best examples is the biography about Ludwig I. from Heinz Gollwitzer, Ludwig I. von Bayern. Königtum im Vormärz, München 1986 and the description of his Greek policy. ↩
- Karl Bosl, Geschichte Bayerns. Volume 2 Die Neuzeit, München 1955. ↩
- Reinhold Baumstark / Adrian von Buttlar, eds, Das neue Hellas. Griechen und Bayern zur Zeit Ludwigs I., München 1999. ↩
- Peter Frese et al., eds, Ein griechischer Traum. Leo von Klenze – Der Archäologe. Ausstellungskatalog der Glyptothek in München, München 1985. ↩
- Katharina Weigand, Griechenland. Otto auf dem griechischen Thron. Eine Fehlspekulation König Ludwigs I.?, in: Alois Schmid / Katharina Weigand, eds, Bayern mitten in Europa. Vom Frühmittelalter bis ins 20. Jahrhundert, München 2005, 320-338. ↩
- Weigand, Griechenland, 325-326. ↩
- Spindler, Handbuch, 169; Andreas Kraus, Geschichte Bayerns. Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, München 3rd edition 2004, 461-463; Ludwig Holzfurtner, König Otto von Griechenland. Die praktizierte Philhellenie König Ludwigs I., in: Wolf-Armin von Reitzenstein, ed, Bayern und die Antike. 150 Jahre Maximiliansgymnasium in München 1999, 135-161, 142. ↩
- Doeberl, Entwicklungsgeschichte. Volume 3, 68-70; Friedrich Prinz, Die Geschichte Bayerns, München 1997, 313-314. ↩
- Kraus, Regierungszeit, 194-195; Holzfurtner, König Otto, 149. ↩
- Kraus, Geschichte Bayerns, 461-463; Doeberl, Entwicklungsgeschichte. Volume 3, 68-71; Hubensteiner, Bayerische Geschichte, 295-296; Prinz, Geschichte Bayerns, 313-314; Spindler, Handbuch, 168-172. ↩
- Prinz, Geschichte Bayerns, 313-314. ↩
- Prinz, Geschichte Bayerns, 313-314; Spindler, Handbuch, 170; Kraus, Regierungszeit, 195-196; Doeberl, Entwicklungsgeschichte. Volume 3, 71; Karl Dickopf, Die bayerische Regentschaft in Griechenland (1833 – 1835), in: Reinhard Heydenreuter et al., eds, Die erträumte Nation. Griechenlands Wiedergeburt im 19. Jahrhundert, München 1993, 83-98, 87. ↩
- Spindler, Handbuch, 171-172; Holzfurtner, König Otto, 150-152. ↩
- Weigand, Griechenland, 320-338. ↩
- Horst Schmidt, Die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung Griechenlands während der Herrschaft Ottos I., Zeitschrift für bayerische Landesgeschichte 55 (1992), 191-200. ↩
- As an exception Hans Rall, Otto von Griechenland, Zeitschrift für bayerische Landesgeschichte 44 (1981), 357-380. ↩
- Weigand, Griechenland, 320-338. ↩
- Karl Dickopf, Die bayerische Regentschaft in Griechenland (1833 – 1835), in: Reinhard Heydenreuter et al., eds, Die erträumte Nation. Griechenlands Wiedergeburt im 19. Jahrhundert, München 1993, 83-98; Rall, Otto, 370/379; Holzfurtner, König Otto, 145-149; Kraus, Regierungszeit, 197; Prinz, Geschichte Bayerns, 314; Kraus, Geschichte Bayerns, 462; Doeberl, Entwicklungsgeschichte. Volume 3, 71-72. ↩
- Prinz, Geschichte Bayerns, 314. ↩
- Holzfurtner, König Otto, 153-155. ↩
- Rall, Otto, 373-375/379; Spindler, Handbuch, 172; Weigand, Griechenland, 329. ↩
- An exception is Rall, Otto, 367-380, who discusses Otto and his policy more intense. ↩
- Doeberl, Entwicklungsgeschichte. Volume 3, 66-71; Holzfurtner, König Otto, 143-146. ↩
- Kraus, Regierungszeit, 197. ↩
- Rall, Otto, 369-379; Spindler, Handbuch, 172. ↩
- Holzfurtner, König Otto, 143-146. ↩
- Doeberl, Entwicklungsgeschichte. Volume 3, 72. ↩
- Hubensteiner, Bayerische Geschichte, 296. ↩
- Spindler, Handbuch, 173. ↩