Failure of a Revolution: Germany 1918-1919

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The masterfully told story of what happened in Germany following its defeat in the first world war: the Kaiser’s exit from the stage, the sailors’ mutiny, the spreading of the revolution and its betrayal by its own chosen socialist leaders. Haffner recounts the murder of Karl Liebknecht and of Rosa Luxemburg — and the deliberate creation of those relentless counter-revolutionary forces that became the ...
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Overview

The masterfully told story of what happened in Germany following its defeat in the first world war: the Kaiser’s exit from the stage, the sailors’ mutiny, the spreading of the revolution and its betrayal by its own chosen socialist leaders. Haffner recounts the murder of Karl Liebknecht and of Rosa Luxemburg — and the deliberate creation of those relentless counter-revolutionary forces that became the nightmare of the Third Reich. More than a brilliant historical study: it has vital lessons for our own day.


“Haffner’s history of the revolution is unrivalled — tight, precise, passionately rational, brilliantly formulated.” — Profil/Wien

“No-one else has described and analysed the events of 1918/19 that were decisive for the century as well and as convincingly as Sebastian Haffner.” — Tagespiegel

“For Haffner, the revolution was a social-democratic revolution. That it was nevertheless ultimately suppressed bloodily by social-democratic politicians confirms Haffner’s suspicion that this was a case of betrayal.” — Norddeutscher Rundfunk (North German Radio)

“Haffner’s book is one of the few that breaks open previously locked doors and shines a light on dark corners of our past.” — Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger

“Sebastian Haffner’s brilliant intellect clarifies contrasts and similarities in situations, motivations and deeds and describes lucidly and dramatically the main lines of the complex developments from September 1918 to January 1919.” — Dieter Wunderlich

“Those who know Haffner’s method of making the writing of history an inspection of the past motivated by the present, will appreciate this book.” — zitty/Berlin
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780916650247
  • Publisher: Banner Press International
  • Publication date: 9/28/1986
  • Pages: 211

Meet the Author

Sebastian Haffner was born in 1907 as Raimund Pretzel the last of four children. His father was headmaster of a Berlin school and a noted liberal school reformer. Pretzel studied law and received his doctorate in 1934. Although he was not Jewish he abandoned his planned career as a lawyer in public service when the Nazis came to power. Instead he worked as a non-political journalist.

In 1938 he and his pregnant fiancée, who was of Jewish descent and for that reason had been dismissed from her post as university librarian, managed to emigrate to the UK, where they were married. There he started to write a memoir about his youth in Weimar Germany and the rise of the Nazis. The book (Defying Hitler) was abandoned at the outbreak of war and replaced by another (Germany: Jekyll and Hyde) offering an analysis of Germany for the benefit of the allies. This book, published under the pseudonym Sebastian Haffner which he used for the rest of his life, procured his release from internment in the summer of 1940. In 1942 he became a journalist at the Observer and quickly made a reputation as a political thinker.

Haffner returned to Germany in 1954, initially as a correspondent for the Observer. There he became an important commentator on current affairs and a well-known television personality. In the 1960s he started writing historical books, mostly about 20th century German history, including The Ailing Empire: Germany from Bismarck to Hitler. His most important and successful book, The Meaning of Hitler, appeared in 1978. He retired in 1991 and died in 1999 aged 91.
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