Weimar Germany

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Treaty of versailles (consequences)

  • Army- Army and navy were reduced to 100,000 men and no conscription was allowed. This meant their army was less of a threat.
  • Troops- no German troops allowed in Rhineland because it was on the border of France which gave them the oppertunity to attack.
  • Land- Germany had land taken away which made them weaker.
  • Reparations- Germany to pay reparations for war damage.
  • Unity- Germany cannot unite with Austria because this would make them more powerful
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Weimar problems 1919 - 1923

End of WW1 - People were starving, the Kaiser had fled and people hated the government for signing the armistice in November 1918 - they called them the November criminals.

Spartacists Uprising - In January 1919, Spartacists rebelled in Berlin, led by the Communists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Leibknecht.

Treaty of Versailles - On June 28 1919, many people felt that Germany had received a very harsh deal from it and they hated the government for signing it and agreeing to its conditions.

Kapp Putsch - In March 1920, a rebellion, led by Dr Wolfgang Kapp, that aimed to set up a new government as those involved were angry at the government for signing the Treaty of Versailles. The army refused to attack him, he was only defeated when the workers of Berlin went on strike.

Red Army - In 1920, after the failure of the Kapp Putsch, a Communist paramilitary group called the Red Army rebelled in the Ruhr.

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Birth of Weimar (strengths + weaknesses)

After Germany lost the First World War, the Kaiser fled and the Weimar Republic was declared in February 1919. The Weimar Republic was a genuine attempt to create a perfect democratic country.

Strengths of Weimar Republic:

  • German Rights - gave every German citizen freedom of speech and religion, and equality under law.
  • The vote - all men and women over 20 very given the right to vote.
  • There was an elected president and an elected Reichstag.

Weaknesses of Weimar Republic:

  • Proportional representation - Each party was allocated seats in the Reichstag proportional to the number of votes for it. Resulted in dozens of tiny parties, none strong enough to get a majority, therefore, no government to get its laws passed in the Reichstag.
  • President rule - In an emergency, the president did not need the agreement of the Reichstag, and could pass decrees. It did not say what an emergency was, therefore, it turned out to be the method that Hitler used to take powerlegally.
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Impact of WW1 on Germany

  • Jobs- Women lost jobs because they took over from men in the war but they weren't needed anymore so they were sent home to do cooking, cleaning and look after the children.
  • Class Divide
  • Unwanted leader - Ebert took over
  • Businesses closed - Certain businesses weren't needed after the war so the closed down.  
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Invasion of the Ruhr + hyperinflation

Invasion of the Ruhr

1921- Germany pay 50 million pound instalment 
1922- Ebert pushes for time and doesn't pay the next instalment
Jan 1923- No more money is paid so French invade the Ruhr taking all goods such as coal which resulted in the passive resistance. Because no more goods were being made the currency collapsed.


  • After the invasion there are no more goods to trade so the gov printed more money
  • The gov pay off war loans and debts, but with so much money prices rose and money values decreased.
  • Everybody suffered particularly those with savings.
  • Pensioners couldn't even afford a cup of coffee
  • Cost of bread - Jan 1923 500 marks, Nov 1923 201,000,000,000 marks
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Munich Putsch

Munich Putsch

  • In nov 1923 Hitler attempts to topple the Weimar Gov as they are in a serious crisis.
  • 8th Nov- Hitler interupts gov meeting and declares he is taking over bavarian gov
  • Nazi stormtroopers take over political buildings and Weimar gov fight back = 16 stormtroopers dead
  • Hitler was arrested but was let off lightly only serving 9 months in prison, this showed that some people supported nazi ideas.


  • The Nazi party was banned.
  • Hitler went to prison.
  • Hitler decided that he would never come to power by revolution; he realised that he would have to use constitutional (in accordance with current government) means, so he organised:
    • the Hitler Youth
    • propoganda campaigns
    • local branches of the party
    • the ** as his bodyguard
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Why did Weimar survive?

Gustav Stresemann and Charles Dawes

Gustav Stresemann had been a nationalist, but he realised that something needed to be done to save Germany. The most important thing he did in 1923 was to organise the Great Coalition of moderate, pro-democracy parties in the Reichstag.Germany now had a government that could make laws. Under Stresemann's guidance, the government called off the strike, persuaded the French to leave the Ruhr and even got the rest of the world to allow Germany to join the League of Nations in 1926. Stresemann also introduced reforms to help ordinary people such as job centres, unemployment pay and better housing.

Charles Dawes was the US budget director. In 1923, he was sent to Europe to sort out Germany's economy. Under his advice, the German Reichsbank was reformed and the old money was called in and burned. This ended the hyperinflation. Dawes also arranged the Dawes Plan with Stresemann, which gave Germany longer to pay reparations. Most importantly, Dawes agreed to America lending Germany 800 million gold marks, which kick-started the German economy.

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Weimar republic under Stresemann


  • He was a leading member of the gov 1919-1923. 
  • More skilful than Ebert
  • More support (right winger)
  • He built up Germany's prosperity when coming out of post war depression
  • 800 million mark loan from USA helped german insdustry + money went into businesses and public works.
  • By 1927 industry recovered and by 1928 they had 2nd greatest industrial power. citizens had higher standards of living and earnt more.
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