1 With the singing of the Treaty f Versailles came the abdication of the Kaiser - in his place, the Weimar was set up.
Germany was now a democratic country, with an election every four years for members of the Reichstag, and
every seven years for the President. Anyone over 20 could vote, and the Constitution enabled basic freedoms,
like free speech.
1.1 The Weimar looked like the perfect
democracy - however, there were
two fatal flaws.
1.1.1 The voting system was proportional representation. This meant the
number of politicians each party had in the Reichstag was dependant
on the % of the no. votes the party got in the previous election. This
was fair, but resulted in coalitions where lots of disagreements took
place, and the government was weak, indecisive, and short-lived.
1.1.2 Article 48 stated that in case of emergency, the
President could issue a decree, without the
agreement of the Reichstag. The problem was that
'an emergency' was never defined, and the Article
could be abused.
1.2 A Reichstag was elected
every four years, and a
President every 4.
1.2.1 Anyone over 20 could vote, and
the public had basic freedoms,
like free speech.
1.3 For a law to be passed, it must be
agreed on by a majority in the Reichstag.
1.4 The German public, however, were enraged by the Treaty - they felt
betrayed by their government, and the Weimar faced various
1.4.1 A key crisis took place in 1923: hyperinflation.
18.104.22.168 Germany missed a reparations payment - this led to an invasion of the Ruhr by French and Belgian
soldiers, between 1923 and 1925. The Ruhr was the industrial heartland of Germany, full of factories
and coalmines. France invaded with intentions to take raw materials, in place of the unpaid money.
German workers, with the support of the government, refused to cooperate and went on strike.
22.214.171.124.1 To pay the striking workers, the government decided to print more money. This sudden influx of paper money into
the economy, combined with both the strike (resulting in less goods) and the weak economy caused by the war,
resulted in hyperinflation.
126.96.36.199.1.1 Money was easy to obtain, but goods were scarce - so
prices kept rising and rising, at a rapid rate. Inflation
was so bad, that prices could double in a few hours. A
loaf of bread cost 250DM in January 1923, but cost
200,000 million DM by November.
188.8.131.52.1.2 Workers paid by the hour found their wages were useless.
184.108.40.206.1.3 People who saved money for years found the value wiped out.
220.127.116.11.1.4 Problems caused by hyperinflation resulted in an increase in support for extremist parties.
18.104.22.168.1.5 Gustav Stresemann had been a nationalist, but realised someone must save Germany. He was appointed Chancellor in August 1923,
following the death of Ebert. Stresemann decided to recall all the DM and burnt them; he created a new currency (Rentenmark) and
solved hyperinflation overnight. In September 1923, the government called off the strike. In April 1924, he persuaded the French to leave
22.214.171.124.1.5.1 Calling off the strike angered a lot of German nationalists. Hitler decided to take advantage
of this and, along with two nationalist politicians (Kahr and Lossow), planned a revolution in Munich.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 The Nazi party had 55,000
members and was
stronger than ever.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 The Republic was weak and
set to collapse.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 Hitler had a large army of
Storm troopers, whom he knew he would
lose if he gave them nothing to do.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Hitler hoped to copy
Mussolini, who came to
power in 1922 by
marching on Rome.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Hitler collected 3,000 Storm troopers and told them to be
prepared to rebel. However, in October, Kahr and Lossow
backed out of the rebellion.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 On the night November 8th, Hitler and 600
Storm troopers stormed a meeting at the local
Beer Hall. Threatening them with a gun, Hitler
demanded Kahr and Lossow agreed to the
revolt. The SA took over army headquarters
and offices of newspapers.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.1 The next day, the Nazis marched on Munich expecting a triumph. Kahr had managed to
call in police and army reinforcements - the Putsch failed, 16 Nazis were killed. Hitler was
shot in the arm, but managed to escape. He was, however, arrested two days later.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 The Nazi party was banned, with Hitler prevented from public speaking until 1927.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Hitler's trial was highly publicized, and he was able to
turn it into a Nazi party rally by attacking the
government and claming he spoke for the people.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.1 The judge clearly symphasised with Hitler as he
was sentenced only 5 years in prison for
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.1.1.1 In prison, Hitler wrote 'Mein Kampf' - a book
detailing his views and Nazi ideals. This book
became a best-seller.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1.1.2 Hitler had time to adjust Nazi tactics, deciding to rise to
power legally and 'play' the political game.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 The Nazi party promised a lot of points, which they would alter or drop depending
on the reaction of the German public. They were flexible in what they said, making it
seem as if they truly understood the views of the public.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 The points were designed to appeal to all;
businessmen to farmers to housewives.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1.1 The main points of the Nazi manifesto were: destroy the Treaty; non-German immigration
to be stopped; generous old age pensions; abolish incomes not earned by work; support
small (German) businesses; only those with German blood may be members of the nation;
pupils will be taught their love their country, and sport will be compulsory in education;
take over Eastern European land to provide 'living space' for growing German population.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1.1.1 A strong, tough
led by one man was
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Nazi propaganda was organised by Josef Goebbels. Propaganda utilised
the latest technologies (loudspeakers, slide shows, films), powerful
posters with simple, but effective, slogans, and marches and rallies
were held (which gave the impression of discipline and order).
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124 The Nazi party was well organised, with door-to-door leafleting done by uniformed
SA men, public meetings, and soup kitchens for the unemployed during the
Depression. They adopted the right-arm salute, as well as the swastika. This
appealed to people during times of chaos, like the unemployment crisis.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 Hitler himself was a charismatic orator; the
audience felt able to identify with him, and he
captivated them with his energy and passion.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.1.3 Hitler was released in December 1924, after serving only 9 months.
22.214.171.124.1.5.2 Stresemann began to pay off the
reparations again - but he
managed to negotiate with
America to create the Dawes Plan
in 1924, which gave Germany
longer to pay off the reparations.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 The Young Plan was negotiated in
1929, which reduced the payments.
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Nazis and nationalists argued
that they should not be paying
reparations at all.
18.104.22.168.1.5.3 In 1925, Stresemann signed the Locarno Treaty,
agreeing to the loss of Alsace-Lorraine. In 1926,
Gemany was allowed to join the League of
Nations, and were even sponsored by France.
22.214.171.124.1.5.4 Stresemann introduced reforms to
benefit the German public: new houses
were built; unemployment pay was
established; job centres were introduced.
126.96.36.199.1.5.5 Stresemann established a 'Great Coalition' of moderate pro-democracy parties -
united as one, they were able to resist the criticism of smaller extremist parties,
and the government had enough members of the Reichstag agreeing to pass
188.8.131.52.1.5.6 America gave a loan of 800 million gold marks to
Germany - this was used to build railways, roads, and
184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 The economy and the culture of Germany
boomed. German design, film, theatre and
music became innovative; the people of
Germany were content and extremist
parties lost their appeal - these (1924 - 1929)
are known as the 'Golden Era'.
18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 The Great Coalition crumbled
after the economic boom.The
parties began to argue
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Germany's economy was completely
reliant on the American economy. It
was built upon weak foundations.
184.108.40.206.1.5.7 In 1929, the Wall Street Crash took place in New
York. America's economy plummeted, and as a
result, so did Germany's because America called in
its loans. By this point, Stresemann had died.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 From 1929 to 1932, the number of unemployed
people in Germany rose from 1.5 million to 6 million.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1 Poverty, hunger, disease and crime
increased. Germany was in chaos.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.2 The Weimar government was weak due
to PR - none of the parties agreed on
how to solve the issue, and they all
feared another crisis of hyperinflation.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.2.1 People lost trust in the government, as
they failed to solve yet another crisis.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.3 Germany had entered a depression, and as the
rate of unemployment rose, so did support for
extremist parties. Support for the Nazis rose
from 12 votes in 1928 to 288 in 1933.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3.1 Support for Communism also increased, with
support from the working class. The rising
popularity scared business owners and farmers, as
Soviet Union Communists had taken away big
industries and farmers' land. This lead to them
supporting and funding the Nazi party, who utilised
this money for developing effective propaganda.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.3.1.1 Along with the Communists, the Social Democrats were a
main rival of the Nazi party. However, these two parties had
been bitter enemies since the Spartacist Uprising. They were,
therefore, reluctant to work together against the Nazis.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 People wanted someone to blame, and they needed strong
leadership. Hitler offered them both, by condemning the Weimar
government and the decisive and extreme views of the Nazi party.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 In the July 1932 elections, the Nazis won 37% of votes
- they had the largest party in the Reichstag, but the
President (Hindenburg) did not make Hitler the
Chancellor.He did not trust Hitler, referring to him as
a 'little corporal', and thus, he made Franz von Papen
the Chancellor instead.
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.1 Von Papen did not have the support he needed in the Reichstag to
pass laws - this led to usage of Article 48. This faced much criticism,
as Germany was not in an emergency. Von Papen was replaced with
Kurt von Schleicher because of this - however, he faced the same
problems, and found himself relying on Article 48 as well.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1.1.1 Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933, following a deal made with von Papen (who
wanted Schleicher out as Chancellor). They agreed to form a new government with Hitler as
Chancellor and von Papen as vice-Chancellor. Papen persuaded Hindenburg to agree, as
they thought they could control Hitler by restricting the number of Nazis in the government
(to 3 out of 12). It was believed by the two that Papen would be the one making all the
1.4.2 The Spartacist Uprising took place in January 1919, and was orchestrated by 50,000 Spartacists. Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Leibkrecht
were the leaders; their arm was to overthrow the Republic and give power to the workers. The Spartacists captured the government's
newspaper and telegraph bureau. However, they were extremely unorganized and it took only 10 days for the Freikorps, hired by the
President (Ebert) at the time, to kill 100 Spartacists and crush them. They threw the body of Rosa into the canal.
188.8.131.52 Ebert looked weak as he could not
defeat the Spartacists himself.
184.108.40.206 The Spartacists and workers left
would never forgive Ebert.
1.4.3 Groups of soldiers, whom refused to disband, formed private armies - these were the Freikorps.
1.4.4 The Kapp Putsch was a rebellion, led by Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Luttwitz, which took place in March 1920. Luttwitz led a group of Freikorps, and
Kapp was a right-wing journalist, angered by the terms of the Treaty. The movement had the support of many army officers, and Ebert was forced to leave
Berlin as he wasn't sure of the support he would receive from the army and he was unable to utilise the Freikorps. Ebert turned to the citizens for help,
and called a General Strike - if achieved, this would make it impossible for the uprising to succeed as they would have no means to manage the people. The
strike was successful.
220.127.116.11 Ebert now knew he could not take
the support of the army for granted.
18.104.22.168 Support for the government was clearly not universal.
22.214.171.124 Politicians knew they were not necessarily safe in Berlin.
2 Terms of the Treaty
2.1.1 Clause 231 stated that Germany must
accept full blame for starting the war.
This validated the reparation demands.
126.96.36.199 Wounded Germany's pride.
They refused to believe that
they were to blame. The soldier
sent to sign the Treaty almost
refused based upon this Clause.
2.2.1 Germany had to pay a total of #6,600
million for the damage done in the war
- both to buildings and the people.
188.8.131.52 Germany accused France and
Britain of trying to starve their
children. Germany was already
struggling economically after the
war. At first, they refused to pay,
and only started when invaded by
France and Britain in 1921.
2.3.1 Germany could have no
submarines or airforce.
2.3.2 The navy was limited to six battleships,
and the army to 100,000 men.
2.3.3 Germany had to demitalrise the Rhineland.
2.3.4 Germany felt vulnerable
and helpless. Initially, the
sailors sank the fleet rather
than handing it over.
2.4.2 Germans accused France and
Britain of trying to destroy
their economy, with the loss
of the Saar and farmlands.
Other nations were awarded
self-determination by the
Treaty, but Germans were
forced to live in other
countries - they were also
upset that they could not
reunite with Austria.
2.5 Germans called it the
'Diktat' - an imposed,
unfair settlement. They
had no say in
2.6 The government were referred to
as 'the November Criminals' -
people felt they had been
betrayed by their own government
when they signed the Treaty.