Early Weimar Unpopularity


President Ebert signed the Treaty of Versailles

The ToV was signed in June 1919. The treaty was very unpopular in Germany and many Germans resented the new government for accepting its terms.

1. After the armistice, a peace treaty called the Treaty of Versailles was imposed on Germany.

2. The terms of the treaty were mostly decided by Allied leaders - David Lloyd George (Britain), Georges Clemenceau (France) and Woodrow Wilson (USA)

The new German government wasn't invited to the peace conference in 1919 and had no say in the Versailles treaty. At first, Ebert refused to sign it but in the end he had little choice as he knew Germany was too weak to risk restarting the conflict. June 1919, he accepted and signed.

Since the President had signed it, the Weimar Republic became associated with the pain and humiliation it caused.

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The Terms of the Versailles Treaty were Severe

1. Article 231 of the treaty said Germany had to take the blame for the war - the War-Guilt Clause. Many Germans didn't agree with this and were humiliated by having to accept total blame.

2. Germany's armed forces were reduced to 100,000 men. Weren't allowed any armoured vehicles, aircraft or submarines, and could only have 6 warships. This made Germans feel vulnerable.

3. Germany was forced to pay £6600 million in reparations - payments for the damage caused by German forces in the war. The amount was decided in 1921 but was changed later. They seemed unfair to Germans and cause lasting damage to Germany's economy.

4. Germany lost its empire - areas around the world that used to belong to Germany were now called mandates. They were put under control of countries on the winning side of the war by the League of Nations - an organisation which aimed to settle international disputes peacefully. People opposed the losses in territory, especially when people in German colonies were forced to become part of a new nation.

5. The German military was banned from the Rhineland - an area of Germany on its western border with France. This left Germany open to attack from the west.

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Germany Felt Betrayed by the Weimar Republic

The ToV caused resentment towards the Weimar Republic.

1. Germans called the treaty a 'Diktat' (a treaty forced upon Germany), and many blamed Ebert for accepting its terms.

2. Some Germans believed the armistice was a mistake and that Germany could have won the war. They felt 'stabbed in the back' by the Weimar Politicians, who brought the ToV upon Germany unnecessarily.

The ToV played an important part in the failure of the Weimar Republic. It harmed the Republic's popularity, and created economic and political unrest that hindered the government for years.

The Weimar politicians involved in signing the armistice became known as the 'November Criminals'.

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