the rise of the Nazi party and its consolidation of power

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How did developments in Germany from 1919-1929 affect the rise of the Nazis?

the weimar republic

  • german army was on the point of collapse
  • Kaiser abdicated and fled to the netherlands
  • germany became a republic
  • the provisional governement agreed to an armistice which brought Germany's fighting in the first world war to an end
  • not all germans welcomed the new republic and Berlin faced armed unrest from left and right wing extremist groups
  • for this reason the newly elected Constituent assembly met in the town of Weimar in southern Germany
  • this was called the Weimar Republic
  • lasted from 1919 to 1933
  • ruled by two presidents- Friedrich Ebert and Paul Von Hindenberg
  • often battled to keep weak and unstable governments in office
  • the republic faced many weaknesses

the weaknesses of the Weimar Constitution

  • appointment of chancellor- appointed by the president and was meant to be the leader of the largest party. After 1930 President Hindenberg appointed chancellors who did not lead the largest party and allowed them to rule using article 48
  • frequent changes in government- during the republic there were 9 elections. resulted in weak and often unstable government
  • power of the president- during times of crisis the president could use article 48 to declare a state of emergency and rule by presidential decree. this was dangerous as it meant that laws could be passed without the approval of the Reichstag
  • coalition government- the use of PR meant that parties obtained seats in the reichstag in proportion to the total number of votes cast for them. This made it difficult for any one party to achieve an overall majority and resulted in coalition government
  • system of voting- use of proportional representation (PR) to elect members of the Reichstag

the treaty of versailles, 1919

  • new german government had no choice but to sign the treaty of versailles on 28th June 1919
  • formally punished Germany for its involvement in WW1
  • majority of Germans were horrified by the terms and viewed it as a great humiliation
  • territorial terms- germany lost 13% of its land, 6 million citizens and all her colonial possessions; germany forbidden to unite with Austria, Alsace-Lorraine was given to France, East Prussia was cut off from Germany by the Polish corridor, the Saarland was to be administered by the League of Nations
  • military terms- army limited to 100,000 men; forbidden to possess tanks, heavy guns, aircraft or submarines; navy limited to ships of less than 10,000 tons; Rhineland was to be demilitarised
  • financial terms- germany had to accept full responsibility for having caused the war and agree to pay money as reparations for the damage caused
  • political terms- forbidden to join the newly created League of Nations. Germany also had to accept blame for causing the war
  • the shame and humiliation of the Treaty, and the fact that the Germans were not allowed any role in negotiating the terms, gave ammunition to opponents of Weimar, especially the extreme parties

the origins…

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