History - Germany, How successful was the Weimar Republic? 1/4

OCR History - Germany, For Paper 1 with Medicine Through Time 

How successful was the Weimar Republic?

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How successful was the Weimar Republic?
The Treaty of Versailles:
Why did Germans hate the treaty?
Article 231 said that Germany was to blame for causing the war but Germans believed the war
had been fought in self-defence
Reparations - Germany had to pay £6,600million to repair war damage but Germans were angry
because the war had ruined the German economy and they could not afford to pay.
Military restrictions - Germany was banned from having an air force or submarines. The army was
cut to 100,000 men. Germans felt humiliated by this because they had always been proud of
having a strong army and now they couldn't defend themselves.
Loss of land - Germany lost Alsace-Lorraine to France and West Prussia was given to Poland.
Germans felt angry that they lost some of their best agricultural land and some of their best
The birth of the Weimar Republic:
Why was the Weimar Republic unpopular with Germans?
Germans blamed the politicians of the Weimar Republic for signing the hated Treaty of Versailles
for accepting the harsh terms of the treaty.
Many Germans believed the `Stab in the back' myth. This was the idea that the German army
would have gone on to win the First World War, if it had not been for the weak Weimar politicians
signing the Versailles treaty.
Germans were used to having a single, strong leader rather than a democracy. When the Kaiser
abdicated and was replaced by politicians and political parties, many Germans viewed this as
weak and un-German.
There were 3 main problems of the Weimar Republic:
Problem 1 - The Constitution
The Weimar Constitution made the Weimar Republic weak from the start. The main problems were:-
The voting system - The new Reichstag was elected using a system called proportional
representation. This encouraged lots of small parties which got a small number of MPs each.
Coalitions - Because no political party had enough MPs in the Reichstag, governments were made
up of coalitions between two or more parties. Often these coalitions were unstable and broke
Chancellor - To become Chancellor required the support of half the Reichstag members. This was
very difficult to achieve, because no political party had enough MPs in the Reichstag.
Article 48 - In an emergency, this rule gave the President the power to suspend democracy and
make law without consulting the Reichstag
These problems were PARTLY solved by 1929
Coalitions kept breaking down, leading to 25 changes of government in the space of 14 years.
The middle class parties were very suspicious of the Social Democrats and refused to co-operate
with them. However, trust between them improved and in 1928 they joined a coalition together.
Hindenburg was an elderly war hero who disliked the Weimar Republic. In 1925 Germans elected
him as President.

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Problem 2 - The economy
Germany suffered hyperinflation in 1923. It was caused by the following events:-
Reparations ­ Germany fell behind on reparations payments so...
Ruhr invasion ­ France & Belgium invaded the Ruhr to take coal as payment instead, so...
Resistance ­ Germans in the Ruhr refused to work for the French so coal production stopped.
Germany became even poorer, so...
Rising prices ­ The German government started printing more money. Money lost its value. Prices
soared. This was hyperinflation.…read more


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