The German Revolution

  • A. J. Nicholls
Part of the The Making of 20th Century book series


The Kiel mutiny was the first of a chain of revolts which spread across Germany in the next few days and which finally disrupted the German Empire. It is common to stress their unpolitical nature. More than one German historian has pointed out that dissidents in the armed forces hoisted the Red Flag because it was the only banner under which they could be sure of evading punishment for their action. Strikers or demonstrators could hope for reform; mutineers had to opt for revolution.1


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  1. 1.
    For instance, A Rosenberg, Geschichte der deutschen Republik (Karlsbad, 1935) pp. 13—14. Also Heiber, Republik von Weimar, p. 14. The following accounts of the revolution are well worth consulting: Carsten, Revolution in Central Europe, 1918–19. Matthias, Ziehen Räten und Geheimräten: Die deutsche Revolutionsregierung, 1918/19, ibid. ‘German Social Democracy in the Weimar Republic’, in Nicholls and Matthias (eds.), German Democracy and the Triumph of Hitler, and Ryder, The German Revolution of 1918: A Study of German Socialism in War and Revolt. A stimulating, if controversial, assessment of the German revolution is given by Rürup in his article ‘Problems of the German Revolution, 1918–19’, in Journal of Contemporary History (1968). Two important monographs on the USPD should also be consulted: Morgan, The Socialist Left and the German Revolution: A History of the German Independent Social Democratic Party, 1917–1922, and Wheeler, USPD und Internationale. Sozialistischer Internationalismus in der Zeit der Revolution. Google Scholar

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© A. J. Nicholls 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Nicholls
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Antony’s CollegeOxfordUK

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