The Reichstag Fire had given Hitler the opportunity to damage the reputation of the Communists and to heighten the reputation of the Nazis. The election of March 1933 and the decision of the Nationalist Party to join with the Nazis had given Hitler control of the Reichstag. OPPORTUNISM – Hitler wasted no time. On 23rd March he introduced an ENABLING ACT which would allow him to have complete power in Germany. However, this law needed to be approved by the whole Reichstag. INTIMIDATION – Great pressure was put on the other parties in the Reichstag by the Nazis. A. By using the Law for the Protection of the People and State, Hitler banned the Communists from taking their seats. B. Members of the Social Democrats were beaten up by the SA, and many were too scared to turn up to the voting. The result of these tactics was that the Enabling Law was passed.

The Enabling Law gave Hitler the power to pass any laws without consulting the Reichstag, and without the approval of President Hindenburg. After March 1933 the Reichstag only really met to hear speeches by Hitler. The authority of all other political parties had been swept away. In the next elections, the Nazis were the only party allowed to stand.

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The removal of other political parties became formal in July 1933 when Hitler introduced the Law Against the Formation of New Parties. This law stated that the Nazi Party was the only party allowed to exist in Germany. It laid down severe punishment for anyone who tried to set up another party. Germany was now a one-party state (a dictatorship). Trade unions were also abolished and their offices destroyed. Workers, or companies no longer had a political voice against the Nazis. Leaders of political parties and trade unions were arrested and moved to labour camps. Hitler made sure that all posts in government were held by Nazi supporters. Nazi officials were put in charge of the local governments which ran the states of Germany. Hitler made sure that all civil servants and judges were Nazi supporters. Anyone who wasn’t was removed from office.

Hitler soon had complete control of Germany and its political, administrative and legal systems.

Once Hitler had control of Germany he didn’t need the SA anymore. He was also worried that they might be a threat to his leadership. The SA leader Ernst Roehm wanted the SA to have total control of the German army. This would make him more powerful than Hitler. Hitler decided that Roehm must be stopped, or the Nazis ran the risk of losing the support of the army. On 30th June 1934 the Night of the Long Knives took place. Hitler claimed that the SA was plotting to seize power and ordered the SS to arrest hundreds of SA leaders. They were rounded up and shot. Hitler told the Reichstag that he had done all this to “save the nation” from threat.

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The only person with higher power than Hitler was the President, Hindenburg. On 2nd August 1934, Hindenburg died aged 87. Immediately Hitler declared that he was President, as well as being Chancellor and Head of the German army. These positions meant that Hitler could now give himself the title of “Fuhrer”.

The Nazi control of Germany was now totally complete. All areas of opposition had been removed by one method or another.

Democracy and the Weimar Republic Democracy is the form of government that has come to prevail in the majority of states at the beginning of the Twenty First Century. Democracy means ‘rule by the people’ and was first tried in some of the city-states of Ancient Greece. The essential point of democracy is that people are able to choose who they wish to be their rulers. In 1919, Germany became democratic for the first time. Up until the end of the First World War, Germany had been ruled by the Kaiser. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and government passed from royal hands to an elected government known as the Weimar Republic. This was so-called because the German capital, Berlin was under the control of Communists and the new government was forced to meet in Weimar instead. The Weimar Republic was a democracy. The German people voted for Members of Parliament to represent them in Parliament (Reichstag). The political party that gained a majority large enough to win votes formed the government. The leader of that party became the Prime Minister (Chancellor) and ministerial posts were given to other prominent members of the party. To keep a check on the actions of the new government, a head of state (President) was elected. This person did not run Germany on a day to day basis that was the Chancellor’s job. The relationship between Chancellor and President was similar

to the relationship between Monarch and Prime Minister in the UK today. In 1933 Hitler took both positions (President and Chancellor) illegally, and gave himself the title of Fuhrer. The Weimar Republic faced many problems. One of the worst was the fact that German political parties found it difficult to win enough votes to gain an overall majority in the Reichstag. This meant that whenever there was a vote, to pass a new law for instance, no single political party had enough MPs to push a law through on its own. The Weimar Republic had too many political parties representing relatively small sections of the population. What was needed were fewer parties with widespread appeal so that one could get enough support to form a strong government that could pass laws and make changes to the benefit of the German people. The solution to this problem was for political parties to make coalitions i.e. share power. The problem was that these coalitions were often temporary and they found it difficult to agree. Another problem was that the Weimar Republic was generally blamed for surrendering in 1918 and signing the Treaty of Versailles. Many political extremists, particularly the right-wing groups such as the Nazis, picked up this theme. Germany had no tradition of democracy in 1919 and there was no reason to suggest at this point that it would survive for long. The Weimar Republic faced serious competition from Communist, left-wing revolts in major cities such as Berlin and from right-wing, paramilitary groups such as the Nazis who were supported by wandering bands of ex-servicemen called freikorps. To compound the mess Germany faced severe economic difficulties that made many ordinary Germans look to strong extremist groups to solve Germany’s problems rather than to the relatively weak, but moderate and democratic Weimar Republic. Despite these difficulties, the Weimar Republic began to enjoy some success under Gustav Streseman who dominated it from 1923-1929. However, democracy in Germany was far too weak to survive the mortal blow that was inflicted by the world-wide economic depression that was caused by the Wall St. Crash of 1929. Germany suffered badly and by 1933, many Germans were prepared to support the Nazis even if it meant an end to democracy. Democracy had triumphed in 1918. By 1939 there were very few democracies left in Europe and the rest of the world. Communists and fascists had delivered credible alternatives and democracy was viewed as weak and out-dated by many. The dark days of the mid-century crisis seemed to indicate that democracy had failed and would be swept away. Nevertheless democracy survived and by the end of the century it had become the dominant political ideal once more.

In October 1929, Stresemann, the most able minister in the government, died of a heart attack. He was only 51 years old. Soon afterwards, the American stock market centred on Wall Street in New York, collapsed. The effects of this were felt across the world and the period became known as the Depression.

The main features of the Nazi totalitarian dictatorship were:
The one-party state was a police state where the power of the authorities was supreme. Law and order was tightly controlled by the SS and Gestapo.

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In order to send people to concentration camps there had to be a fair trial. Hitler made it clear that the secret police had to provide firm evidence of Nazi betrayal before arresting suspects. Political opponents were arrested and imprisoned. The Church was controlled by the Nazis. Persecution of groups such as Jews, gypsies, beggars, homosexuals, mentally handicapped. After 1935 a Jew could still work as a university lecturer or a dentist. Indoctrination of young people by education and the Hitler Youth Movement. Brainwashing of German people by propaganda. Censorship of all forms of culture. German children were always encouraged to put forward independent opinions.

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♦ Read carefully through the statements above. ♦ Shade over the statements which you feel are a true representation of Nazi Germany.

The Kapp Putsch 1920. A right-wing attempted military takeover in Berlin by the Freikorps. Aimed to destroy Weimar Republic and the threat of communism. The Spartacist Uprising in Berlin 1919. Tried to set up a Communist state in Germany. Leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht executed.

French and Belgian invasion of the Ruhr 1923 to secure reparations payments

Bavarian Communist Uprising November 1918 – May 1919. Attempted to create a Bavarian Soviet Republic.

Munich Putsch 1923. The Nazi Party’s first failed attempt to seize control of Munich in Bavaria before taking power in the rest of Germany. Hitler sent to prison.

Who will control Germany? Germany in chaos 1919-1923
Chaos erupted in Germany following the signing of the armistice on 11th November 1918. The Kaiser fled and Friedrich Ebert, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, declared the new democratic German Republic. The government should have met in the capital city Berlin, but in early 1919 this was the scene of a communist uprising known as the Spartacist Revolt. As a result the new government met in Weimar and thus became known as the Weimar Republic. To survive, Ebert’s government had to crush the Spartacists. Using nationalistic ex-soldiers known as the Freikorps (Free corps), the Weimar Republic defeated the Spartacists. In the same year, the Weimar Republic faced a similar communist revolt in Bavaria, which was also defeated. In 1920 the Freikorps themselves attempted a right-wing takeover in Berlin known as the Kapp Putsch. Following the French invasion of the industrial heart of Germany, the Ruhr, in 1923, another right-wing nationalist coup was tried in Munich by the Nazi Party. It failed. The period 1919-1923 was a difficult time for the new democratic Weimar Republic. Democracy was weak and both communists and right-wing nationalists believed they had the answers to Germany’s problems. Against the odds the Weimar Republic survived from 1919-1933.

1889 Adolf Hitler was born in Austria. Interim years. 1913 Hitler leaves Austria to avoid military service. Lives in Munich. Hitler joins the Germany army when WWI breaks out. Hitler is gassed in the war. When it ends he feels very bitter about the “stab in the back”.

1914 1918

Post war Hitler works as a spy for Weimar government to spot potential political threats. 1919 1920 1921 1923 Joins German Workers’ Party. Became leader of Nazi Party. Drew up Party programme. Set up private army (SA) Stormtroopers / Brownshirts. First attempt to seize power with Munich Putsch.

Gustav Stresemann
Gustav Stresemann, the son of an innkeeper, was born in Berlin on 10th May, 1878. Stresemann attended universities in Berlin and Leipzig where he studied history, literature and economics. After completing his studies, he worked for the German Chocolate Makers' Association. In 1902, he founded the Saxon Manufacturers' Association and the following year joined the National Liberal Party. A rightwing party, Stresemann emerged as one of the leaders of the more moderate wing who favoured an improvement in welfare provision. In 1908, Stresemann was elected to the Reichstag. He soon came into conflict with his more conservative colleagues and he was ousted from the party's executive committee in 1912. Later that year he lost his seat in Parliament. Stresemann returned to business life and was the founder of the German-American Economic Association. He returned to the Reichstag in 1914. Exempted from

military service during the First World War because of poor health, Stresemann was a passionate supporter of the war effort and advocated that Germany should take possession of land in Russia, Poland, France and Belgium. He was a strong advocate of German imperialism. During the war, Stresemann became increasing right wing in his views and his opponents claimed he was the parliamentary spokesman for military figures such as Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff (two famous German generals). He advocated unrestricted submarine warfare against the Royal Navy. In 1918, Stresemann formed the German People's Party. After Germany's defeat Stresemann was sympathetic to the Freikorps and welcomed the defeat of the socialists and communists in Berlin in 1919 (the Spartacists). However, he became increasingly concerned by the use of violence of the right-wing groups and after the murders of Matthias Erzberger and Walther Rathenau, Stresemann decided to argue in favour of the Weimar Republic. With the support of the Social Democratic Party Stresemann became chancellor of Germany in 1923. He managed to bring an end to the passive resistance in the Ruhr and resumed payment of reparations. He also tackled the problem of inflation by establishing the Rentenbank. Stresemann was severely criticised by members of the Social Democratic Party and Communist Party over his unwillingness to deal firmly with Adolf Hitler and other Nazi Party leaders after the failure of the Munich Beer Hall Putsch. Later that month the socialists withdrew from Stresemann's government and he was forced to resign as chancellor. In the new government led by Wilhelm Marx, Stresemann was appointed as foreign minister. He accepted the Dawes Plan (1924) as it resulted in the French Army withdrawing from the Ruhr. Stresemann's skilled statesmanship led to the Locarno Treaty (1925) and Germany joining the League of Nations (1926). Later that year he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He negotiated the Young Plan (1929) which lengthened the amount of time Germany had to pay back reparations by another 59 years, but soon after that he suffered two strokes and on 3rd October, 1929 he died of a heart attack.

Hitler plots his way into power 1932-1933
By July 1932, the Nazis were by far the largest party in the 230 seats. Hitler was growing in popularity and he had given good race in the presidential elections of the same year. political success, Hindenburg was reluctant to appoint Hitler Germany. Reichstag with Hindenburg a Despite Nazi as Chancellor of

Hindenburg used his powers to make Fritz Von Papen, the leader of the Centre Party, Chancellor instead of Hitler. The army did not really support Von Papen, so he had to step down. Hindenburg appointed one of his advisers, Von Schleicher, as Chancellor in December 1932. Von Schleicher failed to win support in the Reichstag and resigned after eight weeks. On 30th January 1933, Hindenburg appointed Hitler Chancellor. Von Papen had convinced the President, that and other Weimar politicians could control Hitler. In Hitler’s cabinet there were only three Nazis, all the other positions were taken up by politicians from other parties. Von Papen became Hitler’s Vice-Chancellor, thinking that he could control Hitler and Germany through him. he


On paper, it looked as if Hitler’s position was still quite weak. In reality, Hitler was Chancellor of Germany, Goring was in charge of much of the Prussian police (by far the largest state in Germany) and Hitler knew that once in power he could pick off his

enemies one by one. Many of the other cabinet ministers, although not Nazis, were from the right wing nationalist parties and actually agreed with many of Hitler’s policies. In the March 1933 elections, Hitler finally gained an overall majority by making an alliance with the nationalists and expelling the Communists after the Reichstag Fire. This majority gave Hitler the ability to pass the Enabling Act that gave him the powers of a dictator. By the summer of 1933, Hitler’s position had been greatly strengthened. He had seized control of the government through political deals and manipulation, he had destroyed the Communists and he had passed the Enabling Act. Nevertheless, he still faced potential opposition from the aging President Hindenburg and from other leading Nazis, in particular Ernst Rohm, head of the 2.5 million strong SA.

In Hitler’s eyes the young were particularly important. They had to be won over so that Hitler’s policies could be implemented throughout the Third Reich in the future. To create a racial state, the Nazis had to INDOCTRINATE young children to believe in the superiority of the Aryan, the “master race”. Hitler targeted every age group of children and young people. Below is a version of a real story that was told to young German children in Nazi Germany.


Things are lively in Mr. Birkmann’s 7th grade boys’ class today. The teacher is talking about the Jews. Mr. Birkmann has drawn pictures of Jews on the blackboard. The boys are fascinated. Even the laziest of them, “Emil the Snorer”, is paying attention, not sleeping, as he so often does during other subjects. Mr. Birkmann is a good teacher. All the children like him. They are happiest when he talks about the Jews. Mr. Birkmann can do that well. He learned about the Jews from life. He knows how to put it in gripping terms such that the favourite hour of the day is the “Jewish hour”. Mr. Birkmann looks at the clock.

Mr. Birkmann It is noon. We should summarise what we have learned in the past hour. What have we talked about? Narrator All the children raise their hands. The teacher calls on Karl Scholz, a small lad in the front row.


We have talked about how to recognise Jews.

Mr. Birkmann Good. Say no more!

Narrator Karl

Little Karl reaches for the pointer, steps up to the board and points at the drawings.

One can most easily tell a Jew by his nose. The Jewish nose is bent at its point. It looks like the number six. We call it the Jewish six. Many non-Jews also have bent noses. But their noses bend upwards, not downwards. Such a nose is a hook nose or an eagle nose. It is not at all like a Jewish nose.

Mr. Birkmann Excellent Karl. But the nose is not the only way to recognise a Jew. What else do we know? Karl Well, I also know that one can recognise a Jew by his lips. His lips are usually puffy. The lower lip often protrudes. The eyes are different too. The eyelids are mostly thicker and more fleshy than ours. The Jewish look is wary and piercing. One can tell from his eyes that he is a deceitful person.

Mr. Birkmann Well done boy! OK Fritz, it’s your turn to come up. Show me what you have remembered. Fritz Jews are usually small to mid-sized. They have short legs. Their arms are often very short too. Many Jews are bow-legged and flat-footed. They often have a low, slanting forehead, a receding forehead. Many criminals have such a receding forehead. The Jews are criminals too. Their hair is usually dark and often curly like a Negro’s. Their ears are very large, and they look like the handles of a coffee cup.

Narrator Mr. Birkmann turns towards his students. Mr. Birkmann Pay attention children. Why does Fritz always say “ many Jews have bow legs”, or “ They often have receding foreheads”, or “ their hair is usually dark”? Heinrich I know Sir. Not every Jew has ALL these characteristics that we have to look out for. Some do not have a proper Jewish nose, but instead have real Jewish ears. Some do not have flat feet, but instead have real Jewish eyes. Some Jews cannot be recognised at first glance. There are even some Jews with blond hair. If we want to be sure to recognise Jews we must look very carefully. When one does look carefully, one can always tell it is a Jew.

Mr. Birkmann Very good Heinrich. Richard, you will now tell me about other ways to tell Jews apart from non-Jews like you or I. Richard One can recognise a Jew from his movements or behaviour. The Jew moves his head back and forth. His gait is shuffling and unsteady. The Jew moves his hands when he talks. He jabbers. His voice is often odd. He talks through his nose. Jews often have an unpleasant sweetish odour. If you have a good nose, you can smell the Jews.

Mr. Birkmann That’s exactly how it is kids! You have paid attention very well. If you also pay attention outside school and keep your eyes open, you won’t be fooled by the Jews.


The teacher goes to the lectern and turns the board. On the other side, a poem is written. The children read it aloud:


“From a Jew’s face The wicked Devil speaks to us, The Devil who, in every country, Is known as an evil plague. Would we from the Jew be free, Again be cheerful and happy,

Then youth must fight with us To get rid of the Jewish Devil.”


And so ended the day’s lesson on racial purity………

After reading / hearing this play can you explain fully why it was that the Nazis chose to indoctrinate very young children in Germany? Think about what it was that Hitler was trying to achieve; the state of a young mind; the human nature; marriage and the family.

Hitler felt that November 1923 was the right time for the Nazis to try to seize control because the conditions in Germany were very poor due to the hyperinflation crisis caused by sky high reparations payments. An extremist political party such as the right wing Nazis felt the time was ripe for them to strike because the government was so unpopular. They wanted to replace the Weimar democracy with a strong central government, and felt this could be achieved by force (a putsch). Hitler was confident that he would have the support of the Republic’s army because the high-ranking General Ludendorff had shown sympathy with Nazi ideas. Unfortunately Hitler over-estimated this support. The first stages of the Munich Putsch appeared to go well for the Nazis because General Ludendorff arrived at the beer hall and persuaded the Bavarian leader Gustav von Kahr to support the putsch. Hitler had stormed the building with 600 Stormtroopers and tried to force Kahr to accept his authority. However, the next day the putsch failed because Kahr changed his mind and alerted the police to what the Nazis had done. As the Nazis marched into the centre of Munich they were blocked by armed police and soldiers – 16 Nazis and 3 policemen were killed. Hitler had thought the putsch would be a success but actually he was arrested along with Ludendorff and other Nazi leaders. Hitler had over-estimated the amount of support he would get from the army. Instead they stayed loyal to the Weimar government. Ironically the putsch managed to have some degree of success because Hitler used the trial as a public platform to put forward his ideas and to condemn the Weimar Republic. The trial made him a national and international figure. Suddenly this low level extremist politician (who liked cream cakes!) was a recognised figure. This publicity enabled him to have a voice. Also, whilst serving time in jail, Hitler wrote his infamous book “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle). He dedicated it to those Nazis who

had died at the putsch, and so made the event even more notorious.

This cartoon appeared in the magazine Simpliccimus on 17th March 1924. It shows Hitler sitting on the shoulders of the head of the police, who in turn is sitting on the shoulders of Gustav von Karh. Hitler is setting light to the roof of the building but von Kahr calls out to a policeman, “Officer, arrest that arsonist up there!”

1. Look at the cartoon. What sort of information does it give you about the reasons for the failure of the Munich Putsch – be detailed in your answer.

“ If our putsch was high treason then Kahr must have been committing high treason along with us, for during all these weeks we talked of nothing but the aims of which we now stand accused. I alone bear the responsibility for the putsch but I am not a criminal because of that. There is no such thing as high treason against the traitors of 1918. I only wanted what’s best for the German people.”
This is part of the evidence which Hitler gave at his trial. Kahr was a chief witness for the prosecution.

2. Look at the trial evidence. What exactly was Hitler trying to say about Kahr? 3. Why did Hitler feel that being accused of high treason was unfair? – again be detailed and use your existing knowledge to answer this. Following the “failure” of the putsch Hitler decided



“ When I resume active work, it will be necessary to pursue a new policy. Instead of working to achieve power by an armed coup, we will have to hold our noses and enter the Reichstag against Catholic and Communist members. If outvoting them takes longer than outshooting them, at least the result will be guaranteed by their own constitution. Sooner or later we shall have a majority and after that – Germany.” This is part of a conversation that Hitler had with Kurt Ludecke. 5.

that he would change his tactics. What does this source imply about his plans?

Even though Hitler failed to seize power in 1923 he later said that the Munich Putsch had been a TURNING POINT in his career. Can you explain why? Nazi Economic Policy 1933-1939

People will vote for or join a political party that they believe will increase their wealth, power, and prestige. One of the most important reasons why the Nazi Party gained in popularity in the late 1920s was because of the economic chaos in Germany after the Wall St Crash of 1929. The Nazis realised that if they were to gain and keep mass support from the German people, they would have to tackle these serious issues: • Unemployment – this had risen to over 6 million by 1932 • Inflation and hyperinflation – Germany had faced devastating hyperinflation in 1923 when $1 = 4,200,000,000,000 marks • Self-sufficiency (autarky) - Germany relied on overseas trade for vital raw materials and food supplies. Part of the reason Germany had lost the Great War was because it hadn’t been able to maintain these supplies. Hitler hoped to make Germany self-sufficient. The Nazis had been relatively unpopular between 1923-1928, but their fortunes changed with the Wall Street Crash in October 1929. Desperate for capital, the United States began to recall loans from Europe. One of the consequences of this was a rapid increase in unemployment. Germany, whose economy relied heavily on investment from the United States, suffered more than any other country in Europe. Before the crash, 1.25 million people were unemployed in Germany. By the end of 1930 the figure had reached nearly 4 million, 15.3 per cent of the population. Even those in work suffered as many were only working part-time. With the drop in demand for labour, wages also fell and those with full-time work had to survive on lower incomes. Hitler, who was considered a fool in 1928 when he predicted economic disaster, was now seen in a different light. People began to say that if he was clever enough to predict the depression maybe he also knew how to solve it. By 1932 over 30 per cent of the German workforce was unemployed. In the 1933 Election campaign, Adolf Hitler promised that if he gained power he would abolish unemployment. He was lucky in that the German economy was just beginning to recover when he came into office. However, the policies that Hitler introduced did help to reduce the number of people unemployed in Germany. Nazi economic policies: • On 2nd May, 1933, Adolf Hitler ordered the Sturm Abteilung (SA) to arrest Germany's trade union leaders. Robert Ley formed the Labour Front (DAF), the only union organization allowed in the Third Reich.

• A pay freeze was introduced in 1933 and this was enforced by the Labour Front. Wages were now decided by the Labour Front and compulsory deductions made for income tax, and for its Strength through Joy programme. The Labour Front issued work-books that recorded the worker's employment record and no one could be employed without one. • The government banned the introduction of some labour-saving machinery. • Employers had to get government permission before reducing their labour force. • The Nazi government gave work contracts to those companies that relied on manual labour rather than machines. This was especially true of the government's massive autobahn (motorway) programme. • The Nazis concentrated on rearming. Thousands of Germans worked in factories producing weapons. • Conscription into the German armed forces helped to reduce the numbers of unemployed. • Hitler also encouraged the mass production of radios. In this case he was not only concerned with reducing unemployment, but saw them as a means of supplying a steady stream of Nazi propaganda to the German people. • Youth unemployment was dealt with by the forming of the Voluntary Labour Service (VLS) and the Voluntary Youth Service (VYS), these planted forests, repaired river banks and helped reclaim wasteland. • Women in certain professions such as doctors and civil servants were dismissed, while other married women were paid a lump sum of 1000 marks to stay at home. • In the summer of 1935 Adolf Hitler announced the introduction of Labour Service (RAD). Under this measure all men aged between the ages of nineteen and twenty-five had work for the government for six months. Later women were also included in the scheme and they did work such as teaching and domestic service.

Strength through Joy
The Strength through Joy organisation was set up to encourage workers to work as hard as they could for Germany and the Nazis. The offer of cheap holidays and a car were good ways to win the support of the average person in the street. A cruise to the Canary Islands cost 62 marks - easily affordable to many, though most cruises were taken up by Nazi Party officials. Walking and skiing holidays in the Bavarian Alps cost 28 marks. A two-week tour of Italy cost 155 marks. Ley ordered the building of two new cruise-liners that were used to take German workers on foreign holidays. In 1938 an estimated 180,000 people went on cruises to places such as Maderia and the Norweigian fjords. Others were given free holidays in Germany. The Strength through Joy programme also built sports facilities, paid for theatre visits and financially supported travelling cabaret groups. Although the German worker paid for these benefits through compulsory deductions, the image of people being given holidays and subsidized entertainment was of great propaganda value to the Nazi government. Although he couldn’t drive, Hitler loved cars and wanted every family in Germany to own a car. He even became involved in designing the affordable Volkswagen (The People's Car). The Nazis created a scheme whereby the workers could get a car. The Beetle, designed by Ferdinand Porsche, cost 990 marks. This was about 35 weeks wages for the average worker. To pay for one, workers went on a hire purchase scheme. They paid 5 marks a week into an account. Theoretically, when the account had reached 750 marks the worker would be given an order number which would lead to them receiving a car. In fact, no-one received a car. The millions of marks invested into the scheme were re-directed into the rapidly expanding weapons factories. This accelerated as World War Two approached. No-one complained as to do so could lead to serious trouble with the secret police. Leisure The leisure time of the workers was also taken care of. An organisation called Kraft durch Freude (KdF) took care of this. Ley and the KdF worked out that each worker had 3,740 hours per year free for pursuing leisure activities - which the state would provide. The activities provided by the state were carefully and systematically recorded. For the Berlin area (1933-38):

Type of Event
Theatre performances Concerts Hikes Sports Events Cultural events Holidays and cruises Museum tours Exhibitions Week-end trips

Number of events 21,146 989 5,896 388 20,527 1,196 61,503 93 3,499 19,060

Number of people involved 11,507,432 705,623 126,292 1,432,596 10,518,282 702,491 2,567,596 2,435,975 1,007,242 1,009,922

Courses/Lectures at the German Adult Education Office

Did the Nazis produce an economic miracle for Germany? How successful were the Nazis in tackling unemployment, inflation and creating self-sufficiency?
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Unemployment had fallen from 6 million in 1933 to 300,000 by 1939 Industrial production in 1939 was above the figure for Weimar Germany before the 1929 Wall Street


By 1939, Germany still imported 33% of its required raw materials Government income had been 10 billion Reichsmarks in 1928. In 1939, it was 15 billion. However, government spending had increased from 12 billion Reichsmarks in 1928 to over 30 billion in 1939. • From 1933 to 1939, the Nazi government always spent more than it earned so that by 1939, government debt stood at over 40 billion Resichsmarks. • Annual food consumption in 1937 had fallen for wheat bread, meat, bacon, milk, eggs, fish vegetables, sugar, tropical fruit and beer compared to the 1927 figures. The only increase was in rye bread, cheese and potatoes. • Real earnings in 1938 were all but the same as the 1928 figure. (Real earnings are wages adjusted to allow for inflation).
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PERIODS 1. 8:00-8:45 2. 8:50-9:35 3. 9:40-10:25 4. 1025:11:00 5. 11:00-12:05 6. 12:10-12:55

Monday German Geography Race Study

Tuesday German History Race Study

German Singing Race Study

Thursday German Geography Race Study

Friday German History

Saturday German Singing Party Beliefs

Party Beliefs Break – with sports and special announcements.

Domestic Science with Mathematics – Every day. The science of breeding (Eugenics) – Health Biology. 2:00-6:00 Sport each day.

A 1935 timetable for a girls’ school in Nazi Germany.

Nazi Control of Education.

Hitler wanted to create a “Thousand-Year Reich”, in which the Nazis would rule forever. He believed the way to achieve this was to win the support of the young people of Germany. He therefore began a nationwide programme of INDOCTRINATING young people, getting them to believe in the key Nazi ideas.

This was done by controlling the education system.

If you had been a German student in the Nazi period your teacher would be acting under strict instructions. They had to belong to the Nazi organisation of the German Teachers’ League, and had to make sure that they taught Nazi ideas – or they were dismissed.

The teaching of school subjects was controlled so that the young were “indoctrinated” with Nazi ideals.
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What do you think that students would have been taught about in History, and why?

What do you think was the purpose of studying Eugenics?

Why might PE have figured so prominently on the timetable?

What do you think would have been the focus of Race Studies?

These notes will form the basis of an essay : “ HOW DID THE NAZIS AFFECT THE LIVES OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN NAZI GERMANY?”

Why did Hitler feel he had to take control of the German education system?

How did schools help to indoctrinate young people in Nazi ideas?

What was the appeal of Nazi Youth groups to young German people in the 1930s? Can you name any specific groups?

The Nazis encouraged young people to take part in what sorts of activities?

How, and why did the Nazis treat boys differently to girls? – (Kinder, Kirche, Kuche)

Were all young people happy to join the Hitler Youth? Can you find any evidence of opposition – eg. lives that were affected in a different way?

The Night of the Long Knives 1934: Hitler and the Nazi barons

Hitler’s reputation is as an all-powerful dictator of the Nazi Party and of Germany. But this reputation disguises the fact that Hitler was lazy and largely disinterested in the day to day business of running a dictatorship. Like a medieval king, Hitler surrounded himself with important Nazi officials or ‘barons’. Each was intensely loyal to Hitler, but they hated each other. Each of the Nazi barons wished to carve out more power and influence for himself. There were many leading Nazis in control of various aspects of German life. Herman Goring ran the police and the airforce, Josef Goebbels was minister for propaganda, Rudolf Hess was Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler was in charge of the SS (Schutz Staffel – Hitler’s elite bodyguard), Albert Speer was Hitler’s chief architect and Ernst Rohm ran the SA (Sturm Abteilung – the Brownshirts).

The Nazi barons jostled and fought with each other to gain power and prestige. Hitler allowed and even encouraged this, as long as it did not undermine his position as the Fuhrer. By 1934, Hitler felt threatened by Ernst Rohm. Rohm had been very important in the 1920s. He had founded the SA and by the early 1930s it had swollen in number to over 2.5 million members. Rohm fancied himself as the equal and successor to Hitler. Hitler used Himmler and the SS to bring down Rohm. On 29th June 1934, Hitler summoned the SA leaders to Wiesse for a conference. That night over 200 were arrested or murdered by the SS. Hitler claimed about 70 deaths, others about 400. This of course was illegal murder, but Hitler argued that: "In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I become the supreme judge of the German people. I gave the order to shoot the ringleaders in this treason." Hitler had consolidated his position further. By the thorough execution of his own people, Hitler showed that he would tolerate no opposition. This act of violence was known as the Night of the Long Knives. The SA faded after 1934 under the leadership of the nondescript Victor Lutze. Under Himmler, the SS went from strength to strength. This is a very famous British cartoon published in 1934. It shows David Low’s view of the Night of the Long Knives.

David Low, the Evening Standard, 1934, ‘They salute with both hands now’. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) Why is Hitler holding a smoking gun? Who is lying dead on the floor? Who is standing next to Hitler? Why is he dressed as a Viking warrior? Who is crawling on the floor? Why have all the Brownshirts men got their hands up? Why does Hitler’s swastika have the words ‘the double cross’ next to it? What does the title of this cartoon mean? How useful is this cartoon for a historian studying the Night of the Long Knives?

"In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I become the supreme judge of the German people. I gave the order to shoot the ringleaders in this treason."

Hitler speaking to the Reichstag after the Night of the Long Knives
10) How did Hitler try to justify the murder of Rohm and other leading SA members? 11) With so much power and control over the Reichstag, why did Hitler want to speak out about his actions? For a full list of the Nazi barons and more information on the Night of the Long Knives try:

The new Weimar Republic of Germany was set up at a time associated with defeat for the country – the end of WWI.

Political – the politicians had taken the decision to sign the armistice on November 18th 1918. Economic – at this time conditions in Germany were poor – starvation, hunger. Social – the German people, and the army itself had become very demoralised. The army had even mutinied at Kiel, and refused to obey orders to fight the British. The Kaiser abdicated and fled Germany. Friedrich Ebert was the leader of the new government – he was the head of the largest political party in Germany at the time (Social Democratic Party).

Because the Republic had been declared following the defeat of Germany and the abdication of its previous leader, Weimar was instantly associated with a negative and turbulent period in Germany’s history. This reputation would dog it for a long time to come.

The Treaty of Versailles.

This was a political move by the politicians of the new Republic. They had no choice but to accept the terms of the Treaty after they had signed the armistice. The key leaders of the Allies (David Lloyd Georges – Britain; Georges Clemenceau – France; Woodrow Wilson – USA) decided that German delegates would only be allowed to attend the signing of the Treaty and were to have no part in the actual discussions. The German people thought that they would be dealt with fairly as a nation. When it emerged that the Weimar politicians had signed the crippling terms of the Treaty, they felt betrayed. Defeat + betrayal – not a promising start for a new democracy! This would be difficult to forgive. When you have to talk about this in an essay you will be expected to mention the key parts of the Treaty eg. blame for war, reparations, territorial and military losses.

The Weimar Constitution – Coalition Governments.

Because of PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION no single party ever had a majority in the Reichstag German Parliament). This meant that all the governments were coalitions (a mix) put together from several political parties. This led to weak governments as they found it very difficult to agree on policies. This also encouraged the growth of extremist parties such as the Communists because they knew they might be able to gain seats in Parliament, and therefore have a say in the running of the country.

The Weimar Constitution – Presidential Power.

According to the constitution the President had the power to appoint and dismiss the Chancellor. If he considered that there was an emergency he could use Article 48 to rule by his own laws instead of applying the democratic policy. This was dangerous as one man theoretically had the power to rule the whole country – as Hitler would from 1933 onwards!

The Spartacist Uprising, Jan 1919.
The Spartacist League was made up of German communists who were against everything that Ebert and Weimar did. They were led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. They wanted Germany to be ruled by the Communist Russians. If this happened many middle and upper class Germans would lose their property, business and land. The Spartacists tried to seize power in Jan 1919 by occupying public buildings, organising a general strike and forming their own revolutionary committee to take action! The Weimar government gets its name from the fact that politicians had to flee to Weimar to work out the constitution when Berlin was under threat from the Communists.

Ebert did a dangerous deal with the army commanders – in return for them killing the German Communist leaders, he would allow the old army more freedom (they were against the Republic as they felt they had been betrayed in the war as well – they wanted revenge, and Ebert was effectively helping

them to achieve it!). From then on, the Communists would always want their own revenge on the Weimar government as long as it was led by parties like the SDP. They were a constant threat.
Revolts in Berlin and Bavaria.

These were more political threats to the new Republic. It was clear by now that many political parties were never going to accept that the Republic was led by democratic parties. Communists organised more riots and strikes in Berlin – crushed by the army section called Free Corps.
In Bavaria the Socialists (Communist led) set up their own Republic in Bavaria. They took food, money and houses from the rich and gave them to the workers – this a key belief of Communists. Soldiers soon broke into the Bavarian capital Munich and massacred the leaders. The Weimar government had successfully defeated its immediate political opposition, but at a price – the army now had more power to use as they wished!

The Kapp Putsch, 1920.

The Treaty of Versailles had ordered that the German army be reduced. Many soldiers lost their jobs, and decided to form a band known as the Free Corps – they had helped support the government and dealt violently with the initial political threats.
Because of the increasing power of the Free Corps, the Allies were urging Ebert to take action and break them up. The Free Corps led by Wolfgang Kapp marched into Berlin to seize power – this was a putsch (an attempt to seize power by force). They had the support of the army and the Berlin police – very dangerous for Ebert! Ebert and his government had to flee to Dresden. They appealed for help from the workers of Berlin – the workers responded by organising a general strike – cut off water, coal and gas to Berlin. The putsch collapsed – order was restored and the government could return to Berlin.

Reparations and Occupation of the Ruhr, 1922.

The Treaty of Versailles had ordered that Germany pay reparations of £6.6 million. The Germans paid the first instalment of this bill in 1921 but then claimed not to be able to afford any more for the next 3 years. The French refused to believe this and invaded the Ruhr industrial region to take what they were owed by force. The invasion began in Jan 1923 – approx. 60,000 French and Belgian troops took control of very mine, factory, steelworks and railway in the area. The streets were manned with guns. The German government could not take military action because of cuts in its armed forces. Instead they ordered the people of the Ruhr to carry out passive resistance against the invaders – a strike. The French expelled thousands of people who were involved in the strike, and shot others. Industrial production halted and the crisis was averted.

Hyperinflation, 1923.

Due to the amount of money being printed by the new Republic, and the constantly rising prices, the German currency soon became worthless –hyperinflation. For Germans who had jobs, wages rose higher and higher – some had to collect their wages in wheelbarrows. But the price of goods tended to rise faster than wages. People on fixed incomes had no hope of keeping pace with inflation –they could

not live on their wages (starvation, lack of clothing and heating, savings in the bank became worthless etc). However, debts could be repaid more easily!
But the number of people who suffered was much higher than those who gained, and the blame for such hardship was directed at the Weimar government. People were angry and the popularity stakes fell even lower! Violence erupted when the Nazi party tried to seize control with another political putsch in Munich, 1923 (this is dealt with in later lessons when we look at Hitler’s road to power). The Weimar Republic survived this economic crisis through the work of a new Chancellor and then Foreign Minister, Gustav Stresemann.

Although Germany had the choice to accept or reject the Versailles peace proposals, this political cartoon from the German magazine “Simpliccimus” in June 1919, implies that it was already condemned to death. The principal judges and executioners (from left to right), are Wilson, Clemenceau and Lloyd George.
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Who produced this source? When was it produced, and what is the significance of that date? What does the cartoon tell you about German reactions towards the Treaty? Describe exactly what you see – look at the position and gestures of each character. What do they imply? How reliable is this source to an historian studying the impact of the Treaty of Versailles on the Germans? What are the limitations of this source for that same historian?

Although Germany had the choice to accept or reject the Versailles peace proposals, this political cartoon from the German magazine “Simpliccimus” in June 1919, implies that it was already condemned to death. The principal judges and executioners (from left to right), are Wilson, Clemenceau and Lloyd George.

Who produced this source?

  

When was it produced, and what is the significance of that date? What does the cartoon tell you about German reactions towards the Treaty? Describe exactly what you see – look at the position and gestures of each character. What do they imply? How reliable is this source to an historian studying the impact of the Treaty of Versailles on the Germans? What are the limitations of this source for that same historian?

On February 27th 1933, the Reichstag building was set on fire. You studied the case, and found that some of the evidence was confusing. However, whereas there may have been doubt over who was responsible for the fire, its results are not in doubt. Hitler immediately claimed that the fire was proof of a Communist plot to take control of the government. “ This act of arson is the most outrageous act yet committed by Communism in Germany. The burning of the Reichstag was to have been the signal for a bloody uprising and civil war!”

Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to sign an emergency decree called ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. The decree meant an end to all the freedoms guaranteed in the ………………………………………………… and gave the …………………………….. total control. Working with the ……………………………. the police arrested ………………………………… leaders and detained them without trial. Meetings of the ……………………………………………… were broken up, and their newspapers closed down. In the midst of this violence, the Nazi …………………………………………… machine encouraged German people to vote for the Nazis. There were ………………………………………………………………………….. Hitler was quick to call an ………………………………………… He felt confident of victory seeing as both ………………………………………… and …………………………………… were banned from taking part in the election campaign. The election took place in March. Hitler did not get the number of votes he needed, but he did get over a 50% ……………………………………….. in the ………………………………………

Results of the March 1933 election.

Social Democrats Centre Party

81 seats 120 seats 74 seats

National Party Other Parties Nazi Party

52 seats 32 seats 288 seats


Germany’s resentment and bitterness in the early 1920’s.

Can you use these figures to produce your own graph of the election results?

♦ Study the information below. Then, answer the following questions making sure that you explain everything fully.

1 2


Who were the ‘November Criminals’? What exactly was the ‘Stab in the back’ theory? Do you think the government was used as a scapegoat? Give reasons for your answer. Why were the German people so resentful in the 1920s? – (discuss the timing behind the Weimar Republic and its principles).

The Stab in the Back. The Treaty left many German people feeling humiliated and wanting revenge for the way that the Allies had treated their country. The size of the reparations threatened to make very German poor. Many Germans blamed the new government for signing the armistice that had led to the treaty. They referred to the government as the ‘November Criminals’, a reference to the fact that the armistice was signed on 11th November. The government was accused of having stabbed the German army in the back. In other words the German army would have won the war if the armistice hadn’t been signed. This, of course, was not true. However, the fact that many Germans came to believe this ‘stab in the back’ theory meant that the new democratic government was blamed for the humiliation of Versailles. It might have been more accurate to November leading Germany into the blame the Kaiser for Criminals. Many Germansarmy leaders for losing the war. war, or the did not want their new government toit wasthe peace settlement. was However, sign the government that They believed they had been stabbed in the back by blamed. the November Criminals – those who had agreed to end the fighting in November 1918. They were happy to believe their country had been betrayed by cowards or those whom many thought might be disloyal to the country, like the Jews. Once Hitler had got into power in 1933, this was an idea that he exploited to its most horrifying limits.

Reasons for bitterness and resentment in Germany. Germans were horrified when they discovered the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. They did not believe they had started the war, and saw no reason why they should be blamed. They did not even believe they had lost the war. The Germans had agreed to an armistice but expected there to be negotiations. Many Germans were outraged when Germany was not even represented at the discussions to sort out a peace settlement. The Allies blamed Germany for the war, but the person who could be held responsible, Kaiser Wilhelm II, had fled the country, which now had a new democratic government (the Weimar Republic). Surely the Allies would want to Period of Crisis, 1918-23. support this. They were democratic During this 5 year period, the threat of formed themselves, and there was the newly Weimar Republic survived some serious communism spreading from Russia. crises. From both the left and the right came putsches (revolts), assassinations and anti-government propaganda. The economy, already weakened by the war effort, was further damaged by demands for reparations from the Allies and by terrifying inflation. And always the Weimar governments were baited about the stab in the back and the punishing Treaty which they had signed.

Source A
The cities were still there, the houses not yet bombed and in ruins, but the victims were millions of people. They had lost their fortunes, their savings; they were dazed and inflation-shocked and did not understand how it had happened to them and who the foe was who had defeated them. Yet they had lost their self-assurance, their feeling that they themselves could be the masters of their own lives if only they worked hard enough; and lost, too, were the old values of morals, of ethics, of decency.

American author Pearl Buck on the effects of hyperinflation in Germany in 1923
How useful is this source to an historian studying the effects of the 1923 hyperinflation on the fortunes of the Weimar Republic?

(Evaluation: what does it tell you, what doesn’t it tell you. Does the provenance affect usefulness? Are there any limitations? In what ways could this source be useful?)

The terms left wing or right wing refer to the set of beliefs and ideas that politicians like to follow. In a democracy different political parties have different views on different issues such as taxation, education, health, defence, law and the police. In Britain today, the three big political parties sit in or close to the centre of the political spectrum. The Labour Party was traditionally the party for the workers and can be described as a left-wing party. The Liberal-Democrats have positioned themselves in the centre, while the Conservative Party can be described as a right-wing party. All three parties try to win as much support as they can, therefore they are not particularly extreme and tend to stay towards the centre of politics. All three parties support the ideas of freedom and democracy. Democracy has been successful in Britain for many years. However, there are extreme groups in Britain on both the left and right wing. These groups are not particularly popular and do not have any seats in Parliament. In Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, proportional representation meant that even small, extreme parties won seats, even if they wanted to end freedom and democracy for ordinary people. On the far left-wing were the Communists who wanted to overthrow the government and create an equal society as had been tried in Russia in 1917. On the far right-wing were the Nationalists and the Nazis who wanted to scrap democracy and replace it with the rule of a one-man dictatorship. Between 1919-1923 Communists (e.g. the Spartacists in 1919 in Berlin and the Communists in Bavaria also in 1919) and Nationalists (e.g. the Freikorps under Wolfgang Kapp in 1920, and the Nazis in Munich in 1923) tried to destroy the democratic Weimar Republic, but both groups failed. Between 1924-1933 the extremists tried to win popular support through elections instead. Using clever propaganda, and preying on people’s fears, both the Communists and the Nazis were very popular by the 1930s.

The Treaty of Versailles
Europe had been drawn up into two armed camps by the beginning of the second decade of the C.20th. Each Great Power in Europe sought to gain pre-eminence and this caused great tensions and jealousy. Throughout the period 1900-1914 there were a series of crises that could have sparked a major war. When Archduke Franz-Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was assassinated by a Serb nationalist in Sarajevo in 1914 this acted as a catalyst for a wider conflict. The Great Powers of the two armed camps pledged to support each other and Europe was plunged into a war. The two sides were: The Triple Alliance - Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy The Triple Entente - France, Russia and Great Britain. Many other countries were involved, including Japan and the USA (after 1917). The Empires of the Great Powers were also involved, this caused the war to widen into a World War.

The suffering of the participants in the Great War was so appalling, that when the war came to an end in November 1918, many hoped never to repeat such an experience again, and a mood of pacifism grew in the 1920s. France had suffered particularly badly in the war, so when the diplomats met at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, their representatives, led by Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, pledged to make Germany pay. Britain, led by Prime Minister David Lloyd-George, was more sympathetic to Germany. Lloyd-George realised that if Germany was harshly punished this would cause great resentment amongst the Germans and could cause tensions in the future. He believed that a strong Germany would be a good trading partner for Britain, and that a healthy German economy would prevent the rise of extremist political groups such as Communists or Fascists. On the other hand Lloyd-George had to listen to British public opinion which was calling for Germany to be 'squeezed until the pips squeak!' The other great victorious power was the USA. Led by President Woodrow Wilson, the Americans had no great desire to punish the Germans. In January 1918 Wilson had proposed his Fourteen Points, which was a blueprint for a fair peace settlement at the end of the war. One of its main points was the idea of a League of Nations that would try to prevent major wars through negotiation. Wilson did not wish to punish the Germans, but at the Peace Conference Clemenceau and Lloyd-George overruled him.

There were a number of treaties that dealt with Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey. Each was severely punished. The Treaty of Versailles was the peace settlement with Germany; it was very harsh. In effect Germany had to: - accept blame for starting the war - lose all of its colonies - lose most of its army, navy and all its airforce - lose huge territories in Europe - pay reparations of £6.6 billion. The Germans hated the Treaty of Versailles and throughout the 1920s and 1930s her politicians tried to reverse the terms of the treaty. In the 1920s Hitler and the Nazis gained support as they promised to reverse the treaty. In the 1930s when the Nazis were in power, Hitler set about reversing these terms. Britain believed that Hitler should be allowed to do this. The policy of letting the Germans take back their lands and building their armed services, with a vague promise of future good behaviour, was called Appeasement. Britain also appeased Italy and Japan. Italy joined Britain and France in 1915 after territorial gains were promised to the Italians if they fought against the Germans. In 1919 Italy gained very little and felt snubbed. Japan had fought alongside Britain in the First World War but was snubbed by the Great Powers in 1919. Both Italy and Japan faced economic problems in the 1920s and were dominated by right-wing extreme governments. To solve their problems both countries set about creating empires. Britain and France let them get away with this, as they were not prepared to start a major war.

The Weimar Republic 1919-1933 A new democracy – the Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the term used to describe the German democratic republic that lasted from 1919 until 1933. The republic was established after workers and troops revolted in early 1918 against the government's refusal to end the First World War. On November 9, Kaiser Wilhelm II fled the country and a provisional (temporary) government was formed by Friedrich Ebert. The new parliament met in Weimar, in February 1919 and drew up a constitution that established Germany as a democracy. There were two houses of parliament, the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. Ebert was elected first president of the new republic.

Although the Weimar Republic was democratic it was weak and unpopular with many Germans. The Weimar Republic had too many political parties and weak coalitions did not seem to last long. It was blamed for surrendering to the Allies in 1918 and was associated with defeat by many who believed that Germany should have continued to fight after November 1918. Political extremists such as the Communists (left wing e.g. Spartacists, in 1919) and the Nationalists (right wing e.g. the Kapp Putsch, 1920) tried to seize power from the Weimar Republic. The Weimar Republic had to deal with severe economic problems in 1923 during the Ruhr Crisis and after the Wall St. Crash of 1929.

The Ruhr Crisis 1923
World War I had left Germany with many economic, social, and political problems. In addition to enduring high inflation and a large national debt, Germans were deeply embittered by the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles, signed in June 1919, which formally ended the war. The treaty called for German disarmament and huge reparation payments to the Allies. Unable to meet the payments, Germany's currency collapsed and the German people suffered large financial losses. In January 1923 French and Belgian forces occupied Germany's main industrial region, the Ruhr, claiming that Germany had stopped making reparation deliveries. German workers were encouraged to strike in protest at the French and Belgian occupation. The result was a period of hyperinflation when the German mark became worthless. Many Germans were desperate by 1923 and were ready to support extremists such as the Nazis or the Communists. The Munich Putsch or Beer Hall Putsch 1923 This was a short-lived rebellion started by Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler, which began in Munich on November 8, 1923. Hitler planned to make the veteran general Erich Ludendorff a dictator. He kidnapped the leader of the Bavarian government, declared a revolution, and the next day marched on Munich. Police crushed the rebellion, shot 16 of the 3,000 Nazi party demonstrators dead, and arrested Hitler, who served nine months in prison. Hitler used his time in Landsberg prison to write ‘Mein Kampf’ (My Struggle). This set out Hitler’s beliefs for the future of Germany and many people read it and were fooled by its false promises.

Gustav Stresemann
Gustav Stresemann became Chancellor in 1923, and was Foreign Secretary from 1923 to 1929. He dominated German politics in the 1920s and helped to stabilise the country. In 1924 the Allies made it easier for Germany to pay reparations through the Dawes Plan. The USA agreed to lend money to Germany. Germany used this money to pay reparations to France, Britain and Belgium. These three

countries used reparations money to pay back the USA what they had borrowed to fight the First World War.

The Dawes


Plan 1924


War Loans


Britain and France

In October 1925, Stresemann signed the Locarno Pact with France and Belgium. Germany agreed never again to challenge its borders with France and Belgium. The Allies withdrew their occupation forces from the Ruhr and in 1926 Germany was elected to the League of Nations, an international alliance for the preservation of peace. War hero General Paul von Hindenburg was elected as the second president of the republic. A new currency, the Reichsmark, was established and an impressive economic recovery began. In 1929 the Young Plan extended the German reparation payments over another 59 years. Germany seemed to be on the road to recovery, Berlin became the pleasure capital of Europe and extreme political groups such as the Communists and the Nazis lost support. The Weimar Republic appeared to be working.

The Wall Street Crash 1929
Streseman died in 1929 and a world wide economic depression began with the Wall Street Crash in 1929, throwing the Weimar Republic into crisis. The value of shares dropped dramatically forcing businesses all over the world to go bust. Six million Germans were made unemployed by 1932. Extreme groups became popular again. Reichstag elections held in September 1930 made the Nazis the second-largest party, their support growing as the Depression deepened. In the elections of July 1932, the Nazis became the largest party in the Reichstag. Hindenburg was persuaded to bring Hitler into the government, with conservative politicians believing they could control Hitler in a coalition government. Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor on January 30, 1933. Hitler soon abolished the office of president and declared himself Führer (leader) of the Third Reich, bringing to an end the Weimar Republic.

The President
Elected every seven years

The Chancellor
Appointed by the President from the Reichstag. The person chosen as Chancellor had to have a majority of seats in the Reichstag

Article 48
In an emergency the President could make

The Houses of Parliament The Reichstag
The Lower House. Each member was elected by the German people through proportional representation. If a party got a fifth of all the votes it would get a fifth of the seats.

The Reichsrat
The Upper House. Each state of Germany e.g. Bavaria or Prussia would send representatives.

The German People
All adults over 20 had the democratic right to vote for members of the Reichstag. They enjoyed freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of belief and freedom from arbitrary arrest for the first time in Germany’s history.

The States
Each German state kept its own government, but they had little power. National laws overruled local state laws.

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