Germany: development of dictatorship 1918 - 1945

Timeline of events: 1918 - 1945

Germany 1918 - 1945: supporting resources

  • Student resources
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    Development of dictatorship: Germany 1918-45

    . Establishment of the Weimar Republic & its early problems
    . Recovery of Germany 1924-29
    . The rise of the Hitler & the Nazis
    . Life in Nazi Germany
    . Germany in WWII

    Over 70 pages

    . Comprehensive notes
    . Exercises & worksheets
    . Exam style questions
    . Media recommendations

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    Numerous films portray this topic. Below are some of our recommendations., based on what I have used in class. Be beware that some content my be inappropriate for your class. Please check before showing.

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    Check out or youtube channel:
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Germany 1918 - 1945: timeline

Kaiser abdicates

Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated on 9 November and Fredreich Ebert (leader of the Social Democratic Party) made himself Chancellor and formed a new government.
Initially the Kaiser refused to surrender but the Allies would not sign the armistice until he did.
Sailers in Kiel mutinied.

9 November 1818

Germany surrenders

The new govt. surrendered to the Allies on 11 November 1918.

11 November 1918


Protests and attempted revolutions by right and left wing groups were held across cities in Germany.

November 1918

Spartacists uprising

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Spartacus League
Leaders: Rosa Luxembourg + Karl Liebknecht

. Against the rich ruling Germany
. Tried a communist revolution in Berlin
. Defeated in two weeks by Freikorps

5 January 1919

Weimar National Assembly

National Assembly
Drafts the new republic's constitution
. Friedrich Ebert is elected President
. System of proportional representation used
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February 1919

Treaty of Versailles

Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles and is force to accept blame for the war.

. Colonies taken away
. Land given to Poland, France
& Belgium & Saarland given to League for 15 years
. Split into two parts: Germany & East Prussia

. Army = 100,000 men
. No Tanks
. Navy = 6 ships
. No submarines
. No airforce
. No army in the Rhineland

. Pay reparations (cost of the war) of £6,600 million over 42 years
. Germany not allowed to unite with Austria
. War Guilt - Germany
had to admit that the war was their fault

DICTAT - the dictated peace

28 June 1919

Weimar constitution

Weimar constitution is signed

11 August 1919

German Workers' Party

. Party formed by Anton Drexler and Karl Harrer as nationalist and anti semitic
. Drexler invited Hitler to join after he was initially employed to spy on the party!

11 August 1919

Kapp Putsch

Freikorps - Kapp Putsch
. Leader: Dr Kapp
. Hated communists & Peace Treaty
. Army would not go against Freikorps
. Workers of Berlin went on strike against the Freikorps & the revolt ended after 4 days
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March 1920

Hitler becomes party leader

Freikorps - Kapp Putsch
. Leader: Dr Kapp
. Hated communists & Peace Treaty
. Army would not go against Freikorps
. Workers of Berlin went on strike against the Freikorps & the revolt ended after 4 days
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28 July 1921

Occupation of the Ruhr

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Invasion of the Ruhr
. French & Belgium troops invaded the Ruhr as Germany stopped paying reparations, they took goods e.g. coal instead of money
. This was humiliating for Germany & made the Weimar govt. look weak

11 January 1923


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Money became worthless as the government printed more & more to pay the reparations & pay the striking workers in the Ruhr.
e.g. 1918 bread = 0.6 marks
1923 bread = 250 marks


Stresemann becomes Chancellor

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Stresemann was Chancellor of a coalition govt. in 1923:
. created a new currency the Rentenmark
. ordered striking workers in the Ruhr back to work
. agreed to pay reparations again (this made him unpopular)


New currency

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New currency - the Rentenmark ended the hyperinflation.
. People had confidence in the rentenmark


Munich Putsch

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. hoped for army support him
. thought Bavarian govt would help him

. Army & police stopped the Nazis
. Hitler & Lindenburg were arrested

. Hitler, Lindenburg, Rohm & others on trial
. Gave Hitler a a chance to be famous
. Judges were lenient - Hitler sentenced to only 9 months in prison - had own room & allowed visitors

. Party was banned

8 November 1923

Dawes Plan

. USA lends money to Germany.
. The money is spent building factories to make profits for Germany - Germany pays reparations to France & Britain
. France & Britain pays back money it owes to USA for WWI loans

. Germany factories had brand new machinery and adopted US assembly line techniques.
. The German economy grew quicker than in France or Britain.


Mein Kampf

. Mein Kampf written by Hitler is published - setting out his ideas


Nazi Party reformed

. Party's ban ended on 27 February 1925
. Same day Hitler reformed the Nazi Party


Locarno Pact

. Germany, France & Belgium agreed not to attack each other
. Agreed to keep the borders as they are


League of Nations

. Stresemann took Germany into the League of Nations
. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
. Germany back on the world stage after theTreaty of Versailles


Hitler Youth

. Formed out of different organisations
. Came under the SA
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Kellogg-Briand Pact

. 60 countries inc. Germany signed a pact agreeing not to attack each other


1928 Elections

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Young Plan

. Reparations reduced by 25%
. Reparations to be paid over next 58 years
. USA continued to lend Germany money as economy grew


Wall Street Crash

. Share price collapsed companies became worthless
. Banks went
. Businesses closed
people lost their jobs
. Unemployment increased
less money to buy goods
. Demand for goods fell and other countries went into

October 1929

Economic depression

1929: 1.25 million (8%)
1930: 4 million (15%)
1933: 6+ million (30%)
60 % of university graduates had no job

Dawes Plan
USA stopped new loans and demanded old loans be repaid
1932: Industrial production down 58%

1930: USA put tariffs on imports = German companies could not export (sell) to the USA


Bruning government

Government had many problems when the depression hit Germany:
. more money needed to help unemployed people
. less money from taxes as fewer people worked

Government not have enough money to help the people

. not print money because it causes inflation so:
March 1930 Bruning wanted: to raise taxes 2.5% on govt. workers
cut wages by 23%
cut unemployment benefit by 5%
. other political parties did not want this so Bruning used President decrees


Von Papen government

Bruning resigned in May 1932 as unemployment kept rising
. Von Papen became Chancellor & he called elections for July 1932
. People wanted a strong leader & Hitler (Nazis) won most seats
. Von Papen stayed as Chancellor & called for another election in Nov 1932
. Schleicher became new Chancellor as Nazis got less votes


July 1932 Elections

. The Nazis were the largest party in the Reichstag
. Nazis won 37% of the vote
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July 1932

November 1932 Elections

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November 1932

Hitler appointed Chancellor

. Von Schleider resigns after Hindenburg refuses to rule by decree & he does not have Reichstag support
. President Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany

30 January 1933

Reichstag Fire

. The Reichstag building caught fire.
. One of first people there was Goering who immediately blamed the communists.
. Hitler told Von Papen that is was the start of a communist revolution and wanted to arrest all the communist leaders. A young Dutchman named Lubbe was arrested - and he admitted he did it, but that he was not a communist. Later he said he was a communist.
. Others including the communist leader Torgler were arrested
. Many people including many foreign newspapers at the time said the fire was the work of the Nazis.

27 February 1933

Communist party banned

. Hitler used his powers of Chancellor to issue a decree to ban the communist party

28 February 1933


. Goebbels appointed as Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
Newspapers: only pro Nazi papers allowed
Radios: Nazi controlled, radios cheap so
everyone could have one, inc. cafes & factories.
Movies: all films checked, over 100 per year
Books: no Jewish or Communist writers allowed,
Music: no music by black musicians
Art: only approved art allowed
Schools: told what to teach, history pro nazi
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14 March 1933

Enabling Act

. The Enabling Act gave emergency powers to Hitler - to rule by decree for four years.

23 March 1933

Concentration camps

. Concentration camps established
. Initially held people under 'protective custody' - political enemies of the Nazis e.g. Communists + Trade unionists
. Camps reported in the newspapers as a good thing in 1933
. Camp expansion under the SS after 1937
. 'Undesirables' sent to camps including Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals etc

March 1933

Boycott of Jewish businesses

. Hitler ordered the SA to make life difficult for the Jews
. Shops were smashed, people stopped using Jewish businesses, lawyers etc
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1 April 1933

Gestapo established

. Goring established the secret police - the Gestapo then led by Heydrich
. Aim was to stop any ideas other than Nazi ideas.
. 'Enemies of the State' were dealt with severely.
. Everyone feared the Gestapo.

April 1933

Night of the Long Knives

SS murdered Rohm & other SA leaders.
. SA forced to merge with German army.
. Feared Rohm as possible rival, SA not really under Hitler's control & it's actions too violent at times.
. Served as a warning to other Nazis.
. German Army not like SA & Hitler needed army support.

30 June 1934

President Hindenburg dies

Hitler become Fuhrer

. Hindenburg dies of lung cancer
. Hitler proclaims the merging of the roles of Chancellor and President
. Hitler becomes the Fuhrer

2 August 1934

Nuremburg Laws

. Jews lost German citizenship
. Jews not marry non Jews
. Jews banned from public facilities
. German schools taught children to hate the Jews

15 September 1935

Berlin Olympic Games

. Berlin hosted the summer Olympics
. Hitler used this for propaganda purposes
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15 September 1935


. In 1938 a German diplomat in Paris was killed by a Jew whose family had been expelled from Germany
. The Nazis launched an attack on Jews, destroying businesses and over 30,000 were sent to concentration camps.
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World War II

. On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland.
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1 September 1939