Political Uprisings in Germany 1919 - 1923

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Between the years of 1919-1923 the Weimar Republic suffered a substantial amount of political
opposition from both left-wing and right-wing. By using all the sources and my own knowledge I am
going to discuss the political uprisings that posed a threat to the Weimar Republic.
The Weimar Republic was created centered around socialism and democracy and was
viewed as more left-wing than right-wing. The extreme left-wing however, were not supportive of
Ebert/SPD's actions in Germany and revolted throughout the Republic. The Spartacist Uprising was a
left-wing threat to the Weimar Republic and Source 3 stated that it was the "Weimar Republic's ...
first threat, the communist-inspired Spartacist Uprising." It began on the 5th January 1919 with an
armed uprising in Berlin led by Luxemburg and Liebknecht. The Spartacists occupied public buildings
and led to Ebert having to call a general strike in order to paralyse the movement of the Spartacists
throughout Berlin and Germany. The Uprising failed as Ebert called upon the right-wing German army
and Freikorps to subdue the Rising. This led to the death of 100 civilians and 17 Freikorps soldiers and
the uprising finished on the 8th January 1919. This posed a great threat to the Weimar Republic as it
indicated that Ebert had to rely on the right wing as his own forces had no strength and only because
of the disorganisation and disunity of the revolutionaries there would have been success. Another
left-wing threat began 2 months after the Spartacist Uprising in Bavaria March 1919 which was a
more feeble attempt to create a Soviet Republic, however the `Soviets' were crushed by Freikorps
soldiers. The Saxony Summer of 1923 followed by the "German October of 1923" (Source 3) also
created a threat to the Weimar Republic as it began a wave of strikes in hopes to create an SPD/KPD
state government. This also failed as the strikers were overthrown by the German army. These three
political uprisings/attempts to overthrow power showed the weakness of Ebert and the Weimar
Republic as even those who were once on the same wavelength wanted to overthrow the
The right-wing threats posed a greater risk to the Weimar Republic as they often were more
advanced and more planning was carried out. The Kapp Putsch was the first right wing political
uprising and it began on 13th March 1920. Wolfgang Kapp a right wing journalist strongly disagreed
with Ebert's beliefs and was extremely humiliated because of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles
and hated the "November Criminals" as stated in Source 1 as it states "away with a government in
which Erzberger is the leading light!" This indicates that the government was to blame for allowing
the Treaty of Versailles to happen. During the Kapp Putsch, Kapp was assisted by General Luttwitz
who led a group of Freikorps men. Luttwitz seized Berlin and proclaimed that they would "establish a
dictatorial government with Kapp and General Luttwitz at its head." (Source 2). The Treaty of
Versailles stated the German army must be reduced to 100,000 men meaning the Freikorps will have
to disband. Specifically the Ehrhardt Brigade and the Baltkium brigades. 12,000 men marched with
Luttwiz to seize Berlin. Ebert had to flee the capital for the second time ­ once again undermining his
status. The government then reconvened in Dresden. Ebert "called upon all workers to support a
general strike" (Source 2) to again paralyse the movement of those who supported Kapp and
Luttwitz. Kapp received support from one of Germany's foremost military officers ­ General Erich
Lurdendorff. The officers refused to shoot stating that "troops do not fire on troops" - General von
Seeckt. The Putsch fails on the 17th March but it highly implies Ebert's lack of control on the right wing
even though they once had to assist him when defeating the Spartacists The Munich Putsch also
posed a big right wing threat as the uprising began on the 8th November 1923. The Nazi Party and
Hitler believe that Germany is politically unstable and this was their opportunity to overthrow the
weak Weimar Government. Hitler initially has support of von Kahr (Leader of the Bavarian state
Government) and Lossow (Commander of the Bavarian section of the German army) to overthrow

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Berlin. 8th November 1923 Hitler storms Beer Hall in Munich and kidnaps
von Kahr and Lossow threatening to kill them if they do not support him. Hitler, Ludendorff and 3,000
armed supports of the Nazi Party marched through Munich. Hitler planned to march on Berlin and
remove the national government. Ebert has already heard of the planned putsch from von Kahr and
gives orders for it to be crushed. He calls a state of emergency and alerts police and authorities of
planned attack.…read more


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