GCSE- History Germany-1918-1945

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Early Problems Facing The Republic-1919-1923

  • Problem 1: The treaty of Versailles... How did the treaty affect germany? (I) WAR GUILT, Germany was made to be responsible for all the first world war and it was on their shoulders to sort everything out for the rest of the affected countries. The impact of this was that Reparations had to be made 6,600 million marks to France, Lost territory and military cutbacks.
    • Reparations: This was the compensation needed for war damage and over the next 4 years more economic problems would arise due to the loss of land, when reparations took place.
    • Lost Territory: The treaty of Versailles Caused Germany many problems for Germany's industries she lost about 10% of industry and 15% agriculture land, which furthermore lead to hyperinflation and other arising issues within Germany.
    • Military Cutbacks: The treaty of Versailles was made for Germany to feel and look weak to everyone that had been affected by Germany's many attempts at war, so therefore her army's wer cut down to 100,000 men;6 battleships; no air force;and Rhineland demilitarized for protection of France however it still belonged to France.
  • Overall Versailles was a heavy burden for the new democratic republic to carry. German people found the terms of the treaty difficult to accept. Reparations made economic recovery difficult. People naturally blamed Wiemar's politicians (November Criminals) and some believed the army's myth of the stab in the back. Versailles would always play a role in future economic and political problems.
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  • Problem 2:  Economic Problems- Hyperinflation... Inflation: A general rise in prices. A fall in standard of living takes places if wages do not rise in the same rate.
  • Hyperinflation: This is inflation on a massive scale germany exerienced massive inflation between 1921-1923. The mark (germanys past currency) became worthless due to the overprinting of it to pay of reperations but there wasnt enough gold owned by germany to keep the value of it and it became worthless. The cost of bread in 1918 was 0.63 marks but by 1923 it was 201,000,000,000 marks!!
  • This crisis of hyperinflation was triggered by the invasion of the RUHR where France took most of Germany's industry such as coal, iron and steel.
  • The effect of hyperinflation on the Germans...
    • People who had worked all there lives were turned into beggars.
    • Old People living on fixed incomes (pensions) became worthless payments
    • Wages were not rising as quickly as the rate of inflation so workers standards of living falls.
    • Buisnisess and trade become impossible, So unemployment occurs
    •  The middle classes lost their life savings and their busnissed collapse
  • Things were not going well for the republic, Versailles and Reperations and the Invasion of the Ruhr by French soldiers led to massive economic problems and poverty
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Political Problems

  • Problem 3: Political Problems... caused by both Hyperinflation and Treaty of Versailles
    • January 1919- SPARTICIST UPRISING... This was a communist group which wanted Germany to become a communist state after the war. The spartacists tried to seize power by force but this failed badly as they were shot in cold blood after the SPD asked the ARMY to help crush the revolt.
    • March 1920- KAPP PUTSCH... Kapp marched on Berlin with 5000 supporters to set up a RIGHT winged government however the Wiemar government withdrew to Dresden and called a general strike the defeat the putsch, we need to understand that without this happening the Kapp could not govern and so he fled abroad to prevent his foretold death and the republic survived.
    • November 923- MUNICH PUTSCH... This was the peak of the economic crisis Hitler head of the NSDAP (Nazi's) felt the government was ripe for destruction and it was his time for his attempt to take power, his attempt to march from Munich to Berlin failed due to police being tipped off and he was arrested.- You need to know wether the Munich Putsch was a complete failure, and what good came out of it. 
  • Overall between 1919-1923, the government was accused of failing to cope in 1923, and it appeared to be be weal and incapable. The Wiemar government had been seen to accept Versailles; fail to cope with massive economic problems-the currency had collapsed, poverty, lost savings, pensions worthless; the allies invaded the Ruhr as she could not afford reparations; she battled through 3 attempts at political overthrow... BUT... She did survive and she entered a period of prosperity 1923-1929. The so called Golden Age of Wiemar.
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Key words

  • November Criminals- Opponents of Wiemar called the new politicians... it was thought when the treaty of Versailles was signed in NOVEMBER it was a CRIME against Germany
  • Wiemar Government- The Wiemar Republic is the name used to refer to the new federal republic and democracy that was born in 1919 following the abdication of the Kaiser in late 1918.
  • Passive Resistance-  The refusal to cooperate with legal requirements, this is where German workers were asked to refuse to help the French and stop working.
  • The Republic- This is the same as the Wiemar Government
  • Spartacist- The Spartacists, led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnecht  were a group of radical socialists
  • Kapp Putsch- was a coup attempt (you need to know that the Kapp wasn't successful) in March 1920 aimed at undoing the results of the German Revolution and overthrowing the Wiemar Republic.
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