Threats to Weimar in 1920

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Kapp-Luttwitz Putsch 1920


  • The versailles treaty demanded a reduction in the size of the army. The reduction was too much for a number of right-wing nationalists who demanded the terms be rejected and Weimar state be overthrown. 
  • The figurehead of the movement - General Ludendorff + leaders such as General von Luttwitz from right-wing party. 
  • March 1920 - gov's defence minister ordered that parts of the Freikorps disband as part of the scaling down of armed forces. A group of army officers led by Luttwitz refused to disband + instead demanded the resignation of Ebert + the government + new elections to the Reichstag.
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Kapp-Luttwitz Putsch - Events


  • On the night of 12th March Luttwitz led his Freikorps into Berlin where they siezed the government district of the city. 
  • The defence Minister Noske - ordered the army to act. But Kapp was declared Chancellor by Luttwitz.
  • The goverment fled - but before it left it appealed to the workers to strike in defence for the Republic. The response was immediate; a large scale strike paralysed the capital with the rebels failing to win the support of the civil service or financial institutions. 
  • After 4 days - the Kapp regime collapsed - Luttwitz and Ludendorff fled. 
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Kapp-Luttwitz Putsch - Impact


  • The K-L P posed a significant threat to the Republic. 
  • It revelaed the army's reluctance to support the Republic + the dubious loyalty of the Freikorps. 
  • In Bavaria - army officers sympathetic to the putsch forced the elected SPD to resign and replaced it with a government from the right. 
  • Ultimately - the putsch underlined the fact that the Republic relied nearly exclusively on unreliable forces to maintain a semblance of 'order'. 
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The Ruhr revolution 1920

  • In response to the threat from the Freikorps - workers in the Ruhr formed a 'Red Army': essentialy a workers militia.
  • On 15th March - they seized power + set up a government in Essen with the aim of setting up a Soviet state. 
  • The government sent in the Freikorps + a willing army to crush the revolution.
  • This was very ironic as the government was using the same force that had just shown their dubious loyalty towards the Republic. 
  • The armys attack on the 'Red Army' in the Ruhr was ferocious: no prisoners being taken - people shot on the spot. 
  • The fighting was heaviest in around Essen - with the 'Red Arny' finally defeated on 7th April. The Ruhr revolution of 1920 was over. 
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