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Germany 1919 1939 The Weimar Republic Answers
1. The Weimar Republic was formed because:
Germany had lost WWI and a new government needed to be formed. In October 1918 Prince Max of Baden formed
Germany's first parliamentary cabinet.
The Kaiser has been forced to abdicate and Germany needed a new leader the new government was no longer
accountable to the monarchy, but instead only to the Reichstag
It formed a new constitution and a peace treaty with the Allies
It was a democratic choice democracy was beginning to become very popular after the 1919 January elections
the first government was a coalition between the Social Democratic Party, the Catholic Centre Party and the German
Democratic Party electing Freidrich Ebert from the Social Democratic Party as the new president and Scheidemann as
2. Weimar was an attempt at democracy by:
A Bill of Rights guaranteed every German citizen freedom of speech and religion, and equality under the law.
All men and women over the age of 20 were given the vote. This was even better than Britain where only women
over 30 could vote.
There was an elected president and an elected Reichstag (parliament) through proportional representation
The Reichstag made the laws and appointed the government, which had to do what the Reichstag wanted
3. President was Elected every 7 years Long time in office.
The President Chose the Chancellor who had to have support of the Reichstag It made two main centres of power. The
chancellor was in charge of the government and the President was the overall ruler. If there was a disagreement between
both of them, it could split the Reichstag in two, making the country unstable. It was hard to pick a Chancellor who was
supported by most of the Reichstag.
President was supreme commander of the Army Although this was the case, many old officials from the old regime
kept their positions of power. They could be uncooperative and potentially corrupt it from within. They did not agree with
Article 48 allowed President to suspend constitution in an emergency. He could make laws on his own Misused to
create a dictatorship. Goes against everything the constitution stood for.
President could dismiss and call elections Along with Article 48; this gave the Reichstag, who represented the people,
Voters were Men and Women aged 20+ Votes were cast using Proportional Representation. This created multi-party
systems which lead to unstable governments. Different party's have different views, which could lead to disagreement.
This meant that there were often new Presidents and Chancellors and consistently unstable governments.
Treaty of Versailles The new government had to accept the TofV so they were hated by many Germans because of the
loss of territory, the `war guilt' clause, the reparations etc. However, the German government had had no choice but to
sign it because Germany was too weak to risk restarting the conflict.
4. Proportional Representation: The number of seats a party wins in parliament is worked out as a proportion of the
number of votes they win. This was the system in Germany and it often led to lots of political parties in the Reichstag
making it harder to get laws passed.
5. Key Terms of the Treaty of Versailles:
Germany had to accept blame for the war war guilt clause
Germany's army's were reduced to 100,000 men, only volunteers, without armoured vehicles, aircraft or submarines
and only 6 warships
Germany was forced to pay £6600 million in reparations
Germany lost its empire
The League of Nations was set up to keep world peace it also took over control of what was Germany's empire,
giving pieces to neighbouring countries or creating free cities.
6. Effects of the Treaty of Versailles on Germany:
Couldn't afford reparations had to borrow money from America
Lost industrial areas and could not rebuild
Lost pride without armed forces
Saw other countries weren't disarming
Didn't accept defeat
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Often now lived under foreign rule in new countries
Suffered an economic crisis
Didn't accept guilt for starting the war.
Was left weak and resentful
German anger could lead to trouble in the future. The German's called the treaty a diktat because they had no choice
but to accept it.
7. a) Military Crisis: Army felt betrayed by politicians who stopped the army fighting and then removed the majority of it by
signing the Treaty of Versailles. It caused dislike of the Government.…read more
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Germany missed a reparation payment...
... So the French invaded the Ruhr the richest industrial part to take resources...
... So German workers went on strike...
... So the Government printed more paper money...
... So there was hyperinflation...
... So there were Communist and Nationalist revolts.
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Culture revolution Opera, jazz, cabaret, modern painting and architecture
Divided opinions some saw it as going against old Germany even more
Way to relax and enjoy stability of country
Gave Germany reputation of an entertaining place Restored its importance in Europe.
Important people in Germany's cultural recovery were:
singer/actress Marlene Dietrich
architect Gropius the leader of the Bauhaus movement
artists Paul Klee and Otto Dix
writer Erich Maria Remarque who wrote 'All Quiet on the Western Front'
film-maker Fritz Lang