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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chapter Eleven Continued: The German Revolution

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

The German Revolution began with the Wilhelmshaven Mutiny when a group of sailors refused orders to continue fighting, when the war was already clearly lost.

They felt that they would be risking their lives for nothing.

This mutiny led to further protest against the war and anger at the Kaiser for allowing it to go on as long as he had.
“It is often said that a true revolution in Germany in 1918 never took place. All that really happened was a breakdown. It was only the temporary weakness of the police and army in the moment of military defeat which let a mutiny of sailors appear as a revolution.

At first sight, one can see how wrong and blind this is comparing 1918 with 1945. In 1945 there really was a breakdown. Certainly a mutiny of sailors started the revolution in 1918 but it was only a start. What made it extraordinary is that a mere sailors' mutiny triggered an earthquake which shook all of Germany; that the whole home army, the whole urban workforce and in Bavaria a part of the rural population rose up in revolt. This revolt was not just a mutiny anymore, it was a true revolution ... As in any revolution, the old order was replaced by the beginnings of a new one. It was not only destructive but also creative. ... (1)

The anger spread across the country and resulted in the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the emergence of the Weimar Republic. Given the political climate, Germany officially surrendered and the Treaty of Versailles put an end to the war.

But the arbitrary nature of the treaty, was a devastating blow to the country and would become a rallying cry for the future Nazi Party. Germany under the treaty had to take sole responsibility for the war, and make reparations to other countries at a time when they were already heavily in debt.

It rendered them almost impotent and when the horrors of war faded, they were replaced with the horrors of that treaty.

The Weimar Republic was doomed to fail.

Chapter Twelve: The Aftermath of War


1. Der Verrat, By: Sebastian Haffner, Berlin, 2000, ISBN 3-930278-00-6

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