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Attempts to overthrow the Weimar Republic, 1919-23 Richard Fitzsimmons Strathallan School.

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Presentation on theme: "Attempts to overthrow the Weimar Republic, 1919-23 Richard Fitzsimmons Strathallan School."— Presentation transcript:

1 Attempts to overthrow the Weimar Republic, Richard Fitzsimmons Strathallan School

2 Overview Between 1919 and 1923, there were a number of attempts to overthrow the Weimar government – but they all failed and the Republic survived …why ? Communists (Bavaria), late 1918-early 1919 Spartacists, January 1919 Freikorps under Dr. Wolfgang Kapp, March 1920 Nazis, November 1923

3 Communists in Bavaria, 1919 Kurt Eisner

4 Communists in Bavaria ? At the end of the War Bavaria, like the rest of Germany, underwent a revolution – she was declared a Republic by the newly elected Kurt Eisner (USDP) After his assassination (21 st February 1919) there was a wave of violence in Bavaria 6 th April 1919 – a ‘Raterepublik’ was proclaimed in Munich This communist government was destroyed by the Freikorps, ordered in by President Friederich Ebert A new government, loyal to Weimar, was installed before it too (1920) was overthrown by right-wingers led by Gustav von Kahr

5 Spartacist Uprising, January 1919

6 Spartacist Uprising The Spartacus League, led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht wanted to make Germany a communist state like Russia Jan – they tried to seize power in Berlin – they were seen as a threat by the Social Democrat government of Scheidemann and Ebert

7 Spartacist Uprising, Jan rd Jan 1919 – Spartacists captured the office of the government newspaper and the telephone exchange – attempting to stage an armed revolution against Ebert’s government Other left-wing groups did not support the Spartacists, leaving them isolated By 10 th Jan – Freikorps units had taken the Spartacists’ headquarters 15 th Jan – the revolt was over, about 100 Spartacists were killed, and the leaders were brutally murdered

8 What happened to Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnecht ? Both were arrested, interrogated by the Freikorps, then taken away. Liebknecht was forced out of a car in the Tiergarten (Berlin) and shot while ‘trying to escape’ Luxemburg was shot and her body thrown in a canal where it remained until discovered in May 1919 Ebert was shocked by the murders and ordered an investigation – punishments did not fit the crimes

9 The Freikorps

10 Who were the Freikorps ? When the war ended in November 1919, many junior officers and lower ranks had formed themselves into paramilitary bodies known as the Freikorps Often they were units that had not wanted to be demobilised after the war Often they were named after their commanders In 1919 and 1920 they were armed and used by Ebert’s government to put down uprisings

11 The Kapp Putsch, March 1920 The units had to be disbanded – under the terms of Versailles – also the government had little use for the Freikorps now the communist threat was over Several units tried to seize power, angry that a government they despised was trying to disband them They marched on Berlin, unhindered by the regular army The government was forced to flee to Dresden, calling on the people of Berlin to strike to cripple the Kapp putsch The coup collapsed within days as public services stopped working

12 Munich Beer-hall Putsch November 1923

13 What prompted the attempt ? When, in Sept 1923 Stresemann (Chancellor) decided to give into the French over the Ruhr, Hitler and other right-wing politicians saw this a betrayal of the German people Hitler was convinced that he could succeed where von Kahr had failed – and he expected that von Kahr and the Bavarian government would support his attempt to destroy Weimar Perhaps Hitler also over-estimated the amount of support the Nazis had in Munich

14 What happened ? Hitler and some SA men interrupted a public meeting led by the head of the Bavarian government Gustav von Kahr Hitler declared that he was taking over the local government, and that there would be a march on Berlin to take over there too 9 th Nov – Hitler and 3000 supporters were confronted by 100 armed policemen 16 Nazis were killed, Hitler was wounded The whole putsch (revolt) collapsed

15 Why did the Nazis fail ? Hitler had expected support from other right-wing groups, including the Bavarian government of von Kahr The Nazis had little public exposure – few outside Munich had ever heard of them

16 What were the results ? When the Munich Putsch failed, Hitler was placed in jail He used his trial to gain nationwide attention for his cause – helped by a sympathetic judge Hitler served nine months of his 5-year sentence in prison, where he wrote the famous Mein Kampf Hitler and supporters in Landsberg prison, 1924


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