Unit 1- An experiment in democracy: the revolution of 1918- 1919 Flashcards Preview

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What was Germany like before 1918?

Germany was a young country created in 1871, but it was already becoming one of the most powerful countries in the world.


Who ruled Germany?

Kaiser Wilhelm II ruled Germany before and during WW1. He commanded the army and appointed the chancellors. The chancellors created new laws which was then passed onto the ambassadors of the 26 states and the Reichstag (Parliament voted by the people).


Why was Germany so powerful before WW1?

Germany had modern and successful industries which were based on coal extraction, ore processing and machinery building.


Why were some people unhappy?

The work in mines and factories were usually long and tiring, and the pay was very poor. Workers joined socialist parties and trade unions in the hope of making the government do something.


Who were the socialists?

The socialists were parties in the Reichstag who believed in the even distribution of wealth amongst the working class. However, they disagreed on how this should be done. Some revolutionary socialists believed the best way to achieve this was by means of revolution and violence to overthrow the aristocracy.
Parliamentary socialists believed in convincing the Kaiser to give more Reichstag more power and leaving it to the people by means of votes to decide how they are governed.


How did WW1 affect the German people?

The allied forces blockaded German ports which were vital in the import of food and basic amenities. This led to many problems:
1. There were serious food shortages since most of it was used by the army so people were suffering from malnutrition and starvation.
2. There were also fuel, clothing and medicine shortages. People fell ill easily and they were freezing in winter.
3. The poor living conditions in Germany caused workers to go on strike.


What led to the revolution of November 1918?

By 1918, the German army was in retreat from the allied forces. The German economy was crippled and the people were suffering. The allied agreed to an armistice only of the Kaiser gave more power to the Reichstag. He did this by giving parties in the Reichstag full power to run the country. However, many blamed the Kaiser for the war and eventually, an army led revolution overthrew the Kaiser and gave the rule of the country to the largest party in the Reichstag, the Social Democratic party; led by Friedrich Ebert.


How was the Weimar republic different from the German empire?

In the Weimar republic, the people elected the president, as well as the MPs in the Reichstag, as well as the ambassadors for each state. The new constitution gave people many new rights such as freedom of speech, expression and religious beliefs; as well as giving both men and women over the age of 20 the right to vote.