The Origins of the Weimar Republic

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  • 1.1-The Origins of The Republic
    • The Legacy of the First World War
      • 11 million Germans had fought, 55% of which were casualties
      • November 1918-Munich declared independence under Eisner
      • Fuel and food shortages due to British blockades led to 750 000 dying of food shortages during the war
      • Infant mortality rates increased by 50%
      • 1918-the Spanish Flu killed between 20 and 40 million in Europe
      • Inflation led to doubled prices but only a 50-75% increase in wages
      • Stuttgart and Hamburg experienced strikes and set up worker's councils
      • October 1918-navy mutinies in Kiel and Hamburg
      • War debt trebled to 150 billion marks
    • The German Revolution, 1918-19
      • 9th November 1918- Kaiser Wilhelm forced to abdicate by ministers- they said it was the only way to restore order, and he had to go since he had lost support of the army
      • 9th November 1918- Phillip Scheidemann declared a socialist republic to stop armed rioters announcing a communist one
      • 9th November- the chancellor von Baden hands over office to Ebert, head of SPD.
      • 10th November- Ebert-Groener Pact to keep communists out of power.
      • 10th November-   Reichstag    suspended and Council of People's Representati-tives implemented until a constitution could be agreed
      • 11th November- Erzberger signs the armistice to end the war
    • The Weimar Constitution
      • The Weimar Constitution had a President as head of state, the Chancellor and Cabinet as the Government, the Reichstag and Reichsrat as the Parliament
      • The constitution was democratic, since all over 21 could vote, including women. It also used proportional representation to make sure everyone had a say
      • There were checks and balances so no one had too much power, all the way from the president being chosen by the electorate, to the central government being checked by the Lander
      • Proportional representati-on led to coalition governments (9 from 1919-23) that led to arguments and compromised policies.
      • There was no strong single party to lead them, so the government was weak in a crisis.
      • The solution to having no leader to make quick decisions was Article 48, but this was often abused in Weimar's later years, undermining democracy. it also gave the impression that a one person government was better
      • It was based upon division and violence, since the government relied on the army to subdue riots and some parties openly despised it
    • Setting up the Weimar Republic

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