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Summary Article: Quidde, Ludwig from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

German politician and editor. Ludwig Quidde was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1927 with French politician Ferdinand Buisson for his ‘long and arduous service in the cause of peace’.

His interest in the peace movement was based on his historical studies, his distrust of the military, and his wife's encouragement. His brush with authority deepened his pacifist convictions. He had joined the German Peace Society in 1892, and became its president from 1914 to 1929. He was on the council of the International Peace Bureau in Berne, and was a leading figure at the Glasgow World Peace Congress in 1901. He worked with Frederick Passy at Lucerne in 1905 to bring about a rapprochement between Germany and France.

Born in Bremen, Germany, into a wealthy merchant's family, Quidde enjoyed a liberal education at the gymnasium there, moving on to the Universities of Strasbourg and Göttingen where he discovered an aptitude for historical research. He was immediately given a position on the board of editors responsible for the publishing the medieval German Reichstag documents, a post he held until 1933 when he was removed for political reasons. In 1889 he founded a journal, the Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Geschichtswissenschaft/German Review of Historical Sciences which he edited until 1896, and from 1890 to 1892 he was on the staff of the Prussian Historical Institute in Rome.

The publication of an pamphlet entitled Caligula: A Study of Imperial Insanity in 1894 changed the course of Quidde's career. In it he loosely implied parallels between the emperor and Wilhelm II, which were made explicit in the press. He was imprisoned but escaped conviction of the charge of lese majesty, denying that he had intended an analogy between the two leaders but challenging the authorities to prove the analogies untrue. Quidde entered politics in Munich helping to reorganize the German People's Party in 1895, won a council seat in Munich in 1902, served on the Bavarian Assembly from 1907 to 1919, and was elected to the Weimar Assembly in 1919. At the beginning of World War I, Quidde was charged with treason for a failed attempt to maintain ties with French and English peace groups. Charges were later dropped although he was kept under surveillance. At the end of the war he pulled together the German Peace Cartel from the remnants of the peace movement. When Hitler came to power he fled to Geneva where he remained for the rest of his life, continuing to publish and attend peace congresses. He founded the Comite de secours aux pacifistes exiles to look after fellow exiles from Nazi Germany.

As well as Caligula, his publications include Die Schuldefrage (1922) and The Future of Germany (1924). His book German Pacifism during the World War which he was writing in exile was never finished.

© RM, 2016. All rights reserved.

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