Germany 1914-1945 GCSE

Germany 1914-1945 GCSE

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Germany goes to war 1914- the war began as a conflict between Germany and the central powers
fought Britain, France and Russia and their partners known as the Allies.
At first there was a great enthusiasm for the war. Men flocked to join the army, they had been told it
would be an exciting adventure and would be over within a few months. It lasted for 4 years and 4
months.
How did the war affect people in Germany?
Firstly, it created food shortages. The British navy blocked the sea approaches to Germanys ports,
stopping ships from bringing food and supplies from overseas. As a result, even basic foods were
strictly rationed.
As winter approached in 1918, conditions grew much worse. Food supplies ran so low that most
adults were living on less than 1000 calories a day ­ starvation level. Fuel shortages led to power
cuts, factory closures and transport problems. A killer strain of the flu virus swept across Germany,
killing thousands of people each day.
On the battle fronts, two of Germanys allies decided to stop fighting, this caused Germany to
retreat. Faced with this worsening situation at home, and with defeat on the battlefields, the
Germany army decided to ask the Allies for peace.
The allies were prepared to make peace with Germany ­ but only on certain conditions. They said
that the german government must be made more democratic before they would even start talking
about peace. They wanted the Kaiser to share his power. On October 2nd the Kaiser began to share
his power and as time went on the government took away more and more of his powers.
In October 1918 the German Navy chiefs ordered men to fight the british navy for control of the sea
between Britain and Europe. Soldiers in Germany knew of the peace talks being carried out and were
shocked by the order. 1000 soldiers were arrested for mutiny. Soldiers and sailors held mass
meetings to protest against the arrests. Eventually workers joined their protests. They set up a
soviet to run the town and troops that came to stop the rebellion soon became rebels themselves.
The mutiny at Kiel soon spread and soldiers and sailors from allover set up soviets to run the towns
were they lived. Everywhere police and army officers gave up their weapons and surrendered.
Kaiser Wilhelm was losing control of his country. On 9 Nov 1918 berlin was in the hands of the
revolutionaries. This same day the Army High Command told Kaiser Wilhelm that they could no longer
support him. Without the army he could not stop the revolution. On 10th Nov, the Kaiser abdicated.
Ebert, leader of the largest socialist party, took his place as head of government. His methods of
keeping power was to hold elections for a national parliament and allowing the elected parliament to
decide the future of Germany. He organised an election to be held in Jan 1919. He ordered
improvements in peoples living conditions and allowed free speech. He ordered a maximum 8 hour
working day and increased food supplies ­ all of these methods won him the support of many
workers.
The spartacists opposed everything Ebert did. For them, changes did not go far enough. On the last
day of 1918 they renamed themselves the German Communist party and made plans to seize power.

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The sparticists tried to seize power on 5th January 1919, they occupied public buildings, organised a
general strike and formed a revolutionary committee. Groups of them roamed the streets, firing
guns and putting up red flags, the symbol of communism.
But the sparticists were doomed to failure, just the day before, Ebert had organised a group of 4000
volunteering soldiers. These were known as the Freikorps, they were hard men who hated the
Communists and liked a fight. They were well disciplined and fully equipped.…read more

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The rest of the treaty was designed to weaken Germany so that it would never be able to fight
another war
REACTION TO THE TREATY
A storm of protest greeted the treaty. Mass demonstrations took place against it. Places of
amusement closed down and a period of national mourning began. The german government
protested but could not persuade the Allies to change it. The Allies gave them 5 days to accept it.
They refused to do so and they said they would invade Germany.…read more

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This was a year of deep crisis. The german economy collapsed. This caused chaos throughout
Germany. For example, in the Rhineland, several groups tried to break away from the government to
form their over independent states.
The TOV ordered Germany to pay reparations to the Allies. In 1922, they announced they could not
afford any payments for the next 3 years. The French refused to accept this and took over the Ruhr,
Germanys biggest industrial region to take what they owed by force.…read more

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In return for a promise to not break any laws. The authorities gave him permission to re-found the
banned nazi party. By February the Nazi party was up and running again.
With Germany nearing collapse, a new government was set up to overcome the crisis. First it called
off the passive resistance campaign against the French in the Ruhr. Then it replaced the Mark with the
Rentenmark. As a result of these two measurements, hyperinflation stopped.…read more

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The solution to this problem lay in Article 48 of the constitution. This allowed the president, in an
emergency, to make laws without consulting the Reichstag. This was known are Government by
Decree.
The president of the time, Von Hindenburg, asked the leader of the Centre Party, Bruning, to form a
new government without the social democrats. He intended to make Bruning's decisions into law by
issuing decrees, if the Reichstag would not vote for them.
Helped by V.…read more

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And no government can exist without an armys support. Paper resigned. Schleicher himself
became chancellor.
He lasted 2 months, the Reichstag would not agree to his decisions. So like Bruning, he asked VH to
make laws for him by decree. VH was suspicious. VH refused and asked Scheicher to leave.
Two chancellors had come and gone within 8 months. VH had no other alternative. He offered the job
to the leader of the largest party ­Hitler. Hitler was made chancellor on 30 Jan 1933.…read more

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Lastly the parties were brought into line. On 10 may Naxis occupied the offices of the social
democratic party, destroyed its newspapers and confiscated its funds. Two weeks later they did the
same to the communist party and all other parties. One by one their offices were closed down and
their leaders were arrested. By 1933 there was only 1 party that existed ­the nazi party.…read more

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And did military drill as well as work. In 1935, a Reich Labour S Law
said that all men aged 18-25 must spend six months in the Labour Service. With hundreds of
thousands of young Germans entering work camps, the jobless figures dropped sharply.
Public work schemes
The Nazis also took over a road building programme from the previous government. A law in june
1933 expanded the programme by ordering the creation of a network of motorways.…read more

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Nearly 200 synagogues were burnt down. On the 12 Nov 1938 the Jews were ordered to
pay a fine of one billion marks to the government.
Why was racism so widespread in Nazi Germany?
Between 1933 and 1945 hitler made no fewer than 45 decrees and laws against the Jews. In 1935
he forbade marriages between Jews and citizens of German or kindred blood. In 1941, hitler
ordered all jews over the age of 6 to wear the `star of david' in public.…read more

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