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Flashcards in Weimar Republic Deck (23):

Three good points of weimar rebublic

  • A Bill of Rights guaranteed every German citizen freedom of speech and religion, and equality under the law.
  • All men and women over the age of 20 were given the vote. This was even better than Britain where only women over 30 could vote.
  • There was an elected president and an elected Reichstag (parliament). The Reichstag made the laws and appointed the government, which had to do what the Reichstag wanted


Two flaws in Weimar republic

  • Proportional representation - instead of voting for an MP,  Weimar Germans voted for a party. Each party was then allocated seats in the Reichstag exactly reflecting the number of people who had voted for it.
  • This sounds fair, but in practice it was a disaster it resulted in dozens of tiny parties, with no party strong enough to get a majority, and no government to get its laws passed in the Reichstag. 
  • Article 48 - this said that, in an emergency, the president did not need the agreement of the Reichstag, but could issue decrees. The problem with this was that it did not say what an emergency was, and in the end, it turned out to be a back door that Hitler used to take power legally.


Descibe Weimar Republic, mainly how it originated

  • After Germany lost the First World War, the Kaiser fled and a new democratic government of Germany was declared in February 1919 at the small town of Weimar.
  • It was too dangerous to make a declaration in Berlin where there had just been a revolt by a Communist group called the Spartacists.
  • The Weimar Republic was a genuine attempt to create a perfect democratic country.


Breifly name the trail of events after germany reperations payment miss + year

  • a French invasion of the Ruhr
  • a general strike
  • runaway inflation - hyperinflation
  • a number of communist rebellions
  • an attempted Nazi putsch in Munich

1923 missed payment


Decribe 5 points of violence weimar faced

  • In Jan 1919, 50,000 Spartacists rebelled in Berlin, led by the Communists 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.
  • March 1920, the right-wing nationalist Dr Wolfgang Kapp took over Berlin. The army refused to attack him; he was only defeated when the workers of Berlin went on strike.
  • In 1920, after the failure of the Kapp Putsch, a Communist paramilitary group called the Red Army rebelled in the Ruhr.
  • Nationalist terrorists assassinated 356 government politicians, including Walter Rathenau, the foreign minister, and Matthias Erzberger who had been finance minister. The judges, many of whom preferred the Kaiser's government, consistently gave these terrorists light sentences, or let them go free.


Describe a bad and a good of hyperinflation

  • One father set out for Berlin to buy a pair of shoes. When he got there, he could only afford a cup of coffee and the bus fare home.
  • Some people made fortunes during the crisis. One man borrowed money to buy a herd of cattle, but soon after paid back his loan by selling one cow.


4 rebellions from hyperinflation

  • A nationalist group called Black Reichswehr rebelled in Berlin.
  • A fascist group called the Nazis attempted a putsch in Munich.
  • Communists took over the governments of Saxony and Thuringia
  • Communists also took over the Rhineland and declared it independent.


6 points in the Nazi ideology 

  • Lebensraum - the need for 'living space' for the German nation to expand.
  • A strong Germany - the Treaty of Versailles should be abolished and all German-speaking people united in one country.
  • Führer - the idea that there should be a single leader with complete power rather than a democracy.
  • Social Darwinism - the idea that the Aryan race was superior and Jews were 'subhuman'.
  • Autarky - the idea that Germany should be economically self-sufficient.
  • Germany was in danger - from Communists and Jews, who had to be destroyed.


In the 1920s, the Nazis tried to be _______________________. The 25-Point Programme had policies that were:

In the 1920s, the Nazis tried to be all things to all people. The 25-Point Programme had policies that were:

  • Socialist - eg farmers should be given their land; pensions should improve; and public industries such as electricity and water should be owned by the state.
  • Nationalist - all German-speaking people should be united in one country; the Treaty of Versailles should be abolished; and there should be special laws for foreigners.
  • Racist - Jews should not be German citizens and immigration should be stopped.
  • Fascist - a strong central government and control of the newspapers.


2 The Nazis did not appeal to:

  • working men who voted Communist
  • intellectuals such as students and university professors


SummariseThe Munich Putsch + year

  • 1923
  • At first, the Nazis were just a terrorist group. Hitler assembled a large group of unemployed young men and former soldiers, known as the storm troopers (the SA), which attacked other political groups. Hitler hoped to take power by starting a revolution.
  • During the crisis of 1923, Hitler plotted with two nationalist politicians - Kahr and Lossow - to take over Munich in a revolution.
  • But then, on 4 October 1923, Kahr and Lossow called off the rebellion. This was an impossible situation for Hitler, who had 3,000 troops ready to fight.
  • On the night of 8 November 1923, Hitler and 600 storm troopers burst into a meeting that Kahr and Lossow were holding at the local Beer Hall.
  • Waving a gun at them, Hitler forced them to agree to rebel - and then let them go home. The SA took over the army headquarters and the offices of the local newspaper.
  • The next day, 9 November 1923, Hitler and his Nazis went into Munich on what they thought would be a triumphal march to take power.
  • However, Kahr had called in police and army reinforcements. There was a short scuffle in which the police killed 16 Nazis.
  • Hitler fled, but was arrested two days later.


Why did Hitler attempt the Munich Putsch in 1923 (5)

  • By 1923, the Nazi party had 55,000 members and was stronger than ever before.
  • The Weimar Republic was in crisis and about to collapse.
  • In September 1923, the Weimar government had called off the general strike, and every German nationalist was furious with the government.
  • Hitler had a huge army of storm troopers, but he knew he would lose control of them if he did not give them something to do.
  • Hitler hoped to copy Mussolini - the Italian fascist leader - who had come to power in Italy in 1922 by marching on Rome.


The Munich Putsch was a failure. As a result (3)

  • The Nazi party was banned, and Hitler was prevented from speaking in public until 1927.
  • Hitler went to prison, where he wrote 'Mein Kampf'. Millions of Germans read it, and Hitler's ideas became very well-known.
  • Hitler decided that he would never come to power by revolution; he realised that he would have to use constitutional means.


The period 1923-1929 was a time in germany for the weimar republic...

when the economy boomed and cultural life flourished in Germany.

This dramatic turnabout happened because Germany was saved by two people - Gustav Stresemann and Charles Dawes.


Describe Gustav Stresemann

  • had been a nationalist, but he realised that something needed to be done to save Germany.
  • The most important thing he did in 1923 was to organise the Great Coalition of moderate, pro-democracy parties in the Reichstag.
  • At last, Germany had a government that could make laws! Under Stresemann's guidance, the government called off the strike,
  • persuaded the French to leave the Ruhr
  • and even got the rest of the world to allow Germany to join the League of Nations in 1926.
  • Stresemann also introduced reforms to help ordinary people such as job centres, unemployment pay and better housing.


Describe Charles Dawes

  • Charles Dawes was the US budget director.
  • In 1923, he was sent to Europe to sort out Germany's economy. Under his advice, theGerman Reichsbank was reformed and the old money was called in and burned.
  • This ended the hyperinflation. Dawes also arranged the Dawes Plan with Stresemann, which gave Germany longer to pay reparations.
  • Most importantly, Dawes agreed to America lending Germany 800 million gold marks, which kick-started the German economy.


  • You must know the names of the following leaders of the German cultural flowering of the 1920s:
  • singer/actress?
  • architect
  • artists
  • writer
  • film-maker

  • singer/actress Marlene Dietrich
  • architect Gropius the leader of the Bauhaus movement
  • artists Paul Klee and Otto Dix
  • writer Erich Maria Remarque who wrote 'All Quiet on the Western Front'
  • film-maker Fritz Lang


Despite all the successes, many historians believe that the stability of the Weimar republic was illusory: Three reasons why

  • The Great Coalition collapsed before the end of 1923, and the Reichstagreturned to chaos. When the crisis came, it was unable to respond.
  • The nationalists and fascists did not win many seats in the Reichstag, but they were allowed to exist and campaign, so they were just waiting for the right opportunity to attempt a takeover again.
  • Everything depended on American money - if that stopped, Germany was ready to return to crisis.


Describe the first four reasons why hitler rose to power

  • Hitler was a great speaker, with the power to make people support him.
  • The moderate political parties would not work together, although together they had more support than the Nazis.
  • The depression of 1929 created poverty and unemployment, which made people angry with the Weimar government. People lost confidence in the democratic system and turned towards the extremist political parties such as the Communists and Nazis during the depression.
  • The Nazi storm troopers attacked Hitler's opponents.


Descibe the second set of four reasons why hitler rose to power

  • Goebbels' propaganda campaign was very effective and it won support for the Nazis. The Nazis targeted specific groups of society with different slogans and policies to win their support.
  • Hitler was given power in a seedy political deal by Hindenburg and Papen who foolishly thought they could control him.
  • German people were still angry about the Treaty of Versailles and supported Hitler because he promised to overturn it.
  • Industrialists gave Hitler money and support.


SUmmarise the events leading to hitlers rise to power

In 1929, the American Stock Exchange collapsed, and caused an economic depression. America called in all its foreign loans, which destroyed Weimar Germany. Unemployment in Germany rose to 6 million.

In July 1930 Chancellor Brüning cut government expenditure, wages and unemployment pay - the worst thing to do during a depression. He could not get the Reichstag to agree to his actions, so President Hindenburg used Article 48 to pass the measures by decree.

Many workers turned to communism, but this frightened wealthy businessmen, so they financed Hitler's campaigns.

Many middle-class people, alarmed by the failure of democracy, decided that the country needed a strong government. Nationalists and racists blamed the Treaty of Versailles and reparations.

In 1928, the Nazis had only 12 seats in the Reichstag; by July 1932 they had 230 seats and were the largest party.

President Hindenburg dismissed Brüning in 1932. His replacement - Papen - lasted six months, and the next chancellor - Schleicher - only lasted two months. Hindenburg had to use Article 48 to pass almost every law.

In January 1933, Hindenburg and Papen came up with a plan to get the Nazis on their side by offering to make Hitler vice chancellor. He refused and demanded to be made chancellor. They agreed, thinking they could control him.

In January 1933, Hitler became chancellor, and immediately set about making himself absolute ruler of Germany using Article 48.


Was Weimar doomed from the start. 3 reasons for:

  • The vilification of the government as the November Criminals continued even into the 1930s, when Hitler referred to the government as the November Criminals in his election speeches.
  • The weakness of the Reichstag governments because of proportional representation continued right to the very end, and lay behind the Hindenburg/Papen deal with Hitler in January 1933.
  • Hitler used Article 48 to destroy the Republic after January 1933.


Was the Weimar republic doomed from the start. Three reasons against:

  • The Republic lasted 13 years - the world in 1933 was very different to 1919, so there was no simplistic cause-and-effect.
  • The Republic was very successful during the period 1923-1929. When the pro-democracy parties organised themselves properly, the Republic could be very strong.
  • The Republic would have survived if Hindenburg and Papen hadn't made Hitler chancellor; the Nazis had not done as well in the November 1932 elections as they had in July 1932, and some historians believe that their appeal was beginning to wane.