Tuesday 26 June 2018

Germany 1918 - 1924



1918 - Germany defeated, signs armistice. Emperor William II abdicates and goes into exile.

1919 - Treaty of Versailles: Germany loses colonies and land to neighbours, pays large-scale reparations.

Beginning of the Weimar Republic, based on a new constitution. Its early years are marked by high unemployment and rampant inflation.

1923 - Adolf Hitler, head of the National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) Party, leads an abortive coup in a Munich beer hall.
France and Belgium occupy the Ruhr over failed reparation payments. Hyperinflation leads to economic collapse.

The Constitution and Article 48

The newly formed German constitution (drafted by Hugo Preuss) was arguably the most democratic of its time

All Germans were to be equal before the law, and personal liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association and freedom of religion were all written into this constitution. Women were given the right to vote and Germans had the right to form trade unions.

It was approved in July of 1919

Article 48 was important in that it gave the president of Germany 'emergency' powers to disregard constitution and democratic customs and effectively rule as a dictator.

 Other important dates 

January 1919: Anton Drexler establishes the German Workers Party (DAP).
Hitler works as a spy for the Weimar Republic government.

September 1919: Hitler attends a meeting in a beer hall in Munich. He joins the DAP.

1920: Hitler is responsible for propaganda and gives the party a new name – the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP).

1921: Hitler is made leader of the party.
Symbol – the swastika. Former soldiers (Freikorps) are trained to be in the SA, (Sturmabteilung - brown shirts). Ernst Rohm is their leader.

Problems for Germany:

It was blamed for starting World War 1.
It was not allowed to join the League of Nations.
War guilt clause: 231 - forced a harsh peace.
Armed forces in Germany reduced to 10,000 – 6 warships and no submarines. Germany could not defend itself.
They had to sign a blank cheque at Versailles in 1921.
Alsace-Lorraine was taken back from Germany. It was not allowed to unite with Austria.    


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