Depth Study Germany,Weimar Republic (1918-1945)

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  • End of WW1, Germany was facing a lot of hardship at home. German economy went virtually bankrupt leading to mass unemployement, national a third of what it had been in 1913 and industrial income two thirds of what it had been in 1913. This also led to 600,000 widows and 2 million homeless children. The government had to spend a third of its income on war pensions. Food shortages led to a huge divide in German class between the rich upper class and lower class who were starving out on the streets. Many were also bitter of those who had made a fortune through weapon factories in the war. This also led to many political unstableness within the country as many had disliked the new democratic government who were thought to have stabbed the army in the back by singing the 1918 armistice. Many uprising and political revolts were taking place inside Germany.
  • Sailors mutinied in Kiel, lead to chain reaction of socialists workers and soldiers taking over ports and establishing a socialist gvt in Bavaria. 9 November 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated.
  • Ebert new democratic leader had taken over promised to have freedom of speech, belief and better working conditions. Had won majority of votes in the January 1919 elections set up a new Weimar constitution.
  • Weimar constitution- All peole of 20 and above could vote, had the right of free spech, religious belief, hold political meeting, go to foreign countried. They voted on the President(7 years) who stayed out of day to day runnig of the country, could dismiss Reichstag/armed forces/chancellor. Chancellor was esentially the head of the gvt who made new laws but needed to have 50% of Reichstag votes. Reichstag were the political parties who got their seats through PR, gave proportional amount of seats to votes. The Reichsrat was the representatives of 18 stated, who could VETO laws of Reichstag, were in charge of the budget. Article 48 gave the pres emergency laws in which he didnt need the support of Reichstag. Most democratic system that Europe has ever seen.
  • Treaty of Versailles- Land 13% of all her land and 10% of all her population. West Prussia/Posen/Upper silisia went to Poland for polish corridor, Eupen/Malmedy to Belgium, North Schleswigg to Denmark, Alsace Lorraine returned to France,all her overseas colonies taken away and put under the charge of the League and she was also forbidden Anschluss with Austria. Army- from 3 million men to 100,000 in the army, no general staf, no conscription. Only 6 battleships with no submarines, no aircraft, Rhineland DMZ zone. Clause 231 had blamed Germany (War guilt clause ) for starting the war and this had justified reparation payments of 6.6 billion pounds to the allies to pay for the cost of the land destroyed during the war. Many very bitter called treaty a Diktat, as they expected a Wilsonian type peace treaty that would sympathise but only first part followed this (LON), didnt think they had started the war and thought Kaiser…

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