VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > C. Europe, 1919–1945 > 11. Germany
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
(See Jan) (See July 7)
 
11. Germany
 
Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, chancellor since 1909, remained in office until July 1917, but German policies were increasingly influenced by the military leaders.  1
 
1917, Jan. 8
 
The German government decided to resume unrestricted submarine warfare. Bethmann-Hollweg opposed but was unable to prevent this decision (See 1917, Jan. 8).  2
By 1917 growing unrest led to certain important promises by the government.  3
 
April 7
 
Emperor William II, as king of Prussia, announced in an Easter message the end of the famous three-class system of voting in Prussia. The introduction of a system of equal, direct, and secret suffrage was announced somewhat later (July 11).  4
 
July 14
 
Bethmann-Hollweg, having lost the support of the Conservatives, National Liberals, and Center, and having long since become objectionable to the military, was allowed to retire.  5
 
July 14–Oct. 30
 
Chancellorship of George Michaelis, an almost unknown official, who was the appointee of the high command and served chiefly as a cloak for the power of Ludendorff.  6
 
July 19
 
Under the leadership of Matthias Erzberger and his Catholic Center Party, the Reichstag passed a resolution in favor of a peace of understanding, without annexations (212 Centrists, Majority Socialists, and National Liberals against 126 Conservatives, National Liberals, and Independent Socialists). The new chancellor declared that his aims were attainable within the limits of the resolution as “he understood it.”  7
 
Oct. 28
 
Mutiny of sailors at Kiel, caused by orders from the admiralty to go to sea and fight the British. “Further than Heligoland we will not go.”  8
 
Oct. 29
 
Emperor William II, alarmed at demands in the Reichstag for his abdication, left Berlin for army headquarters at Spa.  9
 
Nov. 4, 5
 
The revolt at Kiel spread to other seaports. Councils of workers and soldiers formed.  10
 
Nov. 7
 
Revolt at Munich, led by Kurt Eisner, an Independent Socialist, led to the proclamation of a republic in Bavaria (Nov. 8).  11
 
Nov. 9
 
ABDICATION OF THE EMPEROR announced in Berlin by Prince Max (the chancellor since Oct. 4). REPUBLIC PROCLAIMED. Government turned over to Majority Socialists, led by Friedrich Ebert and Philipp Scheidemann. The emperor fled to Holland in his special train. His abdication was not signed until Nov. 28, by which time all other German rulers had abdicated.  12
 
Nov. 10
 
A joint ministry of Independent and Majority Socialists took control in Berlin. Struggle between the extreme Left, or Spartacist, group, led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, who favored a Communist regime, and the Social Democrats (Majority Socialists), who wanted a gradual and not a violent abandonment of capitalism.  13
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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