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Lecture 2: Defeat, Revolution, and the "Stab in the Back:" The Weimar Republic

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Jennifer Jenkins

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Lecture 2: Defeat, Revolution, and the "Stab in the Back:" The Weimar Republic
I.Germany and the First World War
The assassination of Austrian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, June 28th 1914
The July Crisis (June 28th-August 4th, 1914):
Germany’s support for Austria-Hungary, the blank cheque
The War in the West: the Schlieffen Plan (1905-06) and the
Battle of the Marne (September 1914)
The War in the East: Tannenberg, the Masurian Lakes, the drive into Russian Poland
War aims: the September Program (1914), Germanys expansionist desires
II.Total War, 1916
The move toward military dictatorship, 1916
The Hindenburg Program
Food crises, labor militancy: the home front splinters 1917-1918
The Labor movement splits: Majority and Independent
Socialists (MSPD and USPD)
Extreme nationalism in the Fatherland Party, 1917
III.The Treaty of Brest Litovsk, March 1918
Punitive Peace imposed upon Bolshevik Russia
War aims achieved” in the East
IV.The Final Offensive, Fall 1918
V.The October Reforms
VI.The November Revolution
Mutiny in Kiel, November 4, 1918
The Revolution spreads through Germany
Revolution in Berlin
November 9, 1918: the Republic declared, twice
Friedrich Ebert and General Groener: the pact of November 10th
VII.The Stab in the Back” Legend (Dolchstosslegende)
VIII.The Two Declarations: Scheidemann and Liebknecht
-Weimar Republic is the post-WWI German gov't
-numerous gov't, essentially ungovernable in it's later yrs
-Hitler attempts to come to power via a coup d'etat, and thrown in jail in 1923-1924
-decides to come about power legally via politics
-but actually comes in to power during the 1930s world eco. depression
-experiment at German democracy, fails, and Nazi Germany comes to power
-question of did it fail on it's own or was it destroyed by the Nazi party
-Weimar Republic (1919-193)
-named after a town in eastern Germany, very traditional town in the middle of Germany
-associated with the great figures of German literature, of German classics
-revolution going on in Berlin, coming out of the monarchal gov't, fear of a Bolshevik
revolution in 1919
-so it moves to Weimar
-republic is very liberal, powered by ideals of social justice and equality
-had a democratic franchise, incl. women, voted in Jan 1919
-open to full participation of minorities, incl. German Jews
-had full participation in top professions and banks
-but had limit to rising in politics though, often restricted to Christians
-Albert Bellin, friend of Kaiser, head of Hamburg, a large profitable ship

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-founder of German hydro also a Jew
-son, Walter, becomes head of the war materials section, and the
war minister during the WWI
-assassinated in 1922, deaths common in early Weimar
-publishing house, Uullstein, still around today
-Prussia, largest German state
-unequal, 3 class suffrage, gone
-Kaiser gone
-most Germans had wanted a constitutional monarchy, and the Kaiser abdicates and flees to the
-WWI starts August 1914
-begins with the assassination of Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne
of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, by a Bosnian Serb nationalist, backed by the Serbian
-killed June 28, creates the July crisis
-at first seemed like a regional conflict like previous Balkan Wars
-but the Triple Alliance with Germany and Italy (1915 onwards)
-but Germany unconditionally backs Austria-Hungary
-Triple Entente created 1907, with England, France, Russia
-Serbs backed by Russians
-all nations very willing to have a war
-thought it advantageous, and thought it would be short
-radically different from WWII atmosphere in 1939
-takes time to mobilize the army
-for ex. Russian army took 3 weeks to move
-so by Aug 4, WWII starts
-different wars in east and west front
-in the west there was huge numbers lost, with trench warfare
-on the first day of the Battle of Sonne, Brits lost 60 000 men
-very little movement
-Germany's Schlieffen Plan
-going through Belgium forest around the French fortress towns,
and going and getting Paris first and fast
-wanted the iron ore and coal in Longwy-Briey in France
-violated Belgium neutrality, which was protected by UK
-miscalculate Belgium resistance
-Germans cruel towards Belgium citizens
-word gets out of German atrocities
-Battle of the Marne Sept 1914, Germans stopped by Brits and
-and trenches are entrenched, stalemate emerges early
-in the east
-based on movement
-Ludendorf and Hindenberg, 2 celebrated generals
-Battle of Tanneberg Aug 1914, Battle of Masurian Lakes Sept
1914, early German victories against the Russians
-the September Program
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