History Revision Cards: Weimar Germany


Treaty of Versailles: Part1

  • League of Nations
    • Germany would not be allowed to join
    • Treaty would be enforced by them
  • Armed Force
    • Reduced to size smaller than Belguim's Police Force
    • Only allowed 100'000 men in the army; no tanks; no submarines; only six battleships; no aircraft; no troops in rhineland. - Meant Germany unable to defend itself if attacked
  • War Guilt
    • Clause 231- meant Germany had to accept all blame for the war, justified reparations and other punishments ( Unfair as all major countries involved were also responsible )
  • Repartions
    • Sum of £6600 million to be payed over 42 years mainly to France and Belgium
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Treaty of Versailes: Part 2

German Land

  • Lost Alsace- Lorraine to France; prt of East Prussia and Upper Silesia to Poland; Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium; Memel to Lithunia; North Schleswig to Denmark and all its colonies -Amounting to over 4 million people
  • Not allowed to unite with Austria
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German Reaction to Treaty of Versailles: Part1

  • Annoyed as did not get to negotiate terms
  • Angry due to loss of land people and resources - they had lost 10% of their land and 12.5% of there population and they have lost Saar coalfields, left wanting revenge
  • Threatened as they were unable to protect themselves due to lack of armed forces
  • Humilatied- Germany had once been a first class world power with a modern military( All men had to serve in armed forces). Now Germany is a second class state. Has been disarmed and conscription banned, Belgiums police force is bigger than their Army and not allowed in League of Nations
  • Unfair- thought war wasn't just their fault- Treat ywas a 'Diktat' had to sign or would have been invaded 
  • Unfair- War Guilt Clause made them pay massive reperations despite having been bankrupted and losing key industries also they were the only country to have been disarmed
  • Shocked- thought it would have been a fair peace deal due to Woodrow Wilsons 14 points they had expected to be punished but not to this extent! Had 2 million Germans died for nothing?
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German Reaction to Treaty of Versailles: Part 2

  • Blamed Weimar Goverment - Right wing nationalists argued the Weimar Goverment had backstabbed Germany by agreeing to the Armistice. The treaty only inforced their image of the 'November Criminals'
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The New Government: Part 1

Created after Kaiser fled, It was democratic and used proportional representation.  Named Wemiar goverment as it first met in Weimar in Saxony as Berlin was too dangerous. The first President was Friedrich Ebert elected in February 1919.


  • Freidrich Ebert determined to stop communists and also took a moderate political stance
  • Constituiton was very democratic e.g allowed anyone male or female over 20 to vote, all parties could have a say proportional representation
  • Chancellor had to have majority support
  • Each state had its own locally elected goverment
  • President could serve only a maxiumum of 7 years
  • Bill of rights gave germans freedom of speech and protected civil and legal rights
  • most supported moderate parties or ones willing to form a coalltion in 1919 elections
  • ended WWI
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The New Government: Part 2


  • Had to sign Armistice and Treaty of Versailles
  • Ebert hated extreme political groups
  • president could appoint or dimiss the chancellor as they wished
  • Article 48 - allowed president to suspend democracy and rule as a dictator
  • proportional representaion meant unlikely one party would get majority- lead to collapsing coalltions
  • many parties disiked democracy as did many german people
  • Most judges right wing so unwilling to punish right wing protesters 
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Challenges to Weimar 1919-23; Part1

Spartacist Uprising-January 1919

Communists didnt support new goverment wanted to acheive what had happeneed in russia to stop food shortages and poor condtions. The Sparatcists staged a revolution in Berlin it was crushed by tthe FreiKorps due to poor organistaion it was supported by Karl Leibknect and Rosa Luxemburg. Over 100 Spartacists were killed and luxemburg and Liebknecht were captured and executed by the Freikorp

Bavaria- April 1919

Caused by lack of food and coal, outbreak of Spanish flu and the fact that bavaria supported communism and wanted to copy USSR. Bavaria declared itself and idependent Soviet Republic, food and clothing were taken from the rich and given to the workers. A red army was formed .Ebert used Freikorps to end revolt. Resulted in the deaths of at least 600 communists and Bavria was reunited with Germany

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Challenges to Weimar 1919-23: Part 2

Kapp Putsch-March 1920

Many Army members had no homes or jobs after the Armistice and they wanted to see Germanygreat again and restore german pride they also wanted to bring back the Kaiser. Over 5000 Freikorp led a putsch and seized control of Berlin led by Dr Wolfgang Kapp he was named the new leader and the pre 1914 flag was raised. Army refused to fight rebels so goverment used workers telling them to strike forcing putsch to end. kapp fled to swedn but was hunted down and imprisoned the other rebels were not punished

Political Murders1919-1922

Caused by many of the same reasons as the Kapp Putsch but also because the Freikorp knew they would go unpunished. Between 1919-22 there were 356 political murders most by right wing extremeists. In 1922 Walther rathenau was assainated he was a popular minister and on day after death a million marched through Berlin. His killers were sentenced to an average of 4 years

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French Invasion of the Ruhr and Hyperinflation

In 1922 the German government said it could not pay the 1923 reperations due to economic problems in Germany. This lead to French and Belgium troops invading the Ruhr - Germany main industrial area. They intended to collect reperations of any kind. the German goverment ordered the workers to strike. The French responded by replacing them with french workers. germans had to show their passport to leave or enter the Ruhr. eventually this lead to sporadic violence with some workers being shot for striking. About 150'000 German workers were removed from the Ruhr and 132 people were killed in the following 8 months. This lead to a shortage of resources and a need for the ruhr workers to be payed.

The goverment decided the best way to solve the problem was to print more money. This lead to exponetial rises in prices- Hyper inflation. This caused even more problems with those retired or on fixed incomes suffering the worst as their savings became worthless. many workers had to be paid twice a day and then had to rush to buy things before prices increased more. However those with debts benefited as they could pay back loans with ease. Landowners were also safe and those dealing in foreign currencies benefitted as did rich businessmen who gained small businesses who had gone bankrupt. In Germany a loaf of bread which had cost 4 marks in 1921, 200000 million by November 1923.

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The Role of Stresemann

Stresemann held two roles in the goverment: Chancellor and Foreign secretary.

  • New Currency: Called of passive resistance in the Ruhr and resumed repartion payments. Scrapped old currency and brought in Rentenmark
  • The Dawes Plan 1924 :Reperation Scheme created by Charles Dawes, made loans totaling 800 million gold marks avaliable to germany to aid building of factories to assit economies recovery
  • The Young Plan 1924: extended time to pay to 1980 and reduced sum to £2.2 billion though in 1923 allies agreed to cancel payments by which Germany had only paid 12.5% of the original sum
  • Deveploping International Relations1924-1929: tried to restore Germany as trusted trade partner in Europe. Won support of many Western European countries as feared germany may befriend USSR. Secretly Stresemann signed treaty eith USSR at Rapallo in 1922 meant germany could build factories in Russia to produce airplanes, tanks and poison gas. He hoped to develop relations in order to reverse the TofV e.g. Poland
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The Role of Stresemann: Part 2

  • The Locarno Treaties 1295: signed by Germany, France, Belgium, Britian and Italy they agreed to keep boundaries set by TofV. Meant Ruhr wouldnt be ibnvaded and Rhineland would stay demilitarised . Germany and France agreed to settle future disputes through LofN. Though nothing was said about Germany's Eastern borders
  • League of Nations 1926:Steresmann persuadded LofN to let Germany join the were allowed membership in 1926 and were given permenant seat on the council. Major move as LofN seen as club who protected victors intrests
  • Kellogg-Briand Pact 1927: Over 60 countries signed an agreement never to use war in the future, high point of idealism and international relations in thwe 1920s nothing agreed on what would happen if a country broke the pact
  • Culture 1923-1929: Berlin rivaled Paris as cultural capital of Europe. Germans led the way in innovative painting, architecture and design. Some artists used art to critisisce society e.g. George Grosz-communist though paintings didnt suggest communist success
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The Munich Putsch: Part 1


  • Hitler thought he could seize power as he had the total obeidence of the SA, the support of General Ludendorf and expected support from the German army and Bavarian Goverment
  • Weimar Goverment had been damaged by both HyperInflation and the french invasion of the Ruhr, got worse after stresemann called off passive resistance in the Ruhr and resumed rperation payments 
  • He wanted to copy his idol Mussolini 
  • Gustav von Kahr was getting cold feet


  • 8th November 1923: The SA stormed a Beer Hall in which Gustav von Kahr was giving a speech and Hitler held a gun to Von Kahr's head and announced he was taking over the bavarian goverment Von Kahr agreed to support him at gunpoint. That night stormtroopers seized key positions in Munich
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The Munich Putsch: Part 2

Events Continued:

  • 9th November 1923: Hitler marched into Munich with 3000 supporters wh3ere they were met in a narrow alley by 100 armed police officers aware after a released Von Kahr alerted them, someone fired a shot and each side began to fire at teh other 16 nazi supporters and 3 policemen were killed, Hitler fleed with a dislocated shoulder


  • Ludendorff Hitler and Rohm were arrested and put on trial for treason.
  • Hitler was allowed to give a number of nationalistic speeches - propganda
  • Newspapers throughout Germany reported the case, many readers were impressed by Hitlers nationalistic arguments.
  • Hitler was sentenced to 5 years in Landsberg Castle, should have been executed.
  • He was treated well, given his own room and allowed as many visitors as he wanted.
  • He only served 9 months.
  • He wrote a book called Mein Kampf to spread the idea of national socialism.
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The Nazi Party: The Early Years

After the WWI Hitler worked as a political spy for the new goverment. He spied on the newly formed German Workers Party. A small group lead by Anton Drexler, It was nationalist, socalist and anti-semtic. Hitler found he agreed with the partys ideas and joined them. He soon became leader of the party and decided to reorganise the party. Firstly he changed its name to the Nationalist Socalist German Workers Party (NSDP). In 1921 he set up a private army - the Stormtroopers(SA)v AKA Brown Shirts. Offical role was to protect meetings, went further and attacked opponents and broke up meetings. party based in Munich and financed by rich hoping to stop communists. Published Der Strummer- party newspaper. Hitler personally designed Nazi flag - Red(socailst movement),white(Nationalist idea), black flag like kaiser's flag and swastkia( Struggle for Aryan man) in center.  Hitler also created a "5 point program that appealed to both Nationalist and Socialists

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The Wilderness Years, 1924-29

Party had been banned and disbanded after Munich Putsch and was only reformed after Hitlers release in 1924. It had lead to loss in credibility and it was hard as it was the Stresemann Years so people in Germany were happy. Despite this Hitler set up local branches across Germany making the Nazi party a nationwide party. Had support from working class, framers and craft groups. By 1929 party had about 100'000 members. However dissatisfied workers were still more likely to support the communist party. Party gained support from peasants, as nazi's promised to help farming and praised their traditional lifestyle. Nazi gained support from conservative people by condeming the decandance of the Weimar Republic's Art scene. During the later 1920s the SA increased its size and the ** a new group personally loyal to Hitler was created. Joseph Gobbels was put in charge of Nazi Propaganda 

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