strengths and weaknesses of weimar germany


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  • Created by: mathu
  • Created on: 14-06-12 18:58

nature of weimar democracy


  • all germans had equal rights - everyone over 20 could vote, freedom of speech
  • an elected president and elected reichstag
  • reichstag made laws and appointed government which had to do what reichstag wanted


  • new govt had to accept treaty of versailles so were hated because of loss of terrirtoy, war guilt clause, army reductions, reparationes etc
  • article 48 - in an emergency, the president didn't need agreement to issue a decree, didn't state what an emergency was considered to be, enabled hitler to take power 
  • proportional representation encouraged lots of small parties so no one party had enough seats to form a majority government
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post-war economic conditions as a cause of discont

  • invasion of the ruhr (jan 1923)
    - richest industrial area of germany
    - france + belgium took resources
    - workers refused to work + were payed by government
  • reparations
    - 6,600 million, treaty of versailles

resulted in hyperinflation and unemployment
- farmers didnt want to sell food for worthless money
- people in debt/businessmen could easily pay back loans
- the rich still had money, land, possessions and foreign currency
- savings lost value
- crime i.e. stealing to get by
- money was worthless, used as wallpaper, building blocks etc
- middle class suffered most 
- bartering 

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opposition to weimar

spartacist revolt (jan 1919)

  • karl liebknecht + rosa luxembourg (communists)
  • revolt was crushed easily by freikorps because it was futile and badly prepared
  • leaders were murdered so it never recovered
  • took place in berlin

kapp putsch (march 1920)

  •  led by wolfgang kapp (right wing journalist), assisted by general luttwitz
  • wanted to take over germany
  • ebert called for a general strike which paralysed the movement of all those in support of kapp and luttwitz

important because: only the mass power of a general strike could restore ebert's power, govt. could not put down a challenge to it's authority, govt;. could not restore authority in it's own capital

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origins and history of national socialism

  • founded in 1919 by anton drexler
    - then called the german workers' party 
  • hitler joined it in 1919
  • hitler's reputation as orator grew, and it became the main reason people joined the party
  • in april 1920, hitler advocated changing the name, but socialism was popular in germany (growth of social democrats), so redefined it by adding national in front of it
  • took over as it's leader in 1921
  • developed a 25 point plan which was further developed in mein kampf
    - lebensraum
    - danger from communists and jews
    - fuhrer: single leader with complete power
    - treaty of versailles should be abolished 
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munich putsch, 1923


  • hitler plotted with kahr and lossow (nationalist politicians) to take over munich in a revolution
  • kahr and lossow called it off in oct 1923
  • nov 1923 - hitler + 600 stormtroopers burst into beer hall where kahr and lossow were holding a meeting, forced them to agree to rebel then let them go, sa took over army headquarters and local newspaper offices
  • next day, hitler and nazis marched through munich, but lossow called in police and army reinforcements
  • hitler fled but was found 2 days later


  • by 1923, nazis had 55,000 members and was stronger than ever
  • weimar govt. was in crisis and about to collapse
  • general strike called off in ruhr, nationalists furious
  • hitler had large army of stormtroopers but he knew he would lose them if he didnt give them something to do
  • wanted to copy mussolini
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munich putsch cont.


  • nazi party banned
  • hitler imprisoned
    - when in prison he wrote mein kampf
    - read by millions of germans, his ideas became well known 
  • hitler realised he would never come to power by revolution and would have to use constitutional means
  •  reorganised nazi party
    - hitler youth
    - propaganda campaigns
    - mergers with other right-wing parties
    - local branches of the party which tried to get the nazis elected into the reichstag
    - SS as his personal bodyguard in 1925 
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stresemann and weimar successes

  • called off passive resistance in the ruhr (sept 1923), french and belgian troops left ruhr in 1925
  • accepted the dawes plan in 1924
  • introduced a new currency (the rentenmark) to make ecoomy more stable
  • locarno treaty, 1925 - germany reaccepted its western borders
  • joined league of nations in 1926
  • loans from dawes plan helped rebuild economy
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