German History, From Kaiser to Fuhrer, [Unit 3: The Impact of the WW1 on Germany]

This is Unit 3 of Edexcel GCE History; From Kaiser to Fuhrer, 1900-45.

This section just deals with the impact of the first world war on Germany -  I've selected all the key bits and tried to make sense of it.

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Unit 3: What was the Impact of the First World War on Germany 1914-18
Unit 3: What was the Impact of the First World War on Germany
1914-18
Time Line:
1914:
August ­ War breaks out; Belgium attacked
August ­ On the Eastern Front, Germany wins the battle of Tannenberg
August ­ Bergfreiden agreed
September ­ In East, Russian Army defeated at the Battle of the Masurian Lakes
September ­ Advance in west halted at the battle of the Marne
October ­ Race for the sea
1915:
January ­ Rationing of bread in Germany
May ­ Lusitania sunk off coast of Ireland
1916:
February ­ beginning of the Battle of Verdun
May ­ Sea Battle of Jutland = inconclusive
June ­ Russians launch Brusilov Offensive
July ­ Beginning of Battle of Somme
August ­ Hindenburg and Ludendorff take war command
December ­ Auxiliary Labour Law in Germany
1917:
January ­ Germany decides to wage unrestricted submarine warfare
March ­ SPD splits
April ­ US declares war on Germany
July ­ Bethman-Hollweg resigns as chancellor
July ­ Reichstag passes Peace Resolution
1918:
March ­ Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ends war in east Germany (to Germany's advantage)
March ­ Ludendorff offensive in west breaks Allied lines - but eventually runs out of steam
November ­ Kaiser abdicates
November ­ Armistice signed

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Unit 3: What was the Impact of the First World War on Germany 1914-18
Reasons to the Outbreak of War
Anticipation of war ­ huge demonstrations held in July in Berlin ­ 100,00 people
When war broke out ­government presented it as defence against Slav aggression ­ morally
right and national duty
Cheering crowds in Munich
Kaiser announced ­ political unity ­ `no parties anymore, only Germans'
Even Socialist s in the Reichstag vote for war credits
Political divisions of pre-war era = over
Reichstag…read more

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Unit 3: What was the Impact of the First World War on Germany 1914-18
Western front ­ Allies suffered from attacking Germany = gained little
­ and attacks against Turkey (German allies) = failure
Falkenhayn decided that victory = western front and defeating Britain with submarine
campaign
By 1916 ­ German troops stretched across Europe, Asia and Africa
Food
Constant shortage of raw materials and consumer basic
Feb 1915 ­ submarine blockade of GB announced
Britain response = halted exports due for Germany ­ BAD…read more

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Unit 3: What was the Impact of the First World War on Germany 1914-18
1915 ­ 20 voted against war credits
Some radicals (Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg) wanted revolution for peace ­ but were
prison most of time
Some pacifists ­ German Peace League ­ but marginal and small.…read more

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Unit 3: What was the Impact of the First World War on Germany 1914-18
-New Agency ­ Supreme War Office ­ created under General Groener ­ oversee process of
economic mobilisation
-Auxiliary Labour Law (1916) ­ mobilised all available male labour ­ granted collective
bargaining and conciliation boards for workers (pleased unions) = considerable gestures
considering anti-union stance by army ­ however most Germans not convinced
Outcome
Hindenburg Programme = failed to provide efficiency
1. Supreme War Office (under Gen.…read more

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Unit 3: What was the Impact of the First World War on Germany 1914-18
Urban working class ­
-resented govt controls and the lack of food
-resented black market - therefore blamed middle-classes and Jews
-Frustration sometimes turned to violence ie Nuremburg
Middle-class ­
-savings worth less and less
-mittelstand (eg.…read more

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Unit 3: What was the Impact of the First World War on Germany 1914-18
July Crisis
Most SPD supported war tentative ­ but cautiously
Entry of America and Russian revolution ­ difficult to justify war
Kaiser (persuaded by Bethmann-Hollweg) promised reform ­ `Easter offer': end Prussia's
3-class voting system and reform Bundesrat
Didn't convince people ­ wanted `peace without victory'
July 1917 - Centre Party and SPD tried to concentrate more money on peace without victory
Bethmann-Hollweg disagreed ­ lost support of Reichstag and Military…read more

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Unit 3: What was the Impact of the First World War on Germany 1914-18
What was the Impact of Defeat?
Bulgaria surrender (September 1918)
29 September: Ludendorff decided on Armistice talks with Allies
4th October: Prince Max appointed chancellor and formed coalition government [Centre,
progressives + SPD]
Kaiser now prepared for constitutional change:
1.Parliament (Reichstag and Bundesrat) able to consider foreign/military affairs
2.Vote to Prussian parliament = democratic
3.…read more

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