Allies offered peace to Germany, but
Germany had to become democratic.
Kaiser refused, but there was a sailors’
revolt, so on Nov 9th 1918 he abdicated.
Friedrich Ebert became the new leader.
There was to be a new constitution and
new laws and right for the people.
1st act was to sign the Versailles Treaty
Named for the city in
which the constitution
The threat from the left
The Treaty of Versailles
The threat from the right
Threat from the left
Spartacists (communist party) under
Liebknecht and Luxemburg
They followed Russian model
They incited the Communist revolution
A second revolution in Bavaria.
Ebert worked together with the
Freikorps to crush the revolts.
This caused tension between Ebert and
his party (SPD)
Most Germans were agreed however,
they feared a bloody civil war, like in
Treaty of Versailles
Many Germans felt they had been
btrayed (“stabbed in the back”) by
Ebert and his government.
This divided the politicians and caused
Until Hitler rose to power in 1933, the
Treaty was still a much hated topic.
The threat from the right
Strong nationalism, many people who
supported the kaiser were still in place.
1920: Kapp-putsch. 5000 Freikorps
soldiers into Berlin. Situation saved by a
Kapp was prosecuted, but the rest of
the leaders not.
Many political murders
1923: Munich putsch (Beer Hall Putsch).
Hitler tried to take over Bavaria.
Weimar troops responded.
Hitler was held responsible and put on
He received a very light sentence.
Reparations: 6600 million pounds,
In 1922 Germany didn’t pay.
Occupation of the Rhineland
1923, Germany fails to pay reparations
to France and Belgium too.
France and Belgium occupy the
Rhineland to force payments
Germans launch a general strike of non-
cooperation with the occupiers
Govt. pays strikers to strike
Payments to strikers forces Weimar
government to print money to fund it.
Far too much is printed compared to
what it is worth.
In 1914 there were four marks to every
In 1924 there were
4,000,000,000,000,00 marks per dollar.
Gustav Stresemann served as the prime
minister and stabilized the mark by
following the advice of Hjalmar Schacht
Germany stabilizes and begins to grow
again without inflation
Finally, Stresemann settles the western
border with France with the Locarno
Stresemann was Chancellor in 1923 only.
His main role was as Foreign Minister from 1924
He was a right-winger and more able than Ebert
He built up Germany’s prosperity again although all of
Europe was recovering
He signed Germany up to the Dawes Plan in 1924
Treaty of Locarno
Perhaps the high point of the Weimar
Germany agrees to respect its western
border with France and Belgium.
This allows Germany to enter the
League of Nations and removes
Germany from diplomatic isolation
Golden Era 1924-1929
Economy grows quite well
Culture become famous for its plays,
art, etc., though decadent.
“Americanization” as some parts of
culture look to America for guidance.
Movie industry become world famous,
esp., the “Mountain films” like a US
Crisis years 1930-1933
Great Depression hits as unemployment
goes to record levels.
Governments fall as no one can solve
the problem of the Depression
Private armies of political parties battle
in the streets as public loses faith in the
Republic to solve problems.