Unrest on the streets

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As the war came to an end, the German nation was in a state of collapse.

On 29th October 1918, sailors at the German naval base at Kiel refused to obey an order to attack British ships. The German sailors set up councils in order to defy their superiors. Only a year earlier, councils like these, set up by workers in Russia, had led to a communist revolution. Many people feared Germany would end up like Russia, with a communist dictatorship and civil war.

By 6th November, the revolution had spread to many German cities and even to soldiers fighting on the Western Front.

When the Kaiser abdicated, power was handed to the leader of the moderate left-wing Social Democratic Party, Friedrich Ebert. This did not stop the food shortages or the civil unrest and street battles between rival political groups.