Nazi Germany: 1871-1918


Alsace- Lorraine

  • Alsace -Lorrain e had been seized by Germany in the Franco- Prussian War of 1870-71. 
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A Strong Army

  • Germany had a large, well-trained army and well equiped land army, and a growing navy.
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Who ruled Germany?

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What was the general standard of living for German

  1. Regional differences remained very strong 
  2. Big cities and flourishing industry 
  3. Small Farms in mountains 
  4. North Germany had large farms and rich landowners 
  5. Could afford a healthy diet 
  6. Lived in comfortable houses
  7. Help for the unemplyed and the sick 
  8. Government provided good schools and good education

General standard of living was generally good, they had everything they needed, however, anything that might cause conflict or division in Germany was swept under the carpet. Criticism of the governement was not allowed. 

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Successful Industry

  • In the years before the First World War, German industry developed rapidly. 
  • By 1914 Germany was producing more iron and steel, and as much coal as Britain. 
  • In newer industries such as electrical goods and chemicals, German companies dominated the European market. 
  • Between 1871 and 1914 Germany increased its overseas trade to 400%
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German Population

  • Ordered- Everyone had a place in society.
  • Sexist- Women were known 'as the husband of' rather than an individual
  • Proud- Of being German and what Germany have 
  • Hierachical 
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What was the Kaiser really like?

  • Born in 1859, grandson to Queen Victoria 
  • Suspicious of his parents (surrounded palace when his father died of throat cancer because he suspected his mother would smuggle out the will).
  • Withered arm- always keen to prove himself physically. 
  • Possibly suffered brain damage at birth ( unable to concentrate on business of government

Was the Kaiser a Dictator?

  1. The German constitution gave the Kaiser great power. He did not like people to disagree with him. He soon quarelled with the Chancellor. 
  2. Ambitious for Germany.He was keen to build up a strong army,he took pride in leading it. 
  3. Was intelligent and well informed however he would not concentrate for too long. 
  4. Wanted to make all decisions, did not look at detailed information. Did not listen to the Chancellor. 
  5. Unpopular
  6. ' The kaiser is like a balloon...if you dont keep hold of the string, you'll never know where he will be off to next'. = UNPREDICTABLE UNRELIABLE.
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The Causes of WW1

MILITARISM- building up armies- arms race between countries

ALLIANCES- Agreement made between two or more countries to give help. 

IMPERIALISM- building up the empire

NATIONALISM- believe your country is the best (therefore we should take over weaker countries)- extreme.


  1. Triple Entente= Great Britain, France, and Russia
  2. Triple Alliance=Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy
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Why did Germany fail to win the War?

  • 1918= Germany looked like it might win the war. 
  • Russia had been defeated and German soldiers were being transferred from the east to bolster forces on the western front against the allies. 
  • However things were going to change. 


  1. Food Shortages
  2. Fuel Shortages -limited coal supplies, power cuts, public buildings closed to save energy. 
  3. Civil Unrest -Reichstag unable to oppose the Kaiser.
  4. Military Unrest- Mutinies in army. Soldiers returning home demonstrated against the Kaiser.

ARMISTICE- 11/11= war ended- 1918

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Why did Kaiser Wilhelm be forced to abdicate?

  • In October 1918 the Kaiser decided to fight on instead of abandoning the war. 
  • On 28th of October the German Navy's Sailors refused to follow orders because they did not want to fight anymore- there was no allies. 
  • Workers and soldiers began to follow 
  • They began to take over towns and set up special councils to run them 
  • In six days workers' and soldiers' councils were governing cities all over Germany
  • Country was in chaos and the Kaiser had lost control.
  • On November 1918 he abdicated and secretely left Germany and went to Holland. 
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Who took the Kaiser's place?

  • FREIDRICH EBERT- one of the leaders of Germany's largest political parties took Kaiser's place as temporarily basis. 
  • He promised to hold elections soon. 
  • German people had a choice to vote for him. 
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How did Germany emerge from the First World War?

Problem How did the war lead to this problem?Why might this make Germany Unstable?   

  1. Some German people faced starvation. 
  • Farming was disrupted because farm workers were drafted into the armed forces. 
  • Only 50% of the milk, and 60% of butter and meat was being produced. 
  • Could not make up the loss by importing food because in the last two years of the war the British navy blockaded German ports, preventing any food from getting in. 
  • If there is starvation and food shortages and people were dying from this, they could not send these people out as soldiers to fight. 

       2. German people were bitter and angry.

  • Before the war the Germans had been proud and ambitious for their country. They were prepared to work hard for its success. Experiences of war made many Germans angry and bitter. 
  • All the hopes of the pre-war years had been dashed. They looked around for someone to blame for defeat in the war.  
  • Orderly society now breaking down because people are fighting against the government. 
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How did Germany emerge from the First World War?

 3. The German government was weak. 

  • Germany had political problems before and after the war. 
  • Reichstag was weak
  • Working Class and middle class had little say in the way Germany was run. 
  • No effective opposition to the Kaiser
  • Situation became worse in war. 
  • Opposition leaders were imprisoned. 
  • Germany ruled as military dictatorship by the Kaiser and army leaders. 
  • Weakened Reichstag further.
  • No way of voting out the Kaiser, and no government to fill in the gap and control it. 

       4. There was anarchy and violence on the streets. 

  • Germany was extremely unstable.
  • Armed demobilised soldiers were returning home, and joining in violent demonstrations against the war and Kaiser. 
  • Coming back with weapons and they are angry. Due to negative impacts there is no police force to stop the armed men.
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