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
  • 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
  • They arrived and demanded the abdication of Germany’s leader, Kaiser Wilhelm II whom everyone blamed for Germany’s impending defeat
  • 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

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
  • 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