The stab-in-the-back theory refers to theories that see the German defeat during the First World War and/or the consequent harsh peace treaty as caused, at least in part, by internal betrayal(s). A variety of groups have been argued to have contributed to this, including communist groups inspired by the communist revolution in Russia, liberals wanting to replace the autocratic German regime with a liberal democratic, deserting soldiers, strikers wanting an end to wartime conditions, and so on.
Politically correct descriptions tend to describe the theories as exclusively referring to the period before the German military defeat and the November revolution in 1918. However, these theories sometimes also include the following long period of internal unrest, caused by factors such as further attempted uprisings by communists. There was a disintegration of the military, which contributed to the harsh peace treaty, since Germany no longer had any defensive ability at all. Such theories may sometimes also argue for internal betrayal(s) during the peace negotiations.
Some Jews are by some of these theories argued to have had prominent roles in some associated movements (such as the Spartacus League) and to possibly have been influenced by factors such as the Balfour declaration and the possibility of removal of previous restrictions on Jews, such as regarding appointments to higher governmental positions. Such theories may also include claimed deliberate sabotage. The November Revolution is argued to have had many Jewish leaders. Jews are argued to have had influential positions during the creation of the Weimar Republic, which removed previous restrictions on Jews, and during the peace negotiations, which resulted in an argued unfair peace treaty. Such theories contributed to the German National Socialist view on Jews. (See the "External links" section.)
Associations were often argued with the (attempted) communist revolutions in other countries at this time and in particular with the October Revolution in Russia. The relationship between Jews and Communism was remarked upon.
The widely read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was another factor.
Politically correct views include that Germany was mainly militarily defeated by the external foes, that internal unrest mainly occurred only after the military defeat became public knowledge, that German military leaders supported the stab in the back theory in order to shift blame from themselves, and that many Jews fought with distinction in the German forces.
- The World Wars and mass starvation - On the Allied blockade causing mass starvation and mass deaths in Germany, possibly contributing to the unrest.
- Holocaust motivations - On the stab in the back theory being one of the motivations for deporting Jews to the Holocaust camps.
- Weimar Republic: Jewish influence and anti-Semitism
- Jewish influence: Germany