The Establishment of Revolutionary Changes in Germany After World War One
In 1918 people in Germany were shattered by the unexpected defeat of
the First World War. As the war ended the German emperor, the Kaiser,
abdicated and early in 1919 Germanys politicians drew up what has
often been described as the most democratic constitution in the world.
The revolutionary changes after the war were vast. The importance of
the First World War in shaping Germany's historical development is
large; A German victory in 1918 would have certainly defused the
crisis and in doing so retarded the process of political reform for a
generation or more. It plowed Germanyinto economic crisis, causing
hyperinflation and causing serious social tensions which accentuated
class differences. In pre- war Germanythere had been constitutional
instability and occasional political crises. However by the autumn of
1918, Germany found itself in a revolutionary situation.
The ruling class initiated a great change in October 1918, a new
government based on the Reichstag was formed, and this was called a
'revolution from above'. Prince Max von Baden, a moderate
conservative, became chancellor of government on 3 October which
included representatives from the SPD and the Left Liberals. This
government was put in place to a certain extent to take the blame for
the defeat of the war as Ludendorff recognized the need to remove
responsibility for Germanys defeat away from the military and
conservative establishment and instead transfer blame onto the
appropriate 'scapegoats'. In the following month a series of
constitutional reforms came into effect which made Germanyinto a
parliamentary democracy. The first revolution in Germanyafter the war
was the October revolution when such extreme hunger and change brought
about desperate people. The people wanted this new civilian government
and this provides a strong basis to the argument that there were
drastic revolutionary changes in Germany after world war one.
The fundamental; constituent changes have been often called a
revolution however some historians would argue that this is a real
exaggeration. The Reichstag never really seemed to want to make a
massive impact on the events of Germanyfor example; in October 1918
the Reichstag adjourned on 5 October and went into recess until 22
October, when it adjourned again until 9 November. These were hardly
the actions of an institution that wanted to shape events decisively.
What pushed Germany from such a short space of time from small
political reforms towards a revolution was the public realization that
the war was indeed lost. The constituency they had with a Prince as
chancellor and a...