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GCSE History

Germany Depth Study 1919-45

A provisional government of socialists is established, nominally responsible to the workers’ and soldiers' councils; until Dec. 29 it includes the radical USPD as well as the moderate SPD. 1918
Armistice:  The end of the war. 1918
The National Assembly (elected on Jan. 19) meets in Weimar because Berlin is too violent.  A government of the "Weimar Coalition" (SPD, DDP, Center) is formed with Philipp Scheidemann as Chancellor. 1919
The National Assembly elects Friedrich Ebert (SPD) as first President of the Republic. 1919
A Soviet Republic in Bavaria is the most dramatic of a series of revolts and military conflicts during the spring between government troops and radical workers. 1919
Versailles Treaty: Germany is forced to yield territory Alsace-Lorraine, the Polish Corridor, Silesia), Denmark, and Belgium, and is forbidden to unite with Austria.  Germany is also forced to limit its army to 100,000 and the Rhineland is demilitarized. 1919
Weimar Constitution:  The National Assembly, sitting in Weimar, adopts a constitution for the Republic. 1919
Adolf Hitler joins the tiny German Workers Party (later renamed the National Socialist German Workers Party, NSDAP, or Nazi Party) in Munich. 1919
The Kapp Putsch, an unsuccessful military revolt against the Republican government, fails because the Weimar government call for a general strike amongst the workers of Berlin, this passive resistance leads Kapp to realise that it will not succeed. 1920
The parties of the "Weimar Coalition" lose their Reichstag majority in national elections; they never again have enough seats to form a majority coalition. 1920
The German government (under duress) accepts the Allies claims for reparations, the amount of which was left open in the peace treaty. 1921
After a plebiscite, the League of Nations partitions Upper Silesia and awards a large part to Poland. 1921
The Treaty of Rapallo between Germany and Soviet Russia opens a diplomatic back door for Germany. 1922
Foreign minister Walter Rathenau is assassinated by right-wing anti-Semites.  In reaction to this outrage, Republican institutions are consolidated for a time. 1922
Occupation of the Ruhr and Hyperinflation:  Germany’s main heavy industrial area is occupied by Fr/Bel to force payment of reparations.  The local population practices passive resistance, these expenditures lead to rapid escalation of inflation. 1923
A "Great Coalition" government (SPD, DDP, Center, DVP) led by Gustav Stresemann (DVP) ends the passive resistance and the inflation.  Stresemann remains as foreign minister in every succeeding government until 1929. 1923
"Beer Hall Putsch":  Hitler’s failed coup d'état takes place in Munich.  Afterwards Hitler flees, is arrested and spends about a year in prison during 1924-25, it is during this time that Hitler writes Mein Kampf (My Struggle). 1923
The currency is stabilized on terms that bankrupt many savers:  each new Mark, known as the Rentenmark, is worth one trillion of the old ones. 1923
The Dawes Plan eases Germany's reparations obligations and leads to an influx of American loans. 1924
Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, a military hero, is elected as President of the Republic, following the death of Ebert. 1925
Germany signs the Locarno Treaties are signed, voluntarily guaranteeing her Western borders.  This restores normal relations with the Western powers. 1925
Germany is admitted to the League of Nations. 1926
A "Great Coalition" government (the first since 1923) is formed under Hermann Müller (SPD), after national elections that seems to confirm the stabilization of the Republic.  This cabinet survives until March 1930. 1928
The German government accepts the Young Plan, which further eases German reparations obligations.  In the ensuing nationalist campaign to force rejection of the Young Plan (unsuccessfully) Hitler gains his first national prominence. 1929
The Wall Street crash, symbolic start of the Great Depression, finds the German economy already in decline, and leads to the withdrawal of American short-term loans. 1929
Hindenburg is reelected President by a small margin over Hitler. 1932
Franz von Papen becomes Chancellor after Brüning loses Hindenburg's confidence and resigns. 1932
An international conference effectively ends German reparations obligations. 1932
The Papen government lifts a ban on the SA. 1932
The Papen government takes over the government of Prussia, Germany's largest federal state, dismissing the Weimar Coalition government that had ruled there until this point. 1932
National elections, called by Papen to strengthen his position in the Reichstag, result in doubled Nazi representation.  Now no coalition government of any kind is possible without either the Nazis or the Communists. 1932
Hitler declares that he will not serve in the government in any office other than as Chancellor. 1932
National elections fail to resolve the deadlock; the Nazis lose some seats, but the Communists gain. 1932
General Kurt von Schleicher becomes Chancellor. 1932
Nazi "seizure of power":  Hitler becomes Chancellor with a cabinet numerically dominated by conservatives. 1933
Fire partly destroys the Reichstag building.  The government takes the occasion to step up persecution of the opposition parties. 1933
In national elections the NSDAP wins 44%, the Nationalists 8%, for a majority between them; after the Communist deputies are arrested or forced underground the Nazis themselves have a majority. 1933
Enabling Act:  This bill, which receives the necessary 2/3 majority with the aid of the Center Party, grants full legislative powers to the cabinet without requiring the assent of the Reichstag. 1933
An official national boycott of Jewish businesses, which lasts only a few days because of public resistance. 1933
The Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service provides for the dismissal of all Jews and opponents of the regime from the civil service. 1933
All political parties other than the Nazis are disbanded and all trade unions are absorbed into the Labor Front. 1933
Inauguration of the Reinhardt Plan of expanded public works expenditure, including construction of superhighways (Autobahns). 1933
Germany withdraws from the Disarmament Conference and the League of Nations.  In a referendum 93% of the voters approve of these actions. 1933
A non-aggression treaty with Poland begins Hitler's display of peaceful intentions; it also serves to undercut France’s policy of defensive alliances against Germany. 1934
"Night of the Long Knives"("Blood Purge", "Röhm Purge"):  Hitler uses the SS to assassinate the leaders of the SA, representing the radical wing of the Nazi party, who had come to seem a threat to his plans. 1934
President von Hindenburg dies, and Hitler assumes the Presidency as well as the Chancellorship.  88% of the voters endorse this step in a plebiscite. 1934
Hitler repudiates the disarmament clauses of the Versailles Treaty and Germany begins to rearm openly. 1935
Britain signs Naval Agreement with Germany, a sign that the Western powers will try to tame Hitler by accommodation ("appeasement"). 1935
Crisis over the Italian invasion of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), during which Germany supports Italy and thereby cements a habit of mutual support. 1935
The Nuremberg Laws deprive Jews of citizenship rights. 1935
Reoccupation of the Rhineland:  Hitler repudiates the demilitarization clauses of the Versailles Treaty and the Locarno Treaties (1925), and German troops march into the demilitarized Rhineland. 1936
The Spanish Civil War begins.  German and Italian forces support the insurgent Nationalist (Franco) side, the ultimate victors (in 1939). 1936
German treaties with Italy (the "Rome-Berlin Axis") and Japan (the "Anti-Comintern Pact"). 1936
Inauguration of the Four-Year Plan intended to make Germany economically self-sufficient. 1936
Hjalmar Schacht loses his post as Minister of Economics. 1937
Anschluss:  Germany abruptly invades and annexes Austria. 1938
Munich:  A crisis over the Czechoslovak Sudetenland ends in the Munich Agreement and German annexation of large areas of western Czechoslovakia; this is the peak of Western appeasement. 1938
Kristallnacht ("night of broken glass"):  Nazis burn synagogues, destroy Jewish property, and beat and arrest thousands of Jews.  This is the start of the harsher phase of persecution. 1938
Germany violates the Munich agreement and suddenly occupies the rest of western Czechoslovakia, turning Slovakia into a client state. 1939
The Nazi-Soviet Pact (or Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) provides that Germany and Russia will observe benevolent neutrality towards each other if either becomes involved in a war. 1939
Outbreak of World War II:  German armies invade Poland, followed two days later by declaration of war on Germany by Britain and France. 1939
German armies invade Denmark and Norway. 1940
German victory in the West:  German armies invade the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, and two days later enter France.  Thoroughly defeated, France signs an armistice on June 22. 1940
The Battle of Britain, consisting of sustained air attacks intended as a prelude to invasion.  In the end no invasion is attempted. 1940
The Jews of Warsaw are herded together into the Warsaw Ghetto. 1940
German armies invade Yugoslavia and Greece. 1941
Invasion of Russia:  German armies sweep into the Soviet Union, making vast gains at first. 1941
Start of the Holocaust:  The Einsatzgruppen begin operating behind the advancing German armies in Russia, rounding up and killing various undesirables, principally Jews, by the tens of thousands. 1941
Hitler ends the euthanasia program for the mentally deficient in Germany as a result of public protest mainly from Catholic quarters. 1941
Death camps:  Chelmno, considered the first of the death camps, goes into operation, followed within months by Belzec, Sobibor, Majdanek, Treblinka, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. 1941
Hitler declares war on the United States, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 1941
The Wannsee Conference, called to coordinate "the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem" under the direction of the SS. 1942
Albert Speer is put in charge of German war production, which is only just beginning to organize for a long war. 1942
El Alamein:  British forces push back the German armies at El Alamein; the turning point of the war in North Africa. 1942
Stalingrad:  Soviet forces counter-attack at Stalingrad on the Volga, surround a large German army, and force its surrender.  This is the turning point of the war in Russia. 1942
American forces land to join the war in North Africa. 1942
The Warsaw Ghetto is destroyed by military action when the inhabitants offer armed resistance. 1943
Allied aircraft fire-bomb Dresden, an open city. 1944
D-Day:  Allied armies land in Normandy. 1944
An attempt is made on Hitler's life by a group of mainly upper-class conspirators with army or government connections.  It fails, and wide-spread executions follow. 1944
Warsaw uprising:  Polish partisans revolt, but are eventually crushed by German armies while nearby Russian armies fail to intervene. 1944
German forces mount a briefly successful counter-offensive against American forces in the Ardennes (Belgium), the so-called Battle of the Bulge. 1944
Russian armies begin their final attack, which within a week takes Warsaw and crosses the Vistula. 1945
American forces cross the Rhine. 1945
Hitler commits suicide. 1945
End of the war: The remnants of the Nazi government surrender unconditionally. 1945
Mutinies by sailors and soldiers begin in the home garrisons in Germany, followed by the formation of workers' and soldiers' councils. 1918
Revolution in Germany:  The Empire collapses, the Kaiser abdicates, and a republic is proclaimed. 1918
Created by: mrjstacey



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