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Weimar Government 1918-23 The Years of ... the Weimar Republic. President Ebert asked the small Germany army to help him stop the Freikorps. The German army refused to help. They

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  • Weimar Government 1918-23 The Years of Crisis

  • Weimar Germany ‘Catchphrase’


    •Hands up •Do not shout out •Say what you see!

  • Say what you see!

  • Say what you see!


  • Say what you see!

  • Say what you see!

  • Say what you see!

  • Say what you see!

  • Say what you see!

  • Say what you see!

  • Say what you see!


  • Say what you see!

  • Say what you see!

  • Germany’s leader during WW1 Kaiser, Wilhelm II

    • Before 1918

    Germany had been

    ruled by the Kaiser.

    • He controlled

    spending and major


    • The German

    parliament (called the

    Reichstag), had to

    do what he told them.

  • Bleak…

  • Bye Bye… A photo of Kaiser Wilhelm and his family on their way to exile in Holland. He never returned to Germany.

  • Enter Germany’s new leader Friedrich Ebert…

    • Ebert, was a German politician

    in the Reichstag (German


    • After the Kaiser fled, Ebert took

    control of the country. (There

    would be no more Kaisers)

    • Ebert took the advice of

    Germany’s top war leader,

    General Hindenburg on what to

    do about the war:

    “We must make up our

    minds to abandon this war as

    hopeless. Every day brings the

    enemy closer to his goal, and

    makes him less likely to

    conclude a reasonable peace

    with us.”

  • Psychological effects… • Before the Great War, Germans had been proud and ambitious for

    their country. They were prepared to work hard for its success.

    • At the Armistice on 11th November 1918 many Germans began to look around for someone to blame for their defeat.

    • Germany after 1918 became famous for its squabbling and conflict.

    • One group of Germans became convinced that Germany had lost the war because they had been ‘stabbed in the back’ by the politicians back at home in the Reichstag.

    • From his hospital bed Adolf Hitler (temporarily blinded by gas) heard about and believed strongly in the ‘stab in the back’ myth about why Germany had lost the Great War.

    • Hitler was convinced that politicians, socialists and communists had betrayed Germany on the brink of Germany’s victory in the war.

  • “The German army was stabbed in the

    back. No blame is to be attached to the

    army…it is perfectly clear on whom the

    blame rests.” General Hindenburg

  • Friedrich Ebert, the leader of the

    Social Democrats (SPD)

    became the first President of the

    Weimar Republic.

    The government got this

    nickname because it established

    itself in the small town of Weimar.

    They had moved here due to

    Communist unrest in the capital,


    Signing the Armistice in November 1918 gave the new

    republic some breathing space. The country’s first major

    election was held in January 1919.

    What were the results of the Armistice?

  • The signing of the Treaty of Versailles

  • Territory – the terms on paper

  • Other terms

  • =6YJfOZkriyk

    ‘Make Germany Pay’ (1-9 mins)

  • Annotate the sources – what do they tell us about German attitudes toward the Treaty of Versailles?

  • When we have paid 100 hundred billion marks then I can give you something to eat. German magazine, 1919

  • The Constitution of the Weimar Republic

    The President

    The Chancellor

    The Parliament (Reichstag)

    The German People





    Article 48

    In an

    emergency the

    President can rule

    on their own.

  • Proportional Representation (PR)

    - Means 5% of votes = 5% of seats. This lead to coalitions of parties being formed to rule the German Republic.

    Article 48 = ‘Emergency Decree’ The president could suspend the Reichstag and take control of Germany in times of national crisis (used 136 times by Ebert up to 1925)

  • Hinge task in books:

    • I think the Weimar constitution was good because it....

    • I think the Weimar constitution will have problems because....

  • Threats from the left-wing

    Left-wing opponents of the Weimar

    Republic wanted the end of the Weimar

    Republic and a workers state to replace it.

    They wanted to make Germany equal and

    in alliance with Communist Russia.

  • Spartacists, 1919 Rosa Luxemburg and Karl


    Spartacists defending the post

    office, 1919

  • The Freikorps save the day for the Weimar Republic in 1919.


    B5YNG2VE – 1919


  • Now threats from the right-wing

    Right-wing opponents of the Weimar

    Republic wanted the return of the Kaiser or

    a more autocratic style of leader.

    They wanted to make Germany strong

    again and have lots of territory and

    powerful industries.

  • The Kapp Putsch, 1920 Wolfgang Kapp led 5,000 Freikorps into

    Berlin to seize control of Germany from

    the Weimar Republic.

    President Ebert asked the small Germany

    army to help him stop the Freikorps.

    The German army refused to help. They

    were angry about what the Versailles

    treaty had done to the army and refused

    to fire on the Freikorps as they were ex-


    Any suggestions on what President

    Ebert could do to save the Weimar




  • Task

    Do a SWOT analysis of the

    Weimar Republic 1919-







    • Spartacists

    • Kapp Putsch

    • Treaty of Versailles

    • Weimar political system

  • Reparations payments

    At the Treaty of Versailles, Weimar had to accept they were to pay

    reparations (compensation) for starting the war.

    £6.6 Billion was the final bill for the war agreed by France and Britain.

    Germany paid the first instalment of £50 million in 1921.

    In 1922, nothing was paid to the allies.

    What will the French reaction be?

    France had to repay her war debts to America, so needed the money

    from Germany. The French army marched into the Rhineland and took

    over the Ruhr region coal mines and factories in January 1923.

    German reaction to this?

  • The French occupation of the Ruhr

    French troops march in to

    occupy the Ruhr, January


    Over 100 Germans were shot

    in 1923 by the French for not

    doing as they were told.

    150,000 Germans were made

    homeless by the French


    How might these events

    affect German views of the

    Weimar government?

  • Crisis in the Ruhr, 1923

    Due to the Versailles Treaty the Weimar

    Republic had no army to defend itself

    against the French invasion.

    It therefore told all Germans in the Ruhr to

    begin Passive Resistance (refuse to


    The Weimar Republic promised to

    continue to pay their wages despite the

    workers being on strike.

    Can you think what the consequences

    of this policy might be for Germany

    and for the Weimar government?

  • What was hyperinflation?

    1 Billion Mark note

    30th September, 1923

    Learning objective: To be able

    to explain what hyperinflation

    was and why it affected

    Germany so badly in 1923.

  • What has happened in the German economy and why?

  • 100 Billion Mark note

    23rd October 1923

    10 million mark note,

    9 September 1923

    25 mark note


    500 mark note


    10,000 mark


    February, 1923

    1 Billion Mark note

    30th September, 1923

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