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The Weimar Republic was a short-lived democratic government of Germany, which began in 1919 and ended in 1933. Despite its notable achievements with a few national policies, its inability to address socio-political weaknesses contributed to its collapse.
See the fact file below for more information on the Weimar Republic and the Stresemann Era or alternatively, you can download our 21-page WWI: The Weimar Republic and the Stresemann Era worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- In 1871, 25 independent states unified as one under the new German Empire.
- From 1888 to 1918, Wilhelm II was the Kaiser of Germany and King of Prussia. He inherited the throne from his father, Prince Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia and Princess Victoria of England.
- Two years after his coronation, Wilhelm broke away from German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck and began to control German politics under his New Course.
- Democracy was introduced to Germany in 1871 and the German Parliament, the Reichstag, was established. Despite the Kaiser’s ambition for absolute rule, various political parties emerged representing different groups including workers, Catholics, Protestants, and states like Bavaria.
- Initially, the Reichstag had 382 members; in 1874, the number had grown to 397. Representatives were first elected every three years; in 1888, terms were extended to five years.
- In 1916, the Chancellor and Reichstag implemented a ‘Silent Dictatorship.’ They imposed food rationing and compulsory labor among adult men and seized control of the press.
- The Armistice of November 11, 1918, ended the conflict between the Allies and Germany, thereby ending WWI. It was prolonged three times until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, and took effect on January 10, 1920.
- Aside from the loss of territory, the Treaty of Versailles also stipulated control of the German military and abolition of the Air Force.
- By 1918, support for the Kaiser had totally collapsed and an uprising in Belgium took him by surprise. The emergence of the German Revolution caused him to abdicate on November 9, 1918, when it became clear that only Friedrich Ebert, leader of the SPD, could effectively exert control of Germany. Wilhelm went into exile in the Netherlands.
STRUCTURE OF THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC
- The Weimar Republic operated a Parliamentary Republic system of government, which was headed by the executive branch, the President, but accountable to the legislature. The head of state was the President, while the head of the government was called a prime minister.
- On August 11, 1919, President Ebert signed the Weimar Constitution into law. The Constitution contained 181 articles encompassing the rights of the German people and structure of the Reich or German state as a Republic.
- During Weimar Germany, political parties gained considerable power, especially those who dominated Parliament. The concept of left-wing and right-wing politics emerged. Party sides were then identified through initials on their seats.
- The left wing of the Weimar Republic was composed of the Communists (KPD) and Social Democrats (SPD). They were strong supporters of taxation, welfare programs, labor unions, and equality for women. Unlike the right, they were less militaristic and anti-semitic. However, the KPD believed in the Republic, while the SPD favored Russian Communism.
- The right wing was comprised of the German Nationalist Party (DNVP) and National Socialist Party (NSDAP-Nazi) who were extremely nationalistic and believed in the capability of a large army. They also favored industrialism controlled by large estates. Moreover, they supported the role of religion and the traditional role of women.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
- Democracy. Every four years, all Germans over 20 could vote for the members of Parliament and President.
- Reichstag. Unlike the tsarist regime, the Reichstag body was created to appoint members of the government and made all laws.
- Bill of Rights. Freedom of religion, speech, and equality under the law were given to all German citizens.
- Proportional Representation. The same percentage of seats in Parliament as the percentage of votes, which made passage of laws difficult for small parties.
- Article 48. In case of emergency, the President had the power to enact laws without Parliament’s approval.
THE STRESEMANN ERA
- Gustav Stresemann was born on May 10, 1878, in Berlin, Germany. He became the German Chancellor in 1923 for three months and then Foreign Minister until his death in 1929. Stresemann was credited with restoring Germany’s status on the world stage after WWI.
- In 1926, he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his reconciliation efforts.
- In 1918, after the signing of the Armistice, Stresemann formed the German People’s Party. He was elected to the National Assembly and became one of the architects of the new Constitution.
- In 1920, he was elected to the Reichstag, serving for the next three years, before becoming the Chancellor on August 13 to November 23, 1923.
- Despite the impending failure of the Weimar government, Stresemann was regarded as the man who bridged the old and new Germany.
- In order to stabilize the economy, Stresemann introduced a new currency based on the value of all German land and assets. The Rentenmark replaced the old mark. In contrast to the old mark, printing of the new currency was limited, which increased its value and brought back confidence in the German economy.
- Among the accomplishments during the Stresemann Era were the Dawes Plan in 1924 and the Young Plan in 1929. The Locarno Pact and Kellogg-Briand Pact, in 1925 and 1928 respectively, reopened Germany to other nations.
- The Kellogg–Briand Pact was an international agreement in which signatories agreed not to use war as a means to resolve disputes or conflicts. Those who failed to uphold the agreement would be denied the benefits offered by the treaty.
- Moreover, in order to attain economic stability, Stresemann called off the passive resistance of the Ruhr, began the renegotiation with France and Belgium, and limited the production of new currency.
WWI: The Weimar Republic and the Stresemann Era Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Weimar Republic and the Stresemann Era across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use WWI: The Weimar Republic and the Stresemann Era worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Weimar Republic which was a short-lived democratic government of Germany, which began in 1919 and ended in 1933. Despite its notable achievements with a few national policies, its inability to address socio-political weaknesses contributed to its collapse.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- WWI: The Weimar Republic and the Stresemann Era Facts
- Structure of the Republic
- The Strese Man
- Treaty Mapping
- Under the Constitution
- The Great Depression
- Weimar Glossary
- Behind the Truths
- German Government
- Weimar in Time
- Republic to the Nazis
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Link will appear as WWI: The Weimar Republic and the Stresemann Era Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 30, 2019
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