History Revision Notes [GERMANY]

Notes convering all bases of Germany for History

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Revision Notes: HISTORY
The Treaty of Versailles was always going to be a compromise between the demands of Britain, France,
Belgium and America - Germany's wishes were not considered at all. Germany had lost, and therefore was
blamed for starting the war.
The amount of Reparations was not fixed until 1921 - the Allies said they were assessing Germany's ability
to pay, but they were also arguing among themselves over just how much to punish Germany.
Inside Germany, virtually everyone was opposed to the Treaty. The new Weimar Government got off to a
bad start as it was in no position to do anything other than accept the terms the Allies had imposed on
Germany. The Treaty of Versailles had a major impact on German history for the rest of the 20th Century.
Weimar politics were violent right from the start. The Spartacist Revolt, in January 1919, was smashed by the
Freikorps, right wing ex-soldiers used by the government to restore order. The leaders, Karl Liebknecht and
Rosa Luxemburg, along with many others, were captured and shot.
The right-wing revolts, by Kapp and Hitler, were treated much more leniently. Hitler turned his trial into a great
public relations exercise, and was sent to prison for five years. He only served nine months before being
released to take part in politics again.
You really need to think about why so many people opposed the Weimar Republic, why there were so many
revolts, and why the left and right were treated differently.
Why did Hitler get off so lightly after the Beer Hall Putsch? Perhaps it was because he enjoyed the sympathy of
many of the rich and powerful people in Germany, who did not want a left wing government.
When reparations were not paid in December 1922 French and Belgian troops invaded the Ruhr - Germany's
main industrial area. Inflation helped the German government by reducing its debts! Printing more money
and creating inflation was a good idea from the government's point of view.
Inflation, however, made most people worse off - savings were lost, pensions became worthless, wages
would not buy as much food. In the end employees were paid daily, and rushed to spend their money before
it lost more value. It was cheaper to decorate with banknotes than to buy wallpaper!
Something had to be done. Some Germans were starving as other Germans grew wealthier. Stresemann
ordered the Ruhr strikers back to work. A new currency was introduced, and the government had to promise
to restart paying reparations. The Allies had won, and the Weimar Republic was again shown to be weak.
The Allies, however, were worried Germany might turn communist, so the Americans arranged the Dawes
Plan (1924) that included a huge loan, to help to rebuild the German economy.
At first, the Nazis found it hard to get elected - in 1928 they had just 13 seats in the Reichstag. Gradually this
increased; in 1930 they won 107 seats and in July 1932 became the largest party with 230 seats. This is
amazing progress. However there were two elections in 1932. In November the Nazis lost votes, and ended
up with 196 seats, leading some historians to argue that the Nazi Party was in decline when Hitler was asked by
President Hindenburg to become Chancellor.
Remember, the Nazis never received a majority of votes or seats, and Hitler was not, as is often stated,
elected Chancellor. President Hindenburg and the Right Wing thought they could use Hitler to smash the
Communists on the Left. They were wrong!
The Reichstag Fire in 1933 allowed Hitler to ban the Communist Party and so gain a majority in the Reichstag.
The Enabling Act in March 1933 gave Hitler the power to make laws without the approval of the Reichstag - in
effect to be a dictator. There were still areas Hitler did not control, however.
The Night of the Long Knives, in June 1934, removed and killed the leaders of the SA whom Hitler thought
were a threat to his power. The death of President Hindenburg in August 1934 allowed Hitler to make
himself Führer and demand an oath of allegiance from the army. So by August 1934 Hitler had firmly
consolidated his power in Germany, and was in control.

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When the Nazis first introduced a boycott of Jewish shops, in April 1933, it had to be quickly abandoned because
of lack of support from the general public. Acts against the Jews also had to be toned down while the Berlin
Olympics were held. It was only in 1938 and 1939 that officially-sanctioned violence became common.
Kristallnacht was in response to the murder of a Nazi diplomat in Paris by an assassin who happened to be
Jewish.…read more


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