WAMUNC Crest (Blue and Gold) copy.png

Kiel Mutiny

The German High Seas Fleet was a powerful fleet of the German Imperial Navy, most notably for its battleships. It was developed in 1907 to counteract the Royal Navy, and as such was highly influential in war strategies and an important asset to Germany. However, on November 3, 1918, sailors of the fleet staged a major revolt and eventually took over Kiel. The move resulted in the dismantling of the German monarchy and the German Empire (also referred to as the Second Reich). In turn, the Weimar Republic was formed.

What can likely be seen as the catalyst to the mutiny was when sublieutenant Steinhäuser ordered shots be fired at the protestors, which resulted in seven casualties and 29 major injuries. On November 4, mutineers began dispersing across Kiel and staging demonstrations throughout the town, refusing obedience to their commanders. The governor of the navy station, Willhelm Souchon, eventually negotiated the freedom of imprisoned sailors.