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THE GERMAN REVOLUTION OF NOVEMBER 1918 October 1, 1918: Kaiser appoints Prince Max of Baden to head a parliamentary cabinet. October 28, 1918: Naval mutiny.

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Presentation on theme: "THE GERMAN REVOLUTION OF NOVEMBER 1918 October 1, 1918: Kaiser appoints Prince Max of Baden to head a parliamentary cabinet. October 28, 1918: Naval mutiny."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE GERMAN REVOLUTION OF NOVEMBER 1918 October 1, 1918: Kaiser appoints Prince Max of Baden to head a parliamentary cabinet. October 28, 1918: Naval mutiny begins at Kiel when the Navy command orders an unauthorized offensive. November 9, 1918: Friedrich Ebert proclaims a Republic in Berlin, and the Kaiser flees to Holland. December 20, 1918: Ebert secures approval by the Congress of Workers & Soldiers Councils for the speedy election of a National Assembly. January 5-15, 1919: Spartacist uprising in Berlin leads to the murder of Luxemburg & Liebknecht by the Free Corps. February 6, 1919: National Assembly convenes in Weimar.

2 The German Empire of : Prussia included 2/3 of the population & 3/5 of the land

3 Population of the German Empire: 64% Protestant, 32% Catholic, 1% Jewish

4 Constitution of 1871

5 THESE UNDEMOCRATIC FEATURES OF THE IMPERIAL CONSTITUTION MADE IT INCREASINGLY UNPOPULAR Most states and cities retained a three-class suffrage law that weighted votes according to taxation. States rights were safeguarded, and the Reichstag could not impose direct taxes on income or property. Cabinets were not responsible to parliament and served entirely at the pleasure of the Kaiser. There was no civilian control of the military. Reichstag election districts were not redrawn after 1871 to reflect migration to cities, so parties with a rural base were over-represented in the Reichstag. In the Reichstag election of 1912, the three parties demanding democratic reform, the SPD, Progressive Peoples Party (forerunner of the DDP), and Center Party, won 63% of the popular vote….

6 GERMANYS CLASS PYRAMID: Imperial officials hoped to unite all the propertied behind the throne, but their ranks were thinning. STATUS * Self-employed28%20%17%13%10% White-collar6%10%17%22%36% Family helper10%15%17%16%7% Blue-collar56%55%49% 47% 100% Total labor force in millions * Right column refers to Federal Republic only

7 In early November 1918, Prince Max of Baden appealed to Friedrich Ebert of the SPD to become Chancellor, prevent a Communist revolution, and safeguard national unity.

8 Gustav Noske (SPD) addresses revolutionary sailors in Kiel, November 5, 1918

9 Philipp Scheidemann (SPD) proclaims Germany a Republic from the balcony of the Reichstag on 9 November 1918

10 Revolutionary soldiers and sailors occupy the royal palace in downtown Berlin, November 10, 1918

11 Prince Max gave Ebert the Imperial Chancellors chain of office, but he soon formed a new Council of Peoples Commissars in alliance with the USPD

12 Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg founded the Spartacus League in 1917 and the German Communist Party in December They embraced Lenins slogan, All power to the Soviets!

13 The Workers and Soldiers Council of Guben, November In Germany most of these soviets regarded themselves as temporary, transitional bodies.

14 The National Congress of Workers and Soldiers Councils, Berlin, December 16-21, Ebert persuaded 75% of the delegates to endorse his program for prompt election of a National Assembly

15 TWO HISTORIC BARGAINS IN NOVEMBER 1918 PROMOTED ALLIANCE AMONG SOCIAL & LIBERAL DEMOCRATS 1.THE EBERT-GROENER PACT, November 10, 1918: Wilhelm Groener, chief of staff of the Imperial Army, telephoned Friedrich Ebert from Kassel to pledge the support of the officer corps, in exchange for Eberts promise to take up the struggle against radicalism and Bolshevism. 2. THE STINNES-LEGIEN AGREEMENT, Nov. 15, 1918: Hugo Stinnes and the captains of industry agreed to implement the 8-hour day and collective bargaining in exchange for a pledge by Carl Legien and trade union leaders to oppose any factory occupations and leave the question of nationalization to a democratically elected National Assembly.

16 Communist insurgents in the newspaper district of Berlin, January 1919

17 A Free Corps unit sworn to crush the Reds Some Free Corps soldiers used the swastika as a symbol of Aryan racial purity; many later joined the Naxis They caught and killed Luxemburg and Liebknecht on January 15, 1919

18 George Grosz, Ebert (1934)

19 Munich experienced Communist rule for six weeks in April-May 1919 after the assassination of Kurt Eisner by a royalist officer A Bavarian Heimwehr militia unit that helped to suppress the Munich Soviet Republic

20 League for Combating Bolshevism: BOLSHEVISM BRINGS WAR, UNEMPLOYMENT, AND HUNGER, January 1919

21 Workers, burghers, farmers, soldiers of every German tribe: Unite in the National Assembly!

22 In February 1919 the National Assembly convened in the Weimar National Theater, behind Goethe & Schiller

23 In its election campaign the SPD sometimes employed Expressionist artists to convey its vision that a new age was dawning, but mainly it appealed to women…. Max Pechstein, An Appeal for Socialism Women! Equal Rights, Equal Duties. Vote Social Democratic!

24 Building Blocks of the German Democratic Party (Left Liberal): Humane housing conditions Equal rights for all Stronger protection for individual freedom Caring for war invalids A free Church in a free State [i.e., separation of church and state] Access to higher education for the most talented League of Nations

25 The (Catholic) Center Party proved most attractive to women voters in 1919 and was the only party to include a cross section of all social classes

26 The National Liberal DVP: War Veterans! Have you spilled your blood so that conditions here would resemble a madhouse? Should todays terrorism be allowed to destroy everything? Or do you want orderly conditions, as we do?

27 Who will save Prussia from destruction? The (conservative nationalist) DNVP depicted recent events in apocalyptic terms….

28 The Stab in the Back (Nazi magazine cover, 1924)

29 The first women elected to a German parliament (Weimar, 1919)

30 THE ELECTION OUTCOME IN JANUARY 1919 (with a voter turnout rate of 83%) KPD (Communist Party): boycotted the election USPD (Independent Social Democratic): 7.7% (dissolved in 1922) SPD (Social Democratic): 37.9% DDP (German Democratic): 18.6% Center Party: 19.7% DVP (German Peoples Party, National Liberal): 4.4% DNVP (German Nationalist Peoples Party): 10.3% On Monday the SPD delegation will cast 4 votes The DDP and Center Party: 2 votes each The DVP: 1 vote. DNVP: 2 votes

31 The impact of the Treaty of Versailles (June 1919)


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