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Germany Enacts the Hindenburg Program

Marshal Hindenburg in 1916.

December 5 1916–Debate over Hindenburg & Ludendorff’s proposed new economic plan continued in the Reichstag throughout November, with many politicians opposed to some of its more extreme aspects.  Conservatives opposed the drafting of women into the war economy, while liberals opposed the proposed shuttering of universities.  Ultimately, in order to get the bill passed swiftly, Hindenburg & Ludendorff dropped those proposals.  Despite this, the resulting act, passed on December 5, was still quite a shift in Germany’s economic policy.

All men between the ages of 18 and 60 were liable to be called up for service in the war economy, if they did not already serve in it or in the armed forces.  The military and the government would determine whether particular employers had enough labor to serve the war effort, and if they had an excess, would begin to forcibly transfer people to other jobs.  Workers in the war economy could not leave their jobs without the permission of their employer, or by appeal to the government.  Workers’ rights within the war economy were strongly curtailed, although workers in firms employing more than fifty people could form Workers’ Councils for the purposes of collective bargaining.  However, if a dispute arose between an employer and their Workers’ Council, the government would have final say in arbitration.

Chancellor Bethmann was extremely wary of the act, thinking it amounted to a takeover of the domestic economy by the military.  However, the civilian government would also have expanded authority, and there were elements of the law of which the conservative Bethmann did approve.

Today in 1915: British Indian Force Prepares to Be Besieged at Kut
Today in 1914: Russians Evacuate Lodz

Sources include: Robert B. Asprey, The German High Command at War.

Mutt was a YMCA cigarette delivery dog during WWI. These dogs delivered cigarettes and even provided psychological comfort, even just for a fleeting moment, to the soldiers out on the field. They were known to boost moral. Mutt was injured twice during WWI. Quite often, mascots such as Mutt were left behind when conflict was over but it is said that Mutt was smuggled on board and returned safely to New York.

Armistice Day

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, and coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day.

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The now abandoned Beelitz Heilstätten Military Hospital in Berlin, where Adolf Hitler was treated for his war wounds in WWI. This hospital is the reason Hitler survived and went on to reign terror in WWII, 21 years later.The dilapidated building is reportedly haunted by the ghosts of German soldiers who never made it out of the atrocious battle alive.