Advertisement

The Revolution

  • E. J. Feuchtwanger

Abstract

The German revolution of 1918 remains unique in the twentieth century as a major upheaval in a large and highly-developed country. It is still a matter of dispute whether this upheaval deserves the label ‘revolution’ or if it was only an aborted revolution. Judgments on its complex course are coloured by the knowledge that the regime for which it laid the foundations ended catastrophically with Hitler’s Third Reich. The question is bound to loom large whether different decisions could have been taken and a different outcome been achieved by the revolution’s leading figures, but this is judging with hindsight. Taking a long perspective the German revolution looks less like a violent break and is seen more in the continuity of German developments. The tensions released in 1918 had been building up in Germany for many years. Had it not been for war and defeat, gradual solutions to some of the problems might well have emerged. The outbreak of war in August 1914 had temporarily transcended the deep divisions in German society. The key event was the decision of the SPD to vote for war credits in the Reichstag on 4 August 1914 and thereby to give their support to the war.1 From the point of view of German nationalism it was an unforgettable moment of unity and enthusiasm. From the perspective of the international socialist movement it was a moment of great disenchantment. The class solidarity of the proletariat across the frontiers turned out to be an illusion.

Keywords

Soviet Republic Radical Left Centre Party General Strike General Staff 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Susanne Miller, Burgfrieden und Klassenkampf. Die deutsche Sozial?demokratie im Ersten Weltkrieg (Dusseldorf, 1974).Google Scholar
  2. A. J. Ryder, The German Revolution of 1918: A Study of German Socialism in War and Revolution (Cambridge, 1967).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Hans Joachim Bieber, Gewerkschaften in Krieg und Revolution. Arbeiterbewegung, Industrie, Staat und Militär in Deutschland 1914–1920 (Hamburg, 1981) ii, p. 527.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    S. Miller, Die Bürde der Macht. Die deutsche Sozialdemokratie 1918–1920 (Düsseldorf; 1978 ) pp. 29–32.Google Scholar
  5. Gerhard A. Ritter and S. Miller (ed.), Die deutsche Revolution 1918–1919. Dokumente (Hamburg, 2nd edn. 1975) p. 27.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Allan Mitchell, Revolution in Bayern 1918/19 (Munich, 1967) (Revolution in Bavaria 1918/19 (Princeton, 1965) p. 65ffGoogle Scholar
  7. 13.
    Prinz Max von Baden, Erinnerungen und Dokumente (Stuttgart, 1968) p. 596ff.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Heinrich A. Winkler, Von der Revolution zur Stabilisierung. Arbeiter und Arbeiterbewegung in der Weimarer Republik 1918 bis 1924 2nd edn. (Berlin/Bonn, 1985) p. 44ff;Google Scholar
  9. Ulrich Kluge, Die deutsche Revolution 1918/19 (Frankfurt, 1985) p. 54ff.Google Scholar
  10. 22.
    Arthur Rosenberg, Geschichte der Weimarer Republik (Karlsbad, 1935) p. 9 (A History of the Weimar Republic London, 1936).Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    S. Miller and Heinrich Potthoff (eds), Die Regierung der Volksbeauftragten 1918/19 (Düsseldorf, 1979) introduction by E. Matthias, i, CLXXIV.Google Scholar
  12. 29.
    Hermann Weber (ed.), Der deutsche Kommunismus, Dokumente (Cologne, 1963) p. 41f.Google Scholar
  13. 42.
    Reinhard Schiffers, Elemente direkter Demokratie im Weimarer Regierungssystem (Düsseldorf, 1971) pp. 117–54.Google Scholar
  14. 47.
    Klaus Schwabe, Deutsche Revolution und Wilson-Frieden (Düsseldorf, 1971).Google Scholar
  15. 49.
    Quoted in Hagen Schulze, Weimar. Deutschland 1917–1933 (Berlin, 1982) p. 196.Google Scholar
  16. 50.
    Peter Krüger, Deutschland und die Reparationen 1918/19 (Stuttgart, 1973).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 53.
    Michael Salewski, Entwaffnung und Militärkontrolle in Deutschland 1918–1927 (Munich, 1966).Google Scholar
  18. 55.
    Ernst Troeltsch, Spektator-Briefe. Aufsätze über die deutsche Revolution und die Weltpolitik 1918/22 (Tübingen, 1924) (reprint Aalen, 1966) p. 52f, 23 May 1919.Google Scholar
  19. 57.
    Harald von Rieckhoff, German-Polish relations, 1918–1933 (Baltimore, 1971);Google Scholar
  20. John W. Hiden, The Baltic states and Weimar Ostpolitik (Cambridge, 1987 ).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 60.
    David W. Morgan, The Socialist Left and the German Revolution. A History of the German Independent Social Democratic Party, 1917–1922 (London, 1975) p. 230ff; Miller, Bürde pp. 257–59.Google Scholar
  22. 62.
    Falk Wiesemann, ‘Kurt Eisner. Studie zu seiner politischen Biographie’, in Karl Bosl (ed.), Bayern im Umbruch. Die Revolution von 1918, ihre Voraussetzungen, ihr Verlauf und ihre Folgen (Munich, 1969) p. 387f£Google Scholar
  23. 69.
    Johannes Erger, Der Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch (Düsseldorf; 1967);Google Scholar
  24. Francis L. Carsten, Reichswehr und Politik (Cologne/Berlin, 1964) p. 89f1. (Reichswehr and Politics, Oxford, 1966 ).Google Scholar
  25. 74.
    Otto Gessler, Reichswehrpolitik in der Weimarer Zeit (Stuttgart, 1958), p. 130f; Carsten, Reichswehr p. 115ff.Google Scholar
  26. 76.
    Hans Fenske, Konservativismus und Rechtsradikalismus in Bayern nach 1918 (Bad Homburg, 1969).Google Scholar
  27. 77.
    George Eliasberg, Der Ruhrkrieg von 1920 (Bonn, 1974);Google Scholar
  28. Erhard Lucas, Märzrevolution im Ruhrgebiet (Frankfurt, 1970–1978) iii, p. 353ff.Google Scholar
  29. 79.
    Rudolf Heberle, Landbevölkerung und Nationalsozialismus. Eine soziologische Untersuchung der politischen Willensbildung in Schleswig-Holstein 1918–1932 (Stuttgart, 1963) (English edn, From Democracy to Nazism New York, 1970).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 81.
    Michael Stürmer, Koalition und Opposition in der Weimarer Republik 1924–1928 (Düsseldorf; 1967).Google Scholar
  31. 82.
    Horst Möller, Parlamentarismus in Preussen 1919–1932 (Düsseldorf; 1985);Google Scholar
  32. D. Orlow, Weimar Prussia 1918–1925. The Unlikely Rock of Democracy (Pittsburgh, 1986).Google Scholar
  33. 83.
    Klaus Schönhoven, Die Bayerische Volkspartei 1924–1932 (Düsseldorf; 1972).Google Scholar
  34. 84.
    Eberhard Kolb, Die Weimarer Republik (Munich, 1984) p. 72ff. (The Weimar Republic London, 1988).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© E. J. Feuchtwanger 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. Feuchtwanger
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SouthamptonUK

Personalised recommendations