Effects of World War One

During the early years of the Weimar Republic, the German Government experienced a number of problems which threatened its existence. After the end of World War One, it struggled from crisis to crisis.

The new German Government was linked to Germany's defeat in World War One, allowing Hitler to blame it for the outcome of the war.

The end of the war

The German army had not been defeated by October 1918. However, it was necessary for the Government to end the war and make peace for a number of reasons:

  • Germany's allies had surrendered.
  • The USA had stopped trade with Germany and had entered the war in 1917 against Germany.
  • Many German civilians were starving and there were severe food shortages.
  • Germany was running out of raw materials.
  • Revolts had broken out across Germany.
  • Sailors at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven had mutinied after being ordered to take part in one final offensive against the British navy.
  • Soldiers and workers showed communist leanings by setting up soviets (small councils intended to replace central government) in many German cities.

The German officials agreed to an armistice (truce) to take effect on 11 November 1918. Government officials of the time were nicknamed ‘the November Criminals'.