Paper 1 : Development of dictatorship : Germany , 1918-1945
The establishment of the Weimar Republic and its early problems.
- German Revolution of 1918
Causes of Revolution
- Failure of the First World War
- Germans were confident when WW1 started
- However they now faced combined might of France, USA, Britain and Russia.
- The Germans had launched a desperate spring offensive upon Paris in March 1918.
- Allies counter-attacked in July and drove the Germans back.
- German casualties were as high as 2 million in 1914.
- Morale amongst troops was low.
- A sense of hopelessness amongst Germans.
- Hardship caused by War
- Allied blockage of the sea caused food shortages and prevented imports of basic supplies.
- Public hardship was worsened by Spanish Influenza epidemic throughout Europe in August 1918.
- The Russian Revolution
- The Russians overthrew the Tsar in 1917.
- Tsar abdication and replaced with a government of the people.
- This created discontent in Germany by stirring up a revolutionary atmosphere.
- It turned into a condition for peace that the Germans got rid of the Kaiser that refused to abdicate.
Events of Revolution
- 25 October 1918- Naval commanders at Kiel sent ships out to fight British fleet.
- Sailors mutinied
- 26 October - 5 November 1918
- Kaiser and government did nothing to stop the mutiny.
- Strikes and demonstrations against the war and the Kaiser ensued.
- 4th November, 40,000 soldiers joined sailors and set up a Soldiers' and Workers' Council.
- 6 November 1918
- Soldiers' and workers' councils took control in cities
- Their main aim was to end the war.
- 7 November 1918
- Social Democrats sent an ultimatum to the Kaiser that unless he abdicated, they would join the revolution.
- The Social Democrats were the party that the worker's traditionally voted for.
- 9 November 1918
- There was a general strike in Berlin.
- Armed workers and soldiers joined the streets.
- Social democrats were afraid extremists would gain control of the revolution.
- Ebert's colleague announced Kaiser's abdication and the setting up of the German Republic which they would run in coalition with other socialist parties.
- Friedrich Ebert became Chancellor.
Effects of Revolution
- A new government was established
- New government agreed to armistice on 11th November 1918.
- Germany had to surrender all land won in war.
- Surrender its munitions
- Pull its troops back 48km from France
- Armistice was unpopular and economic suffering continued.
- Strengths and weaknesses of new constitution
The Weimar Republic and Weimar Constitution
- Drawn up in 1919
- The Weimar constitution attempted to set up a democratic system where no individual could gain too much power.
Strengths of the New Constitution
- Set up of Reichstag
- Represented the whole nation
- Discussed issues such as tax, finance and foreign policies
- Members of Reichstag was elected every 4 years.
- Proportional representation was used.
- This meant that the number of Reichstag seats which political parties were given depended on the percentage of votes they gained.
- This is to set up a democratic system where…