Presentation on theme: "Was the Weimar Republic Doomed from its beginnings?"— Presentation transcript:
1Was the Weimar Republic Doomed from its beginnings?
2The Second Reich Hereditary Kaiser (emperor) Weak Reichstag Reichsrat appoint/dismiss ministers at willCould dissolve Reichstag at willHead of the armed forcesEspecially revered in Prussian cultureResponsible for Foreign PolicyWeak Reichstagcould not remove chancellor or government ministersAgree or reject laws proposed by Kaiser or his governmentSocialist SPD largest Socialist parliamentary group in EuropeReichsrat26 state state governmentsControl over local affairsCould veto Reichstag legislation
3First World War Muddled start to war Wave of nationalistic fervour Pre-emptive strike due to Russian MobilisationWave of nationalistic fervourAll parties pledge support for the war (including SPD)“Civic Truce”Socialist conference about war in SwitzerlandPro-war versus anti-warCommunists surprised at socialist support for armiesClass war versus nationalismSPD expect political concessions from establishment in return for supportAlthough prepared to wait until victory is achieved
4War of Attrition Sclieffen Plan fails in 1914 Consumer goods sacrificed for Total WarBlack Market profiteers could provide goods (at a price)Royal Navy Blockade starts immediatelyFood supply problemsFood riotsStrikesLawlessnessDisease1916 Hindenburg and Ludendorff take supreme command of war effortAbove Reichstag, Chancellor and even KaiserPopular move whilst German armed forces are doing wellConditioned Germans to expect victory through sacrifices being made
5The War Drags On… German response to Blockade Unlimited Submarine WarfareNot as effective as blockadeBrings US into warRussian Revolution provides hope to the GermansPotentially frees up millions of German soldiersTurn down peace overtures from alliesConfident of victory through their own effortsNegotiations with Bolsheviks drawn outHad to restart Eastern Front campaign in 1918Treaty of Brest-Litovsk punitive towards RussiaRequired vast manpower just to garrison newly acquired territory
71918 – Clutching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory Ludendorff Summer OffensiveNew tacticsStorm-troopers infiltrating enemy linesInitially successful, massive advancesOutskirts of ParisAmazed to find allies have significant supplies whilst their own rations / conditions were so poorUSAllied counter-attacks easily recover German gainsGerman forces out of emplacementsPoor MoraleExhausted meagre supply chains
9Staring Defeat in the Face! German Army in full retreat2 million dead6 million woundedBlockade starving civilians and military alikeDefeatism and collapse of moraleTurks, Bulgarians, Austro-Hungarians all negotiating surrendersGerman High Command realise that defeat is imminent!
10Deflecting Blame! September 29th Generals suggest a new Civilian Government to negotiate an armistice with AlliesWhy?
11Deflecting Blame!Generals suggest a new Civilian Government to negotiate an armistice with AlliesWhy?They knew that continuing the war was hopelessThey could avoid some of the blame for losing the warGerman High Command was basically running GermanyThey felt that the Allies would be more sympathetic negotiating with Civilians rather than with MilitaryWilson!
12Chancellor von Baden October 3rd First Job New Civilian Government Led by Prince Max of BadenFull Reichstag SupportIncluding liberals and socialistsFirst JobTo negotiate the armistice/surrender!Amenable to Wilson’s 14 points
13I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development.XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.XII. The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.
14Wilson’s 14 PointsUS President Wilson seemed to offer more favourable terms with his 14 PointsCompared to the vindictive French!Wilson refused to negotiate with Kaiser or with military autocratsBelief in Democracy and Democratic GovernmentsBut…France and Britain not keen on handing over negotiating rights to this Johnny come lately
15The Deteriorating Situation: The Kiel Mutiny German Navy had been starved of resourcesIn port since Battle of Jutland, 1916Bored sailorsPoor moraleHigh command order fleet to sea for one final desperate bid to unblock blockadeSailors refuse to follow ordersOctober 28th MutinyRed flags prevalentInfluence of Russian revolutionSoldiers hear of sailors’ mutinyGerman soldiers begin to mutiny, desert, surrenderDiscipline collapses across Western FrontGovernment realise that defeat is imminent!Need to act to forestall a full scale Communist Revolution!
16Speeding up of negotiations 5th NovemberWilson agrees to use 14 pointsBut adds that Germany liable for all damage causedBaden government prevaricatesFrench and British furious to find US negotiating without themNovember 9thAllies revise demandsRhine to be occupiedGerman Fleet to be handed overEast Africa to be handed overAll munitions to be handed overAll Allied POWs to be freed immediately
17“Bare-Face Outrageous Treason and 2 Republics in One Day!” November 9thBaden Government reeling from new demandsCommunists feel that conditions are ripe for a revolutionSpartacist RevolutionUSPD (Independent Socialists)Karl Leibknecht and Rosa LuxembourgSupport from LeninBavaria declared a Socialist RepublicSoviet Republic of Germany declared!General Strike announced
18“Bare-Face Outrageous Treason and 2 Republics in One Day!” November 9thMajority Socialists (SPD) oppose Spartacist RevolutionAfraid of model of October Revolution!Would prefer a February Revolution!Call for Kaiser to abdicate to remove wind from Spartacist demandsKaiser dithers – cannot make up his mindChancellor Baden decides for him!Announces Kaiser’s abdicationEstablishes a RegencyCalls for a new Constituent AssemblyChancellor resigns and hands power to SPD
19“Bare-Face Outrageous Treason and 2 Republics in One Day!” November 9thKaiser lividKept on mumbling that he did not mean to abdicate!Treason!Barely any army left to defend him!Order collapsing throughout GermanyForces of order anxious of Communist Russian PrecedentBundled onto a train to Holland and exile
20“Bare-Face Outrageous Treason and 2 Republics in One Day!” November 9thSPD Friedrich Ebert declared new ChancellorA Marriage of convenienceGeneral GroenerCommander of German ArmyContacts Ebert by secret phone to negotiate giving him the support of the armyWhat demands did he make?
21“Bare-Face Outrageous Treason and 2 Republics in One Day!” November 9thA Marriage of convenienceGeneral GroenerWhat demands did he make?Ebert must oppose CommunismEbert must put down the Spartacist UprisingEbert must leave the structure of the German Army aloneThis gives Ebert the ability to assert control over Spartacist Revolution (takes time)Army a little gung-ho in shooting their countrymen with little remorse
22“Bare-Face Outrageous Treason and 2 Republics in One Day!” November 9thMarriage of ConvenienceAllows Ebert to save Germany from immediate revolutionButIt allows the conservative army to remain intact*Allows Ebert to conclude armistice with AlliesAllies prefer socialist Germany to a Communist GermanyAllies content that with the support of the army Ebert can be negotiated withNovember 11thArmistice signed at 11amShort term versus long term blame!
23Ebert tries to stabilise Germany Short Term GainLong Term ProblemArmy left intactCivil Service left intact3 USPD socialists invited into governmentWorker’s councils set upEmployers and trade unions brought togetherConstituent Assembly elections called
24Ebert tries to stabilise Germany Short Term GainLong Term ProblemArmy left intactRestore Law and OrderLeaves conservative institution aloneCivil Service left intactAllows Germany to function reasonably stablyLeaves conservatives at heart of government3 USPD socialists invited into governmentShow sincerity and willingness to cooperate with oppositionTarnished by association with CommunistsWorker’s councils set upShow socialist credentialsShows communist similarities!Employers and trade unions brought togetherPrevents strikes and increases production at a crucial timeIndustrialists resentful at being dictated to by government. Smacks of communismConstituent Assembly elections calledSPD gains support of conservative/nationalists desperate to avoid CommunismConvinces SPD that they have more support than they really do
25January 1919: The war is over, but the problems are not! Treaty of Versailles negotiations continuingRoyal Naval Blockade in placeStarvation/HungerInfluenza epidemicGeneral Strike still continuingRussian Revolutionaries helping newly created German Communist Party (KPD)Anarchy and Chaos on Eastern BorderSeparatist governments being declaredCommunist infiltration of some Police forcesArmy barely maintaining disciplineNo money to pay soldiers!FreiKorps step in to fill vacuumSpartacist revolution being crushed violentlyThousands killed in Berlin aloneBavaria restoredSummary justice
26Is the enemy on the left or the Right? Treaty of Versailles negotiations continuingRoyal Naval Blockade in placeStarvation/HungerInfluenza epidemicGeneral Strike still continuingRussian Revolutionaries helping newly created German Communist Party (KPD)Anarchy and Chaos on Eastern BorderSeparatist governments being declaredCommunist infiltration of some Police forcesArmy barely maintaining disciplineNo money to pay soldiers!FreiKorps step in to fill vacuumSpartacist revolution being crushed violentlyThousands killed in Berlin aloneBavaria restoredSummary justice
27Constituent Assembly Results January 1919 %SeatsSPD38163Zentrum2091DDP1975DNVP1044USPD7.622DVP4.4
28New Assembly, New Challenges! Chancellor SchiedemannMinority governmentSPD 163 out of 421A new constitution is writtenIn WeimarWeimar thought to be the home of the German ‘liberal’ IntelligentsiaGoethe, Bach, Schiller, NietzscheText on pages 26/27 of big red bookAnalyse advantages and disadvantages of ConstitutionTreaty of Versailles ConcludedJune 1919
29Treaty of Versailles German Negotiating difficulties Change of GovernmentCoalition governmentCompromises, disassociations, vascillationsGerman army melting awayPeople’s priorities elsewhere in 1919Arrogant Prussian officer class negotiatingUlrich von Brockdorff-RantzauTreaty of Vienna Parallels?Germans expecting to be treated similar to France in 1815Magnanimous Kings and emperors maintaining a balance
30The Council of Four Wilson Clemenceau Orlando Lloyd-George Idealistic, NaïveClemenceauOld tiger, vindictive, pessimistOrlandoWanted rewarding for helping AlliesWithdraws from negotiations!Lloyd-GeorgeImperial strategist, CompromiserMany minor delegates attendedBut Germany not invited to any of the negotiationsMerely summoned in June 1919 to sign the finished document
33Treaty Provisions 440 articles including: Territorial Losses Creation of new buffer states between Germany and Russia!Plebiscites encouragedSop to WilsonAustria specifically prevented from holding a plebiscite!Punitive actions to reduce Germany to a minor powerArmy 100,000, 6 ships, no tanks or aircraftReparationsOminously to be decided!‘Blank Cheque’ J M KeynesWar Guilt Clause
34Article 231The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.
35German Impact of Treaty 1: Cabinet Crisis Ulrich von Brockdorff-RantzauDisgusted at lack of German participationAllowed just 15 days to make observations on documentDisgusted that Blockade continued throughoutHorrified at vindictiveness of treatyIllegally published a draft copyGerman Public as horrified as he wasChancellor ScheidemannConsiders resuming the warArmy High Command point out that Germany has effectively no military capability to defend itselfAlthough Hindenburg considers a Heroic defeat!Chancellor resigns rather than sign such a savage document
36Musical Chairs President Ebert tried to resign as President Bauer takes over from ScheidemannReluctantly agrees to Treaty Provisions237 to 138 in ReichstagForeign Minister Muller signs on 28th JuneThe SPD would forever be tarnished for having had to sign the ‘Dictated Peace Treaty’
37German Impact of Treaty 2: Soldiers Revolt Prussian Military Tradition undermined by TreatyOfficer corps horrified by savage cutsFreikorps units were no longer in legal limbo they were now illegalFrustrated army unable to turn on victorious AlliesTurn on Weimar Government instead!Luttwitz – Berlin Army CommanderErhardt – German Marine CommanderKapp – Prussian Civil Servant/Leader of the Fatherland Party
38The Kapp Putsch The Plan An Open Secret? March on Berlin Expel Socialist governmentPlace Pliant Kapp as civilian figurehead of a new military governmentAn Open Secret?Plotters asked Seeckt, Ludendorff and other generals for their supportNo support receivedBut no hostility eitherNobody reported the plottersPlotters assumed that German soldiers would not fire on German soldiers!
39The Trigger February 1920 Forced Demobilisation of army A requirement of the Treaty of Versailles12,000 Freikorps ordered to disbandCommander Luttwitz refuses
41Who will defend the Republic? Chancellor Bauer asks General Seeckt to restore orderGeneral refuses“Troops do not fire on troops; when Reichswehr fires on Reichswehr all comradeship within the officer corps has vanished!”Wait and See policy (See who wins?)Most Soldiers remain neutralBut government forced to flee BerlinTo Dresden and then to StuttgartNationalist Von Kahr takes advantage to regain control of Bavaria from CommunistsWould become a centre of right wing tolerance
42Who will defend the Republic? The Left comes to the rescueGeneral Strike ordered by Trade Unionists with support of most working classes and even Communists80,000 communists take control of RuhrRefuses to cooperate with the new Kapp GovernmentKapp Ineffectiveness4 days of rule were pretty ineffectiveCould not announce victory to newspapers as they could not even find a working typewriterBanks refused to issue loans or currency on behalf of the unrecognised governmentStrike paralysed business and industry
43Who will defend the Republic? Dilemma for GovernmentWhat to do with the German Army?It had demonstrated that it could not be relied on in times of crisis to defend the Republic from attacks from the RightHowever, it was still needed to defend the Republic from threats from the left!Eg 80,000 Communists in the RuhrThey would not lay down arms after the fall of the Kapp GovernmentArmy more than happy to shoot left wing rebels!
44June 1920 Elections 1919 % 1920 % SPD 38 21 Zentrum 20 8 DDP 19 18 DNVP1015USPD/KPD7.6DVP4.414
45June 1920 Elections Disaster for the SPD The writers of the Weimar constitution were punished by its own provisionsAssociated with Treaty of Versailles, Hunger, Defeat, Instability, Poor economic conditions, etc… etc…SPD withdrew into oppositionThe future of the Weimar Government passed to weak coalition governments who were at best hostile to the Weimar constitution
46The Bill arrivesApril 1921Germany to pay £6.6 billion for damage caused during First World War+6% interest over 50 years of repayment planTo be paid in Gold Marks7% of annual German IncomeCentrist Chancellor Fehrenbach resigns in horror!
47Wirth picks up the poisoned Chalice New coalition formedZentrum, SPD and DDPAppoints DDP Rathenau as foreign ministerHighly talented Jewish DDP politicianWirth attempts a complicated tacticFulfillment policyAttempt to honour repayments in order to show that Germany is incapable of repaying such a huge billSow seeds of hyperinflationGovernment did not fully try to control spendingSubtlety lost on AlliesFrance not concerned at any suffering on part of GermansBritain needed to repay loans taken from USSubtlety lost on German publicBlamed everything on Treaty of Versailles or on Weimar governments attempting to honour Treaty of Versailles
48Upper Silesia Plebiscite Requirement of Treaty of VersaillesAllowing locals to determine national identityJoin Germany or Poland717,122 votes to join Germany483,514 votes to join PolandClear majority and yet Poles claimed cheating and started an insurrectionBritish troops sent to region to stop the fightingLeague of Nations compromiseGermany to receive 2/3rds of areaBut Poland got the industrial 1/3 with most of the coal minesGerman ‘fulfillment’ policy in tattersWhy bother working with Treaty of Versailles institutions if they are only going to work against Germany – no matter what!Serious credibility blow for Wirth government
50Treaty of Rapallo, 1922 First political success for Weimar Government Negotiated by RathenauDesigned to outflank FrancePariah TreatyThe enemy of my enemy is my friendUSSR and Germany agreed:No reparations demands on each otherClose economic tiesNormalise diplomatic tiesSecret military clausesGermans to be able to train in USSRUSSR to receive German technical assistance in weapons productionDiplomatically useful but domestically dangerousConfirmed to nationalists that Weimar was secretly sympathetic to communist form of government (+ Jewish connection)Rathenau assassinated in June 1922 by right wing terror group
51‘The enemy is on the Right’ Political assassinationsLeftRightMurders Committed22354(326 of which completely unpunished)Sentenced to death10Severely punished171
52‘The enemy is on the Right’ Why might many Germans disagree with Wirth’s plea?Look at page 41Were Germans justified in being more concerned at a left wing threat than the more subtle right wing institutional threat!
53Gathering Economic Crisis Currency markets concerned at impact of reparations on German government financesGerman mark begins to slide103,208,000,000 MarksTotal budget for1922187,531,000,000 MarksAmount of reparations required by Allies in 1922 (in gold marks)France unwilling to bendAnnoyed at Treaty of RapalloUnconcerned at German difficultiesWirth resigns November 1922
54Free Fall Cuno ‘business government’ takes over Minority GovernmentFrench invasion of Ruhr to secure payments in kindPolicy of non-cooperation initiatedHyperinflation kicks in as richest area of Germany now under foreign control and not producing anything anyway!
56Was there an alternative to Hyperinflation? Yes,But it would involve:Cutting expenditureRaising taxesThese would have cut the deficit and reduce the amount of money in the economy and hence inflation.So, why didn’t the government choose this option?Why did it choose to print money instead?
57Was there an alternative to Hyperinflation? So, why didn’t the government choose this option?It would have hurt industrial output and put many businesses into bankruptcyUnemployment would have risenVery unpopular in the immediate term!Hyperinflation would be unpopular but only once the effects were feltTax increases and budget cuts would be felt immediatelyPerhaps a different government would be in place when the consequences were felt?
58Free FallLosers from HyperinflationWinners from Hyperinflation
59Free Fall Losers from Hyperinflation Winners from Hyperinflation LendersMiddle ClassesState WorkersPensioners – those on fixed benefitsMittelstandWeimar RepublicJews (incorrectly blamed)German Government PoliticallyBorrowersSpeculatorsLandownersAreas close to bordersForeignersGerman Government Financially
60Restoring Economic Order Streseman came to power August 1923How did he go about restoring orderUse page 49 Hite and HintonUse page 30 Collier
61Restoring Economic Order Stresemann’s Fulfillment policy?Hjalmar Schacht appointed to ReichsbankHans Luther the new Finance ministerNew currency createdRentenmark1 Rentenmark = 1,000,000,000,000 ReichsmarksSupply of new currency strictly limited3,200,000,000 in totalBacked by bondsCut government expenditureRedundancies for 700,000 government workersCalled off Passive resistance in Ruhr and repaid some reparationsAllow France to withdraw from RuhrA commission set up to look at reparations paymentsDawes Plan
62Threats to Stresemann Economic Threats Regional Threats Difficulties and sacrifices required to stabilise new currencyRegional ThreatsSaxony and ThuringiaCommunists had cooperated with Socialists to take control of these statesBavariaConcerned at the Communist takeover of neighbouring States, The Right wing Kahr requests German Army declare loyalty to him before to Berlin
64Horses for courses?Stresemann showed his nationalist leanings in his treatment of the two regional threatsSaxony and ThuringiaGermany army sent to overthrow the communist/socialist governmentsSPD horrified and withdrew support from Stresemann coalitionBavariaHe does not sack von Lossow (army commander) or overthrow KahrKahr and Lossow or thankful to the conservative Stresemann (will be useful shortly)
65The Munich PutschAdolf Hitler’s attempt to take power in Munich and march to Berlin to replace the Weimar government.Why did it take place in Bavaria?Why did this take place in November 1923?
66The Munich Putsch Why Bavaria? Very Conservative Catholic Region Hostile to Weimar Cosmopolitan attitudesResentful at being on periphery of power baseDeeply hostile to anti-religious sentiments of CommunismVon Kahr’s Right Wing GovernmentTook power in 1920 PutschReplaced Communist GovernmentViolent overthrow culturally acceptable?was deeply hostile to communists and socialistsAllowed Right wing groups to thrivePersecuted Left wing groups
67The Munich Putsch Why November 1923? Inspired by Mussolini’s March on Rome, 1922Clock is tickingNational Socialists thrive on discontentStresemann’s economic reforms are already kicking inStability returning to GermanyStresemann getting the creditMisread Stresemann’s leniency to KahrThought it was a sign of weakness rather than strengthMisread Kahr and LossowThought they were alliesThey were conservative monarchists who were deeply uneasy about some of the socialist aspects of National-Socialism (see page 52)
68A comedy of errors? Poorly organised Relied on Blackmail Errors Lack of coordinationDid not have necessary armsPoor communications systemsRelied on BlackmailThey required the support of Kahr and Lossow to allow a march on Berlin to have any chance of successErrorsLudendorff’s Traditional value systemGerman officer’s couldn’t lie!Allowed Kahr and Lossow to reassure their wives!IndecisiveHitler had a nervous collapse when he found out kahr had goneLudendorff had to decide to march to city centreArmy remains loyal to right wing KahrWhy shouldn’t they? More Nationalist less Socialist than NazisCowardiceHitler does a runner when the man next to him is shotJu-Jitsu lady disarms frantic Hitler
69Why did the Weimar Republic Survive 1919 – 1923? Did the Weimar Government stand a chance?Which of the following posed the greatest threat to Democracy taking root in Germany:Place them in an order of greatest threat to democracy:Limited Nature of the 1918 German RevolutionThe Weimar ConstitutionThe Treaty of VersaillesRight Wing ExtremismLeft Wing ExtremismThe Economic CrisisAttitudes of the German eliteAttitudes of ordinary Germans
70Why did the Weimar Republic Survive 1919 – 1923? Limited Nature of German RevolutionThe Weimar ConstitutionThe Treaty of VersaillesRight Wing ExtremismLeft Wing ExtremismThe Economic CrisisAttitudes of the German eliteAttitudes of ordinary GermansCompare your list to your neighboursDo you need to rewrite your list?Can you agree on a common list?
71Why did the Weimar Republic Survive 1919 – 1923? Page 57 Hite and HintonRead events 1 to 12With a partner decide whether you agree with a) or with b) or with neither!