On November 9th, 1918 both Philipp Scheidemann and Karl Liebknecht made their proclamations (see Wikipedia). In many TV documentaries one can see a huge crowd of thousands of people listening. According to many sources, people have been demonstrating "between the Berlin Palace and the Reichstag". It may be worth noting that these two places are ~ 3 km apart, so it would take a really huge crowd of people to fill the space or the street in between them.

So assuming a demonstrating crowd of several thousands of people in either place, Scheidemann was said to have spontaneously left a lunch table in the Reichstag to open a window on the 2nd floor of the Reichstag building and speak to the public.

All pictures and films do not show him using a microphone and a public address system (loudspeakers) or not even a megaphone (not sure if this would have existed already in 1918). So how would a demonstrating crowd of some thousand people listen to one speaker who is not known to be given a speech upfront. How could he ever have gained the people's attention, purely from a technical perspective?

To some extend, the same question is valid for Karl Liebknecht who made his proclamation from the roof of a vehicle close to the Berlin Palace, which sounds slightly more realistic, yet in such a setup, it will also only be a minority of the crowd being able to listen.

  • 2
    I do not read "[people had been demonstrating] between the Berlin Palace and the Reichstag" as meaning that all the available space between the two places was packed with people. You could have some groups of demonstrators at several places, perhaps moving during the day.
    – SJuan76
    Mar 8, 2023 at 17:36
  • @MCW This is indeed a common knowledge event in Germany. There exists a wikipedia article about it which I edited in. One can see Schliemann speaking without any technical help on the picture on wikipedia.
    – quarague
    Mar 9, 2023 at 12:55
  • 1
    Understood, and thank you for the edit. If I were referring to the first President of the USA, I'd still cite George Washington rather than referencing common knowledge.
    – MCW
    Mar 9, 2023 at 13:09
  • Not my area of expertise, but politicians of that time were used to public speaking without amplification, thus knew how to project their voice and enunciate clearly. That would be sufficient to be heard by a crowd of several hundred people out in the open. By pausing frequently, possibly after every sentence, the information could then be repeated within the crowd (a presumably quite error-prone process, as exemplified by the "Blessed are the cheesemakers" scene in "Life of Brian").
    – njuffa
    Mar 13, 2023 at 7:07


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