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The revolution that occurred in Germany in 1918-1919 was not really a revolution-at least not in the traditional sense of the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917 or even the German Revolution of 1848 Perhaps by calling it the German Revolution we imply that things are conceived and done differently in Germany Perhaps that is true Her political traditions were somewhat different from those of France and Russia The conditions which gave birth to revolution in November 1918 were unlike those of 1789 in France and although somewhat similar to those in Russia in 1917 they were still not quite the same Neither in France nor Russia did revolution come as a complete surprise even to purported revolutionaries But it did in Germany There was no sustained revolutionary agitation and strategy preceding it and when it came even the Social Democrats were completely overwhelmed by events I Background The war was lost the emperor fled a war-weary and hungry country became rebellious So the government turned to the Social Democrats in desperation They were asked nat to make a revolution-they were reformist by nature anyway-but to liquidate the crumbling edifice of the empire The Socialists wound up doing things they did nat really want to do-they crushed their Spartacist cousins by force preserved bourgeois society and re-created the army in the process There were no stirring revolutionary manifestoes no radical breaks in policy no marching songs like the Marseillaise or the Internationale It was the first songless revolution in history Very few socialists except the leftwing Independents like Emil Barth Richard M and Georg Ledebour claimed credit for making the revolution The Majority Socialists had always believed that revolutions were not made in any case but just happened in the course of socio-economic evolution The German Revolution certainly did not follow the pattern of the Leninist revolution just a year before In fact it could more meaningfully
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