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View all events before 1933

November 3, 1918

Mutiny of German Sailors in Kiel

A mutiny by German sailors at the end of World War I contributed to the end of the German Empire and the founding of the Weimar Republic. By autumn 1918, German military leaders realized that the war was lost. The German Empire was facing a total military collapse, but the heavily overmatched German navy still planned one final large-scale battle against the British navy in the English Channel. Unwilling to risk their lives for a lost cause, German sailors rose in revolt and prevented the attack from being carried out. 

Many of the sailors involved in the mutiny were arrested and jailed in the German port city of Kiel. On November 3, 1918, thousands protested the arrests in the streets. The sailors were joined by workers and civilians from Kiel who demanded an end to the war. Soldiers sent to suppress the protests joined them instead. These revolts quickly spread throughout Germany, and self-governing councils of soldiers and workers formed. The mutiny of German sailors in Kiel inspired a national revolution that ensured that the end of World War I also meant the end of the German Empire.

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