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Flashcards in Democracy in crisis 3 Deck (17):

What were the main political parties in the Weimar Republic? 8 of them...

--Z (Centre party). Pro WR until 1930. Catholic. Middle class support
--NDSAP (Nazi), Xtreme nationalist. Anti WR. Appealed to all by 1929
--DNVP (German National People's party). Nationalist. Anti WR, Junker support
--DVP (German People's Party). Anti WR (but active in reichstag). Upper middle-class support
--DDP (German Democratic Party). Left wing. Pro WR. Lost support in 1919
--SDP (Social Democratic Party). Very pro WR. Biggest party until 1932. Workers/Middle-class support
--KPD (Communist). Opposed WR, wanted Communist league. Popular after 1929
--BVP (Bavarian People's Party). Catholic. Representative of Bavaria. Willing to work with anti-democrats to exclude the SPD


Who were the extreme right?

-Displaced ruling class: junkers, landlords, industrial tycoons
-German Nationalists Party (DNVP) was monarchist, anti-democratic, anti-socialist, and wanted to return to Imperial Germany
-Moderate support in East Germany from rural poor voting for their masters. Elitist support elsewhere (10% of vote)
-Though support was small they were powerful i.e. Alfred Hugenberg leader of DNVP in 1920s, owned newspaper/film/publishing firms. Right wing paramilitary "Der Stahlhelm", 500 000 strong


Why did the extreme right hate the Weimar Republic so much?

-Loss of power: The extreme right were Germany's ruling class, now they resented their loss of power
-Disagreed with the Weimar Republic on principle: It was socialist, democratic, Jewish, Catholic or "Sozirepublik"/"Judenrepublik"
-Weimar Republic politicians were the "November Criminals" who had signed the armistice. They were guilty of "dolchstass", meaning "stab in the back"


Treaty of Versailles 1919

-Devised in early 1919
-Three months later Germany given ultimatum: accept terms or face invasion
-5 main areas to treaty:
(i) Territorial provisions on West German border
(ii) Territorial losses on East German border
(iii) War guilt acceptance and reparations
(iv) Disarmament
(v) Loss of oversees colonies


Treaty of Versailles: Main territorial provisions on Germany's Western border

-Alsace Lorraine returned to France (German since 1871)
-Rhineland demilitarised German zone, to be occupied by the allies for 15 years
-Saar coal field output goes to France for 15 years to compensate for damage to France's Northern coal fields


Treaty of Versailles: Main territorial provisions on Germany's Eastern border

-Polish corridor given to Poland (new state) to give it access to the sea
-Germany lost Memel (which would become part of Lithuania)
-Germany lost upper Silesia to Poland
-Danzig becomes free city under League of Nations control


Treaty of Versailles: War guilt and reparations

-Germany must accept full responsibility for starting WW1
-Germany must pay reparations to the allies. Final figure not decided in 1919 but figure fixed at £6600 million in 1921 by the reparations commission (though this was later reduced to £1850 million under the Young plan 1929)



-No tanks or heavy artillery
-Army less than or equal to 100 000 men
-No air force allowed
-No submarines, only six battleships



-Germany stripped of its overseas empire in its entirety


Why did the Germans hate the Treaty of Versailles?

Diktat - dictated peace: Germans expected discussion of peace terms based on "14 points" (formula for peaceful compromise proposed by US President Wilson. These were not discussed and there was no negotiation, so Germans thought the peace had been dictated

War guilt clause: Article 231 of the treaty stated Germany should accept full responsibility for the war and therefore they should pay allies reparations. Germans saw this as an allied play to destroy Germany's economy

Polish corridor: 1million Germans were placed under Polish rule and isolated from East Prussia when the corridor was given to Poland. Many Germans hated the Polish so they were angered. They had been refused the right to national self-determination


How did support for the far right increase after the Treaty of Versailles?

-Hardline aggressive nationalism was seen as the alternative to the "November criminals" of the Weimar Republic
-The belief that a democratic Germany would receive fair treatment was exposed as an illusion, discrediting the Weimar Republic


The Kapp putch (1920)

-Treaty of Versailles: "Army must be cut from 500 000 to 100 000 men"
-Frei Korps had been promised a job in the regular army for their services to the republic but this wasn't fulfilled
-Notorious "Ehrhardt Brigade" disbanded but the order to disband is refused and Ehrhardt plans revolt. He recruits Kapp for help
-Enters Berlin, government flees. Army refuses to act on revolt, Commander in Chief: "troops do not fire on troops"
-SDP organise general strike to halt revolt in Germany
-Revolt fails, many extreme right see it as poorly organised affair, Kapp flees Germany


Organisation Consul (1921)

-Ehrhardt turns to political assassination (after failure of Kapp Putch) to destabilise the Weimar Republic
-Organisation Consul formed in secret in 1921- death squad
-Murders of Matthias Erzberger in 1921 for involvment in the Treaty of Versailles
-Murder of Walter Rathenau, Germany's foreign minister, in 1922 - anti-semitic assasination
-Organisation Consul disbanded after Rathenau assassination which caused protest and a security crackdown


Threats from the left in the early 1920s

-KPD was strong and joined by 400 000 new recruits when the Independent Socialists Party disintegrated in 1920
-1920 Communist lead revolt in the Ruhr ended badly
-1921 rising in Saxony also crushed by army
-Extreme left felt harsh opposition as the pre-war elites, who hated socialism, still held positions of power


Hyperinflation (1923)

-January 1923: French troops enter the Ruhr to seize raw materials as Germany had fallen behind on reparation payments
-Workers of Ruhr told by government to commence passive resistance
-Government paying workers but have falling income from taxation
-To bridge the gap they print more money, causing hyperinflation
-Loaf of bread at 1/2 mark in 1918 worth 1*10^9 marks by 1923


Winners and losers of hyperinflation

-Those with debts could pay them off in worthless currency. e.g. industrial investors (Hugo Stinnes, a currency speculator who purchased things at low prices)

Permanent losers:
-Those who had saved money and would not be compensated e.g. people with bank accounts, pensions, people who had contributed to the war effort

Temporary losers:
-People on a fixed wage as they could not buy food ect. But they would recover quickly when the economy stabilised and they could barter. These people were mostly working class


Political unrest in 1923 from the Right and Left

-Trade unions could not keep wages up to speed with inflation, meaning that poverty in the working class was a problem. Some poorer areas saw strikes and looting
- ^ This created ideal conditions for the KPD/Communists who could take onSaxony, then Germany

-French occupation of the Ruhr saw support for nationalism and the end of passive resistance in September 1923 made the WR seem weak. Further, extreme right could manipulate the middle/upper class fears of a Communist putch
-Plans to take Bavaria then march on Berlin were lead by Kahr (right wing politician)