New Wars and Revolutions – Demobilisation I THE GREAT WAR January 1919

It’s 1919, and though the fighting between
the Great Powers has been over since November, the aftershocks unleashed by the Great War
have struck across Central and Eastern Europe. In Germany, the fragile new republic is about
to hold its first elections when another round of revolution breaks out: the Spartacist Uprising. I’m Jesse Alexander, welcome to the Great
War. We left off in November with the signing of
the armistice and the end of the First World War. But it might be more accurate to say we left
off with the end of the war that began in 1914. As that war ended four years later, it plunged
much of Europe and the Middle East into a new period of uncertainty, revolution, and
conflict. Germany was rocked by revolution in November
19+18. Along with pressure from the victorious Allies,
this led to the establishment of a German Republic under an interim government. The governing council was a coalition of members
of the Majority Social Democrats and Independent Social Democrats. These were the two wings of the Social Democratic
Party, which had split during the war – the Majority Social Democrats had supported the
war effort. The Independent Social Democrats had opposed
it. The Majority, under the leadership of Philipp
Scheidemann and Friedrich Ebert, favoured change by reform, rather than revolution. Though they were socialists, they feared a
Russian-style revolution and wanted to avoid it at all costs. For this reason, Ebert made a pact with the
new commander of the army, General Groener – who took over from Ludendorff in the last
weeks of the war. The army agreed to remain loyal to the government
and the government agreed that the old officer class wold stay in control of the army. The Independents wanted to go further, convinced
that only a more radical revolution giving power to soldiers’ and workers’ councils
could secure the future for the German working class. They were also suspicious of the army. It was an unhappy marriage that did not last
long. The two groups soon fell into a bitter internal
power struggle that escalated on December 25, 1918. A rivalry for influence over the army led
the Majority Social Democrat Military Commander of Berlin to dock the pay of the People’s
Navy Division, a paramilitary policing unit made up of revolutionary sailors in Berlin. The sailors promptly took him prisoner. Chancellor Ebert ordered in loyal troops. But he did not consult his coalition partners
before doing so, and government troops suffered an embarrassing defeat at the “Battle of
Christmas Day”. The Independent Social Democrats quit the
government and joined with other groups to form the German Communist Party. During the Christmas incident, the Berlin
Chief of Police, Eichhorn, who was an Independent Social Democrat, was so incensed at the government’s
action that he sent out the city’s security force to help the Navy Division in its fight
against army units. (Gerwarth, Vanquished, 121). Eichhorn thus became a persona non grata in
the eyes of the government, now under control of the Social Democrats. They accused him of links to organized crime,
connections with Russia, and Bolshevik sympathies. (Jones, 153)
On January 5, he was relieved of his duties. This was too much for many on the left, including
the Independent Social Democrats, Communist party, Spartacus League and other groups. The Spartacus League had been founded on the
left of the Social Democratic party in 1916 to oppose the war, and was led by two key
figures, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. Both had been in prison for anti-war activities,
but were released at war’s end. They were to play a key role in the tragic
events about to unfold. The opposition, along with a revolutionary
group known as the Revolutionäre Obleute Berlin, feared a return to repressive police
practices of Imperial Germany and called for mass demonstrations against the government
that same day. Thousands of workers took to the streets,
denouncing the government’s dismissal of the police chief. In the evening, as most of the demonstrators
went home, several armed groups occupied a number of newspapers offices, including the
headquarters of the Social Democratic newspaper Vorwärts (Forward), and a telegraph office. The 80-man government garrison of the Vorwärts
building even gave up without resistance. And the fact that a newspaper office had a
80 man garrison gives you a good idea about the turbulent situation in Germany. Through the night, the revolutionaries discussed
what they should do next. Would the masses rise up with them? Would the Berlin garrison and the People’s
Navy Division join them? Had the hour finally come, as it had in Russia,
for a true social revolution to take place? They convinced themselves that they had a
chance and it was worth the risk to “go for it all” (Jones, 160). A Revolutionary Committee was formed under
the leadership of Liebknecht and two others, and put out a call for the overthrow of the
government. Why would they do this? Just the day before, the Communist Party of
Germany had come out against a second revolution (Jones, 158). There had been no concrete plan for revolution
that day. One explanation is that rumours paired with
hopeful ideology led them to take the fateful decision for revolution. The fact is, they did not have much concrete
information and were forced to base their decisions on rumours of all sorts. They could not know the stories of army units
ready to defect, or the Navy Division rushing to support them were not true. The size of the crowds at the demonstration
fed their hopes and dreams of a mass uprising. Clearly, occupying a few buildings was not
a winning tactic, and made them sitting ducks for government and paramilitary troops. But they believed that even if circumstances
did not favour them, it seemed the moment for the inevitable revolution of the workers
might have arrived. (Jones, 161). The demonstrations over the firing of a police
chief had become an improvised attempt at revolution. The following day, a standoff set in. Revolutionary and pro-government demonstrations
took place in Berlin, and the crowds were whipped up with heated rhetoric. Government speakers brandished the spectre
of a Russian-style catastrophe in Germany and warned of imminent violence. A call was put out to demobilizing soldiers
in ghastly terms: “More blood must be spilled …soldiers who have done your duty on the
battlefield, consider it now your duty to ensure order returns to Berlin, that we might
have peace.” (Jones, 164) Women were told to stay home. Liebknecht tried to fire up the crowd and
announced that the moment for the revolution had come and invited the soldiers to join
the revolutionaries, stating “Our weapons are at our side (…)”(Jones, 163). At some point that day, January 6, the fi-rst
shots were exchanged – it is not clear who fired first. By the end of the day, it became clear to
the revolutionaries that the masses would not rise up with them. The streets emptied that evening, save for
government troops. Liebknecht’s plea to the People’s Navy
Division fell on deaf ears, and most of the Spartacists were ready to negotiate, realizing
their cause was lost (Jones, 170). But there was no de-escalation possible anymore,
as had happened at Christmas. The government figures had made up their minds
to crush the uprising. They issued a statement on January 8: “Violence
can only be fought with violence. The organized violence of the people will
put an end to repression and anarchy. Isolated successes of the enemies of freedom,
which they have laughably exaggerated, are only of temporary significance. The hour of reckoning raws near.” (Jones, 176)
Paramilitary groups of former soldiers, known as Freikorps, answered the government call
and began to march on the city. But who exactly was the Freikorps? Well, they were loosely organized groups of
frontline veterans and young students and cadets who had not fought in the war. These men were not united by a cohesive ideology,
but they hated the revolution that had turned Germany into a republic and bitterly resented
the humiliation of a defeat they could not accept. They burned for revenge. They eagerly adopted the myth of the stab
in the back – that Germany had not been defeated on the battlefield but had been betrayed
by Jews and leftists on the home front. They opposed the new position of women in
society and glorified violence, hierarchy and order in a search for meaning in the chaotic
post-war world. (Gerwarth, 122-123). The government’s call to arms gave them
a state-sanctioned license to kill, and release their pent-up rage. These were the men on whom the government
would rely to crush the Spartacists. Why did the government decide on this course? The rebels clearly had no chance, but the
increasing polarization had gone too far. German newspapers egged on the government,
calling for blood. In a troubling echo of the war years, some
in government circles felt that the violent suppression of the doomed uprising would have
a “healing effect” on the troubled nation. They also wanted to show the world that Germany
was not Russia, and in spite of its weakened state there would be no Russian-style revolution
there, which was their greatest fear. They also wanted revenge against the far left,
since their social democratic counterparts in Russia had been defeated by Lenin’s Bolsheviks. In addition, they hoped to show the Entente
powers they were in control. They also felt the need to safeguard the upcoming
elections, scheduled for January 19 (Jones, 178-180). The Independent Social Democrats tried to
negotiate, but the government refused. While centre and right-wing press called for
blood, the Independent Socialist Freiheit wrote bitterly, “The spirit and the language
of August 1914 are alive again. But this time they’re not directed against
the British, French, and Russians, but against the revolutionary workers.” (Jones, 184) Rosa Luxemburg, though she was
not present for the creation of the revolutionary committee, continued to call for revolution
in the Rote Fahne, the Spartacus League newspaper. This is puzzling for some, since just days
before she had helped craft the German Communist Party platform, which emphasized taking power
with the support of the people rather than by a coup. (Jones, 173). On the morning of January 11, the government
made its move. Freikorps soldiers under the command of former
imperial army officer Franz von Stephani began an attack on the main building occupied by
the Spartacists, the offices of the Social Democratic newspaper Vorwärts. Their tactics were based on the Western Front
of 1918. First, artillery fire collapsed several walls
of the building. Then, a small-scale Stormtrooper style attack
was launched, but was beaten back by the defenders. One machine gun in particular held up the
government advance, and the rumour spread that Rosa Luxemburg herself was operating
it – but this was not true, as she was not there. Further attacks were successful, and the Freikorps
troops took the front part of the building. The defenders, realizing their situation was
hopeless, sent out a party of 5 under a white flag to negotiate an end to the siege. They were promptly made prisoner and taken
to a nearby army barracks. By the time they arrived they’d been severely
beaten. Once inside, they were murdered, along with
two others. The group of soldiers in the building’s
courtyard shot the men again and again, even after they had died. (Jones, 193)
The siege soon came to an end and some 200-300 Spartacists, including around 20 women and
Karl Liebknecht’s own teenage son Willi, surrendered. Many residents cheered the soldiers as they
marched the revolutionaries to the nearby army barracks. Once there, one of the female prisoners was
mistaken for Rosa Luxemburg and was beaten. Only the intervention of the Social Democratic
editor of the newspaper, who witnessed the entire morning’s events close up, prevented
her from being shot. (Jones, 197, 199). The holdouts in the other buildings were rapidly
rounded up. The Spartacist Uprising was over. That afternoon, Gustav Noske led several thousand
troops in a victory parade in the city. The newspapers, other than those on the far
left, celebrated the event. The government put out a statement congratulating
itself “The brave troops of the republic [which had mostly been Freikorps men] put
down a revolt that threatened to destroy all the hard-won freedoms of the revolution.” The statement also accused the Spartacus League
of siding with “dark elements” in Berlin, and cooperating with a “foreign power”
(Bolshevik Russia) to “seize power from the nation.” (Jones, 207) The allegations of Russian connections
were not true. Of the 400 Spartacists captured, only 20 were
not German and only a handful of these were Russian. (Jones, 210)
Liebknecht and Luxemburg, the two most prominent figures among the revolutionaries, went into
hiding. Incentivised through a hefty bounty, a neighbourhood
militia soon found them and the Freikorps unit Marine Eskadron Pflugk nearby was alerted. This was not a typical Freikorps organization
– it was actually a secretly attached to an elite regular army unit, the Garde-Kavallerie-Schützen-Division. The men were mostly ex-sailors, and were hankering
for the action they hadn’t been able to see during the uneventful war years spent
idle in harbour. The Freikorpsmen stormed the building and
took Luxemburg and Liebknecht prisoner. They were brought to the nearby Hotel Eden
near the Schützen-Division’s barracks and handed over to a notoriously anti-Bolshevik
officer of the regular army, Waldemar Pabst. He is likely the one who gave the order to
have them killed. Each was taken out in turn through the hotel
lobby, which was filled with officers and hotel guests. As they passed by, several soldiers beat them,
including with the butts of their rifles. Liebknecht was taken to a nearby park and
shot three times at close range. Later on, Luxemburg, who may have already
died in the lobby from a rifle butt to the head, was loaded on a car. As it drove away, an officer rushed up and
shot her in the head. Her body was dumped in a nearby canal and
found weeks later. It has not been proven who instructed Pabst
to have the two killed. Pabst himself would much later write that
Social Democratic Minister Gustav Noske let it be understood that it wouldn’t be a bad
thing if the executions were to take place (Jones, 222). In any case the idea of murdering them was
not new, as since December various right-wing groups had placed pamphlets around the city
calling for the death of Liebknecht, leftists, and Jews (Jones, 220). The government refused to put a stop to the
pamphleteering on the grounds of free speech. The press and the government did not express
much regret about the murders. Scheidemann, who would become the country’s
first democratically elected leader in a few days, blamed Liebknecht and Luxemburg, saying
“They themselves were victims of their own act of terror.” (Jones, 224). The Reichsbote even made the claim that Liebknecht’s
death meant “many innocent people will remain alive,” and the Tägliche Rundschau concluded
Luxemburg’s death was “cruel but just.” (Jones 225). No independent trial of the perpetrators ever
took place. The government allowed the very unit involved,
the Garde Kavallerie, to conduct an internal court martial. Those in positions of command were never accused,
and only two soldiers received light sentences. One served two years in detention in Holland,
and the other was given fake papers and allowed to leave the country after just three days
in prison. Though the January Uprising never really represented
an actual threat to topple the government, it was a tipping point for the young Weimer
Republic. No one was ever punished for the murders at
the barracks or for Luxemburg’s and Liebknecht’s murders. Instead, the government praised and protected
those involved. The Spartacists were given all the blame for
the violence, and little consideration was given to the consequences of military-style
violence being used in such a way. On the contrary, the Social Democrats, conservatives
and nationalists had found common ground: violence in the name of the government was
justified and was not to be questioned. (Jones, 211) The controversial pact between
Chancellor Ebert and General Groener had, in the words of Mark Jones, been “sealed
in blood.” (Jones, 211). For Germany, this was not the last spasm of
post-war revolution to come in 1919 – even deadlier days lay ahead. And the events in Germany in January 1919
were by no means unique. In the territories of every defeated state,
and of course in Russia, the old order had broken down. The situation has been described as an “arc
of violence post-war violence that stretched from Finland and the Baltic States through
Russia and Ukraine, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Germany, all the way through the Balkans into
Anatolia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East.” (cited in Bessel). Along that arc social revolutions, national
revolutions, paramilitary violence, and border wars between the new nations were the order
of the day, and would eventually cost about 4 million lives. Here’s a sampling of what was going on that
January. On the 7th, the Christmas Uprising (so called
because Orthodox Christmas takes place in early January) reached its peak in Montenegro. The Greens, who resisted the idea of unconditional
unification with the Yugoslavia, preferring a confederation, were defeated by troops loyal
to the new kingdom. On the 9th, Polish rebels captured the German
airport just outside the city of Posen, as Poles sought to – in their eyes – re-claim
areas of Eastern Germany/Western Poland for the new Polish state. On January 21, in Ireland, two policemen are
killed in the Soloheadbeg ambush, marking the start of the Anglo-Irish War. The very same day, members of the party favouring
Irish independence, Sinn Fein, formed a revolutionary Parliament and declared an Irish Republic. On the 23rd, fighting broke out between Czech
and Polish forces over the coal-rich, ethnically mixed region of Teschen. Both sides had sent troops to the area, hoping
to claim it before the peace conference in Paris could interfere. (Gerwarth, Vanquished, 195). Czech forces advanced until pressure from
the Entente Powers put a stop to the fighting. Four days later, German-speaking residents
of the town of Marburg – just to avoid confusion, that’s today’s Maribor, in Slovenia – organized
a protest in favour of the town joining the new Austrian Republic. The crowd was fired upon by soldiers of the
new Yugoslav army, and around a dozen people were killed in what became known as Marburg’s
Bloody Sunday. The incident led to an offensive by Austrian
troops to reclaim territory north of the town which had been occupied by Yugoslav troops
after the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Throughout the entire month, fighting raged
across the former Russian Empire. Not only was there a civil war between the
Bolsheviks and the Whites, but numerous wars with parts of the empire which had declared
their independence. Starting on January 22, Red Army forces advanced
on Kiev. They pushed back troops loyal to the new independent
Ukrainian People’s Republic, capturing the town on February 5. On the Eastern Front (of the Russian Civil
War) near the Siberian city of Perm, a Bolshevik counteroffensive to recapture the city was
stopped by a White Army under the command of Admiral Kolchak. In the north, the Red Army attacked Allied
troops, which had been sent in 1918 to intervene on the side of the Whites in the Civil War. The Reds advanced against a combined force
of American, British, Canadian, and White Russian troops, pushing them out of the arctic
town of Shenkursk and preventing any attempt at linking up with larger White forces to
the southeast. To the south, the Bolsheviks defeated the
White Russian Army of the Don near the city of Voronezh. Meanwhile in the Baltic, Finnish and Estonian
troops defeated the Red Army in several small battles throughout the month in what would
become the Estonian War of Independence. But aside from revolutions, revolts, and upheavals,
another massive transition faced every former belligerent state once the war – the Great
Power war, at least – was over: demobilization. At war’s end in 1918, tens of millions of
men were under arms, and though the vast majority were relieved that the slaughter was over,
their thoughts soon turned to returning home. Getting them there proved to be a massive
undertaking. Undoing the mass armies of 1918 involved an
unprecedented movement of people and material, and was a much bigger job than simply letting
soldiers go home. Those same men who had been away from home
and exposed to horrors of war had to be re-integrated into the economy and society, which proved
to be no easy task. One of the first questions was to decide who
got to go home first. Some countries, like France and Italy, chose
to demobilize soldiers based on age. This had the benefit of being egalitarian,
as it often corresponded to the length of service, but was difficult to put into practice,
since constantly shrinking units had to be re-organized. The British chose to prioritize economic interests
and allowed men in high-demand jobs to return first. The Americans, for their part, reduced their
forces unit by unit, which allowed the army to retain more cohesiveness. (Cabanes, 988). Given the scale of the operation, this all
took time – France’s 5 million men army, for example, was only demobilized by 1920. (Audoin-Rouzeau and Becker, 223) Though the
Western Powers’ demobilization was relatively orderly, it was not without tensions. 5000 British troops mutinied in January after
hearing they were to be sent to France, and Canadian troops, frustrated at the delays,
rioted in March – five soldiers were killed in the incident. (Cook, 594)
The defeated armies of the Central Powers had a much more chaotic situation on their
hands. Many soldiers simply demobilized themselves
if they could, hitching rides or simply walking home. As the German army marched back across the
Rhine, for example, about half a million men fell out of the line and made for home. (Cabanes, 988) The new German republic feared
the consequences of a rapid or uncontrolled demobilization, as it would see millions of
men flood the labour market and lead to unrest. But Allied pressure for a quick dissolution
of the Kaiser’s army and self-demobilization meant that the entire process took only two
months and was formally complete by January 1919 though we just saw how these men were
able to take up arms again. One group that faced a particularly difficult
challenge were prisoners of war. Often, there were long delays before they
were able to return home, especially for prisoners of the former Central Powers. In the East, some were released by the Bolsheviks
soon after the Revolution, but hundreds of thousands of Germans and former Austro-Hungarians
were stranded behind the lines of the Russian Civil War. Many of them were swept up in the violence
and they fought on both sides. Not until 1922 did the last of them reach
home. In the West, the November 11 armistice terms
called for the release of French and British prisoners immediately, but forbade the release
of German prisoners until the end of peace negotiations. They were only allowed to return home in late
1919 and early 1920, after the treaty of Versailles was signed, despite protests from German civil
society groups and pressure from the Papacy. In the meantime, they were put to work rebuilding
areas destroyed by the fighting. Even more difficult than breaking up the armies
would be putting the pieces back together in civilian society. It was one thing to give a man civilian clothes
and some pocket money with the promise of a pension, and another to help them live normal
lives after years of trauma. Governments did try to put some measures in
place to make it easier for veterans to get jobs. Germany massively expanded the civil service,
French law required employers to give returned soldiers their old jobs back (though this
didn’t always happen in practice), and in Britain and France there were public campaigns
to encourage women to leave their wartime jobs and return home or to “women’s work”
to free up space for men. Many of the returned men were wounded, in
body or mind, and faced challenges taking up meaningful work. Some were bitter at the society to which they
returned, since their pensions were generally inadequate, and relatives, wives and others
simply couldn’t relate to what they’d been through. Whether they found work or not, many veterans
still struggled in their post-war lives. One estimate puts the rate of psychological
trauma at about 25%, and divorce rates in France and Germany spiked ominously after
the war. (Cabanes, 1000)
These difficulties could be more intense for former prisoners, who were often treated differently
by their governments and fellow citizens. In some countries, like France and Italy,
they were denied equal pension benefits and military decorations until years later. Italy even classified former POWs as non-
combatants, and the poet and right-wing nationalist Gabriele D’Annunzio derisively referred
to them as “The shirkers across the Alps.” (Cabanes, 996) The guilt of having been taken
captive haunted many for years after their release. A French prisoner of war wrote to a friend,
“The immense joy I feel about current events [the end of the war] is mixed with indescribably
bitter regret at not having played a better part in the war. Not having been able to participate in this
victory, weapon in hand, will be a source of grief that will only expire with my life.” (Cabanes, 997) That soldier’s name was Charles
de Gaulle. For he and many of those who lived through
it, the Great War was not over. Just weeks after the armistice, it had already
become clear that “the war to end all wars” did not even come close to achieving that
goal. Here is a fitting quote from Freikorps member
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz from 1930 that sums up the situation quite well: “When they
told us that the war was over, we laughed, because we WERE the war. Its flame continued to burn in us, it lived
on in our deeds surrounded by a glowing and frightful aura of destruction. We followed our inner calling and marched
on the battlefields of the post-war period…” That was our first new episode of The Great
War – 1919. From now on we will deliver an in-depth look
at history 100 years ago. Usually we will pick a main topic, like the
German Revolution in this episode, but we will also talk about all the other relevant
events and ideas. As a rule of thumb, we will upload new content
every other week. If you are curious about me, the new guy,
you will be able to get to know me a bit better soon here on the channel. Two of my main sources for this episode were
Robert Gewarth’s The Vanquished and Mark Jones’ Founding Weimar. You can find all our sources for this episode
in the video description including links to amazon. If you buy through these links we get a small
cut, whether you use the US or other international amazon sites. The Great War – 1919 is a production of
Real Time History, Flo and Toni’s new production company. Flo and Toni produced The Great War from 2014
– 2018 already. If you want to support our revamped channel,
please consider supporting us on Patreon. Among other things Patreon supporters will
get access to our relaunched Great War podcast. On the podcast, Flo and I will talk more about
the topics of the month and give you some sneak peeks behind the scenes of the show. I am Jesse Alexander and this is The Great
War, the only YouTube history channel that knows where to get the most revolutionary
Currywurst in Berlin.

100 thoughts on “New Wars and Revolutions – Demobilisation I THE GREAT WAR January 1919

  1. WE'RE BACK! What did you think about our first new episode with a brand new concept and, of course, a brand new host? We're glad you're on this new journey with us and we hope you enjoyed our first step together in a new direction. If you missed our coverage of the Paris Peace Conference, you will just need to wait a little longer till our next episode.

    We will be much more diligent about our sources and sourcing from now on. You can usually find sources for certain statements on screen or in the subtitles as well as all sources used for an episode in the video description


  3. 4:48 Lol. A newspaper office had an 80 men garrison… and it gave up without any resistance. I wonder (not really) witch of them gave up their pay. Germany needed a foreign military occupation, not a joke that was their police force. No wonder F. Foch said in 1918 "you dont end wars like this".

  4. Are you going to cover the Bavarian revolution? Argubly it was a lot more consequential politically and in terms of its long term effects that the Sparticist uprising in January 1919.

  5. Fantastic job! I just wish you could slow down a tad bit towards the start because for a minute the party and who’s who was a bit confusing. Thanks so much! 😄

  6. In the video it is stated that there is confusion among people as to why Rosa Luxemburg continued to write for the newspaper Rote Fahne after the KPD (Communist Party) was founded. Here's why she did it: In 1918 Rote Fahne was the journalistic organ of the Spartacus League. Luxemburg was a member of that League, which was part of the USPD (Independent Social Democrats), representing their left wing. With the outbreak of the revolution in November 1918, Spartacus League split up from the USPD and on the first of January 1919 it merged into the newly founded KPD. Rote Fahne sticked to its name but was now affiliated to the KPD. So there is no need to be puzzled about why Luxemburg kept on writing for Rote Fahne.

    Btw: the mentioned battle of christmas day that took place shortly before the KPD was founded didn't happen on December 25, but on December 24. Thx fot the video anyway!

  7. Maybe two different themes here….revolution and demobilization…make the themes as different shows, But love the channel.

  8. Be great to have specials on each individual rebellion across Europe. As this would give focus on smaller countries like Ireland and the impact if the war

  9. And then they were all beaten brutally by some dudes in brown clothing and funny armbands, led by a short man with a silly moustache.

  10. so glad u guys r back; some of the most interesting stuff that shapes our world is starting to play out 100 years go right now. my only note, have you considered changing the channel name to something like The Great War: Aftermath, The Great War: Consequences or something to reflect the new time perspective?

  11. So the war to end all wars led to many wars all over the place and eventually led to the largest conflict in human history. Interesting

  12. Awesome episode. One nitpick—when covering the situation former soldiers found themselves in after the war, you didn’t mention how in Britain (and maybe other countries, got this tidbit from Peter Jackson’s “They shall not grow old”) some businesses deliberately discriminated against veterans.

    The callousness former POWs were treated with reminds me of that infamous phrase used against McCain—a POW himself: “I like people who weren’t captured.”

    Thank you again for continuing this series.

  13. Awesome episode. One nitpick—when covering the situation former soldiers found themselves in after the war, you didn’t mention how in Britain (and maybe other countries, got this tidbit from Peter Jackson’s “They shall not grow old”) some businesses deliberately discriminated against veterans.

    The callousness former POWs were treated with reminds me of that infamous phrase used against McCain—a POW himself: “I like people who weren’t captured.”

    Thank you again for continuing this series.

  14. I feel like the opening spiel should be in yellow script that slowly recedes into the background while John Williams music plays

  15. The Stab in the back theory always bugged me. The Veterans and the people that stayed in the cities knew about the starvation that ahad taken place. I don't think people believed it that much.

    On the other hand I do think that the murder of the Spartacus league revolutionaries showed that there was a pretty "solid" backdrop for the NSDAP and Hitler to take over.

    I do Have to wonder though, what will be the purpose of this channel. The Great War is over. Now, there might be updates with new declassifications and discoveries that could be subjects for the war but this is already after the end of the war. Soon, you will have to rename the channel since if you won't be focusing on WW1 anymore.

  16. You did a great job Jesse. I am glad to see you are just being yourself and not trying to be Indy (only Indy can be Indy). Keep it up.

  17. Looking at the Democratic party today, they recycle all the old communist strategies, talking points, and names, even. FORWARD.

  18. Ohh, they're just pamphlets, its free speach, what harm could it do?

    here we are with history repeating itself.


  19. Do you think if america and other western powers (other than small efforts like operation polar bear) would of gotten involved … the whites would of won

  20. 9:25 They were obviously united by the ideology of proto-fascism, which has been described as the use of colonial methods of subjugation and control being turned against citizens within a countries borders.

  21. Thank you, Jesse! Superb presentation of events which are often not covered at all in American schools.
    Still, however they met their ends, I am not shedding any tears for the deaths of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.

  22. No offense Jesse, I don’t take to change right away, I’ll get used to ya, I do miss Indy tho…

  23. Is The Great War a commie sympathizer channel? Rosa Luxembourg was a war criminal and deserved her fate. The fact that the 'murders' were carried out/ordered by "right-wing" elements does not make her a martyr worth sympathizing, nor does it make her murderous cause worth empathizing with even slightly.

  24. Thanks Jesse and Team .  I returned from episode #6  to learn more from your Channel .  I would like to understand better about the mission to Hungary .

  25. FINALLY! With months of delay I have finally watched this video 🙂 . I am just not used yet to this 30' format. That is pretty long but the content is so rich that it is worth the effort. That is pretty courageous from The Great War Team because the time-span attention on the internet has severly dropped, alas. CONGRATULATIONS to Flo & co 🙂 .

  26. great stuff, sad the sound quality is compromised, doesn't seem like it would be difficult to fix, though it seems no one ever does, wish I had better hearing, be advised, many old people interested in history (like me) who wish we could turn it up loud enough to hear clearly, sniff….

  27. What you say at 14:44 is incorrect. The Russians among the Spartacists included Soviet government representatives like Karl Radek, who was part of the Soviet coup in Russia a few years before. Radek was one of the passengers on the sealed train that carried Lenin and other Russian revolutionaries through Germany after the February Revolution in Russia. Despite involvement in the Spartacist uprising, he was released after a year, and returned to Russia to serve as Secretary of the Comintern.

  28. Great Work….This is this the Key to what we are looking at now with the "Progressives/Globalist"….Bolsheviks now in London and Washington.

  29. Why are you separating the Spartacus league and the Communist party of Germany , they are the same thing Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnecht were the principle founders of the K.P.D, the Spartacus league became the Communist party , its founding congress 30th December 1918 , the groups who joined to form it were the Spartacists, Socialist who called themselves international communists of Germany and a large part of the rank and file members of the independent Social Democratic party , many of them joining the new party because they felt that the leadership of the S.P.D had sold out to the capitalists and the petite bourgeoisie and had placed nationalism before international proletarianism or the capitalist nation state ahead of international working class interest , which they had done , they had signed a deal to betray the working class and give there support to the capitalist class , as every Labour or social democratic party has done ever since , put the country before class or the interests of the ruling class before the working class.Because the country belongs to the ruling class , its there country not ours , just eight people in the UK own 80% of the land .

  30. Just a suggestion: Is it possible to organize the playlist so that when you press "play all", they automatically start at the oldest video, proceeding towards the newest? (Unless I'm an idiot, and it's an easy way to turn the playlist upside-down 😀 )

  31. This is an excruciatingly pro-left spin on these events. So many lies of omission in regard to the abuses of the communists and who was financing them. Pathetic. Bring the old host back.

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