Revolution of 1918–1919 in Germany: causes, chronology of events and consequences

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Revolution of 1918–1919 in Germany: causes, chronology of events and consequences
Revolution of 1918–1919 in Germany: causes, chronology of events and consequences

In October 1918, Max Badensky assumed the post of new Chancellor. Among his many promises to the people, the conclusion of peace in war stood out in particular. However, this did not happen. And against the backdrop of the deteriorating economic situation, the revolution in the country was extremely difficult to avoid.

Common features

In short, the German Revolution of 1918–1919 consisted of four stages:

  1. November 3 to 10.
  2. From November 10 to December.
  3. All of January - most of February.
  4. Remaining months until May 1919.

The opposing forces are here: the proletariat, along with the military and sailors, and the country's authorities with their armed forces.

The Spartak group had a huge impact on the revolution of 1918–1919 in Germany. It was formed by workers in 1917 and was characterized by radical communist views.

On October 7, 1918, she held a conference to discuss preparations for an armed uprising.

Analysis of premises

The cumulative causes of the revolution in Germany in 1918–1919 were:

  1. Problems in the agricultural sector.
  2. Retention of the landlord system in land ownership.
  3. Too many aristocratic privileges.
  4. The need to eliminate the Monarchy.
  5. The need to increase the rights of Parliament.
  6. Contradictions between the elite of society and new social strata. The first group included landowners, officials and officers. To the second - representatives of the bourgeoisie, workers and middle strata.
  7. The need to close the remnants of political divisions in some countries.
  8. Huge human losses in the war.
  9. Food card mode.
  10. Industrial production shortage.
  11. Development of hunger.

First stage

It is limited to the period from 3 to 10 November 1918. The key event before that was the uprising of the sailors at the end of October. The excitement was raised on the ships of the Navy. The reason is the refusal to go to sea for the battle with the British flotilla.

Sailors in Kiel

Rebels tried to eliminate. The attempt was unsuccessful and only worsened the situation. And on November 3, sailors staged an armed riot in the city of Kiel.

A little later, emissary Gustav Noske joined them.

Gustav Noske

He became the leader of their movement and headed the Kiel Council formed in those days, after which the uprising spread to different regions of the country.

During this period, the features of the revolution inGermany 1918–1919:

  1. Spontaneity.
  2. Absence of party leaders.
  3. Workers, soldiers and sailors were the initiators and driving force.
  4. Opposition to imperialism and monarchy.

And on November 9, large-scale rallies and strikes were organized in Berlin. Members of the Spartak group captured all the key points of the city, including prisons.

Government leader Max Badensky resigned immediately. The then Kaiser Wilhelm II also resigned from his post. Right-wing Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert took power.

Friedrich Ebert

On November 10, the SNU, the Council of People's Deputies, was created. He served as the provisional government.

Division into movements

The events of the revolution in Germany in 1918–1919, which determined its further development, were:

  1. Giving a country the status of a Republic.
  2. Fall of the Hohenzollern monarchy.
  3. Escape of William II to the Netherlands.
  4. Social Democrats take the lead.

At the same time, the mass left sector was divided into the following movements:

  1. Social Democratic Party (SPD). It was headed by F. Ebert and F. Scheidemann.
  2. Centrist independent SPD. Its leaders: K. Kautsky and G. Gaase.
  3. Left current - Spartak. His leaders: Karl Liebnecht and Rosa Luxembourg.
Karl Liebnecht and Rosa Luxemburg

The first movement had the most power and led the revolution. And on November 10, the Provisional Government was created fromrepresentatives of the first two currents.

Second stage

It covered the period from November 11 to the end of 1918. On the first day, SNU began active work in many areas:

  1. Compiègne truce. It was concluded with the countries that are members of the Entente alliance, and provided for the absolute surrender of the German side.
  2. Canceling the military regime and demobilization.
  3. Transfer to peaceful production format.
  4. Getting rights and freedoms by citizens.
  5. Introduction of universal suffrage.
  6. Adjusting the length of the working day to 8 hours.
  7. Giving unions the power to negotiate agreements.
  8. The appearance of the "Commission for Socialization". It was headed by K. Kautsky. Its main task is to give state status to large monopolies.

A new constitution was about to be adopted. This required the formation of the Constituent National Assembly (USN) based on the results of special elections.

The former state structure was not affected.

All-German Congress

It took place in December 1918 from the 16th to the 21st. Host city: Berlin. It was attended by workers' and soldiers' councils from all over the country. It solved the dilemma of power.

The leaders of the SPD and the NSDPG gave priority to the formation of the USN. And these councils were to be limited in power. In other words, out of the three currents that emerged, the third (left - "Spartak"), according to this plan, was deprived of many powers.

Its representatives staged a rally in front of the building whereA congress was held, and it was announced that an SSR was being created in the country - a socialist Soviet republic. They even filed a corresponding petition.

Their other goal was to remove the Ebert government.

The congress did not react in any way to these actions and appointed elections to the USN. Then the "Spartacists" decided to create an autonomous revolutionary movement. They left the Social Democrats and formed the Communist Party, the KKE, on December 30.

The 1918–1919 revolution in Germany was taking a new turn.

Third stage

She occupied January and part of February 1919. Its main line is the KKE's attempts to overthrow the government.

The key events of this stage of the 1918–1919 revolution in Germany are as follows:

  • 6 January. Thousands strike in Berlin. It was arranged by workers and soldiers. There was an armed massacre with the police. The leaders of Spartak, K. Liebnecht and R. Luxembourg, also took part in it.
  • 10 January. An attempt to create the Bremen SSR was thwarted.
  • 12–13 January. Complete suppression of the uprising. Many of its leaders have been arrested.
  • 15 January. K. Liebknecht and R. Luxembourg executed.
  • 19 January. Elections in the USN. The bourgeoisie won.
  • 6 February. USN opened. Location: Weimar. The purpose of the meeting is to develop the Constitution of the country (after long discussions, it was adopted on July 31 of the same year).
  • 11 February. Friedrich Ebert becomes president.

These are the results of the third stage of the 1918-1919 revolution in Germany. The reason for the defeat of the Communists is largely due to their small numbers andpoor preparation for key battles. They overestimated their potential.

Final stage

It began in mid-February and ended in May 1919. It was characterized by scattered demonstrations of workers in different parts of the country. The largest actions took place in Berlin and Bremen. The goals of the strikes were as follows:

  1. Increase in the number of trade unions.
  2. Improving the economic situation.
  3. Empowerment of workers.

In April, a coup d'état took place in Bavaria. And there the Soviet power was established. Troops were promptly sent there to completely overthrow her.

Suppression of the Soviet Republic in Bavaria 1919

The indicated power lasted only three weeks. Her strength was not enough to confront the arriving army.

Its defeat became the point of revolution in Germany in 1918-1919


For about 8–9 months the country was shaken by numerous uprisings and riots. Similar events took place in Russia in October 1917.

The results of the revolution in Germany 1918–1919 are as follows:

  1. Total liquidation of the monarchical system.
  2. Approval of the status of the republic.
  3. Coming into force of bourgeois-democratic freedoms.
  4. Significant improvement in the quality of life of workers.

It also had a positive impact on the end of the war and the conclusion of the act of truce, as well as the liquidation of the Brest Peace.

New constitution

Weimar Constitution

Herdevelopment began on 6 February. But it was possible to finish work on it only after the revolution of 1918-1919 in Germany. And its adoption took place on July 31 in the city of Weimar.

The new Constitution gave the country a new status - the Republic. The president and parliament were now in power.

The Constitution came into force on 11 August. Its key postulates are:

  1. Securing a bourgeois republic with a parliamentary system.
  2. Enfranchising all citizens over the age of 20.
  3. Parliament is endowed with legislative powers. Elections to it take place every four years.
  4. The President has executive power and many rights. For example, his powers included the introduction of a state of emergency, the formation of the composition of the government. He also had the highest military rank - the commander in chief of the army. He was also the country's prime minister. His term of office is 7 years.
  5. The federal state system began to represent 15 lands (they are also republics) with their own power and three free cities.

After the war, the German economy was in a deplorable state. The country was gripped by inflation and unemployment.

Germany after World War I

And because of the notorious Treaty of Versailles, 1/8 of the territory was taken away from her, as well as all the colonies.

The country banned the production of new weapons, and the army was reduced to 100,000 soldiers.

And only thanks to the new Constitution and regime change, the situation began to improve. True, the Germanshad to stick to austerity and borrow overseas.

And the period from 1924 to 1927 is considered the time of stabilization in the country. Intensive development of its economy began in 1927.

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