When you think of a dagger, usually an image pops up in your head of someone in a movie about to stab something or someone. In many instances, it feels as if the dagger is actually going into your own body. Wolfradt’s metaphor of the dagger from the ‘stab-in-the-back’ myth is very intriguing and serves as a gateway to better understand the situation that both Germany and the leadership were in.
The dagger is described as “the will of the masses to prevent by all means the formation of an army prepared for war” (Wolfradt 17). To me, the dagger depicted in the excerpt is the population of Germany against the war, who are willing to do anything to not have another war. Picture David and Goliath, David being the people of Germany and Goliath being the Reich leadership, where Goliath gets whatever he wants to use to torture the people of Germany and David only gets the union of the people around him which form the dagger. Wolfradt goes on to explain that when the dagger becomes dull, “the more imminent becomes the danger of a new war.” When this dagger is broken, then the war can no longer be stopped. I feel like this is exactly what happened to Germany during WWI. The women and people that remained in the homeland were spread thin, to the point where everyone was unhappy and against the war. This is when the dagger became dull. Despite multiple efforts by people like General Paul von Hindenburg to warn the Reich about what was happening “from below,” the dagger eventually broke. Once it broke, the only thing that could stop the war was a stab in the back and this is exactly why Germany had to stab themselves and betray not only the troops who were fighting, but the homeland as well.
Would like to hear if anyone has any other interpretations of Wolfradt’s metaphor of the dagger.