The German Civil War was a war fought in Germany between 1923 and 1927. The Civil War was an approximately three-sided conflict, with the right-wing German National Front (Deutsche Nationalfront; DNF) versus the left-wing German People's Coalition for Workers (Deutsche Volkskoalition für Arbeitnehmer; DVA) versus the government-backed Centrist Coalition (Zentristische Koalition; ZK). Fought mainly between relatively unorganized groups of armed men, the war resulted in the dissolution of the German Reich and the formation of two successor states; the German Republic and the Socialist German Republic.
After the end of the Great War, great tensions existed within Germany between right-wing groups, who perpetrated the idea that Germany had been stabbed in the back by the civilian government thereby losing the war, left-wing groups, who were inspired by the Russian Revolution in the east, and the government, which had overthrown the monarchy in 1918 and established the German state as a democracy for the first time.
These tensions manifested themselves in groups of armed thugs, many of them veterans, who fought each other in the streets; armed groups of men organized themselves into Freikorps and fought each other for supremacy. There was strong support for both the Communist and Socialist left and the authoritarian right.
Events came to a head following the Munich Putsch in 1923, where members of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Worker's Party), led by Adolf Hitler, tried to seize power in Munich and march on Berlin in a manner reminiscent of the Fascist Revolution in Italy. While this attempt eventually failed, it sparked great consternation in the government and among left-wing groups that a right-wing group would seize power. This sparked off a period of organization of left-wing groups and reactionary organization of right-wing groups into larger and larger militias; the German state's military was soon outnumbered greatly by these groups.
Conflict erupted in mid-December when members of the the Ruhr Red Army arrested several members of the German National People's Party (Deutschnationale Volkspartei; DNVP) in Essen. The DNVP responded by firebombing the Red Army's headquarters; this quickly escalated into a street war between the DNVP and the Red Army. Conflict spread throughout the Ruhr and then encompassed the entirety of Germany in the years following.