Re: Article in LA Times

Andreas Koerber (
23 May 1995 13:42:20 GMT

Kazimierz Kowalski ( wrote:
: May 21, 1995 (Sunday) issue of Los Angeles Times published (on pages M2 & M6)
: article by Stanley I. Kutler titled "For Revisionist, Nothing Is Ever Over"
: from which I include the following excerpt:

: "Adolf Hitler rose to power, to some extend, on the notion that Germany had
: not been defeated on any battlefield in 1918, but rather had been the victim
: of a ""stab in the back"" by Jews and communists at home"

: -- Can anybody knowledgeable in history explain to me please, what was that
: ""stab in the back""?

The "stab-in-the-back-legend" (German "Dolchstosslegende" which is rather
"dagger-stab-legend") was a "theory" used mainly by nationalists to
"explain" the defeat of Germany in WWI. It stated that Germany had not
been defeated "in the field" but rather by a "stab in the back" on the
"home front", i.e. by revolution and defaitists.
It (knowingly) ignored that it was the supreme command of the German
Army which recommended peace in autumn 1918, Hindenburg and especially
Ludendorff himself, who not long after the defeat was one of the main
supporters of the "dolchstosslegende".

You should find information on it in any major book on the (early) Weimar
Republic, World War I or -especially- on the conservative ro right-wing
opposition in Weimar.

There even has been a process in court on this (10-11/1925), which was
considered a rescue of the honor of the German people (thus the title of
a contemporary collection of documents from testimonies and expert
witnesses from this trial: "Der Dolchstossprozess in Muenchen.
Mumich: Birk, 1925; 560 pp).
For this see (as only English account I found now): George F. BOTJER:
_ Ajudicial effort to determine the causes of the German defeat in
1918. Tallahassee: Florida State Univ. Diss 1975.

The "stab" was ascribed to have been committed by Jews, too, e.g. in a
booklet by Arthur HOFFMANN_KUTSCHKE: _Der Dolchstoss und das Judentum,
Materialien zur deutschen Geschichte und zur juedischen Politik._
Halle/saale 1922.

Another group held responsible were of course the marxists. For this
attitude see:
Ludwig MUENCHMEYER: _Marxisten als Moerder am deutschen Volke im Solde
des Feindes. Auf Urkunden gestuetztes Beweismaterial fuer den organisierten
Landesverrat und den Dolchstoss der Marxisten aller Schattierungen, der
Zerstoerer deutscher Ehr und Wehr. 5. ed. Muenchen: Zentralverlag der
NSDAP, 1935 (first 1932).

For a modern analysis see
- Klaus-Uwe Hoelscher: Erich Ludendorff und die Dolchstosslegende.
Diss 1970.
-From the perspective of the marxist historiography of the GDR see
Joachim PETZOLD: Die Dolchstosslegende. Eine Geschichtsfaelschung
im Dienst des deutschen Imperialismus und Militarismus.
3rd ed. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1963.

: /kaz kowalski



Andreas Koerber

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