• The German revolution of 1918-19 War and breaking point

      Constantine, Simon (The Historical Association, London, 2017-12-05)
      War and Breaking Point In the Summer of 1917, not long after the United States entered the war, the former American ambassador to Germany, James Gerard would write the following words. The German nation is not one which makes revolutions. There will be scattered riots in Germany, but no simultaneous rising of the whole people. The officers of the army are all of one class, and of a class devoted to the ideals of autocracy. A revolution of the army is impossible; and at home there are only the boys and old men easily kept in subjection by the police. There is a far greater danger of the starvation of our allies than of the starvation of the Germans. Every available inch of ground in Germany is cultivated, and cultivated by the aid of the old men, the boys and the women, and of the two million prisoners of war. Gerard turned out to be wrong. A revolution occurred a little over a year later, and both the US decision to fight and widespread hunger in Germany would play important causal roles. His assessment of military loyalty also proved incorrect; the rebellion was to begin amongst the mariners of the German navy, and the actions of both soldiers and sailors were crucial to its early success.