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Modern Europe HIS-107

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  1. Modern EuropeHIS-107 Unit 8 – 1920s

  2. Weimar Germany • (1918-1933)

  3. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • November Revolution (November 9, 1918) • Occurred two days before the end of World War I • Bloodless overthrow of the imperial government • The kaiser abdicated • Social Democratic Party (SPD) announced a new German republic • Socialists wanted democratic reforms within existing imperial bureaucracy • Radicals and communists wanted more wide sweeping reforms • Communists and independent socialists staged armed uprisings in Berlin • Social Democrats tried to crush the uprisings

  4. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • Elections not held until January 1919 • New government was headed by president Friedrich Ebert • New Constitution • Very democratic system • Proportional representation - All votes were counted up centrally to divide seats fairly between parties • Article 48 – Gave the president the right to dismiss Parliament and rule by himself in cases of “emergency”

  5. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • Weak governmental system • Proportional representation made it difficult for one party to gain a majority • This meant coalitions would have to be formed to gain the majority • Between 1919-1932, there were a total of 21 governments • Difficult to pass legislation • This led to the president more and more using his powers to pass legislation • By 1930, three times as many laws were passed by the president than by the Reichstag

  6. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • During the first five years, the republic saw riots, strikes, shootings and attempts to overthrow Ebert’s coalition government • Communists • Felt that Ebert and the socialists had failed to complete the revolution because they had not abolished private property • The Freikorps • Former army officers fighting Bolsheviks, Poles, and communists • Fiercely right-wing anti-Marxist, anti-Semitic, and anti-liberal

  7. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • Spartacists • Led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht • Radical socialists • Became the foundation of the Communist Party • Spartacist Uprising (January 5-12, 1919) • General strike led by the Spartacists in Berlin • Failed attempt to overthrow Ebert’s government • Freikorps were brought in to bring peace and stability back to Berlin • Both Luxemburg and Liebknecht were killed

  8. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • “Red Bavaria” (April 6 – May 3, 1919) • The Spartacists were successfully able to seize the Bavarian government in Munich • Friekorps were once again sent into put down the communist regime • Kapp Putsch (March 1920) • Military led attempted coup led by Wolfgang Kapp • Very reactionary and strongly monarchistic • A general strike was called as a way to defeat the putsch • Over 250,000 banded together against the putsch • Friekorps refused to join the putsch

  9. Kapp Putsch • “Stop! Whosoever proceeds will be shot”

  10. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • Weimar coalition • Socialists, Catholic centrists, and liberal democrats • Parliamentary liberalism • Pluralistic framework • Universal suffrage for men and women • Bill of rights that guaranteed civil liberties • The failure of Weimar • Social, political, and economic crisis • The humiliation of World War I • Germany “stabbed in the back” by socialists and Jews • What was needed was authoritarian leadership

  11. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • Treaty of Versailles (1919) • Article 231 – “War Guilt Clause” • Placed full blame on Germany for the start of the war • Ordered reparations of over 132 billion marks to the Allied countries • Many Germans saw this as an embarrassment since it left the country economically broke and unarmed • In April 1921, the Allies first began demanding payment of war reparations from Germany • The final reparations bill was announced as being £6.6 billion (~$292 billion in 2011) • The German government asked for permission to suspend payments until the German economy recovered • The Allies refused

  12. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • In 1922, Germany fails to pay reparations to France and Belgium • Specifically they defaulted on coal and timber deliveries • In January 1923, France and Belgium respond by occupying the Ruhr as a way to force payments • This was the center of German coal, iron, and steel production • Germans launch a general strike of passive resistance with the occupiers • German government actually paid the workers to strike • However, the German government had to figure out a way of paying the workers • It started to print more money

  13. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • This led to rapid devaluation of the German mark • In 1921, the exchange rate was 75 marks to $1 U.S. • In November 1923, it 4 billion marks to $1 U.S. • Many lost their life savings due to the devaluation of the mark • By the end of 1923, the Weimar government was able to bring things back under control • Mostly done at the hands of Chancellor Gustav Stresemann • Strikes were brought to an end and a new currency, the Rentenmark was issued

  14. Million Mark notes being used as note paper • (October 1923)

  15. Woman burning Marks as a heat source

  16. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • Dawes Plan (1924) • Called for the withdrawal of French and Belgian troops from the Ruhr • Germany was given more time to pay reparations • Also given 800 million marks in U.S. loans • Germany stabilizes and begins to grow again without inflation • Young Plan (1930) • Clear that Germany still could not make large payments • Reduced payments to 112 billion Marks ($103 billion in 2011) over 59 years • Also allowed for 2/3 of the annual payments to be postponed

  17. For three generations, you’ll have to slave away!

  18. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • Locarno Treaties (October 1925) • Guaranteed the common boundaries of Belgium, France, and Germany as specified in the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 • Germany signed treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia, agreeing to change the eastern borders of Germany by arbitration only

  19. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • Despite Germany’s apparent recovery after 1923, there were still serious problems • Many people’s life savings had been wiped out by hyperinflation and they were bitterly angry • Economically, Germany was heavily dependent upon US loans, which could be recalled at any time • Ebert died in 1925 and was replaced by Hindenburg • Hindenburg was a conservative leader which showed how much support remained for the old, authoritarian Germany • Stresemann’s attempts to revise the Treaty of Versailles met with little success at the League of Nations

  20. Weimar Germany (1918-1933) • Just before his death in 1929, Stresemann said: “The economic position is only flourishing on the surface. Germany is in fact dancing on a volcano. If the short-term credits are called in, a large section of our economy will collapse…” • In October 1929, the Wall Street Crash saw the value of US shares collapse • US bankers and businesses started recalling their loans • The result was a worldwide depression • This meant economic disaster for Germany

  21. Adolph Hitler

  22. Hitler and the Rise of the Nazi Party • In September 1919, Hitler was working as a police spy for the German Army • One of his duties was to infiltrate the German Worker’s Party (DAP) • He liked the ideas of the party and joined it • It promoted the idea of nationalistic “non-Jewish” socialism • This became the foundation of the Nazi party • In October 1920, Hitler creates the Sturm Abteilung (SA), which became his own private army • Their job was to protect Hitler and disrupt meetings of political opponents • The SA became known as “storm troopers”

  23. Hitler and the Rise of the Nazi Party • In July 1921, Hitler was elected to be Führer of the party • He renamed it to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), or the Nazi party • By 1923, Germany’s economy was in rough shape • In September 1923, Germany resumed making reparation payments to France • By November, people would be required to carry billions of marks to buy groceries, of which many could not afford • The Nazi party felt this was the perfect opportunity to seize power • By November 1923, the Nazi party had over 55,000 members

  24. Hitler and the Rise of the Nazi Party • Their plan called for the kidnapping of Bavarian leaders at a Munich beer hall • They would then force them at gunpoint to make Hitler their leader • They had a famous WWI general on their side who would then help them win over the army • Munich Beer Hall Putsch (November 8, 1923) • Hitler and his SA troops stormed in to the beer hall • He managed to convince the leaders to support him • However, they were unable to secure the support of the army • Hitler was arrested for conspiracy to commit treason

  25. Leaders of the Beer Hall Putsch

  26. Hitler and the Rise of the Nazi Party • Hitler was put on trial in February 1924 • The judges at the time were Nazi sympathizers • Hitler used the trial to spread Nazi propaganda • During the trial he stated: • “I alone bear the responsibility. But I am not a criminal because of that. If today I stand here as a revolutionary, it is as a revolutionary against the revolution. There is no such thing as high treason against the traitors of 1918.” • He was still found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison with possibility of parole • He was given a large and comfortable cell at Landsberg prison

  27. Hitler and the Rise of the Nazi Party • During his time in prison, Hitler dictated Mein Kampf • It contained a number of his political ideas • In included his belief in lebensraum, “living room,” for Germans • It also included the concept of a “superior” race (the Aryans) and “inferior” races (Jews and Slavs) • He was released from prison on December 20, 1924 • By this time, he realized his mistake was not having the support of the military • Instead, he was going to get support of the people and the army by using the democratic process to his advantage

  28. Hitler and the Rise of the Nazi Party • While Hitler was in prison, the popularity of the Nazi party had declined • It had even been banned in Bavaria after the Putsch • When he was released from prison, he spent the next few years reorganizing the Nazi party • Designed it to give a more legitimate appearance • He used his oratory skills to win over politicians and masses • He reworked his image to appeal to the middle and upper classes • Hitler was able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in Bavaria • However, the Nazi party did not have any real power until 1929

  29. German political representation in the Reichstag

  30. Rise of Fascism in Italy

  31. Italy after World War I • Aftermath of World War I • A democracy in distress • 700,000 dead • $15 billion debt • Problems: • Split between the industrial north and agrarian south • Conflict over land, wages, and local power • Government corruption and indecision • Inflation, unemployment, and strikes • Demands for radical reform

  32. Italy after World War I • In 1920, socialists and anarchists attempted to take control of the factories • Red Leagues formed in the countryside to break up large estates • In the November 1920 elections, Italians abandoned the center and shifted to the extremes • On the right was the Catholic People’s Party • On the left was the Socialist Party • Both did not want revolution but instead pushed for greater reforms • The rise of socialism led to the rise of more right-wing vigilante groups

  33. Fascism

  34. Fascism • Totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life • Comes from the Latin word fasces • In ancient Rome, the fasces were cylindrical bundles of wooden rods, tied tightly together around an axe • They symbolize unity and power • A form of extreme right-wing ideology • It celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community transcending all other loyalties • Powerful and continuing nationalism • Constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, etc. • Flags are seen everywhere

  35. Fascism • Fascism seeks forcibly to subordinate all aspects of society to its vision of organic community • This is usually through a totalitarian state • It uses organized violence to suppress opposition • Glorification of force • Accepts the tenets of Social Darwinism • Is anti-democratic • The individual had no significance except as a member of the state

  36. Fascism • The fascists were taught: • Credere! (to believe) • Obbedire! (to obey) • Combattere! (to fight) • The “phoenix rising up from the ashes” • Emphasis on a national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or destruction • Calls for a “spiritual revolution” against signs of moral decay (such as individualism and materialism) • Seeks to purge “alien” forces and groups that threaten the organic community

  37. Fascism • Fascist governments tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion • They meld religious rhetoric, symbolism, mythology, etc., into their policies • Appears to give a religious permission to government policies • Organized labor is the only real threat to a fascist government • Labor unions are suppressed or independent unions are eliminated • The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist state often are the ones who put the government leaders into power

  38. Fascism • Fascism, to some extent, was a product of a general feeling of anxiety and fear among the middle class of post-war Italy: • Fears regarding the survival of capitalism • Economic depression • The rise of a militant left • A feeling of national shame and humiliation at Italy’s poor treatment by the other Entente leaders after World War I

  39. Fascism • In 1920, the Italian Socialist Party organized militant strikes in Turin and other northern Italian industrial cities • There was the belief that the economic chaos in the north could spread to the rest of Italy • Hundreds of new fascist groups developed throughout Italy in response • “Black Shirts” (paramilitary squadriste) violently attacked the Socialists

  40. Benito Mussolini • (1883-1945)

  41. Mussolini • Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (1883–1945) • Was born to a socialist father and teacher mother • Fled to Switzerland in 1902 to avoid military duty • Returned to Italy in 1904 • Editor of Avantia (1904-1914) • Leading socialist daily • Lost editorship when he urged Italy to side with the Allies during World War I • As a supporter for the war, he was kicked out of the socialist party • The party wanted Italy to remain neutral

  42. Mussolini • He fought briefly in the war before he was wounded • When he returned to Milan he had turned to the right wing • Moved towards revolutionary nationalism • Founded Il Poplo d’Italia (The People of Italy) • Pushed his ideas for support of the war and the guarantees promised by the Allies • His editorial positions: • The war was a turning point for Italy • The returning combat soldiers would form a new elite and bring about a new type of state • This new elite would transform Italian politics and society

  43. Mussolini • He also began organizing the right-wing groups • Attracted young, idealist, fanatical nationalists who were upset with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles • Became known as fasci (“groups” in Italian) • In 1919, Mussolini formed the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento • Italian Combat Squad consisting of 200 members • Claimed to oppose discrimination based on social class and was strongly opposed to all forms of class war • Wanted to raise Italy back up to the greatness of the old Roman Empire • This helped the party gain support mainly of the middle-class

  44. Fascism In Italy • The national government continued to weaken • In the 1921 election, Fascists won 35 seats • They were included in the political coalition bloc of Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti’s government • In September 1922, Mussolini began negotiations with the king to allow the Fascist party into the government • When that failed, Mussolini threatened a coup d'état • On October 28, 1922, 50,000 fascist militia marched on Rome • Occupied the city • Victor Emmanuel III refused to allowed the military to arrest the Fascists

  45. Fascism In Italy • He invited Mussolini to join a coalition government withGiolitti • On December 24, 925, Mussolini took full control of the government • A law was passed naming him “head of the government” • He was answerable to no one, not even the king • The Fascist Party took over the Italian government without firing a single shot • Failure of the Italian government was more in its weakness than the power of the Fascist Party • Also partly due to the failure of Peace of Versailles

  46. Black Shirts marching on Rome

  47. Italy Under Mussolini • The Fascist Party set up a one-party dictatorship • Three doctrines • Statism - “Nothing above, outside, or against the state” • Nationalism - The “highest form of society” • Militarism - The “ennoblement” of man in war • First step was to change the government • Got rid the electoral laws • Abolished cabinet system • Mussolini assumed role of prime minister and party leader (Il Duce) • Introduced repression and censorship

  48. Italy Under Mussolini • Ending class conflict • A managed economy • A corporate state • Lateran Treaty (1929) • Granted independence to papal residence in the Vatican City • Also promised restitution for expropriations occurred during unification • Roman Catholicism established as the state religion • Maintaining the status quo and “making the trains run on time”

  49. Peace between Rome and the Church