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Germany:1918-1923 Essay

The right-wing continued to cause an uprising to try and overthrow the government, these included people like Wolfgang Kapp. The Kapp Putsch created instability for the New Republic, March 1920 Kapp lead 5000 troops and took over government buildings. Ebert and his government to fled for safety. This allowed Kapp to declare himself Chancellor. With Ebert succeeding to hold a general strike and Kapp losing power; the left wing took advantage (Layton 2002). Communists tried to take over the Ruhr, however, this time the army followed Ebert’s command and overpowered the uprising, this shows the army were for the political right.

In 1923 Hitler led a similar uprising to Kapp; the Munich Putsch. Historian Layton (2005:106) adds, “The inglorious result of the Nazi Putsch was encouraging for Weimar democracy. ” Hitler stormed in to a beer hall and forced Kahr, Lossow and Seisser to promise to support him. Hitler thought Kahr would join forces but Kahr denied. This later caused a conflict in the streets between Nazis and the police (Layton 2005). Hitler’s speech at his trial however, gained him national recognition. The Judges were right wing and were lenient on him.

Therefore, the Kapp and Munich Putsch created instability for the Weimar republic (Lee 1998). Using your own knowledge and sources C and D explain the different historical interpretations of hyperinflation crisis Source C and D differ in their interpretation because they are written at different times. Historical perspectives change over time as historians gain access to local archives and official documents. Archives and official documents become more available as time goes by because people and governments become less attached and become less biased with time McDonough (2003:6) affirms this,

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“In the 1970’s, many German historians used German archives extensively for the first time. ” When a historian is born is also a major factor, if a historian was born and lived through the historical event it becomes very personal to them causing them to be more biased, this is true with Bullock who more than likely lived through the hyperinflation crisis. Yet, if the historian was born post to the event and didn’t experience it, the historian is detached; they are less biased writing more freely and openly.

Source C reveals the impact of the hyperinflation crisis wasn’t based on social class, “savings of the middle classes and working classes were wiped out. ” But historians Hite and Hinton (2000) argue “such assumptions have come to be questioned in light of recent research,” this shows that as time goes by historians perspectives change. Source D (written 36 years later than source C) has a different viewpoint and disagrees. Source D has an advantage due to hindsight. Because of research, it has been found that there were very different groups which were affected in different ways (Lee 1998).

The hyperinflation crisis impact wasn’t based on class, rather if you had savings; you lost out “those with savings and, especially those who bought war bonds, found their money had been invested” (Layton 2002:109). But if you were in debt, you benefitted. As Layton (2002:109) continues, “At the other extreme, the real winners were those… who were able to pay off their debts with inflated and worthless money. ” Historians shouldn’t make general assumptions as different people are affected in different ways.

Some business men were able to take advantage of the crisis and bought up properties from the desperate and gullible; like Hugo Stinnes who, by the end of 1923 controlled twenty percent of German industry (Layton 2002). Layton (2005) compares, that on the surface, Germany wasn’t doing so bad. The Weimar republic was able to continue economic growth and increase production better than other European countries; Britain had an unemployment rate of 17% in 1921, whereas Germany had nearly full employment with only 1. 8% unemployed and rising wage levels.

The implication of changing historical perspectives is that the truth can become distorted, people can exaggerate or fabricate their own perspectives and what’s more, events can be forgotten. It wasn’t just emotional but also political perspectives that historians differed with. Historians often impose on their interpretation of events because they write from different principles and political perspectives. Using your own knowledge and sources E and F explain the different historical perspectives over the origins of National Socialism.

Source E and F differ in their perspectives because source E is from a historian who was American and source F is from a historian who was German. Source E is a biased perspective who blames Germany for the rise of National Socialism; many English and American historians had this view. Source E suggests that Hitler was affected by Germany’s past, Shirer points out that Hitler’s views reflected German history. The Nazis wanted to be great and powerful, they believed the Treaty of Versailles stood in the way and furthermore, wanted to restore Germany’s greatness to the way it was before the war.

Source E asserts that Nazism was anti-democratic and wanted an authoritarian government. MacDonough (2003:54) asserts, “National Socialism was a consequence of these German preoccupations” Up until World War 1, there had always been a central figure of power (the Kaiser) and the Elite had run the government because they were authoritarian and had all the power. The core of National Socialism was what Germany used to be before World War 1 (Layton 2005).

McDonough (2003:41) highlights, “He [Hitler] had the ability to inspire an audience to share his bitterness, his fears…and positive programme to rescue Germany. ” Nazism built its support by tapping into the negative feelings of certain sections of German society, towards problems such as the ‘harsh’ terms of the Versailles treaty, high inflation, the instability of democratic government, the economic position of the Jews in German society and the growth of vibrant communist movement (McDonough 2003). Source F on the other hand, is written by a German historian. His perspective is biased; he defends Germany and allows others to recognise that it wasn’t just Germany’s fault.

Source F argues that throughout Europe in the twentieth century Fascism and totalitarianism was taking a hold; it wasn’t solely a ‘German phenomenon. ’ In Italy, Mussolini a Fascist gained control, “there were many similarities between Italian fascism and National Socialism” (MacDonough 2003:53). Mussolini also believed in military control, anti-socialism and believed in having a strong leader, along with a totalitarian state (Layton 2005). Like Germany, Italy’s economy was weak; Mussolini wanted to change and ‘played’ on the economic instability to rise to power.

Therefore it can be argued that the political and economic weakness of a country, allows radical leaders to gain power. Words: 1,894.

Bibliography LAYTON, G (2002) Access to history: from Bimarck to Hitler: Germany 1890-1933. London: Hodder & Stoughton Educational LAYTON, G (2005) Access to history: Weimar and the Rise of Nazi Germany 1918-33. London: Hodder Murray LEE, J. S (1998) The Weimar Republic 2nd. Edition, Cornwall: TJ International MCDONOUGH, F (2003) Hitler and the Rise of the Nazi Party. Essex: Pearson Education Limited WHITE, A (1997) the Weimar Republic. London: Harper Collins image00. png

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