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3.1: The Weimar Constitution

A new system
1. National Assembly met in Weimar to create new constitution following January 1919
elections
2. Largest party = SPD with 38% vote
3. SPD wanted socialist democracy, but compromised for a liberal democratic system
4. The Weimar Republic lasted from 1919-1933
5. First…

Page 2

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3.2: The nature of the Weimar Republic's constitution

Democratic features
1. President was elected
2. Universal suffrage
3. Government wholly accountable to Reichstag
4. Proportional representation
5. Direct democracy: referenda
6. Members of Reichstag normally elected as Chancellor, instead of Junkers
7. Checks and balances (electorate held Reichstag to account,…

Page 3

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3.3: Problems: the legacy of the Second Reich and WWI

The legacy of the First World War
1. Democratic politicians had no alternative to sign the Treaty of Versailles in November 1918
2. Many Germans blamed these politicians `November Criminals'
3. The `stab in the back' myth, started by Ludendorff…

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3.4: Problems: political extremists

The threat from the extreme left
1. Wanted to destroy the Weimar Republic for a Soviet State

The Spartacist uprising 1919
1. 1919, communist Spartacists tried to launch a revolution in Berlin
2. Ebert ordered Freikorps to crush rebellion
3. The leaders of the Spartacists, Rosa…

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3.5: 1923 ­ year of crisis
The inflationary problem
1. Wartime and demobilisation inflation
a. The cost of WWI was financed by increasing money supply and thus the German currency
declined in value
b. Wartime shortages caused price rises
c. Government expenditure high on support for widows, injured veterans and…

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3.6: How did Weimar survive?
The weakness of Weimar's opponents
1. Weimar's opponents were disunited
2. They lacked effective organisation and support
3. Their aims were fractured

Poor leadership and planning of attempted putsches
1. The Spartacists attempted to turn a protest into a revolution, and had not carefully
planned…

Page 7

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3.7: `Golden Years' ­ politics and economics

Politics
Positives
1. Increased political stability
a. No putsches
b. No political assassinations
c. Creation of Grand Coalition in 1928 (left right and centre in command of a secure
majority)
2. Increased acceptance of democracy
a. 1928 election, 76% pro-Weimar parties
b. Nazis…

Page 8

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a. Britain and France comparatively better economies
5. Social tensions
a. Tension between workers and owners, owners resented arbitration
3.8: `Golden Years' ­ foreign policy and culture

Foreign policy
1. Ruhr crisis ended: Stresemann's tactic worked and France left Ruhr in 1925
2. Reparations renegotiated: Dawes Plan 1924 and Young…

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