Unit 4: Problems faced by the Weimar Republic 1919-23

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The Treaty of Versailles

Major problem for Weimar, affected Germany socially, economically, politically and militarily. 

Article 231: war guilt clause.

Took land from Germany, people who were German were now Polish etc.

Germany's military capability was destroyed- the army being limited to 100,00 men and the navy to 6 battleships, 6 cruisers, 12 destroyers but no submarines. Germany was also to have no military aircraft.

Had to pay large reparations.

Although the Versailles treaty left Germany humiliated and scarred, the treaty also left Germany potentialy strong. The term of the Treaty of Versailles did not in themselves threaten the existence of Germany, nor did they prevent a new Germany from being reborn as a diplomatic power in Europe.

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The Treaty of Versailles (2)

The German government signed the treaty because it was advised by the German army (including Hidenburg) that Germany was in no state to resist an Allied invasion.

The treaty was signed, according to Hidenburg, because of the anti-patriotic sentiments of a group of leg win politicians, the 'November criminals' who founded the Republic e.g Ebert, Muller and Erzberger.

Ebert, Muller and Erzberger were also blamed for the 'stab in the back' of the armed forces.

These accusations became widely accepted. Played on popular resentment of the treaty and gave many Germans an acceptable framework by which they could explain defeat.

It was these myths that were developed as a result of the Versailles treaty that were to cause one of the greatest threats to the Republics legitimacy.

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Threats to Weimar Republic

Threats from the right

  • Kapp Putsch
  • Friekorps
  • Armed Forces
  • Judicary

Threats from the left:

  • Ruhr revolution
  • The Spartacists
  • Communists
  • Red Bavaria
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The Wiemar Constitution

Hugo Preuss: created a new constitution for Germany.

pg 79

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