Unit 2 Germany

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The Weimar Republic

Features of the Weimar Republic

  • Kaiser has abdicated
  • Ebert's constitution had the following weaknesses 
  • proportional representation 
  • elections every 4 years 
  • chancellor needed a majority in the reichstag to pass laws
  • president had power to suspend  the constitution and pass laws by decree 

problems of the Weimar republic- 

  • Treaty of versailles - politicians were blamed for signing it- traitors 
  • Hyperinflation - living conditions declined
  • french occupation of the ruhr - economy wrecked
  • constitution - hard to pass laws by proportional representation so had to suspend the constitution often
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The recovery of the republic

The german economy showed signs of recovery and political stability

  • Rentenmark- stabilised currency 
  • Reichsmark- restored value of german money 
  • Dawes plan - reorganised and reduced reparations; France withdrew from the Ruhr
  • US loans - helped pay reparations/ helped german industry 
  • Locarno pact- improved relations with B/F; guaranteed borders with Belgium France and italy
  • Germanys entry into LON- germany recognised as great power again 
  • Kellogg- briand - other countries trusted Germany; would settle disputes peacefully 
  • young plan - set timescale and reduced reparations; france agreed to leave rhineland 
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Remaining problems

  • Politics more stable - short lived coalition governments 
  • extremist parties less popular - still around 
  • unemployment fell - still high 
  • new infrastructure - due to US loans 
  • 1928 production was high - slowed down after 1927
  • 1930 germany was a major exporter - reliant on US loans and imports
  • Germany was accepted by other countries - but German nationalists hated the dawes and young plans 
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Impacts of the Great depression

  • Wall street crash 
  • Great depression 

German businesses -                                                        German people -

  • couldnt pay back loans to US or get new ones                - unemployment
  • higher taxes to government                                            - banks collapsed; people lostmoney
  • markets dried up - little money available                          - poverty 

German Government - 

  • couldnt borrow from the US 
  • couldnt print more money so taxes increased 
  • made cuts in government and benefits 
  • dependance on US loans crippled economy 
  • coalition meant they couldnt agree on how to resolve the crisis
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Hitler's rise to power in the Nazi party

  • 1919 joined DAP - german workers party 
  • name changed to NSDAP - national socialist german workers party (nazi's) 
  • 1921 hitler took control of party 


  • versailles to be scrapped 
  • lebensraum 
  • no jews in germany 

Hitlers own private army - the SA  (stormtroopers) 

  • for security and fighting communists 
  • unemployed soldiers 
  • Ernst Rohm put in charge 
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Munich Putsch

Why did the Nazis try to take power in munich? 

  • unpopularity of weimar increased because of payment of reparations to the french 
  • Nazi's thought general Ludendorff could be persuaded to help the nazis gain army support 
  • thought they were ready and had enough support - the most nazi support was in Munich 
  • thought Bavarian governement would support them 
  • copying Mussolini - march on Rome 


  • 16 nazis killed 
  • hitler imprisoned 
  • hitlers trial was a propaganda victory 
  • judge was sympathetic and gave minimum sentence 
  • Hitler dictated Mein kampf - became a bestseller 
  • Nazi party banned - hitler could not speak in public untill 1927

Hitler realised he needed to come to power legally 

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re-organisation of the party

  • party split into regions 
  • given money by wealthy companies 
  • SA was expanded 400,000
  • ** set up 1925 as an elite bodyguard 
  • propaganda more effective 

- clear messages -close links with newspapers - new technology such as radio and film 

why were the years 1924 - 29 difficult for the nazi's? 

  • economy had improved - less unemloyment 
  • Hindenberg was president of the Weimar republic which increased its popularity 
  • nazi's lost popularity 
  • 1928 - 12 seats in the reichstag 
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Reasons for Nazi success in 1929-33

  • Great depression 
  • Nazis offered strong leadership 
  • unemployment hit the middle and working class hard 
  • people turned to extremist parties to solve the problems moderate ones couldnt 
  • SA - stronger than communists 
  • strong propaganda - Hitlers personal appeal and strong values including scrapping the treaty and lebensraum 
  • women - some women supported the traditional womens role 
  • Big business - strong leadership and protection from communists lead to support and money
  • Farmers - Nazi's promised protection from communists 
  • Middle class - hit hard by great depression, felt let down by moderate parties + liked anti communist message 
  • some working class support - nazi's connected with jobs and a strong germany however alot of workers supported communism 
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Hitler's rise to power


  • Hidenberg beats hitler in presidential election 
  • Reichstag election is held to gain support for Von papens party but they lose seats and Hitler gains 230 (the majority) 
  • Hidenburg refuses Hitler as chancellor 
  • Hidenberg - still ruling by decree - removes von papen and replaces with von schleicher 
  • Von papen persuades Hindengburg to make Hitler chancellor 

Why did von papen want hitler as chancellor? 

  • his party needed support from others to get laws passed 
  • Hitler had majority - needed his support 
  • but hitlers party was linked to thugs - the SA 

von papen came up with this plan : 

  • get nazi backing (230)           - Hitler can be chancellor but they could manipulate him
  • nazi's wont remain popular so they can be manipulated 
  • nazi's depend on money from big businesses - von papen was in control of this and could stop it 
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Reichstag fire and the enabling act

  • Reichstag building burned down 
  • dutch communist Van der Lubbe confessed 
  • Hitler convinced Hindenburg to declare a state of emergency and call an election 
  • Nazi's won majority - intimidation was used 
  • Reichstag voted itself out of power 
  • Enabling act gave Hitler the power to rule by decree without the Reichstag's consent for four years 

After the Enabling act- 

  • people could be arrested without trial 
  • any house could be searched and stuff confiscated 
  • censorship 
  • regional parliaments closed 
  • trade unions banned/ strikes illegal 
  • other political arties banned 
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NOLK and the death of hidenburg


  • Rohm challenged Hitler because he wanted the party to be more about workers than businesses 
  • the ** shot rohm and about 400 other opponents 


  • President died 
  • Hitler declares himself Fuhrer 
  • made all soldiers swear alliegence 
  • propaganda influenced the vote on hitlers right to be fuhrer 
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The nazi police state

  • New laws - crime to listen to foreign radio and talk against Hitler
  • ** arrested people for breaking the new laws or opposing the Nazis 
  • Gestapo - spied on people 
  • Wardens - report on public 
  • people encouraged to spy on friends and family 
  • law courts - under nazi control, no trials, all judges took allegiance to Hitler 
  • Totalitarian regime - central government in charge of all aspects of the country 


  • communists and political opponants 
  • Christians 
  • undesirables (jews,unemployed,gay,disabled) put in concentration camps

The churches 

  • nazi deal allowed german catholics to worship if they supported the nazi's 
  • nazis went back on their promise 
  • Many protestants backed hitler- the ones who opposed were sent to concentratoin camps
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Censorship and propaganda

Goebbels ( Nazi minister of enlightenment and  propaganda)

  • only short range radios were produced - no foreign stations 
  • newspapers that opposed were shut down 
  • books only published with Goebbels permission
  • public burning of jewish books 
  • plays,art,sport,slogans,rallies,cinema,radio,posters
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Nazi policies towards women and young people

young people 

  • nazi youth groups - opposition; edelweiss pirates
  • race studies 
  • lost of p.e. 
  • boys trained for military roles/girls trained to be mothers 


  • children,kitchen,church 
  • women lost jobs 
  • laws helped marriage and children 
  • medals 

how successful?

  • marriages and birth rate increased - could be due to improved economy 
  • employers would rather employ women - cheaper 
  • few women had more than 2 children 
  • many women supported the traditional roles 
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Employment and living

1. DAF (german labour front)

set working hours and pay rates; made sure workers and employers did what state needed 

2. RAD  (national labour service) 

get unemployed working; compulsary army style work for young men; public work e.g. roads

2. Rearmament 

Nazis wanted to rebuild Germany's military power and to be ready for war; helped reduce unemployment and boosted the economy 

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Raising the standard of living

+arguments for 

  • unemployment went from 4.8mill to 0.5mill 
  • wages rose and people could afford consumer goods 
  • car ownership increased x3
  • SDA improved working conditions
  • KdF organised holidays and leisur activities for workers 
  • lots of public support for Nazis because of raised living conditions 

-arguments against 

  • people had to work longer hours 
  • Nazi's reduced unemployment by putting them into the army or RAD 
  • although wages rose, so did prices 
  • because standards were so low during the great depression; they were bound to rise in the years following 
  • overspending on the military could lead to lack of money for everything else 
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Nazi persecution

  • Boycotts of jewish shops ; other restrictions placed e.g. no army, no inheritance
  • jews banned from public places 
  • Nuremburg laws - denies jews German citenzenship so they cant vote and cant marry aryans 
  • jews jobs restricted 
  • register all their property 
  • carry identity cards
  • Kristallnacht - 20,000 arrested 100 killed, jews to pay a fine for the attack and to pay damages for their own property
  • Jews barred from ownign property 
  • Jews evicted and sent to ghettos - thousands died 


  • long standing distrust of Jews 
  • nazi anti-semetic propaganda 
  • fear of gestapo and ** 
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Persecution of other minorities

Aryans  Lesser races e.g. slavs  Untermenschen e.g. africans  Lebensunwertes e.g. jews/gypsies  Disabled people and other 'weak' people should be sterilised  Gypsies were persecuted much like Jews 

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if I revise this im sure to get an A in this unit, thanks!!!!!!

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