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Explain Why Did Germany Suffer A Period Of Political…

Why did Germany suffer a period of political disorder from 1918 – 1923? In my controlled assessment I will discuss how and why Germany suffered a period of political disorder from 1918 – 1923. At the end of WW1 the Allies were willing to end the war in exchange for Germany becoming a democracy and signing a treaty. The Kaiser refused to sign the treaty but the government did sign it due to the introduction of the USA in the war, the blockade of waterways and the promise of a fair peace treaty. On November 1918 the Kaiser was forced to abdicate and left the country.

As a result of the signing of this treaty free elections took place but many felt it was a Diktat (a dictated peace) and because people knew what the Kaiser’s reign was like they wanted some security. The major outcome of this treaty was the Treaty of Versailles though; a systemic cause for many of the social, political and economic issues that plagued Germany and led to this period of disorder. Territory was taken away, reparations had to be paid and the army was reduced to 100,000 men leading to much uncertainty and instability after the Treaty of Versailles.

Other events separate to the Treaty include the Kapp Putsch and the Spartacist Uprising which put the Weimar Republic’s position into question. In this controlled assessment I will talk about how each of these issues affected political affairs and finally what was the main cause in the conclusion. Main Treaty of Versailles One of the major causes for the political disorder was the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty was designed to stunt Germany so that it was no longer a threat to the Allies shown through the points laid down at the Treaty; a far cry from promised Wilson’s 14 points and Germany able to take part in the talks.

There was much discontent in the public about the Weimar Republic agreeing to the Treaty since it put Germany in a bad position in almost every aspect and made the campaign in WW1 seem pointless. Many called the government ‘November Criminals’ for agreeing to the Treaty. An example of one of the points at the Treaty was that Germany had to pay 20 billion gold marks to the Allies. This seriously stunted the economic growth of Germany and led to a period of depression even before hyperinflation which happened in 1922.

The public felt the Treaty’s impact and were therefore discontent with it and wanted to vote for more extreme parties that would not listen to the Treaty. This meant the political landscape became more volatile. In Source 8 you can see how the German people viewed the Treaty, with this source focusing on the armament aspect of the treaty. The source is about how Germany was effectively in chains because it had no military response if it were invaded so therefore the German people were slaves to the Allies.

You can see this in the source where people are walking between barbed wire with gun shaped poles, a metaphor for how the German people were in chains since they had to comply otherwise there was a threat of force by the Allies. This consolidates my explanation as to why Germany suffered political disorder because some people thought the Treaty made Germany a slave to the Allies. In terms of reliability I don’t know the motive behind the source but it isn’t there to inform since there aren’t any facts in the poster.

Furthermore the stark picture created by the source could be seen as fear mongering so it’s possible there’s a hidden agenda by a political party or group, such as the Nazi party. Economic issues Another major issue that led to the political turmoil was economic issues namely hyperinflation that rendered the currency worthless. The main cause for hyperinflation was the invasion of the Ruhr by the French because Germany failed to pay back compensation to the Allies. The Ruhr was Germany’s main source of income, especially after much of its land was stripped away under the Treaty of Versailles.

As well as this the German mark was valued against precious metal and the Ruhr was a major mining area so it also acted as a way of keeping the value of the mark intact. When the French took the Ruhr away in 1922 the value of the currency dropped so much that it was practically worthless. For example in November 1923 there were 130 million DM’s to one US dollar. The government didn’t respond to the crisis well either by opting for quantitative easing to make the German public spend more and kick-startg the economy bu8t all this did was worsen the situation.

Therefore many in the public viewed the Weimar republic as incompetent for not dealing with the crisis well and also weak for not responding to the French invasion of the Ruhr. As a result many fed up Germans voted for parties that claimed to ‘get the job done’ by more drastic measures. Source 8 shows just how pointless and worthless the currency was in the time during hyperinflation. In the source he talks about how you had to barter to gain the items you wanted rather than pay for an item. You can see this in the source where it says ‘You went round and exchanged a pair of shoes for a shirt, or a pair of socks for a sack of potatoes’.

Since most people had to do the same as was described in the source many felt the government wasn’t doing enough and people lost support for the Weimar Republic leading to political discontent. Without any context I would say this source was from an extract in an interview with this German man since he’s talking about his real experiences. It is therefore a reliable source since it is a first-hand experience and most likely isn’t biased since it’s in the past tense so it was probably after the time of Great Hyperinflation. Political issues

The foundations of the political system were also a major cause for political instability. Two of the main problems were some of the constitutional points as well as the electoral system itself as well. In terms of the electoral system everyone’s vote was taken as a whole which meant that more parties could be in parliament and also allowed less mainstream and sometimes more extreme parties to enter parliament. Furthermore coalitions could happen leading to disagreements and therefore led to another premature vote.

In terms the constitution it wasn’t very robust with some subjective points (e. . when do you classify a national emergency? ). For example article 48 allowed Hitler to gain complete control over Germany and its armed forces after the Reichstag fire in February 27th 1933. This led to a lot of political uncertainty because there were more parties in parliament due to proportional representation leading to conflict and political disorder. In addition to this article 48 meant the president could effectively be a dictator so uncertainty about this article led to political disorder as well. Source A illustrates the weaknesses of the constitution as discussed previously.

This source is directly from the constitution and summarises some of the key points and weaknesses from it. For example article 48 is mentioned: ‘In the event that the public order and security are seriously disturbed or endangered, the Reich president may take measures for restoration, intervening, if necessary with the aid of the armed forces. ’ Since this can be interpreted differently it allows for events like the Reichstag fire allegedly caused by the Communists in 1933 to be a justification for a dictatorship which did actually happen.

Classifying a state of national emergency is subjective so it’s bound that there will be conflict in parliament about the meaning of this point in the constitution. This source is useful because it shows the constitution’s main points and also shows some of the points that could lead to political instability. In terms of its purpose I don’t know when it was created but from its content it was probably made to inform the public about the constitution. Furthermore it has no interpretations of the constitution so it’s unbiased. Social Issues Social unrest, namely the period of uprisings, were another cause for political instability.

Attempts to overthrow the government were unsuccessful but these extremist groups and terrorist groups’ messages were spread as a result and it also cast the Weimar Republic’s power into question since these attempts were very close to being successful. These revolutionary movements were known as the Spartacist Uprising, Kapp Putsch and the Munich Putsch. In the case of the Munich Putsch it was an attempt by Hitler to take over the country by taking control of a beer hall and then doing a demonstration through Munich. He also took a political figure hostage and made him endorse the Munich Putsch.

However the Putsch was a failure since the police ended it and Hitler was imprisoned. Although this was just one event there was more than one uprising like the Sparticist uprising in 1919. All of these events made the Weimar Republic look weak because they were all close to being successful. In addition to this these radical ideologies were highlighted and therefore could spread to voters. As a result more people voted for extreme parties that a) promised to deal with revolts with an iron fist or b) were one of the groups that agreed with one of these uprisings’ ideologies.

In Source 9 you can see how the government would look weak through their method of dealing with the Kapp Putsch. In the source the government is pleading the public to go on strike so the Putsch isn’t successful. You can see this in the source where it says: ‘Go on strike, put down your work and sop the military dictatorship. ’ Because the Weimar Republic were appealing the public for help it made them look weak in the sense that government didn’t have any real power but could only hope the people would comply. This is a stark contrast from when Kaiser Wilhelm II was in power since the military or police could easily destroy any uprisings.

The source was produced by the Social Democrats, the main party in power at the time, in March 1920. This date is significant since it was when the Freikorps attempted to take over Berlin. It was therefore important to make sure that the Putsch wasn’t successful the government decided to bring the city to a standstill through asking workers to strike. Conclusion Overall I think that the Treaty of Versailles was ultimately the main cause for political turmoil. After the Treaty there was a lot of resentment against the Weimar Republic which was a stigma that Hitler later used to persuade people to vote for him.

But ultimately it was also a systemic cause for many of the political and economic causes for the political turmoil after the Treaty. For example the Treaty of Versailles stated that 25,000 square miles had to be given to surrounding countries and with that a population of 7 million people. Coupled with the fact that Germany had to pay back an unreasonable amount of reparations this meant that Germany’s economy was already stunted before the invasion of the Ruhr and therefore when hyperinflation took hold the economy wasn’t strong enough to deal with it effectively.

Another way the Treaty led to another cause for political turmoil is partially instating the ultimately flawed constitution of the Weimar Republic which, as discussed previously, led to political instability because of proportional representation and article 48. Since the Treaty led to both of these cases and in itself led to political turmoil it’s undoubtedly the largest cause for political turmoil. In essence it changed a political system that remained the same for hundreds of years, stunted the economy so that it could never grow again and ultimately tried to put Germany into submission.

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