Effects of WW1 on Weimar Germany

Effects of World War One on Germany

End of War

·         Might of the Imperial German Army had been overturned by both the growing Allied strength and the intervention of the United States in 1917.

·         Chief of Staff, Ludendorff appealed to Field Marshall Hindenburg and Chancellor Hertling for an armistice with the Allies.

·         To appeal to the more lenient USA, Ludendorff urged for a democratic regime to be set up in Germany.

·         Although most Germans were surprised by defeat, they soon became enthusiastic for peace.

·         The German Admiralty opposed peace however and ordered the High Seas fleet to attack the British Fleet. The fleets of Wilhelmshaven and Kiel refused the order however.

·         Upon the arrest of the ring leaders, a mutiny broke out and soviets (councils) sprang up across the Reich’s major cities.

Fall of Monarchy and Growth of Republic

Ebert and Revolution

·         On November 9, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and Friedrich Ebert, leader of the majority party SDP, headed the provisional government.

·         Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils sprang up in major cities with many soldiers joining in.

·         The SDP were strongly against a revolution after observing the bloodshed during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Ebert did not want a destabilised, civil war Germany.

·         Ebert did not reform the army after the war as he needed their support to maintain order. He was also supported by heavy industrialists who negotiated an 8-hour working day with trade unions (Central Working Association Agreement).

Working-Class Split

·         The Spartacist League wanted

o   A soviet system where power lies with local councils instead of an elected parliament.

o   A worker’s militia or  ‘Red Army’

o   The nationalisation of…


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