to what extent was the treaty of versailles the main reason for the collapse of the ?

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loveofmylovebot
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i need help with this 20 marker we got for a-level history ‘to what extent was the treaty of versailles the main reason for the collapse of the weimar republic?’ my other two discussion points are gonna be the depression and the role of hitler but i’m struggling with the justification and analysis 😭
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Reddy5001
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my history is a bit rusty so apologies if I get any part of this wrong but you could argue that it was partially as it limited Germany and was viewed negatively as a stab in the back by the politicians. The depression massively contributed to the fall of the Weimar Republic as well as the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. You could also possibly bring in the role of Hindenburg as well as the electoral system which favoured coalitions and contributed to not much being done during the Weimar era. I'd definitely recommend checking with your history teacher if unsure. As for analysis and justification, I'd just say explain a little bit about each point and say why it contributed but also say stuff like to a larger extent to show ranking and judgement if that makes sense
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RetroSPECT3.0
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(Original post by loveofmylovebot)
i need help with this 20 marker we got for a-level history ‘to what extent was the treaty of versailles the main reason for the collapse of the weimar republic?’ my other two discussion points are gonna be the depression and the role of hitler but i’m struggling with the justification and analysis 😭
First, what exam board are you doing, just out of interest?

I did a similar question but it was about Hitler becoming Chancellor (I do OCR), but is ultimately the same thing. Firstly, The Great Depression and the Nazi strengths are great ones, but if you could, talk about the Weimar Republic itself, and the overall disillusionment. I would err on the side of caution about writing a WHOLE paragraph on the Depression as it's something you can simply pepper into your other paragraphs, and you need to judge whether or not 4 paras (ToV, Weimar disillusionment, Nazis, and Depression) is doable, at a critical level in the time you get in your exams- you will be better off doing 3, in-depth.

For the Treaty of Versailles, there are tonnes you could talk about, as it initiated the Weimar Constitution in the first place and you could argue whether or not it was "doomed".

Some key points: The Treaty of Versailles resulted in the Weimar Democracy being formed and therefore, the weaknesses of the constitution (proportional representation, anti-Bismarckian ideology, etc). You could also say how the reparations worsened Germany's economic situation (both in 1923 and the great depression) causing people to become desperate, and discontented with the government- do ensure you do some wider reading to consolidate your knowledge and evidence as well!

For the other factors, like the role of Hitler, you can talk about his role in forming and building up the party. You could talk about his methods of fear (SA and SS quashing opposition) and persuasion (propaganda, concessions like 'Arbeit und Brot/work and bread', the influence of Goebbels) working together to gain him support, and definitely talk about the elections. I can't remember off the top of my head, but I believe it was 1932 where his seats in the Reichstag peaked? You can say that this led to Weimar's downfall because, people, amidst the desperation of the Great Depression, (again, adding in some facts about say, unemployment) would likely vote for radical parties, such as the Nazis, so this resulted in Hitler becoming popular, having signed the Political Deal, and becoming Chancellor, signaling the collapse and end of the Weimar Democracy- something like that

And maybe a similar thing with Weimar Disillusionment, particularly after the GREAT DEPRESSION- general weakness in dealing with uprisings like the Kapp Putsch and the Spartacist revolt and, although some promising recovery from 1923-28 thanks to Gustav Stresemann (where of course you'll be expected to give in some facts and evidence), it went downhill after 1929- some examples could be the Young Plan loans drying up, political instability (Bruning/Muller's government, dissatisfaction due to decisions on unemployment, etc). So again, you can sort of see how this incentivises people to vote for radical parties (namely the Nazis), which in turn, results in the Weimar gov collapsing and Hitler's government rising?

With these points, do you see how the Great Depression was integrated and linked into each of these factors, rather than writing a whole paragraph? You can mention how the GD was an undercurrent for the collapse of Weimar, and plus, this saves you time in an exam!

As for justification, that's really down to your own judgement. In the conclusion, you should state a reason why factor x is the most important and why factor y and z aren't as important. There's no right answer to this, so long as you justify it well! You could argue it was the Treaty of Versailles because it initiated the Weimar Constitution in the first place and its downfall was played like a chain of events. Or it could be the role of Hitler, because he managed to restructure and legalise his party after 1924, and exploited the weaknesses of Weimar and the impact of the Great Depression to come to power? It's really down to your opinion, but this will come to you the more you practise essays.

Another thing is to KEEP COMPARING throughout! Don't just say "One important factor is (ToV)/ Another important factor is (role of Hitler)", actively state whether this factor is more or less important than the factor in the question: so, something like "ToV was the most important factor because...", "The role of Hitler was also important due to... however not as important (or more important)."

Feel free to PM for any further questions

Hope this helps, and good luck with your essay!
Last edited by RetroSPECT3.0; 1 month ago
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