Germany Leaders Strengths & Weaknesses

  • Created by: lucy.fw
  • Created on: 15-05-17 18:53

Kaiser Wilhelm II

Had high ambitions for Germany ("a place in the sun")
Commanded absolute rule of Germany E.G. made Bismarck resign in 1890
Led down a path to WWI which turned out to be a disaster for Germany
Faced opposition from the left (Spartacists - revolution from below) and the right (E.G. Pan-German League criticised Kaiser's policy for being too moderate on Socialists)

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Friedrich Ebert

Established Germany's first real democracy in 1919
Moderate Socialist thus helped appease the Socialist threat (ruling parties elected by 75% of the vote)
Faced heavy criticism for signing the Treaty of Versailles
Decisions regarding reparations led to severe hyperinflation in 1923
Eventually started losing grip on his influence E.G. used emergency powers 134 times in 1924

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Gustav Stresemann

Performed an economic miracle in 1923 by setting up a new currency (Rentenmark) based on American loans
Oversaw Weimar Germany's 'Golden Age of Culture'
His economic turn-around was shortlived as Germany was decimated by the Wall Street Crash in 1929
Failed to subdue the growing Nazi threat, as shown by the Munich Putsch in Nov. 1923

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Adolf Hitler

Took advantage of the polarised political opinion in 1929 to gain support for Nazi Party
Showed politcal mastery by using democratic means to establish authoritarian rule using the Enabling Act
Established the Hitler Myth as a foundation to maintain leadership
Ruled through terror so unclear how much opposition he actually faced
Used corrupt means to make his policies seem more effective E.G. eliminated women and Jews from unemployment figures
His plan to expand German borders and the Nazi cause througn WWII failed

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Konrad Adenauer

Established Germany's first ever stable democracy through the Bonn Constitution
Maintained political stability for over a decade (1949 - 1963)
Faced little opposition because the post-war generation was apolitical
Support was waining by the end of his career but he didn't resignNazi legacy still lived on in his government E.G. employed ex-Nazis as government officials, banned extreme parties such as the KPD, Spiegel Affair showed use of Nazi-like tactics

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Ludwig Erhard

Achieved an economic miracle pre-1963
Had experience working as Adenauer's finance minister
The CDU started losing votes under his leadership by 1965 E.G. they lost a Land election in the Rhineland in 1966 
There was an economic recession in 1965 and inflation stood at 4% by 1966 (disputes between Erhard and other coalition leaders about how to deal with this)

Replaced by Kiesinger in 1966

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Helmut Schmidt

Had experience as Minister of Economics and Finance from 1972 to 1979
Chancellorship showed his ability to deal with a number of crises
Won only a two seat majority in the 1976 election

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Helmut Kohl

Helped combat unemploymeny
Revived the economy

Oversaw the reunification of Germany when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 (became his legacy)
Organised the Bitsburg Affair (ceremony of reconciliation of 40 years since WWII)
Struggled to control infighting in the coalition
CSU split into right wing Republican Party (REP) in 1983
Controversy over illegal donations to coalition parties
FDP finance minister resigned in 1984 when he made large businesses exempt from tax

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