The early years and the Weimar Republic 1918-23

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  • Created on: 01-06-16 16:24

Spartacist Uprising

This is a German communist party set up by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebeneckt. Wanted to overthrow the Republic and set up a communist government. Attempted to sieze power in January 1919 and was unsuccessful. This was when the republic called upon the Friekorps, volunteer ex servicemen who shot the two leaders for 'resisting arrest.'

5th January 1919 - Berlin uprising with seizure of government newspaper headquartersnand telephone bureau and attempted to organise a general strike.

6th January 1919 - Friekorps established by Elbert. 4000 ex soilders

15th January 1919 - Spartacists crushed 

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Treaty of Versailles (part 1)

Part One: Land - 

Germany lost 13% of its land and 6 million people

Lost land had important raw materials such as coal etc.

Germany was split in two, giving Poland access to the sea

German troops were not allowed in the Rhineland to make the French feel safe from a German attack

All of Germany's overseas colonies were taken away

Part Two: Army - 

The German army was reduced to 100,000 troops

The German Navy was cut to 15,000 sailors and 6 battleships

Germany was not allowed to have submarines, tanks or an airforce

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Treaty of Versailles (part 2)

Part Three: Blame - 

Germany was blamed for the war in "war guilt" clause

This enabled the Allies to demand compensation from Germany for all the damage caused from the war.

Part Four: Money - 

Germany had to pay reparations. Most of the money would be paid to France and Belgium

No sum was fixed at Versailles. In 1921, the Allies fixed the total amount Germany had to pay. The total came to £6000 million.

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Reactions to Treaty of Versailles

The German people felt humiliated by the treaty of Versailles. They hated the Treaty and the people who made it. The German government hated the Treaty but were forced to accept it otherwise the Allies would restart the war. Opponents of the Weimar Republic blamed the new government for signing the Treaty since they believed that signing the Treaty showed that Germany was weak. This reinforced the view that the government had stabbed Germany in the back.

'Stab in the back'

During the war, the German people had believed that they were winning and not been told they were losing instead. The defeat came as a shock and the German people were very bitter and looking for a scapegoat. A simple explanation was that the German army were "stabbed in the back" by the new government. This explanation spread quickly. However, the defeat was not the fault of the leaders of the new Weimar Republic. This did not matter as many people in Germany felt that they had been stabbed in the back. They blamed the leaders of the Weimar Republic and not the army generals instead.

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Formation and constitution of Weimar Republic

The formation was due to losing the war - against France, Britain and Russia also in 1917 the USA joined and tipped Germany. Also hardship caused by the war - prevention of importation of supplies and food which led to a serious flu epedemic.

The reveloution was started by sailors in German Navy in port of Kiel and they refused to fight the British Navy. They wanted Kaisar William (2) to be abdicated. On the 9th November the kiasar was abdicated and went to live in Exile Holland.

'Stab in the Back Theory' was a view that German army had been on the verge of winning the war when they were betrayed by politicians of the new republic, who agreed to the armistice.

Established in south German town of Weimar, January 1919 which made the decisions to elect Ebert as president and set up a new constitution for the new Germany. It differed as Germany was a federation of 18 states, each with its own parliment, police and laws. Also it didn't have a president.

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Problems faced by the Weimar Republic

The Republic was unpopular as it was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles which many Germans disagreed with. Many uprisings occured. 

Far left - Communist party (Spartacist revolt) - tried violent take over

Centre left - The Social Democratic Party (SDP) - forced kiasar to leave power

Centre - The Centre Party - supported Reichstag and the democratic process

Centre right - The Catholic Party - democratic and completely supported Weimar

Far right - The Kiasar - strong leader who believed in creating a great and powerful Germany. Little power with Reichstag

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The Kapp Putsch

Attempt by the Friekorps to overthrow the Weimar Republic in March 1920, led by Dr Kapp, a strong opponent of the Republic and Treaty of Versailles. The Friekorps seized Berlin and forced the government to flee. The Putsch was defeated by a workers' general strike. 

1st January 1920 - The treaty came into effect

March 1920 - Dr Wolfgang Kapp, an extreme nationalist attempted to take power in Berlin

The Weimar government fled to Dresden but organised a general strike - cut off electricity to paralyse the city. It was unsuccessful as the army refused to partake in this.

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Formation of National Socialist Party

Hitler believed in the 'stab in the back theory' and strongly opposed the Treaty of Versailles. Determined to overthrow the Weimar Republic. By 1920 he had his own party - the Nazi's, which in two years attracted a number of supporters as well as its own army known as stormtroopers or Brownshirts. 

8th November 1923 - Large meeting interrupted by Hitler - announced he's taking over Bavaria.

9th November 1923 - Hitler and Ludendorff with about 3000 supporters march through Munich to win public support. Gun battle occured

February 1924 - Hitler on trial for partaking in uprising, used it as propaganda

February-July 1924 - Served 9 months in prison. Gained support. 

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