Nazi Germany

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The Treaty of Versailles

 

Key points

  • The Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28th June 1919.
  • Germany was held responsible for all the losses and damages of the war.
  • All of Germany's colonies went to France and Britain. Their army and navy were restricted and they were not allowed an airforce.
  • They were forbidden from uniting with Austria or joining the League of Nations
  • The Rhineland, on the border between Germany and France, had to be de-militarized.
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Problems in the Weimar Republic

The Weimar Republic faced opposition from the outset in 1919, after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Economic hardship affected the whole nation and led to uprisings and assassinations.

The Weimar Republic was created at a time of confusion and chaos after Germany had lost the First World War. Many people felt that Germany had received a very harsh deal in the Treaty of Versailles and they resented the government for signing it and agreeing to its conditions.

The Weimar Republic faced violent uprisings from various groups, not to mention devastating economic problems.

Germany between 1918 and 1919 was in chaos. People were starving, the Kaiser had fled and people hated the government for signing the armistice in November 1918 - they called them the November criminals. Bands of soldiers called Freikorps refused to disband and formed private armies. It was not a good start for the Republic.

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The Munich Putsch 1923

In November 1923, Hitler tried to take advantage of the crisis facing the Weimar government by instigating a revolution in Munich. It seemed like the perfect opportunity, but poor planning and misjudgement resulted in failure and the subsequent imprisonment of Adolf Hitler.

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The Munich Putsch 1923

Why did Hitler attempt the Munich Putsch in 1923?

  1. By 1923, the Nazi party had 55,000 members and was stronger than ever before.
  2. The Weimar Republic was in crisis and about to collapse.
  3. In September 1923, the Weimar government had called off the general strike, and every German nationalist was furious with the government.
  4. Hitler thought he would be helped by important nationalist politicians in Bavaria.
  5. Hitler had a huge army of storm troopers, but he knew he would lose control of them if he did not give them something to do.
  6. Hitler hoped to copy Mussolini - the Italian fascist leader - who had come to power in Italy in 1922 by marching on Rome.
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The Munich Putsch 1923

Why did Hitler attempt the Munich Putsch in 1923?

  1. By 1923, the Nazi party had 55,000 members and was stronger than ever before.
  2. The Weimar Republic was in crisis and about to collapse.
  3. In September 1923, the Weimar government had called off the general strike, and every German nationalist was furious with the government.
  4. Hitler thought he would be helped by important nationalist politicians in Bavaria.
  5. Hitler had a huge army of storm troopers, but he knew he would lose control of them if he did not give them something to do.
  6. Hitler hoped to copy Mussolini - the Italian fascist leader - who had come to power in Italy in 1922 by marching on Rome.
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The Munich Putsch 1923

Results of the Munich Putsch

The Munich Putsch was a failure. As a result:

  1. The Nazi party was banned, and Hitler was prevented from speaking in public until 1927.
  2. Hitler went to prison, where he wrote 'Mein Kampf'. Millions of Germans read it, and Hitler's ideas became very well-known.
  3. Hitler decided that he would never come to power by revolution; he realised that he would have to use constitutional means, so he organised:
    • the Hitler Youth
    • propaganda campaigns
    • mergers with other right-wing parties
    • local branches of the party, which tried to get Nazis elected to the Reichstag
    • the SS as his personal bodyguard, which was set up in 1925 It was this strategy of gaining power legitimately that eventually brought him to power.
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