End of World War One
When the German defeat in war became increasingly likely the democratic majority parties (SPG, Liberals, Central party) urged for a resolution of peace and an immediate ceasefire in 1917. There were to be neither annexation nor reparations, instead they claimed a democratic constitution and free right to vote.
On the opposing side stood the supporters of the “fatherland partyThe German Fatherland Party was active during the last phase of World War I. It was officially dissolved in the German Revolution on December 10, 1918”, who wanted to continue the hopeless war ruthlessly. In autumn 1918 the members of the Supreme Army CommandThe Oberste Heeresleitung was Germany's highest echelon of command of the German Army in World War I. It was de-facto in control of German government policies accepted that the war could not be won anymore.
Under strain from the Allies the Supreme Army Command reshaped the German empire as a parliamentary monarchy in October 19181.
Democracy or a council system?
Due to the riots led by sailors in Kiel in November 1918 a nationwide revolutionThe German Revolution in November 1918 was a civil conflict in the German Empire at the end of World War I took place. The revolutionists’ paragon was the Russian RevolutionIn the Russian Revolution 1917 the Provisional Government was removed and replaced with a Communist government, inspiring them to shape workers’ and soldiers’ councils all over the country. In addition to this the communistic spartacist leagueThe Spartacus League was a Marxist revolutionary movement organized in Germany during World War I posed further challenges when it came to shaping a new form of government. Even though the spartacist league took a stand for a socialistic government, the democratic parties won the elections for the National Assembly held on the 19th of January 1919. The Social Democratic Party emerged from the elections as the strongest party and therefore nominated the first President of the Reich, Friedrich EbertFriedrich Ebert was the first President of Germany from 1919 until his death in office in 19252.
Party political terror
The harsh peace conditions stated in the treaty of VersaillesThe Treaty of Versailles was the peacy treaty after World War I. in 1919. It forced Germany to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers in 1919 made a domestical order virtually impossible. The horrendous war reparations caused an inflation in 1923. Furthermore oppositional parties increased the terror against numerous politicians in the Weimar coalition. This context led to an increased popularity of the so called stab-in-the-back-legendThe stab-in-the-back myth was a legend that the German Army did not lose World War I but was instead betrayed by the civilians on the home front, especially the republicans who overthrew the monarchy in public. According to this legend the social democrats had betrayed their own soldiers during the war and were thus responsible for the defeat and the consequent economic plight in Germany. Originally this legend had been brought into being by members of the Supreme Army Command3.