Germany (weimar notes)

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Germany – Summary Notes

Weimer Republic

Emergence of the Democratic Republic:

• On 2 October 1918, the Reichstag was told that Germany could not win the war. This was a shock to the German people who were led to believe that they would win.
• The Allies demanded that the defeated Germans have a democracy before peace could be discussed, and that meant that the Kaiser had to abdicate. He refused to.
• The German revolution started at Kiel, where there was a mutiny in the navy. Workers and soldiers soon followed their example and the revolution spread. The Independent Socialist (USPD) set up a republic in Bavaria and Saxony.
• On 9 November, the revolution came to Berlin and Kaiser Wilhelm finally agreed to abdicate after being told the army was longer at his command.
• Power was now handed over to the Majority Socialists (SPD) and their leader, Friedrich Ebert became chancellor.
• Ebert wanted now to maintain law and order, but the extreme left wing socialists, the Spartacists wanted a revolution on the Russian Model.
• Philip Scheidemann, a prominent Majority Socialist was in the Reichstag when he heard that a Spartacist leader, Karl Liebknecht, was going to call for a Russian-style Soviet republic. Scheidemann then quickly ran to the Reichstag balcony and proclaimed a new republic, with Ebert as chancellor, and said that the army agreed with this.
• Ebert was furious at this because he wanted a constitutional monarchy but it was too late. The Weimer Republic was now formed, almost by accident.
• On the evening of 9 November, Ebert received a phone call from General Groener, the commander of the army. Groener wanted support for the officer corps and in return, the army would support the republic in resisting left-wing extremists. Ebert agreed.
• To enforce law and order, irregular volunteer companies known as Friekorps were established to defend Germany against communism. They killed thousands of suspected communists.
• On 19 January 1919,

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