Opposition to Weimar Several groups were opposed specifically to the Weimar Republic (and democratic principles generally). Some of these groups not only opposed the Weimar Republic but also tried to overthrow it. You must be clear as to why Weimar was opposed to these groups from both the left and the right.
LeftRight 1919 Spartacists (later Communist Party) tried to start a revolution to create a new socialist Germany. The SPD government and the army put down this revolution with great brutality. 10 years later the parties to the left were unable to combine to prevent Hitler’s rise as the Communists felt a bitter hatred towards to SPD for what had happened. Military cuts as a result of the Versailles Treaty left military officers furious. Kapp Putsch (revolution) an attempt to overthrow government, bring back Kaiser and save their careers. Right not only military leaders though: Professionals whose careers spent working for Imperial Germany under Kaiser (civil servants etc). Government changed and so did democratic system however attitudes did not. Still identified with “old Germany”.
1919 Spartacus Revolt 1919 Spartacus Union under Karl Liebknecht seized key buildings in Berlin. Bands of old army volunteers from the Freikorps (Free Corps) suppressed the rising. Ironically they did not want the Weimar Republic either. However they wanted the return of the Kaiser. The Freikorps hated the Communists and brutally put down the revolt. The leaders of the revolt, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, were captured and killed. Luxumburg a frail 48 year old, Polish Jew had her skull smashed by the but of a rifle and then was shot at point blank range. Her body was recovered months later in a canal. Liebknecht suffered a similar fate.
Freikorps suppress Spartacists Revolt A Friekorps Lieutenant in charge of a firing squad photographs his men with the “Red Guardist” they are about to execute during their bloody suppression of the Munich Soviet, May 1919.
The Kapp Putsch In 1920 the government tried to disband the Freikorps. No longer of use and violated ToV. Cpt Ehrhardt responded by marching on Berlin. The government fled and a new regime was proclaimed under a little know civil servant Dr Wolfgang Kapp. Ebert called on the army to solve the problem but General Von Seeckt said “Troops do not fire on troops.”
The Kapp Putsch Fails In Berlin a general strike broke out. Kapp and Ehrhard faced Trade Union hostility. Public Transport stopped, power supplies were cut and black out descended. The strike saw possible supporters of the right loose patience (civil servants etc).
Kapp’s Punishment In sharp contrast to the Spartacists the leaders of the Kapp Putsch were scarcely punished. The early 1920s saw a number of prominent Weimar supporters assassinated. Those assassins connected to Left Wing organisations were sentenced to death. Those associated with the right wing groups- none were sentenced to death and only one received a substantial prison sentence. How did judges undermine the Weimar Republic?
Tasks: Read pages 105- 106 of books; “A Republic Nobody Wanted.” Do tasks under the same heading on page 19. The Spartacists Revolt The Kapp Putsch
Key Points for today Which groups were on the left? What did they want? How did they try and achieve it? What happened to them? Which groups represented the right? What did they want? How did they try and achieve it? What happened to them?
Possible Essay Questions How important was the existence of groups opposed to Weimar’s democratic ideology in explaining its difficulties?