Erster Weltkrieg: Streiks deutscher Truppen erzwangen 1918 das Ende
Streiks deutscher Truppen erzwangen das Ende. Eine Meuterei schreibt Weltgeschichte. Ende Oktober lag die deutsche Hochseeflotte vor Wilhelmshaven — und meuterte. Sie sie sollte in einem letzten sinnlosen Kampf geopfert werden.
Organisiert wurde der Schlachtflottenbau von Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, der von bis dem Reichsmarineamt vorstand. Nur einmal, am Als sie den Befehl erhielten, "aus moralischen Gesichtspunkten" in einen "letzten Kampf" zu ziehen, verweigerten die Matrosen in Wilhelmshaven Foto und Kiel den Dienst. Die Marineleitung brach das Unternehmen ab und nahm mehrere Dutzend Matrosen gefangen, die in Kiel interniert wurden.
Daraufhin erhoben sich die Mannschaften und brachten die Stadt unter ihre Kontrolle. Battlefield defeat of the German army in also led to major changes to its government. Thus the two Central European Great Powers suffered defeat. After pulling multiple divisions from the Eastern Front and training their soldiers in storm trooper tactics between late and early , the Germans launched their infamous spring offensives.
The Russian Revolutions altered the situation on the Eastern Front and gave the Germans the opportunity to take one last fateful gamble to win the war before the mass of American troops arrived to sway the outcome. As the war progressed, the British Entente blockade strangled the Central Powers, creating misery and economic turmoil. Living conditions obviously suffered as material exhaustion accelerated.
Quality food became more difficult to obtain, leading to widespread malnutrition and, ultimately, mass starvation. The announcement of further rationing in early January resulted in the outbreak of strikes that swept through the Dual Monarchy as war-weariness and despair increased. These internal Habsburg conditions weakened its negotiating position at the Brest-Litovsk meeting.
Meanwhile, the patriotic feeling that had prevailed in Germany collapsed owing to increased civilian starvation and economic hardship. A series of treaties in early allowed German and Habsburg forces to consolidate their gains in Eastern Europe. The occupation of Ukraine, however, did not provide the food quantities needed to quell the hunger riots breaking out in both Germany and Austria-Hungary. Workers and soldiers had been reduced to walking skeletons; more than a quarter million Germans ultimately died of malnutrition during By October, rail transport of food supplies had collapsed in Austria-Hungary.
With Russia finally eliminated from the war in , the Habsburg Supreme Command was free to transfer fifty-three divisions and assorted reserve units to the Italian front. Unfortunately, the redeployed forces lacked much of their artillery complement, as only one-third of the necessary horses survived to transport the guns. Locomotives increasingly broke down due to poor maintenance and a shortage of necessary parts and coal, making it difficult to transport troops to the new front.
During early , the activities of several national groups within Austria-Hungary became troublesome enough to warrant military intervention. Strikes, demonstrations, and looting, for example, occurred throughout Bohemia and Moravia. Seven front-line Habsburg infantry divisions 41, soldiers were deployed to the homeland to preserve internal security and to track down army deserters.
During the first half of , the increased military presence proved sufficient to suppress the early nationalistic demonstrations and uprisings that occurred in Bohemia. Later it would not. Despite assembling vast numbers of troops and outnumbering Entente infantry divisions, the Germans possessed far fewer airplanes , artillery pieces, tanks , and trucks than their opponents. Indications of morale problems in the Germany army became difficult to ignore. As military defeat loomed for Germany, revolutionary groups increased their activity within the German army and naval fleet.
German workers became more politically active and more likely to take part in radical movements. The accelerating problem of food shortages , owing to low production and poor distribution, affected the starving population. Securing an adequate food supply was a critical factor on the home front throughout the entire war. The long-anticipated first German spring offensive, Operation Michael Kaiserschlacht , commenced on 21 March Seventy-four German divisions supported by 6, artillery pieces and aircraft attacked thirty-four British infantry and three cavalry division forces on a fifty-mile front on the Somme battleground.
Although the terrain had been badly damaged from the Somme battles and the Nivelle Offensive, the Germans managed to drive the British back forty miles. On 25 March, the attacking forces refocused their attention from the flanks to the center and right flank of the German lines, with a new objective of Arras. However, the rapidly advancing Germans quickly outran their supply lines and lacked the necessary reserve formations because of the heavy casualties they sustained. Artillery was also unable to keep pace with the advancing troops due to the terrible terrain.
The battle ended on 5 April with the attacking German troops exhausted. They had lost , of their best storm troopers in the operation. Although the Germans recaptured almost all of the territory they had lost in , they could not exploit their breakthrough, as they lacked the necessary reserve units.
The battle thus produced a great tactical success, but provided little strategic advantage. During the second German offensive, Operation Georgette, the German army struggled north toward Flanders just south of the battlefield at Ypres. The German army attempted to destroy the entrenched British army as the battle raged between 19 and 21 April. The British retreated fifteen to twenty miles, but their lines ultimately held. Once again exhausted, stretched thin, and unable to transport their artillery forward rapidly enough, the Germans broke off the offensive and regrouped.
A third offensive effort lasted from 27 May to 3 June, by which time American troops had joined the front lines in large numbers. The Germans sought to obtain a final, decisive victory by attacking the junction between the British and French lines in an attempt to drive the British back to the Channel ports. The Germans also launched a diversionary attack against the French to bind their troops at the Chemin des Dames.
A minute massive artillery barrage battered the French lines. By the end of May, German troops had reached the Marne River Valley, the natural route to Paris, just fifty miles away. However, once again they outran their supply lines and extended their front lines with the enlarged salient their operations had produced. During the third offensive, the newly conquered salient made it not only difficult to supply German troops, but also to defend the newly extended front lines. The Germans had again achieved tremendous advances, but, as in earlier operations, proved unable to exploit their gains.
Their casualties had reached , irreplaceable trained assault troops. German forces next sought to link their salient north along the Somme River with their salient south of the Marne River. A successful action would have shortened the German lines, but the French commander anticipated the attack. On 9 June, the first battle day, a spectacular six-mile advance occurred, but the French launched a counterattack on 11 June to cut the offensive short.
The German front had become destabilized. A month would go by before the Germans could mount another offensive operation. The lull proved invaluable to the Allies as more American troops deployed along the front lines. The fifth German spring offensive objective was Champagne-Marne. It was during this engagement, however, that strategic initiative shifted from the Germans to the British and French.
By the end of July, the overall military advantage had swung against the Central Powers. On 18 July, Entente forces launched a counterattack that forced German troops back to the Marne River and compelled General Ludendorff to cancel his planned Flanders offensive drive on 20 July.
The Entente had seized the initiative from the Germans for good. A week later, the Entente leadership planned a series of attacks that allowed the Germans no respite. The offensive from 8 August to 4 September targeted Amiens and ultimately reduced the German salient south of the Somme River. The battle is notable for the effective coordination of British-French infantry, artillery, and airplanes. During the first operational day, Allied troops advanced six miles on a twelve-mile front. Entente pressure prevented the Germans from launching a counteroffensive. The army had begun to disintegrate as up to 1,, soldiers were reported missing or had deserted.
Then the news arrived that the British government had officially recognized the Czech-Slovak National Council in Paris. Meanwhile, by 9 September on the Western Front, the British and French had recaptured all the territory the Germans had conquered during their spring offensives and showed few signs of slowing down. By late summer , German armed forces neared complete exhaustion on the Western Front, as the Entente blockade increased the civilian starvation levels and war-weariness accelerated in both Germany and Austria-Hungary.
Already on 2 September, the first German Hindenburg Line defensive positions had been breached. On the German home front, draconian rationing of the dwindling food supplies and grave shortages of raw materials led to strikes, demonstrations, and civil unrest.
During early , massive strikes, far larger than previous stoppages, broke out all over Germany. Hundreds of thousands of people protested the steadily worsening food situation. The Socialist Party trade unions did not encourage the strike movement, striving instead to maintain the early war unity Burgfrieden. Despite their efforts, the social and political order began to disintegrate after a major ammunition-workers strike erupted in January and the tightening Entente blockade further restricted the food supply.
The Hohenzollern ruler, Emperor Wilhelm II, became a major symbol of discontent among evolving revolutionary groups. The increasing lack of food weakened efforts to maintain industrial production. Thus, during , revolutions erupted in both Austria-Hungary and Germany following military defeat after four years of warfare. This final defeat produced the conditions and the impetus for revolutionary activity and demonstrations. These upheavals, however, proved less destructive and far less radical than the Russian Revolutions. The same war-weariness that had long gripped Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria finally took its toll on the German population.
Basic commodities, and especially fuel, became scarcer by the day and the inflation rate had already increased four times since Many German civilians scoured both street and countryside in search of food, often resorting to raiding garbage cans for rotting meats and vegetables. The social, political, and economic structure of the Central Powers began to disintegrate as strikes and unrest spread with the increasing war-weariness. German agricultural output plummeted due to enduring manpower shortages, lack of fertilizer, and poor weather conditions.
In addition to sacrificing many of the best storm troopers, the offensives exhausted the German army and destroyed national morale. The obvious expanding Entente superiority in both manpower and material and its overwhelming supremacy both on land and in the air further depressed the remaining troops, many of whom surrendered to the enemy as Germany was forced to revert to the defensive.
The army now suffered a serious loss of manpower, lacked ammunition and artillery shells, and no longer possessed reserve formations. A quarter million casualties had been sustained after the second retreat from the Marne River, and tens of thousands of troops deserted when Entente forces attacked the Hindenburg Line.
German troops were now truly exhausted. Entente offensives continued unabated after 28 September, as the German government learned that Generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff were demanding peace negotiations. Meanwhile, the entire Bulgarian front crumbled after an Allied Salonika Army offensive launched from Greece severed communication between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey. After the Bulgarians signed an unconditional surrender with the Salonika group commanders on 30 September, the Central Power Balkan front defense dissolved, leaving the Balkan Peninsula open to an Entente offensive.
Streiks deutscher Truppen erzwangen 1918 das Ende
Troops could not be transported from other fronts and deployed rapidly enough to halt the Entente advances the reinforcements would have come from the Serbian and Ukrainian fronts. Turkey also signed an armistice agreement shortly thereafter on 30 October. This represented the beginning of the end militarily for Austria-Hungary and Germany. The Bulgarian collapse created significant danger for both the Habsburg Balkan front and for Turkey. The Turks had fought for three years before the outbreak of the First World War.
First, they fought in Italy in the Italo-Turkish War and then against various Balkan states, which initiated the two Balkan wars in Following those conflicts, the German General Staff considered the Turkish army powerless. However, with the July crisis and outbreak of war, the Young Turks leadership determined that they should ally with Germany, the strongest military power in Europe.
Negotiations occurred on 2 August, but it was not until November that the Turks actively entered the war.
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From December to January the Turks initiated a campaign in the Caucasus Mountains that resulted in disaster for them. In addition, they failed in their attempt to cross the Sinai Desert to seize the Suez Canal. The following year the Turks made a second attempt to seize the Suez Canal, but once again were repulsed. To continue fighting, the Turks desperately needed military equipment and ammunition. Throughout , warfare in the Middle East intensified. The Turks, however, continued their Caucasus campaign and even provided four infantry divisions for the Eastern Front during the Brusilov Offensive.
The Palestinian campaign in was catastrophic and they were forced to surrender the Middle East to the British and French. The Turks ended their participation in the war in October , immediately after the Bulgarian collapse, by signing an armistice. After the failure of the spring offensives, the disastrous defeat in the Balkan theater, and the collapse of the German Western Front, General Ludendorff suddenly proclaimed on 3 October that the war was lost and that the German government must immediately seek an acceptable armistice and peace from the Allies.
This stunning admission negatively affected the morale of those who had been strong supporters of the war.
By accepting defeat, the German government also realized that it had to initiate meaningful constitutional changes, which resulted in the formation of a new government on 3 October headed by Prince Max von Baden and supported by a parliamentary majority consisting of the Center, Progressive, and Social Democratic parties. By proclamation, the new government became responsible to the Reichstag for military and foreign policy. This provided the impetus to establish a constitutional monarchy with a responsible government, which, unfortunately, ended in failure. This move came under increasing domestic pressure, as well as the realization that, in a speech made to Congress, President Wilson had made a distinction between the German people and the Hohenzollern dynasty.
Wilson would not negotiate with the autocratic leader. This paved the way for negotiations based on initiating change in German political leadership. The astonished Berlin political leaders and Reichstag had been informed of the deteriorating military situation only the day before. Four years of battlefield victories and continued newspaper coverage of the vast enemy territory that had been conquered had suddenly somehow resulted in military defeat — literally overnight. Panic gripped the German people as they realized that the war was lost.
The resultant note from the Central Powers to President Wilson on 4 October requesting an armistice based on his Fourteen Points led to a round of negotiations and prompted a public exchange of notes from 4 to 23 October between President Wilson, Austria-Hungary, and Germany. President Wilson transmitted messages to the Central Powers on 8, 14, and 23 October.
He transmitted his first note on 8 October without first consulting his Entente allies. Wilson wanted confirmation that his Fourteen Points formed the basis for further discussions. The negotiations coincided with the transfer of military power from the German General Staff to the civilian leaders of the newly announced government. By the end of October the German people wanted the war to end. In the negotiations for peace, Max von Baden ignored Emperor Wilhelm. By 28 October the German constitution had been revised in the first significant changes to the early Bismarck Constitution since The Emperor no longer held any of his former major powers.
The German Chancellor now was responsible to the Reichstag , and foreign and military affairs reverted to civilian control. Wilhelm departed his homeland on 29 October, ending over years of Hohenzollern rule. The Habsburg Army launched an offensive on the Italian front on 15 June. The operation was delayed by inclement weather and the rugged mountain terrain. The overtaxed railroads could not meet the demand of transporting troops, food, and equipment. Habsburg Army troop numbers had meanwhile dropped precipitously, while three separate command groups were separated by hundreds of kilometers, posing an insurmountable challenge for the operation.
In the meantime, the Italian army had been replenished with eleven British and French divisions, as well as resupplied with artillery and other weapons from the October Caporetto battlefield debacle. Initial Habsburg gains, coming on the heels of some early successes on the Piave front, were quickly negated by Italian counterattacks. The Italians had learned the attack plans from Habsburg deserters, and air reconnaissance located pertinent troop assembly areas.
The failed campaign led to the loss of , troops. Thus, the civilian population that believed the offensive would result in another Caporetto-style victory was stunned by the overwhelming defeat. Following the disastrous Habsburg offensive, the Italian front fell quiet as attention shifted to the Western Front, where the war would presumably be decided. During the first week of July, the Italians launched a counterattack, turning the tide on that front. Disease began to take an increasing toll on Habsburg soldiers on the Piave River front area. The soldiers literally became skeletons from lack of proper nourishment.
Between 1 July and the end of September, Habsburg troop numbers dipped from , to ,, mostly from desertions, although malaria, dysentery, malnutrition, and the Spanish flu also took their toll. The July and August famine negatively affected civilian and military consumption and morale. By August, Habsburg troops on the Italian front were digging up graves to remove military uniforms from their buried comrades, as most remaining soldiers lacked basic clothing. Through mid-August, on the Isonzo River troops suffered to cases of malaria daily.
Many troops, now basically skeletons, suffered from various ailments, becoming pathetic shadows of their former selves. The intensifying war-weariness, food crisis, and fuel shortage on the home front brought economic and nationalistic issues together explosively. On the German front, retreat movements shortened the front lines, while fear of revolution and Bolshevik activity grew in the hinterlands of the Central Powers. The Allies agreed that a peace settlement was necessary.
Habsburg Supreme Command attempted to protect the army from the nationalistic revolutionary activities and propaganda. Mutinies and severe discipline problems resulted from the prolonged political, social, and military events. Entente propaganda proved particularly effective among the various Dual Monarchy nationalities. The citizenry had long since lost respect for its government because of its notoriously lackluster performance and divided Austrian and Hungarian political structures.
The return of some , prisoners-of-war from Russia added Bolshevik propaganda to their anger and defiance. Attempts to send returning soldiers to debriefing camps, Ersatz units, or back to the front resulted in mutinies and widespread desertion. Strikes and unrest plagued both Germany and Austria-Hungary.
Erster Weltkrieg: Streiks deutscher Truppen erzwangen das Ende - WELT
German Emperor Wilhelm appealed to President Wilson on 16 September for an armistice based on the Fourteen Points, but Wilson had replied that the ruling elites, including the emperor himself, must be replaced before any negotiations could occur. Ultimately, the Central Power troops evacuated conquered Russian territory and restored Serbia, Montenegro , and Romania as a result of their military defeat and attempts to achieve a viable peace.
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Viennese leadership also announced that it would accept the demanded Italian frontiers as long as they were based on ethnic boundaries. They even offered to establish a free Poland created from Austro-Prussian territory. By 20 September, Bulgarian troops had retreated on all fronts.
The government requested an armistice on 26 September, which became official on 30 September. This placed Central Power troops in a very precarious military situation on the entire Balkan front. A new defensive line was established on the Danube-Save River line, with Hungary now facing the threat of invasion. The Serbian front collapsed on 20 September, leading Hungarian, Polish, and Czech units to mutiny on the Galician front. As Habsburg Supreme Command Headquarters prepared for the anticipated Italian offensive, it received word of the armistice negotiations with President Wilson.
The armistice question produced increasing paralysis in the ranks as weary soldiers asked why they should put their lives in jeopardy when the end of the war appeared imminent. Meanwhile, the Supreme Command of the Habsburg Army concentrated its efforts on keeping the army intact regardless of battlefield events.
With Hungary also suffering severe domestic turmoil, Budapest announced it had terminated its alliance with Germany and proclaimed Hungary a separate state, ending the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of The Austro-Hungarian central government became paralyzed as the crisis escalated. On the following day, the South Slavs Slovenes, Serbs and Croatians and Czechs met at Agram Zagreb and Prague, whereupon they determined to establish quasi-national governments. In the meantime, the ethnic cohesion of the Habsburg Army began to collapse, ultimately leading to the implosion of the Empire itself.
The following day, a proposal to request an armistice was read before the Austrian parliament Reichsrat. Germany received a reply in which President Wilson demanded the evacuation of all Entente territory preceding the conclusion of an armistice, while again insisting upon the removal of all traditional Central Power ruling elites, specifically Emperor Wilhelm. Whatever the armistice terms might evolve, the Entente Powers intended to make it impossible for Germany to renew armed hostilities.
On 14 October, Italian, British, and French troops prepared to launch their long-awaited offensive against the Austro-Hungarian army to end the war. The Italians launched their offensive primarily to ensure territorial gains at the peace conference. The attack was launched on a twenty-two kilometer front supported by 7, artillery pieces and fifty-seven infantry divisions. On the same day, the Habsburgs decided to seek an armistice and retreat to their original frontiers. In the fall of a general strike erupted throughout Bohemia as the fledgling Czech government began to assemble.
President demanded that the German government be replaced by a constitutional body and that German unrestricted submarine warfare be terminated immediately. Simultaneously, Prince Max von Baden received disturbing reports that revealed the extent of the unrest and troop demoralization escalating on the German front. The home front remained in turmoil. Then, on 15 October, the Habsburg Supreme Command ordered the evacuation of all troops stationed in Russia and Ukraine. This terminated shipments of vital grain supplies to the starving Habsburg population.
During the next two weeks, the army began to rapidly disintegrate. However, instead of accepting the Manifesto, Czech, Slovenian, Polish, and South Slav leaders scrambled to create their own nationalist governments, accelerating internal dissolution. The nationalities believed that the Manifesto signified immediate independence as battlefield defeat loomed. The Czechoslovakian and South Slav National Councils refused to negotiate with either central government before a peace conference convened.
War-weariness had reached a boiling point and conflict intensified as they realized that the war had been lost. The newly created national governments demanded that all foreign troops be withdrawn from their territories and their national regiments be returned to their new homeland. Czech civil service employees immediately cooperated with their National Council, ignoring Viennese officials. The continued service of Habsburg bureaucratic figures and administrators enabled the successor states to establish solid foundations for their new governments.
Rail transport of Habsburg troops was also halted in those territories.