Describe and analyze changing views toward the concept of a “civil peace” in Germany from 1914 to 1918. During the Great War, Germany made the concept of “civil peace”, which approved funds to support military mobilization for the war effort. At the beginning of the war, everyone was united and wanted victory for the war. Later on, as they began to lose, civilians and soldiers alike wanted to get out of the war. In the Great War, the concept of “civil peace” sounded like a great way to win the war, but later on many opposed the situation and lost hope.
In the beginning of the war in 1914, the people of Germany wanted to win this war. “Civil peace” was a great idea because they wanted victory. Emperor Wilhelm II made a speech in 1914 saying that he foresees Germans living happily and that “God will guide the German sword to victory! ” (Doc 1). This is from the Emperor himself, and he too wants to win this war. He feels that the only way to achieve that is through the support of the people, and the “civil peace” concept. Also, Helen Simon who is a women’s rights advocate in Germany says that they want only victory (Doc 4).
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Helen, who is a feminist, finds the war as a good chance for the women to gain rights. The only way is to support the war effort and do as much as they can. She sees victory at hand in two ways. She sees victory in the war, and with the women. But first, they must help win the war. Towards the end of the war, however, people begin to lose their faith in Germany and the war. General Wilhelm Groener, who is the Army Chief of Staff, refuses to give in, and everyone should work twice as hard to get Germany back into the game (Doc 11). He sounds like a very charismatic leader who wants more weapons and victory.
This does sound a little harsh, so one can believe that the Germans start to lose trust in their superiors. This is what eventually leads up to World War 2, a need for a strong leader that can lead Germany to victory. On the home front and war front, the Germans are all suffering. To obtain victory, everyone must unite as one and win the war. This spreads nationalism around the country, praising the soldiers and cheering for a quick and decisive victory. With Emperor Wilhelm’s speech, he asks that all the Germans “stand as brothers” (Doc 1). This is very nationalistic, trying to unite Germany as one and fight “the common enemy”.
The picture in document 2 probably depicts what the people thought of Wilhelm. Everyone is happy, cheering, waving their hats into the air. They want to win the war, and they knew they only way were to unite. This photograph is a German Government News Service photograph, so the newspaper was in support of Wilhelm and the “civil peace” idea. They took this picture so they could get everyone into the war effort. This could have been used as propaganda, saying that all these people were happy that Germany is off to war. In another newspaper, they said that there was approved funding going to the war effort.
They said that without this funding, everything in Germany would have been crushed and that “we are standing before an hour of destiny” (Doc 3). The newspaper tries to get out the word that they are confident in winning this war. The only way to continue to win is to help with the war effort, support the “civil peace” plans, and to work. They believe that Germany will win, and are already planning for the future. Lastly, Oskar Schmitz who is a member of the Pan-Germanic League, states in a pamphlet that “Our strength today is unity…. ” (Doc 6). He goes on saying that no other opinion is allowed, and everyone must keep a positive attitude.
Anyone who has a negative attitude would be punished, and they will lose the war. Schmitz also criticizes England, for in his mind, are weak. Schmitz is like this because he is apart of the Pan-Germanic League, which seems very nationalistic and support of Germany’s involvement of the war. As the war goes on, the German people are suffering. Even the civilians are suffering due to this “plan” for victory. Straight from the trenches, a German soldier talks about his worries for the people back home. He was frightened to hear of the rising prices and food shortages, and the fact that this war has become useless (Doc 7).
The soldier knows exactly what he is talking about, because he was fighting in the trenches and has probably already experienced the atrocities of the war. The prices are going up because the money is all going to the war effort for more weapons and equipment. Not to mention food shortages in the home front to give to the soldiers on the front. He also expresses his hate for war and how “inhumane” it is. In document 8, Evelyn Blucher von Wahlstatt, who is living in Germany on the home front, talks about her disgust for the war. She asks why should they starve and send soldiers to their deaths (Doc 8).
She is an English wife of a German prince, and talks about her experience as a regular citizen on the home front and working for the war effort. She does not like it at all, and she says how inhumane the war is on both fronts, like the German soldier said. Additionally, the military administrator of a rural province reports to high military officials saying that one woman can’t take any of this war any more (Doc 9). She is just another civilian in Germany, but she shares the same opinion about the war with many others in 1916. She has prisoners-of-war helping her in the fields of her farm, but that doesn’t mean she likes it.
She is upset at the fact that this war has been going on for too long, and she probably misses her husband a lot. In document 10, a police report shows that labor leaders are meeting, and that they gave a list of what they want done. The very last demand is to end the war, and bring everyone home without destroying anything along the way (Doc 10). This is a police report, so they have to be truthful about everything. They probably got the information from the leaders themselves, so the demands are accurate. These are workers, and they’ve been working for the war for about 3 years already.
They’re sick and tired of the war, and want it to be over with. That way, hopefully everything will return back to normal and everyone can be happy. Unfortunately, no one is happy until 20 years later. Overall, at the beginning of the war, everyone was happy to go to war. They wanted victory, and felt the only way they would achieve it was by uniting together and achieving a common goal. Later on, though, people began to lose hope in the war and Germany. 20 years later, a new power would rise, and the same pattern would continue during a war even greater than the first.