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[30] The Disintegration of the Established Order.doc

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Kenneth Bartlett

March 9, 2011 The Disintegration of the Established Order - Collapse of imperial Reich - Imperial chancellor resigned, imperial navy - mutiny b/c they heard they’d be sent on suicide mission to England - Bolshevik-style rebellion - Bavarin social democratic republic = socialist, marxist leninst gov’t - No gov’t to give orders to soldiers - Monarchists refused to listen to civilians who filled vacuum of hole emperor eft empty - Desperate defeated army - Chancellor wanted some sort of transmission of power - F. Ebert = any legitimate power for German people, socialist - Chancellor was Democrat: what kind of gov’t did FGermans want => left it for referendum - Collapse of authority - Tried to appear more radical than he was => get people angry so he could make new germany - Ebert: declared Republic Nov. 1918 => so pp. Could take anger, disillusionment out on kairser so new constitution could emerge - Socialists (provisional gov’t) = bougoeis reformists - How to keep german confederation together when bavarian revolt tried to keep it separate - How to keep heating for fuel => no fuel reaching germany - How to restore order and security when all systems of gov’t were gone - Traditional orderliness of germany gone; far left extreme communists (Spartacists) - demonsta- tions, strikes => spark revolution - Ebert made a deal with the leader of the rest of the army + those not regular soldiers anymore (broken away from structure), hardened by the front - Called for specific reasons: break up Spartacists demonstrations so kaiser could return and they could go back to 1914 - These soldiers stuck with officers hoping for adventure, were politically right => protect e. Frontiers of germany from germany, didn’t want another communist rev. - Many unemployed professional soldiers; loathed communists and socialists - Hitler recruited many stormtroopers from this group - 1919: attempted armed rev in berlin by Spartacists - Groups of soldiers from Freikorps (volunteers, violent armed thugs see above) => bitter, vio- lent, bloody, communists suppressed - Freikorps = only people willing to keep order - Attracted more and more ex-soldiers - Suppressed communists everywhere, more and more violence used - Germany by mid-1919: internally pacified but under heavy-hand of freikorps => not under con- trolled, civilian control - Election: socialists had the most people in their party but not majority (many minor, local par- ties) - Revolutionary activities of Spartacists, worker soviet-socialists => those who had any connec- tion to socialist party, were shunned - Many people leaned right/centre - New party elected = unstable - Ebert = elected first president of new state/republic - Needed a coalition with others 1. Needed to make peace with victors of ww I (allies) - idea that the war was lost = not accepted by many germans esp. Professional officer class that survived - Believed german army could have continued to function - War minister called: once reality of situation was made clear, he delicned - No military hardware available - few people wanted peace (those who wanted to continue the war were fwew but vocal) - German army melted away = gave up though entente army was still in trenches - Myth: germany can still fight the war, but they were stabbed in the back by international, anti- german, communists, Jews =>became collective unconscious - Alternative was to admit defeat and humiliation => can blame the shame on other groups: so- cialists, Communists, Jews - To cover humiliation + save reputation of former gemrna army - Rumours cicilatied by high civil service - Those who expressed pacifist, socialist sentiments = suspects - Brave german army = expected to fight and drive back communists (not true) - Shameful Peace of Versailles => agreement of humiliating terms was the work of socialists, communists, Jews, anti-germans 2. Needed a constitipn for new german republic - Met at Weimar => Weimar Republic - In thereoy, it was a liberal one - Strong central gov’t but leanded to the left - Wide authority for prez - Focus for national gov’t but respect customs and traditions of towns - Wide expression of opnion => voting - Proportional representation => difficult for
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