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‘The German Revolution Of 1918 Was Purely A Result Of Defeat In World War 1’

1714 words - 7 pages

The German Revolution as the politically-driven civil conflict in Germany at the end of World War I, which resulted in the replacement of Germany's imperial government with a republic. The revolutionary period lasted from November 1918 until the formal establishment of the Weimar Republic in August 1919.The roots of the revolution lie in the German Empire's fate in the First World War and the social tensions which came to a head shortly thereafter. The first acts of revolution were triggered by the policy of the Supreme Command and its lack of coordination with the Naval Command which, in the face of defeat, nevertheless insisted on engaging in a climactic battle with the British Royal Navy. ...view middle of the document...

They believed that Germany should follow in the footsteps as Russia. Their fundamental aim was to create a soviet based on workers and soldiers councils. Along with these divisions and conflicts another political party was added to the mixture, the USPD. Led by Haase and Kautsky, it wanted radical social and economic change. This serious drift from the largest party’s aims seriously curtailed its confidence. The main disagreement was between those who sympathised with the creation of a parliamentary democracy and those who advocated a more revolutionary democracy based on the workers’ councils. Ergo, it is clear that this cannot be a main reason why revolution occurred because divisions within parties leads to failure if not in the right climate, for example take the Civil War in Russia the Whites were disorganised and divided and therefore could not take power. The only reason why the revolutionaries were not defeated was because the climate of war leads the people to become desperate for change and that is the primary actor the left wing movement offered.

‘I know no parties anymore, only Germans’, the words of the Kaiser which epitomises the state of the Burgfriede; even the Social Democrats, who had been considered ‘enemies of the state’, promised their support to the war. The Burgfriede had successfully blindfolded the public’s opinion of the war until 1916. However as war progressed and the failure to secure a quick victory was obvious the public turned away from the Burgfriede. The onset military stalemate of Christmas 1916 did very little to continue the flame of optimism that was alight in August 1914. The public had been lulled into a false sense of security with the Burgfriede and due to the impact of the war upon the reputation of the Burgfriede spiralled rapidly downwards. This made them touchable, it make them breakable.

Lack of constitutional monarchy was evident during the war and the weakness of the Kaiser was brought to the forefront of the nation. There is no doubt that the Kaiser had no real power of the nation as several past scandals and undermining efforts have proved, such as the Daily Telegraph affair. As a political leader he was little more than a figurehead, which made it easier for people to run the show for him. He did not make an effort to try and use propaganda to portray him as a caring, strong and dominant leader like the rest of the world leaders were doing, instead he spent his time ideally on his estates. This was a good image for the revolutionaries a leader who does not care about the country during war. Ipso facto, the war climate gave the perfect opportunity. It could be said that if there was no war there would have not been a November revolution because all the factors would not have culminates together so seamlessly.

The fact that war began to infiltrate the government in the form of Hindenburg and Ludendorff shows that the war was in all factors of the decline of the government and of the...

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