Channel 4 News’s Paul Mason explains how a group of angry German Navy sailors at Keil refused to sail to their deaths – and in doing so started the revolution that ended The Great War, or World War I as it was later named.
They didn’t teach us this sort of history when I was at school, or I might have listened more carefully. As well as ending the war itself, the sailors’ rebellion must have brought great hope to those who wanted to believe that populations of working people would never again be persuaded to fight to kill each other in war.
Sadly, the world quickly learned that was just a dream. It wasn’t so many years later that another warlike German government, angered by what it called the sailor’s ‘stab in the back’, outlawed the German labour movement. And we know what Hitler and the Nazis did next…
The Wikipedia has an account of the Kiel Mutiny, and this photo of some of the sailors involved:
‘With the rebellion of the sailors and workers on 3 November 1918 in Kiel the November revolution starts’ Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J0908-0600-002, Novemberrevolution, Matrosenaufstand” by Unknown – This image was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the German Federal Archive (Deutsches Bundesarchiv).