Primary Documents - President Friedrich Ebert's Address to the German Assembly, 11 February 1919

New German President Friedrich Ebert Following the German revolution in November 1918 - which saw the forced abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II - a fresh constitution was drawn up and a new assembly established; the latter first met on 6 February 1919.

Click here to read new President Friedrich Ebert's opening address to the assembly on 7 February 1919; reproduced below is an extract from a follow-up address given four days later.

Click here to read British journalist George Saunders' summary of the compilation of the new constitution and its implications.  Click here to read former military leader Erich Ludendorff's condemnation of the new government, in which he first expounded his widely aired belief that the army had been effectively 'stabbed in the back' by subversive political forces rather than beaten in the field.

President Friedrich Ebert's Address to the German Assembly, 11 February 1919

I will administer my office not as the leader of a single party, but I belong to the Socialist Party and cannot forget my origin and training.

The privileges of birth already have been eliminated from politics and are being eliminated from social life.

We shall combat domination by force to the utmost from whatever direction it may come.  We wish to found our State only on the basis of right and on our freedom to shape our destinies at home and abroad.

However harsh may be the lot threatening the German people, we do not despair of Germany's vital forces.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VII, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

French tanks were used for the first time in battle on 17 April 1917, when the 'Char Schneider' (as they were known) was used during the Second Battle of the Aisne.

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Primary Docs