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In what ways did the Treaty of Versailles pose a threat to the Weimar Constitution?

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Introduction

In what ways did the Treaty of Versailles pose a threat to the Weimar Constitution? The Treaty of Versailles was signed in June 1919 resulting in Germany loosing 13% of land, 12% of its population and 48% of its iron ore. The terms of the treaty also meant that Germany's military troops were reduced immensely with only 100,000 men in the army and 15,000 men in the navy. Germany was not allowed an air force nor allowed to import arms or ammunition. On top of these terms Germany had to accept responsibility for the First World War and pay reparation fees. All these terms posed a huge threat to the Weimar Constitution as a barely established government was faced with massive social discontent and economic problems. The first threat to the constitution was due to the rage of the population against the so-called 'traitors' who signed the treaty, thus taking responsibility for the war. This reinforced the 'stab in the back' theory that was sparked after the armistice, as some believed the German defeat was due to the civilian population betraying the military. ...read more.

Middle

Attacks from the right wing did not stop after the attempted putsch as a 'white terror' spread across Germany. The murders of Erzberger and Rathenau - a DDP member involved in fulfilling the reparation terms of the treaty, sparked even more anger from the German people as the government failed to counter right-wing outrages. Most of the violence caused by right wing parties was arbitrary but few of those responsible were ever brought to justice. The governments lack of ability in controlling law and order throughout the white terror posed a huge threat to its survival as more people were becoming bitter and active in their protests. Even though the right was committing most political murders, the left received greater punishment due to the threat of the spreading of communism. Sparticist uprisings in Berlin and a soviet republic being declared in Barvaria posed another threat to the government. Workers were frustrated with the economic problems that were a result from the war and the treaty. Strikes due to workers wanting shorter hours and better conditions were dangerous for an already fragile economy and this added pressure onto the government. ...read more.

Conclusion

This had immense effects on the German economy and was one of the factors that lead to the hyperinflation crisis in August 1923. This caused another huge problem for the government as it had to deal with more economic disaster whilst controlling law and order and the increasing discontent of the population. Overall, the Treaty of Versailles posed a huge threat to the Weimar Republic. The government that barely had time to establish itself was greeted with harsh terms that would cause economic problems for the country. The economic problems lead to social discontent as people become angry at having poor living conditions that could lead to poverty. The rage of the population increased with the war guilt clause that reinforced the 'stab in the back theory' and further bitterness was caused with the problems of reparations. The increasing social discontent lead to extremist uprising from the left and right wing and this threatened the government as they found it hard to form law and order and came close to being over thrown. The government was further weakened by constant changes in coalitions and resignations of chancellors making decisions difficult. Finally, the actions of the allies caused a huge economic collapse, which made people loose complete faith in the new democratic government. Kelly Meade 12ED ...read more.

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