chapter  9
5 Pages

On Earth as It is in Hell

ByConstance L. Benson

In 1912, the Social Democrats had won their biggest electoral victory ever, emerging as the largest party in the Reichstag. The Social Problem seemed solved with the outbreak of foreign hostilities. Every political party supported the war. Even the revisionist wing of the Social Democratic party that included the trade union movement was swept up in the war fever. To summarize, the outbreak of the war reflected not only a desire to deflect from internal social unrest, but also a religious yearning for redemption, the triumph of the traditional values of the officer corps which helped legitimize an arms race, and geopolitical competition. Unlike the National Liberals, the Social Democrats had a consistent record of voting against the arms race and arguing against nationalism and militarism. Though they finally supported the war, the Social Democrats were the only party that refused to support the annexation of new territories; they insisted that the war be purely defensive.