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Living in the Weimar Republic

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Living in the Weimar Republic - Lesson Summary

The years 1918 and 1919 were a significant period in German history marking important events like the German revolution of 1918, defeat in world war one, abdication of Emperor Wilhelm and the birth of the Weimar republic.

The Weimar Republic, established in 1919, replaced the imperial government and formed a parliament called the Reichstag.

The Weimar signed a peace treaty of Versailles which made things very difficult for the budding republic making them struggle to meet the terms. Socialists, Catholics and Democrats who supported the republic were ridiculed and called the November criminals.

Infighting began between different political groups most popular being the Spartacist League – a group of radical socialists. The Weimar Republic crushed the Spartacist uprising with the help of a group of war veterans called the Free Corps. The dejected Sparatacist league then formed the Communist Party of Germany. The Weimar Republic faced an economic crisis in 1923 when they were unable to pay the war damages. To combat the situation, the Weimar printed extra currency notes. This resulted in hyperinflation causing a fall in the value of the German Mark.

The Americans aided Germany through the Dawes plan but the support was withdrawn in 1929 when the Wall Street Exchange crashed.

On 24 October 1929, referred to as Black Thursday, 13 million shares were sold at the Wall Street Exchange.

The world had entered the Great Depression in 1929 and as Germany was dependent on US money it was severely hit with this economic crisis. In 1933, the Weimar Republic finally collapsed paving the way for Hitler’s Nazi Party to take control of Germany.

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