To what extent did the First World War cause political and social division in Germany between 1914 and 1918?

  • Created by: becky.65
  • Created on: 03-04-18 15:00

Strains of war, tensions and military dictatorship, 1917:

  • The start of the war was greeted by great patriotic feeling across German society 
  • This was mixed with a high level of anxiety at the economic consequences of the war - many people began hoarding food or withdrawing money from banks
  • Overall, the war appeared to have erased many of the acute divisions that still plagued society 
  • 1912 - SPD had become largest party in the Reichstag which the elite viewed with considerable alarm
  • The Kaiser and his government had been concerned that the SPD might not support the war, so plans to arrest memebers and close down socialist newspapers were being considered
  • Instead, the SPD accepted the Chancellor's assertion that war was necessary as defense against the Tsarist regime 
  • 4 August 1914 - SPD voted for war credits
  • All Germans were united in their support for the war, even the Polish population who were viewed as enemies to the nation
  • This spiritual and political togetherness that the war created was known as Burgfriede
  • Burgfriede remained fairly strong in the first two years of the war, based on the belief among the public that war was progressing well
  • The German High Command which ensured that only positive news about the war was avaliable in Gemrnay, despite the fact that by 1916 Germany had undergone some significant military failures on the Western Front
  • Winter 1916 - strains of war were beginning to reopen the divisions in German society 
  • The division between rural and urban areas became worse, driven by Germany's growing food shortages
  • An Allied naval blockade, the depletion of agricultural workers and the military requisitioning of food led to rising food prices and growing shortages
  • Poor government policies accentuated the problem
  • 1915 - government killed 35% of the country's pigs to save grain, leading to an eventual meat shortage and high meat prices
  • Winter 1916/17 - Turnip Winter
  • Food shortages brought about a growing anger that split rural and urban areas
  • Urban populations believed that rural areas were hoarding food and able to live off their own produce, thus were immune to the problems facing the cities
  • Rural populations were angered by the shortages of labour they faced, the growing prices associated by farming, the criticism from Germans in the cities and the government's searches of farms for possible hidden food
  • Moral was highly affected by the lack of food - considerable growth in malnourishment, disease and mortality rates among the very young and elderly 
  • During WWI 750,000 Germans died of diseases related to starvation
  • Protests and riots started to take place
  • Resentment between the classes began to grow as the working and middle classes believed upper classes had greater access to the black market - this threatened the Burgfriede
  • The demand for better wages that would enable working classes to purchase food was a key factor in the mounting strikes
  • April 1917 - 200,000 workers were on strike in Berlin due to further bread rationing 
  • 1917 - German casualties reached 2.5…

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To what extent did the First World War cause political and social division in Germany between 1914 and 1918?

  • Created by: becky.65
  • Created on: 03-04-18 15:00

Strains of war, tensions and military dictatorship, 1917:

  • The start of the war was greeted by great patriotic feeling across German society 
  • This was mixed with a high level of anxiety at the economic consequences of the war - many people began hoarding food or withdrawing money from banks
  • Overall, the war appeared to have erased many of the acute divisions that still plagued society 
  • 1912 - SPD had become largest party in the Reichstag which the elite viewed with considerable alarm
  • The Kaiser and his government had been concerned that the SPD might not support the war, so plans to arrest memebers and close down socialist newspapers were being considered
  • Instead, the SPD accepted the Chancellor's assertion that war was necessary as defense against the Tsarist regime 
  • 4 August 1914 - SPD voted for war credits
  • All Germans were united in their support for the war, even the Polish population who were viewed as enemies to the nation
  • This spiritual and political togetherness that the war created was known as Burgfriede
  • Burgfriede remained fairly strong in the first two years of the war, based on the belief among the public that war was progressing well
  • The German High Command which ensured that only positive news about the war was avaliable in Gemrnay, despite the fact that by 1916 Germany had undergone some significant military failures on the Western Front
  • Winter 1916 - strains of war were beginning to reopen the divisions in German society 
  • The division between rural and urban areas became worse, driven by Germany's growing food shortages
  • An Allied naval blockade, the depletion of agricultural workers and the military requisitioning of food led to rising food prices and growing shortages
  • Poor government policies accentuated the problem
  • 1915 - government killed 35% of the country's pigs to save grain, leading to an eventual meat shortage and high meat prices
  • Winter 1916/17 - Turnip Winter
  • Food shortages brought about a growing anger that split rural and urban areas
  • Urban populations believed that rural areas were hoarding food and able to live off their own produce, thus were immune to the problems facing the cities
  • Rural populations were angered by the shortages of labour they faced, the growing prices associated by farming, the criticism from Germans in the cities and the government's searches of farms for possible hidden food
  • Moral was highly affected by the lack of food - considerable growth in malnourishment, disease and mortality rates among the very young and elderly 
  • During WWI 750,000 Germans died of diseases related to starvation
  • Protests and riots started to take place
  • Resentment between the classes began to grow as the working and middle classes believed upper classes had greater access to the black market - this threatened the Burgfriede
  • The demand for better wages that would enable working classes to purchase food was a key factor in the mounting strikes
  • April 1917 - 200,000 workers were on strike in Berlin due to further bread rationing 
  • 1917 - German casualties reached 2.5…

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