Germany 1918-1939 (Germany after war, 1918)


  • Deepened divisions in German society- rich classes and poorer ones were completely separate- workers were bitter that the factory ownders were getting all the money during the war period- women had to work in factories during the war, broke traditional family values.

Germany after war, 1918


  • War had deepened divisions withing society0 massive division between upper class and poorer classes- workers were bitter as factory ownders were making a lot of money during the war- women had to work in factories because there was lack of men- broke traditional family values.


  • War left 600,000 widows and 2 million children without fathers. By 1925 the state was spending around one third of its budget on war pensions- National income was around a third of what it would've been in 1913- Industrial production was about two thirds of what it would have been in 1913


  • Germany had a revolution and became an unstable democratic republic- Kaiser had been removed and new government Ebert replaced him- right wing and left wing politicians didn't like new system- Berlin was taken over by rebellions who did not like the new government.
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Weimar Republic

  • The Allies told Germany it would have to become a democratic country so war could end. The Kaiser refused the offer and a few days later German towns like Kiel were being taken over by sailors- this caused other revolts.
  • The Kaiser abdicated his throne on 9th November 1918 and Ebert became the new leader of the German Republic.
  • Many people were unhappy with the new German system- Ebert had opposition from both the right and left wing. On the rigth wing many civil service, judiciary and army men held their positions and on the left there were many communists who thought Germany needed a revolt similar to the one in Russia in 1917.
  • Despite all the opposition in January 1919 free elections took place for the first time in Germany and Ebert's party won a majority of the votes. Many meetings had to take place in the small town of Weimar because bigger towns like berlin were dangerous and violent, even in february 1919.
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Threats from left wing and Treaty of vasaille

Left wing:

  • In Berlin, January 1919 a communist party known as the Spartacists set up soviets consisting of many rebels in German towns. The spartacists was a party ran by 2 communist leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebhnecht.
  • At the same time an anti communist group was set up called the Freikorps. Ebert appealed to the commander of the Freikorps to put down any rebellion from the Spartacists.
  • In the first revolt, brutal fighting took place however the Freikorps managed to kill the 2 leaders and the communist revolution had failed. However, in February 1919, in Bavaria Ebert's allie was killed and the Spartcaists made Bavaria a soviet republic nation however the Freikorps crushed the revolt again in May 1919 and 600 communists were killed.
  • In 1920 there was another revolt in the Ruhr area and 2,000 casulties. Despite the defeats the communists were still a strong power throughout the 1920's althought there was bitterness between Ebert, his socialist party and the communists.

Treaty of Vasaille

  • Germany were made to lose 10% of land, all oversea colonies, 12.5% population, 16% coal and 48% industry- this was humiliating.
  • Ebert eventually had to sign the treaty despite being reluctant, many Germans believed they had been 'stabbed in the back' by liberal politicians and socialists, believing if the war had not ended they could've carried on fighting and won. A lot of blame was put on the Weimar government. Even by the time Hitler had come to power in 1933 there was still bitterness over the treaty.
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Threat from right wing/occupation of ruhr/hyperinf

Right wing

  • Right wing opponents were still fond of the Kaiser and wanted Germany to have a strong army. In March 1920 Dr Wolfgang Kapp led 5000 Freikorps into Berlin demonstrating a rebellion.
  • Luckily, the workers of Germany that day decided to go on strike, halting the town of Berlin for food water and transport. Dr Wolfgang Kapp knew he would not be able to suceed with his revolt and left, he was soon hunted down and killed.
  • After 1920 there was stilla lot of revolts going ahead. In 1922 Ebert's foreign minister Rathneau was killed by extremeists. In November 1923 Hitler lead a revolt in Munich- both leaders were let off lightly. The right wing had friends in higer places it seemed.

Occupation of Ruhr

  • In 1922 Ebert didn't pay an installement to the French, they became impacient and in Januray 1923 troops from Berlin and France invaded the Ruhr- taking all the good that would compensate for the loss of money.
  • Ebert ordered all workers to go on strike so there would be nothing left to take. This only angered the French and so they killed over 100 workers and expelled 100,000 protestors.


  • Government began printing worthless amount of money and managed to pay off a war loan of 2,200 million ponds. Wages were paid daily instead of montly.
  • Chancellor Stresseman appealed to the US under the Dawes Plan and they injecting an 800 million dollar loan0 Germany soon became relient on the US. Also, Stresseman changed the currency from the Reichmark to the rentemark. where 1 rentemark was equal to 100,000,000,000 reichmarks.
  • The middle class who had saved a lot of money suffered with all the money printing as they discovered money that would've gotten them a house in 1921 wouldn't buy them a load of bread by 1923. Democracy lost middle class support.
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Weimar Republic recovery 1924-1929


  • The 1924 Dawes Plan meant the USA were pouring loans into Germany and reperations were being paid. By 1927 the German industry had managed to gain new technology and by 1928 Germnay became the world's 2nd industrial creator
  • BUT US loans could be called in at any moment, leaving Germany once again bankrupt. Also Big businesses meant the smaller ones were losing money which led to resentement as many of the bigger businesses were owned by Jews.


  • Wages for industrial workers rose as the governments became sympathetic towards trade unions, so welfare benefits and wages increased. Consumer goods became cheaper. German living standards also improved, sports stadium and swimming pools were built.
  • BUT farmers lost out and found themselves overproducing meaning that food prices dropped and they struggled to pay morgages. Middle classes were still suffering from hyperinflation and unemployment was at 1.8 million by 1929- one in ten adults were on state benefits.


  • Weimar constitution allowed free expression and Germany became home to some od the finest poets and writers.
  • BUT some people didn't agree with the idea of free expression and the groupd Wandervoge was formed who tried to appeal to get towns back to being simple and less decandent.
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Recovery 1924-29


  • After 1923 attempted revolutions stopped and the republic settled, meaning by 1928 the moderate parties had 136 seats and the Weimar Republic seemed to be doing well. Hitler's Nazi's gained less than 3% in the 1928 election. The socialists, catholic party and democratic party worked well together in the years 1924-29.
  • BUT despite the relative stability for the weimar the Nazi's and communists were building up their party organisations. In 1926 the German people elected ex general Hindenburg as president- he was oppposed to democracy and liked the Kaiser. He could rule by decree.

Foreign policy:

  • Stresseman improved Germany's international repuatation. In 1925 he signed the Locarno Treaties trying not to change the western borders with Belgium and France. In 1926 Germany was acepted into the League of Nations where Stresseman tried to get rid of some of the treaty of wasaille's warranties. In 1928 he signed the kellog-briant pact showing their opposition to war and in 1926 the young plan lightened the reputations on Germany and led to the removal of allied troops from Rhineland.
  • BUT nationalists attacked Stresseman for joining the League Of Nations and they hated the Locarno Pact as it was seen as a sign of weakness of accepting loss of territory. Germany was still a violent place with Nazi's and Communists fighting on the streets.
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Weimar crisis in 1929-1933

Economic collapse:

  • On 29th October Wall Street crash in the US meant Americian stock market had crashed. Germany was pulled into depression due to prosperity of loans to us in late 1929. America dmanded loans to be repayed.
  • After 1929 international trade contracted and Germany exports fell with 20,000 business closing along with 5 major banks.

Social sufferring:

  • By 1932 one third of German workers were unemployed. Stresseman died leaving Germany not knowjng where to turn through tough times.

Political Instability:

  • Chancellor Bruning of the Weimar Republic headed a coalition government between 3 parties: to cut welfare payments but the social democratics quit the coalition leaving Bruning to deal with the crisis alone. Bruning appealed to Hindenburg to bypass reichtag, the weakness of the weimar constitution was revealed and people began turning to parties trying to shut the weimar down eg the Nazi's.
  • The general election in 1930 allowed the Nazi's to seize a breakthrough when they won 107 seats and became the second biggest party in Germany.
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Nazi Party 1919-1922

  • In January 1919 Anton Dexter founded the DAP. In September 1919 Hitler was asked to make a report to the DAP and was later asked to join.
  • Hitler was a good public speaker and went to many meetings appealing against the Treaty Of Vasaille, Jewish conspiracy and the hatred of the Weimar Republic.
  • In February 1920 Dexter and Hitler wrote the 25 point programme which made points such as: citizens could only be made citizens idf they were german, anyone entering Germany after 2014 had to leave and freedom of religion as long as it didn't offend the Nazi's.
  • A group called the SA 'brownshirts' were also set up to disrupt any social and communist party meetings.
  • Hitler later developed the hooked cross symbol (swastika) and the raised arm salute. In 1921 protection squads were produced to protect speakers. The Nazi's had grown in Bavaria and Munich and Hitler wanted to seize control of Bavaria and march into Berlin.
  • The Nazi's started off with 1,100 in June to 55,000 in November 1923.
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Munich Putsch

  • On 8th November 1923 Hitler interupted a government meeting and claimed he was going to take control over Bavarria. He was joined by old war hero Ludendorf. He kidnapped Von Kahr and Von Seisser (chief head of ppolice and leader of government in Bavaria) and held them at gun pointmaking them agree to terms and promises.
  • After Hitler left Kahr and seisser changed their minds and got together a group of police and troops. When Hitler and the Nazi's marched through Berlin they were met with the police and 16 Nazi's were shot along with 3 policemen. Hitler was arrested along with Ludendorf and at his trial his emotonal speeches moved everybody and managed to bunk up Nazi votes to 6.5% in the 1924 elections.
  • In his 9 month imprisonment he wrote 'mein kamf' explaining his ideas about gaining more support. Whilst in prison at the December 1924 elections the votes for Nazi's went down to 3%- they were going nowhere until the great depression hit.
  • As Nazi's re-organised between 1924-29 the became the largest political party in Germany by 1932 as a result of their new approach and the great depression.
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Why were the Nazi's so sucessful?


  • Unemployment had risen from 1.3 million to 6.1- mainly due to the Wall Street Crash. The German population became desperate for a change. Hitler had the ability to give moving speeches and with all the Nazi propogranda he was made out to be 'superman'. In posters his physical appearance was well adapted and he refused to wear glasses. The Nazi's were flexible if they raised an idea and a majority of people didn't like it they would change it, and they never made adamant promises meaning people often wandered what they were really about.

Other Parties:

  • Other parties like the Social Democrats were weak and instead of challenging Hitler and the Nazi's, instead they bickered and argued amongst their own parties. The social democrats eventually withdrew from the coalition government because of the policies of cutting tax and wages. The party was incredibly organised with many ex soldiers and generals meaning each leader eg Goebbels was incredibly skilled. The radio was also used by the Nazi's a lot and in 1923 Hitler flew around Germany giving 4-5 speeches a day.
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Hitler becoming Chancellor

  • Hitler demanded Hindebnurg make him chancellor as he believed he was responsible for the Nazi's gaining 37% in the 1932 election. Hindenburg refused and instead stuck with Papen as chanchellorusing Article 48 to pass laws.
  • Papen continued as Chanchellor believing the Nazi's would lose votes in the November election.Despite a slight drop in support down to 33% the Nazi's were the largest party, Hitler asked Hindeburg to appoint him again.
  •  Schleicher tells Hindenburg to sack Papen and appoint him instead. He said he would make efforts to form a government with nationalists and the SPD. Hindeburg refuses to appoint Hitler and instead appoints Schelicher. Hindeburg resignates.
  • Papen calls on Hindenburg to suspend democracy and back him as chanchellor, he refuses and papen resigns. Schelicher fails to convince the SPD to back the government so he was dependant on article 48.
  • Papen felt as if he had been double crossed by Schleicher and met Hitler in secret proposing a way of making Hitler chancellor and Papen vice. Hitler agrred and Papen got army generals and landowners to back him when he went to Hindenburg.
  • Hindenburg accepted Papen's proposal and fired Schleicher appointing Hitler as chancellor in January 1933. Hitler became chaneloor head of a Nazi-Nationalist coalition government.
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How did the Nazi's become the largest political pa

  • When the depression hit Germany in the early 1930's the Nazi's promised strong leadership, economic stability and to restore German pride. People were favourable of Germany standing up for itself and blame being placed on the Jews.
  • Weimar weakness included 1919 Treaty Of Vasailles, 1923 Occupation of Rurh and 1923 Hyperinflation
  • Hitler was a great public speaker and could win massive audiences. He changed his message to suit each audience. He was an unquestioned leader and his wishes were quickly responded too. In 1932 the 'Hitler over Germany' campaign made him become a national political figure.
  • No party was big enough to rule on its own so a coalition government was formed.  Hindenburg was no lover of democracy and yet was a presidential dictator.
  • Hitler's SA disrupted any political meetings that weren't the Nazi's. They handed out leaflets and propoganda. The SA was a chance for unemployed workers to do something as they provided a uniform and free soup kitchens.
  • The Social democratics, German people's party and the catholic centre party couldn't agree with how to deal with the depression. Stresseman's death in 1929 left no adamant leader. Other political groups campaigned less energetically, they attacked one another rather than the Nazi#s.
  • Nazi's got money for big companies eg Krupp for promising to cruch the communists. This was also used for election propoganda.
  • Wall street crash- unemployment from 1.3 to 6.1 mllion- closure of 5 banks.
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Road to dictatorship

  • January 1933- Hitler was appointed Chancellor. If he received 67% of the vote he would be able to destroy the democratic system quicker.
  • February 1933- Parliment was burnt down by a dutch communist. Hitler convinced Hindenburg to use Article 48 to arrest and lock up anyone 'acting against the german nation' Germany was now a dictatorship because people were scared of the leaders.
  • Despite Nazi efforts they polled in at 43% votes- not enough to change constitution.
  • March 1933- Ministry of propoganda is set up. Germany is bombarded with posters, leaflets ect.. SA stand outside polls on election day. Germany is now a dictatorship because there is no freedom of speech.
  • March 1933- Enabling act Nazi's made a deal with catholic centre they would not attackthe church if they agreed to support the Nazi's want for constitutional change in the Reichtag. This enabled Hitler to pass laws without decree. There was no parliment- dictaorship.
  • May 1933- Nazi's declared a free bank public holiday for workers on 1st May. Nazi's shut down all trade union offices- workers had no ability to bargain for better working conditions.
  • July 1933- A new law was passed that no other parties could exist. The communists were banned in February- there was no other parties.
  • June 1934- Night of long knives- Hitler killed anybody who opposed his position or ideas.
  • August 1934- Hindenburg died, Hitler became both chancellor and president- he is a dictator.
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Night Of Long Knives

  • ** leader Rohm was opposed to many of Hitler's ideas. He criticised Hitler's links with the rich and army generals. He wanted more socialist policies to help the working classes. He had a lot of SA members loyal to him putting him in a good position to challenge Hitler. He was heard claiming 'Adolf is a swine'.
  • On the night of the 30th June 1934 Hitler arranged for Rohm to be arrested and imprisoned and shot. Six other SA leaders were shot at Stadelheim. Between 30th June and 2nd July 400 people, including 150 senior members were shot without trial.  On 1st July an ** officer left a loaded pistol in Rohm's cell and left him for 15 minutes, after not hearing a shot he came in and shot him.
  • Hitler also murdered individuals who opposed him in the past, eg von schleicher. The army leadership agreed to accept Hitler's leadership after Hindenburg's death, maning he would then have control over the German military, leaving no group to oppose him.
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How did the Nazi's control the German people?


  • The ** destroyed the sa IN 1934. Himmler led the **, the group was orginised to destroy any Nazi opposition and racial policies. They worse blackshirts and were practically all of Aryan race. The death-heads were responsible for concentration camps and the Waffen-** fought alongside the regular army. Hitler built the ** after the Knight Of Long Knives so people would know never to be ruthle** unle** expre**ing Nazi views. Withing 6 months Waffen-** numbered to 150000.

Legal system:

  • The police and courts also helped to prop Nazi dictatorship. Top jobs were granted to high ranking Nazi's who reported to Himmler. Nazi's controlled magistrate courts and judges so people opposing the nazi's never had a fair trail. Political 'snooping' was also added to the normal law. By October 1933 the German lawyers front was established with over 10,000 members. By 1934, Hitler controlled the legal system and all Nazi's were judges in courts, Hitler would also alter sentences.
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How did Nazi's control the German people?

Concentration camps

  • Concentration camps were prisons set up for anyone who criticised the Nazi's most of whom were: jews, communists, socialists ect.. Prisoners suffered hard labour, beatings and lack of food. The started off as just workhouses however turned into buildings intentionally built where people were forced under hard labour. By the late 1930's deaths in the camp were common due to undernourishment. Half a million was spent on these camps. Freister was a judge in the camps who passed death sentences 'guilty until proven guilty'.


  • They were the 'scret state police' set up in 1938 by Goering and Himmler. By 1939 it was the most important police section of Nazi state. They would arrest and imprison anybody who opposed the Nazi's state. Poeple were often sent to concentration camps. In Rhineland 1938 a woman was overheard criticising Hitler and within 5 minutes the ** had arrived and arrested her.Black wardens were in control of houses- 80% ofinquries were made by the public. Children would turn on their own parents, after hearing things at youth club and schools.
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Cenorship and propoganda

Cenorship- preventing any other ideas+criticism to Nazi ordeal

  • Non-nazi magasines and newspapers were closed down and editors were told what they could print. All film productions were seen by Goebbels before they were published. Al radio stations were placed under Nazi control. Students in Berlin burtn 20,000 books written by jews, communists and anti-nazi uni professeurs.

Propoganda- Nazi's monopolise ideas into society

  • Photos were published to show the Reich government at tables with bottles- showing them livening it up. Sets were installed with loudspeakers on the streets so Nazi messages were heard. Many writers were forced to write books praising Hitler's achievements. Lovers and thrillers were given pro-Nazi slants. For example, Hitlerjunge was about a boy who joined the hitler youth from a communist background. All films were accompanied with a 45 minute newsreel gloryfying Hitler. The Nuremberg rallies took place every summer with bands, marches and flying displays. The rallies showed how Germnay had power as a state and how most German's supported the Nazi's. These were led by Hitler Youth and the SA.
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Sport for propoganda

  • In 1936 Hitler arranged the olympics to be held in Berlin. Rivals like the USA wanted to boycott the game for the anit-jewish politics so the German's had one jew in their team. Goebbels built a stadium for 100,00 people, modern electrical lighting, tevelision, cameras and photo-electronic filming. Signs declaring 'jews not wanted' were taken down.
  • Guests from 49 different countries were invited. Visitors were shocked by the scale of the stadium but appalled by the fanatical devotion to Hitler and the presence of ** guarding. Sport was always encouraged by Hitler as he wanted fit and healthy men and women. They wanted the olympics to be a doctorine for the Aryan race.
  • Germany came top of the medal table with 33 gold, 26 silver and 30 bronze medals. However Jesse Owens- a black athlete won four gold medals and broke 11 records. The USA won 13 medals all together. Hitler refused to present medals too them.
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