The Establishment of the Weimar Republic

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  • Created on: 03-06-16 22:27

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


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