Germany: The Weimar Republic

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Kaiser Abdicates - 1918

Spartacist uprising -1919

Treaty of Versailles - 1919

Kapp Putsch -1920

Occupation of the Ruhr - 1923

Hyperinflation - 1923

Munich Putsch - 1923

Dawes Plan -1924

Locarno Pact - 1925

Germany allowed to join the League of Nations -1926

Young plan -1929

Stresemann dies - 1929

Wall Street Crash - 1929

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Six issues for the new Germany

  • People are starving
  • Germany lost the war
  • People don't know how democracy works
  • Germany's economy is a disaster
  • Berlin is dangerous, the capital is moved to Weimar
  • Germany is more divided than ever
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Strengths and Weaknesses of Weimar

  • Strengths:
  • All men and women over 20 have the vote
  • Every vote counted due to PR (Proportional Representation)
  • The Chancellor could not make laws without consulting the Reichstag
  • Weaknesses:
  • PR meant that it was difficult for one party to remain in control, there were coalition governments who often argued
  • Article 48 gave the President power to make emergency laws without consulting the Reichstag: THIS WAS NOT DEMOCRATIC.
  • The constitution needed the support of judges, military leaders etc. and not all of them agreed with the idea of democracy after the autocratic rule of the Kaiser
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Three Attempts to overthrow Weimar Republic

The Spartacist Uprising (1919) - The communist Spartacists led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnicht wanted control of Germany and managed to gain control of government buildings. President Ebert used the army and the Friekorps (unemployed soldiers) to stop them.

The Kapp Putsch (1920) - Wolfgang Kapp marched to Berlin to take over the country and destroy the Treaty of Versailles. He took over government buildings but President Ebert called a general strike so the roads and power lines closed. Kapp gave up and fled Germany.

The Munich Putch (1923) - Hitler took advantage of the chaos caused by hyperinflation. They marched to Munich in an attempt to take over the government but the army did not support him. This led to the death of 11 Nazis, the Nazi party being banned and Hitler being imprisoned.

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Why Germans hated the Treaty

1) It made them poor

2) It left them unable to defend their country

3) They lost pride in Germany

4) They had no decision in the terms of the treaty

They also believed that they had been "stabbed in the back" by the government when they signed the Treaty and that they could have won the war if democrats and Jews hadn't betrayed them. They called the politicans who signed the armistice "The November Criminals."

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1923 - 3 crises

1) The occpupation of the Ruhr - Germany were unable to pay reparations, so France invaded the Ruhr to claim resources as payment. Ebert called for a strike in the Ruhr and "passive resistance" which was refusing to co operate with the French. Consequently the French left the Ruhr.

2) Hyperinflation - Due to the strike in the Ruhr the government had lost profits and needed to make up for lost earnings. They printed more money, which only led to money becoming almost worthless. The middle classes lost all their savings and normal trade in Germany became impossible.

3) The Munich Putch - Hitler took advantage of he chaos and tried to seize control.

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Golden age of Weimar - 1924 - 29

Economical improvements:

  • New currency (Rentenmark) introduced, ending hyperinflation
  • The Dawes plan negotiates loans from the US to help to start businesses
  • Businesses begin booming and unemployment falls
  • Housing, hospitals and schools improved.

International Relations improvements:

  • 1925 - Locarno Treaty signed with Britain, France, Belgium and Italy. Improves relations with other countries and guarantees borders
  • 1926 - Joins League of Nations: Proves Germany is willing to be peaceful
  • 1929 - The Young Plan reduces and spreads out reparation payments
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Problems 1924 - 29

  • Coalition governments never lasted longer than 2 years
  • People got fed up with coalitions disagreeing
  • Germany relied on US loans
  • Farmers did not do well
  • Small businesses suffered
  • Locarno Treaty did not guarantee Eastern borders
  • Some people accused Stresemann of being a traitor
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