Effects of World War One on Germany
End of War
· Might of the Imperial German Army had been overturned by both the growing Allied strength and the intervention of the United States in 1917.
· Chief of Staff, Ludendorff appealed to Field Marshall Hindenburg and Chancellor Hertling for an armistice with the Allies.
· To appeal to the more lenient USA, Ludendorff urged for a democratic regime to be set up in Germany.
· Although most Germans were surprised by defeat, they soon became enthusiastic for peace.
· The German Admiralty opposed peace however and ordered the High Seas fleet to attack the British Fleet. The fleets of Wilhelmshaven and Kiel refused the order however.
· Upon the arrest of the ring leaders, a mutiny broke out and soviets (councils) sprang up across the Reich’s major cities.
Fall of Monarchy and Growth of Republic
Ebert and Revolution
· On November 9, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and Friedrich Ebert, leader of the majority party SDP, headed the provisional government.
· Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils sprang up in major cities with many soldiers joining in.
· The SDP were strongly against a revolution after observing the bloodshed during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Ebert did not want a destabilised, civil war Germany.
· Ebert did not reform the army after the war as he needed their support to maintain order. He was also supported by heavy industrialists who negotiated an 8-hour working day with trade unions (Central Working Association Agreement).
· The Spartacist League wanted
o A soviet system where power lies with local councils instead of an elected parliament.
o A worker’s militia or ‘Red Army’
o The nationalisation of…