Effects of the war on Germany

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Defeated German troops march through Berlin in December 1918

The First World War began in August 1914. By April 1917 millions of soldiers and civilians had died.

On 1 April 1917 the United States of America joined the war against Germany. Arriving on the battlefields in 1918, the American army was well trained and equipped, while the German army was exhausted.

The British navy blockaded German ports, starving German industry of raw materials and the people of food. Between April and August 1918 the German army decided to make one last, determined effort to win the war. They had early successes, but were quickly overwhelmed.

By the autumn of 1918 the Germans were losing and the senior generals could see that defeat was inevitable. Peace negotiations began and an armistice was signed on 11 November 1918.  After four years and countless lives lost, the guns fell silent. In November each year this important day is still commemorated all over Britain.

  • The 'Effects of the war in Germany' section of The Holocaust Explained will help you understand the immediate effects of defeat on German politics and the German people.