Early Challenges to the Republic

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  • 1.2- Early Challenges to the Republic
    • The Treaty of Versailles, 28th June 1919
      • The treaty was a diktat- most people belived that the terms would be negotiable, but they were forced and harsh. This caused resentment towards the people who signed it
      • Article 234, the War Guilt Clause, stated that German was responsible for the war. They hated it, since it led to the other harsh terms
      • Germany had to pay £6.6 billion  in reperations
      • German lost all it's colonies
      • The army was limited to    100 000, the navy was reduced to 36 vessels, the air force was destroyed and the Rhineland was demilitarised
      • Germany lost lots of land
        • Alsace and Lorraine to France
        • Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium
        • Posen and West Prussia to Poland, creating the Polish corridor
        • Upper Silesia and Northern Scleswig left under plebiscite
        • Danzig was made a free city
        • The outputs of the Saar coalfields had to go to France for 15 years
      • Germany lost 10% of it's population, 13% of european territitory, all overseas property, 50% of iron reserves and 15% of coal reserves
      • Dolchstoss was the idea that Germany had not lost the war, that the politicians had given up and stabbed the army in the back. Even Ebert said "no army had defeated [them]"
    • The Impact of the Treaty and the Armistice on the Weimar Republic
      • The reparations imposed so that germany could not start another war were heavy, weakening Weimar's economy from the outset
      • The People hated the people who signed the armistice, the November Criminals, since they surrendered, signed the armistice and agreed to the Treaty. This made Weimar politically weak
      • The treaty and armistice linked Weimar to humiliation, defeat, hardship and weakness from the beginning
      • Beginning the new republic with the surrender of the armistice was not a strong start
    • Challenges to Weimar from the Left and Right
      • The moderate parties who set up the republic were the Social Democrats (SPD), the Democrats (DDP), the People's Party (DVP) and the Centre Party (ZP). In the National Assembly, thay had 80% of the votes
      • Extreme right-wing groups wanted to return to a strong government, army and leader. They championed capitalism and put the needs of the nation first. They opposed the Republic
      • The main right wing part in 1919 was the National Party (DNVP), and the Nazi party (NSDAP) existed from 1920 but was very small
      • Extreme left-wing parties wanted German to be controlled by the people. They were communists who stressed the co-operation of nations rather than independence. They opposed the Republic
      • The main left wing party in 1919 was the German Communist Party (KPD)
      • The left and right wing parties posed a threat to the Republic since they attacked it constantly. In 1920, they got roughly 20% of the votes each, making them more powerful. The moderates had to keep forming coalitions to stay in power
      • The Sparticist League was an extreme socialist group from the USPD.They supported the KPD, and were led by Luxemburg and Liebknecht. In January 1919, they called for an uprising on the back of Eichhorn's sacking. Weimar lost control of the capital
      • Ebert put down the Sparticist uprising by unleashing the Freikorps, right wing ex Reichswehr soldiers, to drive them off the streets and kill the leaders. This suppressed the uprising
      • In March 1920, Weimar was struggling to control the Freikorps, so planned to disband them. Fearing unemploy-ment, the Freikorps took Berlin and put Kapp as leader. They faced little opposition, since the army would not fire upon their ex members. They invited the Kaiser back from exile
      • The Weimar government put down the Kapp Putsch by urging the more left inclined common people to go on strike. Many obliged, since they did not want the Kaiser to return. Kapp realised that without essential services he couldn't govern, and the rebellion collapsed
      • Political violence was a problem for the republic. Assassinatio-ns included Erzberger, and there were 376 in 3 years. A right-wing bias in the courts meant that no right wing murderers were convicted.
      • Most political parties also had their own hired guards for "protection" but they were often used for violence. The KPD had yhr Red Front Fighters, the DNVP had the Steel Helmets and the SPD had the black red gold flag
    • The Challenges of 1923
      • Germany's economy was weak, since all it's reserves had been spent in the war. They asked for reductions in reparations, but other countries needed the money to recover. By 1923 they couldn't pay them.
      • In December 1922 Germany failed to send coal to France from the Ruhr, so in January France invaded
      • France confiscated raw materials, manufactured goods and machinery, so the government urged passive resistance
      • The French responded to passive resistance by arresting the obstructers and bringing in french workers
      • The Germans resented the french for the invasion, but also Weimar for their inability to resist them
      • Shortages from the occupation led to inflation, people lost their jobs and factories failed, which was a problem since the government money to pay off their debts
      • The government's solution to not having enough money was to print more, however this caused th value of money to decrease since supplies were still limited, causing hyperinflation
      • Due to hyperinflation, normal living became impossible; people carried wheelbarrows of money, workers were payed twice a day, shops bartered instead of paying cash. Money was burnt instead of wood since it was worth so little
      • Hyperinflation caused shortages since marks were worthless for foreign trade. Suppliers wouldn't accept them, so imports dried up
      • The middle class were worst affected by hyperinflation since their savings became worthless
      • People with loans and debts found they could make profit since the amount they owned went down due to hyperinflation
      • Hoarders could make profit as prices rose due to hyperinflation
      • Foreign visitors benefited from hyperinflation because their currency went up in value compared to the mark, causing Germans too resent them
    • Damage caused by the Early Challenges to the Republic
      • The Republic was shown to be weak. To stay in power, thousands of Germans had been killed
      • All Germans had suffered, especially the middle class, who would normally have been the main supporters of the Republic, reducing political security for them
      • Extremist parties had gained political strength
      • Germans now associated the republic with suffering and bad decisions


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