Germany 1918

  • Germany was on its knees.
  • People were starving, due to 4 years of war and Allied Blockade. 
  • The Army was facing defeat, due to the failure of the Ludendorff offensive in spring 1918.
  • In Augist/September. German Army collapsed. 
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1918 Germany (1)

  • Germany was on its knees.
  • People were starving, due to 4 years of war and Allied Blockade. 
  • The Army was facing defeat, due to the failure of the Ludendorff offensive in spring 1918.
  • In Augist/September. German Army collapsed.
  • Hitler was gassed in October, so spent the last few weeks of the war in hospital.
  • Like many, he didn't understand why the government had surrendered. 
  • He came to believe in a Jewish conspiracy, to save German property. 
  • Hitler accused the 'November Criminals' (The polliticians who signed the Armistice) of betraying Germany.
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1919 - Problems with the Weimar Republic (2)

  • Ludendorff claimed that a new offensive could be undertaken in Spring 1919, as long as enough recruits could be found.
  • However, some units of the German Army had seen little action - and didn't understand why the Armistice was signed. 
  • German people were, as well, confused, as they had been told that the war was defensive, and so didn't understand why the government surrendered, when Germany wasn't invaded. 

About the Weimar Constitution:

  • Based on proportional representation - meaning it was difficult for just one party to gain an overall majority in the Reichstag.
  • The Allies hoped this would prevent a strong governemnt coming to power.
  • But, infact, it meant that all German governments were week & unable to make decisions.
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1919 - Spartacist Revolt (3)

  • Happened in January 1919.
  • An attempted Spartacist revolt (communists).
  • It was only put down by the Frei Korps (gangs of ex-soldiers), who roamed the streets of Berlin in uniform.
  • The leaders of the Spartacists were shot: Rosa Luxembourg & Karl Liebknecht.
  • This encouraged the Frei Korps to believe that the Weimar Government was weak, and that it would be easy for them to seize power. 

The meeting of the new democratic government (Met in Weimar, as Berlin was in chaos):

The constitution said that...

  • -Everyone, male and female, above the age of 20, had the vote.
  • -They promised that there would be freedom of speech, and religion.
  • -There was an elected Parliment (the Reichstag).
  • -A president would be elected every 7 years & elections would be held on a basis of proportional representation, so that the number of votes = proportional to number of deligates.
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1919 - Why did the Constitution of the Weimar Repu

  • Germany had no tradition of democracy, and also of making democratic systems work. 
  • The Kaiser and his friends also despised democracy,
  • Although the Weimar Constitution was very democratic, it also created difficulties:
    • Proportional representation still meant that no party could ever have a majority in the Reichstag.
    • This meant that the governments had to be coalitions, which were chaning frequently.

The Treaty Of Versailles 

  • Signed on June 28th 1919.
  • The Weimar politicians who signed the treaty, took all the anger of German nationalists. They were called the 'November Criminals', and were accussed of stabbing the army in the back.
  • The real desire of the treaty, was to 'make Germany pay', which was not expected, as the German delegates thought it would be based on Wilson's 'Fourteen Points'.
  • The German delegates considered restarting the war, but this wasn't possible. 
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1919 - The Treaty Of Versailles (5)

Terms of the Treaty:

1) Land - Germany lost 10%.

2) Colonies - all German colonies were handed back to Britain & France to look after.

3) Army - limited to 100,000. Airforce = destroyed, and Navy reduced to just six ships.

4) The Rhineland - all military equipment was removed.

5) The Saar - occupied for 15 years. France - able to mine coal there too.

6) Reparations - Germany ordered to pay for all civilian damage caused in WW1 (6,600,00,000 to be payed over 30 years). -Germany had to hand over many merchant ships. -Large quantities of coal were given to France & Italy for 10 years. **

7) War Guilt - Germany had to accept full responsibility for the war alone. 

**Reparations seen as very severe, as they punished the people of Germany, for many years, not the Kaiser, who fled the troubles. 

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1919 - The Treaty Of Versailles = unpopular (6)

  • German people didn't know the scale of Germany's defeat in Autumn 1918, and thought that Germany was fighting a defensive war against aggressive neighbours, and so felt they had been misled. 
  • The German government wasn't able to negociate with the Treaty - it was simply predsented with the final version and told to sign, or war would continue. 
  • The 'War Guilt' clause = seen to be unfair. Germans felt they were being used as scapecoats for other countries. 
  • Germany suffered worse than any other country. [2million soldiers killed & economy ruined].
  • The November Criminals & government became very unpopular & violence increased. 
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1919 - Hitler & The German Worker's Party (7)

  • Hitler joined in September 1919 & was appointed in charge of propaganda. 
  • In 1921, became the Leader.
  • Hitler then renamed the party to the 'National Socialist German Workers Party' - to attract people.
  • The party became nicknamed 'The Nazi's, who had a few thousand supporters, bue wern't known everywhere.
  • Nazis main appeal = through Hitler's speechers, which gained reputation. 
  • Hitler also set up the SA, his own private army. 
  • Hitler used the SA (Sturm Abteilung), led by Ernst Roehm, to attack apponents in the street.
  • Hitler tried to pose as a strong man who could solve Germany's problems. 
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1922 - Occupation of the Ruhr (8)

  • The new government made its first reparation payment in 1922, but in December, it announced it wouldn't be able to make further pauments. 
  • So in January 1923, the German's stopped coal shipments. 
  • However, the French & Belgian governments retailiated - by sending troops into the Ruhr, as an attempt to force Germany to hand over the coal and iron ore, in place of the payments. 
  • The German workers in the Ruhr, went on strike.  
  • The Weimar Government called for 'passive resistance' to the French & Belgians, and paid 'strike pay' to the workers, by printing paper currency. This led to hyperinflation.
  • The French then attempted to set up a seperate movement in the Rhineland, but then cut off the Ruhr from the rest of Germany + brought their own workers in, to work the coalmines.
  • Violence then broke out and a number of french soldiers = killed. 
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1923 - Challenges & Recovery - Hyperinflation (9)

  • Impact of the Occupation of the Ruhr. Seen as something forced onto Germany from ourside.
  • From January 1923, inflation in Germany reached ridiculous proportions, as the government printed more and more money to pay the strikers. 
  • Eventually, 62 factories = working around the clock, to meet demands.
  • August = prices rising by upto 400% each day. People who had saved money = lost everything.
  • Middle classes = worst hit. War pensioners + people with a fixed income were also hit very badly.
  • Shopkeepers = tried to close their shops, but the government forced them to open.
  • Wages = paid hourly, so people rushed to buy anything that they could.

(A 29 pfenning loaf of bread (1912), cost 1200 marks in summer 1923, and by November 1923, 428,000,000,000 marks). 

BUT: some people did benefit. Anyone who borrowed money, could easily repay their loan, as well as gamblers, who became multimillionaires overnight, Foreigners also flocked, to buy up artwork.

Despite the chaos, the Weimar Government became popular for the first time, due to its support for the strikers. 

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1923 - The Beer Hall/Munich Putsch (10)

  • Hitler saw the chaos caused by the Hyperinflation and thought it was a good time to try and seize power.
  • Hitler broke up a meeting at the Burgerbraukeller in Munich on November 8th 1923 at 8:30pm.
  • Hitler fired a gun at the ceiling and announced he would take over the government the next morning. 
  • Local leaders who were present, agreed to support him, but in the confusion they escaped, and the authorities were warned of the plot.
  • The night was spent drinking. Nazis drunk 2400 pints of beer and caused damage. 
  • The following day, Ernst Roehm, SA leader, seized the Post Office in Munich at 8.30, and waited for Hitler. But he didn't start the march until about 11:am.
  • The police opended fire, and 16 Nazi's were killed, including Hitler's bodyguard.
  • Hitler fled and was arrested two days later.
  • He was found guilty, and sentenced to 5 years.
  • He wrote 'Mein Kampf' in jail, which combined his autobiography and political ideas.
  • He was released 11 months later, and decided he needed to change his tactics & the way which his party was organised. 
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1923 - The Stresemann Era (11)

  • August 1923 - Gustav Stresemann came to power.
  • He straight away offered to call off passive resistance, if the French & Belgians would withdraw.
  • In September, passive resistance = called off.
  • Stresemann then tackled hyperinflation straight away:
    • He issued a new currency, the Rentenmark. The old marks could be exchanged at a rate of 300,000 to 1.
  • He then persuaded the Allies to agree to the Dawes Plan.

The Dawes Plan:

  • A programme of loans, from US banks, to help the German economy recover.
  • It also cut the amount of reparations Germany had to pay & extended how long they had to pay it.
  • With some economic recovery, some reparations were paid. 
  • The French & Belgian withdrew troops from the Ruhr in 1925.
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Late 1920's - The recovery of Germany (12)

  • Relations between Germany and neighbouring countries improved. 
  • Stresemann then signed the Locarno Pact.
  • It now appeared that Germany had recovered from the previous effects of war & political unrest.
  • Many Germans now supported the Weimar government.
  • However, coalitions kept coming and going & new chancellor's were appearing.
  • In later 1920's, under Stresemann's recoverey, wages improved.

1926: The black-uniformed SS was formed, who were loyal to Hitler.

  • Businesses prospered again & new industries, like cars, radios, telephones, aircraft and shipbuilding began to do well. 

1929: The Young Plan 

  • Reduced Germany's reperations even further (to 1,707,000,000 marks per year, of which only 606,000,000 had to be paid. The rest could be prosponed for upto 2 years & end in 1988.
  • Most German's expected this to be a final settlement of the reperation problems in Germany. 
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Late 1920's - Support for Hitler & The Nazi's grew

  • Nazi's won support outside of Bavaria for the first time, in 1928.
  • Hitler told the German's that the problems of the Depression weren't their fault, but instead Hitler blamed the Jews & Weimar democrats, as scapegoats for the blame. 
  • Goebells (propaganda chief), organised rallies, radio broadcasts, films, etc, to ensure that Nazi propaganda was ahead of any of their rivals. 
  • Hitler said he would solve all problems & offered strong leadership, with easy solutions. 
  • He said he'd make Germany great again, and get rid of the Treaty.
  • Hitler was always backed up by the SA, masses of uniformed officers, which rose from 30,000 in 1929, to 440,000 in 1932.
  • From 1929, support for the Nazis grew steadily, and the number of Nazi members in the Reichstag increased. 1928 = 12 members. 1930 = 107 members. 1932 (July) = 230 members.
  • In 1929, Stresemann died, who was most responsible for Germany's recovery in the 1920's.
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1929 - The Wall Street Crash (14)

  • American stock exchange crashed.
  • Germany's businesses had to close & the US wanted their loans back.

This led to the Depression in the 1930's.

  • 1/3 of all workers were without jobs.
  • After 6months of unemployment pay ended along came the real poverty & homelessness. 
  • The Weimar Government seemded unable to deal with the crisis. 

1931 onwards: The worst effects.

  • Many banks went bust.
  • This ruined many ordinary Germans, and led them to lose their homes & being forced to live on the streets.

The Nazis & communists gained support (extremist parties).

  • Social Democrats = refused to cut unemployment pay and so went into opposition. 
  • Governments came and went, due to weak coalitions. 
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