During his postwar testimony before Germany's Parliamentary Investigatory Committee, former General Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg read a declaration that he had formulated with Karl Helfferich and Erich Ludendorff. In it, he specifically cited the “stab in the back” as the reason for Germany’s defeat. He failed to mention blunders made by the empire’s political and military leadership—not to mention the army’s high command. Here is his testimony on the situation in the fall of 1918.
The intentions of the command could no longer be executed. Our repeated proposals for strict discipline and strict legislation were not adopted. Thus did our operations necessarily miscarry; the collapse was inevitable; the revolution only provided the keystone. An English general said with justice: “The German army was stabbed in the back.” No guilt applies to the good core of the army. Its achievements are just as admirable as those of the officer corps. Where the guilt lies has clearly been demonstrated. If it needed more proof, then it would be found in the quoted statement of the English general and in the boundless astonishment of our enemies at their victory.
Paul von Hindenburg
Testimony, 18 November 1919