Weimar - strengths + weaknesses

After Germany lost WW1 - Kaiser fled (1919), new government declared in feb 1919 at weimar - too dangerous to make declaration Berlin - just been revolt by spartacists (communist group), wanted perfect democracy.

To ensure that it was a perfect democracy: 1) a bill of rights - guarenteed every german citizen freedom of speach, religion + equality under law. 2) men + women 20+ given vote (better than england=only women 30+). 3) elected president + elected reichstag (parliament). 4) reichstag made laws + appointed government - had to do what reichstag wanted.


PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION: instead of voting for an MP (like in britain) weimar germans voted for parties. Each party then allocated seats in reichstag reflecting number of people who voted for it. Sounds fair - in practise = distaster! resulted in dozens of tiny parties + no party strong enough to get a majority - so no goverment got its laws passed in reichstag = major weakness of republic.

ARTICLE 48: in emergency, president didnt need agreement of reichstag to issue decrees, problem = didnt have to say what emergency was - turned out to be a back door that hitler used to take power legally.

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Weimar - problems 1919-1923

Weimar created at time of confusion + chaos after germany lost WW1, people felt germany recieved harsh deal in treaty of versailles + resented government for signing/agreeing to it. Weimar faced voilent uprisings from various groups + economic problems. between 1918-1919 = chaos. people starving, kaiser fled, people hated government for signing armistice in nov. 1918 (called november criminals). Freikorps formed private armies.

March 1919 - rebellion - KAPP PUTSCH - aimed to set up new government - rebels angry for signing treaty of versailles. Nationalist terror groups killed 356 government politicians (including walter rathenau, foreign minister, matthias erzberger ( been fiance minister). judges preffered kiasers government + gave terrorists light sentances/go free) many germans = communists - wanted to bring in russian style communist government. 1919 - spartacists rebelled in berlin (led by communists rosa luxemburg + karl leibknecht)

Weimar main crisis in 1923 - germans failed to pay reparations on time, set off: 1) french invasion of ruhr. 2) general strike. 3) hyperinflation. 4) communist rebellions. 5) attemp nazi putch (munich)

1919 - communist workers councils seazed power all over germany + communist peoples goverment took power in bavaria. march 1920 - right wing nationalist dr wolfgang kapp took over berlin - army refused to attack him - only defeated when workers of berlin went on strike. 1920 - after failure of kapp putsch communist paramilitary group (red army) rebelled in ruhr.

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Weimar - crisis of 1923

1923 - weimar republic nearly collapsed. Germany missed reperations payment = french invaded ruhr = german workers went on strike = government printed off paper money = hyperinflation = communist + nationalist rebellions.

Sudden flood of paper money into economy, on top of general strike - meant no goods were manufactured - more money - chasing fewer goods + weak economy = HYPERINFLATION. loaf of bread = 250 marks jan 1923 - 200,000 nov. 1923. currency became worthless. examples: 1) people collected wages in suitcases. 2) suitcase left unattended - stolen suitcase not money. 3) man set out to berlin toby shoes - when he got there could only afford coffee + bus fare home.

REMEMBER: 1) people made fortunes - 1 man borrowed money to buy herd of cattle, paid back his loan by selling 1 cow. 2) people on wages = safe - renegotiated wages every day. 3) pensioners with fixed incomes + savings most baddly hit - 1 women sold her house with intention of using money to live on - weeks later - not enough to buy loaf of bread.

Rebellions: hyperinflation led to many uprisings as groups struggled to take power from weimar - 1) black reichswehr (nationalist group) rebelled in berlin. 2) nazis (fascist group) attempted putsch in munich. 3) communists took over government of saxony + thuringia + took over rhineland + declared it independant 

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