The Kaiser abdicates

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Kaiser Wilhelm was the Commander-in-Chief of the German armed forces. Since 1916, the military, rather than the politicians, had been in control of Germany. When it became clear that Germany would lose, Wilhelm was forced to abdicate his throne and flee Germany.

Without the Emperor, the Germans had no strong leader in charge of the country. There were different groups who thought now was the time to make changes to the way the country was governed. Some of them believed that Germany should become a democracy, but others believed that strong, military leadership was the only way to keep society safe. Some thought that communism, where everyone was equal, but controlled by a strong state, was a fairer way of living.

The end of the war brought chaos and confusion to Germany. People were fighting in the streets, and there were dreadful shortages of food. During the political fighting, the Emperor left, leaving the different groups fighting for control.