Learning Curve, The Great War
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Useful notes: Source4
Extract from the Illustrated London News on the state of Germany, 5 April 1919
(Catalogue ref: ZPER 34/154, reproduced by permission of the Illustrated London News Picture Library)
  • These images come from a British newspaper in April 1919. This was about 6 weeks before the peace terms were announced to the Germans at Versailles.
  • The fighting in these images was between German Communists and their opponents. There was a strong Communist movement in Germany called the Spartacists. In February 1919, the Spartacists tried to take over the country. They were finally defeated in May 1919 by the army and bands of ex-servicemen called Freikorps.
  • The result of the fighting was chaos and misery for ordinary Germans. It was these conditions that had caused a revolution in Russia in 1917. By early 1918, the Bolsheviks were in power. The Bolsheviks were Communists, led by Vladimir Lenin. They did not believe in Christianity or democracy or a free market for trading goods. They believed that there should be no bosses. Workers would control industry and the economy and share out all the profits equally. Anyone who owned property or wealth would be forced to give it up. These ideas appealed to the millions of poor and hungry people in Russia who felt that they had been exploited by the wealthy.
  • Lloyd George worried that Germany would turn to Communism as well and that Germany and Russia would ally. This is why he felt that the treaty terms should punish Germany but not cripple it.
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