atlantis792
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Hi, I'm doing an essay on the extent of the Treaty of Versailles in causing political instability, but I'd like to mention the Weimar Constitution causing political instability as a counter-argument. Could someone please help with examples
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PetitePanda
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You could talk about how both the left and right didn't really achieve anything expect the Kapp Putsch. The Sparticist Uprising didn't do anything and they killed the leaders of it but it also created the Ebert-Groner Pact weakening Ebert's control over the Imperial German Army, which is evident in the Kapp Putsch when they didn't want to involve themselves in it. The Munich Putsch didn't do anything as well since it didn't overthrow the government and lots of Nazis got shot but then again it did help Hitler rise to power through his arrest. The Kapp Putsch did achieve short term because they actually took over Berlin and Ebert had to flee but they got the government back though
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CoolCavy
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I have some alevel history notes on this I can dig out for you if you would like
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Michael24678
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Hi
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atlantis792
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
I have some alevel history notes on this I can dig out for you if you would like
Yes please
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atlantis792
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(Original post by PetitePanda)
You could talk about how both the left and right didn't really achieve anything expect the Kapp Putsch. The Sparticist Uprising didn't do anything and they killed the leaders of it but it also created the Ebert-Groner Pact weakening Ebert's control over the Imperial German Army, which is evident in the Kapp Putsch when they didn't want to involve themselves in it. The Munich Putsch didn't do anything as well since it didn't overthrow the government and lots of Nazis got shot but then again it did help Hitler rise to power through his arrest. The Kapp Putsch did achieve short term because they actually took over Berlin and Ebert had to flee but they got the government back though
Omg i'm sorry i meant to say that the Weimar Constitution caused political instability - but what you've written is useful
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Alexty28
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Main problems with the Deutsches Reich (Weimar Republic) Constitution:
- Article 48 Gave President emergency powers to rule by decree and suspend civil rights. Power was abused- President Ebert used it 63 times between 1923-24. And President Hindenburg used it over 100 times between 1930-32.
- Article 25 Allowed the president to suspend the Reichstag. Similar issue to Article 48.
- Electoral System Germany had proportional representation with an incredibly low threshold (0.4% of the vote, 60,000 votes to gain a seat). Made it nearly impossible for a party to gain a majority in the Reichstag and extremist parties could gain seats easily.
- Chancellor The Chancellor was chosen by the President (not the people) and therefore could be used for political advantage. Hindenburg chose Hitler after him and Von Papen believed they could control Hitler. The Reichstag could also remove the Chancellor from office even if it was unable to agree on a successor. I.e. 1932 Enabling Act.
- Constitutional Laws 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.
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PetitePanda
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
I have some alevel history notes on this I can dig out for you if you would like
If you dig them out, could I also get access to them, if you don't mind?
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CoolCavy
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(Original post by atlantis792)
Yes please
(Original post by PetitePanda)
If you dig them out, could I also get access to them, if you don't mind?
Hey, sorry for the late reply - my old laptop broke so i had to transfer all my files onto this one
I have quite a lot about the weimar republic but i've picked the bits out about the actual government and constitution as well as the treaty of versailles. If either of you require any more i'm happy to paste that as well i have stuff about the SPD, Stresseman, Threats to political stability etc.



• Establishment of a new Weimar Government:
Ebert's Coalition Government:
-Socialist movement had different aims and ideas so there was a lack of unity in the coalition
-German society in a state of near collapse
-Leading political leaders had little room to manoeuvre, hasty and difficult decisions made
-9th November 1918 = Ebert created a provisional coalition (short term until a national election was held to vote for parliament). Was a coalition as it was a combination of parties, the SPD and the USPD
-Ebert (a moderate) concerned that the extreme left would gain the upper hand
-Recognised the growing number of 'worker's councils' and feared they might threaten his policy of gradual change
-He was determined to maintain law and order but was concerned that the return of millions of troops would create social and economic problems
-Were the main concerns in mind when Ebert and the SPD made agreements with the army and industrialists

Ebert-Groener Agreement (10th November 1918):
-General Wilhelm Groener (Ludendorff's successor)
-Telephone conversation between Ebert and Groener
-The Supreme Army Command agreed to support the new government and to use troops to maintain stability if in return Ebert agreed to oppose the spread of revolutionary socialism and preserve the authority of army officers


Stinnes-Legien Agreement (15th November 1918):
-Karl Legien (trade union leader) and Hugo Stinnes (leader of industrial employers) held a discussion
-A deal where the trade unions made a commitment not to interfere with private ownership and free markets. In return for worker's committees, and 8-hour working day and full legal recognition
-Ebert's government endorsed this because the trade unions were a powerful movement and closely tied to the SPD
-Brought about some key, long term reforms
-However Ebert has been criticised by the left wing of having supported compromise with conservatism
-Army was not reformed at all and not really committed to democracy
-Employers resented the concessions and were unsympathetic to the Weimar system
-Counterargument is that Ebert just wanted to guarantee stability and a peaceful transition



  • The Constitution:
Head of State
-President
-Had to be 35 or over
-Elected by men and women aged 20 and above every 7 years
-Could be re-elected
-Could appoint and dismiss the Chancellor and other ministers
-Could dissolve the Reichstag
-Could rule without the Reichstag in times of emergency (Article 48)

Reichstag (Parliament)
-Elected by all men and women aged 20 or over
-New laws required the approval of a majority of Reichstag deputies
-Reichstag could overrule the Reichsrat by a two-thirds majority
-The Chancellor and other ministers were responsible to the Reichstag – a vote of no confidence would force resignation

States
-The Constitution begins 'The German People'
-Reichsrat replaced Bundersrat and still represented the German states but had less power
-Reichsrat could be overhauled by the Reichstag or by a referendum
-Everyone aged 20 and above could vote in state elections
-Power to the people not the king

Civil Liberties
-'All Germans are equal before the law'
-Social rights included freedom to travel and live throughout Germany


Strengths of the Constitution for the Republic:
-Men and Women over 20 had the right to vote (equal and far ahead of other European countries)
-Elections for the Reichsrat held every 4 years
-The head of state (the president) was elected by the people (democratic)
-The Chancellor was responsible for the day-to-day running of the country. He needed to have the support of half the Reichsrat to pass laws
-The Reichsrat was elected using proportional representation (more democratic as each party is equal)
-A bill of rights guaranteed freedom of speech and religion for every German citizen under the law
-Voting more democratic (not based on wealth)

Weaknesses of the Constitution for the Republic:
-Article 48 gave the president emergency powers to rule under his own terms in an 'emergency'. Effectively allowed a dictatorship.
-Proportional representation allowed lots of small parties to win seats in the Reichsrat. Since no one party had an overall majority, coalition governments had to be formed (weak and hard to pass laws due to disagreements)
-Many government officials were rightwing and wanted to destroy the Republic
-The army led by the rightwing general Hans Von Seeckt was not fully under the government's control. Failed to support the government during the Kapp Putsch


Post-War Political Problems:
Treaty of Versailles:
1)Territory:
-Eupen-Malmedy subject to a plebiscite. Districts of Eupen and Malmedy to be handed to Belgium.
-Germany to return Alsace-Lorraine to France
-Northern Schleswig subject to a plebiscite. To be handed over by Germany
-West Prussia and Posen to be surrendered by Germany. Separated East Prussia from Germany (formed the Polish Corridor)
-Upper Silesia would hold a plebiscite. Divided between Poland and Germany
-Danzig and Memel made international free cities under the control of the League of Nations
-The union of Austria and Germany (Anschluss) forbidden
-All major rivers to be open for all nations and to be run by international commissions
-German colonies to be distributed by 'mandates'. Britain took responsibility for German East Africa

2)War Guilt:
-Germany forced to sign the war guilt clause
-This meant that they had to accept the blame for causing the war and therefore responsibility for all losses and damages

3)Reparations:
-Reparations sum to be fixed later by the Inter-Allied Reparations Commission
-1921 sum fixed at £6600 million
-Germany to make substantial payments e.g. coal
-Saar to be under the control of the League until 1935 (plebiscite after). Until then all coal from the Saar given to France
-Loss of coal = %15
-Loss of iron ore = %48

4)Disarmament:
-Abolish conscription
-Reduce it's army to 100,000
-No tanks or guns allowed
-Rhineland was demilitarised from the French frontier
-No military aircraft
-Navy limited to 6 battleships, 6 cruisers, 12 destroyers, 12 torpedo boats
-No submarines


Impact (German Viewpoint):
-The whole of Weimar Germany agreed that the treaty's terms were 'unfair'
-Was described by Germans as a 'Diktat'
-Treaty was considered to be very different from Wilson's 14 points
-Germans couldn't understand why the policy of self-determination was not applied to them in a number of cases
-Many 'German areas' such as the Sudentenland and Austria were placed under foreign rule rather than self-determination
-Loss of German colonies not in line with Wilson's 5th point 'an impartial adjustment of all colonial claims'. Instead they were passed on to the care of the allies
-Germans found it impossible to accept the war guilt clause (the allies justification for reparations)
-Most Germans argued that Germany could not be held solely responsible for the war the war and were convinced they had been fighting a defensive war against encirclement
-Germany considered the allied demands for such high reparations as 'totally unreasonable'
-The exact amount of reparations was to be decided later by the IARC which Germans viewed as effectively signing a 'Blank Cheque'
-Disarmament seen as unfair as only Germany was forced to disarm (unilateral disarmament) whilst Britain and France remained highly armed
-Germany viewed their treatment as 'undignified' and 'unworthy of a great power'


Impact (Balanced Viewpoint):
-In Britain at the time there was a growing sympathy for Germany's position
-However in France the treaty was condemned as being too lenient
-After WWII a more balanced view of the treaty started to emerge. Recent historians view the treaty more sympathetically
-At the conference allied statesmen motivated by their own self interests, however it was the situation created by the war that shaped the terms of the agreement, not just anti-German feelings
-Aims and objectives of the Allies differed and was complicated by circumstances at the time
-Paris Peace conference not just solely concerned with Germany
-Other problems to deal with e.g. Britain needed to deal with the situation in the middle east and the General threat of the Bolsheviks
-Treaty was a compromise, not solely based on Wilson's 14 points like Germany had hoped but was not as severe either as some allies such as Clemenceau had wanted
-Application of self-determination was not as unfair as Germany believed
-Alsace-Lorraine would have voted to return to France anyway as they were French originally
-Plebiscites were held in Schleswig, Silesia and parts of Prussia to decide their future
-Polish corridor was the result of Wilson's promise to provide Poland with access to the sea
-Eastern frontier had a mixed ethnic makeup, not just Germans
-Austria and the Sudentenland never a part of Germany anyway
-Germany never physically occupied so didn't sustain as much damage as France
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PetitePanda
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
Hey, sorry for the late reply - my old laptop broke so i had to transfer all my files onto this one
I have quite a lot about the weimar republic but i've picked the bits out about the actual government and constitution as well as the treaty of versailles. If either of you require any more i'm happy to paste that as well i have stuff about the SPD, Stresseman, Threats to political stability etc.



• Establishment of a new Weimar Government:
Ebert's Coalition Government:
-Socialist movement had different aims and ideas so there was a lack of unity in the coalition
-German society in a state of near collapse
-Leading political leaders had little room to manoeuvre, hasty and difficult decisions made
-9th November 1918 = Ebert created a provisional coalition (short term until a national election was held to vote for parliament). Was a coalition as it was a combination of parties, the SPD and the USPD
-Ebert (a moderate) concerned that the extreme left would gain the upper hand
-Recognised the growing number of 'worker's councils' and feared they might threaten his policy of gradual change
-He was determined to maintain law and order but was concerned that the return of millions of troops would create social and economic problems
-Were the main concerns in mind when Ebert and the SPD made agreements with the army and industrialists

Ebert-Groener Agreement (10th November 1918):
-General Wilhelm Groener (Ludendorff's successor)
-Telephone conversation between Ebert and Groener
-The Supreme Army Command agreed to support the new government and to use troops to maintain stability if in return Ebert agreed to oppose the spread of revolutionary socialism and preserve the authority of army officers


Stinnes-Legien Agreement (15th November 1918):
-Karl Legien (trade union leader) and Hugo Stinnes (leader of industrial employers) held a discussion
-A deal where the trade unions made a commitment not to interfere with private ownership and free markets. In return for worker's committees, and 8-hour working day and full legal recognition
-Ebert's government endorsed this because the trade unions were a powerful movement and closely tied to the SPD
-Brought about some key, long term reforms
-However Ebert has been criticised by the left wing of having supported compromise with conservatism
-Army was not reformed at all and not really committed to democracy
-Employers resented the concessions and were unsympathetic to the Weimar system
-Counterargument is that Ebert just wanted to guarantee stability and a peaceful transition



  • The Constitution:
Head of State
-President
-Had to be 35 or over
-Elected by men and women aged 20 and above every 7 years
-Could be re-elected
-Could appoint and dismiss the Chancellor and other ministers
-Could dissolve the Reichstag
-Could rule without the Reichstag in times of emergency (Article 48)

Reichstag (Parliament)
-Elected by all men and women aged 20 or over
-New laws required the approval of a majority of Reichstag deputies
-Reichstag could overrule the Reichsrat by a two-thirds majority
-The Chancellor and other ministers were responsible to the Reichstag – a vote of no confidence would force resignation

States
-The Constitution begins 'The German People'
-Reichsrat replaced Bundersrat and still represented the German states but had less power
-Reichsrat could be overhauled by the Reichstag or by a referendum
-Everyone aged 20 and above could vote in state elections
-Power to the people not the king

Civil Liberties
-'All Germans are equal before the law'
-Social rights included freedom to travel and live throughout Germany


Strengths of the Constitution for the Republic:
-Men and Women over 20 had the right to vote (equal and far ahead of other European countries)
-Elections for the Reichsrat held every 4 years
-The head of state (the president) was elected by the people (democratic)
-The Chancellor was responsible for the day-to-day running of the country. He needed to have the support of half the Reichsrat to pass laws
-The Reichsrat was elected using proportional representation (more democratic as each party is equal)
-A bill of rights guaranteed freedom of speech and religion for every German citizen under the law
-Voting more democratic (not based on wealth)

Weaknesses of the Constitution for the Republic:
-Article 48 gave the president emergency powers to rule under his own terms in an 'emergency'. Effectively allowed a dictatorship.
-Proportional representation allowed lots of small parties to win seats in the Reichsrat. Since no one party had an overall majority, coalition governments had to be formed (weak and hard to pass laws due to disagreements)
-Many government officials were rightwing and wanted to destroy the Republic
-The army led by the rightwing general Hans Von Seeckt was not fully under the government's control. Failed to support the government during the Kapp Putsch


Post-War Political Problems:
Treaty of Versailles:
1)Territory:
-Eupen-Malmedy subject to a plebiscite. Districts of Eupen and Malmedy to be handed to Belgium.
-Germany to return Alsace-Lorraine to France
-Northern Schleswig subject to a plebiscite. To be handed over by Germany
-West Prussia and Posen to be surrendered by Germany. Separated East Prussia from Germany (formed the Polish Corridor)
-Upper Silesia would hold a plebiscite. Divided between Poland and Germany
-Danzig and Memel made international free cities under the control of the League of Nations
-The union of Austria and Germany (Anschluss) forbidden
-All major rivers to be open for all nations and to be run by international commissions
-German colonies to be distributed by 'mandates'. Britain took responsibility for German East Africa

2)War Guilt:
-Germany forced to sign the war guilt clause
-This meant that they had to accept the blame for causing the war and therefore responsibility for all losses and damages

3)Reparations:
-Reparations sum to be fixed later by the Inter-Allied Reparations Commission
-1921 sum fixed at £6600 million
-Germany to make substantial payments e.g. coal
-Saar to be under the control of the League until 1935 (plebiscite after). Until then all coal from the Saar given to France
-Loss of coal = %15
-Loss of iron ore = %48

4)Disarmament:
-Abolish conscription
-Reduce it's army to 100,000
-No tanks or guns allowed
-Rhineland was demilitarised from the French frontier
-No military aircraft
-Navy limited to 6 battleships, 6 cruisers, 12 destroyers, 12 torpedo boats
-No submarines


Impact (German Viewpoint):
-The whole of Weimar Germany agreed that the treaty's terms were 'unfair'
-Was described by Germans as a 'Diktat'
-Treaty was considered to be very different from Wilson's 14 points
-Germans couldn't understand why the policy of self-determination was not applied to them in a number of cases
-Many 'German areas' such as the Sudentenland and Austria were placed under foreign rule rather than self-determination
-Loss of German colonies not in line with Wilson's 5th point 'an impartial adjustment of all colonial claims'. Instead they were passed on to the care of the allies
-Germans found it impossible to accept the war guilt clause (the allies justification for reparations)
-Most Germans argued that Germany could not be held solely responsible for the war the war and were convinced they had been fighting a defensive war against encirclement
-Germany considered the allied demands for such high reparations as 'totally unreasonable'
-The exact amount of reparations was to be decided later by the IARC which Germans viewed as effectively signing a 'Blank Cheque'
-Disarmament seen as unfair as only Germany was forced to disarm (unilateral disarmament) whilst Britain and France remained highly armed
-Germany viewed their treatment as 'undignified' and 'unworthy of a great power'


Impact (Balanced Viewpoint):
-In Britain at the time there was a growing sympathy for Germany's position
-However in France the treaty was condemned as being too lenient
-After WWII a more balanced view of the treaty started to emerge. Recent historians view the treaty more sympathetically
-At the conference allied statesmen motivated by their own self interests, however it was the situation created by the war that shaped the terms of the agreement, not just anti-German feelings
-Aims and objectives of the Allies differed and was complicated by circumstances at the time
-Paris Peace conference not just solely concerned with Germany
-Other problems to deal with e.g. Britain needed to deal with the situation in the middle east and the General threat of the Bolsheviks
-Treaty was a compromise, not solely based on Wilson's 14 points like Germany had hoped but was not as severe either as some allies such as Clemenceau had wanted
-Application of self-determination was not as unfair as Germany believed
-Alsace-Lorraine would have voted to return to France anyway as they were French originally
-Plebiscites were held in Schleswig, Silesia and parts of Prussia to decide their future
-Polish corridor was the result of Wilson's promise to provide Poland with access to the sea
-Eastern frontier had a mixed ethnic makeup, not just Germans
-Austria and the Sudentenland never a part of Germany anyway
-Germany never physically occupied so didn't sustain as much damage as France
Thank you so much
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