How did the Kaiser’s abdication affect Germany?

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The Kaiser in exile

On November 10 1918, the Kaiser travelled to exile in the Netherlands. The Allies wanted to punish the Kaiser  for waging war, but the Queen of Holland refused to extradite him. He remained in exile until his death at the age of 82 on 3 June 1942.

Kaiser Wilhelm was the Commander-in-Chief of the German armed forces. Since 1916, the military, rather than the politicians, had been in control of Germany. When it became clear that Germany would lose, Wilhelm was forced to abdicate his throne and flee Germany.

Without the Emperor, the Germans had no strong leader.

Different groups thought that now was the time for change, Some believed that Germany should become a democracy, but others believed that strong, military leadership was the only way to keep society safe.

Some thought that communism, where everyone was equal, but controlled by a strong state, was a fairer way of living.


The end of the war brought chaos and confusion to Germany. People were fighting in the streets, and there were dreadful shortages of food.