Signal zur Konterrevolution? Der Plan zum letzten Vorstoß der deutschen Hochseeflotte am 30. Oktober 1918

TitleSignal zur Konterrevolution? Der Plan zum letzten Vorstoß der deutschen Hochseeflotte am 30. Oktober 1918
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsHill, LE
JournalVierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte
Volume36
Pagination113-129
ISBN Number0042-5702
Abstract

The planned Flottenvorstoß of October 1918 was a continuation of earlier political manoeuvering by the navy and the army with counterrevolutionary intent. Thus, the plan is linked with the Putsch attempts in 1920 and 1923. Historians have overemphasized the officers' devotion to a feudal code of honour, their readiness to embark on a suicidal mission and their thoughts on the Zukunftsflotte. They have, however, neglected the fact that the Kaiser had insisted on saving the fleet for a last venture, in order to influence armistice negotiations, and that many officers believed victory was feasible. They hoped that the naval battle would arouse both the nation and the army. Leading naval officers deliberately concealed their plan from Prince Max of Baden because they intended to recommence unrestricted submarine warfare, terminate the armistice negotations, overthrow the Prince's government, liquidate its reforms and perhaps introduce a dictatorship. It is not surprising that Ludendorff approved of this naval battle, as he himself was pursuing similar aims when he insisted on terminating armistice negotiations, gave the order to the troops on 24 October to fight to the end and after that attempted to resign together with Hindenburg on 26 October.