World War One Diary for Saturday, November 9, 1918:
Germany: KAISER ‘ABDICATES’, REVOLUTION IN BERLIN as Scheidemann proclaims German Republic from Reichstag, Prince Max becomes Regent (having announced Kaiser’s ‘abdication’) and Ebert becomes Chancellor. General Groener tells Kaiser at Spa Army will not follow him (‘Treason, gentlemen, barefaced treason!’). Saxony declared a Republic. Eisner Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in Bavaria.
Britain: Lloyd George in Guildhall speech says Germany’s choice immediate surrender or worse fate.
USA: Wilson directs Hoover to Europe (in London November 23) for food relief.
Germany: KAISER ‘ABDICATES’ following a final showdown with Hindenburg and Groener at OHL Spa (after 39 division, brigade and regiment commanders give Army’s opinion). Hindenburg offers to resign rather than say that situation both at the front and at home is hopeless. Groener boldly states ‘The Army will march back home under its own generals in good order but not under the leadership of Your Majesty’. Kaiser retorts ‘I require that statement in writing, I want all the commanding generals to state … that the Army no longer stands behind its Supreme Commander. Has it not taken an oath on the colours?’ Groener replies that in this situation oaths lose their meaning.
Scheldt: Germans in general retreat on British Second Army front; British take Tournai.
Sambre: Guards Division battalion (Third Army) occupies Maubeuge. BEF Fourth Army organizes Major-General Bethell’s mobile force (including 5th Cavalry Brigade and 5 armoured cars) to pursue Germans across Belgian frontier east of Avesnes (until November 11).
Aisne: French capture Hirson rail junction.
Germany – BERLIN REVOLUTION. Prince Max hands Chancellorship to Ebert. Liebknecht Sparticists seize Old Palace and hang red flag. Republic of Hesse declared. Krupp Works at Essen close; Gustav Krupp decides to keep pre-war workers (November 10) and sends 70,000 (including over 30,000 Poles) home with 2 weeks pay and rail tickets (until November 18).
France: War poet Guillaume Apollinaire died from flu after March 1916 headwound (age 38).
Austria: Emperor to his advisers ‘I will not abdicate and I will not flee the country’.
Britain: Lloyd George on Kaiser’s ‘abdication’ ‘Was there ever a more dramatic judgment?’
Italy: Prime Minister Orlando Rome speech claims ‘it is a Roman victory’.
Poland: Government formed at Lublin.
Urals: Czechs at Ekaterinburg proclaim national independence. Kolchak visits and presents new colours to 4 Czech regiments on November 10.
Rhodesia: Captain Spangenberg’s 3 coys take Kasama (100 miles southwest of Abercorn), a little ammo and 20 Boer wagons. 1/4th KAR (Major Hawkins and 750 all ranks) fords river Chambezi guided by Rhodesian settler.
Germany: Kaiser tells Scheer (at Spa) ‘I no longer have a Navy’. Hipper’s flagship hoists red flag and he goes ashore.
Eastern Atlantic – Last U-boat sunk: U-34 (sinker of 121 ships of 262,886t since 1915) sunk off Gibraltar by British ex-Q-ship Privet and minelayers. British battleship Britannia sunk (40 men lost to toxic smoke) by coastal submarine UB-50 (Kukat) off Cape Trafalgar, but stays afloat for 3 1/2 hours.
North Sea: Grand Fleet heavily afflicted by flu, 2 captains die. U-boat Commander Michelsen orders last c.20 loyal U-boats and small craft to home ports.