1.1 What were the strengths
and weaknesses of
1.1.1 the nature of democracy
22.214.171.124 The Weimar constitution:
126.96.36.199.1 The President:-elected every seven years.
-controlled the armed forces. - stayed out
of the day-to-day running of the country. -In
an emergency he could make laws without
going through the government (article 48)
188.8.131.52.1.1.1 The Chancellor- responsible for the
day-to-day running of the country. -
chosen from the Reichstag by the
president. - like a prime minister
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 who needed
more than half
the support of
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 The Reichstag:- voted on new laws. -
members elected every four years, through a
system called PR (proportional representation).
This system gave small parties a chance to
have a say in parliament.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.1.1 The German people: - elected
President and the members of
the Reichstag -all men and
women over the age of 20 could
vote. - all adults had equal rights
and the right of free speech.
184.108.40.206 Problem 1: Defeat
in the first world war-
'the stab in the back'
220.127.116.11.1 Within days of taking over the new
government had to sign an armistice that
ended the war. They had little choice- the
German army was retreating and people at
home faced starvation. Not all Germans
saw it this way. The German army had
been doing well only a few months earlier
and the Kaiser had not announced any bad
news to the German people. People were
now very bitter and were looking for
someone to blame. A simple explanation
for defeat that spread was that the German
army had been 'stabbed in the back' by the
18.104.22.168.1.1 known as 'November
Criminals' for signing
armsitice plus treaty of V.
opponents used against
them to weaken support.
22.214.171.124 Problem 2:The
Treaty of Versailles
126.96.36.199.1 The first world war ended with the signing of the
armistice in November 1918. However it took until June
1919 fro the Allies to agree on a peace treaty. The new
German government was not invited to the discussions.
188.8.131.52.1.1 Treaty of
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 L. : Land: Germany lost 13% of
its land. This lost land had
important raw materials, such as
coal. Germany was split in two.
This was to give Poland access
to sea. German troops were not
allowed in the Rhineland. This
was to make the French feel
safe from German attack. All
Germany's overseas colonies
were taken away.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 A. Army: The German army was to be
reduced to just 100,000. The navy was
cut to only 15,000 sailors and only six
battleships. Germany was not allowed
submarines, tanks, or an air force.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 M. Money: Germany had to pay
reparations. Most of the money would
go to Belgium and France. At Versailles
no sum was fixed. But in 1921 the Allies
fixed the sum at £6600 million.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 B. Blame: In the 'war guilt' clause,
Germany was to be blames for the
war. This enabled the Allies to
demand compensation for all the
damage that had been caused.
18.104.22.168.2 German reaction
22.214.171.124.2.1 The German people felt humiliated. They hated the treaty and
the people who made it. The German government did not like the
treaty but they had little choice but to accept it. War was
threatened if they did not sign. Opponents of the Wiemar
republic now blamed the government for sigining. To the. the fact
that the government had signed showed how weak they were and
rienforced the view that they stabbed Germany in the back.
126.96.36.199 Problem 3:
188.8.131.52.1 The Weimar Republic was democratic- people had the right to choose their
government. however, some groups did not think that this was the best way to
run Germany. These extremist parties wanted to tear the Weimar republic apart.
184.108.40.206.1.1 The left wing extremist:
communist party. Believe that
they should run the country on
the behalf of the workers.
220.127.116.11.1.1.1 Right wing
extremists were the
Nazis. they believed
should be lead with
one strong leader
18.104.22.168.1.2.1 Threat 1: The
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 The Sparticist league, communist group lead by Rosa Luxemberg and Karl Liebknecht. They did not trust
the new government. They thought Ebert would not improve the lives of the workers. They wanted a full
scale Russian revolution like the Russian of 1917. In Jan. 1919 workers were protesting throughout
Germany. The Sparticists tried to turn this into a revolution. In Berlin they took over the government's
newspaper and telegraph headquarters. They hoped protester would join- didn't. The government ordered
the army to stop the uprising with help from units of the Freikorps (ex-soldiers who were anti-communist).
Rosa Luxemburg was shot, Karl was murdered to. Sparticists struggled without main leaders.
188.8.131.52.1.2.2 Threat 2: The red
rising in the Ruhr, 1920
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Groups of workers led by the communist party.
Many German workers were angry about bad pay
and conditions. Workers had been protesting
throughout 1919. In 1920 a communist party 'Red
Army' of 50,000 workers occupied the Ruhr region
and took control of its raw materials. This was one
of Germany's main industrial areas. The German
army, with the help of the Freikorps crushed the
18.104.22.168.1.2.3 Threat 3: The
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Freikorps units led by Wolfgang Kapp in 1920 as
Friekorps ordered disbanded by government. 12,00
marched to Berlin, government forced to flee. Freikorps
wanted Kapp as new leader of Germany. Kapp and
Freikorps failed to win support. Workers in Berlin went on
strike in protest, made it impossible for Kapp to rule. After
four days he fled from Berlin. Ebert's government returned.
188.8.131.52.1.2.4 Threat 4: The Munich
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 The Nazi party of about 55,000 members and th SA led by Hitler and
Gerneral Ludendorff planned to take over government as they believed
democracy led to weak government. They started in Bavaria were 600+
Hitler burst into a beer hall meeting and forced the leader of Bavaria (Kahr)
to support them. Kahr was allowed to leave the meeting and he withdrew
his support the next day. The German government responded and crushed
the revolt. The Nazis that marched to a military base in Munich were
stopped by armed police and soldiers. In the fighting 14 killed + leaders
were arrested and Hitler was sent to prison for 5 years. he was released
after just 9 months, released my struggle whilst in prison.
18.104.22.168 Problem 4: Invasion of
Ruhr + Hyper-Inflation
22.214.171.124.1 Germany struggled to keep up with the reparation
payments to the Allies. In 1922 Germany announced
that it could not pay reparations for the next three
years. France did not believe this and was
determined to make Germany pay. In 1923, 60,000
French and Bulgarian troops marched in the Ruhr, an
important industrial area of Germany. They seized
control of mines, factories and railways. They took
supplies from shops and set up machine-gun posts
in the streets.
126.96.36.199.1.1 The German government told workers not to co-operate
with the French. All workers went on strike. This policy
was known as passive resistance (meant to be
non-violent protest against invasion). The workers on
strike received money from the government to support
their family. This cost the government a lot of money, no
money was coming in from the Ruhr so the government
was short on money.
188.8.131.52.1.1.1 To solve the money shortage
the government printed more
money to pay workers and
debts. More money they printed
the less its worth. People lost
confidence in the German mark.
Prices raised at an incredible
rate- Hyper-inflation. By 1923
November the German mark is
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 There was major food shortages
because farmers did not want to sell
food for worthless money. There were
deaths from starvation. Some people
turned to crime. Millions lost their
savings and their was widespread
poverty. This turned many people
against the government. Caused more
moderate people to turn against
government as it was their own
18.104.22.168 In August 1923 Streseman became chancellor of
Germany. The problems faced were so great most
Germans did not think that he would be able to
solve them. For the next 5 years (first as chancellor
then as foreign minister) Stresemann tried to find
answers to the problems facing Wiemar.
22.214.171.124.1 Policy 1: introduce
a new currency
126.96.36.199.1.1 Stresemann acted quickly to deal with
hyper-inflation. The old money was replaced with a
new currency called the Rentenmark. 1 Rentenmark
replaced 1 billion marks. Old notes were recalled ans
burned. As a result the new currency was quickly
accepted and inflation was brought under control.
However the German people never forgot
hyper-inflation and people whoo had lost their
savings were not compensated. They felt cheated
and blamed the Weimar Republic.
188.8.131.52.2 Policy 2: Persuade the
French to leave the Ruhr
184.108.40.206.2.1 Stresemann called off the passive resistance, because it
had not led the French to withdraw from the Ruhr and had
cause serious economic problems. He promised the
French to keep up payment of reparations to France. The
French left the Ruhr but this was a very unpopular policy
in Germany. There was a lot of opposition especially from
the right-wing extremists. They claimed it was sign of
weak government. Stresemann had 'given in' to the
220.127.116.11.3 Policy 3:
18.104.22.168.3.1 Stresemann decided to co-operate with other countries in Europe. He accepted that Germany could not reclaim the
land that it had lost in the Treaty of Versailles. He hoped that by doing so the Allies would change the terms of the
treaty. In 1925 Stresemann signed the Lorcarno pact. This was a series of treaties with Britain, France, Belgium and
Italy in which they promised not to invade one another. In 1926 Germany joined the league of nations. It was given a
great power status which meant it could have a say in major decisions that had to be made. Stresemann was awarded
the noble peace prize in 1926. Howver some Germans thought Streseman was weak. By saying that Germany would
not try to regain the land it had lost he had once again 'given in' o France. Some army generals believed that
Stresemann should have built up the army instead and tried to regain land lost by force.
22.214.171.124.4 Policy 4:
126.96.36.199.4.1 Streseman realised that he could not force the Allies to change the treaty so he promised to pay reparations. He
hoped that the allies would lower the payments in the future. The Dawes plan of 1924 reorganised the way that
Germany had to pay reparations. Germany was given longer to pay. In 1929 the Young Plan lowered the amount of
money from 132,000 million marks to 36,000 million. However the Dawes plan did no reduce the amount of money.
Opponents called the Dawes plan 'a second Versailles'. The young plan was also hated by many as they thought
Germnay should not have to pay at all. Under the terms of the Young Plan, Germany would be paying until 1988.
188.8.131.52.5 Policy 5: Get
help to rebuild
184.108.40.206.5.1 Stresemann organised big loans fro Germany from the US. This was
apart of the Dawes Plan. 1924. The German government used this money
to improve housing, hospitals, schools and roads. Loans were also given
to private German firms. In addition many US firms set up factories in
Germany. Pensions and wages rose for some. However the German
economy was dependeant on the US economy. Problems in US cause
massive problems in Germany. Even Stresemann himself admitted that
Germany was 'dancing on a volcano'. Wages did not rise for everyone.
Farmers lost out because food prices stayed low. By 1929 farmworkers
earned only half the national average. Many farmers became angry and
started to support extremists. Unemployment never fel below 1 million. it
started to rise higher from 1928. Rich people in Germany had to pay
higher taxes. They complained that the government was spending too
much on helping the poor and unemployed.
1.2.1 In 1928 few Germans would have
predicted that Hitler would become
leader of Germany. The Nazi party did
not appear to be going anywhere. Yet
by July 1933 Hitler became Chancellor.
220.127.116.11 The Nazis actions: Effective
leadership, clever promises, good
organisation, brilliant propaganda.
18.104.22.168.1 Hitler's leadership skills: played a
crucial role. His speeches and
personality gained the Nazis a
great deal of support. He came
across as a strong leader who
could solve Germany's problems.
22.214.171.124.2 Nazis promises: promised to: solve Germany's
economic problems, provide strong leadership,
ignore the treaty, build up the army, make
Germany great again. If they found a policy
was unpopular they would drop it.
126.96.36.199.3 Organisation: They were good at
raising money for election campaigns,
Nazi party members worked hard in
their local regions to spread the Nazi
message, they organised soup
kitchens and shelters for the
unemployed, the SA also played an
important role as with their uniforms
and marches the SA looked capable
of bringing law and order to Germany.
188.8.131.52.4 Propaganda: Nazi propaganda was organised
by Goebbles. The NAzis used loudspeakers,
radio, slideshows, and films to spread their
message, The Nazis used mass ralies and
marches to give the impression od discipline
and order. They used radio and posters with
powerful properganda with simple slogans.
184.108.40.206 Events which they had no
control over: The Wall St. crash,
fear of communism, weak
opponents, political deal.
220.127.116.11.1 The Wall
18.104.22.168.1.1 1929, US stockmarket crashed, US businesses and
banks lost large sums of money, as a result 1 in 4
people became unemployed. This created serious
problems in Germany as it was dependent on US
loans which were recalled. World trade reduces.
German firms went bankrupt, unemployment rises,
Germans forced to live in poverty so have less money
to spend, demand for German goods drops.
22.214.171.124.1.2.1 6 million
126.96.36.199.1.2.2 Made government look weak,
money was not spent on poor to
avoid hyper-inflation, government
188.8.131.52.1.2.3 This led to increased
support in extremist
184.108.40.206.2 Fear of communism: 1930- 1932 support for the
communists increased, the German communist
party was the largest in europe. The communists
had a lot of support from the worker. Many people in
Germany began to fear the communists would take
over the country, the Nazis seemed to be the only
party that could stop them so they gained votes.
220.127.116.11.3 Weak opposition: Opposition was
weak and divided, the Nazis two
main opponents were the
Communists and the Social
democrat party who were bitter
enemies. They were not prepared
to work together to stop the Nazis.
18.104.22.168.4 Political deal: In july 1932 the Nazis won 37% of the vote, they were the largest party in
the Reichstag however they did not have majority. Hitler demanded to be made
Chancellor. Howvere Paul von Hindenburg refused. Instead he appointed Papen, the
leader of the central party who soon faced many problems. General Schleicher
persuaded Hindenburg to remove Papen. In december he became chancellor but failed
to gain support. Papen wanted revenge. The Nazis were still the largest party so Papen
thought he could use them to get power. He made a deal with Hitler to form a new
government with Hitler as Chancellor and Papen as vice-chancellor. Wealthy
businessmen supported as they believed Papen, not Hitler, would control the
government. Papen persuaded Hindedburg to agree, in January 1933 Hitler became
Chancellor. Hindenburg and Papen thought they could control Hitler. They made sure
only 3 of the 12 that made up the new government were Nazis.
1.3 Hitler became
1.3.1 27th February 1933- The Reichstag fire. The Reichstag
was destroyed. A Dutch communist was found at scene.
He appeared to have been acting alone but Nazis
claimed it was the start of a plot for communists to tkae
over. That night 4000 communist leaders were arrested
by police. Hitler persuaded Hindenburg to grant him
emergency powers next day. This gave police power to
arrest people and hold them for as long as they wanted.
without trial. thousands of Nazis opponents were
arrested. Nazis banned meetings held by political
oppositions and closed down their newspapers.
1.3.2 March 1933- new elections. The Nazis used the
police and SA to put pressure on political
opponents. Nazis used radio to broadcast their
anti-communist message. they achieved their best
election vote ever 44%.
1.3.3 March 1933, The enabling law. Hitler wanted the enabling
law. it gave him the power to pass laws without going
through government or president. The communist party
were banned from voting. Centre party were persuaded to
vote because Hitler promised to protect the Catholic
Church. Only social democrats against. Law was passed
444 votes to 94. Germany was made dictatorship by this.
1.3.4 may- trade unions taken over, leaders
arrested, all trade unions merged into
one organisation, the new German
Labour front (DAF). it was controlled
by the Nazis. Ending workers rights.
1.3.5 July 1933- all political parties banned.
law passed banned people from
forming new parties. Other political
parties had broken up or been banned.
Now only one party in Germany.
1.3.6 1934 June- Night of the Long Knives. Hitler became concerned by the
increasing power of the SA, it had over 3 million members and wanted control
of army. The leader rohm was a close friend of Hitler hut Hitler thought of him
as a potential rival. Hitler also needed to reassure the army. The army was
smaller than the SA but it was well-trained and disciplined. It had the power
to overthrow Hitler. The army was supported by powerful business men also.
On the night of the long knives, SA leaders were dragged from their beds and
taken to Nazis headquaters and shot. Rohm was arrested, refused to commit
suicide and was so shot. The night was a warning to the rest of Germany on
how ruthless Hitler was.
1.3.7 August 1934- death of Hindenburg. Hitler
made himself president and Chancellor. He
was now undisputed head of government
and took the title Fuhrer. supreme leader.
1.3.8 August 1934- Army oath. The army took an
oath of personal loyalty to Hitler. He was now
supreme commander of the armed forces.
2 Control and opposition
2.1 control between
1933 and 1945
22.214.171.124 The SS: was originally Hitler's personal
guard. Himmler built it up, by 1939 it had
240,000 members. Recruits had to be
recognisably Aryan- blonde, blue-eyed, fit.
Himmler trained them to be ruthless and
loyal to Hitler. They could arrest people
without trial and search houses.
126.96.36.199.1 Concentration camps: As soon as the Nazis came to power
the SS arrested Nazi opponents and put them in camps. The
special concentration camps were constructed, usually in
remote rural areas. At first inmates were held for short time,
questioned, tortured, hard labour, and forced instruction in
Nazi ideas. By the late 1930s concentration camps were being
run by a section of the SS called Death's Head units, as
forced labour camps. Some prisoners were used to work for
Nazi-owned businesses. Himmler controlled over 150
companies who used slave labour. The camps held Jews,
Communists, Socialists, trade unionists, church leaders-
anyone who criticised the Nazis.
188.8.131.52 The Gestapo: thus was the state
secret police. They could tap
phones, open mail, and collect
information from a huge network of
informers. Informers reported in
local people who they believed were
'Anti-Nazi'. The Gestapo arrested
people without trial, tortured them
and imprisoned them in camps.
184.108.40.206.1 The police and courts: The ordinary police continued with their
regular work, but their bosses were all Nazis. This meant that the
police became part of the network of informers, collecting
information on everyone, whilst ignoring crimes committed by Nazis.
The courts were under Nazi control. Nazis were appointed as
judges so a fair trial was impossible. The number of offences
carrying the death penalty went up in 1933 from 3 to 46 by 1943,
These included listening to foreign radio, telling an anti-Nazi joke,
having a sexual relationship with a Jew, being a habitual criminal.
220.127.116.11.2 Informers: The Nazi party had a strong local structure.
Every town was divided into small units called blocks.
The Block Warden, a local Nazi, visited every home on
the block each week, collecting donations to the Nazi
party and checking up on everyone. The Block warden
wrote a report on everyone in their block. This report
could affect whether or not you got a job. The Warden
noted any signs of independent thinking.
2.2 Opposition groups
2.2.1 Former political opponents: All opposition parties
and trade unions were banned by July 1933. Their
offices raided, ransacked and closed. Thousands of
Socialists, including forming memebr of government
as well as trade unionists were arrested and put in
camps. Many were beaten up; sone tortured; a few
killed. Most were soon released as the aim was to
scare people into joining the Nazis or into keeping
quiet. In the years after 1933, working class
opposition to Nazism continued. from 1933 to 35 there
were 400 strikes. The gestapo made arrests for
example of two thirds of the communist party. Many
died in camps. Many more went into exile abroad.
2.2.2 The Churches: only when Hitler interfered
with activities of church did religious leader
object for example shutting down youth
groups. Overall church opposition did not go
very far. they did not object to persecution of
the Jewish. only 50 pastors out of 17,000
and one bishop were actually arrested.
2.2.3 Army officers: many upper class Germans were scornful of Hilter with
his lower class origins. Hitler's racial policies also horrified many of
the officer class. They were horrified by the brutal actions of the SS in
eatern europe, which were against the strict code of honour in war.
They also resented Hitler meddling in military stratergy. There were
said to be dozens of plots to assasinate Hitler. The one that came the
nearest to success was organised by Stauffenburg, who planted a
bomb in Hitler's military headquarters in July 1944. He was against his
Anti-semitism and by 1943 thought that Hitler was leading Germany to
a catastrophic defeat. It only failed as the meeting was not held
underground, the briefcase holding the bomb was moved slightly further
away from Hitler by someone. Four people were killed and Hitler was
injured. Hitler used the attempt as an excuse to round up and kill all of
his known opponents. as a result 5000 people were arrested and
2.2.4 Young people: the White Rose Group, a
small group of students at Munich
University led by Hans Scholl, Sophie
School and Christopher Probst. They
were disgusted by the lack of opposition
to the Nazis and their persicution of
Jews. Hans and Sophie were arrested
and tortured before being executed.
3 German economy and society
3.1 Hitler's Germany
3.1.1 A Germany with the Nazi
party in control: It was not
the job of the German
people to vote, or criticise;
they simply had to obey
and be grateful
3.1.2 A racially pure Germany: Only
Aryans- the blonde, blue-eyed and
pale skinned would be welcome.
3.1.3 A Germany with traditional roles for men
and women: women, wearing simple
clothes and no make-up, would stay at
home, cook simple meals and have babies.
Men, would work and if necassary fight.
Boys and girls would be prepared for their
different roles through the education system.
18.104.22.168 All women employed by the state- doctors, civil
servants and many teachers were sacked. In
appointing new staff, men were preferred to women.
22.214.171.124 Loans were offered to couples to encourage them to get married. They
recieved 1000 marks, about half a years pay. The more children they had
the less they had to pay back. If they had four children they paid back
nothing. But there was one condition; the women had to leave her job.
126.96.36.199 Medals were awarded for having children, gold for eight, silver for six
and bronze for four. However not everyone was allowed kids. iIt was
compulsory for women with inherited diseases to be sterilised.
188.8.131.52 Propaganda was big in women being simply dressed,
and to follow the three ks children, church, cooking.
3.2 Nazis attitudes towards religion
3.2.1 Hitler hated Christianity. He hated its teaching of
forgiveness and mercy, however he did not attack
them as they had such a large following. He saw
them as a threat but at first there was co-operation
between them. in 1933 the Catholic churches and
Hitler agreed to stay out of each others way. He
tried to start their own religion. closed down
religious youth groups and church schools.
3.3 Rebuilding the German economy.
3.3.1 Reduction of unemployment
184.108.40.206 By a huge building programme. new
motorways, schools, hospitals and houses
were built and paid for by the government.
220.127.116.11 By increasing the armed forces from 100,000 to 1,400,000.
All males aged 18-25 had to do two years military service.
Also by re-arming Germany. New tanks, aeroplanes, guns
and battleships were ordered. Industries of all kinds,
especially steel, boomed and millions of jobs were created.
18.104.22.168 By putting young men to work. All male 18-25
year olds did 6 months in the National Labour
Service (RAD), doing things like planting
trees, digging ditches. They were given food
and lodgings but paid only pocket money.
22.214.171.124 By removing many women
and Jews from the
3.3.2 Treatment of workers
126.96.36.199 Trade unions and workers' organisations were all
abolished. All workers had to joind the German Labour
Front, (DAF), run by the Nazis. The Labour Front
organised some improvements to workers' lives. They
negotiated better conditions at work, better lunches,
new toilets, etc. Through an organisation
called 'Strength Through Joy', they also arranged
leisure activities for workers and their families. These
included holidays, film shows, concerts, hiking, keep-fit
clubs and sporting fixtures. Millions of workers and
their families took part.