Ebert and new Socialism -||- End of World War I -||- the Reparations -||- the KPD and the NSDAP -||- Foreshadowing of Hitler
~~~~~- To Weimar Republic- ~~~~~
The End of World War I & the Effects on Germany
Objection to the war already started in the first year. People at home were missing their relatives and friends who went off to war. In 1915, there was a women's rally in front of the Reichstag for more food and the return of their men. The war demonstrations increased in 1916. The people were fed up with suffering, and this gave Socialists and Communists an opportunity to spread their words amongst the discontent. The most famous of the Communist movement were Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht leaders of the Spartacists. They actively called for the end of the war and the government.
The first main issue was the lack of food. The British blockaded the Germans (as the Germans were doing to them) and the winter of 1916-1917 destroyed the potatoes. People who could afford food ate turnips. Those who could not died.
There was also a shortage of coal, so even if the food was affordable, it could not be cooked. It was also very dark. In 1918, Spanish influenza attacked and in their weakened state, the German citizens could not endure. 400,000 civilians died, and 186, 000 soldiers suffered the same fate.
As for the soldiers, the food shortage affected them as well. The sailors mutineed when their food was cut, and many were sentenced to death. Here is an example. It is a letter from a German soldier to his parents:
"My Dear Parents,
I have been sentenced to death today, September 11, 1917. Only myself and another comrade; the others have been let off with fifteen years imprisonment. You will have heard why this has happened to me. I am a sacrifice of the longing for peace, others are going to follow...I don't like to die so young, but I die with a curse on the German-militarist state. These are my last words. I hope that some day you and mother will be able to read them,
But the army endured. What is important is to remember that Germany did not lose the war militarily, and held off all of Europe for a good number of years. That did not mean however, that the army was not weakening. The German politicians were made aware of this by a note from General Ludendorff: "We can carry on the war for a substantial further period, we can cause the enemy heavy loss, we can lay waste his country as we retreat, but we cannot win the war...We must make up our minds to abandon the war as hopeless. Every day brings the enemy nearer to his goal, and makes him less likely to conclude a reasonable peace with us."
Mutiny started on the 28th of October in the Navy. The sailors refused to follow their orders all over, and joined with workers to take over ports. The army then refused to support the Kaiser. Wilhelm II realized that he no longer had a military or power. He abdicated and left Germany on the 10th of November for Holland.
Most were happy that the war was over. Others were not. To one soldier lying in the hospital, the news was horrible. He said: "What! Was suck a thing possible? I broke down completely when the old gentleman tried to resume the story by informing us we must now end this long war...It iwas impossible for me to stay and listen any longer. Darkness surrounded me as I staggered and stumbled back to my ward and buried my aching head between the blankets and the pillow. I had not cried since the day I stood beside my mother's grave."
After saying this and recovering, Adolf Hitler would continue to work for Germany.
So in January 1919, the new parliament and republic was made and things were to be looking up. Not really. There were threats from the Communists, the new nation of Bavaria led by Kurt Eisner was under seige by Communists (because Eisner died). The Freikorps 'freed' the city of Bavaria by killing lots of civilians. There would also be the worst of these all- the peace terms set by the Allies.