Edexcel GCSE History B: Life in Nazi Germany

The rise of the Nazi party

These revision cards are on section 1 in the course (p.2-41 in the Edexcel textbook). This is part of the Edexcel schools history project.

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The early problems of the Weimar Republic

Proportional Representation:

  • All parties were given a fair share of seats, but it seriously weakened the government of the new Republic.
  • It led to small parties, including extremist groups such as the Nazis.
  • No one party was large enough to secure a majority in the Reichstag.
  • Several parties had to join together to form a coalition government.
  • These coalition governments were often weak and short-lived.

The new constitution gave opposition group the freedom to critisice and even attack the new government.

The new government made no attempts to change traditional institutions, such as the army and judicary, who had supported the Kaiser and did not welcome the new Republic.

The President had too much power in an emegency (Article 48).

The Treaty of Versailles

  • German terrotries/colonies lost to other nations.
  • Germany had to pay war reparations to the victorious powers.
  • Land was demilitarised and sections of the military were lost.
  • Germany was to have the blame for the war.
  • The Republic had no choice to sign it (and they did not have any negotiations), but were blamed for the harsh terms.
  • The German people also believed the govenment betrayed the country (because propaganda made it look like they were winning). This was the 'stab in the back' theory.
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The reasons for early opposition to the Republic

The Spartacist uprising:

  • The Spartacists (led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebneckt) were a German communist party who wanted to overthrow the Republic and set up a communist government.
  • The did not believe that Ebert (the President) and the social democrats would serve the interests of the German working people.
  • On the 5th of January 1919, extreme members staged an uprising where they tried to organise a general strike, but failed.

The Kapp Putsch:

  • The Frei korps was a volunteer force of ex-soldiers who were disbanded by the Republic.
  • Led by Dr. Wolfgang Kapp, an extreme nationalist, they attempted to take power in Berlin. The Republic fled to Dresedn and Kapp set up a new government.
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How succesful was the Republic in dealing with the

The Spartacist uprising:

  • A volunteer foce was created the day after the uprising to stop it. The group - called the Frei korps - was made up of ex-soldiers who hated communists and liked to fight.
  • By the 15th of January the uprising was crushed. The two leaders were arrested and were killed on there way to prison for 'resisting arrest'.
  • However, the upising showed how instable the Republic was and how dependent it was on the army.

The Kapp Putsch:

  • Before the Republic fled, they called upon Berlin for a general strike; no gas, electricity, coal or food was to be produced.However the army refused to move against the Putsch.
  • Kapp could not rule Germany because of the chaos the strike caused. He abandoned his plans and fled to Sweden.
  • The Putsch showed that the Republic had the support of the German people, but nor the army.
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The causes of the hyperinflation of 1923

After World War 1, Germany had to print more money to pay for the war.

Then, the Republic had to print more money due to shortages.

Germany was unable to make reparations in 1922, so French and Belgian troops invaded the idustrial area of the Ruhr (January 1923). They took payments in coal, iron and steel.

The workers went on strike (passive resistance) which meant the government lost money and had to print more. Furthermore, the workers still had to be paid.

More money was printed than Germany's gold reserves allowed, so the value of the mark (German currency) decreased.

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The effects of the hyperinflation of 1923

German money became worthless.

Wages could not keep up with the rising prices; they had to be renegotiated every day.

Bussinesmen and people who owed money could pay of their debts. Also, bussinesmen could take over small companies who were going bankrupt.

People on fixed incomes and had savings, such as pensioners, found that they became worthless.

Farmers benefited from the rise in food prices as the food industry was not going well beforehand.

Many people in the middle class lost faith in the Republic and its ability to cope with economic problems.

Most of the rich were protected from the effects.

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