Why was the wiemar republic unpopular/weak?
- Germany defeated in WWI, signing treaty of Versailles, German people believed they were winning the war, Weimar republic took blame of defeat in war. Kaiser left.
- People blamed Weimar because they signed the treaty of Versailles.
- STAB IN THE BACK MYTH
Treaty of versialles (LAMB)
- Land: lost their overseas empire which was devided amongst the victorious allies.
- Army: military strength was reduced to 100,000 men and 6 battleships.
- Money: reparations were fixed at 6600 million pounds to the allied countries. This crippled the German economy (1923)(long term)
- Blame: Germany had to accept guilt for starting the war. This was the clause that Germans hated the most.
The Weimar republic- democtratic system of government
• The Weimar constitution had 2 key weaknesses:
- Proportional representation: you get the same number of seats as votes you received. This made it impossible for one party to gain enough seats to rule by themselves. Coalition governments were set up- these were usually made of small parties, the parties found it difficult to work together. Germany needed one strong government to rule.
- Article 48: in emergency the president could abandon the system of democracy and rule without Reichstag. If abused, this was the back door to dictatorship ( in 1933 Hitler convinces Hindenburg that the burning down of Reichstag is a national emergency and Hitler becomes the dictator).
There was 2 attempts to overthrow the Weimar republic: (the Weimar republic was not popular because people were trying to kill them)
1. Spartacists rising- 1919 (leftwing)- it was badly prepared, Weimar republic not strong enough so they asked the freikorps to kill the spartacists.
2. The kapp putsch- 1920 (rightwing) - the Weimar republic used the left wing to defeat the rightwing this time- this shows that the government are weak but skilful.
1923- the year of crisis
Germany fell behind with reparations so French and Belgium troops invade Ruhr (GERMAN INDUSTRIAL AREA). With no army to resist Germany tried passive resistance instead- workers went on strike. German money printed extra money to pay for the resistance (pay the workers who don’t work and are on strike). The value of money went down.
Extra money+ less production = hyperinflation
The middle class was mostly hit, lost all their savings.
Gustav Stresemann (saves the Weimar republic and solves problems)
To deal with the problems the Weimar republic elected Stresemann as chancellor. He:
- Ended passive resistance
- Scrapped the old currency and introduced a new stable currency – retenmark.
- He got the army on his side
- 1924 agreed the Daws plan (a loan from USA ) enabling them to start reparations again and rebuilt German industry.
The golden years