MODULE 1: How strong was the Weimar Germany in the 1920’s?

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The Spartacist Revolt
•5-12 January 1919 •The German Communist Party (KPD) was formed by leaders of the Spartacist League and they tried to seize power in Berlin on 5th Jan but were repressed by the military and Freikorps•Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered
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What happened on the 19th January 1919?
The National Elections. The SPD, the Centre Party and the DDP formed the Weimar Great Coalition.
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Was there a revolution after WW1 in 1919?
There was an outbreak of strikes and mutinies. The Communists and USPD launched a series of demonstrations and uprisings. Ebert & SPD tried to prevent Communists taking over Germany by working with the army, moderate trade unions & industrialists.
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What was Ebert's political opposition from the Left after the war?
•radical groups performing strikes/ mass demonstrations •soviets •the KPW wanted a Communist revolution
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What was Ebert's political opposition from the Right after the war?
•hostility of the elite•Freikorps•Nationalist turmoil on eastern & southern borders•Separatist movements(Bavaria, Rhineland, East Prussia) •Powerful generals only tactically and possibly temporarily supporting the new regime
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What were Ebert's military problems as a result of the war?
•bitterness at unexpected defeat •need for an armistice and then peace treaty •demobilisation- 1.5 million soldiers had to be returned to society
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What were Ebert's economic problems as a result of the war?
•hunger/flu epidemic •inflation •allied blockade meant shortages of essential goods
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How did Ebert tackle political opposition from the Left?
•used the support of the army to crush radical groups•the country's heavy industrialists negotiated the Central Working Association Agreement with the Trade Unions• the Freikorps fought communism
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How did Ebert tackle political opposition from the Right?
With the formation of the Weimar Great Coalition (who worked with the army), the moderate trade unions and the industrialists
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How did Ebert tackle military problems?
They accepted the terms of the Treaty of Versailles to avoid further conflict with foreign countries.
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How did Ebert tackle economic problems?
He formed a coalition to negotiate a peace treaty with the Allied powers (removed blockade) and more parties supporting a similar cause e.g. distribution of food meant a stronger movement with more success.
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How was the Weimar doomed from the start?
•soldiers joining soldiers' & workers' councils•USPD thought Ebert too cautious•Uprisings from start•army-essentially undemocratic force•TofV terms•hunger/flu epidemic•'November Criminals'•'Stab in Back'•Inflation•Political opposition•allied blockade
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What did the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles include?
•reparations •reduced army •Article 231- War Guilt Clause •lost land and population •demilitarised zones
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What was the structure of the newly established state?
•Proportional Representation •National Assembly (Weimar Coalition) drew up new constitution- Germany remained a federation with individual rights & citizen welfare •Article 48
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What was Article 48 and when could it be used?
"emergency powers which enabled the issue of legislation by Presidential decree" •used if a state does not fulfil the responsibilities assigned to it or in the event of a serious disturbance
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Who were the SDP?
The Social Democratic Party. They supported the working class; mainly industrial workers. They were committed to class struggle, wanted democracy and supported social reform & the extension of welfare.
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Who were the USPD?
The Independent Socialists. They supported industrial workers disillusioned by Ebert and his use of the Freikorps. They opposed the war and Treaty of Versailles and wanted a revolution to replace parliament with workers soviets.
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Who were the DDP?
The German Democratic Party. They supported business interests, the middle class and intellectuals. They were supportive of the republic and early Weimar constitution They supported constitutional reforms, democracy and civil liberties.
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Who were the DVP?
The German People's Party. They supported business interests, intellectuals and white collar workers. They wanted a return to autocratic system of government. They were pro business and anti union and labour.
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Who were the DNVP?
The German National People's Party. They supported nationalists, land owners, upper middle class. They were hostile to the republic, wanted a return to Imperial Reich & restoration of Kaiser. They were Anti Semitic & proposed a union with Austria.
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Who were the Centre Party?
They supported Catholics. They believed in supporting the public and social reform but were against abortion, contraception and ***********. They were against revolution.
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Who were the KPD?
The German Communist Party, They supported Communist revolutionaries and the working class. They were hostile to republic and the capitalistic political system. They wanted a violent revolution. They were supporters of the USSR.
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Who were the NSDAP?
National Socialist German Workers Party. Supported ex service men, radical & anti Semites.Were hostile to republic & called them 'Nov Criminals'. Wanted society restructure according to race, with destruction of communism & expansion of living space.
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What is the order of political parties from left to right?
•KPD •USPD •SDP •DDP •Centre Party •DVP •DNVP •NSDAP
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Threats from the Right- What was the Kapp Putsch?
On 12 March 19, 1920, 12,000 Freikorps marched to Berlin where the army refused to support the government so they had to flee and Kapp tried to head a new government. This was as a result of the disbanding of 2 Freikorps brigades.
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Threats from the Right- How was the Kapp Putsch solved?
The Left organised a strike to show their opposition, Berlin became paralysed and Kapp had to flee. There was a lack of support for Kapp's government; particularly from civil servants and bankers.
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Threats from the Right- What was the Munich Putsch?
On 8th November 1923, Hitlem stormed into a meeting of RW supporters and forced the men to support a march on Berlin and to impose a new government. 2000 armed Nazis marched on Munich
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How did the Weimar Republic solve the Munich Putsch?
The Bavarian police easily crushed the putsch. 14 Nazis were killed & Hitler was arrested but only served 9 months of 5 year sentence.
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Why were there so many assassinations in the early 1920s?
Left and Right wing extremists used the violent political scene to take matters into their own hands & used violence to demonstrate their views.
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How did the majority of German people respond to the assassinations of the early 1920s?
Were angered & shocked. They criticised the government. Law to Defend the Republic was passed which gave the authorities powers to establish special courts to deal with those responsible. Resulted in formation of Storm Troopers.
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How many people from the assassinations of the early 1920s were brought to justice?
Only 10 of 376 political murders were sentenced to death, all from Left. Only 22 of 376 murders were by Left. The right-wing, usually made up of ex-army soldiers & army tended to be treated with more leniency.
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What are some examples of the assassinations of the early 1920s?
Walter Rathenau (major role in Germany's war effort) was gunned down in 1922. Matthias Erzberger (leader of the Centre Party) was assassinated.
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How did some people benefit from the hyperinflation?
Fixed loans, debts and mortgages were paid off with worthless money. Speculators bought antiques & not the black market. Some businessmen borrowed cheaply & invested in new industrial enterprises where they profited highly e.g. Hugo Stinnes.
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What factors caused the inflationary crisis?
Ruined economy after war. Full employment during war - high demand but lack of supply--> prices pushed up. TofV reparations. The government had to pay the workers during passive resistance in Ruhr- printed money, prices rose, valueless German mark.
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Overall, how serious were the effects of hyperinflation?
Some benefitted. Majority suffered greatly; pensioners- worthless pensions, destitute working-class, weekly wages in a wheelbarrow, valueless money- bartering, savings became worthless. Poverty & struggles lost support for the Weimar regime.
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What were initial weaknesses in the Weimar Constitution?
Article 48 allowed President to become virtual dictator if they declared 'state of emergency'. Proportional representation made it virtually impossible for a party to form majority government. Loopholes in democracy aspects of Weimar Constitution.
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What did the government do to stabilise the economy after 1923?
Replaced devalued Reichsmark with the Rentenmark & 9 months later, introduced new Reichsmark. Introduced the Dawes Plan in April 1924.
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Why was the Dawes Committee created?
To help deal with the issue of reparations because Germany could not afford the payments & struggled. Value of Franc declined after Ruhr occupation so French were forcibly involved.
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How did the Dawes Plan help to stabilise the economy?
It proposed that a loan of 800 million marks be raised for Germany to hep rebuild the economy and reparations payments started gradually and rose to maximum total after 5 years.
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Did industry improve during the 'golden twenties'?
+1927 industrial production = 1913 level -savings destroyed by inflation, government compensated in war bonds- not full value- people felt betrayed. Higher priced German exports. Dangerously dependent on foreign loans. Pre-war baby boom- unemployment
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What is a compulsory state arbitration strike and how did this affect labour relations?
It means the state intervened when a strike occurred and forced the employers and workers to come to an agreement. Employers felt the system favoured workers & wanted to reinvest in industry rather than pay higher wages.
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Was farming improving in the 'golden twenties'?
1927 agricultural depression. Global overproduction of food- farms failing to make a profit. Anger in the countryside directed at welfare policy(favoured urban working classes over peasantry) & trade policies (encouraged foreign import). Massive peasant p
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What are some arguments FOR the 'golden twenties'?
Election results, political violence was down, the Constitution functioned normally, Hindenburg strengthened the Republic.
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What are some arguments AGAINST the 'golden twenties'?
Turnover of governments, Hindenburg as President (right-wing conservative), constant extremist attacks, damaging disputes, coalitions, lack of reform of the judiciary and civil service, electoral realignment.
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What are arguments FOR greater economic stability in the 20s?
Economic growth, new production and management techniques, industrial concentration, high foreign investment, rise in wages, feel-good factor, Dawes Plan, establishment of a welfare state.
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What are arguments AGAINST greater economic stability in the 20s?
Low share of world trade, variable economic growth, limited recovery in some sectors (agriculture), poor relationships between workers & employers, unemployment, over reliance on foreign investment, unhealthy growth of Cartels, no feel good factor.
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Why were the 1920s considered the golden years?
Emergence of film, radio and the car, modern mass culture, advanced film industry, innovative theatre, rich range of literature, Avant Garde, liberal society-freedom, cultural developments, artistic developments
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What is a summary of the Dawes Plan?
1924. Reorganisation of German economy, establish the Rentenmark, international loan of 800 million marks, fixed scale reparations repayments, short term- success, long term- dangerously dependent on foreign loans.
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What is a summary of the Locarno Pact?
International security pact, demilitarised Rhineland, mutual guarantee agreement accepted the Franco-German and Belgian- German borders. Along with Britain and Italy- renounced the use of force except in self-defence.
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What significance did the Kellogg-Briand Pact have?
1928. A declaration that 'war was an instrument of national policy'. Showed Germany to be working with 68 nations.
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What were Stresemann's failures?
Did not revise Versailles fundamentally. Right Wing was totally against fulfilment. False idea of prosperity. Reliance on credit from abroad. Deeply class divided society. 76,000 industrial disputes between 1924 & 1932.
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What happened on the 19th January 1919?

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The National Elections. The SPD, the Centre Party and the DDP formed the Weimar Great Coalition.

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Was there a revolution after WW1 in 1919?

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What was Ebert's political opposition from the Left after the war?

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