The Threat from the right and left in 1920

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The Kapp Putsch

The Kapp Putsch stememd from the reduce in the size of the army, which created unease within the ranks of the army and the Freikorps:

  • Wolfgang Kapp (a former Prussian civil servant) and Captain Waldemar Pabst (founder member of the Fatherland Party) plotted to overthrow the govt and ordered the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. 
  • This was supported by General von Luttwitz.

What happened:

  • When the govt ordered the disbanding of Captain ehrhardt's Marine Brigade, Kapp and Luttwitz were determined to exploit the situation. 
  • Therefore 5000 Freikorps troops marched into Berline in March 1920.
  • As a result, Ebert and Gustav Bauer's cabinet moved to Stuttgart. 
  • Kapp installed himself in the vacant chancellory and declared that the Weimar govt was overthrown. 
  • The army did not help Ebert, as they didn't agree with Germany's legitimate govt. 
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The Kapp Putsch Part 2

The outcome of the Kapp Putch:

  • The Putsch quickly collapsed, despite the army's neutral stance. 
  • Instead of the army helping, it was the general workers that ultimaetely saved Ebert's govt. 
  • This was because of a general strike, called by the SPD and supported by Communists.
  • However, the strike was only called when the Putsch was on its last legs. 

In reality:

  • The putsch collapsed because Reichswehr (1919 German army) leaders did not back Kapp. 
  • Also the vast majority of the govt bureaucrats refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Kapp's govt or obey his orders. 
  • As a result, after 4 days, Kapp and Luttwitz fled the country and Ehrhardt's troops left Berlin. 
  • Therefore, in a sense, the quick collapse of the Kapp Putsch was a major success for the Republic. 
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The Situation in Bavaria

There was unrest in Munich:

  • General von Mohl (the local army commander) demanded that he would be given full emergency powers.
  • However, SPD minister-president Johannes Hoffman resigned in protest. 
  • However, he was replaced by conservative Gustav von Kahr, who's govt provided a safe haven for right wing extremists. 
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The Nazi Party

The German Workers' Party:

  • In September 1919, Adolf Hitler joined this party and ensured that it was more successful than other right wing groups in Bavaria. 
  • Hitler threw himself into politics, soon proving as a brilliant speaker in the Munich beer halls.
  • Hitler announced a 25 point Programme, in February 1920, to a 2000 strong audiece.
    • This was a mix of nationalism and socialism.
  • He then changed the name to the National Socialisy German Workers' Party (NSDAP).
  • He also became the leader in 1921.
  • By 1922, this party was the largest and best organised right wing group in Bavaria, as it was helped by Bavariam army officers who provided recruits and money.
  • It had its own newspaper. 
  • It attracting people of all types, but especially ex soldiers and young idealists. 
  • In 1921, Hitler created the SA, to defend Nazi speakers and attack left wing groups.
  • This party had around 55,000 members by the mid-1923. 
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Threat of the left

The threat of the leaft included:

  • Unrest in the Ruhr, by Communists. 
  • Unequal justice, in regards to the light punishment.
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Unrest in the Ruhr

In the Ruhr industrial area:

  • The Communists tried to seize power in March 1920, during the general strike. 
  • Around 50,000 people formed a Red Army and took control of the Ruhr. 
  • Their attempts at negotiation failed.
  • Therefore, the govt sent military units to crush the revolt. 
  • In the bloodshed that followed, over 1000 workers died. 
  • This brutal suppression of the Ruhr workers, April, had a sobering effect on the Labour movement. 
  • During the whole period of the Weimer Republic, there were no general strikes. 
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Unequal Justice

There unequal justice between the right and the left because:

  • Those repsonsible for the Ruhr uprisings were severely punshied as they were Communists. 
  • Whereas, supporters of the Kapp Putsch were let off virtually scot-free, as they were right wingers. 
  • In August 1920, there was a general amnesty for Freikorps and were welcomed into the armed forces.
  • In 1922, Kapp returned to Germany to face trial but died before proceedings began. 
  • Whilst Luttwitz was granted early retirement. 
  • This was all because the judiciary remained a conservative force, which doubted the legitimacy and principles of the new republic, as they were more bias towards the right. 
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