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The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (german: Deutsches Reich, link=no, label=none), and was also referred to as the German Republic (german: Deutsche Republik, link=no, label=none). The first term refers to the city of
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
, where the republic's
constituent assembly A constituent assembly (also known as a constitutional convention, constitutional congress, or constitutional assembly) is a body assembled for the purpose of drafting or revising a constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental ...

constituent assembly
first took place. In English the country was usually simply called "Germany"; the term "Weimar Republic" did not become common in English until the 1930s. After four years of hostilities in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
from 1914 to 1918 with heavy losses, Germany was exhausted and sued for peace under desperate circumstances. Awareness of imminent defeat sparked
revolution In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, suc ...
, the abdication of
Kaiser Wilhelm II en, Frederick William Victor Albert , house = Hohenzollern , father = Frederick III, German Emperor , mother = Victoria, Princess Royal , religion = Lutheranism (Prussian Union (Evangelical Christian Church), Prussian United) , signature = ...

Kaiser Wilhelm II
, Germany's surrender, and the proclamation of the Weimar Republic on 9 November 1918. From 1918 to 1923, the Weimar Republic suffered grave problems, such as
hyperinflation In , hyperinflation is very high and typically accelerating . It quickly erodes the of the local , as the prices of all goods increase. This causes people to minimize their holdings in that currency as they usually switch to more stable forei ...
, political extremism, including political murders and two attempted power seizures by contending
paramilitaries Paramilitary forces usually tend to wear similar but different uniforms to the military, for instance gray " urban camouflage". A paramilitary organization (also listed as quasi military) is a semi-militarized force whose organizational stru ...
, as well as contentious relationships with
the victors "The Victors" is the fight song of the University of Michigan (UM) written and composed by UM student Louis Elbel in 1898. The song was first played publicly by John Philip Sousa and his band. An abbreviated version of the fight song, based on t ...
of the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
. From 1924 to 1929, a great deal of monetary and political stability were restored, and the Republic enjoyed relative prosperity. Those years are sometimes called the
Golden Twenties The Golden Twenties, also known as the Happy Twenties (german: Glückliche Zwanziger Jahre), is the decade of the 1920s in Germany. The era began with the end of World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or ...
. But the global economic crisis, as of October 1929, hit Germany exceptionally hard. High unemployment led to the collapse of the coalition government and from March 1930 various chancellors ruled through emergency powers granted by President
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German general and statesman who led the during and later became from 1925 until his death in 1934. During his presidency, h ...

Paul von Hindenburg
. This period ended with
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
's appointment as chancellor on 30 January 1933. Resentment in Germany towards the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
was strong, especially on the political right where there was great anger towards those who had signed and submitted to the treaty. The Weimar Republic fulfilled most of the requirements of the Treaty of Versailles, although it never completely met its disarmament commitments and eventually paid only a small portion of the war reparations (by twice restructuring its debt through the
Dawes Plan The Dawes Plan (as proposed by the Dawes Committee, chaired by Charles G. Dawes) was a plan in 1924 that successfully resolved the issue of World War I reparations The world is the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun a ...
and the
Young Plan The Young Plan was a program for settling Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language ...
). Under the
Locarno Treaties The Locarno Treaties were seven agreements negotiated at Locarno , neighboring_municipalities= Ascona, Avegno, Switzerland, Avegno, Cadenazzo, Cugnasco, Gerra (Verzasca), Gambarogno, Gordola, Lavertezzo, Losone, Minusio, Muralto, Orselina, Te ...
, signed in 1925, Germany moved toward normalising relations with its neighbours. Germany recognised the western borders that had been established through the Versailles Treaty, however its eastern borders remained subject to possible revisions. In 1926, Germany joined the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
. From 1930 onwards, President Hindenburg used
emergency powers A state of emergency or emergency powers is a situation in which a government is empowered to be able to put through policies that it would normally not be permitted to do, for the safety and protection of their citizens. A government can decla ...
to back Chancellors
Heinrich Brüning Heinrich Aloysius Maria Elisabeth Brüning () (26 November 1885 – 30 March 1970) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ances ...
,
Franz von Papen Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen, Erbsälzer zu Werl und Neuwerk (; 29 October 18792 May 1969) was a German conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals wit ...
and General
Kurt von Schleicher Kurt Ferdinand Friedrich Hermann von Schleicher (; 7 April 1882 – 30 June 1934) was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany (before Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politi ...
. The Great Depression, exacerbated by Brüning's policy of deflation, led to a surge in unemployment.Büttner, Ursula ''Weimar: die überforderte Republik'', Klett-Cotta, 2008, , p. 424 On 30 January 1933, Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor at the head of a coalition government. Hitler's
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
held two out of ten cabinet seats. Von Papen as Vice-Chancellor was intended to be the ''" éminence grise"'' who would keep Hitler under control, using his close personal connection to Hindenburg. These intentions badly underestimated Hitler's political abilities. By the end of March, the
Reichstag Fire Decree 250px, '' Das Andere Deutschlands final issue, announcing its own prohibition (''Verbot'') by the police authorities on the basis of the Reichstag fire decree The Reichstag Fire Decree (german: Reichstagsbrandverordnung) is the common name of th ...
and the
Enabling Act of 1933 The Enabling Act (German language, German: ') of 1933, officially titled ' ("Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich"), was a law that gave the Hitler Cabinet, German Cabinet—most importantly, the Chancellor of Germany, Chancellor—t ...
had used the perceived state of emergency to effectively grant the new Chancellor broad power to act outside parliamentary control. Hitler promptly used these powers to thwart constitutional governance and suspend civil liberties, which brought about the swift collapse of democracy at the federal and state level and the creation of a single-party dictatorship under Hitler. Until the collapse of the
Third Reich Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...
in 1945, the Nazis governed the German state under the pretense that all of the extraordinary measures and laws they brought into force starting in 1933 were legal under the provisions of the Weimar constitution, and notably did not attempt to formally enact an entirely new constitution to replace the one adopted in 1919. Nevertheless, Hitler's seizure of power (''
Machtergreifung Adolf Hitler's rise to power began in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 m ...
'') had effectively ended the republic.


Name and symbols

The Weimar Republic is so called because
the assembly The Assembly were a British synthpop project formed in 1983 in Basildon, England, by Vince Clarke (songwriting, keyboards, backing vocals) and Eric Radcliffe (songwriting, production). Feargal Sharkey was hired as a guest vocalist for the A-side ...
that adopted its constitution met at Weimar from 6 February 1919 to 11 August 1919, but this name only became mainstream after 1933.


Terminology

Between 1919 and 1933, no single name for the new state gained widespread acceptance, thus the old name was officially retained, although hardly anyone used it during the Weimar period. To the right of the spectrum, the politically engaged rejected the new democratic model and were appalled to see the honour of the traditional word ''Reich'' associated with it. as quoted in Zentrum, the Catholic Centre Party, favoured the term (German People's State), while on the moderate left Chancellor
Friedrich Ebert Friedrich Ebert (; 4 February 187128 February 1925) was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic pol ...

Friedrich Ebert
's
Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-makin ...
preferred (German Republic). By the mid-1920s, was used by most Germans, but for the anti-democratic right the word was a painful reminder of a government structure that they believed had been imposed by foreign statesmen, along with the relocation of the seat of power to Weimar and the expulsion of Kaiser Wilhelm in the wake of massive national humiliation. The first recorded mention of the term (Republic of Weimar) came during a speech delivered by Adolf Hitler at a Nazi Party rally in Munich on 24 February 1929. A few weeks later, the term was first used again by Hitler in a newspaper article. Only during the 1930s did the term become mainstream, both within and outside Germany. According to historian Richard J. Evans:
The continued use of the term 'German Empire', ''Deutsches Reich'', by the Weimar Republic ... conjured up an image among educated Germans that resonated far beyond the institutional structures Bismarck created: the successor to the Roman Empire; the vision of God's Empire here on earth; the universality of its claim to suzerainty; and a more prosaic but no less powerful sense, the concept of a German state that would include all German speakers in central Europe—'one People, one Reich, one Leader', as the Nazi slogan was to put it.


Flag and coat of arms

The old black-red-gold tricolor was named as the national flag in the
Weimar Constitution The Constitution of the German Reich (german: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (''Weimarer Verfassung''), was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era (1919–1933). The c ...

Weimar Constitution
. The coat of arms incorporated the German Imperial Eagle derived from the coat of arms under the Paulskirche Constitution of 1849.


Armed forces

After the dissolution of the army of the former German Empire, known as the ''Deutsches Heer'' (simply "German Army") or the ''Reichsheer'' ("Army of the Realm") in 1918; Germany's military forces consisted of irregular
paramilitaries Paramilitary forces usually tend to wear similar but different uniforms to the military, for instance gray " urban camouflage". A paramilitary organization (also listed as quasi military) is a semi-militarized force whose organizational stru ...
, namely the various right-wing ''
Freikorps (, usually translated to "Free Corps Corps (; plural ''corps'' ; from French , from the Latin "body") is a term used for several different kinds of organization. A military innovation by Napoleon, the formation was first named as such ...
'' ("Free Corps") groups composed of veterans from the war. The ''Freikorps'' units were formally disbanded in 1920 (although continued to exist in underground groups), and on 1 January 1921, a new ''
Reichswehr The Reichswehr (‘Reich defense’) was the official name of the German armed forces from 1919 to 1935, during the Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functio ...
'' ( figuratively; ''Defence of the realm'') was created. The
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
limited the size of the ''Reichswehr'' to 100,000 soldiers (consisting of seven infantry divisions and three cavalry divisions), 10 armoured cars and a navy (the ''
Reichsmarine The ''Reichsmarine'' (Reich Navy) was the name of the German Navy during the Weimar Republic and first two years of Nazi Germany. It was the naval branch of the ''Reichswehr'', existing from 1919 to 1935. In 1935, it became known as the ''Kriegsm ...
'') restricted to 36 ships in active service. No aircraft of any kind was allowed. The main advantage of this limitation, however, was that the ''Reichswehr'' could afford to pick the best recruits for service. However, with inefficient armour and no air support, the ''Reichswehr'' would have had limited combat abilities. Privates were mainly recruited from the countryside, as it was believed that young men from cities were prone to socialist behaviour, which would fray the loyalty of the privates to their conservative officers. Although technically in service of the republic, the army was predominantly officered by conservative reactionaries who were sympathetic to right-wing organisations.
Hans von Seeckt Johannes "Hans" Friedrich Leopold von Seeckt (22 April 1866 – 27 December 1936) was a German military officer who served as Chief of Staff to August von Mackensen and was a central figure in planning the victories Mackensen achieved for Germany ...

Hans von Seeckt
, the head of the ''
Reichswehr The Reichswehr (‘Reich defense’) was the official name of the German armed forces from 1919 to 1935, during the Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functio ...
'', declared that the army was not loyal to the democratic republic, and would only defend it if it were in their interests. During the
Kapp Putsch The Kapp Putsch (), also known as the Kapp–Lüttwitz Putsch (), named after its leaders Wolfgang Kapp Wolfgang Kapp (24 July 1858 – 12 June 1922) was a Kingdom of Prussia, Prussian civil servant and journalist. He was a strict nationalist, a ...
for example, the army refused to fire upon the rebels. The vulgar and turbulent SA was the ''Reichswehr's'' main opponent throughout its existence, openly seeking to absorb the army, and the army fired at them during the
Beer Hall Putsch The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch,Dan Moorhouse, ed schoolshistory.org.uk, accessed 2008-05-31.Known in German language, German as the or was a failed coup d'état by Nazi Party ( or NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler, Erich Lu ...
. With the ascendance of the SS, the ''Reichswehr'' took a softer line about the Nazis, as the SS presented itself as elitist, respectable, orderly, and busy reforming and dominating the police rather than the army. In 1935, two years after
Adolf Hitler's rise to power Adolf Hitler's rise to power began in Weimar Republic, Germany in September 1919 when Adolf Hitler, Hitler joined the political party then known as the ''Deutsche Arbeiterpartei'' – DAP (German Workers' Party). The name was changed in 1920 to ...
, the ''
Reichswehr The Reichswehr (‘Reich defense’) was the official name of the German armed forces from 1919 to 1935, during the Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functio ...
'' was renamed the ''
Wehrmacht The ''Wehrmacht'' (, ) was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the German Army (1935–1945), ''Heer'' (army), the ''Kriegsmarine'' (navy) and the ''Luftwaffe'' (air force). The designation "''Wehrmacht ...
'' (Defense Force). The ''Wehrmacht'' was the unified armed forces of the Nazi regime, which consisted of the ''Heer'' (army), the ''
Kriegsmarine The ''Kriegsmarine'' (, ) was the navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily inte ...
'' (navy) and the ''
Luftwaffe The ''Luftwaffe'' () was the aerial-warfare branch of the German ''Wehrmacht The ''Wehrmacht'' (, ) was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the German Army (1935–1945), ''Heer'' (army), th ...
'' (air force).


History


Background

Hostilities in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
took place between 28 July 1914 and 11 November 1918, involved mobilisation of 70 million
military personnel Military personnel are members of the state's armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and maintained by a sovere ...
and resulted in over 20 million military and civilian deaths (exclusive of fatalities from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which accounted for millions more) making it one of the largest and deadliest wars in history. After four years of war on multiple fronts in Europe and around the world, the Allied offensive began in August 1918, and the position of Germany and the Central Powers deteriorated, leading them to sue for peace. Initial offers were rejected by the Allied Powers, and Germany's position became more desperate. Awareness of impending military defeat sparked the
German Revolution German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Germ ...
, proclamation of a republic on 9 November 1918, the abdication of
Kaiser Wilhelm II en, Frederick William Victor Albert , house = Hohenzollern , father = Frederick III, German Emperor , mother = Victoria, Princess Royal , religion = Lutheranism (Prussian Union (Evangelical Christian Church), Prussian United) , signature = ...

Kaiser Wilhelm II
, and German surrender, marking the end of
Imperial Germany The German Empire or the Imperial State of Germany,, officially '.Herbert Tuttle Herbert Tuttle (1846–1894) was an American historian. Biography Herbert Tuttle was born in Bennington, Vermont Bennington is a New England town, town ...
and the beginning of the Weimar Republic.


November Revolution (1918–1919)

In October 1918, the constitution of the German Empire was reformed to give more powers to the elected parliament. On 29 October,
rebellion Rebellion, uprising, or insurrection is a refusal of obedience or order. It refers to the open resistance against the orders of an established authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behavio ...
broke out in
Kiel Kiel () is the capital and most populous city in the northern German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany ...

Kiel
among sailors. There, sailors, soldiers, and workers began electing Workers' and Soldiers' Councils (''Arbeiter und Soldatenräte'') modelled after the
Soviets The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the ...
of the
Russian Revolution of 1917 The Russian Revolution was a period of Political revolution, political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire and began during the First World War. Commencing in 1917 with the fall of the House of Romanov and conc ...
. The revolution spread throughout Germany, and participants seized military and civil powers in individual cities. The power takeover was achieved everywhere without loss of life. At the time, the Socialist movement which represented mostly labourers was split among two major left-wing parties: the
Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Unabhängige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, USPD) was a short-lived political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a par ...
(USPD), which called for immediate peace
negotiation Negotiation is a between two or more people or parties intended to reach a beneficial outcome over one or more issues where a conflict exists with respect to at least one of these issues. Negotiation is an interaction and process between ...
s and favoured a soviet-style command economy, and the
Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-makin ...
(SPD) also known as "Majority" Social Democratic Party of Germany (MSPD), which supported the war effort and favoured a
parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' an ...
. The rebellion caused great fear in the establishment and in the middle classes because of the
Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovere ...
-style aspirations of the councils. To centrist and conservative citizens, the country looked to be on the verge of a communist revolution. By 7 November, the revolution had reached
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
, resulting in King
Ludwig III of Bavaria Ludwig III (Ludwig Luitpold Josef Maria Aloys Alfried; 7 January 1845 – 18 October 1921) was the last king of Bavaria, reigning from 1913 to 1918. He served as regent and ''de facto'' head of state from 1912 to 1913, ruling for his cousin, Ott ...
fleeing. The MSPD decided to make use of their support at the grassroots and put themselves at the front of the movement, demanding that Kaiser
Wilhelm II Wilhelm II (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert; 27 January 18594 June 1941), anglicised as William II, was the last German Emperor (german: Kaiser) and King of Prussia, reigning from 15 June 1888 until Abdication of Wilhelm II, his abdication on Nove ...
abdicate. When he refused,
Prince Max of Baden A prince is a Monarch, male ruler (ranked below a king, grand prince, and grand duke) or a male member of a monarch's or former monarch's family. ''Prince'' is also a title of nobility (often highest), often hereditary title, hereditary, in so ...
simply announced that he had done so and frantically attempted to establish a
regency A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
under another member of the
House of Hohenzollern The House of Hohenzollern (, also , , german: Haus Hohenzollern, ro, Casa de Hohenzollern) is a German royal dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford ...
.
Gustav Noske Gustav Noske (9 July 1868 – 30 November 1946) was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, SPD; ) is a social democratic politi ...
, a self-appointed military expert in the MSPD, was sent to Kiel to prevent any further unrest and took on the task of controlling the mutinous sailors and their supporters in the Kiel barracks. The sailors and soldiers, inexperienced in matters of revolutionary combat, welcomed him as an experienced politician and allowed him to negotiate a settlement, thus defusing the initial anger of the revolutionaries in uniform. On 9 November 1918, the "German Republic" was proclaimed by MSPD member
Philipp Scheidemann Philipp Heinrich Scheidemann (26 July 1865 – 29 November 1939) was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). On 9 November 1918, in the midst of the German Revolution of 1918–1919, he proclaimed Germany ...
at the ''Reichstag'' building in Berlin, to the fury of
Friedrich Ebert Friedrich Ebert (; 4 February 187128 February 1925) was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic pol ...

Friedrich Ebert
, the leader of the MSPD, who thought that the question of monarchy or republic should be answered by a national assembly. Two hours later, a "Free Socialist Republic" was proclaimed, away, at the ''
Berliner Stadtschloss The Berlin Palace (german: Berliner Schloss), formally the Royal Palace (german: Königliches Schloss), on the Museum Island The Museum Island (german: Museumsinsel) is a museum A museum ( ; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is an inst ...

Berliner Stadtschloss
''. The proclamation was issued by
Karl Liebknecht Karl Paul August Friedrich Liebknecht (; 13 August 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a German socialist Socialism is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of Economic systems, ...

Karl Liebknecht
, co-leader (with
Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg (; pl, Róża Luksemburg; also ''Rozalia Luksenburg''; 5 March 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a Polish Marxism, Marxist, Philosophy, philosopher, economist, Anti-war movement, anti-war activist and Revolutionary socialism, revolut ...

Rosa Luxemburg
) of the communist Spartakusbund (
Spartacus League The Spartacus League (german: Spartakusbund) was a Marxism, Marxist revolutionary movement organized in Germany during World War I. The League was named after Spartacus, leader of the Third Servile War, largest slave rebellion of the Roman Republ ...
), a group of a few hundred supporters of the Russian Revolution that had allied itself with the USPD in 1917. In a legally questionable act, Imperial Chancellor (''Reichskanzler'') Prince Max of Baden transferred his powers to Friedrich Ebert, who, shattered by the monarchy's fall, reluctantly accepted. In view of the mass support for more radical reforms among the workers' councils, a
coalition The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership to achieve a common goal. The word coalition connotes a co ...
government called "
Council of the People's Deputies The Council of the People's Deputies () was the name given to the government of the November Revolution in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , ...
" (''Rat der Volksbeauftragten'') was established, consisting of three MSPD and three USPD members. Led by Ebert for the MSPD and
Hugo Haase Hugo Haase (29 September 1863 – 7 November 1919) was a German socialist politician, jurist and pacifist. With Friedrich Ebert, he co-chaired of the Council of the People's Deputies after the German Revolution of 1918–19. Early life Hugo ...
for the USPD it sought to act as a provisional cabinet of ministers. But the power question was unanswered. Although the new government was confirmed by the Berlin worker and soldier council, it was opposed by the Spartacus League. On 11 November 1918, an armistice was signed at Compiègne by German representatives. It effectively ended military operations between the Allies and Germany. It amounted to German capitulation, without any concessions by the Allies; the naval blockade would continue until complete peace terms were agreed. From November 1918 to January 1919, Germany was governed by the "Council of the People's Deputies", under the leadership of Ebert and Haase. The Council issued a large number of decrees that radically shifted German policies. It introduced the
eight-hour workday The eight-hour day movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, was a social movement to regulate the length of a business day, working day, preventing excesses and abuses. An eight hour work day has it origins in ...
, domestic labour reform, works councils, agricultural labour reform, right of civil-service associations, local municipality social welfare relief (split between ''Reich'' and States) and national health insurance, reinstatement of demobilised workers, protection from arbitrary dismissal with appeal as a right, regulated wage agreement, and universal suffrage from 20 years of age in all types of elections—local and national. Ebert called for a "National Congress of Councils" (''Reichsrätekongress''), which took place from 16 to 20 December 1918, and in which the MSPD had the majority. Thus, Ebert was able to institute elections for a provisional National Assembly that would be given the task of writing a democratic constitution for parliamentary government, marginalising the movement that called for a socialist republic. To ensure his fledgling government maintained control over the country, Ebert made an agreement with the OHL, now led by Ludendorff's successor General
Wilhelm Groener Karl Eduard Wilhelm Groener (22 November 1867 – 3 May 1939) was a German general and politician. His organisational and logistical abilities resulted in a successful military career before and during World War I World War I, often ...

Wilhelm Groener
. The ' Ebert–Groener pact' stipulated that the government would not attempt to reform the army so long as the army swore to protect the state. On the one hand, this agreement symbolised the acceptance of the new government by the military, assuaging concern among the middle classes; on the other hand, it was thought contrary to working-class interests by left wing social democrats and communists, and was also opposed by the far right who believed democracy would make Germany weaker. The new ''Reichswehr'' armed forces, limited by the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
to 100,000 army soldiers and 15,000 sailors, remained fully under the control of the German
officer An officer is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth ...
class, despite their nominal re-organisation. The Executive Council of the Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils, a coalition that included Majority Socialists, Independent Socialists, workers, and soldiers, implemented a programme of progressive social change, introducing reforms such as the eight-hour workday, the releasing of political prisoners, the abolition of press censorship, increases in workers’ old-age, sick and unemployment benefits, and the bestowing upon labour the unrestricted right to organise into unions. A number of other reforms were carried out in Germany during the revolutionary period. It was made harder for estates to sack workers and prevent them from leaving when they wanted to; under the Provisional Act for Agricultural Labour of 23 November 1918 the normal period of notice for management, and for most resident labourers, was set at six weeks. In addition, a supplementary directive of December 1918 specified that female (and child) workers were entitled to a fifteen-minute break if they worked between four and six hours, thirty minutes for workdays lasting six to eight hours, and one hour for longer days. A decree on 23 December 1918 established committees (composed of workers' representatives "in their relation to the employer") to safeguard the rights of workers. The right to bargain collectively was also established, while it was made obligatory "to elect workers’ committees on estates and establish conciliation committees". A decree on 3 February 1919 removed the right of employers to acquire exemption for domestic servants and agricultural workers. With the ''Verordnung'' of 3 February 1919, the Ebert government reintroduced the original structure of the health insurance boards according to an 1883 law, with one-third employers and two-thirds members (i.e. workers). From 28 June 1919 health insurance committees became elected by workers themselves. The Provisional Order of January 1919 concerning agricultural labour conditions fixed 2,900 hours as a maximum per year, distributed as eight, ten, and eleven hours per day in four-monthly periods. A code of January 1919 bestowed upon land-labourers the same legal rights that industrial workers enjoyed, while a bill ratified that same year obliged the States to set up agricultural settlement associations which, as noted by Volker Berghahn, "were endowed with the priority right of purchase of farms beyond a specified size". In addition, undemocratic public institutions were abolished, involving, as noted by one writer, the disappearance "of the Prussian Upper House, the former Prussian Lower House that had been elected in accordance with the three-class suffrage, and the municipal councils that were also elected on the class vote". A rift developed between the MSPD and USPD after Ebert called upon the
OHL OHL or Ohl may refer to: Initialisms *Oberste Heeresleitung The ''Oberste Heeresleitung'' (, Supreme Army Command or OHL) was the highest echelon of command of the army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "a ...
(Supreme Army Command) for troops to put down a
mutiny Mutiny is a revolt among a group of people (typically of a military, of a crew or of a crew of Piracy, pirates) to oppose, change, or overthrow an organization to which they were previously loyal. The term is commonly used for a rebellion among ...
by a leftist military unit on 23/24 December 1918, in which members of the ''Volksmarinedivision'' (People's Army Division) had captured the city's garrison commander
Otto Wels Otto Wels (15 September 1873 – 16 September 1939) was a German politician who served as a member of parliament from 1920 to 1933 and as the chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: ...

Otto Wels
and occupied the ''Reichskanzlei'' (Reich Chancellery) where the "Council of the People's Deputies" was situated. The ensuing street fighting left several dead and injured on both sides. The USPD leaders were outraged by what they believed was treachery by the MSPD, which, in their view, had joined with the anti-communist military to suppress the revolution. Thus, the USPD left the "Council of the People's Deputies" after only seven weeks. On 30 December, the split deepened when the
Communist Party of Germany The Communist Party of Germany (german: Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, ; german: KPD, ) was a major political party in the Weimar Republic between 1918 and 1933, an underground resistance movement A resistance movement is an organized eff ...

Communist Party of Germany
(KPD) was formed out of a number of radical left-wing groups, including the left wing of the USPD and the
Spartacus League The Spartacus League (german: Spartakusbund) was a Marxism, Marxist revolutionary movement organized in Germany during World War I. The League was named after Spartacus, leader of the Third Servile War, largest slave rebellion of the Roman Republ ...
group. In January, the Spartacus League and others in the streets of Berlin made more armed attempts to establish communism, known as the
Spartacist uprising The Spartacist uprising (german: Spartakusaufstand), also known as the January uprising (''Januaraufstand''), was a (and the armed battles accompanying it) in from 5 to 12 January 1919. Germany was in the middle of a , and two of the perceiv ...
. Those attempts were put down by paramilitary ''
Freikorps (, usually translated to "Free Corps Corps (; plural ''corps'' ; from French , from the Latin "body") is a term used for several different kinds of organization. A military innovation by Napoleon, the formation was first named as such ...
'' units consisting of volunteer soldiers. Bloody street fights culminated in the beating and shooting deaths of
Rosa Luxemburg Rosa Luxemburg (; pl, Róża Luksemburg; also ''Rozalia Luksenburg''; 5 March 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a Polish Marxism, Marxist, Philosophy, philosopher, economist, Anti-war movement, anti-war activist and Revolutionary socialism, revolut ...

Rosa Luxemburg
and
Karl Liebknecht Karl Paul August Friedrich Liebknecht (; 13 August 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a German socialist Socialism is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of Economic systems, ...

Karl Liebknecht
after their arrests on 15 January. With the affirmation of Ebert, those responsible were not tried before a
court-martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority ...
, leading to lenient sentences, which made Ebert unpopular among radical leftists. The National Assembly elections took place on 19 January 1919. (It was the first time women were allowed to vote.) In this time, the radical left-wing parties, including the USPD and KPD, were barely able to get themselves organised, leading to a solid majority of seats for the MSPD moderate forces. To avoid the ongoing fights in Berlin, the National Assembly convened in the city of
Weimar Weimar (; la, Vimaria or Vinaria) is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is located in Central Germany (cultural area), Central Germany between Erfurt in the west and Jena in the east, approximately southwest of Leipzig, nor ...

Weimar
, giving the future Republic its unofficial name. The
Weimar Constitution The Constitution of the German Reich (german: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (''Weimarer Verfassung''), was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era (1919–1933). The c ...

Weimar Constitution
created a republic under a parliamentary republic system with the ''Reichstag'' elected by
proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical, and to ideolog ...

proportional representation
. The democratic parties obtained a solid 80% of the vote. During the debates in Weimar, fighting continued. A Soviet republic was declared in
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
, but was quickly put down by ''Freikorps'' and remnants of the regular army. The fall of the
Munich Soviet Republic Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of . With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the , after and , and thus the largest which does not constitute its own state, as ...
to these units, many of which were situated on the extreme right, resulted in the growth of far-right movements and organisations in
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
, including
Organisation Consul Organisation Consul (O.C.) was an ultra-nationalist, antisemitic and anticommunist terrorist organization active in Germany from 1920 to 1922. It was formed by members of the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, a Freikorps unit which disbanded after the Kapp ...
, the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
, and societies of exiled Russian Monarchists. Sporadic fighting continued to flare up around the country. In eastern provinces, forces loyal to Germany's fallen Monarchy fought the republic, while militias of Polish nationalists fought for independence: Great Poland Uprising in and three
Silesian uprisings The Silesian Uprisings (german: Aufstände in Oberschlesien, links=no; pl, Powstania śląskie, links=no) were a series of three uprisings from August 1919 to July 1921 in Upper Silesia, which was part of the Weimar Republic The Weimar ...
in
Upper Silesia Upper Silesia ( pl, Górny Śląsk; szl, Gōrny Ślōnsk; cs, Horní Slezsko; german: Oberschlesien; Silesian German: ; la, Silesia Superior) is the southeastern part of the historical and geographical region of Silesia, located mostly in Poland, ...
. Germany lost the war because the country ran out of allies and its economic resources were running out; support among the population began to crumble in 1916 and by mid-1918 there was support for the war only among the die-hard monarchists and conservatives. The decisive blow came with the entry of the United States into the conflict, which made its vast industrial resources available to the beleaguered Allies. By late summer 1918, the German reserves were exhausted while fresh American troops arrived in France at the rate of 10,000 a day. Retreat and defeat were at hand, and the Army told the Kaiser to abdicate for it could no longer support him. Although in retreat, the German armies were still on French and Belgian territory when the war ended on 11 November. Ludendorf and Hindenburg soon proclaimed that it was the defeatism of the civilian population that had made defeat inevitable. The die-hard nationalists then blamed the civilians for betraying the army and the surrender. This was the "
stab-in-the-back myth upright=1.5, An 1847 painting by epic poem An epic poem is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily involving a time beyond living memory in which occurred the extraordinary doings of the extraordinary men and women who, in dealings with the g ...
" that was unceasingly propagated by the right in the 1920s and ensured that many monarchists and conservatives would refuse to support the government of what they called the "November criminals".


Years of crisis (1919–1923)


Burden from the First World War

In the four years following the First World War, the situation for German civilians remained dire. The severe food shortages improved little to none up until 1923. Many German civilians expected life to return to prewar normality following the removal of the naval blockade in June 1919. Instead, the struggles induced by the First World War persisted for the decade following. Throughout the war German officials made rash decisions to combat the growing hunger of the nation, most of which were highly unsuccessful. Examples include the nationwide pig slaughter,
Schweinemord In 1915, due to World War I food restrictions and rationing, the German bureaucracy decided to regard pigs as co-eaters with humans and tried to preserve supplies. As a result, five million pigs were massacred in the so-called Schweinemord (German ...
, in 1915. The rationale behind exterminating the population of swine was to decrease the use of potatoes and turnips for animal consumption, transitioning all foods toward human consumption. In 1922, now three years after the German signing of the Treaty of Versailles, meat consumption in the country had not increased since the war era. 22 kg per person per year was still less than half of the 52 kg statistic in 1913, before the onset of the war. German citizens felt the food shortages even deeper than during the war, because the reality of the nation contrasted so starkly with their expectations. The burdens of the First World War lightened little in the immediate years following, and with the onset of the Treaty of Versailles, coupled by mass inflation, Germany still remained in a crisis. The continuity of pain showed the Weimar authority in a negative light, and public opinion was one of the main sources behind its failure.


=Treaty of Versailles

= The growing post-war economic crisis was a result of lost pre-war industrial exports, the loss of supplies in raw materials and foodstuffs due to the continental blockade, the loss of the colonies, and worsening debt balances, exacerbated by an exorbitant issue of promissory notes raising money to pay for the war. Military-industrial activity had almost ceased, although controlled demobilisation kept unemployment at around one million. In part, the economic losses can also be attributed to the Allied blockade of Germany until the Treaty of Versailles. The Allies permitted only low import levels of goods that most Germans could not afford. After four years of war and famine, many German workers were exhausted, physically impaired and discouraged. Millions were disenchanted with what they considered capitalism and hoping for a new era. Meanwhile, the currency depreciated, and would continue to depreciate following the French invasion of the Ruhr. The treaty was signed 28 June 1919 and is easily divided into four categories: territorial issues, disarmament demands, reparations, and assignment of guilt. The German colonial empire was stripped and given over to Allied forces. The greater blow to Germans however was that they were forced to give up the territory of Alsace-Lorraine. Many German borderlands were demilitarised and allowed to self-determine. The German military was forced to have no more than 100,000 men with only 4,000 officers. Germany was forced to destroy all its fortifications in the West and was prohibited from having an air force, tanks, poison gas, and heavy artillery. Many ships were scuttled and submarines and dreadnoughts were prohibited. Germany was forced under Article 235 to pay 20 billion gold marks, about 4.5 billion dollars by 1921. Article 231 placed Germany and her allies with responsibility for causing all the loss and damage suffered by the Allies. While Article 235 angered many Germans, no part of the treaty was more fought over than Article 231. The German peace delegation in France signed the Treaty of Versailles, accepting mass reductions of the German military, the prospect of substantial war reparations payments to the victorious allies, and the controversial " War Guilt Clause". Explaining the rise of extreme nationalist movements in Germany shortly after the war, British historian
Ian Kershaw Sir Ian Kershaw (born 29 April 1943) is an English historian whose work has chiefly focused on the social history of 20th-century Germany. He is regarded by many as one of the world's leading experts on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and is par ...
points to the "national disgrace" that was "felt throughout Germany at the humiliating terms imposed by the victorious Allies and reflected in the Versailles Treaty...with its confiscation of territory on the eastern border and even more so its 'guilt clause'."
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
repeatedly blamed the republic and its democracy for accepting the oppressive terms of this treaty. The Republic's first '' Reichspräsident'' ("Reich President"),
Friedrich Ebert Friedrich Ebert (; 4 February 187128 February 1925) was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic pol ...

Friedrich Ebert
of the SPD, signed the new German constitution into law on 11 August 1919. The new post-World War Germany, stripped of all colonies, became 13% smaller in its European territory than its imperial predecessor. Of these losses, a large proportion consisted of provinces that were originally Polish, and Alsace-Lorraine, seized by Germany in 1870, where Germans constituted only part or a minority of local populations despite nationalist outrage at the fragmentation of Germany.


=Allied Rhineland occupation

= The occupation of the
Rhineland The Rhineland (german: Rheinland; french: Rhénanie; nl, Rijnland; ksh, Rhingland; Latinised name: ''Rhenania'') is the name used for a loosely defined area of Western Germany along the Rhine, chiefly Middle Rhine, its middle section. Term ...

Rhineland
took place following the
Armistice with Germany The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice signed at Le Francport near Compiègne that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global war or ...
of 11 November 1918. The occupying armies consisted of
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...
,
Belgian Belgian may refer to: * Something of, or related to, Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a contine ...
,
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ir ...
and French forces. In 1920, under massive French pressure, the
Saar Saar or SAAR has several meanings: People Given name * Saar Boubacar (born 1951), Senegalese professional football player *Saar Ganor, Israeli archaeologist *Saar Klein (born 1967), American film editor Surname *Ain Saar (born 1968), Eston ...
was separated from the Rhine Province and administered by the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
until a plebiscite in 1935, when the region was returned to the ''Deutsches Reich''. At the same time in 1920, the districts of
Eupen Eupen (), is the capital of East Belgium The German-speaking Community (german: links=no, Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft, or DG; french: links=no, Communauté germanophone; nl, links=no, Duitstalige Gemeenschap), branded since 2017 as East ...
and
Malmedy Malmedy (; german: Malmünd, ; wa, Måmdiy) is a and of located in the , . On January 1, 2018, Malmedy had a total population of 12,654. The total area is 99.96 km² which gives a of 127 inhabitants per km². The municipality consists ...

Malmedy
were transferred to
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
(see
German-Speaking Community of Belgium The German-speaking Community (german: links=no, Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft, or DG; french: links=no, Communauté germanophone; nl, links=no, Duitstalige Gemeenschap), branded since 2017 as East Belgium (german: links=no, Ostbelgien), is one ...
). Shortly after, France completely occupied the Rhineland, strictly controlling all important industrial areas.


=Reparations

= The actual amount of reparations that Germany was obliged to pay out was not the 132 billion marks decided in the London Schedule of 1921 but rather the 50 billion marks stipulated in the A and B Bonds. Historian Sally Marks says the 112 billion marks in "C bonds" were entirely chimerical—a device to fool the public into thinking Germany would pay much more. The actual total payout from 1920 to 1931 (when payments were suspended indefinitely) was 20 billion
German gold mark The German mark ( sign A sign is an object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Entity, something that is tangible and within the grasp of the senses ** Object (abstract), an ob ...
s, worth about US$5 billion or £1 billion British pounds. 12.5 billion was cash that came mostly from loans from New York bankers. The rest was goods such as coal and chemicals, or from assets like railway equipment. The reparations bill was fixed in 1921 on the basis of a German capacity to pay, not on the basis of Allied claims. The highly publicised rhetoric of 1919 about paying for all the damages and all the veterans' benefits was irrelevant for the total, but it did determine how the recipients spent their share. Germany owed reparations chiefly to France, Britain, Italy and Belgium; the US Treasury received $100 million.


=Hyperinflation

= In the early post-war years, inflation was growing at an alarming rate, but the government simply printed more currency to pay debts. By 1923, the Republic claimed it could no longer afford the
reparations Reparation(s) may refer to: *Reparation (legal), the legal philosophy *Reparations (transitional justice), measures taken by the state to redress gross and systematic violations of human rights law or humanitarian law *Reparations for slavery, prop ...
payments required by the Versailles Treaty, and the government defaulted on some payments. In response, French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr region, Germany's most productive industrial region at the time, taking control of most mining and manufacturing companies in January 1923. Strikes were called, and passive resistance was encouraged. These strikes lasted eight months, further damaging both the economy and society. The strike prevented some goods from being produced, but one industrialist,
Hugo Stinnes Hugo Dieter Stinnes (12 February 1870 – 10 April 1924) was a German industrialist. Life and career Stinnes was born in Mülheim, in the Ruhr Valley, North German Confederation. His parents Hermann Hugo (1842–1887) and Adeline Stinnes (1844 ...
, was able to create a vast empire out of bankrupt companies. Because the production costs in Germany were falling almost hourly, the prices for German products were unbeatable. Stinnes made sure that he was paid in dollars, which meant that by mid-1923, his industrial empire was worth more than the entire German economy. By the end of the year, over two hundred factories were working full-time to produce paper for the spiralling bank note production. Stinnes' empire collapsed when the government-sponsored inflation was stopped in November 1923. In 1919, one loaf of bread cost 1 mark; by 1923, the same loaf of bread cost 100 billion marks. Since striking workers were paid benefits by the state, much additional currency was printed, fuelling a period of
hyperinflation In economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of pl ...

hyperinflation
. The 1920s German inflation started when Germany had no goods to trade. The government printed money to deal with the crisis; this meant payments within Germany were made with worthless paper money, and helped formerly great industrialists to pay back their own loans. This also led to pay raises for workers and for businessmen who wanted to profit from it. Circulation of money rocketed, and soon banknotes were being overprinted to a thousand times their nominal value and every town produced its own promissory notes; many banks and industrial firms did the same. The value of the ''
Papiermark The Papiermark (; en, "paper mark", officially just ''Mark'', currency sign, sign: ℳ) was the Germany, German currency from 4 August 1914 when the link between the German gold mark, Goldmark and gold was abandoned, due to the outbreak of World ...
'' had declined from 4.2 marks per U.S. dollar in 1914 to one million per dollar by August 1923. This led to further criticism of the Republic. On 15 November 1923, a new currency, the ''
Rentenmark The Rentenmark ( ; RM) was a currency issued on 15 November 1923 to stop the hyperinflation In , hyperinflation is very high and typically accelerating . It quickly erodes the of the local , as the prices of all goods increase. This caus ...
'', was introduced at the rate of one
trillion A trillion is a number with two distinct definitions: * 1,000,000,000,000, i.e. one million million, or (ten to the twelfth power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted ...
(1,000,000,000,000) ''Papiermark'' for one ''Rentenmark'', an action known as
redenomination Redenomination is the process of changing the face value of banknote A banknote (often known as a bill (in the US and Canada), paper money, or simply a note) is a type of negotiable instrument, negotiable promissory note, made by a bank or ot ...
. At that time, one U.S. dollar was equal to 4.2 ''Rentenmark''. Reparation payments were resumed, and the Ruhr was returned to Germany under the
Locarno Treaties The Locarno Treaties were seven agreements negotiated at Locarno , neighboring_municipalities= Ascona, Avegno, Switzerland, Avegno, Cadenazzo, Cugnasco, Gerra (Verzasca), Gambarogno, Gordola, Lavertezzo, Losone, Minusio, Muralto, Orselina, Te ...
, which defined the borders between Germany, France, and Belgium.


=War guilt question

= In the wake of the Treaty of Versailles which placed the responsibility for the outbreak of the war entirely on Germany and imposed crushing reparations upon Germany because of it, the question of German war guilt became a central point of debate in Germany both among politicians and historians, and also among the general public. The war guilt question pervaded the entire history of the Weimar Republic. Weimar embodied this debate until its demise, after which it was subsequently taken up as a campaign argument by the Nazi Party. this debate also took place in other countries involved in the conflict, such as in the
French Third Republic The French Third Republic (french: Troisième République, sometimes written as ) was the system of government adopted in History of France, France from 4 September 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed during the Franco-Prussian War, ...
and the United Kingdom. Entire organizations were formed in Germany chiefly to consider this question, including the War Guilt Section () and the Center for the Study of the Causes of the War (); existing institutions such as the Potsdam Reichsarchiv spent significant resources researching or propagandizing about it. While the war guilt question made it possible to investigate the deep-rooted causes of the First World War, although not without provoking a great deal of controversy, it also made it possible to identify other aspects of the conflict, such as the role of the masses and the question of Germany's special path to democracy, the ''Sonderweg''. The war guilt debate motivated numerous historians such as Hans Delbrück, Wolfgang J. Mommsen, and Gerhard Hirschfeld to take part. In 1961, German historian Fritz Fischer published ''Germany's Aims in the First World War'', in which he argued that the German government had an expansionist foreign policy and had started a war of aggression in 1914. Fischer's thesis ignited a furious debate in Germany, which became known as the Fischer controversy. A century after the original events, this debate continues among historians into the 21st century. The main outlines of the debate include: how much room to maneuver was available diplomatically and politically; the inevitable consequences of pre-war armament policies; the role of domestic policy and social and economic tensions in the foreign relations of the states involved; the role of public opinion and their experience of war in the face of organized propaganda; the role of economic interests and top military commanders in torpedoing deescalation and peace negotiations; the theory; and the long-term trends which tend to contextualize the First World War as a condition or preparation for the Second, such as Raymond Aron who views the two world wars as the new Thirty Years' War, a theory reprised by Enzo Traverso in his work.


Political turmoil: political murders, and attempted power seizures

The Republic was soon under attack from both Left-wing politics, left- and right-wing politics, right-wing sources. The radical left accused the ruling Social Democrats of having betrayed the ideals of the workers' movement by preventing a communist revolution and sought to overthrow the Republic and do so themselves. Various right-wing sources opposed any democratic system, preferring an authoritarian monarchy like the German Empire. To further undermine the Republic's credibility, some right-wingers (especially certain members of the former officer corps) also blamed an Stab-in-the-back myth, alleged conspiracy of Socialists and Jews for Germany's defeat in the First World War. In the next five years, the central government, assured of the support of the Reichswehr, dealt severely with the occasional outbreaks of violence in Germany's large cities. The left claimed that the Social Democrats had betrayed the ideals of the revolution, while the army and the government-financed ''Freikorps'' committed hundreds of acts of gratuitous violence against striking workers. The first challenge to the Weimar Republic came when a group of communists and anarchists took over the
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
n government in
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by population, third-largest city in Germany, ...

Munich
and declared the creation of the Bavarian Soviet Republic. The uprising was brutally attacked by ''
Freikorps (, usually translated to "Free Corps Corps (; plural ''corps'' ; from French , from the Latin "body") is a term used for several different kinds of organization. A military innovation by Napoleon, the formation was first named as such ...
'', which consisted mainly of ex-soldiers dismissed from the army and who were well-paid to put down forces of the Far Left. The ''Freikorps'' was an army outside the control of the government, but they were in close contact with their allies in the Reichswehr. On 13 March 1920 during the
Kapp Putsch The Kapp Putsch (), also known as the Kapp–Lüttwitz Putsch (), named after its leaders Wolfgang Kapp Wolfgang Kapp (24 July 1858 – 12 June 1922) was a Kingdom of Prussia, Prussian civil servant and journalist. He was a strict nationalist, a ...
, 12,000 ''Freikorps'' soldiers occupied Berlin and installed Wolfgang Kapp, a right-wing journalist, as chancellor. The national government fled to Stuttgart and called for a general strike against the putsch. The strike meant that no "official" pronouncements could be published, and with the civil service out on strike, the Kapp government collapsed after only four days on 17 March. Inspired by the general strikes, a workers' Ruhr Uprising, uprising began in the Ruhr area, Ruhr region when 50,000 people formed a "Red Army" and took control of the province. The regular army and the ''Freikorps'' ended the uprising on their own authority. The rebels were campaigning for an extension of the plans to nationalise major industries and supported the national government, but the SPD leaders did not want to lend support to the growing USPD, who favoured the establishment of a socialist regime. The repression of an uprising of SPD supporters by the reactionary forces in the ''Freikorps'' on the instructions of the SPD ministers was to become a major source of conflict within the socialist movement and thus contributed to the weakening of the only group that could have withstood the Nazi movement. Other rebellions were put down in March 1921 in Saxony and Hamburg. One of the manifestations of the sharp political polarisation that had occurred were the right-wing motivated assassinations of important representatives of the young republic. In August 1921, Finance Minister Matthias Erzberger and German Foreign Minister#Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Reichsminister des Auswärtigen), 1919–1945, Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau were murdered by members of the
Organisation Consul Organisation Consul (O.C.) was an ultra-nationalist, antisemitic and anticommunist terrorist organization active in Germany from 1920 to 1922. It was formed by members of the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, a Freikorps unit which disbanded after the Kapp ...
. in June 1922, who had been defamed as compliant with regard to the Treaty of Versailles. While Erzberger was attacked for signing the armistice agreement in 1918, Rathenau as foreign minister was responsible, among other things, for the reparations issue. He had also sought to break Germany's isolation after World War I through the 1922 Treaty of Rapallo with the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. However, he also drew right-wing extremist hatred as a Jew (see also Weimar antisemitism). The solidarity expressed in large, public funeral processions for those murdered, and the passage of a were intended to put a stop to the right-wing enemies of the Weimar Republic. However, right-wing state criminals were not permanently deterred from their activities, and the lenient sentences they were given by judges influenced by imperial conservatism were a contributing factor. In 1922, Germany signed the Treaty of Rapallo (1922), Treaty of Rapallo with the Soviet Russia, which allowed Germany to train military personnel in exchange for giving Russia military technology. This was against the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
, which limited Germany to 100,000 soldiers and no conscription, naval forces of 15,000 men, twelve destroyers, six battleships, and six cruisers, no submarines or aircraft. However, Russia had pulled out of the First World War against the Germans as a result of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and was excluded from the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
. Thus, Germany seized the chance to make an ally. Walther Rathenau, the Jewish Foreign Minister of Germany, Foreign Minister who signed the treaty, was assassinated two months later by two ultra-nationalist army officers. Further pressure from the political right came in 1923 with the
Beer Hall Putsch The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch,Dan Moorhouse, ed schoolshistory.org.uk, accessed 2008-05-31.Known in German language, German as the or was a failed coup d'état by Nazi Party ( or NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler, Erich Lu ...
(aka Munich Putsch), a failed Coup d'état, power seizure staged by the
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
under
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
in Munich. In 1920, the German Workers' Party had become the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), or Nazi party, which would eventually become a driving force in the collapse of Weimar. Hitler named himself as chairman of the party in July 1921. On 8 November 1923, the ''Kampfbund'', in a pact with Erich Ludendorff, took over a meeting by Bavarian prime minister Gustav Ritter von Kahr, Gustav von Kahr at a beer hall in Munich. Ludendorff and Hitler declared that the Weimar government was deposed and that they were planning to take control of Munich the following day. But the 3,000 rebels were no match yet for the Bavarian authorities. Hitler was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for high treason, the minimum sentence for the charge. However, Hitler served less than eight months, in a comfortable cell, receiving a daily stream of visitors, until his release on 20 December 1924. While in jail, Hitler dictated ''Mein Kampf'', which laid out his ideas and future policies. Hitler now decided to focus on legal methods of gaining power.


Golden Era (1924–1929)

Gustav Stresemann was ''Chancellor of Germany, Reichskanzler'' for 100 days in 1923, and served as Minister for Foreign Affairs (Germany), foreign minister from 1923 to 1929, a period of relative stability for the Weimar Republic, known in Germany as ''Goldene Zwanziger'' ("
Golden Twenties The Golden Twenties, also known as the Happy Twenties (german: Glückliche Zwanziger Jahre), is the decade of the 1920s in Germany. The era began with the end of World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or ...
"). Prominent features of this period were a growing economy and a consequent decrease in civil unrest. Once civil stability had been restored, Stresemann began stabilising the German currency, which promoted confidence in the German economy and helped the recovery that was so greatly needed for the German nation to keep up with their reparation repayments, while at the same time feeding and supplying the nation. Once the economic situation had stabilised, Stresemann could begin putting a permanent currency in place, called the ''Rentenmark'' (October 1923), which again contributed to the growing level of international confidence in the Weimar Republic's economy. To help Germany meet reparation obligations, the
Dawes Plan The Dawes Plan (as proposed by the Dawes Committee, chaired by Charles G. Dawes) was a plan in 1924 that successfully resolved the issue of World War I reparations The world is the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun a ...
was created in 1924. This was an agreement between American banks and the German government in which the American banks lent money to German banks with German assets as collateral to help it pay reparations. The German railways, the National Bank and many industries were therefore mortgaged as securities for the stable currency and the loans.Kitchen, ''Illustrated History of Germany'', Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 241 Germany was the first state to establish diplomatic relations with the new Soviet Union. Under the Treaty of Rapallo (1922), Treaty of Rapallo, Germany accorded it formal (''de jure'') recognition, and the two mutually cancelled all pre-war debts and renounced war claims. In October 1925 the Treaty of Locarno was signed by Germany, France, Belgium, Britain and Italy; it recognised Germany's borders with France and Belgium. Moreover, Britain, Italy and Belgium undertook to assist France in the case that German troops marched into the demilitarised Rhineland. Locarno paved the way for Germany's admission to the
League of Nations The League of Nations (french: Société des Nations ), was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member state ...
in 1926. Germany signed arbitration conventions with France and Belgium and arbitration treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia, undertaking to refer any future disputes to an arbitration tribunal or to the Permanent Court of International Justice. Other foreign achievements were the evacuation of foreign troops from the Ruhr in 1925. In 1926, Germany was admitted to the League of Nations as a permanent member, improving her international standing and giving the right to vote on League matters. Overall trade increased and unemployment fell. Stresemann's reforms did not relieve the underlying weaknesses of Weimar but gave the appearance of a stable democracy. Even Stresemann's 'German People's party' failed to gain nationwide recognition, and instead featured in the 'flip-flop' coalitions. The Grand Coalition headed by Muller inspired some faith in the government, but that didn't last. Governments frequently lasted only a year, comparable to the political situation in France during the 1930s. The major weakness in constitutional terms was the inherent instability of the coalitions, which often fell prior to elections. The growing dependence on American finance was to prove fleeting, and Germany was one of the worst hit nations in the Great Depression.


Culture

The 1920s saw a remarkable cultural renaissance in Germany. During the worst phase of hyperinflation in 1923, the clubs and bars were full of speculators who spent their daily profits so they would not lose the value the following day. Berlin intellectuals responded by condemning the excesses of what they considered capitalism, and demanding revolutionary changes on the cultural scenery. Influenced by the brief cultural explosion in the Soviet Union, German literature, cinema, theatre and musical works entered a phase of great creativity. Innovative street theatre brought plays to the public, and the cabaret scene and jazz bands became very popular. According to the cliché, modern young women were Americanized, wearing makeup, short hair, smoking and breaking with traditional mores. The euphoria surrounding Josephine Baker in the metropolis of Berlin for instance, where she was declared an "erotic goddess" and in many ways admired and respected, kindled further "ultramodern" sensations in the minds of the German public. Art and a new type of architecture taught at "Bauhaus" schools reflected the new ideas of the time, with artists such as George Grosz being fined for defaming the military and for blasphemy. Artists in Berlin were influenced by other contemporary progressive cultural movements, such as the Impressionist and Expressionist painters in Paris, as well as the Cubists. Likewise, American progressive architects were admired. Many of the new buildings built during this era followed a straight-lined, geometrical style. Examples of the new architecture include the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Bauhaus Building by Walter Gropius, Gropius, Großes Schauspielhaus, Grosses Schauspielhaus, and the Einstein Tower. Not everyone, however, was happy with the changes taking place in Weimar culture. Conservatives and reactionaries feared that Germany was betraying its traditional values by adopting popular styles from abroad, particularly those Hollywood was popularising in American films, while New York became the global capital of fashion. Germany was more susceptible to Americanization, because of the close economic links brought about by the Dawes plan. In 1929, three years after receiving the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize, Stresemann died of a heart attack at age 51. When the New York Stock Exchange crashed in October 1929, American loans dried up and the sharp decline of the German economy brought the "Golden Twenties" to an abrupt end.


Social policy under Weimar

A wide range of progressive social reforms were carried out during and after the revolutionary period. In 1919, legislation provided for a maximum working 48-hour workweek, restrictions on night work, a half-holiday on Saturday, and a break of thirty-six hours of continuous rest during the week. That same year, health insurance was extended to wives and daughters without their own income, people only partially capable of gainful employment, people employed in private cooperatives, and people employed in public cooperatives. A series of progressive tax reforms were introduced under the auspices of Matthias Erzberger, including increases in taxes on capital and an increase in the highest income tax rate from 4% to 60%. Under a governmental decree of 3 February 1919, the German government met the demand of the veterans' associations that all aid for the disabled and their dependents be taken over by the central government (thus assuming responsibility for this assistance) and extended into peacetime the nationwide network of state and district welfare bureaus that had been set up during the war to coordinate social services for war widows and orphans. The Imperial Youth Welfare Act of 1922 obliged all municipalities and states to set up youth offices in charge of child protection, and also codified a right to education for all children, while laws were passed to regulate rents and increase protection for tenants in 1922 and 1923. Health insurance coverage was extended to other categories of the population during the existence of the Weimar Republic, including seamen, people employed in the educational and social welfare sectors, and all primary dependents. Various improvements were also made in unemployment benefits, although in June 1920 the maximum amount of unemployment benefit that a family of four could receive in Berlin, 90 marks, was well below the minimum cost of subsistence of 304 marks. In 1923, unemployment relief was consolidated into a regular programme of assistance following economic problems that year. In 1924, a modern public assistance programme was introduced, and in 1925 the accident insurance programme was reformed, allowing diseases that were linked to certain kinds of work to become insurable risks. In addition, a national unemployment insurance programme was introduced in 1927. Housing construction was also greatly accelerated during the Weimar period, with over 2 million new homes constructed between 1924 and 1931 and a further 195,000 modernised.


Renewed crisis and decline (1930–1933)


Onset of the Great Depression

In 1929, the onset of the Great Depression in the United States, depression in the United States of America produced a severe economic shock in Germany and was further made worse by the bankruptcy of the Austrian Creditanstalt bank. Germany's fragile economy had been sustained by the granting of loans through the
Dawes Plan The Dawes Plan (as proposed by the Dawes Committee, chaired by Charles G. Dawes) was a plan in 1924 that successfully resolved the issue of World War I reparations The world is the Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun a ...
(1924) and the
Young Plan The Young Plan was a program for settling Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language ...
(1929). When American banks withdrew their line of credit to German companies, the onset of severe unemployment could not be abated by conventional economic measures. Unemployment thereafter grew dramatically, at 4 million in 1930, and in September 1930 a political earthquake shook the republic to its foundations. The
Nazi Party The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers' Party (german: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), was a far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, ...
(NSDAP) entered the Reichstag with 19% of the popular vote and made the unstable coalition system by which every chancellor had governed increasingly unworkable. The last years of the Weimar Republic was marred by even more systemic political instability than in the previous years as political violence increased. Four Chancellors Heinrich Brüning, Brüning, Franz von Papen, Papen, Kurt von Schleicher, Schleicher and, from 30 January to 23 March 1933, Adolf Hitler, Hitler governed through Decree, presidential decree rather than through Reichstag (Weimar Republic), parliamentary consultation. This effectively rendered parliament as a means of enforcing constitutional checks and balances powerless.


Brüning's policy of deflation (1930–1932)

On 29 March 1930, after months of lobbying by General
Kurt von Schleicher Kurt Ferdinand Friedrich Hermann von Schleicher (; 7 April 1882 – 30 June 1934) was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany (before Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politi ...
on behalf of the military, the finance expert
Heinrich Brüning Heinrich Aloysius Maria Elisabeth Brüning () (26 November 1885 – 30 March 1970) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ances ...
was appointed as Müller's successor by '' Reichspräsident''
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German general and statesman who led the during and later became from 1925 until his death in 1934. During his presidency, h ...

Paul von Hindenburg
. The new government was expected to lead a political shift towards conservatism. As Brüning had no majority support in the ''Reichstag'', he became, through the use of Article 48 (Weimar Constitution), the emergency powers granted to the ''Reichspräsident'' (Article 48) by Weimar Constitution, the constitution, the first Weimar chancellor to operate independently of parliament. This made him dependent on the ''Reichspräsident'', Hindenburg.Thomas Adam, ''Germany and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History'', 2005, , p. 185 After a bill to reform the Reich's finances was opposed by the ''Reichstag'', it was made an emergency decree by Hindenburg. On 18 July, as a result of opposition from the SPD, Communist Party of Germany, KPD, German National People's Party, DNVP and the small contingent of Nazi Party, NSDAP members, the ''Reichstag'' again rejected the bill by a slim margin. Immediately afterward, Brüning submitted the president's decree that the ''Reichstag'' be dissolved. The consequent German federal election, 1930, general election on 14 September resulted in an enormous political shift within the ''Reichstag'': 18.3% of the vote went to the NSDAP, five times the percentage won in 1928. As a result, it was no longer possible to form a pro-republican majority, not even with a grand coalition that excluded the KPD, DNVP and NSDAP. This encouraged an escalation in the number of public demonstrations and instances of paramilitary violence organised by the NSDAP. Between 1930 and 1932, Brüning tried to reform the Weimar Republic without a parliamentary majority, governing, when necessary, through the President's emergency decrees. In line with the contemporary economic theory (subsequently termed "Causes of the Great Depression#Leave-it-alone liquidationism (1929–33), leave-it-alone liquidationism"), he enacted a draconian policy of deflation and Austerity, drastically cutting state expenditure. Among other measures, he completely halted all public grants to the obligatory unemployment insurance introduced in 1927, resulting in workers making higher contributions and fewer benefits for the unemployed. Benefits for the sick, invalid and pensioners were also reduced sharply. Additional difficulties were caused by the different deflationary policies pursued by Brüning and the ''Reichsbank'', Germany's central bank. In mid-1931, the United Kingdom abandoned the gold standard and about 30 countries (the sterling bloc) Currency war#Currency War in the Great Depression, devalued their currencies,Ursula Büttner, ''Weimar: die überforderte Republik'', Klett-Cotta, 2008, , p. 451 making their goods around 20% cheaper than those produced by Germany. As the
Young Plan The Young Plan was a program for settling Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language ...
did not allow a devaluation of the ''Reichsmark'', Brüning triggered a deflationary internal devaluation by forcing the economy to reduce prices, rents, salaries and wages by 20%. Debate continues as to whether this policy was without alternative: some argue that the Allies would not in any circumstances have allowed a devaluation of the ''Reichsmark'', while others point to the Hoover Moratorium as a sign that the Allies understood that the situation had changed fundamentally and further German reparation payments were impossible. Brüning expected that the policy of deflation would temporarily worsen the economic situation before it began to improve, quickly increasing the German economy's competitiveness and then restoring its creditworthiness. His long-term view was that deflation would, in any case, be the best way to help the economy. His primary goal was to remove Germany's reparation payments by convincing the Allies that they could no longer be paid. Anton Erkelenz, chairman of the German Democratic Party and a contemporary critic of Brüning, famously said that the policy of deflation is: In 1933, the American economist Irving Fisher developed the theory of debt deflation. He explained that a deflation causes a decline of profits, asset prices and a still greater decline in the net worth of businesses. Even healthy companies, therefore, may appear over-indebted and facing bankruptcy.Ursula Büttner (2008). ''Weimar: die überforderte Republik'', Klett-Cotta, , p. 424 The consensus today is that Brüning's policies exacerbated the German economic crisis and the population's growing frustration with democracy, contributing enormously to the increase in support for Hitler's NSDAP. Most German capitalists and landowners originally supported the conservative experiment more from the belief that conservatives would best serve their interests rather than any particular liking for Brüning. As more of the working and middle classes turned against Brüning, however, more of the capitalists and landowners declared themselves in favour of his opponents Hitler and Alfred Hugenberg, Hugenberg. By late 1931, the conservative movement was dead and Hindenburg and the ''
Reichswehr The Reichswehr (‘Reich defense’) was the official name of the German armed forces from 1919 to 1935, during the Weimar Republic The Weimar Republic (german: Weimarer Republik ) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functio ...
'' had begun to contemplate dropping Brüning in favour of accommodating Hugenberg and Hitler. Although Hindenburg disliked Hugenberg and despised Hitler, he was no less a supporter of the sort of anti-democratic counter-revolution that the DNVP and NSDAP represented. In April 1932, Brüning had actively supported Hindenburg's successful campaign against Hitler for re-election as ''Reichspräsident''; five weeks later, on 30 May 1932, he had lost Hindenburg's support and resigned as ''Reichskanzler''.


Papen deal

Hindenburg then appointed
Franz von Papen Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen, Erbsälzer zu Werl und Neuwerk (; 29 October 18792 May 1969) was a German conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals wit ...
as new ''Reichskanzler''. Papen lifted the ban on the NSDAP's SA paramilitary, imposed after the street riots, in an unsuccessful attempt to secure the backing of Hitler. Papen was closely associated with the industrialist and land-owning classes and pursued an extremely conservative policy along Hindenburg's lines. He appointed as ''Reichswehr'' Minister
Kurt von Schleicher Kurt Ferdinand Friedrich Hermann von Schleicher (; 7 April 1882 – 30 June 1934) was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany (before Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politi ...
, and all the members of the new cabinet were of the same political opinion as Hindenburg. The government was expected to assure itself of the co-operation of Hitler. Since the republicans were not yet ready to take action, the Communists did not want to support the republic and the conservatives had shot their political bolt, Hitler and Hugenberg were certain to achieve power.


Elections of July 1932

Because most parties opposed the new government, Papen had the ''Reichstag (Weimar Republic), Reichstag'' dissolved and called for new elections. German federal election, July 1932, The general elections on 31 July 1932 yielded major gains for the Communist Party of Germany, Communists, and for the Nazis, who won 37.3% of the vote—their Nazi Party#Federal election results, high-water mark in a free election. The Nazi party then supplanted the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democrats as the largest party in the ''Reichstag'', although it did not gain a majority. The immediate question was what part the now large Nazi Party would play in the Government of the country. The party owed its huge increase to growing support from middle-class people, whose traditional parties were swallowed up by the Nazi Party. The millions of radical adherents at first forced the Party towards the Left. They wanted a renewed Germany and a new organisation of German society. The left of the Nazi party strove desperately against any drift into the train of such capitalist and feudal reactionaries. Therefore, Hitler refused ministry under Papen, and demanded the chancellorship for himself, but was rejected by Hindenburg on 13 August 1932. There was still no majority in the ''Reichstag'' for any government; as a result, the ''Reichstag'' was dissolved and elections took place once more in the hope that a stable majority would result.


Schleicher cabinet

German federal election, November 1932, The 6 November 1932 elections yielded 33% for the Nazis, two million voters fewer than in the previous election. Franz von Papen stepped down and was succeeded as Chancellor (''Reichskanzler'') by General
Kurt von Schleicher Kurt Ferdinand Friedrich Hermann von Schleicher (; 7 April 1882 – 30 June 1934) was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany (before Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politi ...
on 3 December. Schleicher, a retired army officer, had developed in an atmosphere of semi-obscurity and intrigue that encompassed the Republican military policy. He had for years been in the camp of those supporting the Conservative counter-revolution. Schleicher's bold and unsuccessful plan was to build a majority in the ''Reichstag'' by uniting the trade unionist left wings of the various parties, including that of the Nazis led by Gregor Strasser. This policy did not prove successful either. In this brief Presidential Dictatorship intermission, Schleicher assumed the role of "Socialist General" and entered into relations with the Christian Trade Unions, the relatively left of the Nazi party, and even with the Social Democrats. Schleicher planned for a sort of labour government under his Generalship. But the ''Reichswehr'' officers were not prepared for this, the working class had a natural distrust of their future allies, and the great capitalists and landowners also did not like the plans. Hitler learned from Papen that the general had not received from Hindenburg the authority to abolish the ''Reichstag'' parliament, whereas any majority of seats did. The cabinet (under a previous interpretation of Article 48) ruled without a sitting ''Reichstag'', which could vote only for its own dissolution. Hitler also learned that all past crippling Nazi debts were to be relieved by German big business. On 22 January, Hitler's efforts to persuade Oskar von Hindenburg, the President's son and confidant, included threats to bring criminal charges over estate taxation irregularities at the President's Neudeck estate; although extra were soon allotted to Hindenburg's property. Outmaneuvered by Papen and Hitler on plans for the new cabinet, and having lost Hindenburg's confidence, Schleicher asked for new elections. On 28 January, Papen described Hitler to
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German general and statesman who led the during and later became from 1925 until his death in 1934. During his presidency, h ...

Paul von Hindenburg
as only a minority part of an alternative, Papen-arranged government. The four great political movements, the SPD, Communists, Centre Party (Germany), Centre, and the Nazis were in opposition. On 29 January, Hitler and Papen thwarted a last-minute threat of an officially sanctioned ''Reichswehr'' takeover, and on 30 January 1933 Hindenburg accepted the new Papen-Nationalist-Hitler coalition, with the Nazis holding only three of eleven Cabinet seats: Hitler as Chancellor, Wilhelm Frick as Minister of the Interior and Hermann Göring as Minister Without Portfolio. Later that day, the first cabinet meeting was attended by only two political parties, representing a minority in the ''Reichstag'': The Nazis and the German National People's Party (DNVP), led by Alfred Hugenberg, with 196 and 52 seats respectively. Eyeing the Catholic Centre Party (Germany), Centre Party's 70 (plus 20 Bavarian People's Party, BVP) seats, Hitler refused their leader's demands for constitutional "concessions" (amounting to protection) and planned for dissolution of the ''Reichstag''. Hindenburg, despite his misgivings about the Nazis' goals and about Hitler as a personality, reluctantly agreed to Papen's theory that, with Nazi popular support on the wane, Hitler could now be controlled as Chancellor. This date, dubbed by the Nazis as the ''
Machtergreifung Adolf Hitler's rise to power began in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the and by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 m ...
'' (seizure of power), is commonly seen as the beginning of Nazi Germany.


End of the Weimar Republic


Hitler's chancellorship (1933)

Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor on the morning of 30 January 1933 in what some observers later described as a brief and indifferent ceremony. By early February, a mere week after Hitler's assumption of the chancellorship, the government had begun to clamp down on the opposition. Meetings of the left-wing parties were banned and even some of the moderate parties found their members threatened and assaulted. Measures with an appearance of legality suppressed the Communist Party in mid-February and included the plainly illegal arrests of ''Reichstag'' deputies. The Reichstag fire on 27 February was blamed by Hitler's government on the Communists. Hitler used the ensuing state of emergency to obtain the presidential assent of Hindenburg to issue the
Reichstag Fire Decree 250px, '' Das Andere Deutschlands final issue, announcing its own prohibition (''Verbot'') by the police authorities on the basis of the Reichstag fire decree The Reichstag Fire Decree (german: Reichstagsbrandverordnung) is the common name of th ...
the following day. The decree invoked Article 48 (Weimar Constitution), Article 48 of the
Weimar Constitution The Constitution of the German Reich (german: Die Verfassung des Deutschen Reichs), usually known as the Weimar Constitution (''Weimarer Verfassung''), was the constitution that governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era (1919–1933). The c ...

Weimar Constitution
and "indefinitely suspended" a number of constitutional protections of civil liberties, allowing the Nazi government to take swift action against political meetings, arresting and killing the Communists. Hitler and the Nazis exploited the German state's broadcasting and aviation facilities in a massive attempt to sway the electorate, but this election yielded a scant majority of 16 seats for the coalition. At the German federal election, March 1933, ''Reichstag'' elections, which took place on 5 March 1933, the NSDAP obtained 17 million votes. The Communist, Social Democrat and Catholic Centre votes stood firm. This was the last multi-party election of the Weimar Republic and the last multi-party all-German election for 57 years. Hitler addressed disparate interest groups, stressing the necessity for a definitive solution to the perpetual instability of the Weimar Republic. He now blamed Germany's problems on the Communists, even threatening their lives on 3 March. Former Chancellor
Heinrich Brüning Heinrich Aloysius Maria Elisabeth Brüning () (26 November 1885 – 30 March 1970) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ances ...
proclaimed that his Centre Party would resist any constitutional change and appealed to the President for an investigation of the ''Reichstag'' fire. Hitler's successful plan was to induce what remained of the now Communist-depleted Reichstag to grant him, and the Government, the authority to issue decrees with the force of law. The hitherto Presidential Dictatorship hereby was to give itself a new legal form. On 15 March, the first cabinet meeting was attended by the two coalition parties, representing a minority in the ''Reichstag'': The Nazis and the German National People's Party, DNVP led by Alfred Hugenberg (288 + 52 seats). According to the Nuremberg Trials, this cabinet meeting's first order of business was how at last to achieve the complete counter-revolution by means of the constitutionally allowed Enabling Act of 1933, Enabling Act, requiring a 66% parliamentary majority. This Act would, and did, lead Hitler and the NSDAP toward his goal of unfettered dictatorial powers.


Hitler cabinet meeting in mid-March

At the cabinet meeting on 15 March, Hitler introduced the Enabling Act of 1933, Enabling Act, which would have authorised the cabinet to enact legislation without the approval of the ''Reichstag''. Meanwhile, the only remaining question for the Nazis was whether the Catholic Centre Party (Germany), Centre Party would support the Enabling Act in the ''Reichstag'', thereby providing the majority required to ratify a law that amended the constitution. Hitler expressed his confidence to win over the centre's votes. Hitler is recorded at the Nuremberg Trials as being sure of eventual Centre Party Germany capitulation and thus rejecting of the DNVP's suggestions to "balance" the majority through further arrests, this time of Social Democrats. Hitler, however, assured his coalition partners that arrests would resume after the elections and, in fact, some 26 SPD Social Democrats were physically removed. After meeting with Centre leader Monsignor Ludwig Kaas and other Centre Trade Union leaders daily and denying them a substantial participation in the government, negotiation succeeded in respect of guarantees towards Catholic civil-servants and education issues. At the last internal Centre meeting prior to the debate on the Enabling Act, Kaas expressed no preference or suggestion on the vote, but as a way of mollifying opposition by Centre members to the granting of further powers to Hitler, Kaas somehow arranged for a letter of constitutional guarantee from Hitler himself prior to his voting with the centre ''en bloc'' in favour of the Enabling Act of 1933, Enabling Act. This guarantee was not ultimately given. Kaas, the party's chairman since 1928, had strong connections to the Vatican City, Vatican Secretary of State, later Pope Pius XII. In return for pledging his support for the act, Kaas would use his connections with the Vatican to set in train and draft the Holy See's long desired ''Reichskonkordat'' with Germany (only possible with the co-operation of the Nazis). Ludwig Kaas is considered along with Papen as being one of the two most important political figures in the creation of the Nazi Germany, Nazi regime.


Enabling Act negotiations

On 20 March, negotiation began between Hitler and Frick on one side and the Catholic Centre Party (Germany), Centre Party (Zentrum) leaders—Kaas, Stegerwald and Hackelsburger on the other. The aim was to settle on conditions under which Centre would vote in favour of the Enabling Act. Because of the Nazis' narrow majority in the ''Reichstag'', Centre's support was necessary to receive the required two-thirds majority vote. On 22 March, the negotiations concluded; Hitler promised to continue the existence of the German states, agreed not to use the new grant of power to change the constitution, and promised to retain Zentrum members in the civil service. Hitler also pledged to protect the Catholic confessional schools and to respect the concordats signed between the Holy See and
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
(1924), Prussia (1929) and Baden (1931). Hitler also agreed to mention these promises in his speech to the ''Reichstag'' before the vote on the Enabling Act. The ceremonial opening of the ''Reichstag'' on 21 March was held at the Garrison Church (Potsdam), Garrison Church in Potsdam, a shrine of Prussianism, in the presence of many Junker landowners and representatives of the imperial military caste. This impressive and often emotional spectacle—orchestrated by Joseph Goebbels—aimed to link Hitler's government with Germany's imperial past and portray Nazism as a guarantor of the nation's future. The ceremony helped convince the "old guard" Prussian military elite of Hitler's homage to their long tradition and, in turn, produced the relatively convincing view that Hitler's government had the support of Germany's traditional protector—the Army. Such support would publicly signal a return to conservatism to curb the problems affecting the Weimar Republic, and that stability might be at hand. In a cynical and politically adroit move, Hitler bowed in apparently respectful humility before President and Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, Hindenburg.


Passage of the Enabling Act

The ''Reichstag'' convened on 23 March 1933, and in the midday opening, Hitler made a historic speech, appearing outwardly calm and conciliatory. Hitler presented an appealing prospect of respect towards Christianity by paying tribute to the Christian faiths as "essential elements for safeguarding the soul of the German people". He promised to respect their rights and declared that his government's "ambition is a peaceful accord between Separation of church and state, Church and State" and that he hoped "to improve [their] friendly relations with the Holy See". This speech aimed especially at the future recognition by the named Holy See and therefore to the votes of the Centre Party addressing many concerns Kaas had voiced during the previous talks. Kaas is considered to have had a hand therefore in the drafting of the speech. Kaas is also reported as voicing the Holy See's desire for Hitler as bulwark against atheistic Russian nihilism previously as early as May 1932. Hitler promised that the Act did not threaten the existence of either the ''Reichstag (Weimar Republic), Reichstag'' or the ''Reichsrat (Germany), Reichsrat'', that the authority of the President remained untouched and that the ''States of Germany, Länder'' would not be abolished. During an adjournment, the other parties (notably the centre) met to discuss their intentions. In the debate prior to the vote on the Enabling Act, Hitler orchestrated the full political menace of his paramilitary forces like the Sturmabteilung, storm division in the streets to intimidate reluctant ''Reichstag'' deputies into approving the Enabling Act. The Communists' 81 seats had been empty since the ''Reichstag'' Fire Decree and other lesser known procedural measures, thus excluding their anticipated "No" votes from the balloting.
Otto Wels Otto Wels (15 September 1873 – 16 September 1939) was a German politician who served as a member of parliament from 1920 to 1933 and as the chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: ...

Otto Wels
, the leader of the Social Democrats, whose seats were similarly depleted from 120 to below 100, was the only speaker to defend democracy and in a futile but brave effort to deny Hitler the majority, he made a speech critical of the abandonment of democracy to dictatorship. At this, Hitler could no longer restrain his wrath. In his retort to Wels, Hitler abandoned earlier pretence at calm statesmanship and delivered a characteristic screaming diatribe, promising to exterminate all Communists in Germany and threatening Wels' Social Democrats as well. He did not even want their support for the bill. "Germany will become free, but not through you," he shouted. Meanwhile, Hitler's promised written guarantee to Monsignor Kaas was being typed up, it was asserted to Kaas, and thereby Kaas was persuaded to silently deliver the Centre bloc's votes for the Enabling Act anyway. The Act—formally titled the "Act for the Removal of Distress from People and Reich"—was passed by a vote of 441 to 94. Only the SPD had voted against the Act. Every other member of the ''Reichstag'', whether from the largest or the smallest party, voted in favour of the Act. It went into effect the following day, 24 March.


Consequences

The passage of the
Enabling Act of 1933 The Enabling Act (German language, German: ') of 1933, officially titled ' ("Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich"), was a law that gave the Hitler Cabinet, German Cabinet—most importantly, the Chancellor of Germany, Chancellor—t ...
is widely considered to mark the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of the Nazi era. It empowered the cabinet to legislate without the approval of the Reichstag or the President, and to enact laws that were contrary to the constitution. Before the March 1933 elections, Hitler had persuaded Hindenburg to promulgate the
Reichstag Fire Decree 250px, '' Das Andere Deutschlands final issue, announcing its own prohibition (''Verbot'') by the police authorities on the basis of the Reichstag fire decree The Reichstag Fire Decree (german: Reichstagsbrandverordnung) is the common name of th ...
using Article 48, which empowered the government to restrict "the rights of habeas corpus [...] freedom of the press, the freedom to organise and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications" and legalised search warrants and confiscation "beyond legal limits otherwise prescribed". This was intended to forestall any action against the government by the Communists. Hitler used the provisions of the Enabling Act to pre-empt possible opposition to his dictatorship from other sources, in which he was mostly successful. The Nazis in power brought almost all major organisations into line under Nazi control or direction, which was termed ''Gleichschaltung''. The constitution of 1919 was never formally repealed, but the Enabling Act meant that it was a dead letter. Those articles of the Weimar constitution which dealt with the state's relationship to various Christian churches remain part of the German Basic Law.


Reasons for failure

The reasons for the Weimar Republic's collapse are the subject of continuing debate. It may have been doomed from the beginning since even moderates disliked it and extremists on both the left and right loathed it, a situation often referred to as a "democracy without democrats". Germany had limited democratic traditions, and Weimar democracy was widely seen as chaotic. Since Weimar politicians had been blamed for the ''Dolchstoß'' ("Stab-in-the-back myth, stab-in-the-back"), a widely believed theory that Germany's surrender in the First World War had been the unnecessary act of traitors, the popular legitimacy of the government was on shaky ground. As normal parliamentary lawmaking broke down and was replaced around 1930 by a series of Article 48 (Weimar Constitution), emergency decrees, the decreasing popular legitimacy of the government further drove voters to extremist parties. No single reason can explain the failure of the Weimar Republic. The most commonly asserted causes can be grouped into three categories: economic problems, institutional problems, and the roles of specific individuals.


Economic problems

The Weimar Republic had some of the most serious economic problems ever experienced by any Western democracy in history. Rampant
hyperinflation In economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of pl ...

hyperinflation
, massive unemployment, and a large drop in living standards were primary factors. From 1923 to 1929, there was a short period of economic recovery, but the Great Depression of the 1930s led to a worldwide recession. Germany was particularly affected because it depended heavily on American loans. In 1926, about 2 million Germans were unemployed, which rose to around 6 million in 1932. Many blamed the Weimar Republic. That was made apparent when political parties on both right and left wanting to disband the Republic altogether made any democratic majority in Parliament impossible. The Weimar Republic was severely affected by the Great Depression. The economic stagnation led to increased demands on Germany to repay the debts owed to the United States. As the Weimar Republic was very fragile in all its existence, the depression was devastating, and played a major role in the Nazi Party, Nazi takeover. Most Germans thought the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
was a punishing and degrading document because it forced them to surrender resource-rich areas and pay massive amounts of compensation. The punitive reparations caused consternation and resentment, but the actual economic damage resulting from the Treaty of Versailles is difficult to determine. While the official reparations were considerable, Germany ended up paying only a fraction of them. However, the reparations damaged Germany's economy by discouraging market loans, which forced the Weimar government to finance its deficit by printing more currency, causing rampant hyperinflation. At the beginning of 1920, 50 marks was equivalent to one US dollar. By the end of 1923, one US dollar was equal to 4,200,000,000,000 marks. In addition, the rapid disintegration of Germany in 1919 by the return of a disillusioned army, the rapid change from possible victory in 1918 to defeat in 1919, and the political chaos may have led to extreme nationalism. Princeton University, Princeton historian Harold James (historian), Harold James argues that there was a clear link between economic decline and people turning to extremist politics.James, Harold, "Economic Reasons for the Collapse of the Weimar Republic", in


Institutional problems

It is widely believed that the Weimar Constitution, 1919 constitution had several weaknesses, making the eventual establishment of a dictatorship likely, but it is unknown whether a different constitution could have prevented the rise of the Nazi party. However, the 1949 West German constitution (the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany) is generally viewed as a strong response to these flaws. * The institution of the ''Reichspräsident'' was frequently considered as an ''Ersatzkaiser'' ("substitute emperor"), an attempt to replace the emperors with a similarly strong institution meant to diminish party politics. Article 48 (Weimar Constitution), Article 48 of the Constitution gave the President power to "take all necessary steps" if "public order and security are seriously disturbed or endangered". Although it was intended as an emergency clause, it was often used before 1933 to issue decrees without the support of Parliament (see above) and also made ''Gleichschaltung'' easier. * During the Weimar Republic, it was accepted that a law did not have to conform to the constitution as long as it had the support of two-thirds of parliament, the same majority needed to change the constitution (''verfassungsdurchbrechende Gesetze''). That was a precedent for the
Enabling Act of 1933 The Enabling Act (German language, German: ') of 1933, officially titled ' ("Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich"), was a law that gave the Hitler Cabinet, German Cabinet—most importantly, the Chancellor of Germany, Chancellor—t ...
. The Basic Law of 1949 requires an explicit change of the wording, and it prohibits abolishing the basic rights or the federal structure of the republic. * The use of a
proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical, and to ideolog ...

proportional representation
without large election threshold, thresholds meant a party with a small amount of support could gain entry into the ''Reichstag (Weimar Republic), Reichstag''. That led to many small parties, some extremist, building political bases within the system, and made it difficult to form and maintain a stable coalition government, further contributing to instability. To counter the problem, the modern German Bundestag introduced a 5% threshold limit for a party to gain parliamentary representation. However, the Reichstag of the monarchy was fractioned to a similar degree even if it was elected by majoritarian system, majority vote (under a two-round system). * The ''Reichstag'' could remove the ''Reichskanzler'' from office even if it was unable to agree on a successor. The use of such a motion of no confidence meant that since 1932, a government could not be held in office when the parliament came together. As a result, the 1949 ''Grundgesetz'' ("Basic Law") stipulates that a chancellor may not be removed by Parliament unless a successor is elected at the same time, known as a "constructive vote of no confidence".


Role of individuals

Brüning's economic policy from 1930 to 1932 has been the subject of much debate. It caused many Germans to identify the Republic with cuts in social spending and extremely liberal economics. Whether there were alternatives to this policy during the Great Depression is an open question.
Paul von Hindenburg Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (; abbreviated ; 2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German general and statesman who led the during and later became from 1925 until his death in 1934. During his presidency, h ...

Paul von Hindenburg
became ''Reichspräsident'' in 1925. As he was an old style monarchist conservative, he had little love lost for the Republic, but for the most part, he formally acted within the bounds of the constitution; however, he ultimately—on the advice of his son and others close to him—appointed Hitler chancellor, thereby effectively ending the Republic. Additionally, Hindenburg's death in 1934 ended the last obstacle for Hitler to assume full power in the Weimar Republic.


Constituent states

Prior to the First World War, the constituent states of the German Empire were 22 smaller monarchies, three republican city-states and the Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine. After the territorial losses of the
Treaty of Versailles The Treaty of Versailles (french: Traité de Versailles; german: Versailler Vertrag, ) was the most important of the peace treaties A peace treaty is an agreement between two or more hostile parties, usually countries or government ...
and the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the remaining states continued as republics. The former Ernestine duchies continued briefly as republics before merging to form the state of Thuringia in 1920, except for Saxe-Coburg, which became part of
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
. These states were gradually abolished under the Nazi regime via the Gleichschaltung process, whereby they were effectively replaced by Gau (country subdivision), Gaue. There were two notable ''de jure'' changes, however. At the end of 1933, Mecklenburg-Strelitz was merged with Mecklenburg-Schwerin to form a united Mecklenburg. Second, in April 1937, the city-state of Free City of Lübeck, Lübeck was formally incorporated into Prussia by the Greater Hamburg Act, apparently motivated by Hitler's personal dislike for the city. Most of the remaining states were formally dissolved by Allies of World War II, the Allies at the end of the Second World War and ultimately reorganised into the modern states of Germany.


See also

* Timeline of the Weimar Republic * Württemberg Landtag elections in the Weimar Republic


References

;Notes ;Footnotes Sources * * * * *


Further reading

* * Bennett, Edward W. ''Germany and the diplomacy of the financial crisis, 1931'' (1962
Online free to borrow
* * * * * * *
online free to borrow
* * Richard J. Evans, Evans, Richard J. ''The Third Reich Trilogy, The Coming of the Third Reich'' (2003), a standard scholarly survey; part of three volume history 1919–1945. * Eyck, Erich. ''A history of the Weimar Republic: v. 1. From the collapse of the Empire to Hindenburg's election.'' (196
online free to borrow
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rosenberg, Arthur. ''A History of the German Republic'' (1936) 370p
online
* ch 18–25. * * * * * *


Primary sources

* * Kaes, Anton, Martin Jay and Edward Dimendberg, eds. ''The Weimar Republic Sourcebook,''(U of California Press, 1994). * Price, Morgan Philips. ''Dispatches from the Weimar Republic: Versailles and German Fascism'' (1999), reporting by an English journalist


Historiography

* Bryden, Eric Jefferson. "In search of founding fathers: Republican historical narratives in Weimar Germany, 1918–1933" (PhD thesis. University of California, Davis, 2008). * * Gerwarth, Robert. "The past in Weimar History" ''Contemporary European History'' 15#1 (2006), pp. 1–2
online
* Graf, Rüdiger. "Either-or: The narrative of 'crisis' in Weimar Germany and in historiography." ''Central European History'' 43.4 (2010): 592–615
online
* Von der Goltz, Anna. ''Hindenburg: Power, Myth, and the Rise of the Nazis'' (Oxford University Press, 2009)


External links


Documentarchiv.de: Historical documents

National Library of Israel.org: Weimar Republic collection
{{DEFAULTSORT:Weimar Republic Weimar Republic, 1910s in Germany 1918 establishments in Germany, * 1920s in Germany, . 1930s in Germany 1933 disestablishments in Germany, * 20th century in Germany by period Aftermath of World War I in Germany Former polities of the interwar period Former republics Great Depression Modern history of Germany States and territories disestablished in 1933 States and territories established in 1918 Weimar culture