GERMANY 1918-45 THEGERMAN REVOLUTION
Background • From 1914 Germans were assured by the army’s high Command of certain victory. German superiority on land & sea in 1914?
WAR: THE LOCOMOTIVE OF HISTORY • The Schlieffen Plan failed & two fronts caused stalemate. • Germany’s last chance for victory was after Russian Brest-Litovsk Treaty in March 1918. • It gave Germany huge eastern territories. • It freed troops to fight on the western front. • March –July: a series of spring offensives took ground. • August: Allies counter-attacked & gained ground: fresh American reinforcements began to flood into Europe.
REVOLUTION • Sept: Field Marshall Hindenburg & General Ludendorff realised that defeat was imminent. • Aim: to protect Army’s reputation & blame civilian politicians. • Ludendorff advised Kaiser to sue for peace & form a new government of the main party leaders. Paul von Hindenburg
THE STAB IN THE BACK • 1st Oct: Prince Max of Baden, political moderate & head of German Red Cross became Chancellor. • His government would soon be accused of stabbing Germany in the back. The Stab in the Back!
TURMOIL • The new government lasted only weeks before popular revolution occurred: • Sailors mutinied in Kiel, tired and afraid of rumours of a suicide attack. • They were followed by soldiers and hungry workers. • Soviets (councils) were set up in many northern towns.
In Oct 1918 President Wilson (USA) clarified that the war would not end with the Kaiser in office. • He came to be seen as an obstacle to peace and internal pressure forced him to abdicate and flee to Holland on 10th November 1918. • An armistice was signed on the next day (11th Nov.) by Friedrich Ebert, leader of the largest party (SDP). • It did not bring peace to Germany. Friedrich Ebert