Weimar Germany

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The Birth of the Weimar Republic

When the allies won the war in 1918 Germany was in Chaos.   

The allies said that Germany should be more democratic but, the Kaiser refused.  As he refused this triggered a series of revolts.  By the 9th November the Kaiser abdicated and left germany.

Freidrich Ebert became the new leader of the Republic of Germany. 

He immediatley signed an armistice and the war was over.

A constitution was drawn up.  The success of this depended on how well the people accepter the new leadership style.  Ebert alreay face opposition.  All of the Kaisers allies still maintained their positions in the army or government and he also faced the communist threat.

Eventually in 1919 Germany held an election.  Ebert's party had won majority and he remained in power.  But for signing the armistice some German's saw him as weak or a traitor to Germany.  He officialy became the President of the Weimar Republic, it was called this because the new government met in Weimar a small town.

Ebert still faced threats though from the communists and the nationalists.

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The Threat from the Left-Spartacists

Left wing group was called the Spartacists.  They were led by Rosa Luxemberg and Karl Liebknecht.  This party was similar to the Bolsheviks.

What they wanted

They wanted a Germany that was ruled by workes, councils or soviets.  They argued strongly against any democratic plans for Germany.

What Happened

In 199 they launched their bid for power.  They were joined by soldiers and sailors.  However not all soldiers agree and they formed anti-commuist groups called Freikorps.  Ebert made a plan with the Freikorps and commanders of the army to put down the rebellion.

Street fighting between the Spartacists and Freikorps followed and the Freikorps won.  Luxemberg and Liebknecht were both murdered. In May 600 communists were also murdered and Ebert worried that if this comtinued they would become Russia.

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The Threat from the Right-Kapp Putsch

Right wing opponents were people who lived during Kaiser's Germany.  They liked this style of leadership.

What happened

In March 1920 Dr Wolfgang Kapp launched what became known as the Kapp Putsch.  5000 Freikorps entered into a rebellion.  The army refused to fire at the Freikorps so it seemed that the new government was doomed.

The German people saved the government though, the industrial workers didnt agree with the rebellion and stopped working.  They declared a sterike which brought the capital of Berlin to a halt.  Kapp realised after a few days that they woul run out of resources so Kapp had to leave.

Kapp was hunted down and given a trial date.  This showed Ebert that the government had some support.  However, the rebels went unpunished.

The new government struggled with all of the violence in Germany. 

Assassinations were frequent due to all the coflict and many of Eberts friends were assassinated during his time as leader.

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Invasion of the Ruhr and Hyperinflation

In 1922 Germany failed to pay the second installment of Reperations.  As a result French and Belgium troops invaded the Ruhr region the Industrail heart of Germany.  This was legal under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.  This was disastorous for Germany and Ebert was stuck with what to do.

Eberts Actions

Ebert tells the German workers to go on strike when they complain the French are mistreating them. The French threaten that if they dont return to work they will begin to deport people.

100 people are killed and 100,000 men and women were deported by the French.  The French bring in their own workers and restart production.  The German economy recieves no income from the Ruhr.

The government prints more money to pay the workers on strike.  As a result the money gradually becomes more and more worthless.  This leads to hyperinflation.

Hyperinflation

Germans can pay off debts easily and people with life savings in the bank become worthless.  There is so much money circulating that is worthless that people use it to start fires.  People resort to Batering instead.

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The Weimar Republic under Stresemann

Achievements

The Economy-He introduced a new currency called the 'rentenmark'.  He was also responsible for the Dawes plan meaning loans from America would be poured into Germany (800 gold million marks).  He was also responsible for the Young Plan which extended time.

Foreign Policy- In 1925 he signed the Locarno treaties and Germany was accepted into the League of Nations.  Stresemann also managed to convine troops to leave the Ruhr.

Culture- There was a cultural revival at this time and for the first time in a long time censorship was removed and there was much more freedom.  Artists paintings were more realistic to what life was like even if at times it was harsh.  People were allowed to have their own opinions and criticise political leaders.

Politics- Politics began to settle and large disputes became less frequent.  People began to like the democracy and having a say in how their country was run.

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The Weimar Republic under Stresemann

Problems

Economy- The main winners in Germany were Big businesses.  This time was a bad time for small shop owners and farmers.  Farmers didnt have the same supply and demand they had during the war.  There were concerns of unemployment and many people began struggling to pay mortgages.  Small businesses were shadowed by large department stores.  These people (lower classes) began to think the Weimar republic couldnt help them.

Foreign Policy- Nationalists didnt like Stresemann's actions.  He joined the League of Nations whose members had signed the treaty hated by the Germans.  The Locarno pact was attacked by communists who saw this as a threat against a communist government.

Culture- For many people the Weimar republic had loose morals.  Some people wanted simple values for Weimar germany and didnt want their country to be turned into a place similar to America or France.

Politics- Even though there was more stability in the government.  Communists and Nationalists were building up the size of their parties.  This was a serious threat and some parties that were growing in size didnt even support the republic.

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The Munich Putsch

The Munich Putsch was in November 1923.

What happened

Hitler had hijacked a local government meeting and announced that he was taking over the government in Bavaria.  He was joined by an old war hero Ludendorff.

Nazi storm troopers began taking over official government buildings.  The next day Government forces fought back.  Police rounded up the Storm troopers and the rebellion created chaos.

Hitler escaped in a car but Ludendorff remained there to continue fighting. 

Hitler was eventually also arrested and the Munich Putsch was a disaster for him.  He was charged with treason as were all of the other Nazis.  At his trial Hitler gained massive publicity for himself and the ideas of his party.  Hitler also impressed the Judges in court.

He was sentenced to only five years in Landsberg castle but only served about 9 months.  This was a cushy setting and he was allowed meetings with other Nazis to talk about the future of the party daily.

At this time Hitler gained more attention and importance especially from key figures in law and in the government.

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Changing ideas

Hitler knew that some of his ideas would be too extreme for the rest of th population.  he had to appeal to a wide audience to gain more respect.  

Nazi Views to the Public

They didnt like the constitution because it wastoo liberal and too hard for there to be one leader ruling over Germany.

The wanted to stop unemployment.

They wanted to home German workers and soldiers.

They wanted to increase the amount of Land.

They wanted every german worker to have a say in their future.

Views they no longer mentioned

Hitler stopped using his hatred of the Jews in his speeches.

He also stopped talking about his 'dream race' or idea of a 'super race'.

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