Nazism and the Rise of Hitler
Q115. Describe the problems faced by the Weimar Republic.
Ans. Problems faced by the Weimar Republic were:
Versailles treaty - This republic, however, was not received well by its own people largely because of the terms it was forced to accept after Germany’s defeat at the end of the First World War. The peace treaty at Versailles with the Allies was a harsh and humiliating peace. Germany lost its overseas colonies. The War Guilt Clause held Germany responsible for the war and damages the Allied countries suffered. Germany was forced to pay compensation amounting to £6 billion. Germans held the new Weimar Republic responsible for not only the defeat in the war but the disgrace at Versailles.
Economic crisis - Germany had fought the war largely on loans and had to pay war reparations in gold. This depleted gold reserve at a time resources were scarce. In 1923 Germany refused to pay, and the French occupied its leading industrial area, Ruhr, to claim their coal. Germany retaliated with passive resistance and printed paper currency recklessly. With too much printed money in circulation, the value of the German mark fell. As the value of the mark collapsed, prices of goods soared.
Political defects - The Weimar constitution had some inherent defects, which made it unstable and vulnerable to dictatorship. Another defect was Article 48, which gave the President the powers to impose emergency, suspend civil rights and rule by decree. People lost confidence in the democratic parliamentary system, which seemed to offer no solutions.
Q116. State features of political radicalism in Germany.
Ans. Features of political radicalism in Germany
- The birth of the Weimar Republic coincided with the revolutionary uprising of the Spartacist League on the pattern of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
- The political atmosphere in Berlin was charged with demands for Soviet-style governance. Those opposed to this such as the socialists, Democrats and Catholics met in Weimar to give shape to the democratic republic.
- The Weimar Republic crushed the uprising with the help of a war veterans organisation called Free Corps.
- The anguished Spartacists later founded the Communist Party of Germany.
- Political radicalisation was only heightened by the economic crisis of 1923.
- Germany had fought the war largely on loans and had to pay war reparations in gold.
- In 1923 Germany refused to pay, and the French occupied its leading industrial area, Ruhr, to claim their coal.
- Germany retaliated with passive resistance and printed paper currency recklessly.
- As the value of the mark collapsed, prices of goods soared. This crisis came to be known as hyperinflation, a situation when prices rise phenomenally high.