Situation in 1918

SITUATION AT THE END OF WORLD WAR ONE

  • It became clear in 1918 that German forces were going to be unsuccessful in World War One
  • One of the reasons was America’s entry into the War on the side of the Allies. Another was that war had brought hardship because the British navy blockaded German ports, which prevented food supplies getting through
The ships that formed the blockade
The ships that formed the blockade

map of blockade

Impact of blockade meant food was scarce and shops ran out of anything to sell
Impact of blockade meant food was scarce and shops ran out of anything to sell
  • Furthermore a flu epidemic killed millions of Germans
  • The German sailors who were caught up in this terrible situation with the blockade started to rebel. They refused to continue fighting in the war and marched to Berlin instead. On their way they were joined by civilians
Sailors who went on strike at the Kiel Mutiny of 1918
German sailors who went on strike at the Kiel Mutiny of 1918
  • They arrived and demanded the abdication of Germany’s leader, Kaiser Wilhelm II whom everyone blamed for Germany’s impending defeat

wilhelm

  • Kaiser Wilhelm was exiled to Holland on the 9th November 1918
  • The next day, on the 10th November, a new republic (government without a monarch) was set up under a new President, Friedrich Ebert
  • On the 11th November the new republic agreed to an armistice (ceasefire) and effectively surrendered
They signed the armistice in a train carriage!
They signed the armistice in a train carriage – it was the safest place to do it!

DOLCHSTOSS OR THE STAB IN THE BACK THEORY

  • This was a theory put forward by members of the German army
  • They went around declaring that Germany had been on verge of winning the war
  • Therefore they claimed that Germany, its people and military had been betrayed by the politicians of the new republic who agreed to surrender

dolchstoss

  • This was untrue, but lots of Germans refused to believe that Germany had been defeated
  • This made the Republic unpopular with many people from the start