The Defeat

It was simply not possible to see the big picture from the trenches (or from the hospital bed, for that matter). Consequently, Gefreiter Adolf Hitler had no idea how devastating this picture was in late October – early November 1918 for Germany and other Central Powers.

True, the latter won the war on the Eastern Front by forcing the government of now-Soviet Russia to sign the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty. The Treaty meant that Russia has switched sides and became de-facto a German ally and thus one of the Central powers.

Now Russia was actively helping Germany win the war by freeing up a million German soldiers for the Western Front. And its immense food and fuel supplies, industrial base and transportation network was now serving the Central Powers. To a significant extent negating the devastating effect of British naval blockade.

Unfortunately for Germany and its allies, this victory did not help them much on the Western front. Which – with Bulgaria signing a separate Armistice with the Allies – already started to fall apart like a proverbial house of cards.

Entry of the USA into the war, provoked by the infamous Zimmerman Telegram (a monumental and ultimately suicidal blunder by German leadership) broke the stalemate on the Western Front and decisively tipped the scales in favor of the Allies.

On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated, signing the Armistice of Mudros. On 3 November, after its army essentially ceased to exist as an effective fighting force and the Dual Monarchy started to disintegrate (that’s exactly it did not need the war in the first place) Austria-Hungary signed the Armistice of Villa Giusti. Actually, Austria and Hungary signed separate armistices, following the overthrow of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy.

With all its allies gone and the Central Powers reduced to just Germany, the latter had no choice but to plea for armistice as well. It was signed on November 11th, at 5:00 am, in a now famous railroad carriage at Compiègne. At 11 am on 11 November 1918—”the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”—a ceasefire came into effect. The Great War was over.

But the ceasefire was signed not by the Imperial Germany. The Second Reich was gone. The sailors’ revolt which took place during the night of 29 to 30 October 1918 in the naval port of Wilhelmshaven spread across the whole country like a wildfire and led to the proclamation of a republic on 9 November 1918 and to the announcement of the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II. On November 9th, Max von Baden handed over the office of Chancellor to Friedrich Ebert, a Social Democrat.

Adolf Hitler was utterly devastated. Being conditioned by the militaristic propaganda, he simply could not believe that the mighty German Army and its supremely competent High Command lost the Great War.

No, it had to be definitely the “stab-in-the-back”. The invincible German Army did not lose World War I on the battlefield. It was betrayed on the home front by the “November Criminals” – the republicans who overthrew the monarchy and signed the Armistice with the enemy.

The republicans who were obviously manipulated by the Jews, one of which (Hugo Preuß) was the author of the Constitution of the Weimar Republic that replaced the Second Reich.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they made this myth an integral part of their official history of the 1920s, portraying the Weimar Republic as the work of the “November criminals” who seized power and betrayed the nation.


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