Weimar Republic failure from the start

End of the War

  • sept 1918, allied troops broke through German Hidenburg line of the Western Front. British blockade of German ports had produced serious food shortages in Germany. in oct- sailors at the naval baseat Wilhelmshaven mutinied- further mutiny at Kiel when the order was given one last attack on the british navy. 7 nov- Kurt Eisner declared Bavraia to be a socialist republic. Over germany workers/soldiers formede councils similar to soviets in Russia.
  • 'German Revolution' frightened Germany's leaders that they persuaded Kaiser Wilhelm(emperor of Germany) to abdicate. President Wilson said there could be NO peace if Kaiser remained in office. Germany in desperate need of peace!
  • 9 nov- Kaiser Wilhelm stood down and Friedrich Ebert(one of leaders of Social Democratic Party) announced Germany was now a republic. Ebert became president  and his colleague Phillip Scheidemann became chancellor

Problems for new Government

  • needed to restore Germany- Government signed an armistic with the allies on 11 November 1918
  • germans shocked at german surrender despite having little choice
  • decision to sign the armistice soon gave rise to 'stab in the back' theory- the idea that Germany had been betrayed by its politicans and should have fought on
  • nationlists called Ebert's government 'THE NOVEMBER CRIMNALS'- new republic got off to an unpopular start 
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Weimar Republic, doormed from the start?

Problems for Ebert

-establising how Germany should be Governed. some Germans wanted a system of government based on communism- as recently had been estbalised in Russia

-jan 1919 the Spartacus League, Germanys commuist Party, staged a revolt in Berlin in an attempt to seize power and make Germany a communist country

-eberts government had few troops, as the army had been disbanded after the war so goverment formed unitis of volunteer soldiers

- these 'freikorps'(free corps) soldiers were bitter opponents of communism and crushed revolt

-15th jan- leaders of revolt: Karl liebknecht and rosa luxemburg were executed by the freikorps

-in 1920 when a soviet republic was proclaimed in Munich, the freikops crushed that too

-actions of the freikorps led to bitter hosility between the SPD and the german Communist party(KPD) which lasted throughout the time of the weimar republic

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Democracy Establised

  • shortly after the deaths of Liebknecht and Luxemburg elections were held for a national assembly which would draw up a new constitution for germany
  • SPD- won the most seats, but did not have a majority
  • after joining coalition with the centre party(Z) and democratic party(DDP)- had supportof more than 3/4 of the 423 deputies
  • unrest in berlin, the national assesmbly held its first meeting in the town of weimar
  • the constitution it drew up was called the 'weimar republic'

The Weimar Republic

  • germany was to be a democracy. the reichstag(parliament) was to make laws+ control the Government
  • men/women aged 21+ could vote in elections for deputies to the reichstag. voting was by proportional representation (PR), so part recieving 10% of votes had 10% of deputies
  • the head of the government was the cahncellor
  • the head of state was the president, who was to be elected every 7yrs. the president could dissolve the reichstag, order fresh elections and in times of emergency susupend the reichstag and rule by himslef(Article 48)
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