Explain how the Weimar Governments dealt with problems and threats between 1919 and 1943.

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Germany 1918-1941

Weimar Government --Threats & Problems

Q: Explain how the Weimar Governments dealt with problems and threats between 1919 and 1943.

The Weimar Governments were faced with a number of problems and threats between 1919 and 1943, and dealt with them each with varying degrees of success:

The first major threat to Weimar was a Communist uprising in January 1919, which became known as the Spartacist or January Uprising. The major force in this uprising was a group of left-wing communists calling themselves The Spartacists (so called after the Roman rebel Spartacus, though they were later renamed the German Communist Party), whose intentions were to destroy the Weimar government in favour of the creation of a Communist rule that would give increased power to the middle-class over the upper-class. The uprising (particularly the violent aspects of it), sparked initially by the reactions of workers to the discharge of the Berlin Police Chief Emil Eichorn, was orchestrated by the leaders of the Spartacists, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. However within weeks, the rebellion, already weakened due to internal disagreements within the parties, was  crushed by a strongly anti-communist force of 4000 ex-soldiers called the Free Corps who were working on the behalf of President Ebert. By the 10th of January, Luxemburg and Liebknecht had been murdered, and the Spartacist uprising had failed thanks to the government's reliance on external, variable and conditional aide from an extremist group.

The left-wing was not the only political side to oppose the government. A little over a year after the failure of the Spartacist Rebellion, in March 1920, another rebellion, this time right-wing, was commenced: The Kapp Putsch (or, more accurately, the Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch), which was started by a group of the Free Corps called Marinebrigade Ehrhardt and led by Doctor Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Lüttwitz (who was the driving force behind the putsch, despite Kapp being the nominal leader). Their anger was directed at the Treaty of Versaille and, more precisely, the reduction of Germany's army. When military leaders were refused their appeal to the President for a stoppage to troop reductions, Lüttwitz ordered the Marinebridge Ehrhardt to march on Berlin where they occupied the city. The government asked the regular army to suppress the putsch but was refused with the statement that 'Reichswehr does not fire on Reichswehr ', and so the government was forced to flee Berlin, leaving Kapp to attempt to form his own government. However, many of the high-ranking Free Corps leaders refused to join, and when the Cabinet called for the workers to take a general strike, they received massive support. The country was paralysed and the putsch soon collapsed. Lüttwitz and Kapp, overthrown, flew the Sweden. Once again, the government was forced to trust a group of people whose support was very unreliable.

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As soon as the Kapp Putsch ended, the government faced another threat in the form of the insurrection in the Ruhr valley. Over 50,000 communist workers in Ruhr, Germany's richest industrial area, had stayed on strike after the Putsch in an attempt to obtain concession from the government for helping to overthrow Kapp. However, they were not treated with gratitude and the Free Corps were set upon them to destroy the opposition even though the Entente had not granted them permission to do so after a period of discussion concerning the topic of whether German troops should be allowed ...

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