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The Weimar Republic

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Myriam The Weimar Republic Barthe 3�me 7 1) Explain why the Weimar Republic collapsed. 1) In January 1919, the German voters, elected a national assembly to write a constitution. The assembly met in Weimar, and in August 1919, the constitution established a democratic republic known as the Weimar Republic. It provided for a parliament of two houses ; the Reichstag and the Reichsrat, and a president elected by the people. The chancellor and the cabinet members were appointed by the president, but they could be removed from office by the Reichstag. However, the Weimar Republic, like many new parliaments, was weak from the start and was faced with a lot of problems which by the end caused its failure. Firstly, the terms of the Treaty of Versailles were harsher than the Germans had thought. They were not expecting to be treated badly as they expected the treaty to follow the same lines as Woodrow Wilson's fourteen points. ...read more.


This led to disagreements and every party organized its own private army increasing the threat of civil wars. Thirdly, outbreaks of violence started to appear, opposition grew between Nazis and communists, and series of political assassinations took place. Walter Rathenau and Gustav Erzberger were killed. The government took strong measures against such acts of terrorism but the right-wing parties immediately showed opposition to these measures. In January 1919, the Spartacist Rising occurred in which the communists occupied almost every major city in Germany. However, the government managed to defeat them but only by accepting the help of the Freikorps; a sign which shows the weakness of the government. On March 1920 the Kapp Putsch took place. This involved a group of Freikorps troops capturing Berlin and installing Wolfgang Kapp, a right wing journalist, as Chancellor of a new government. With his one means of power and the Freikorps, revolting against him, Ebert could only withdraw his parliament from Berlin and reconvene in Dresden. ...read more.


In January, strikes were called for, and passive resistance was encouraged. The strikes had to last for eight months, which caused the German economy to suffer, and importing had to begin. Since striking workers also had to be paid by the state, additional currency was printed, which fuelled a period of hyperinflation. The value of the Mark declined from 4.2 per US dollar to 4,200,000,000,000 per dollar on November 1923. It was only when Stresemann in 1924 introduced a new currency known as the Rentenmark that the financial situation stabilized. Stresemann also asked the US to provide Germany money so as to help them pay what was asked by France and also to recover. They agreed and thanks to Stresemann, Germany was rebuilding itself and confidence was beginning to reappear. Unfortunatly, in October 1929, Stresemann died and the US were faced with a crisis: The Wall Street Crash. They immediatly asked Germany to pay back all the money lend, which was impossible and caused the collapse of the Weimar Republic. ...read more.

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