The German Revolution 1918-19
Typical Exam Question: What were the main features of the German Revolution of 1918-19? (12 marks)
By October 1918 The German army command had come to realise that they could not win the war. The army was exhausted and leading generals argued it was better to make peace before they were defeated and Germany was occupied by the Allies. (Good introductory point)
1.Revolution From Above
The Revolution began from above when the Kaiser was persuaded to make Germany into a constitutional monarchy because:
- The military establishment felt that a civilian government would be able to extract more favourable peace terms from 'the victorious Allies'
- It was believed that the new government would get the blame for ending the war.
- Therefore the army could accuse the new government of 'stabbing them in the back'
As a result a constitutional monarchy with a civilian government under Prince Max of Baden was established.
2. Revolution From Below
- Growing unrest amoung Germany's working classes.
- Many Germans sought the complete overthrow of the Kaiser and the creation of a republic.
- Sailors Mutiny at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, fomation of workers' councils throughout Germany,the set up of socialist republics in Bavaria and Saxony ;and general strike in Berlin percipitates the implosion of the Kaiserreich.
3. Abdication of Kaiser
- In light of such developments the Kaiser is persuaded to abdicate on 9th November 1918.
- Central feature of The German Revolution as this marks the collapse of the Kaiserreich and provides the opportunity for the establishment of a liberal democratic republic.
4.Ebert and the Army
- At the same time as The Kaiser's Abdication, Prince Max is replaced by SDP leader, Friedrich Ebert.
- Ebert set up a new government and declared Germany a socialist republic
- A day later he makes a deal with the head of the German army in what is known as …