9th of November 1918: Just a few days after the Kieler Matrosenaufstand (Kiel mutiny), Kaiser Wilhelm II. abdicated as German Emperor and in Berlin, Social Democrat Phillip Scheidemann proclaimed the German Republic. Only two hours after Scheidemann’s proclamation, Karl Liebknecht of the Spartacist League proclaimed a "Free Socialist Republic". From there, it didn’t take long for the spirit of the revolution to spread through the entire country. "Sailors in Berlin" from the collection of the Deutsche Kinemathek in Berlin is one of the few films that show the rare footage of the Sailors revolt and the November revolution in Germany.
10th of November: While workers' councils and soldiers' councils were elected in factories and barracks throughout Berlin, Kaiser Wilhelm II. was waiting at the Eijsden railway station for the Dutch government to issue his official permission to cross the German-Dutch border. "Keizer Wilhelm in Eijsden" from the collection of EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam shows footage of the commotion that the Emperor's arrival caused at the station. Just a day later, on the 11th of November, Germany signed the Armistice of Compiègne which amounted to the complete German demilitarization.
11th November 1918: Representatives of the German Reich, France and Great Britain sign the armistice in a railway carriage in the Forest of Compiègne about 60 km north of Paris. On the very same day, thousands of people flood the streets in Great Britain and France to celebrate as the footage from the Imperial War Museum in London and from the Cinémathèque Royal de Belgique in Brussels show.
"Ici commence le pays de la liberté"- The Republic of Alsace-Lorraine was a proclaimed independent nation that only existed for a few days as the plans of the Entente Powers foresaw the annexation of Alsace to France. Therefore, already in mid-November, French troops arrived in Alsace-Lorraine. The French newsreel "Annales de la guerre" held by the Imperial War Museums in London shows the arrial of the troops and French prisoners of war on their way home, while soldiers’ councils – partly in uniform, partly plain-clothed – maintain a sentry post on the Kehl bridge. The Emperor Wilhelm II. statue lies toppled on the ground.