• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why was there a German revolution in 1918 and how far had it gone by 1919.

Extracts from this document...


Why was there a German revolution in 1918 and how far had it gone by 1919 Revolution broke out in Germany in 1918 largely as a consequence of the severe hardships, economic/military crisis and disintegrating civilian and military morale brought about by Germany's involvement in the First World War and imminent military defeat. There were also long term problems like the semi-democratic and authoritarian 2nd Reich which created demands for a more democratic system, largely by the Social Democratic Party. Initially revolution was instigated by the conservative ruling classes, although this 'Revolution from above' was soon to be followed by the 'Revolution from below' which established German democracy, once the Communist threat was destroyed. This signalled the end of the revolution. Although the Weimar Republic represented a truly democratic system, many threats still existed which limited the gains that were made after the collapse of the 2nd Reich. The most important long term reason for the break out of revolution in Germany is the questionable extent to which the 2nd Reich was democratic. Under this authoritarian Reich, there was universal male suffrage and so all men had the right the vote to elect a Reichstag which would represent the people. Also the members of the upper house or Reichsrat were elected ambassadors from the 26 state governments. ...read more.


Germany was on the verge of a communist revolution and to try to avoid further chaos; a German republic was declared, the Kaiser was forced to abdicate and Ebert replaced Prince Max as the leader of the SPD. Again the removal/Abdication of the Kaiser and other members of the aristocracy was another achievement of the German Revolution, along with the collapse of the Authoritarian Government of the 2nd Reich. Two days later the armistice was signed which signalled the end of suffering and was therefore seen as an achievement gained from the Revolution. However the armistice gave rise to the 'Stab in back theory' which undermined support for the new democracy (blamed for military defeat). This could therefore be seen as a factor, which limited the achievements, made from the revolution. This theory was created by Lundendorff to shift blame of military defeat away from High command. He claimed that support for the army had been undermined by the democratic Reichstag who demanded peace and that the German army would eventually have been victorious if left alone. This idea culminated in the revolution of November 1918. The motivation for such a theory being proposed undermines the validity of the theory itself. ...read more.


They convinced themselves that Germany too was ripe for a radical working-class revolution (they had badly miscalculated). Due to the fact that the majority of the Germans supported Parliamentary democracy, their attempted revolt in January 1919 forced Ebert to do a deal with Groener and played right into the hands of the conservative forces (claiming that they were protecting Germany from the threat of Communism). In the end there was little real change. The removal of the Kaiser and the German monarch was seen by some as more symbolic than significant and for many Germans the spirit of Imperial Germany lived on. The majority of Germans were quite conservative and did not want a communist revolution. Most Germans favoured a shift to a Parliamentary Democracy not full-blooded socialism. Therefore any support for a communist/spartakist revolution was limited. There were also arguments that the revolution ran away with itself. The sustainability of the government and democratic control was questioned, as institutional centres of the old ruling classes remained intact. Many saw the republic as originating in a revolution and therefore, illegitimate or 'the convenient means of filling a void left by collapse of Monarchy'. While the forces of the left also posed a threat for the new democracy, the more powerful forces of the right served to remind the new democracy that the revolution was far from secure in 1919. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 essays

  1. Was the October Revolution inevitable

    literate this would not provide universal literacy any time in the near future. Russia had often tried to put off educating the peasants as they thought it would be unsettling effect and made them uncooperative, this was maybe true but still if Russia wanted to compete with other countries it

  2. History - USSR - The main reason for the February/March Revolution was The World ...

    He had to give up Port Arthur and Korea to Japan. This made the people of Russia even more angry at the Tsar. In October, industrial workers began electing soviets (workers' councils) to plan strikes. The Tsar was clearly losing control.

  1. The Radical Phase: 1793-94

    On March 10th, the Revolutionary Tribunal was created in order to prosecute the enemies of the revolution. Marat became a virtual Grim Reaper in searching out possible traitors and enemies of the republic. When the Committee on Public Safety was established on the 26th, Robespierre and his Jacobins were able

  2. Was There A German Revolution?

    liberals and even the Centre Party" In his opinion this means that these events were more a case of "evolution accelerated by necessity". However it could be strongly argued that as these changes had been denied up until this critical point, despite persistent pressure, that it was more of a case of simple necessity rather than evolutionary.

  1. How Successful Was Roosevelt’s New Deal?

    Some of Roosevelt's opponents were also against social security for the unemployed, and against old age pensions. They felt that these measures could lead to Americans 'going soft' or being less keen to work hard. Others did not like the way the President's wife, Eleanor, did a great deal for the poor and unemployed.

  2. Was There a Revolution In Germany Between 1918 and 1919?

    On the 15th of November the Stinnes-Legien pact was signed so that workers got an 8-hour working day, which satisfied the trade unionists and allowed the employers to carry on with private ownership of factories. Although there were many mutinies in Germany the fact that nothing changed meant it couldn't have been a real social revolution.

  1. Was there a revolution in Germany in 1918?

    would be the president because he had the whole hearted support of almost every class in the German society. We must also keep in mind that Hindenberg, Ludendorff and the other OHL officers and commanders were really powerful and were called the 'Junkers' and were mainly elites.

  2. The blance sheet for russia.

    The real bloodbath occurred in the civil war when the Soviet republic was invaded by 21 foreign armies. The Bolsheviks inherited a ruined country and a shattered army. They were immediately faced with an armed rebellion by Kerensky and the White officers, and later by the armies of foreign intervention.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work