March 1918: Brest-Litosk
What was Brest Litosk?
Germany defeated Russia and imposed the "harsh" Treaty of Brest-Litosk.
What were the immediate ramifications?
This was very harsh as Russia lost Ukraine, Finland, the Baltic provinces and Poland. All of these nations were under occupation of Russia prior to this point.
How did this effect Germany later on?
There is a theory that the because off Germany's harsh punishment on Russia it made the Allies more willing to be harsh in relation to the Treaty of Versailles.
October 1918: The creation of democracy.
As Germany faced the threat of invasion and defeat in september in September 1918 the supreme commander, General Ludendorff, made an extraordinary decision. He persuaded the Kaiser to transform the Second Reich into a virtual parliamentary democracy by handing over power to a civilian government. There were two reasons for this:
Firstly, he hoped this new civilian government would be able to get better peace terms from the Allies.
Secondly he hoped that the new civilian governmetn would be blamed for Germany's defeat because it would have to end the war.
Ludendorff's manoeuvre, the developement of the myth of the 'stab in the back' and the shock of defeat created the background to the birth of democracy in Germany. It was not a promising beginning.