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The Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic: The Fragility of Democracy
The history of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) illuminates one of the most creative and crucial periods in the twentieth century and serves as a significant case study of the critical issues of our own time. Many of the questions asked about the Weimar Republic are relevant to problems that individuals and societies face in the twenty-first century.
Strength & Weaknesses
After Germany lost the First World War, the Kaiser fled and a new democratic government of Germany was declared in February 1919 at the small town of Weimar. It was too dangerous to make a declaration in Berlin where there had just been a revolt by a Communist group called the Spartacists. The Weimar Republic was a genuine attempt to create a perfect democratic country.
The Ruhr Occupation
In January 1923, French and Belgian troops marched into and occupied Germany’s industrial Ruhr region. The Ruhr occupation would last more than two and a half years.
Treaty of Versailles
World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. Negotiated among the Allied powers with little participation by Germany, its 15 parts and 440 articles reassigned German boundaries and assigned liability for reparations. After strict enforcement for five years, the French assented to the modification of important provisions. Germany agreed to pay reparations under the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan, but those plans were cancelled in 1932, and Hitler’s rise to power and subsequent actions rendered moot the remaining terms of the treaty.
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