Paper 1; Germany and West Germany

Political and governmental change 1918-1919/Opposition, control and consent

Creation of a republic 1918-1919 

Sept 1918: Ludendorff conceded that Germany was defeated in WW1

Oct 3rd 1918: Prince Max of Baden (Conservative with democratic views) appointed Chancellor

Nov 2nd 1918: Mutiny at Keil involving German naval fleet

Nov 6th 1918: Workers'/soldiers' councils established in cities, encouraged by Mutiny

Nov 8th 1918: Bavaria declared an independent democratic socialist republic

Nov 9th 1918: Kaiser fled to Holland, Ebert appointed Chancellor, Germany declared                                     republic and soviet republic by Spartacists. Ebert created a provisional                                     coalition government of members of the SPD and UPSD

Nov 11th 1918: Armistice signed, ending WW1

Jan 1919: Communist uprising suppressed

June 1919: Germany forced to accept harsh ToV

What problems had WW1 created for the Second Reich by 1918?

  • The war dragged on for 4 years, putting pressure on Germany's arms and economy, inreasing suffering and social tension
  • Food/fuel shortages - potato crops failed, civilian death rose from 121,000 --> 293,000 from 1916-1918 due to hypothermia and starvation. Infant mortality increased 50% and 20m-40m killed by influenza
  • Inflation - workers worked long hours, wages fell below inflation rate (50-70%) and prices doubled. 
  • 2m men died in war, 6m injured. Public angry at Kaiser, government and industrialists who profited

Germany's shift to democracy Oct 1918 (Revolution from above)

Ludendorff (General) made dictator-like decisions during the war and when he realised that it would be lost, he decided to change Germany into a constitutional monarchy/parliamentary democracy because;

1. Create peace with Allies so their leaders would be more sympathetic to democratic regime

2. Prevent political revolutionary disturbances

3. Wanted Reichstag to take some of the blame for the loss of the war, not just the military (reduce stab in the back myth)

Stab in the back myth: Troop's morale weakened when new government did not support the army and accepted the ToV

This meant that the Kaiser and chancellor were now accountable for the Reichstag, so it had more power

Harsh terms of ToV

  • 132,000m gold marks in reparations
  • Loss of 13% of territory = loss of materials and economy e.g. Polish corridor access to Poland
  • Rhineland demilitarised e.g. army limited to 100,000 troops, border with France so felt unsafe
  • No tanks/aircraft

How did this harm prospects for democracy?

  • German people angry and hostile to government as they accepted the terms…

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