Germany History – Germany Republican
The main cause of the German revolution of 1918 is undoubtedly to be attributed to the sudden collapse of the military and civil body of Germany, which remained admirably compact and solid even during the last months of the war, despite the very hard sacrifices imposed on the people now close by iron grip of the adversaries. The revolutionary elements, reduced to very little, would not have seriously thought about the possibility of a revolution, had the general catastrophe not occurred; nevertheless, the revolutionary propaganda had come preparing the suitable ground for the prompt revolt when, in fact, the opportunity was offered. The German socialists had opposed the war only in a few fractions, remaining then in favor of it. At the Zimmerwald congress (1916) K. Liebknecht, F. Spartakusbund, so called for the Spartakusbriefe, published by Liebknecht in 1916) carrying out an active revolutionary propaganda that had led to the arrest of Liebknecht and provoked some strikes, without however significantly affecting the stability and resistance of the country. But at the beginning of the German catastrophe the Liebknecht is freed and the secret revolutionary committee decides to start action: on November 5 a warship in Kiel raises the red flag and the revolution four days later is already victorious and a provisional committee which includes Ebert, Ph. Scheidemann and Otto Braun takes possession of power. Attempts at Spartacist uprisings followed, suffocated by the authority and energy of Germany Noske. Revolutionaries Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg are killed. On January 16, 1919, the general elections for the Constituent Assembly. The democratic, social democratic and catholic groups (Weimar coalition) agree to give Germany a president and a republican constitution, which, basically, is inspired by the constitutions of federalist states, such as the American one, and above all by the constitution voted in 1849 from the German liberals to the Frankfurt Assembly. The new constitution was approved in Weimar (v.) With 262 votes against 79 of the nationalists and communists and was signed by Federico Ebert, elected president of the Reich (11 August 1919). The national assembly moves to Berlin in the autumn. inspired by the constitutions of federalist states, such as the American one, and above all by the constitution voted in 1849 by the German liberals at the Assembly in Frankfurt. The new constitution was approved in Weimar (v.) With 262 votes against 79 of the nationalists and communists and was signed by Federico Ebert, elected president of the Reich (11 August 1919). The national assembly moves to Berlin in the autumn. inspired by the constitutions of federalist states, such as the American one, and above all by the constitution voted in 1849 by the German liberals at the Assembly in Frankfurt. The new constitution was approved in Weimar (v.) With 262 votes against 79 of the nationalists and communists and was signed by Federico Ebert, elected president of the Reich (11 August 1919). The national assembly moves to Berlin in the autumn.
After the collapse and the revolution, a series of insurrectional attempts, some temporarily succeeded in establishing themselves – such as the proclamation of the republic of the Soviets in Bavaria (Kurt Eisner) – others immediately failed – such as the coup d’état of the nationalists led by W. Kapp to Berlin (March 13-17, 1920) and the Rhenish separatist movement – failed to shake the republican regime, which was consolidating. Thus German unity and the Deutsches Reich, in the form of a republican confederation, are preserved against different provisions. Bismarck had said: “If it were supposed that all German dynasties were suddenly sidelined, it would not be probable that national sentiment would keep all Germans together.” To others, however, it had seemed logical and even inevitable that from the fall of the various monarchies the definitive solution to the unitary problem in the dissolution of the Prussian state structure would arise: that is, the creation of a single German state that would realize, albeit in very different ways, the dream of H. v. Treitschke of “a unitary state and autonomous administrations of strong provinces”. Except that the various particularisms, never extinguished and the consequent danger of the worst, have arrested this last phase of the German political evolution, in the most serious moment in the history of Germany. The harsh conditions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles – not so much due to the severe territorial mutilation and the total loss of colonies and the occupation of the Rhenish provinces and disarmament, but above all due to the enormous burden of reparations -, causing the rapid worsening of the crisis economic and financial and the consequent fearful inflation in the years immediately following the war, have shaken the moral solidity of the German people. All the so-called “plans” – Dawes, Young – and the formulas devised by politicians and financiers to reconcile the needs of the victorious allies, and above all of France, extremely intransigent, with the possibility of payment of the Germans, they ultimately proved insufficient to resolve a situation which by now has profound repercussions throughout Europe. Since the occupation of the Ruhr – a typical example of the elasticity and imprecision of some conditions of the peace treaty – which occupation has had the only concrete result of the partial ruin of the German mining industry, the tangle of conferences, agreements, of the pacts – including that of Locarno – that followed one another in the years following the Peace of Versailles, despite the moratorium proposed by the president of the United States of America, H. Hoover, and accepted by all the states concerned, freed it for one year from the payment of the obligations contracted in favor of the former enemies, a minimum of lasting tranquility for Germany and Europe and a confident resumption of international collaboration.
It is true that the pact of Lausanne (see) of 7 July 1932 represents the end of the heavy burden of reparations, by now obliging Germany to a global payment – and, again, not immediate – of 3 billion gold marks.
But just as the question of reparations was definitively settled, the internal political crisis, which had already been dormant for several months, worsened in Germany. Great steps forward had been made in the last two years by the National Socialist party, which, headed by Adolfo Hitler (v.), Moved in domestic politics from programmatic bases in clear antithesis with the doctrines of Weimar democracy, and in foreign policy, towards tactics, we will say, gradualist, tenaciously pursued for several years by Gustavo Stresemann (v.), and characterized by the 1925 Locarno pact, opposed a tactic of resolute intransigence in the face of the former enemy powers (more precisely in the face of France) in all those issues that were closely connected with the peace treaties and with the obligations imposed by them (reparations, disarmament, etc.).
Already the presidential elections of 10 March and 10 April 1932, while ending with the re-election of Marshal Hindenburg, had given sure proof of the great progress made by nationalism, whose candidate, Hitler, received more than 13,000,000 votes against 19,000..000 collected by a personality like that of Hindenburg; then the elections to the diet of Prussia, and, even more, those for the diets of Luxembourg and Mecklenburg, which ended with the clear victory of the Hitlerian candidates, had given a fierce blow to the positions held for many years by Social Democracy; finally, the elections of 30 July 1932 gave Hitler’s party, if not the absolute majority necessary to ensure the life of a purely nationalist government,
And the changing situation had already had its repercussions in the composition of the government: the government of H. Brüning, based on the Catholic center and on the Social Democrats, was forced to resign in June 1932. It was replaced by that of Br. Von Papen: government clearly on the right, which at first seemed destined for an ephemeral life, that is, to be a simple transition phase between the dominance of the democratic parties and the dominance of the National Socialists; but who soon showed that he wanted to be, on the other hand, quite another thing of a passing phenomenon. In fact, not only has it proceeded, by means of presidential ordinances, to restore order and tranquility, troubled for a long time by the bloody conflicts between the parties; he dissolved the government of Prussia, which was in the hands of the Social Democrats; Reichstag. Every attempt at an agreement between the government and Hitlerites failed in August, the latter, together with the Catholic Center and the Social Democrats, tried to overthrow the von Papen government in the first session of the new Reichstag (12 September 1932): but the government in that the same session declared the Reichstag dissolved. Thus, with the end of September 1932, the internal political situation of Germany is that of a country dominated by a government of authority, which acts on the basis of the consent of the President of the Reich and which above all has the support of the Reichswehr.. In foreign policy, in September 1932 the von Papen government openly asked, in a memo to the French government, for legal equality in armaments: a question that was followed by a substantially negative French response and, as a backlash, by the German abstention from Bureau meetings for the Disarmament Conference. The new elections to the Reichstag, called by von Papen for November 6, gave the following results: National Socialists 195 seats; social democrats 121; communists 100; Catholic Center 69; German nationals 51.