• Created by: HannahDav
  • Created on: 25-04-17 16:10

End of WWI

  • Germany was in a very poor state; its blockade had led to a lack of food and supplies hence, starvation.
  • Riots were beginning to break out and the navy mutinied against the Kaiser at the end of October 1918.
  • Thus, the Kaiser abdicated on November 9th 1918.
  • The social democrats, led by Chancellor Friedrich Ebert, took on the job of running Germany on November 10th and attempted to improve people's lives by introducing freedom of speech and better working conditions.
  • This goverment signed the armistice, withdrawing Germany from WWI on November 11th 1918
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Weimar Constitution

  • In January 1919 a new democratic constitution for Germany was drawn up. Their first meeting was held in Weimar, earning them the nickname "The Weimar Goverment".
  • Their first job was to write a new constitution for Germany, this was finalised in August 1919.
  • It was the most advanced democracy in Europe and was as follows:

1.Eveyone over the age of  20 could vote, people voted for MPs who would sit in the Reichstag.

2.The chancellor would be head of Reichstag and voted for every four years.

3.There would be a president voted for every seven years who would select the chancellor and control the army.

4. Proportional representation: amount of seats in Reichstag is directly proportional to votes. E.G. 10% of votes-10% of seats.

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Weaknesses of the new constitution

  • Article 48 said that in an emergency the president could make laws without going to the Reichstag-gave president too much power
  • Proportional representation often led to many small parties gaining seats- including extremist parties such as, the Nazis. This meant coalition governments had to be formed to gain majority. However, the governments were often weak and short lived.
  • The army generals and judges were the same men who had served the Kaiser- many opposed the Weimar Republic.
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Women in Weimar Germany


  • Given the right to vote in 1919
  • Equality of education, equal opportunity in civil service appointments and equal pay in the professions introduced
  • By 1926, there were 32 women deputies in the Reichstag


  • Went out unescorted, drank and smoked in public
  • Were fashion conscious-often wearing shorter skirts
  • Had hair cut short+wore make-up


  • Growing number of women employed, especially in civil service (where they earned same pay as men)
  • BY 1933, there were 100,000 female teachers+3000 female doctors
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Challenges from the left and right

Opposition from the left-Spartacists:

  • Led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, demonstrated against the government in December 1918. 16 died in clashes with the army.
  • They formed the German Communist Party and on January 5th 1919 staged an uprising in Berlin to overthrow the government and create a communist state.
  • The rising was crushed and Luxemburg and Liebknecht killed.

Opposition from the right-Kapp Putsch:

  • The Freikorps were furious about the treaty of Versailles. In March 1920, they attempted to take power in Berlin, through a putsch led by Dr Wolfgang Kapp.
  • Kapp set-up a new right-wing government in Berlin. The army refused to put down the putsch showing their lack of support for the Weimar Republic.
  • Berlin workers supported Weimar and went on strike-the putsch collapsed.
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Treaty of Versailles

  • The peace treaty that the German Goverment had to sign after WWI.
  • The main terms can be summed up in BRAT.
  • Blame- Germany had to accepts full responsibility for the war and its damage.
  • Reparations- Germany had to pay £6.6 billlion to pay repairs.
  • Armed forces-The German army was reduced to 100,000 men and no tanks, submarines or planes were allowed. The Rhineland was also demilitarised.
  • Territory-Germany lost 13% of their land and 12.5% of their population alongside all of their colonies. Furthermore, the loss of land reduced income as some areas were industrial.
  • The German population were outraged and called it a dictated peace.
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Beginning of the Nazi Party

  • Anton Drexler had a party called "the Germans Worker Party", Hitler joined this party in 1920 and agreed with the point of abolishing the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Hitler soon rose to become leader and gave the party a new name, "National Socialist German Workers Party or NSDAP or Nazi party.
  • He gave the party its new flag (with the Swastika) and a new, private army to protect it (SA or brownshirts).
  • The SA would often beat opponents, in particular the detested communists.
  • The party was small and it met in beer houses.
  • However, Hitler's powerful speeches, especially those concerning the Treaty of Versailles attracted much attention.
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  • Germany paid its first reparation payment in 1921 but couldn't afford that of 1922.
  • Thus, France and Belgium decided to invade the Ruhr or Germany's main industrial area to receive their payment.
  • The Germans reacted with passive resistance, going on strike and destroying numerous factories alongside flooding mines.
  • This sparked violence from the invaders who shot numerous Germans and expelled others.
  • The Weimar government supported strikers through printing more money to pay strikers to continue doing so.
  • Too many notes in the economy meant that prices went out of control, November 1923 was the worst month.
  • People had to carry wages home in wheelbarrows, prices went up extremely fast.
  • The elderly and middle class suffered badly as their savings and wages were wiped out, this is called hyperinflation.
  • Hitler chose 8th of November 1923 to carry out the Munich Putsch as he believed that Germany was so desperate that they would follow a new leader. He was supported by General Ludendorff.
  • Hitler and 600 Nazis seized a bar hall and arrested the three Bavarian leaders (von Kahr, bon Seisser and Von Lossow).
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  • The three leaders were forced to swear their allegiance to Hitler's takeover and were locked in a room.
  • The trio escaped and called the police who arrested Hitler. The Putsch was easily stopped.
  • The publicity Hitler received from his trial was of high use-he was known all over Germany.
  • In prison, Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf" which explained his concepts for Germany.
  • Furthermore, he decided that it would be better to gain votes than control Germany through force.
  • Hyperinflation ended in November-December 1923 as Stresemann introduced the Rentenmark and signed the Dawes plan which meant America lent Germany money to rebuild industry in order to repay debts.
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1924-1929: Economic boom

  • Gustav Stresseman was Germany's chancellor between 1923 and 1924 and foreign secretary proceeding this.
  • He helped Germany back on to its feet through introducing economic measures: replaced old currency with the Rentenmark, the Dawes plan (800,000,000 mark loan from USA), the Young plan 1929 (reduced reparations payments by 67%).
  • This increased money and foreign goods in Germany. More spending money=higher living standards.
  • This was a modern age for Germany; architecture, arts and cinema were arising.
  • On the surface, Germany was doing well however, they were dependant on loans and were lacking in personal economy produce.
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Stresemann's achievements abroad

  • Greatly improved relations with UK and France by ending passive resistance in the Ruhr. The Locarno Pact of 1925 followed-signed by Germany, UK, France, Italy + Belgium- by this agreement, Germany agreed to keep its existing border.
  • Germany had to become a member of the League of Nations for the pact to come into operation. It was given an official seat in September 1926, which recognised its return to a Great Power.
  • In 1928, Germany signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact along with 64 other nations. It was agreed that these nations would keep their armies for self-defence but solve all future disputes by 'peaceful means'
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1929- Economic bust and Wall Street crash

  • In 1929, the USA's economy collapsed. They recalled all loans- Germany's money influx  stopped causing it to fall into depression.
  • Unemployment rocketed, peaking at 6,000,000.
  • Homes were lost and people had to scavenge for food on the streets and in tips.
  • The Weimar government dealt poorly with the situation; they lowered wages and heightened taxes, increasing suffering.
  • Violence broke out and the Weimar government dealt with it badly.
  • The desperation from this event is one of the key events that led to Hitler's rise to power.
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Changes to the Nazi Party

  • During Hitler's time in prison, the Nazi party was banned but operated in secret.
  • In February 1924 the ban on the party was lifted and Hitler slowly began to regain control.
  • At the Bamberg conference in 1926 Hitler strengthened his posistion as leader.
  • The ** (blackshirts) was created as to serve as his private bodyguards also, the Hitler Youth was created to oppose and indoctrinate.
  • In 1928 Hitler began to target rural as well as Urban voters.
  • In 1925, the Nazi party had 27,000 members and in 1928 100,000.
  • However, in 1928 elections only 12 seats were won so Goebbels was appointed as Party Propaganda Leader.
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Nazi Growth

  • The Great Depression- 40% of workers were unemployed and starving, Hitler promised "Work and Bread" this appealed  to the population as the Nazi Party were offering provisions for families. Hitler tried to appeal to the population that would otherwise turn to communism.
  • Propaganda- Goebbels was a strong propaganda worker, ensuring that all messages were clear and strong. Hitler made speeches at mass rallies and on radios whilst the Nazi party owned 120 weekly or daily newspapers that were read across Germany.
  • SA-Hindeburg had repeatedly triggered article 48(emergency powers) making the Weimar government look weak. The SA however, made the NSDAP look organised in their smart uniforms and marching. This looked appealing. Also, they were highly violent and looked strong in the countless conflicts with the Red Front Fighters(communist private army). Hitler was trying to show that the communists were violent and he could deal with them.
  • Hitler's promises- Hitler's promises were appealing. He promised to abolish the Treaty of Versailles, solve unemployment and provide jobs.
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Election results

1928: 12 seats

1930: 107 seats

July 1932: 230 seats (Nazis were largest political party with 37% of votes but didn't have a majority in the Reichstag)

November 1932: 196 seats (SA's campaign of violence began to have negative impact votes reduced to 33%)

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Hitler's rise to chancellorship

  • Hitler asked Hindenburg to become chancellor however, Hindenburg refused as he didn't trust Hitler.
  • Von Papen was then given the position but struggled to pass laws as he was not leader of the largest party in the Reichstag.
  • Another election was called in November 1932 but still he couldn't gain a majority.
  • Von Schleicher was chosen as the next chancellor after he convinced Hindenburg that Germany was heading to civil war. Though, he found himself in much the same position as von Papen. Hindenburg continually had to trigger article 48.
  • Von Papen then made a political scheme with Hitler; he would help Hitler become chancellor if he was chosen as vice chancellor.
  • Von Papen convinced Hindenburg that they could control Hitler thus, with no other options, Hitler was granted the position.
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1933-1934 Hitler and his rise to become Fuhrer-1

Hitler was now chancellor of Germany but still didn't have a majority in the Reichstag to he called another election in March 1933 in the hope he could now gain a majority.

  • Reichstag fire- One week before the election, on February 27th, the Reichstag building was set on fire. It is not known definitely who set it on fire but the Nazis arrested the Dutch Communist Marinus van der Lubbe. Hitler then claimed that the communists were trying to takeover Germany. Hitler then persuaded Hindenburg to pass the "Decree for the protection of the people and state", allowing the Nazis to arrest countless political opponents meaning that they could not rally, decreasing their votes. Also, people feared voting for the communists.
  • Despite this, the NSDAP only gained 288 seats or 44% so still didn't have a majority.
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1933-1934 Hitler and his rise to become Fuhrer- 2

  • Hitler formed a coalition with the Nationalist Party as it gave him a majority and allowed him to begin getting things done.
  • On 23rd March 1933 Hitler passed the enabling bill. He used underhand tactics to do this; communist party members couldn't vote, any absent members counted as present and voted in favour of the bill, the SA intimidated members as they entered the Reichstag and Hitler made promises to the Catholics to get them to vote in favour.
  • The bill was therefore passed and it allowed Hitler to pass laws for the next four years without consulting the Reichstag. The act enabled Hitler to rise to dictatorship.
  • Hitler banned opposing parties and put their leaders in concentration camps, banned trade unions, put Nazis in control of all state governments and used fear alongside intimidation to ensure that there was no opposition.
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1933-1934 Hitler and his rise to become Fuhrer- 3

  • As Hitler now had increased control within Germany he focused on threats from the inside.
  • The SA and their leader Rohm had become a threat due to numbers and their desire to merge with the German army. 
  • On the 30th June 1934, Hitler had Rohm and 400 SA leaders shot by members of the **. This became known as the Night of the Long Knives.
  • Hitler also used the opportunity to rid himself of other enemies such as, von Schleicher.
  • Hitler told the German population he had protected them from a takeover.
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1933-1934 Hitler and his rise to become Fuhrer

  • Hindenburg died in August 1934.
  • Hitler then combined the role of the chancellor and president to become Fuhrer. Nobody could stop him due to the enabling bill.
  • Hitler then made the army swear an oath of loyalty to him as opposed to the country.
  • Hitler was now a true dictator.
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1933-1939-Change in life of workers

  • Germany was still suffering from the depression but Hitler knew that he had to deliver on his promise of "work and bread".
  • Unemployment was tackled by creating work programmes such as, the building of autobahns or motorways. Millions of men received jobs put pay was poor.
  • Men aged 18-25 were made to join the RAD(Reich Labour Service) for six months. They did hard labour, lived in camps and wore Nazi unifom.
  • All workers joined the DAF(German Labour Front) which controlled workers and settled disputes between them and their employers. It encouraged employers to improve working conditions.
  • The KDF(Strength through joy) organisation was set-up to organise the leisure time of workers. It provided cheap leisure opportunities, encouraging hard work.
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1933-1939- Change in life of workers 2

  • In 1935 German men became conscripted into the army and more factories for arms peoduction were created. They were trying to achieve autarky so that they could continue fighting without trade.
  • Women and Jews were sacked opening job posistions for men. This is known as invisible unemployment as they were not counted in figures.
  • Unemployment went from 6million to 0.5million.
  • Farmers were helped in paying off loans but were given quotas for production to meet, limiting freedom.
  • Jewish businesses were closed down allowing other, German businesses to flourish.
  • The government took control of prices, wages, profits and imports which prevented big businesses from running affairs their own ways.
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Lives of Women under Nazi Control

  • Women lost lots of freedom under Nazi control that they had gained during the Weimar period.
  • Women were expected to be housewives.
  • Their lives can be summed up in the 3Ks;Kinder, Kuche, Kirche (children, kitchen, church).
  • The nazis encouraged women to have large families to increase birth rate and to ensure the future of the master race. Medals were awarded for women who had large numbers of children.
  • People were encouraged to get married and have children by being offered marriage loans. They lay at 1000 marks and reduced by 250 for each child.
  • Women were discouraged from wearing make-up, smoking and dieting.
  • Lebensborns were also set up where women could "donate" a baby to the Fuhrer by becoming pregnant by a racially pure ** member.
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Lives of Youth under Nazi Control

  • Hitler wanted to indoctrinate the youth to become perfect Nazis- he did this through youth movements and education. 
  • The Hitler Youth was for young boys it had three sections; 6-10 Years- Pimpfe, 10-14 Years-Jungfolk and 14-18 Years- Hitler Jungend. As age increased so did strictness as they became increasingly close to their military and labouring careers.
  • The League of German Maidens was for girls it had two sections; 10-14 Years-Jungmadel and 14-21 Years- Bund Deutscher Madel.
  • Boys trained to be soldiers: marching, camping, weapons training and fitness training.
  • Girls trained to be good mothers: fitness and domestic training.
  • Both groups listened to Mein Kampf, saluted the Swastika, sung Nazi songs and reported on anti-Nazi activties.
  • Maths questions promoted messages, history focused on the NSDAP, geography focused on the "Greater Germany", biology focused on the Aryan race and eugenics or race studies was introduced.
  • History books and story books were rewritten to promote the Nazi ideology.
  • There were many PE lessons to increase fitness. 
  • Jewish pupils were persecuted during lessons and had to leave in 1938.
  • Teachers had to join the Nazi Teachers' association or lose their jobs.
  • Membership of the Hitler youth became compulsory in 1939, 7.5 million joined and around 1 million refused.
  • Some young people chose anti-nazi movements such as, the Swing movement and the Eidelweiss Pirates.
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  • Hitler set up the cult of the Fuhrer, presenting himself as the greatest saviour of Germany. His image was used very carefully- he was shown only serving Germany.
  • Goebbels ensured that people were bombarded with information.
  • Posters, pictures, art exhibitions and films were all created to show the greatness of the Nazis.
  • Hitler's speeches were broadcast on the the radio as a reminder of what the German people had to be thankful for. Cheap radios were sold and speeches were also broadcast on loudspeakers.
  • Newspapers were all censored and great rallies were held to represent power alongside organisation.
  • In 1936, Hitler used the Olympic Games to showcase to the world how efficient, modern and advanced the nation was.
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Terror and Intimidation

  • Concentration camps were used to imprison anyone who went against the Nazi state. Prisoners were expected to work to benefit Germany and often died due to long hours and insufficient rations.
  • The Gestapo would go around cheacking that people were being loyal to the Nazis. People who weren't would often be taken off in the middle of the night to be tortured or sent to camps.
  • The legal system also helped control; all judges had to become part of the Nationalist Socialist League for the Maintenance of Law. This meant that they were Nazis and held Nazi views. If they had been too leanient, Hitler would often alter sentences.
  • Germany was subdivided into tiny blocks of 30-40 houses and one nazi would keep an eye on the neighbourhood and report any anti-nazi behaviour.
  • Children were expected to spy on their parents and neighbours.
  • People were too scared to oppose the nazis.
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Nazi Racial Policy and Changes in the lives of min

  • Hitler believed that the Aryan race were the master race.
  • He wanted to keep the master race pure meaning aryans and non-arayans couldn't have children. He achieved this through selective breeding and destroying the Jews.
  • It was believed that Jews were inferior and were to blame for all of Germany's issues.
  • Anyone who didn't fit Nazi ideology was removed from society.
  • Vagrants and the homeless were taken to camps to be re-educated and become useful citizens.
  • Homosexuals were sent to camps.
  • Blacks and the mentally ill were sterilised or were killed.
  • Gypsies were sent to camps and exterminated alongside the Jews in WWII. These groups were known as Utenmensch.
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Treatment of the Jews

  • Jews suffered badly.
  • 1933: SA organised boycotts of Jewish shops and businesses.
  • 1934: Jews were banned from public spaces.
  • 1935: Nuremburg Laws took away their German citizenship and banned them from marriage and sex with German citizens.
  • 1938: Kristallnacht. A physical attack on synagogues, businesses and homes, killing one hundred people. Claimed to be spontaneous as a Jewish man shot a Nazi official in Paris. However, it was more likely planned by the Nazi party. Survivors were given a 1 billion Reichsmark bill and many Jews were taken to concentration camps. Jewish children were also banned from German schools.
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1933-1939: The church

  • Hitler wanted to control the church as he wanted the German people to be loyal to him before even God.
  • In 1933, Hitler signed the concordat with the Pope. Nazis and Catholics agreed to stay out of each others' affairs.
  • In 1933, the Protestant church was reorganised into the National Reich Church and given new Nazi bishops. The motto was "the swastika on our chests and the cross on our hearts". The bible was replaced with Mein Kampf.
  • In 1935, the ministry of churches was set-up. Church schools were abolished as it opposed the Hitler youth education.
  • Some protestants opposed Nazis. In December 1933, Pastor Martin Niemoller set up the Pastor's Emergeny League and the follwing year the confessional church was set up. The Nazis later banned this.
  • Hitler broke his promise to the Catholics and began closing down their schools and youth groups. In 1937, the Pope made his famous statement "with Burning Anxiety", it attacked the Nazi system causing 400 catholic priests to be sent to concentration camps.
  • Hitler tried to control the Church but struggled due to its influence over people.
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Key Individuals-Gustav Stresemann

  • 1919-becomes leader of the German People's Party
  • August-November 1923- served as Chancellor 
  • 1923-1929- served as Germany's foreign minister
  • Aided greatly in the recovery of the German Economy 
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Key Individuals-General Ludendorff

  • One of the German army leaders in WWI
  • After the war he criticised the new republic, accusing it of having 'stabbed the army in the back'
  • Supported Hitler in the Munich Putsch
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Key individuals-Josef Goebbels

  • Joined Nazi Party in 1922
  • 1928-elected to the Reichstag
  • Appointed head of propaganda of the Nazi Party in 1929
  • 1933-appointed minister of Public Propaganda and Enlightenment 
  • Master of propaganda+used every possible method to spread the Nazi message: posters, radio, newspapers + even chartering planes to fly Hitler all over the country to speak at four of five rallies per day
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Key individuals-Paul von Hindenburg

  • Leading general in WW1, becoming chief of the general staff in 1916.
  • Retired from the army in 1918 + supported 'the stab in the back' theory
  • President of Germany 1925-34
  • Appointed Hitlet as Chancellor when left with no other options
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Key individuals-Franz von Papen

  • Entered politics in 1918 as member of the Catholic Centre Party and four years later was elected into the Reichstag.
  • Eventually became a favourite of Hindeburg's
  • Helped Hitler gain position of Chancellor in exchange for position of vice-chancellor
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