The War Ends

WorldWarI had a Devastating Impact on Germany

WWI lasted from 1914-1918. During the war, political parties agreed to support the government. However, by 1918 Germany was experiencing widespread unrest, which eventually resulted in a revolution.

1. Towards the end of it, people in Germany were undergoing severe hardship. The allies had to set up naval blockades which prevented imports of food and essential goods - by 1918, many people faced starvation.

2. Public opinion turned against the Kaiser and there were calls for a democracy. The population were war-weary meaning they were tired of fighting and wanted an end to the war. There was a widespread unrest.

  • In November 1918 some of the German navy rebelled and refused to board their ships.
  • In Hanover, German troops refused to control rioters.
  • A Jewish communist called Kurt Eisner encouraged a general uprising, which sparked mass strikes in Munich.
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Social Unrest turned into Revolution

1. By November 1918, the situation in Germany was almost a civil war. A huge public protest was held in Berlin, and members of the SPD called for the Kaiser's resignation.                                                                                            

2. The Kaiser abdicated (resigned) on 9th November 1918. On the same day, 2 different socialist parties - the SPD and the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD) - declared a republic (A country ruled without a monarch - power is held by people via elected representitives).                                                                                                                        

3. November 10th, all state leaders that had been appointed by the monarchy left their posts. New revolutionary state governments took over instead. The monarchy had been abolished and Germany had the chance to become a democracy. (Germany was made up of 18 states and each had its own government. The national government decided national affairs, and state governments dealt with more local affairs).                                                                       

The signing of the armistice

  • November 11th 1918, a ceasefire to end WWI was agreed. The allies (Britain, France and the USA) signed an armistice (truce) with Germany.
  • The new republic was under pressure to sign. The government didn't think Germany could continue fighting - its people were starving and military morale was low.
  • The armistice wasn't supported by some right-wing Germans, who saw the truce as a betrayal. They believed Germany could still win the war.
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The Socialists set up a Temporary Government

1. After the Kaiser left, Germany was disorganised. Different political parties claimed control over different towns.

2. A temporary national government was established, consisting of the SPD and the USPD called the Council of People's Representatives.

3. It controlled Germany until January 1919, when elections were held for a new Reichstag (parliament).

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