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What was the German Revolution in November 1918?
- "Kiel Mutiny": German navy (which had been inactive for most of the war) triggered a revolution through mutinies.
- They attacked the superior British navy on the closing days of the war.
- Joined by protesters and workers.
- First Worker's and Soldier's Council: Established in Kiel who supported Maxism and democracy as well as the removal of the Kaiser and end to the war.
Who was Ebert and what position did he gain on 9th
- On the 9th of November, the day of the Kaiser’s
- abdication, Prince Max von Baden also stepped down, handing over the government
- to Friedrich Ebert who was the leader of the social democratic party. Headed
- new provisional government and became chancellor.
How was it that Germany was declared a republic against Ebert’s wishes?
- Ebert wanted there to be an elected assembly to finally decide whether Germany would become a republic. However, before this could
- occur Phillip Scheidemann addressed the nation of a balcony in Reichstag stating
- “The old and the rotten – the monarchy – has broken down. Long live the German
When did Ebert become president?
6th Feb 1919
Which were the most popular parties?
- Ebert’s Social Democratic Party, with 165 seats and the Centre Party with 91 seats out of 423. But after a coalition was formed, of the
- Social Democratic party, they held 329 seats.
Which groups opposed the Weimar republic?
Left wing politicians, anti-democratic groups, the German army (to an extent),
Why did the government find it hard to establish order in Germany?
- There was trouble establishing order in Germany due to the unrest caused by hyperinflation, a feeling of betrayal towards the government for agreeing to the Treaty of Versailles, there were many counter-revolutionaries wanting to overthrow the Weimar republic, the German
- economy was in a disastrous state after the war. Six governments between 1924
- and 1928 which had no real stability. There were many groups within Germany
- which resented a republic – The constitution gave the states and the army too
- much power. There were many threats to the government who resented them for
- signing ToV.
- After Germany failed to pay a war repayment as the ToV dictated, French invaded
- (occupations of the Ruhr) Germany.
List three putsches.
- Spartacist Revolt: 30 December 1918 - Spartacists declare themselves the communist party of Germany. A number of key buildings in Berlin were ceased, and declared the Ebert government deposed. It was unsuccessful. Ebert used freikorps (ex WWI soldiers to help keep order) to stop the rebellion and kill communists. The leaders were murdered. Using the freikorps made him
- look weak – they could turn on him at any moment.
- Kapp Putsch: March 1920, right wing revolt led by Kapp in an attempt to initiate a military coup. Soldiers followed this revolt and the government had to halt it with the help of the loyal soldiers and street gangs. General
- Kapp received a 6 month prison sentence as many felt it was important to respect the social hierarchy.
- Munich/Beer Hall Putsch: November 1923, Hitler and the Nazi’s attempted to take control of Munich by force. This revolt failed as
- neither the Bavarian army nor the von Kahr, right-wing of Bavaria were prepared
- to support it.
Who were the spartacists? What were their aims?
- Led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, were
- revolutionaries. They believed in Marxism and wanted to stage a revolution like
- the one seen in Russia in 1918. Through their newspaper, The Red Flag, they
- urged a counter revolution in Germany to overthrow the Ebert government. Just
- as the second revolution in Russia saw the communists victorious, they hoped a
- second revolution in Germany would have the same result.
How did the Treaty of Versailles undermine the
- As the previous government promised a victory in WWI,
- Germans felt betrayed and shocked at their defeat. This resulted in the ToV While
- the government had no choice but to accept the harsh terms of the treaty, it
- outraged German citizens. They coined a name for it – “diktat”, meaning
- dictated peace, and accused the Weimer government of “stabbing them in the
- back”. The people of Germany began to look elsewhere for better politicians to
- rule Germany other than the Social Democrats.
Who were the ‘November criminals’?
- the German government didn’t want to claim responsibility for the war - they
- had promised a victory - they placed the blame on specific minorities of German
- society. These included; Jews, pacifists and socialists who were against the
- war and had therefore cause Germany’s defeat and were solely responsible for
What were the ‘freikorps’ and what were their
- The Free Corps. Volunteered Military units formed in 1918
- and were mainly made up of ex-soldiers. They independently found themselves
- into their own military groups under former officers. They were opposed to the
- extremists of the left and were used to crush the Spartacist uprising in 1919.
- Ebert constantly used their services to “put down” revolts and revolutionary
- acts as seen with the Spartacists and Bavarian uprising. Making use of the
- freikorps made Ebert look weak as they could turn on him at any moment and thus
- politically unreliable. Together, the freikorps saw the extreme left as an
- immediate danger and would do anything to stop them from taking power, thus
- their agreement to assist the Ebert government.
Who were the Reichswehr? What was the Ebert
- The Reichwehr were the German army during the rule of the
- Weimer Republic. General Groener, Ludendorff’s successor, feared the extreme
- left as well as the disintegration of military discipline and thus, said that
- the army was prepared and ‘at Ebert’s disposal’ in return for Ebert maintaining
- order in the army.
- Its implications were that the army, despite having little sympathy for the new
- republic, were prepared to support them, a moderate left wing government
- against elements that threatened republicanism.
- It also had the long term effect of allowing the German army to retain its
- influence and become a key political force within the new republic.
Who was General Hans von Seeckt? In what ways
did he try to preserve the German army following the end of the war and the
imposition of the Treaty of Versailles?
- General Hans von Seekt was the commander of the German army
- from 1920 to 1926. He, like many others had little faith in the republic and
- believed that the army’s loyalty was to the nation. He was determined of
- preserve the army’s position, but knew that for this to happen the army had to
- work with the new government. They supported the Policy of Fulfilment and by
- the late 1920s, the army had a significantly increased influence within
- government, especially when Field Marshal, Paul von Hindenburg became the
- president of Germany in 1925. He also wanted to overcome the restrictions the
- Treaty of Versailles imposed on the German army. He did this by:
- The restrictions of the number of German officers was
- overcome by giving many officers civilian titles and placing them within
- government agencies.
Soldiers maintained their role by joining the police force.
- Used reduced size to his advantage: he made recruitment for
- the army more rigorous and selective, trying to create an army of leaders. They
- were also trained for ranks above him, so they would be ready when the time
What was the Kapp putsch? What did the Reichwehr
do to protect the Weimar government at this time? How was the Kapp putsch
- In 1920 the extreme right-wing elements, who had never
- supported the new government, tried to overthrow the elected government, and
- came to be known as the Kapp putsch. Its immediate cause was the government’s
- attempt to carry out the military clauses of the ToV, of which caused deep
- resentment. A part of this was to reduce the size of Freikorps, which had
- helped put down the Spartacists in 1919, so when the government ordered their
- dissolution, General von Luttwitz refused to obey. He organised a march on the
- city of Berlin, with the other right winged officers and civilians. Around
- 12000 men marched.
- Since the army was a right winged organisation, it did not resist against it.
- They were successful for only a few days due to the defiance of the working
- class. There was a general strike, which was very effective and paralysed the
- city, as a show of support for the legal government.
- The right wingers left the city and the legal government returned.
It was significant because:
- It was the first attempt by the radical right to cease
- It exposed weakness of the government whose president and
- elected leaders were forced to leave the capital.
- It showed the growing power of the German army: the army was
- becoming a state within a state, able and prepared to follow its own policies
- regardless of the elected government.
When was the reparations settlement announced?
What sum did Germany have to pay to the victorious allies?
- It was decided in 1921 that Germany was to pay 132 million
- gold marks as reparations for the war. It was to be paid annually in cash or
- resources such as coal and iron ore. It caused political crises and saw the
- fall of the government as a consequence. A coalition government was quickly
- formed with the Socialists, German Democratic Party, and the Centre Party.
Between which two nations was the Treaty of
Rapallo made? When it signed and what were its provisions? In particular what
did the Reichwehr gain from the treaty?
- The Treaty of Rapallo was made in 1922 between Germany and
- Russia. “Germany re-establishing relations with its old foe”. It included the
- setting up of a military cooperation with the soviet union and negotiation of
- military training facilities on Soviet soil for German officers and men. Pilots
- were trained for the new German air force at gliding and aviation clubs within
- Germany and at Lipetsk, an airbase north of Moscow. The Reichwehr essentially
- gained training.
What was the Ruhr crisis?
- French invasion of the Ruhr: In January 1923, French and Belgian troops marched into and
- occupied Germany’s industrial Ruhr region as a result of Germany’s
- non-compliance with the terms of the treaty of Versailles. The Ruhr occupation
- would last more than two and a half years. But some evidence also suggests the
- Poincare government had been plotting to occupy the Ruhr since 1919. France had
- its own sizeable war debts to meet and were beginning to feel short-changed by
- the terms of Versailles. And there was much to be gained by occupying the Ruhr,
- which housed three quarters of Germany’s steel and coal production.
- The Ruhr occupation was achieved swiftly. Once French and
- Belgian troops had crossed the border, they sealed off the Ruhr from the rest
- of Germany and began marching 150,000 civilians and non-essential workers out
- of the area. German industrial workers remained in the Ruhr and in some cases
- were prevented from leaving. By July, the French had set up an exclusion zone,
- restricting traffic in and out of the Ruhr. Across Germany there were
- press reports, most of them exaggerated if not entirely fictional, of French
- soldiers executing or beating German workers and civilians in the
- Ruhr. The occupiers also began confiscating raw materials and manufactured
- goods, which were loaded onto railway carts to be shipped back to France and
- Belgium – payment in kind for the missed reparations instalments.
What was the beer hall putsch?
- Beer-Hall Putsch: A right winged party in Bavaria, led by
- Adolf Hitler (Nazis) took opportunity amid political unrest in 1923 (threat of
- separatism) to try and sieze control of the Bavarian government. This was on 8
- November 1923, becoming to be known as the Beer Hall Putsch. It was their first
- step in taking Berlin. It failed due to a lack of support. The Bavarian army
- and von Kahr, the right wing prime minister of Bavaria did not support them.
- During the march in Munich, gunfire halted the Nazis, killing sixteen of them
- and arresting Hitler.
Who was Gustav Stresemann and what contribution
did he make to the solution of the crises in 1923? What was the policy of
- One of the few outstanding politicians of the Weimar
- Republic. He supported the monarchy, but after the republic was proclaimed he
- accepted this new political situation and became one if its true champions.
- When the National Liberal party split into German Democratic Party and the
- National People’s Party, he formed his own, the German People’s Party, conservative
- group. He ended the policy of passive resistance The Stresemann government
- were given special emergency powers to deal with the problems facing the
- country, with the help of the Reichstag. This was the Enabling Act, legal
- under Section 76 of the constitution. Two days later, the government tackled
- the problem of hyperinflation. They introduced a new currency, the Rentenmark.
- It was soon replaced by the German Mark in 1924. The government also carried
- out long overdue economic reforms. The budget was balanced, the government
- expenditure was cut, particularly after the ending of passive resistance, ad
- new taxes were introduced.
- The policy of fulfilment was the name given to the policy of
- the Weimar government of the early 1920s to meet or fulfil the terms of the
- treaty of Versailles imposed on Germany by the Allies.
What was the Dawes plan and what benefits did it bring to Germany?
- The Dawes plan was announced in April 1924, and Germany
- started paying reparations starting with 1000 million marks in 1925, and 2500
- million marks by the next five years. This plan was introduced by a committee
- led by American banker Charles Dawes to adjust Germany's reparations payments
- to Germany's capacity to pay. This significantly stabilized its economy.
Who signed the Treaty of Locarno in 1925? What
were the provisions of the Treaty and how did it changes Germany’s status in
the international community.
- The Treaty was between Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and
- Britain in October 1925. The treaty renounced the borders between Belgium and
- Germany, France and Germany. It marked a change in European relations as for
- the first time Germany had been treated like and equal. The French and Germans
- felt secure, as neither countries would occupy each other again.
What was the Young Plan?
- Stresemann introduced the Young plan in 1929. It followed
- the early work of the Dawes Plan and set out to revise the issue of reparation.
- Through this plan, the costs were reduced from 132000 million marks to 37000
- million marks.