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Flashcards in Weimar Constitution Deck (9)
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1

What happened October 1918?

At the end of October 1918, the German navy mutinied. Rebellion spread throughout the country. In November Germany was forced to drop out of the First World War. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and fled the country.

2

1919-23

At first the Weimar Republic had great difficulties:
Left wing rebellions
All people were angry with it
Right-wing rebellions and terrorism
Invasion and inflation
Munich Putsch

3

1923-29

But the Republic survived and (after Gustav Stresemann became Chancellor in 1923) did well:
Economic Prosperity
Foreign Policy successes
Cultural flowering

4

1929-33

After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, however, the Republic collapsed:
Unemployment
Nazi Party grew more powerful
In 1933, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor

5

What problems faced the weimar republic? I of ILRIM

Ineffective Constitution
The Weimar Constitution did not create a strong government:
Article 48 of the constitution gave the President sole power in ‘times of emergency’ – something he took often.
The system of proportional voting led to 28 parties. This made it virtually impossible to establish a majority in the Reichstag, and led to frequent changes in the government. During 1919-33, there were twenty separate coalition governments and the longest government lasted only two years. This political chaos caused many to lose faith in the new democratic system.
The German states had too much power and often ignored the government.
The Army, led by the right-wing General Hans von Seeckt, was not fully under the government’s control. It failed to support government during the Kapp Putsch or the crisis of 1923.
Many government officials – especially judges – were right-wing and wanted to destroy the government. After the Kapp Putsch, 700 rebels were tried for treason; only 1 went to prison. After the Munich Putsch, Hitler went to prison for only 9 months.

6

What problems faced the weimar republic? L of ILRIM

Left-wing Rebellions
The Communist KPD hated the new government:
In Jan 1919, 50,000 Spartacists rebelled in Berlin, led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Leibknecht.
In 1919, Communist Workers’ Councils seized power all over Germany, and a Communist ‘People’s Government’ took power in Bavaria.
In 1920, after the failure of the Kapp Putsch, a paramilitary group called the Red Army rebelled in the Ruhr.

7

What problems faced the weimar republic? R of ILRIM

Right-wing terrorism
Many right-wing groups hated the new government for signing the Versailles Treaty (June 1919):
The Kapp Putsch: in March 1920, a Freikorps brigade rebelled against the Treaty, led by Dr Wolfgang Kapp. It took over Berlin and tried to bring back the Kaiser.
Nationalist terrorist groups murdered 356 politicians. In August 1921 Matthias Erzberger, the man who signed the armistice (and therefore a 'November criminal'), was shot. In 1922, they assassinated Walter Rathenau, the SPD foreign minister, because he made a treaty with Russia.

8

What problems faced the weimar republic? I of ILRIM

Invasion-Inflation: the crisis of 1923
The cause of the trouble was Reparations – the government paid them by printing more money, causing inflation. In January 1923, Germany failed to make a payment, and France invaded the Ruhr. This humiliated the government, which ordered a general strike, and paid the strikers by printing more money, causing hyperinflation:
In Berlin on 1 October 1923, soldiers calling themselves Black Reichswehr rebelled, led by Bruno Buchrucker.
TheRhineland declared independence (21–22 October).
In Saxony and Thuringia the Communists took power.

9

What problems faced the weimar republic? M of ILRIM

. Munich Putsch
On 8–9 November 1923, Hitler’s Nazis tried to take control of Bavaria (the Munich Putsch).