The Collapse of Germany
There is no truth in the ‘stab in the back’ myth, so prominent in nationalist politics after the war, that revolution on the German home front caused the army to sue for an armistice without having been defeated. Realising that the war was lost, the Kaiser and his ministers and generals attempted to carry out a constitutional ‘revolution from above’, an ill-fated attempt to share responsibility for the defeat with the political centre and left. In doing so they precipitated a wider political crisis which toppled the Kaiser and plunged Germany into domestic chaos. Against a background of defeat, demobilisation, ongoing peace negotiations, hunger caused by continued allied blockade, and international Bolshevik agitation, Germany’s new leaders struggled to construct a new Germany. The result, the ill-fated Weimar republic, was built on political compromise and weak social foundations, perpetuating domestic divisions which would destroy it in the difficult economic circumstances of the 1920s and 1930s.