Germany, 1918-1945 - Treaty of Versailles.

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Germany, 1918-1945

Question 1. Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles was the first peace keeping treaty after the First World War. Its aims were to demilitarise, claim compensation and to keep peace with Germany. The signing of the treaty was humiliating and a great embarrassment for Germany and therefore Germany wasn’t represented. It was only the victors who attended.

   In the end, Germany resulted in a great loss of land. Germany also had to pay for the damage it had caused. These were called Respiration Payments, which were instalments of £6600 million. They couldn’t pay it because their land had been taken away and had loses to amend, too. Because of this, Germany had to print more money to pay the instalments. Money then lost its value, which led to hyperinflation. Germany’s armed forces were cut to 100,000 people; the navy was allowed 6 battleships and no U-boats. They weren’t allowed to have an airforce at all. Of course, this upset Germany’s armed forces as the majority of them were laid off. This all Helped Hitler’s rise to power because the armed forces were out of jobs and Hitler promised reforms of change to put it straight which encouraged the armed forces to vote for him. Not only was it the armed forces who were angry and frustrated but so too was the general public who felt humiliated and vulnerable for reduction of armed forces and all the other terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Therefore, Hitler was able to build on that.

   When writing ‘Mein Kampf’ (My Struggle) Hitler used the depression and economic difficulties on communists and Jews as a scapegoat. This fed into that the Treaty of Versailles gave something for him to use his oratory skills towards.

Question 2.

Long-term is something that has been going on over a long period of time. Short term is a trigger effect. It’s something that sparks it of.

   A short-term effect that contributed to Hitler’s rise to power is that the Enabling Law was passed in 1933. This allowed Hitler to do basically anything including the more important element of outlawing opposition. Therefore the Nazi would be the only political party in Germany. This had a dramatic effect in a short period of time as Hitler then came to power in 1934-one year after being promoted to Chancellor. This proved himself to be a dominant and powerful character for the job-just what Germany needed. This is good as Germany felt humiliated after the First World War and then the Treaty of Versailles and needed someone, like Hitler, to regain Germany’s strength and self-control. This obviously would tie in with the long-term effects.

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   The Reichstag Fire was also a short-term effect. After studying previous work on the Reichstag Fire, I have come to the conclusion that Hitler started the fire on purpose in order to gain the public vote. This benefited Hitler and contributed to his rise to power as he denied lighting the fire and instead, insisted it was a communist plot as a scapegoat. It got the public thinking that if communists are the cause of the Reichstag Fire then they could quite possibly be the blame of Germany’s other problems, like Hitler was saying. This begun to get the ...

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