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Germany – The Early Years of the Weimar Republic, 1918-23

2. The German Revolution

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In this module, we trace the events of the first stage of the German Revolution, from the Kiel mutiny of 3 November 1918 to the signing of the armistice agreement just over a week later. In particular, we focus on: (i) the reasons why the sailors began to mutiny when they did; (ii) the escalation of the mutiny to more widespread demonstrations; (iii) the demonstration in Berlin on 9 November 1918, a day which saw the abdication of the Kaiser, the resignation of the Reich Chancellor, and the separate proclamations of two German Republics – one by Philipp Schiedemann and the other a few hours later by Karl Liebknecht; (iv) the problem facing Germany at this point: food shortages, mass strikes, a desperate military situation, etc.; (v) the creation of a provisional government and the signing of the armistice on 11 November 1918; (vi) the importance of the fact that it was representatives of the new Republic who signed the armistice agreement, not the Kaiser or the German High Command; and (vii) the development of the 'stab-in-the-back' myth.


In this course, Dr Nadine Rossol (University of Essex) explores the early years of the Weimar Republic (1918-23). In the first module, we trace events in the final years in the First World War up to the events in Kiel in late October/early November 1918. In the second and third modules, we explore the events of the German Revolution, before turning in the fourth module to the drafting of the new Weimar Constitution by the German National Assembly. In the fifth module, we think about the Treaty of Versailles, signed by representatives of the new government in June 1919, before turning to the national conservative reaction to the Weimar Republic in the period 1920-22, including the Kapp Putsch (1920) and the assassination Walther Rathenau by ultra-nationalists (1922). In the seventh module, we think about the events of 1923, including the problem of hyperinflation, the Franco-Belgian occupation of the Ruhr Valley, and Adolf Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch, before moving on in the eighth and final module to offer some concluding remarks about the period as a whole. In short: how did Weimar manage to survive this period at all?


Dr Nadine Rossol is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Essex. Her research focuses on German history, especially the social and cultural history of Weimar and Nazi Germany, and her recent publications include (as co-editor) The Oxford Handbook of the Weimar Republic (2021), Kartoffeln, Frost und Spartakus (2018) and Performing the Nation in Interwar Germany (2010).

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APA style

Rossol, N. (2021, March 11). Germany – The Early Years of the Weimar Republic, 1918-23 - The German Revolution [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Rossol, N. "Germany – The Early Years of the Weimar Republic, 1918-23 – The German Revolution." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Mar 2021,