Stabbed at the Front
After 1918 the myth was created that the German army only lost the war because it had been ‘stabbed in the back’ by defeatists and revolutionaries on the Home Front. Alexander Watson reviews the clear evidence that in reality it simply lost the will to go on fighting.
To generations familiar with the total defeat of Hitler’s Reich in 1945, the Allied victory over the Germans in the First World War appears curiously incomplete. When the armistice came into force on November 11th, 1918, the German Field Army in the west numbered 2,500,000 and was still in position mainly on foreign soil. Between the wars, right-wing advocates of the ‘stab in the back’ legend seized on these facts to argue that Germany had remained undefeated in the field, putting the blame instead on the outbreak of revolution at home in early November for the humiliating capitulation.