Flashcards in The Interwar Governments: The Weimar Republic and the Soviet Experiment Deck (18)
What are the two events that are hypothesized to have caused the downfall of the Weimar Republic?
The rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party in 1933, but even the signing of the unpopular Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
What were problems that initially confronted the republic?
The first leader of the republic, Friedrich Ebert, had to put down a Marxist rebellion led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. In order to secure the republic, Ebert approved the formation of Free Corps, voluntary paramilitary groups with extreme right-wing leanings. Some of these Free Corps tried to overthrow the democratic state in the Kapp Putsch, which ended with a general strike. The German economy also suffered from hyperinflation as the government tried to print money to pay reparation debt, destroying the savings of the German middle class.
How was stability established? Who did so?
Gustav Stresemann, the Chancellor of Germany and leader of the German People's Party, got the economy back on its feet and worked out a new agreement on reparations. By 1924, the Weimar had achieved a degree of stability.
How did Germany rebuild its relations with the rest of Europe?
Germany signed the Lucarno Agreement with France, where Germany agreed the current borders between France and Germany (French control over Alsace-Lorraine). It resolved other issues, such as the removal of French troops from the Rhineland. Stresemann then took Germany into the League of Nations. It looked as if the republic was taking root in Germany, although the outbreak of the Great Depression would reveal how shallow German support for a republic was.
What were the early stages of the Russian government like?
Lenin and his tiny Bolshevik party ruled over a completely shattered land. After holding an election for a constituent assembly, the Bolsheviks only garnered a quarter of seats in the assembly despite voter intimidation. The Red Guard was then used to disperse the assembly at the end of its only meeting.
How did the Russian Civil War begin?
The Communists (Bolsheviks) tried to solidify their control over the vast Russian state. They were forced to fight against the non-Communist factions, including monarchists and republicans.
What occurred during the Russian Ciil War?
For three years the Communists were engaged in a life-or-death struggle against the "White" forces. The Whites received aid from Britain and America. It provided the justification for Lenin and Trotsky to carry out the "Red Terror" against their opponents, like right-wing extremists and Mensheviks. By 1920, the White armies were defeated and Bolshevik rule was established over Russia.
What was the Third International? What was it also called?
It was an organization created by the Russian Communists to facilitate the creation of socialist revolutions throughout Europe. Also called the Comintern, some Marxists turned to the new Soviet state for guidance. Eventually, the Comintern focused on aiding only the success of the Soviet Union.
How did socialists react to Lenin's Soviet state?
While some Marxists asked for guidance from the Soviets, most were horrified by the repressive nature of Lenin's regime. This led to a split across between people who formed Communist parties against those who maintained ties to the original socialist parties. In Germany, this split amongst the left led to the rise of the Nazis, as infighting between the German Communists and the Social Democratic Party allowed for the Nazis to take power.
How did the early communists run the Russian economy? What did this lead to?
The communist government imposed "war communism," extremely tight control over all aspects of the economy. This led to a rebellion in Kronstadt Naval Base, one of the original bastions of Bolshevik support. The rebellion was soon crushed.
How did the Kronstadt rebellion prompt a new economic policy?
Lenin replaced war communism with the New Economic Policy. This policy placed the "heights of industry" in government hands but allowed a significant scope for private enterprise. Under this program, the economy made a quick recovery to pre-war levels.
What was the divide between political factions after Lenin's death?
It was Trotsky's Left Opposition against Nikolai Bukharin's Right Opposition.
What did Trotsky's Left Opposition believe?
Trotsky thought the NEP was too much of an ideological compromise and sought for a return to war communism. He thought it was necessary to focus on the spread of revolution to industrialized Western Europe, saying that communism could not survive unless it was spread.
What did Bukharin's Right Opposition believe?
He argued for the continuation of the New Economic Policies and the building of communism within the Soviet state.
Who took power after Lenin's death?
Joseph Stalin. He sought to establish his own power in the soviet system and didn't care for ideological debates. He allied himself with Bukharin to expel Trotsky and his ally Gregory Zinoviev out of the party. He then ousted Bukharin
What occurred during Stalin's purges?
Stalin in 1936 launched a series of show trials in which his former opponents were tortured until they confessed to all sorts of crimes against the state, then imprisoned or executed. Around 10 million Russians were arrested in the late 1930s, several million were executed or died in brutal detention camps in Siberia. He decimated the ranks of the Old Bolsheviks (people in the party before 1917) and anyone perceived of as disloyal; he had an assassin kill Trotsky in exile.
What was Stalin's economic policy?
Stalin adopted the policy of the Left Opposition and its goal to rapidly make Russia an industrial state. He implemented his first Five-Year Plan, a comprehensive, centrally controlled plan for industrial expansion. He paid for this using the collectivization of Russian agriculture. Despite a massive famine, the Soviet Union emerged as an industrial power while the western nations were embroiled in economic depression.