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No guns, no blood. Revolution succeeded!

Updated: Feb 3, 2019

Copyrights: 1918: © Franz Xaver Hartl, Stadtarchiv München - Fotosammlung, PK-Erg-09-0274; Die handschriftlich vermerkte Datierung ist falsch ( 2018: © Grigoris Veriotis, Ethno News by Jopa
Theresienwiese in Munich. Most people associate this place with world’s biggest beer festival, the Oktoberfest. But even after 100 years it remains hardly unknown that this was the historical starting point of an unblood revolution that was held in November 7, 1918. It is known as the peace rally (Friedenskundgebung) on Theresienwiese which contributed to the establishment of Democracy, the benefits of which we enjoy up to now.

An attempt to pick and impart the most important historical events with original photo material for a wide audience by Johanna Panagiotou, PhD Candidate at LMU, 20th Century World History

In order to understand the tremendous success of the November Revolution, we primarily have to put ourselves in the circumstances at that time and seriously deal with what people actually demanded in 1918.

The majority of the Germans desperately wanted following three things:

1. To stop the War

2. To end the Monarchy

3. To democratize the Constitution

In this article we are concerned with the first point.

How did the Germans experience the World War I?
  • The occasion...

The occasion: The assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg in June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo by © Gavrilo Princip / Felix Schwormstädt & Franz Ferdinand's blood-stained uniform, Author unknown. - LIFE Magazine, from an earlier, unnamed source
  • The Declaration Of The War On Serbia

1. The official declaration in the extra Issue of Wiener Zeitung on July 28, 1914. Five day before (23.7.14), the Austrians issued Serbia an ultimatum after having insured the “Nibelungentreue” (an absolute, unquestioning, excessive and potentially disastrous loyalty) by the Germans. 2: "Serbien muss sterb[i]en! ("Serbia must die!"; last word altered to rhyme). The propaganda caricature depicts Austria crushing the ape-like Serb" (Wikipedia). 3: Unter den Linden (a historical boulevard in Berlin) 31.7.18: An officer, accompanied by soldiers and drums, makes the declaration public (Chronik der Deutschen by Christian Zentner, p. 282)
  • Hitlers Enthusiasm

Adolf Hitler under the gathered crowd in front of the Feldherrnhalle (Odeonsplatz, old town of Munich) one day before the Declaration. The media at that time made worldwide multiple copies of this photo, shot by Heinrich Hoffmann (Hitlers personal Photograph). In the context of the November Revolution, this photo also plays a crucial role, if we take into consideration that the achievement of the Revolution was the Establishment of the Weimar Republic (1918–1933). During this era, the land experienced a relative stability (see "Golden Twenties"), a growing economy and a consequent in civil unrest. Regrettably, the conservative monarchist Paul von Hindenburg was the Reichspräsident of the Weimar Republic who appointed Hitler as chancellor in 1933. This was beyond all doubt the shady side that sometimes completely eclipse all previous historical efforts of the Germans to find their way to Democracy.
  • The Nation Was Soaked And Financed The War

“Times are hard, but the victory is for sure” is depicted on this propaganda poster with Hindenburg (left), who was very popular, in order to convince its civils to sign for the credits (right). “The army and the fleet expects this from you!”. The state cashed in this way quasi 100 Million D-Mark from the war credits. Additionally, it introduced taxes in 1916 and promoted for further loans. Copyrights: OB C. Wolf & Sohn München & Die Deutschen by Lingen, p. 337
  • The Role Of The SPD

Even the Social Democratic Party voted the war credits. Here is the explanation as it was puplished in the extra issue of the »Vorwärts«, 4. 8.1914.
  • The Outsiders...

The only one who did not vote from the Socialists the war credits was Karl Liebknecht. He resigned in 1916 from the party and, together with Rosa Luxemburg, founded the Spartakusbund.
  • Brutality and Propaganda

Germans had a very bad reputation during the WWI. Rumors had been spread among that German soldiers even chopped children’s hands. Die Deutschen by Christian Zentner, p. 286

In a future article we will highlight the historical background, when Kurt Eisner proclaimed the Free State of Bavaria.


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