Weimar Germany - America. Unit 2 Revision.


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02/12/2010 18:26
The founding of the Weimar Republic
By November 191 it had become clear to the Kaiser that Germany faced Defeat.
On the 9th November 1918 the Kaiser abdicated and handed over power to the Reichstag, the
German Parliament.
Ebert the leader of the SPD and the leader of the Socialist party became president as they were the
largest party in the Reichstag.
Two days later on November 11th, the new government asked the allies for Armistice. Many right
wing Germans believed that Germany could have fought on and won the war. They said the new
democracy had stabbed Germany in the back and betrayed the war dead.
The new government had to meet in the town of Weimar as Berlin was violent and unsafe:
1. Germany was bankrupt
2. The naval blockade remained in place, depriving Germany of food and vital raw materials
3. Prices were rising and workers were going on strike
4. The new government had to sign a peace treaty with the allies.
5. The new government faced strong opposition to communist on the left and nationalists on the right
The new Weimar constitution was extremely democratic 5% of the vote meant you had 5% of the
seats, however this meant Germany would always have coalition government which could be weak
and indecisive. However the president had the power to rule in emergencies.
Problems facing Weimar
Left Wing Opposition
German communists opposed Weimar for the following reasons:
a. Communists believe only a middle class revolution had taken place, they saw the Kaiser
and the aristocracy had lost power but wanted a working class revolution similar to
b. They resented Ebert because he kept private property, business and industry
2. The communists stages three attempted revolutions:
a. In 1919 a group called the Spartacists led by Liebknecht and Luxemburg attempted to
overthrow the government.
b. In February 1919 the communists took over the Barbarian in the southern Germany.
c. In 1920 the communists rebelled in the Ruhr
3. The communists failed for the following reasons:
a. The police and most of the army remained loyal and fought for the government
b. Ebert used the private Right Wing army the Freikorp to fight the communists.
Right Wing Opposition
1. Right Wing nationalists also opposed Weimar for the following reasons:
a. They felt Ebert and the new government had betrayed Germany by signing their side of the
b. By bringing back the Kaiser they wanted to turn back the clock before world war one by
recreating a strong Germany.
2. The Right Wing stages two attempts to overthrow the government
a. In March 1920, 5000 Freikorp led by Wolfgang Kap took over Berlin, Ebert only survived
because of a general strike by workers.
3. In November 1923 Hitler attempted to take power in Munich, but on this occasion was stopped by the
Police and also the Army.
4. The Right Wing revolts show that Weimar's own authorities often refused to back their own
government EG. The Police and Army refused to fire on the Freikorp and only Kap was arrested.
5. When Hitler was put on trial he received a very light sentence, for treason he should have received a
life sentence but only got 5 years, of which he served only 9 months, he also served this in a castle in
the countryside, this is also where Mein Kampf was written.
1. 1. Hyperinflation is where prices rise at an extreme rate. EG Between 1918 and 1923 the price of a
loaf of bread in Germany rose from 0.63 Marks to ­ 201,000,000,000.
2. Inflation had already been rising in Germany during the war because of shortages and increased
3. However inflation did not spiral out of control until 1922=1923
4. In 1922 Ebert did not pay reparations and so France and Belgium invaded the Ruhr to take the
money in the form of goods

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The government ordered the workers to go on strike but the government now had no money, as the
Ruhr was producing nothing and the workers were paying no tax.
6. The Government therefore began to print money and this triggered hyperinflation
Consequences of hyperinflation
1. Anyone with debt benefited as the debt became worthless, the biggest winners were the German
2. People with savings lost, these were mainly middle class, this meant that normal middle class
people turned against Weimar.
3.…read more

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Hitler expanded the SA and founded the SS.
Hitlers rise 19291933
1. Following the Wall Street Crash in 1929, Germany too fell into Depression as Germany had close
financial links to America.
The Failure of the Mainstream Parties
1. In March 1930 Müllers (Hermann Müllers) "Grand Coalition" Collapsed and the mainstream parties
did not form another Government
2.…read more

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Hitler turn Germany into a Dictatorship
The March election and the Reichstag fire
1. When Hitler became Chancellor he immediately asked Hindenburg for a new election. The election
was set for March and Hitler hoped to increase his majority.
2. Hindenburg agreed, perhaps expecting the Nazi vote to fall further as this already happened in
November 1932
3. In February the Reichstag burnt down, The Nazis blamed communists and claimed Germany was
now facing the revolution of the Communists
4.…read more

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The Gestapo had a network of informers across Germany who looked out for opponents of
Germany. These would be imprisoned and tortured until a D11 form was signed in which they
requested a move to a concentration camp, by passing the legal system
3. The Gestapo was headed by Heydrich.
The SS
1.The SS was headed by Himmler and was known as the Black Shirt
2.…read more

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Biology was changed to show superiority of the Aryan race and inferiority of Slavs and
c. Chemistry had emphasis on explosives
d. Maths had emphasis on ballistics
3. German Children were educated to be loyal to Hitler, to hate Jews and Slavs and to be
prepared for war.
Hitler Youth & League of Germany Maidens
1. Hitler established the Hitler Youth in order to militarise boys, membership became
compulsory in 1939 when other Youth groups were abolished.
2.…read more

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He set up a labour movement which improved conditions in workplaces e.g. showers and
3. Overall these measures won over most workers
1. Autarky means selfsufficiency
2. Hitler realised in WW1 one of the reasons for Germanys defeat had been the British naval
blockade. He did not want Germany to be vulnerable to another blockade in a another war.
3. One aspect of German economic policy was to create synthetic materials e.g. synthetic
rubber called Buna and oil from coal.
4.…read more

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The USA 19191941
The Boom
A Boom is a time of economic prosperity when a nation and many of its people become richer
One sign of the boom was buildings e.g. the skyscrapers in New York and Chicago and roads which
doubled in mileage in the 1920's.
Another sign of the Boom was increased consumption, e.g.…read more

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They also claimed alcohol led to violence, illness and poverty. Many industrialists campaigned for its
ban as they felt their workers were too late and had a hangover
Support for banning alcohol was strongest in the rural religious regions
During the war less credible arguments for banning alcohol were put forward ­ linking alcohol
consumption to the Germans and Communism. By 1916, 21 states already had the ban, mainly in
rural areas.…read more

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Immigration prewar
Before WW! The USA placed no restrictions on immigration and people were free to enter America
from any country in the world
However before and during WW! There was a huge increase in immigration from Southern and
Eastern Europe
These people did not speak English and were poorly educated
They often formed sub communities in cities e.g.…read more


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