setting up the Weimar
Before 1919, Germany had been under Kaiser Wilhelm virtually as a dictatorship. However it chaged after WW1. Germany sank into defeat and government fell apart.
After a series of political chaos, the members of the Reichstag met at in a small town called Weimar,near Berlin. A new goverment was set up in February 1919- it was a republic(did not have a king) and it was a good democracy.
It had a Bill of Rights to prtect freedom of people, and it gave vote to all men and women over the age of 21.
The voting system was "proportional representation" - which elected MPs exactly in line with the wishes of people. The people elected the Reichstag which appointed the governament and made laws. The republics had a president- FRiedrick Ebert but he was elected aswell.
Proportional Representation- when the amount of votes depends on the seats filled
The Weimar Republic run into difficulties
Many Germans hated it from the start! The new republic found itself attacked from BOTH sides, from left and right wing politicians,
On the left, the communists hated the new government. They wanted a "dictatorshp" whcih would bring the communist revolution. In Jan 1919, an extreme group of communists called sparracists Had rebelle, and there was many more Communist uprisings in th next few years.
On the right wing politicians hated the government even more! The biggest problem was that the German army had not actually surrended- the German government had. So some proud right wing Germans ( nationialists) refused to belive they lost the war. They called the politicians who had signed the Armstice the NOVEMBER CRIMINALS and they wer angry when the Treaty of Versailles became known in June 1919. There was one right wing rebellion- the Kapp Putsch in Berlin in 1920- but right wing attacks on the government took a different form. They assassinated politicians and set up paramilitary groups which terrorised neghbourhoods. Proptional representation didn't work either as tiny parties were elected and all of whom who squabbled. After a delayed payment of the German, the french inavaded the Rhur so after many riots, the government printed off money and stopped producing. The resukt was hyperinflation and the country collapsed into chaos.
In Munich a small right wind terrorist groupcalled the Nazis mounted a successful rebellion. It seemed that Germany was falling apart.
Weimar Republic under Streseman
The man usually credited with "saving Germany" was Gusta Streseman. The most important thing he did was organise and alliance of pro democracy parties. For the first time- the government could get a majority in the Reichstag and pass the laws it wanted.
Streseman sorted out Germany's econmic problems. He called off strike and started paying reparations. He replaced the currency with a new one(THE RENTENMARK). In 1924, he arranged $200 million loan from the vice president Charles Dawes. He became extremely popular. e persuaded the french to leae The Ruhr and Germany was allowed to joijn The League Of Nations in 1926.
The Nazi Party
Germany was relying on shaky foundations. Germany;s economy depended on US loans. Also- in the wings- many right wing extremists waited, hating Streseman for paying the wings, waiting for their chance to get their revenge for the TOV. One of these was the Nazi Party, led by Adolf Hitler.
The Nazis had typical right wing beliefs, they wanted to set up a dictatorship with tough laws, overturn the Treaty of Versailles and unite all german speaking people. They supported "ARYAN master race" (racism) and that they wanted to persecute the jews and gain Lebensraum (living space) in Eastern Europe. They hated the communists. They had a parlamilitary wing (called the SA) who attacked other parties and assissinated rival politicians.
They were different to other right wing parties. After 1923, the didn't have many Reichstag seats. But during this time, they started to began to build their future.They managed ot get huge funding frim businessman, german car firms and Henry Ford who was an AMerican businessmen who thought nazis would stop Communism. They were brilliant at propoganda. They used some communist ideas (e.g state control of industry/land to the small farmers/better pensions) to gain support from the working class. They set up fun youth clubs. Afold Hitler was a brilliant speaker, and his book - Mein Kampf- became best seller The Nazis started to take over right wing parties.
The Great Depression
In 1929, the Wall Street(the american stock exchange) and a great deperession hit the American economy. The American banks asked the German firms for their money back so Germany fell into Depression.
By 1932, six million people were unemployed. Many working class people joined the Communists, but middle-class people flocked to the Nazis. who promise a strong government. IN July, 230 Nazis were elected to the Reichstag.
Streseman was dead, and his alliance of pro democracy parties fell apart. The government- led by Bruning- could not get support to pass its laws and did not know how to solve the dperession. It was suggested to cut wages and unemployment pay- there was an outcry but the government use Article 48( a rule which allowed the President to pass any law he wanted in an emergency) to force it through. Bruning fell from power nad Schliecher took over the government but things did not get better. The government still had to use Article 48 to pass any laws.
The Nazis are given power
In November 1932, there was another election. The Nazis amount fo seats fell. HITLER FELT THAT THE NAZIS HAD MISSED THEIR CHANCE.
The elections had left Hundenburg (the president) and Papon (his chief adviser) witht he same problem that there was not enough support in the Reichstag to pass any laws. They needed support form the biggest party- THIS WAS THE NAZIS! They offered Hitler post of Vice Chancellor ub return for his support. Hutler refused. He demanded Chanceller(same as British Prime Minister). Hidenburd and Papen took a risk- they belived that the government would still be full of their supporters and that they would be in control of Hitler. In January 1933, they made him Chancellor
Hitler changed Germany to a Nazi Dictatorship
Hundenburg and Papen could not control Hitler. WIthin 18 months, Hitler made himself the dictator of Germany.
Hitler immediateley called another electun and set about getting a majority. He was helped by the Reichstag February 1933(caused by a Dutch COmmunist called Can de Lubbe) This gave Hitler the chance to arrest hundreds of Communists and to terrify German people that the German Government was in danger.
The Naizs gained 288 seats in the lection. This still didn't give the Nazis a majority, but Hitler was able to arrest the Communists and intimidate other dputiesm until the Reichstad passed the Enabling Act(23rd March 1933) which gave gim the right to make any law he wanted.
From this time on, Hitler wa sa legal dictator. In April 1933, he took over the local goverment and police. Sacked anti- nazis teachers and proffessor. set up the Gestapo. who sent to concentration camps opponents, jews, Communists, gypsies etc. In May 1933, Hitler abolished Trade Union and in July 1933 he abolished all other parties.
In July 1934, Hitler used the SS to murder some 400 of the SA, thus elminating his rivals within the Nazi Party. When Hindenbyrg died in AUsgast 1934, Hitler declared himself further. Uniting all roles of CHancellor, President anc Head of the Army.
Pros of the Nazi Rule
Nazi economic policies( including "Autarchy"- the desire for Germany to be self sufficient- re-armament and government work programmes) gave full employment, prosperity and financial security- many obsrvers stated that there was no poverty in Germany. German "autobahn provided work and improved transport. A scheme called "Strength through Joy" gave workers free picnics,theatre and holidays. There was law and order(few people locked their doors) and the Nazis knew the excitement of ceromonies and ralles. Germans had hope,slef belief and people felt that Hitler "keeps safe from all harm."
Nazi philosphy idealised women and the family, and the Law for Encouragement of Marriage gave newly wed couples 250 marks for each child they had. Mothers who ahd more than 8 children won a gold medal.
The Nazi Culture was very youth oreinted and the HJ and BDM were treated with respect, and provided with fun activities.
The main features of totalitarian dictatorship in
All the workers had to join the German Labour Front, wages fell and strikers would be shot. All culture had to be German(e.g Wagner) or Nazi (only aproved authors cold be read). Women doctors, teachers and civil servants were forced to give up. Girls were forced to concentrate on the three C's(church, children, cooker). tru Aryan gitrls were sent to special camps where they were bred like famr animals with selected Aryan boys. People were not free. Each block of flats had staircase rulers who reported Grumblers to the Gestapo.
Towards the end of the war,when young youth gangs sucg as the Eidelweiss Pirates grew up, rejecting the HJ: In Colonge in 1944 12 Pirates were hung.
Jews and Gypsies (untermensch; "sub- humans) were persecuted, put into concentration camps, or used for medical experiments; in the end the Nazis devised "Final Solution of genocide" (the holocaust). Meanwhile black people, the mentally ill, disabled and death westerilized or killed; homesexuals, beggers, alcoholics were put in concentration camps.
totalitarian- or pertaining to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life.