IB History Year One Class Notes Monday September 21, 2009
Topic: Origins of Weimar Republic


Origins Of Weimar Republic

General: Was the Government of Germany from WW1 until the Hitler regime. Had bad economy and had loopholes in government.

Germany has lost WW1
-Germany realized they had a slow offensive movement
-Realized that Allies may have been stronger than expected
-Germany was not the power house industrialist strength that everyone thought they were. Weak, insufficient military.
General: The topic divided the country, and the rich upper class not having fought a day in their lives did not understand why the poor could not win the battle. The poor didn’t fight hard enough, or the poor died to easily, the topic was a class issue.

Erich Ludendorff
-Created the idea of constitutional monarchy. Kaiser at head
Why A Constitutional Monarchy?
-Win sympathy of Allies. If there was a government change, the harsh punishments may be lifted, rather than the Allies seeing a country that was not willing to change.
-Prevent Extremist revolution. The Bolsheviks would take over which was not wanted.
-Blame new liberal regime for loss instead. Hand over the government to the liberals at the end of the war, and then once the war which is destined to be lost, is lost, blame the liberal party. Which then in turn created the Stab in the Back myth.

The Stab in the Back Myth
Created by Erich Ludendorff: Placed responsibility for loss of WW1 and harsh settlement, on new leadership of Weimar Germany, even though they were not in power at the time the war ended.
General: Not true, and popular among right wing, authors, politicians and individuals.

October 3, 1918
-Prince Max of Baden- a moderate conservative takes over makes changes.
- Prince Max wants Kaiser to give up military leadership to Reichstag (Parliament).
-Chancellor (Kaisers puppy dog) to answer to Reichstag not the Kaiser.
-Prince max also opened up negotiations with Allies.
General: NO one really in charge of Germany at the time of war near end, and Prince Max havening enough respect stepped to the plate and ordered these changes to occur.

German Revolution
-October/November 1918: Mutiny of German Navy-instead of suicide runs, German sailors took over boat and fired at Germany.
-Establishment of hundreds of Sailor soldiers, and workers Council Much like Soviet set up by Bolsheviks in Russia.
-Near anarchy in Military and many factories.

October/November 1918 WHY?
-Military finally came to realize there was no point in fighting the war.
-National shock and anger over losing the war—so much propaganda was issued stating the opposite for the past few years.
-Anger over socio-economic conditions (Huge divide)
General: The military realized they were fighting a stupid war, but many Germans refused to accept the fact they were losing the war, especially now that the liberals had taken over. Tensions increased.

Reaction to Anger
-Prince Max declares an end to Monarchy
-Coalition government with Friedrich Ebert at its head. Was formed of leftist parties- Declares a constitutional democratic representative
-November 9, 1918 Kaiser flees to Holland
-Same day, Bolshevik leaders declare a soviet republic of Germany
General: Many did not know who to believe, or “which police to call”

Late 1918-Early 1919
-Left wing Parties jockey for position in the new Provisional government
-Right Wing spread rumors and refuses to cooperate with any reforms.
-Bolsheviks attempt to overthrow the government and seize control of state.
General: Left wing twiddled their thumbs, and was un-violent, Right wing un-violent refused to change, and Bolsheviks started fires in the streets, killed people, “Did what Bolsheviks do best.”

Spartacus Revolt
-January 1919 Bolsheviks attempt to launch full scale coup over provisional government.
-Forced constitutional Convention to move from Berlin to Weimar
-Freikops- irregular volunteer government troops put down with blood.
-Actual Bolshevik state existed for a few weeks in Bolivia
General: Fires in streets, lots of killing. The reason that Germany was called Weimar republic and not Berlin republic was because the German revolution forced the convention to move cities. The Freikops went door to door and killed every communist.


Elections of 1919

-High voter turnout of 83%. Was a very good sign
-76% voted pro democracy
-Three mainstream parties held a wide majority, and Things in Germany were looking good.

Problems
-Some key figures still opposed the new system
-Civil service jobs such as the military and judicial branch left untouched
-Industrial and commercial leaders were left alone laws were kept
General: When a monarchist, or fascist did something wrong, the judges appointed by Kaiser Wilhelm, looked the other way.