The Revolution that stuck


French, the Americans, the Russians have a; Cuba, Mexico, and Iran. Also, the Germans could look forward to a return, but in their own country, it is almost forgotten: The democratic Revolution of November 1918.

The social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann proclaims the Republic

That should change now. Not with a History App, or in a Museum, but in the style of that time: “you have to Bring: four red flags and eight posters, four Times ‘Down with the war!’ and ‘Free elections!’ and 120 red armbands.” So the props list, the action “to roll The Revolution”. At the beginning of November they moved across Germany to the places of upheaval of 1918, organized by the Association “Weimar Republic”.

Is the actions on the streets and squares of the former revolution cities by rail. As the train then, too, the Revolution within a few days the whole country is interspersed. A total of 47 stations are to be left at any of the Stops then “15 minutes flash mobs with actors and extras to be” listed, “a impression of how 100 years ago the democracy was fought for,” said the organizer.

The fleet should expire once

When exactly “the” Revolution began, is also identified in the review. At the end of October 1918, the Imperial naval command wanted the fleet to the high seas to a final battle, to the “Heroic sinking of the” leak. But the war was already lost; at the end of September, the Supreme army command had reported the generals Ludendorff and Hindenburg to Berlin, that Germany could not be more victories and the Western allies had to ask for a truce.

Emperor Wilhelm II (center), 1917 with the generals, Hindenburg (left) and Ludendorff. The Emperor had to in 1918 to abdicate.

The Sailors in Kiel and Wilhelmshaven refused to allow the commands to be phased out. From the mutiny to be a rebellion, the army soldiers joined and soon the workers. On 3. November form you were in “councils” and have articulated clear political demands: Kaiser Wilhelm II, should abdicate, the war will be ended immediately. The revolutionary spark ignited and soon on to other garrisons, also in Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck, workers and soldiers were formed. On 7. November abdicated in Munich, the last Wittelsbach king after the crowned heads plunged everywhere in the Empire. The German Empire was at that time subjects of a Federal state: an Alliance of 26 Federation, 22 of them were rich, king, Duke, or principalities.

The events come thick and fast

On 9. November achieved the Revolution in Berlin. And in the Imperial capital, the events come thick and fast. Prime Minister Max of Baden, head of the recently President of the transitional government, announced the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Who was in the military headquarters in Spa in Belgium and had not declared his abdication. He did it in the afternoon but, under the pressure of events.

Noon to 14 PM, the social-democratic deputies Philipp called man made vagina out of a window of the Reichstag building the Republic: “We have triumphed all along the line, the Old one is.” And so, man the vagina and the left socialist politician Karl Liebknecht a good two hours before: Liebknecht, based on the “revolutionary Chairpersons” of the Berlin working class, in front of the Berlin city, the “socialist Republic of Germany, the castle proclaimed”.

The ideas of the political future of Germany were quite far apart

The political Left in Germany had divided over the question of war credit in the SPD and the Independent social Democrats (USPD). 9. November made this again. While the (majority)social Democrats around Friedrich Ebert and Philipp Scheidemann wanted a parliamentary democracy, and believed, without the old elites in Germany to be able to govern, taken a lot of “Independent” in a different way.

Deep split Left

Especially the “Spartacus League”, under Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg saw in the Soviet Union and in the Russian Revolution of 1917 as a model for Germany. “All Power to the councils”, was his Slogan; shortly before the end of the year 1918 of the Spartacus League split off from its ranks, the Communist party of Germany was founded. “We look at Germany as a mother who gives birth to a Revolution, and we should not force the Germans to do this, we will not raise arms against you before the child is born,” wrote the specially from Russia traveled Journalist Karl Radek, an adviser to Lenin. Now there were three Marxist-oriented, left-wing parties in Germany – (M), SPD, USPD and KPD.

On 6. December in Berlin to fight the first heavy barricades left insurgents and soldiers between the ultra; there was the first dead. The unrest spread to the “Spartacus uprising” – a de facto civil war that was also fought in other towns and cities; an estimated 5,000 people came in the spring of 1919 killed. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the leaders of the revolt, were murdered by right free corps fighters brutally.

Majority of the social Democrats and the Reichswehr combines

The Central workers ‘ and red army deputies of Berlin, had spoken previously with a large majority for General elections to a national Assembly. The provisional government, led by majority social Democrats, with the third Reich, an Alliance, in order to maintain order, and to the attacks of the revolutionary Left to fend off. The fact that a social democratic defense Minister commanded the battles of the third Reich, and the ultra-right Freikorps militias against the left workers, has poisoned the relationship of socialists and Communists to social democracy in Germany for decades to come.

Government troops for the suppression of the uprising have moved on to the Brandenburg gate position

After the suppression of the Spartacus uprising, the Germans chose the 19. January a constituent Assembly. As election winner SPD (37.9 percent), the Catholic center (19,7) and the left-liberal German democratic party (18,5). The three parties in a coalition. The radical anti-Republican forces of the Right and the revolutionary Left were in the national Assembly clearly in the minority.

The interpretation dispute to the Weimar Republic

The national Assembly met not in the politically turbulent Berlin, but gave way in the quiet Weimar. The venue should give the Republic, which was justified here, your name. “The provisional government owes its mandate to the Revolution”, was opened by Reich President Friedrich Ebert, the inaugural session. “You will put it in the hands of the national Assembly.”

And yet: The Weimar Republic was called in retrospect a “democracy without Democrats”. As was already clear that the Republic had not kept the pliers handle from the left and the right, under the conditions of a world economic crisis. Much has been thought in Germany about the extent to which the revolutionary Events themselves to the new state with the germ of failure got infected. The split in the labor movement, the external pressure by the victorious powers of the First world war, the social crisis, which expressed itself in the mass of misery, after four years of hunger blockade, and a ruined currency.

Millions suffered at the end of the war, Hunger and misery

Historians call the events in November 1918, a “stuck-at-heart Revolution”: Junker and “smokestack barons” retained privileges and its political influence, the traditionally conservative civil servants remained at their posts, and the military, with its nationalist officer corps was also not touched.

Even if this applies to the Failure of the Republic related to the analysis, the Revolution overcame “a überlebtes, authoritarian System and marked a major departure for Germany in the democracy”. This conclusion, the initiators of the ‘Weimar Republic’ do not want, that the February revolution would not be forgotten. However, in the collective memory of the Germans the reputation of this Revolution seems to be ruined – because the Republic, they reasoned, was eroded after a few years, politically that it was in 1933.