Post-war treatment of Germans
Many of these diaries go past the end of the war into the spring or summer of 1919. After the armistice in 11/18, the British troops spend a few months training and playing football, and then they either get decomissioned back to England or transferred to another unit to stay in service in France.
So what happened to the German troops? Were they rounded up and herded off to prison camps? Did each soldier have to find his own way home? Did the German (or maybe British or French) government send in trains to take them home? Did the officers and top commanders get any special treatment or punishment?
An article on the Aftermath of ww1
by cyngast moderator
What great questions! I wish I could answer them for you. I've been looking for something that might answer them, but everything I have found so far focuses on the political/economic/cultural aftermath of the war in Germany. Nothing I've seen gets down to the level of the individual soldiers and what happened to them.
Maybe Rob will have a better lead than I do.
by ral104 moderator, scientist
I don't know loads about what happened in the immediate aftermath, but I do know that most of the German soldiers went home. There were far too many to make imprisoning them all a realistic proposition. As far as I know, there were no formal arrangements made to transport them back home en masse. They travelled either individually or in small groups.
Back home, a lot of ex-soldiers found their way into the Freikorps, which were paramilitary units who fought in particular against communists. There's a bit of introductory info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freikorps#Post-World_War_I
German soldiers who were already prisoners of war at the end of hostilities did not return home until later. Britain repatriated most of its prisoners during 1919, while France kept many of theirs until well into 1920 - they used them to clear battlefields, which as you can imagine would have been unpleasant and dangerous work.