November 1918

The mutineers of Kiel

On 27 October 1918 the commander of the German fleet von Hipper gave the order to launch a last desperate attack on the Royal Navy. The entire Hochseeflotte would have to confront a superior enemy, going to a certain defeat. However, on 3 November 1918, in Kiel several crews of German battleships mutinied and the firemen stop the engines, preventing ships from leaving the sea. The mutiny immediately became a symbol of German defeat and the peace will of the troops, giving way to a period of German history extremely convulsed from political and social point of view, where among its protagonists there was the Spartacist League, a communist movement led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. The name derives from the newspaper Spartakusbriefe (letters of Spartacus) - published since 1916 - which was inspired by the legendary trace gladiator who headed the anti-slavery revolt in ancient Republican Rome. In January 1919 the Spartacists tried to seize power by giving rise to an uprising against the Berlin government, being severely repressed by the army and the Freikorps on the orders of the new social-democratic chancellor Ebert, while Liebknecht and Luxemburg were assassinated.