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What Was The Bigest Threat to the Weimar Republic?
Transcript of What Was The Bigest Threat to the Weimar Republic?
The fear in Germany of the communist revolution spreading across Europe was considerable as the country had already seen revolutions in Kiel in 1918 and Bavaria in 1919.
•Following the fall of Russia to the Bolsheviks, Germany was terrified of a similar communist revolution from the KPD and the USPD, who openly opposed the Republic. Threat of the Extreme Left
•On 7th November 1918, a soviet republic was proclaimed in Bavaria following a revolution against the Bavarian monarchy, although this was brutally ended by the Freikorps seven months later.
•In response to the Kapp Putsch, the workers in the French-occupied Ruhr formed a miniature ‘Red Army’ which, on March 15th 1920, seized power in Essen in an attempt to form a soviet state. However, Ebert sent in the Freikorps and a willing army to supress the revolution, which fell on the 7th of April.
•A series of threats were made by the extreme left, usually outbreaks of strikes, especially from the Ruhr, but they lacked the organisation to fully take advantage of periods of mass public unrest and their revolutions and overthrow the Republic.
•In fact, their infamy gave the extreme right wing the advantage by alienating left wing supporters and distracting public attention from the efforts of the extreme right wing. The threats to the Republic from the right were clear and apparent early in 1920.
The key point here is that the Treaty of Versailles had demanded a reduction in the size of the army from 650,000 to 200,000 men in November 1919, to then be further reduced to 100,000 thereafter. This led to a lot of opposition towards the republic in the armed forces. Causes
The reduction of the army seriously angered right wing nationalists who then wanted the Weimar state to be overthtrown due to feeling that they had been stabbed in the back.
The movement was led by Generals Ludendorff, Kapp and Luttwitz (commander of the Friekorps) Events
In March 1920, Luttwitz led his Friekorps army into Berlin where they seized the government district of the city. In Retaliation, the Reichswehr were ordered to defend however General von Seeckt ordered his troops to stay in their barracks declaring that 'Reichswehr does not fire on the Reichswehr.'
Kapp was therefore declared chancellor by Luttwitz while the government fled to Dresden. However before they lieft they appealed to the workers to go on a general strike to prevent Kapp from gaining any control thus driving him out.
After 4 days the regime collapsed and he and Luttwitz fled to Sweden. The Impact of the Kapp Putsch It posed a significant threat to the republic as it revealed the army's reluctance to support the system and also showed the dubious loyalty of the Friekorps.
Noske Was forced to resign as defence minister
In Bavaria, the SPD government were forced to resign and were replaced by a government from the right.
Between 1919 and 1923 Weimar Politicians lived in fear of assassination as many right-wing germans had resorted to murder as a means to weaken the republic, as they hated the democratic regime.
The Republic Lost hundreds of servants through political murder, including Walther Rathenau, a strong monarchist who played a huge role in the economy. It was his involvement in Versailles as well as his Jewish background that made him an ideal target. There was huge public uproar to his assassination with demonstrations in the capital.
The key point here is that Most of the murders went unpunished due to the actions of a conservative judiciary.