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Flashcards in Weimar Republic and Early Problems Deck (37):

Who were the November Criminals?

Name given to the German politicians who signed the armistice which ended WWI


What is a plebiscite?

Public vote held on whether an area wanted to leave Germany


What is a coalition government?

Government made up of two or more parties (often unstable / indecisive)


What were Friedrich Ebert's two jobs during the period of the Weimar Republic?

Chancellor (Nov. 1918-Jan.1919) and then President


What was the Reichstag?

The German state parliament


What's a constitution?

The basic principles or set of laws by which a government is governed by


What is meant by PR?

Proportional representation (system of voting where political parties get a number of seats equal to their share of the vote)


What are some of the problems with PR?

- often leads to coalition governments, which make it difficult to create political stability
- coalition governments can be indecisive
- extremist parties can get elected


What were some of the key features of the presidency?

- Elected every 7 years by the people
- Appoints Chancellor from the Reichstag
- Supreme Commander of the Army
- Using Article 48, he could suspend the constitution in an emergency and make laws without the Reichstag (ruling by emergency decree)


What were some of the key features of the chancellorship?

- Head of government
- Chose ministers to run the country
- Needed majority support from the Reichstag to pass laws


What was the Dolchstoss?

The idea that politicians had 'stabbed the army in the back' by signing the Treaty of Versailles


What was the Treaty of Versailles?

The treaty that formally ended the WWI and set the terms of peace


What was the 'War Guilt Clause'?

Part of the ToV that stated Germany had to accept all responsibility for starting the war


What is meant by Diktat?

'Dictated Peace' - Many Germans referred to the ToV as this because the Germans were not allowed to participate in the negotiations for the treaty


Who could vote in elections?

All German men and women over the age of 20


During the Wiemar Republic, what did 'reich' mean?

'Reich' meant republic (this meaning changed later under the Nazis, to mean 'empire' or 'Germany')


What did Ebert mean by 'Gewaltfrieden'?

'An enforced peace' - referring to the ToV


What was the Bolshevik Revolution and what was its significance?

In October 1917, the communist Bolsheviks had overthrown Tsar Nicholas II in Russia. There was widespread fear in Germany of a similar revolution.


Who led the Spartacist League?

Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg


What did the Spartacist League seek to do?

Create a state that was based on Communist ideals


What did the Spartacists do in December 1918 and what was the result?

They led a demonstration against the government which led to clashes with the army and the death of 16 Spartacists


What did the Spartacists form at the end of December 1918?

The German Communist Party (KPD)


Who were the Freikorps?

Private armies set up by senior German army officers at the end of WWI. They mainly comprised of ex-soldiers.


What was the Sparticist uprising?

On 6 Jan. 1919, the Spartacists attempted to overthrow the Wiemar government to create a communist state. Ebert and his defence minister, Noske, used the 'Reichswehr' (regular army) and the Berlin 'Friekorps' to quickly put down the rebellion.


What happened to Liebknecht and Luxemburg as a result of the uprising?

They were captured and killed.


In March, when another Communist inspired uprising was put down, how many were killed?



Who crushed the Communist rising in Munich in April?

The Freikorps - with great severity


What caused the Kapp Putsch?

The Weimar govt. announced in March 1920 measures to
1) reduce the size of the army
2) disband the Friekorps
The leader of the Berlin Friekorps, Ehrhardt, refused to comply.


What was the plan of the Kapp Putsch?

Ehrhardt and a Berlin politician, Wolfgang Kapp, planned to seize Berlin and form a new right-wing govt.


What idea did Kapp stress?

The Dolchstoss theory (stab in the back)


Who also supported Kapp?

The Reichswehr (regular army) in Berlin


What did Kapp do on 13 March 1920?

He seized Berlin


When asked to put down the Kapp Putsch, what did the Commander-in-Chief of the Riechwehr say?

'The Reichswehr does not fire on Reichswehr.'


Why did the Kapp Putsch fail?

Ebert and Schneidemann called on the people of Berlin not to support it. Trade unionists and civil servants did not support it (because they supported the govt.).


How many Reichswehr officers were involved in the Putsch and how many were punished?

Over 400 were involved - v. few were punished


What happened to the Communist uprising in the Ruhr area?

It was brutally put down by the army and hundreds were killed.


Which two leading Weimar ministers were assassinated during this time?

Matthias Erzberger (leader of the Central Party) in 1921 and Walter Rathenau, the Foreign Minister in 1922.