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Weimar Germany Essay

2944 words - 12 pages

"The Weimar Republic was a victim of political chaos and economic failure." discuss.
During 1919 The Weimar Republic was in a state of disrepair after the First World War. Wilhelm II, the Kaiser of Germany fled after the defeat they suffered during the war. The leaders of the army Hindenburg and Ludendorff also handed the control of the army over to chancellor, Prince Max of Baden. Prince Max passed a number of reforms to help improve the state of the new republic. Prince Max gave all control to the Provisional Government lead by the socialist, Friedrich Ebert. As the Kaiser has fled and both leaders of the German army had stood down, they were now seen as the heroes and all of the blame ...view middle of the document...

The revolution from above occured in August 1918 when the Allies begun to drive Germany back on the Western Front, Germany's allies surrender and by September Ludendorff knew that defeat was inevitable and a liberal government would have better prospects of negotiating peace with the Western allies. The majority parties of the government were forced to form a reforming government under Prince Max of Baden and to create new reforms that became known as the October reforms. The October reforms stated that the army was to come under control of the government rather than the Kaiser, The ministers of the government because responsible for the Reichstag (German Parliament) and that a more democratic voting system would now be used. This revolution from above was forced by the Pruissian Establishment. The Reformers were now left to pick up the pieces that were left of Germany and take the blame for the war defeat and the signing of the Treaty of Versallies. Due to this the Weimar Republic fell into more political chaos as nobody supported the new leaders, they wanted justice for the war defeat and the Weimar government and Ebert were expected to take all of this blame.
Revolutions from below were also suffered by the Weimar government, these revolutions showed the magnitude of the hatred felt for the new government. There were a huge number of revolutions from below, the first took place in early November. The Royal Navy mutinied, the formed soviets (workers', soldiers' and sailors' councils). This idea quickly spread and Communist lead groups soon begun to form and take power of different areas. This revolt caused more political unreast as the popularity of the Communists grew and the government quickly wanted to squash these extremist groups. They politcal chaos in Weimar at this time made it almost impossible for Ebert to gain the trust and support of the people of the Weimar Republic.
The Spartacus Union, a left-wing party, led by Karl Liebknechy and Rosa Luxemburg was one of the most radical of proto-communists. They has campaigned for organised resistance to the war since the early days and now supported a violent revolution to overthrow the government. In January 1919 they attempted to overturn the Weimar government by using violent force. Liebknecht believe the the only way to do so was by an armed seizure of power. The Spartacus Union took control of a number of significant building in Berlin setting up machine guns on street corners. The Republic's Minister of Defence knew he had to do something quickly and turned to the Freikorps(volunteers from the old army) to extinguish the rising of the Spartacus Union. The Spartacists never stood a chance against the Freikorps and the revolt was trampled in a feast of violence. Both leaders of Spartacists were brutally killed. It appeared the Republic and Ebert had survived such a strong uprising, but of course there were a number of implications. The Social Democrats were never forgiven by the...

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