The Weimar Republic

All you need to kow about the Weimar Republic.

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At the end of World War One, Germany got a new democratic system of government.

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A New Government took Over When the Kaiser Abdicat

  • Kaiser Wilhelm II ruled German Empire as monarch. End of WWI was a period of violent unrest in Germany - Kaiser forced to abdicate in November 1918.
  • Early 1919 new government took power led by Friedrich Ebert - changed Germany into a republic. Set up in Weimar due to violence in Berlin. Ebert first President with Scheidermann as Chancellor.
  • Ebert was leader of Social Democratic Party (SDP), a moderate party of socialists. New government was democratic - beleived that the public should say how country was run.
  • New german governmment wasn't invieted to peace confrence 1919 - had no say in Versailles treaty. First, Ebert refused to sign, but in end he had little choice - Gemany was too weak to risk restarting conflict.
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The Weimar Constitution made Germany a Republic

Proportional representation is where number of seats a party wins in parliament is worked out as a proportion of the number of votes they win. This was system in Germany and it often led to lots of political parties in Reichstag (German parliament) - making it harder to pass laws.

REICHSRAT - (upper house could delay measures passed by Reichstag).

REICHSTAG - The new German parliament (elected by proportional representation).

PRESIDENT - Elected every 7 years. Head of Army. Chooses the Chancellor.

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The Weimar Republic had Many Problems

  • Difficult to make decisions becuase of the many parties in Reichstag.
  • Hard to pick Chancellor who had suppport of most of the Reichstag.
  • New government had to accept the Versailles Treaty, so hated by many Germans because of territory loss, 'war-guilt' clause, reparations etc.
  • Some Germans joined parliamentary groups, such as Freikorps (Free Corps) - right-wing groups made up of ex-soldiers who saw communists as threat to peace.
  • Even though Friekorps were problematic - they were private organisations not under government control - Ebert was happy to use them to suppress communist uprisings.
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Weimar - not a kind of sausage...

Weimar set up in time of defeat - made it unpopular right from the start.



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