Weimar republic

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Weimar Revision

After WW1 2 groups wanted to control Germany

  • Left wing-revolutionaries

    • wanted socialist revolution did not trust ebert

    • main group- ‘spartacus league’, led by Rosa Luxemburg

  • Social democrats

    • led by Ebert

    • moderate Marxist ideas

    • believed that removing the Kaiser was the end of the revolution

    • had support of Frei-korps

    • did not want extreme measures

    • wanted to prevent left wing takeover

  • Germany was now a republic, its new government met in Weimar and was a democracy. The revolution seemed to be over but more violence was to come.

  • Political threats they faced- communism, extreme nationalism (they didn’t believe Germany had lost the war and blamed the government) and the freikorps

Weimar constitution- led by president Ebert Friedrich and his social democratic party



  • Germany is a republic + political authority derives from the people

  • Parliament voted for by everyone over 20

  • parliament elected for 4 yrs (sensible time limit

  • Reich president is chosen by whole electorate

  • Reichstag delegates have proportional representation

  • President could make laws + keep chancellor in office without Reichstag’s support

  • president was commander of army

  • president chose chancellor

  • presidential powers in an emergency

  • president in power too long?

  • president could dismiss + call elections

Threats to the new republic(1918-19)

  • November 1918, independent socialists setup republic in Bavaria

    • Their leader Eisner was shot the next February, by a right wing.

  • January 1919,Spartacist(led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg) (communist) uprising

    • wanted Germany should be run by working classes and believed that power and wealth should be shared equally among the population

    • they wanted to replicate the Russian revolution by overthrowing the government, establishing soviets and using violent methods

    • The revolt:-

On the night of 5 January 1919 the spartacists captured the headquarters of the government’s newspaper and the telegraph bureau, but they did not capture any other but not any other buildings.

The whole uprising was badly prepared as it did not have the support of any other left-wing parties and the Spartacist leaders only supported the action when it had already started. So it was easily crushed by the freikorps, who took over Spartacist headquarters on 10 January 1919. By 15 January 1919 the spartacists had been crushed with 100  of them dead compared to only 13 of the freikorps.

  • March 1919, communists organised strikes +riots in Berlin.

    • government ordered anyone seen with a gun to be shot on sight

  • March 1919, communists turned Bavaria into a Soviet Republic on Russian lines.

    • took houses, food, cars and clothing from middle class and rich to give to working class

    • formed Bavarian red army to protect themselves

    • Weimar government put Munich under siege- by the end of April food was so scarce that it was a crime punishable by death to anyone who wasn’t dying

    • May 1 1919, siege ended- government +freikorps smashed into the city.No communist was spared, man woman or child. At least 600 people were killed.

  • Weimar government +freikorps put down communists in Bavaria +Berlin

Treaty of Versailles- signed at Palace of



My notes for the Edexcel iGCSE history the Weimar Republic. It has all the information I needed but is a little informal.

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