Edexcel GCSE History: Unit 2A, Section 1.

Germany 1918-39 section 1 notes.

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  • Created on: 30-03-13 15:50

Impact on Germany of WW1

Quick Summary: In 1914, Germany was very prosperous, finest army, prosperous businesses, well fed and general optimism. Four years later, different story, end of WW1 (1918), German army defeated, public surviving off turnips and bread, bread had sawdust in it and a flu epidemic sweeping germany, killing the already weak public. 

Germany was vitually bankrupt  
-National income 1/3 of what it had been 1913
-Industrial production 2/3 of what it had been " 
-War: 600,000 widows, 2 million children fatherless, 1925 1/3 budget war pensions

War deepened divisions in society:
-Huge gaps, stadard of living between rich and poor
-Workers bitter on restrictions placed on earnings during war- Factory owners made profit
-During war, women called up to work, people thought breaking tradition adn family values

 Germany- Revolution, became democratic republic of Weimar- Weimar Republic:
-Stress, revolutiion Oct-Nov 1918, Kaiser Abdicated
-Ex-soldiers, civillians despised democratic leaders, though Field Marshall Hindenburg been betrayed by weaker politicians.  

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Creation of the Weimar Republic & Challenges

Quick summary: Clear Allies had won, offered Germ peace but under strict conditions, Kaiser refused conditions, Sailors then mutinied in town of Kiel, triggered other mutinies, Socialists led revolts in other towns and ports, 9th Nov 1918 Kaiser abdicated his throne.
Formation Of Weimar Republic:
-Following day, Friedrich  Ebert became new leader of Republic of Germany, immediately signed armistice with Allies, war was over. Ebert declared freedom of speech, worship and better working conditions. New germ gvt drawn up, named after town of Weimar, as too dangerous to meet in Berlin. 
Challenges faced by Weimar Republic:
-Reaction of Germ. Politicians unenthusiastic
-Ebert had opposition frmo both Left and Right Wing
-Kaiser's former advisors still in poistions, therefore very difficult for govt. to do much.
Social Challenges:
(look at quick summary)
+ Children without fathers, rmy reduced to 100,000, germ to accept blame for war, workers felt they had been betrayed.
-Spartacist Revolt
-Freikorps, military polce, worked against revolutions. 
Economic Challenges:
-TOV cause 10% territorial losses
-Lost all of overseas colonies
-12.5% population lost
-16% coal industry, 42% of iron industry lost caused germany to have great debts and lose colonies
-War pensions 

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The Stab in the Back Myth

Widely held, but INCORRECT belief.

-Was that Socialist govt. under Ebert had betrayed Germany

-Thought that Ebert had signed TOV

-However military had actually signed TOV

-Supported their dislike for Weimar

-Scapegoating- wanted someone to blame, Kaiser was well-respected, loved adn adored, therefore didn't want to speak ill of Kaiser and his army, hugely proud of both.

-Willing to accept myth, as wanted it to be true.

-Therefore people weren't going to blame a government which had 'lost' the war

-Govt. couldn't blame army, as needed their support to resore stability.

-Lose-Lose situation 

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The Weimar Constitution - 1919

-Made Germ the most democratic country in EU/world
-All men and women over 20 could vote (better than Britain even)
-Proportional Representation, eg if party for 20% of votes, would get 20% seats
-Country ruled by President, chancellor and Reichstag (parliament)
-Article 48 allowed president to rule like a dictator, eg in an emergency, could take action without Reichstag approval.
-If political parties fell out- another election, brought instability to govt. as people sick of elections.
-Definition of emergency open- how Hitler came to power.

-Everyone over 20 could vote
-Most democratic country in EU
-Very fair- proportional representation

-Article 48 allowed dictatorship
-No support b/c of stab in the back myth
-Proportional Rep caused instability, slow action, etc. 

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The Problems of the Weimar Republic (1918-23) POLI

Quick Summary: Between 1919-20 Extreme Left Wing groups (ELW) made several attempts to take control of Germ. All failed. Fear of the ELW and communism was great, therefore used by Weimar govt. & Hitler to gain support. However constantly looking out for ELW allowed ERW to become more of a threat. 

The Spartacists
-Comm part, ELW, led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg
-Wanted a Soviet style communist govt.
-Early 1919, bid for power, joined by rebel soldiers and sailors, set up soviets in Germ towns
- Vigallante groups called Freikorps formed, Ebert agreement that they would crush rebellion
-Bitter street fighting between Spartacists and Freikorps.
-Casualties high, Freikorps won, spartacist leaders murdered, comm. failed
-Though defeated, ELW remained in minds of people, govt, and army.
-Freikorps, military background, better trained, better armed
-Karl and Red Rosa murdered in prison. 
Baravian Uprising
-Still independent country, led by Kurt Eisner- Ebert's ally, Feb. 1919, Eisner murdered by Pol. opponents.
-Comm.'s seized opportunity to declare a Sov. Rep., Ebert Responded again w/ Freikorps, crushed revolt.
-May 1919, 600 comm. killed.
Ruhr Uprising
-1920, agitation in Ruhr Industrial area, Police, Freikorps, & Army clashed w/ Comm.'s, 2000 casualties
-Ebert's ruthless measures, bitterness between parties, but approval of Germ Public. Feared would end up like russia (rocked by bloody war)n therefore comm.'s remained threat, despite defeats. 

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The Treaty Of Versailles

Quick Summary: Signed 28th June 1919, armistice that ended WW1. 

-L.O.N.s set up as a result of the T.O.V.
-War guilt: Article 231 made germ accept full blame for the war, frustrated germ public, as wasn't entirely their fault.
-Reparations, had to pay the allies damages, £6,600 million, imposs. for Germ to pay it.
-Armed Forces: all forces reduces, army limited to 100,000 men, conscription banned, Rhineland demilitarised, no airforce allowed, navy limited to 6 battleships, 6 cruisers, 12 destroyers, 12 torpedo boats and NO submarines
- All of Germ.'s oversea territories taken away, district of Eupen & Malmedy given to Belgium subject to plebicite, Alsace-Lorraine give to France, West Prussia and Posen made into 'Polish corridor', Upper Silesia, plebicite, divided between poland and germ, Danzig & Memel free countries under LON, Anchluss forbidden, Kiel canal and rivers run by Itl. Commission.

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Extreme Right Wing: aims

-Against the Weimar Govt.
-Wanted germ. to have a strong army
-Liked dictatorship under Kaiser instead of democracy
-Return to the 'good times' before the war
-Germany to have a large empire
-Strong germ. economy and industry
-Destruction of TOV.

The ELW and ERW had the common enemy of the weimar government. 

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The Kapp Putsch

-March 1920
-Dr Wolfgang Kapp led 5,000 Freikorps into Berlin for a rebellion
-Army refused to fire on Freikorps, as used to be part of military too, which showed army wasn't supporting govt.
-However, govt save by germ. public, industrial workers called strik, brought Berlin to a strike.
-No transport, power or water.
-Few days, Kapp realised that couldn't succeed, left country
-Hunted down, died whilst awaiting trial.
-Seemed Weimar did have support and power
-Rest of rebels went unpunished by courts and judges. 

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The Munich Putsch, 1923

-AKA Beer Hall Putsch
-Led by Hitler, misinterpreted the mood of the German people, thought govt preoccupied with econimic crisis, therefore hijacked local govt meeting and announced he was taking over Baravia, joined by war hero Ludenhoff.
-Nazi storm troopers started taking over govt buildings.
-Next day, govt responded with force, police rounded up storm troopers, brief exchange of 16 shots nazis killed by police.
-Rebellion broke up
-Him and other leading nazis charged with treason, however got off very lightly at court, only 5 year prison sentence and only stayed 9 months in prison, as Hitler had impressed judges, Ludenhoof got off free altogether.
-However, Hitler gained enormous publicity for himself and his ideas, every word published in newspapers.
-IMPORTANT: hitler gained sympathy and respect from some members in legal system due to links with Ludenhoff. 

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German Economic Collapse: Occupation of the Ruhr.

Quick Summary: Germ unable to repay £50mill a year, therefore printed more money, which led to hyperinflation. 
Why it was occupied:
-Second insallment wasn't paid (Ebert tried to negotiate for time)
-France running out of patience
-France, with the support of Belgium, invaded Ruhr to take raw materials and goods in form of payment.

Effects of Occupation:
-France angry at Germany, not on good terms/relations.
-Govt ordered workers to strike, PASSIVE RESISTANCE, nothing for FR to take
-French killed over 100 workers, expelling over 100,000 protestors.
-Halt in German industry cause its collapse, as Ruhr was the most important region 

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Quick Summary: No goods to trade with due to french occupation of the Ruhr, the German government printed more money to pay its workers and debts with. Although they paid off all internalm debts, external debts were impossible to pay as the value of money was literally worthless.

-Value of mark decreased
-So much money in economy, therefore icreased price of goods
-Workers needed whellbarrows to carry wages
-People paid daily to keep up with hyperinflation
-Prices changed whilst in queue
-Some benefitted, most suffered
-Poor people suffered
-Those with savings, greatest sufferers, savings worthless, savings couldn't even buy a loaf of bread, pensions couldn't even buy a cup of coffee, 1billion mark notes were printed.

-paid off internal debts, e.g. £2,200million on war loans
-had no goods to export with, therefore no other currency coming in
-then needed to import, extremely expensive
-Homeowners benifitted, mortgages paid off
-Weimar govt. blamed
-Govt paid jobs on a fixed salary worth nothing.
-Businessmenn, capitalized. 

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Hyperinflation (cont.)

Other Effects:
-Decrease in law and order
-decline in morality, massive increase in prostitution
-Increase in suicide
-Increase in prejudice, Weimar & jews... as jews = jewellery  traders.

Short Term
-Occupation of Ruhr (1923)
-Passive resistance of German workers
-Ended under Dawes Plan (1923)

Medium Terms:
-Social reform, welfare & reparations under Weimar
-Deficit, paying more money than gain

Long Term:
-Weltpolitik looking to build an empire, colonies lost under TOV
-Demands of WW1, cost a whole LOAD of money
-Germany didn't win, therefore no profit.
-Economy in debt 

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