Weimar Republic: Red Bavaria (March-April 1919)


Figure 1.--

The new German Republic from the beginning had major problem. The first was the Versailles Peace Treaty. The Allies refused to treat with the military. Thus the resulting Versailles Peace Treaty was associated with the Socialists (Social Democratrs) which signed the Treaty. Here there was no negotition. The negotiatons were all between the Allies. The German delegation was presented wuth the Treaty. They had a choice of signing the Treaty or the Allies would occupy Germany. As the Treaty was enormously unpopular in Germany, the popularity of the new Government was affected. Right wingers began calling the SPD leaders, the 'November criminals' referring to the Armistic that was sisned in November and ended the War. Important elements of the Government had little loyalty to it. The Weimar Republic inherited a civil service from Imperial Germany that was strongly monacharist in loyalty and suspicious of parlimentary democracy. The officer corps of the Army took a oath of loyalty to the Reoublic, but in fact was deeply distrustful of the new government. And the Army from the onset set out to evade the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty--in part explaining how the NAZIs were able to so quickly rearm after seizing power. The Republic was not headquarters in Berlin the imperial capital. The new Government chose Weimar rather than Berlin because the Army, remamed the Reichwehr, could not guarantee security in Berlin. Weimar was also politically unstable. The Social Democrats (SPD) were the largest political party, but important elements of the political system was opposed not only the Social Democrats politically, but to the Weimar Republic itself. This includes a number of right-wing parties which at first were relatively small. Of more immediate concern was the Communists (KPD) which had considerable support among the working class. They might be expected to make common cause with the SPD, but they were expecting the Revolution which occurred in Russia to spread west and they saw the SPD as an imediment, splitting the working class. After the insurrections in Germany failed, the KPD viewed the SPD as traitors. The rightest Kapp Putsch also failed, but showed how the old aristocratic, militaristic segment of the population also opposed Weimar. In the midst of these insurrections, the Weimar Government faced enormous problems resukting from the War. The Gernman state after 4 years of War was bankrupt. The Germans did not have the Americans to help support the war effort. Serious food shortages existed. The conscription of workers had adversely affected food production. And the British naval blockade had prevented food imports. And to assure German compliance with the Armistice, the blockade was not immediately lifted. There were other shortages such as for coal. Unemployment soared as the military demobilized. Industry faced the problem of shifting production back to a peace-time economy. Then the the Allied Reparations Commission presented the government with a bill for reparations of 6.6 Billion (1921).

Unpopularity of the Versailles Peace Treaty

The new German Republic from the beginning had major problem. The first was the Versailles Peace Treaty. The Allies refused to treat with the military. Thus the resulting Versailles Peace Treaty was associated with the Socialists (Social Democratrs) which signed the Treaty. Here there was no negotition. The negotiatons were all between the Allies. The German delegation was presented wuth the Treaty. They had a choice of signing the Treaty or the Allies would occupy Germany. As the Treaty was enormously unpopular in Germany, the popularity of the new Government was affected. Right wingers began calling the SPD leaders, the 'November criminals' referring to the Armistic that was sisned in November and ended the War.

Social Tensions

The monarchy which had been at the center of German political life was abolished. Important elements of the new Republic had little loyalty to it. The Weimar Republic inherited a civil service from Imperial Germany that was strongly monacharist in loyalty and suspicious of parlimentary democracy. The War had also humiliated the Germany Army, perhaps the most respected national institution. The officer corps of the Army took a oath of loyalty to the Reoublic, but in fact was deeply distrustful of the new government. And the Army from the onset set out to evade the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty--in part explaining how the NAZIs were able to so quickly rearm after seizing power. The Republic was not headquarters in Berlin the imperial capital. The new Government chose Weimar rather than Berlin because the Army, remamed the Reichwehr, could not guarantee security in Berlin.

Political Instability

Weimar was also politically unstable. The Social Democrats (SPD) were the largest political party, but they were far short of a majority in the Reichstag. Radicals on the right and left fought in the street. Middle class Germans were terrified that the Communists might succeed in seizing power as in Russia. The Catholic Party was also Important as was the Nationsalist Party. There were also a number of small xnephobic right-wing parties with varying platforms except for a mutual opposition to the Versailles Treaty and democratic government. Important elements of the political system was opposed not only the Social Democrats politically, but to the Weimar Republic itself. This includes a number of right-wing parties which at first were relatively small. Of more immediate concern was the Communists (KPD) which had considerable support among the working class. They might be expected to make common cause with the SPD, but they were expecting the Revolution which occurred in Russia to spread west and they saw the SPD as an imediment, splitting the working class. After the insurrections in Germany failed, the KPD viewed the SPD as traitors. The rightest Kapp Putsch also failed, but showed how the old aristocratic, militaristic segment of the population also opposed Weimar.

Economic Dislocation

In the midst of these insurrections, the Weimar Government faced enormous problems resukting from the War. The Gernman state after 4 years of War was bankrupt. The Germans did not have the Americans to help support the war effort. Serious food shortages existed. The conscription of workers had adversely affected food production. And the British naval blockade had prevented food imports. And to assure German compliance with the Armistice, the blockade was not immediately lifted. There was wide-spread food shortages, even starvation. There were other shortages such as for coal. Unemployment soared as the military demobilized. Industry faced the problem of shifting production back to a peace-time economy. Then the the Allied Reparations Commission presented the government with a bill for reparations of 6.6 Billion (1921).






HBC








Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to Main Weimar page]
[Return to Main German World War II page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]




Created: 7:11 AM 7/3/2011
Last updated: 7:11 AM 7/3/2011