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Study Notes
Term 1
End of World War I
• Kaiser Wilhelm, Germany's leader, abdicated on 9 November 1918
• 11 November 1918 – Germany surrenders
• The new government makes peace with the Allied powers
• Allied powers meet in Paris to draw treaty terms
• 1919 – The Paris Peace conference was held in the hall of the mirrors in the Palace of Versailles
Establishment of the Weimer Republic
• 1918 – end of Kaiser’s rule and establishment of the Weimar Republic at the small town of Weimar
• Weimar Republic was the government of Germany from 1919 to 1933
• Women are allowed to stand and vote in the election for the National Assembly for the first time
• Friedrich Ebert becomes the first president of the Weimar Republic
• Germany becomes a democratic republic
• Democracy way of life is new for German citizens
• Black, Red and Gold are the chosen colours of the Weimar Republic
• The new state bears the consequences of the war and the Treaty of Versailles allows victors to
dictate the treaty terms
• Germany loses 1/7 of its territory and must pay reparations
• Many citizens were against the Versailles treaty and caused much uprising against the government
• In June 1920, the government loses majority vote
The Treaty of Versailles and its Consequences
for Germany
• The Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919 to ensure peace in Europe following World
War I
• It took force on January 10, 1920
• Germany was forced to pay reparations and the Germans were shocked at the severity of the
• The German population was reduced by 10% by the treaty and Germany lost many areas of land
• The German army was reduced
• The manufacture of armoured cars, tanks, submarines, war planes and poison gas was forbidden
• Rhineland was demilitarised
• Germany was forbidden from uniting with Austria
• The Treaty of Versailles was bitterly criticised by the Germans
Impact on Germany After the Signing of the
• Loss of status as a colonial power
• Loss of income from trade with colonies
• Loss of raw materials and goods
• Loss of funds for economic revival
• Poverty
• High taxes and unemployment
• Humiliation
• Lost status and prestige
• Reduction in size
• Germans were no longer united in one empire
The Rise of Nazi Germany
• In 1919, Adolf Hitler joined the German Workers' Party and became its official leader, or Führer
and changed the party name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) which
became known as the Nazi party
• He gained popularity through his emotional and captivating speeches and encouraged national
pride and militarism
• The Nazis proclaimed that they would abolish the Treaty of Versailles
• Hitler condemned the Jews, exploiting anti-Semitic feelings that had prevailed in Europe for
• Hitler tried to seize power of the Munich Putsch in 1923 but failed
• He used his trial for treason to make himself a national figure and used the publicity to get his
ideas published in Mein Kampf, his autobiography.
• In July 1932 the Nazis won more votes than any other party at the election
• In February 1933, the German parliament, the Reichstag, was burned down
• Hitler expelled the Communists from parliament and enforced a state of emergency where all civic
freedoms were suspended.
• The Nazi party assumed control of Germany's army, police force, government and economy.
• Hitler rose to power.
The Enabling Act and Establishment of a Dictatorship
• The Enabling Act was passed on March 23rd1933 by German Parliament and signed into law on the
same day
• Nazi dictatorship was formed
• Hitler became the sole leader – Der Führer
• The act transferred all power to Hitler as Reich Chancellor and Hitler could make laws without
consulting Reichstag
• Hitler increased army and police forces
• The Swastika became the national flag
• All independent trade unions were banned
• Freedom of speech was banned
• Born April 20, 1889
• Died April 30, 1945 after committing suicide with wife Eva Braun
• Hitler was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945
• He served as dictator and leader of the Nazi Party
• His policies precipitated World War II and led to the genocide known as the Holocaust, which
resulted in the deaths of six million Jews and another five million non-combatants
World War II (The Second World War) 1939-1945
• World War II was caused by the Treaty of Versailles and the German people’s resentment toward
the League of Nations
• It was a global war where many countries participated as part of two military alliances: the Allies
and the Axis
• Germany, Italy and Japan became the three Axis powers
• Russia, France, British Empire, United States, Romania, Serbia, Belgium, Greece, Portugal and
Montenegro became the Allied powers
• It is estimated that over 50-70 million people died
• The war covered territories in Europe, the Pacific, the Atlantic, South-East Asia, China, Middle East,
the Mediterranean and Africa
• On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbour in the Hawaiian Island. The United States
entered the war.
• On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan
• On August 9, 1945 another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Over 225,000 people
were killed or later died from radiation poisoning in both these attacks
• Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945
• On August 14, 1945, Japan surrendered. World War II ended on August 15,
• A “proclamation of formal cessation of World War II hostilities” was issued by President Harry
Truman on December 31, 1946
Aftermath of World War II
• By the end of the war, millions of people were dead and millions homeless
• The European economy had collapsed with 70% of its industrial infrastructure destroyed
• The "European Recovery Program", (Marshall Plan) was put in place for reconstruction of Western
• The Allies created the United Nations to forbid wars of aggression in an attempt to avoid a third
world war
• The devastated great powers of Western Europe formed the current European Union
• U.S. and USSR emerged as two superpowers
• The stock market crash of October 1929 was the beginning of the
Great Depression
• It was the worst economic downturn in US history
• By 1930, there were 4.3 million people unemployed; by 1931, 8 million; and in 1932 the number
had risen to 12 million. By early 1933, almost 13 million were out of work and the unemployment
rate stood at an astonishing 25 percent
• More than 5,000 banks had gone out of business
• The German economy was especially vulnerable since it was built upon foreign capital, mostly
loans from America and was very dependent on foreign trade
• As production levels fell, German workers were laid off
• People lost their savings and hyperinflation soon followed making it hard for families to purchase
expensive necessities with devalued money
• The middle class were cast into poverty
• The crisis of the Great Depression brought disunity to the political parties in the Reichstag
The Great Depression