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Guest Ian Bowbrick

A Final Naval Confrontation October 1918?

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

What do Pals think about the Germans plans to influence the Armistice negotiations by drawing out and destroying the British Navy on 25 Ocotober 1918 near the Frisian Islands?

Ian

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AOK4

IIRC the German navy wanted to sail out in the beginning of November 1918, to fight one last battle. However, the sailors didn't agree (they didn't want to die in a last useless battle) and mutinied, starting the revolution in Germany that lead to the installation of a republic.

Jan

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

Jan,

So would you say this plan and the resulting mutiny was one factor in the collapse of Germany and the sudden end of the war in 1918?

Ian

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AOK4

The sudden end of the war had nothing to do with the mutinies, because the agreement was already made IIRC. If I'm not mistaken, the mutinies in Kiel were happening at 8 or 9 November, being the start of uprisings in the whole of Germany by the 11th...

Jan

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

Jan,

I take your point and agree. I was reading an article in a copy of the Times from the 1920s, which seemed to suggest otherwise.

Ian

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Terry_Reeves

Disaffection in the German navy had been evident since 1917 and came about originally as a result of military grievances rather than any revolutionary fervour.

On 31 July 1917, about 50 sailors on the Prinzregent Luitipold refused to obey orders after having their recreation cancelled and walked off the ship. The underlying causes of this were boredom after being bottled up in the Baltic for so long, strict enforcement of even the smallest regulation, poor leadership and the poor state of rations. Despite the German government ordering the institution of food supervisory committees to try and overcome the food problem, some senior officers deliberately ignored the orders which caused much resentment and led to men on other ships striking in sympathy. A number of men were imprisoned and two were executed.

As far as 1918 is concerned, the German fleet received orders to sail from Wilhelmshaven on the 27th October. Many sailors refused to obey orders and the few ships that did sail soon turned back. The demands of the mutineers were much the same as those in 1917; an end to petty enforcement of discipline, better conditions, no reprisals and the right of assembly. Underlying this of course was the realisation of the hopelesness of their situation.

Although sailors' formed their own councils, which linked up with workers councils on land to take control of ports, the naval revolt was part of the wider spread revolution which took place, principally amongst the industrial working class, towards the end of the war.

Terry Reeves

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