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Tag: Weimar Republic

A society lacking a consensus is a dangerous place

An interview with Eric Weitz, a professor of history. Interviewer: Iwona Reichardt

IWONA REICHARDT: The title of your book is Weimar Germany. Promises and Tragedy. Let us start with the first part: the promises. What promises did the Weimar republic, which was established in 1918 and whose official name remained Deutsches Reich (unchanged since 1871), make to the German society, which was deeply battered after the First World War and burdened with a very heavy sense of loss and humiliation?

ERIC WEITZ: The Revolution of 1918/19 established – and did not only promise – Germany as a democratic state and society. The extent of participation in the government at all levels –federal, state and local – broadened dramatically. Germans had a great range of freedoms to speak out, to publish what they wanted in the press and to organise themselves in parties and civil society.

November 12, 2019 - Eric Weitz Iwona Reichardt

Germany’s Weimar Republic: A narrative of ambiguity

Modernisation appeared to spell economic deprivation for large segments of the Weimar Republic’s society. They felt threatened by uncertainties; in fact, hopes and expectations about the future were disrupted. Aggression turned against democratic institutions and minorities depicted as scapegoats.

On October 15th 1929, the Fritz Lang film Woman in the Moon premiered at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo in Berlin. The cinema’s façade had been redesigned for the event. Launched from a skyscraper silhouette, a spaceship replica shuttled back and forth to the moon against the backdrop of a starry sky simulated by hundreds of light bulbs. Offering tantalising visions of future technology – not quite unlike Bauhaus architecture with its twin promise of functionalist building and re-styled urban life, it conveyed the impression of epitomising a cosmopolitan republic that eagerly embraced modernity.

November 12, 2019 - Rainer Eisfeld

Hostage to the generals

Had it not been for the huge effort of the German military who carefully considered the experiences of the First World War and a wide support for Reichswehr military concepts in the Weimar Republic, the Nazi regime would not have transferred into an effective military machine. One that posed a serious threat to Europe’s peace.

On November 9th 1918 a republic was established in Germany. It was one of the unintended outcomes of the First World War. The Hohenzollern family, which ruled Germany since 1871, lost power as a result of the war. It is difficult to fully understand the 14-year long history of the interwar German republic without looking at the causes which brought it to life. The same factors, in fact, are the ones which brought it to an end. Had it not been for the madness of Emperor Wilhelm II, Germany would have probably remained one of European constitutional monarchies. The sudden and unexpected abdication of the emperor in 1918, as well as his unexpected call to make peace with the Allied Forces, truly shocked the German public. Its citizens experienced four years of sacrifice to face a disgraceful capitulation in the end.

November 12, 2019 - Andrzej Zaręba

Colonialism continued. Versailles and the end of formal German colonial rule

As a result of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany lost its colonial empire. This, however, only fuelled the idea of German colonialism after the war. Four million Germans signed up for a campaign against the loss of the colonies and the German government actively supported resettling the colonies.

The German colonial empire officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28th 1919. Already in the first two years of the First World War, the Allied troops had occupied most of the so-called German protectorates in Africa, Asia and the Pacific; in German East Africa Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck had waged a guerrilla war until 1917, he surrendered only after the armistice on November 25th 1918. In article 119 of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany renounced all overseas possessions.

November 12, 2019 - Birte Förster

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