History: Weimar Germany 1919-29

Germany lost WW1. Kaiser fled and new democratic government of Germany was declared in Feb 1919 in Weimar. (Too dangerous in Berlin because there had just been a revolt by a Communist group). 

Strengths and weaknesses

Two great weaknesses: proportional representation and Article 48. 

Features of the Reichstag to make a democracy:

  • Bill of Rights guaranteed every German citizen freedom of speech, equality and religious freedom
  • All men and women over the age of 20 got the vote
  • Elected president and elected Reichstag
  • Reichstag made the laws and appointed the government who had to do what the Reichstag wanted

Two flaws:

  • Proportional representation: instead of voting for an MP, Germans votes for a party. Each party was allocated seats in the Reichstag proportional to the amount of votes they had received. Sounds fair but resulted in lots of tiny parties with no party strong enough to receive a majority and no government to get its laws passed in the Reichstag. 
  • Article 48: Stated that in an emergency, the president didn't need the agreement of the Reichstag and could issue emergency decrees. It didn't state what the issue was and this is how Hitler managed to take power legally.

WHAT the Constitution said and HOW good the Weimar Constitution was. 

Weimar problems 1919-23 

Weimar Republic faced opposition from the outset (1919) after the signing of Treaty of Versailles. Economic problems faced whole country and led to uprisings and assassinations. 

Weimar Republic was created during a time of confusion and chaos after the First World War. Many felt Germany had received a hash deal in the T of V and resented gov for signing and agreeing to it. 

Weimar faced uprisings from various groups and economic problems. 

Germany between 1918 and 1919: people were starving, the Kaiser had fled and people hated gov for signing armistice in Nov 1918 (November Criminals)

  • March 1920: rebellion, Kapp Putsch. Aimed to set up a new gov as rebels were angry at them for signing T of V. 
  • Nationalist terror groups assassinated 356 government politicians.
  • Many Germans were Communists and wanted Russian-style gov. Number of Communist uprisings eg. 1919 Spartacists rebelled in Berlin.

Weimar failed to pay reparations (1923). Caused:

  • French invasion of the Ruhr (political)
  • General strike (work)
  • Hyperinflation (money)
  • Communist rebellions (political)
  • Attempted Nazi Putsch in Munich (political)
  • FAMILIARISE with facts and problems. 
  • WHAT where the main problems faced by the Weimar Republic in 1919-23? 
  • WHY Weimar Republic was in danger of collapse.
  • HOW GREAT was the danger of collapse facing the Weimar Republic.
  • WHICH of Weimar Republic's problems were a result of losing WW1.
  • WHICH of Weimar's problems were caused by anger about T of V. 

Crisis of 1923

Crisis started when Germany missed a reparations payment. Spiralled out of control so the German people were unhappy and in financial difficulty, causing uprisings. 

Sudden flood of paper…


Luke Holden


very good



Effective and concise, thank you

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »