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  • 1920

Stab in the Back

By 1920, the legend was widespread that the German army had lost the war only because pacifists, socialists, democrats, Jews, etc. had stabbed the country in the back. Although the German army leadership was fully aware of the inaccuracy of such a claim, they chose to remain quiet.

On 18 November 1919, in a famous hearing before a Reichstag Committee investigating the loss of the war, ex-Field Marshal von Hindenburg was asked specifically to account for Germany's loss. His answer was a string of lies.

The key point came when he stated:

The plans of the High Command could not be carried out. In the circumstances our operations were doomed to defeat. The collapse was inevitable. The Revolution was only the final outcome. As an English officer truly remarked: The German army was stabbed in the back.

The sound elements of our Army could not be reproachedf with any fault. Their exploits, like those of our officer corps, were admirable. The gujilty ones are elsewhere, and their responsibility is clearly established.

This Munich poster, advertizing a special edition of the South German Monthly, appeared a few weeks later and is the classic image of that claim. Here, a German soldier lies dying, with a huge sword stuck not in his Back, but into his neck.

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