Consequences of the First World War for Germany


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Consequences of the First World War for Germany
The Situation
The Kaiser has abdicated and left Germany
A power vacuum has been created as there is no established form of government
Millions of German workers have been killed or seriously injured during the war
Germany has become an international pariah (outcast)
Germany is subject to an imposed peace settlement
What does this mean in reality?
Political instability. There are uprisings against the fledging republic even before it is
properly formed.
Economic ruin. The war has devastated the economy and further problems occur as a result
of the Peace settlement.
Unemployment. Millions of soldiers have returned home to find no jobs available.
The Treaty of Versailles
Terms of the Peace treaty
Massively reduced military capability
`War guilt' clause imposed
Reparations fixed at a very high level
Problems 1919-1924
Anger directed at the government for signing the Treaty of Versailles
Economic problems as all profit is sent directly to the Allies as reparations pay-outs
Valueless currency as economic crisis leads to hyper-inflation
Rise of extremist groups attempting to wrestle power from the de-stabilised government
(Freikorps, Spartacists etc.)
Other factors...
Government established in difficult circumstances
Mistrust of government and animosity towards it from its inception
Refusal of the rest of the World to accept Germany
Germany in a desperate situation. The terms of the Treaty of Versailles cripple the economy and
prevent German recovery after the war. This in turn leads to the new, Weimar, government being
unable to restore pre-war conditions. Animosity towards those who signed the treaty grows and
many German people look for people to blame for the crisis, leading to theories of `the stab in the
back'. The new government, already under fire, is likely to fail in its duty to provide security,
prosperity and comfort given the conditions that it has inherited.


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