History - Weimar Germany

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  • Created by: cmanley1
  • Created on: 12-04-14 17:13

The Weimar Republic

-Early 1919 a new constitution was drawn up in the town of Weimar

-Was democratic, based on proportional representation first leader was socialist Ebert

-1919 Spartacists tried to sieze control of Berlin, uprising put down by army and Freikorps (unemployed ex-soldiers)

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Treaty of Versailles

-Seen as unfair by Germans as they lost:
-all colonies
-land in Europe so some Germans lived under foreign reign
-Union with Austria was forbidden
-armed forces
-£6,600million in Reparations

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The Kapp Putsch

-Germans annoyed by treaty of Versailles that in 1920 nationalist Dr Kapp staged uprising in Berlin

-Army refused to put this down, and government only survived when workers in Berlin staged a general strike

-This meant Kapp had to abandon his efforts

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The Great Inflation

-Reparations put Germany economy under strain so German mark value fell

-1923 Germans stopped reparation payments, saying they couldn't afford to and so the French sent troops to occupy the Ruhr (the main German industrial area)

-Germans staged a Passive Resistance and production in Ruhr ceased Meaning German economy and value of mark declined

-Middle classes badly hit by hyperinflation as their fixed salaries, pensions and savings were made valueless

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The Munich Putsch

-By 1923 Hitler was leading member in Nazi party

-Nazis had own private army of thugs (the S.A, stormtroopers)

-Nov 1923 Hitler organised demonstration in Munich in an attempt to take over the government

-Nazis marched from a beer hall through the streets of Munich, it was broken up and leaders, including Hitler were arrested

-At his trial Hitler made speeches against Weimar Republic to gain publicity

-Whilst in prison, he wrote Mein Kampf (my struggle)

-He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment but was let out after 9 months

-16 Nazis died and became martyrs. The swastikas carried that day acquired cult status

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1923-1924 Dealing with the Crisis

-Gustav Stresemann was key leader, he agreed to resume reparations so French withdrew from the Ruhr

-Starting to pay the reparations again provoked the Munich putsch

-Germany introduced Rentenmark

-Dawes plan, 1924, linked reparation payments to how well the Herman economy was doing

-Germany prospered by borrowing millions of dollars from America

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Remaining Problems of The Weimar Republic

-Treaty of Versailles was still hated by all, Republic was blamed for signing it

-New currency, those ruined by inflation didn't get their money back, this included many middle class people who otherwise would have been expected to be strong supporters of Weimar Republic

-Extremist groups like Nazis and Communists continued to exist

-Depending on loans from America was a risky policy

-Germans still lacked experience in running a democracy and proportional representation meant it could be difficult to create strong governments

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Hitler's Ideas in "Mein Kampf"

-"Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fürhrer"
One people, one empire, one leader

Hitler believed that:

-Germany had not really been beaten by the allies in the war: she had been betrayed by the Jews and Communists who must therefore be destroyed

-Germans were the master race of the world: they must all be united under one leader and given whatever territory was needed for this

-The treaty of Versailles was not binding on Germany as it had been forced on her (she had no representatives at the conference) and it need not be obeyed

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Weimar 1925-1929

-Nazi party got nowhere as Germans were well-off and contented

-After Ebert died in 1925, Hindenburg became president, which boosted the republics prestige, although Ebert himself was a loss

-Stresemann introduced a series of reforms in both foreign and home affairs that strengthened Germany

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Stresemann's Foreign Affairs

-In 1925 Germany signed the Locarno pacts agreeing to respect her western boarders, though leaving the Eastern ones open for discussion

-In 1926, Germany was permitted to join the League of Nations

-In 1928, Germany and other nations signed the Kellogg Pact agreeing not to use war to achieve their goals

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Stresemann's Home Policy

-Germany borrowed 25,000 million gold marks from America.

-Money use to build roads, railways, factories...
-Economy improved greatly and led to prosperity
-Cultural life improved

-Stresemann introduced ideas to make life better for the working class

-Labour Exchanges (1927)

  • Unemployment pay
    3 million new houses built

-He arranged a great coalition of the moderate democracy parties (based around SDP his party)
-Together they could resist criticism from smaller extremist parties and overcome effects of proportional representation (the government in Reichstag had enough members to pass laws it needed to)

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Weaknesses of Weimar

-Stresemann himself said that Germany has problems and he does not believe in his own policies

-German economy depended on prosperity, based on loans from America.
-If something happened to American economy this would have huge effect on Weimar

-When Germany's economy got back on its feet, the great coalition, organised by Stresemann, collapsed and therefore some moderate pro-democracy parties argued
-Meaning they wouldn't be strong enough to stop extremist parties challenging them

-Although Germany was in good times, some extremist politicians were not won over.
-Several nationalists still despised the Republic as the November Criminals
-They waited for opportunities to attack i.e Nazis and Communists hadn't gone away

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Hitler: Prison and After 1924-1929

-When in prison, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf,Chichester clarified his views about the future of Germany

-In prison, Hitler decided the Nazis would not be able to gain power by force i.e Putsches.
-This meant they needed to work inside the democratic system to achieve power
-When in power, they could destroy this system

-When he got out of prison he began rebuilding the Nazi party through democratic means
-After realising the Communists were building strength through youth organisations and recruitment drives, the Nazis began doing the same

-May 1924 Nazis fought the Reichstag elections for the first time
-Won 32 seats which encouraged Hitler and so he created a network of local Nazi parties
-These lead to the Hitler youth and the like

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A Nazi Pamphlet

Goebbels makes a list of demands:

-right of work and decent living for every working German
-a struggle against this condition of shame and misery begin
-homes for German soldiers and workers
-the land on which to grow the crops that will feed our children
-only Germans who build this state may speak
-annihilation of the system of exploitation

Anti-foreign and anti-Jewish statements

-Germany for the Germans
-The Jew lives in palaces and the front soldier lives in holes that don't deserve to be called homes

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Another Change in Direction

-1927, Nazis still trying to appeal to workers

-1928 election, Nazis gain 12 seats convincing them to look elsewhere for support

-Workers tended not to support Nazis because:

-they had supported the Social Democratic Party in every election since 1919
-they felt they were doing well in Weimar up to 1929
-workers with radical political views were more likely to support the communists

-Groups that offered support to Nazis were:

-peasant farmers
-middle-class shopkeepers
-small business people

-Peasants were not sharing economic prosperity

-Won them over by:

-highlighting the importance of them in their plans for Germany
-praising the peasants as racially pure Germans
-contrasted supposedly clean, simple life of the peasants with the corrupt, immoral cities

-1925, Hitler enlarged SA
-Set up SS (Hitlers body guards)

-Goebbels takes charge of propaganda

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A New Crisis Begins

-1929, the Young Plan for reparations reducedannual payments, but meant Germany would pay until 1988

-1929, Stresemann died, a big loss

-Wall Street Crash occurred in America
-Collapse of American stock market destroyed world economy as Americans demanded their loans back
-Resulting in the Great Depression with mass unemployment
-Germany hit badly as she relied heavily on American loans

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