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Dolchstosslegende (Stab in the back myth)
Fabricated version of the German defeat in World War I that gained popularity under the Weimar Republic. It claimed that the German army had not been defeated on the field of battle but rather that the home front had forced the military leaders to lay down their arms, as a result of the defeatist actions taken by the liberals, the Socialists, and the Jews. This fabrication was without any basis in fact, but it provided motivation for the Freikorps, the paramilitary organisations that sprang up. Both in the Weimar Republic and in the Third Reich, it was the version accepted by nationalist circles and by all those who sought revenge for Germany's defeat in the war and for the peace agreement that Germany had been compelled to sign. Much of the support for this falsehood and its propagation came from Gen. Erich Ludendorff, one of the outstanding German commanders in World War I, who in fact had taken the lead in pressing the German government to ask for an immediate cease-fire in the fall of 1918.
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