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A Fragile Peace

Europe after the Great War
Germany: Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates in 1918

Representatives meet in Weimar to create new government

The Weimar Republic
Germans choose a democracy and a constitution is drafted in 1919.

But Germany has serious problems...

The Treaty of Versailles
What happened here?

France- Wanted to limit German military power and get repaid handsomely for its war costs: reparations.

Britain- Less interested in destroying Germany's economy but still wanted repayment for the war

The Treaty of Versailles
Russia- Now the Soviet Union. Excluded from Versailles.

USA- Woodrow Wilson pushes his Fourteen Points and wants a League of Nations.

The League of Nations
-Meant to serve as a deterrent to future conflicts.

-U.S. Congress never ratifies the treaty
-This idea would be picked up again after WWII ==> The United Nations

Weimar Germany's Punishment
Loss of territory

Germany loses parts of Prussia, Posen and Alsace-Lorraine

...Essentially they are humilated.

Weimar Germany's Punishment
War reparations
Germany now owes an enormous amount of money to the Allies, $70 billion dollars. (U.S. budget was $5 billion)

How do you repay it?
2 options:

1. Cut government and tax your people
2. Just print more money

Inflation in Weimar
What is inflation? - A rise in how much things cost. How does it hurt people? - Even if they get pay raises, they will always need more money to buy things. Essentially they get poorer.

Weimar in Crisis
With huge economic problems:
-Unemployment -Hyperinflation -Global Depression

People are bitter toward government

Weimar in Crisis
Most Germans think they should have won the Great War!
They blame weak leaders and nonGermans. Many also blame the Jews.
Walther Rathenau

Weimar in Crisis

Weimar Extremism
People were lured to the extreme edges of politics. The biggest winner from the Weimar failings was the NSDAP.

Nationalist Socialist Democratic Workers (Arbeiter) Party

Weimar Extremism
Why the Nazis?
Weimar Germany was becoming increasingly more open, and Berlin had become to look like Paris. Many people thought that the drinking, smoking, and partying was not acceptable for true Germans, especially women.

Berliners in the 1920s enjoying the night

Weimar Extremism
The major theme of the NSDAP (Nazi's) was strength of Germany FreikorpsWWI Veterans who created paramilitary groups that aided like the Nazis. Veterans bonded over mutual experiences.

The Nazis and Hitler believed in a political ideology known as Fascism

In Italy, another man was gaining power who shared the same ideas...

Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini
Originally a socialist, son of working class people After WW1, converted to extreme nationalism and talked about restoring the glory of Roman civilization Starts building up the military, and by the 1930s is seeing the need to be ready to fight a war

Benito Mussolini
National Fascist Party (PNF) gains popularity Mussolini and his Black Shirts (squads of thugs) march on Rome in 1922 King Emmanuel III offers Mussolini the Prime Minister spot to avoid conflict with Mussolini's supporters

By 1925 Mussolini has consolidated his power and made the democratic system in Italy all just a front for his tight grip on power.

Mixes Authoritarianism and Nationalism
AuthoritarianismStrong central parties that exercise total control (PNF/Nazis) Headed by a dictator who controls the party and military Generally right wing political views and totalitarian methods
(Like Mao Zedong!)

NationalismPromote ethnocentrism and national struggle against other nations and races Military would lead the struggle versus others Protect the nation economically and provide work

Hitler and Mussolini rose to power by promising to: -Restore order -Fix the economy and rebuild the nation -Restore national pride and integrity

-Punish enemies of the national group

Francisco Franco
- Spanish Nationalist dictator from 1936- 1975

Aligned with Hitler and Mussolini and received Nazi support during a bloody Civil War against Republican forces

Adolf Hitler
Born in Branau am Inn, Austria near the German border Only really liked his mother

Applied twice to art school in Vienna
Moved to Munich Gernany for school before the Great War, where he fought for Germany, not Austria- Hungary

Hitler's half- niece Geli Raubal (Commits suicide 1931)

Hitler's long time mistress Eva Braun (Commits suicide 1945 after two earlier attempts)

Adolf Hitler
After the war he joins the Nazi party, founded in Bavaria, which demanded:

Return of all lands in "Greater Germany" Eliminating the Versailles Treaty
Keeping and expanding colonies Only members of German race can be citizens. No Jews.

Beer Hall Putsch
Hitler and other supporters attempt a putsch at a beer hall.

Hitler 's Mussolini
Putsch was a failure and Hitler and his supporters get sent to prison

Mein Kampf
"My Struggle" Written in prison during the year that he served after the Beer Hall Putsch Basically an outline of his beliefs and his plans for a strong Germany.

Not new to Europe. Distaste for Jews has been an issue for hundreds of years Many stereotypes of Jews based on incomplete information: UsuryChristian and Muslims consider charging interest on loans a sin. Jews do not.

Hitler and many Germans believed that certain "races" are better than others and that you could tell which one someone was by their physical characteristics. This is complete crap.

Aryan Race
Hitler put the "Aryan race" at the top of the hierarchy in what is called “Scientific Racism” "Aryans'- Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, East Baltic, and Alpine

Untermensch- Slavics (Russians), Jews, Blacks, NonEuropeans of all kinds
Alfred Rosenberg

Hitler Rising
Conservative influence grows with Hitler out of prison and the Nazis gain momentum.

In 1928 the Nazi won 12 seats in the Reichstag Hitler's Brown Shirt militiamen intimidate the opposition leaders and Dachau prison is opened

Hitler Rising
American banks, which had loaned Germany money, were failing and pulled their money back.

The Depression caused unrest. people wanted the a strong party who could repair the economy... In 1930 the NSDAP won 107 seats in the Reichstag. 2 years later the Nazis were in a position to govern completely...

Hitler Rising
In 1932 Hitler had enough votes to block a parliamentary majority and Hindenburg was pressured to work with Hitler. People thought Hitler could be manipulated and his energy used for good In 1933 there was a fire at the Reichstag. Communists blamed and civil liberties slashed.

Der Führer
Hitler is able to use the Reichstag Fire Decree to keep opposition from voting against the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler unchallenged legislative powers President Hindenburg dies in 1934, opening the door for Hitler to become unquestioned head of state. Hitler is now...

The Nazi Games
Germany is picked to host the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin
Hitler expects Germans to do well and demonstrate the supremacy of the Aryan people


Jesse Owens
4 Golds: 100m Long Jump 200m 4x100 Relay Hitler was "annoyed", wants to ban blacks from future games...

Government sponsored attacks on Jewish businesses, synagogues and people in 1938 Led by SA units, Jews were rounded up and sent to work camps like Dachau. Precursor to the "Final Solution"

Heinrich Himmler
Head of the SS

Led pogroms and later the Holocaust using camps like Dachau Anti- Semite

Germany on the Move
Lebensraum- "Living space"
The idea that German/ Aryan people needed room to flourish. May require taking over non- German areas and eradicating non- Aryans or teaching them to be German.

Hitler test the Allies in the Rhineland

Germany on the Move
RhinelandThis territory was demilitarized. Hitler gives orders to march in after Italy had distracted Britain and France in Africa.
AnchlussHitler forces the annexation of Austria. The chancellor or Austria tried to stall but failed. SudetenlandGermany reclaims the parts of Czechoslovakia that have German minorities, and later the whole country. This was nearly the tipping point... 1936



Western Response
Although worried about Germany's aggression before Czechoslovakia, it is only after that where the Allies are serious
AppeasementThe idea that Hitler could be persuaded to give up on expansion if he was given some of what he wanted.

Neville Chamberlain

Why appeasement?
Fear of the destruction war would bring (especially with new technology) Post Great War Pacifism Some thought Germans were entitled to take back old territories Economic depression- lack of means and motivation to respond At least Hitler isn’t communist (he wants to destroy it) Thought diplomacy would work! Failing to see Hitler’s long-term plan

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany with honour. I believe it is a peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Now go home and get a nice quiet sleep


Britain and France promise Poland they will intervene militarily if Poland is attacked.

Peace with the East
Nazi- Soviet Pact 1939 (Molotov- Ribbentrop Pact) Hitler had troops mobilizing to invade Poland but was worried Soviets would intervene.

To prevent this, the Foreign Ministers of both countries agree to divide Poland.

Germany invades Poland on September 1st, 1939

Britain in France declare war on Germany September 3rd.