The Spartacist uprising caused more attempts to establish Communism, by the Spartacist League and others in the streets of Berlin were put down by paramilitary Freikorp units consisting of volunteer soldiers. Bloddy streetfights culminated in the beating and shooting of Rosa Luxemburg and Liebknecht after their arrests on January 15. With the affirmation of Ebert the murderers were not tried before a court martial, leading to very lenient sentences, which did not exactly lead to more acceptance for Ebert from the radical left.
The National Assembly elections took place January 19, 1919. The USPD and KPD, were barely able to get themselves organised, leading to a solid majority of seats for the MSPD moderate forces. To avoid ongoing fights in Berlin, the Natioal Assembly convened in the city of Weimar, giving the future Repbulic its unofficial name. The Weimar Constitution created a republic under a semi-presidential system with the Reichstag elected by proportional representation. The Socialist and (Non-Socialist) Democratic parties obtained a solid 80 per cent of the vote.
During the debates in Weimar, fighting continued. A Soviet republic was declared in Munich, but was quickly put down by Freikorps and remnants of the regular army. the fall of the Munich Soviet Republic to these units, many of which were situated on the extreme right, resulted in the growth of far-right movements and organisations in Bavaria, including the Nazis, Organisation Consul, and societies of exiled Russian Monarchists. Sporadic fighting continued to flare up around the country. In eastern provinces, forces loyal to Germany's fallen Monarchy fought the repbulic, while militias of Polish nationalists fought for independence.
The socialist roots of Weimar
The carefully thought-out social and political legislaton introduced during the revoluton was generally unappreciated by the German working-class. the tow goals sought by the government, democratisation and social protection of the working clas, were never achieved. this has been attributed to a lack of pre-war political experience on the part of the Social Democrats. the government had little success in confronting the twin economic crises following the war.
The permanent ecomomic crisis was a result of lost pre-war industrial exports, the loss of supplies in raw materials and food stuffs from Alsace-Lorraine, Polish districts and the colonies along with worsening debt balances and reparations payments. Military-industrial activity had almost ceased, although controlled demobilisation kept unemployment at around one million. the fact that the Allies continued to blockade Germany until after the Treaty of Versailles did not help matters,either.
The allies permitted only low import levels of goods that most Germans could not afford. After four years of war and famine, many German workers were exhausted, physically impaired and discouraged. Millions were disenchanted withapitalism and hoping for a new era. Meanwhile the currency devalued.
The German peace delegation in France signed the Treaty of Versailles accepting mass reductions of the German military, unrealistically heavy war reparations payments, and the controversial "War Guilt Clause". Adolf Hitler later blamed the repbulic and its democracy for the oppressive terms of this treaty. The Repbulic's first Reichsprasident (Reich President), Freidrich Ebert of the SPD signed the new German constitution into law on August 11, 1919.
The early years: internal conflict (1919-1923)
The Republic was under great pressure from both left and right-wing extremists. The radical left accused the ruling Social Democrats of having betrayed the ideals of the workers' movement by preventing a communist revolution. Right-wing extremists were opposed to any democratic system, preferring an authoritarian state like the 1871 Empire. To further undermine the Republic's credibility the extremists of the right also blamed an alleged conspriacy of Socialist and Jews for Germany's defeat in World War 1.
For the next five years Germany's large cities sufferedppolitical violence between left-wing and right- wing groups, both of which committed violence and murder against innocent civilians and against each other,resulting in many deaths.
The worst of the violence was between right-wing paramilitaries called Freikorps and pro-Communist militias called the Red Guards, both of which admitted ex-soldiers into their ranks.
The Kapp Putsch took place on March 13, 1920, involving a group which took control of Berlin and installed Wolfgang Kapp(a right wing journalist). The government fled to Stuttgart and called for a general strike. The strike crippled Germany's ravaged economy and ended after only four days on March 17.
Inspired by general strikes, a communist uprising began and formed a "Red Army" and took control of the province. Other communist rebellions took place in Hmaburg and Saxony.
By 1923, the Repbulic claimed it could no longer afford the re-payments owed by the war in the Treaty of Versailles. More strikes occurred in the productive industries of mining and manufacturing. The strike meant no goods were being produced and his made the French so furious that they began to kill and exile protestors in the region.
Since striking workers were paid benefits by the state, much additional currency was printed, fueling a period of hyperinflation. Hyperinflation started when Germany had no goods to trade with. Printing money was the solution sought at that time, thoughthere are other better solutons to it, eg,borrowing money from the US(President Gustav Stresseman did this and Germany earned a precarious economic boom). This allowed Germany to pay war loans and reparations with worthless marks and helped ex great industialists to pay loans as well. This also lead to pay rise of workers, as well as businessmen whom wanted a profit outof it. Circulation of money rocketed and soon, the Germans discovered their money was worthless. the value of the Papiermark had declined from 4.2 per US dollar at the outbreak of World War 1 to 1 million per dollar by August 1923. On 15 November 1923, a new currency, the Rentenmark was introduced at the rate of 1 trillion (1,000,000,000,000) Papiermark for 1 Rentenmark. At that ime, 1 US dollar was equal to 4.2 Rentenmark. Reparation payments reusmed, and the Ruhr was returned to Germany.
Further pressure from the right came in 1923 with the Beer Hall Putsch, staged by Adolf Hitler in Munich. In 1920, the German Workers' Party had become the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), nicknamed the Nazi Party, and would become a driving force in the collapse of Weimar. Hitler was named chairman of the party in July 1921. The Storm Division (Sturmabteilung or SA) was established in November 1921 and acted as Hitler's personal army. On November 8, 1923, the Kampfbund, in a pact with Erich Ludendorff, took over a meeting by Bavarian prime minister Gustav von Kahr at a beer hall in Munich. Ludendorff and Hitler declared a new government, planning to take control of Munich the following day. The 3,000 rebels were thwarted by 100 policemen. Hitler was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison, a minimum sentence for the charge and he serve less than eight months before his release. Following the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch, his imprisonment aaand subsequent release, Hitler focused on legal methods of gaining power.