NCERT Nazism and the rise of Hitler
Topic– 1: Birth of the Weimar Republic
I. Very Short Answer Type Questions. [1 Mark]
1. What was the response of the Germans to the new Weimar Republic?
Ans. They held the new Weimar Republic responsible for Germany’s defeat and the disgrace at Versailles. The republic carried the burden of war guilt and national humiliation.
2. In what ways did the First World War leave a deep imprint on European society and polity?
Ans. Soldiers were put above civilians, trench-life was glorified. Politicians and publicists laid stress on men to be aggressive and masculine. Aggressive war propaganda and national honour were given the most support and Conservative dictatorships were welcomed.
3. Who were mockingly called the “November criminals”?
Ans. The Socialists, Catholics and Democrats were mockingly called as November criminals by the conservative nationalist.
4. What was the condition of soldiers in World War I?
Ans. All soldiers were ready to die for their country’s honour and personal glory.
5. Why the Treaty of Versailles (1920) signed at the end of World War I, was harsh and humiliating for Germany?
Ans. Because Germany lost its overseas colonies, and 13 per cent of its territories. The western powers demilitarised Germany and they occupied resource-rich Rhineland in 1920.
6. Why did Helmuth’s father kill himself in the spring of 1945?
Ans. Helmuth’s father killed himself because he feared revenge by the Allied Powers.
7. Which countries led the Allied Powers in the Second World War?
Ans. UK, France, USSR and USA
8. Which body was set up to try and prosecute the Nazi war criminals at the end of World War II?
Ans. International Military Tribunal
9. What was the most important result of the Spartacus League uprising in Germany in 1918-19?
Ans. The Weimar Republic crushed the rebellion and The Spartacists founded the Communist Party of Germany.
10. What was ‘Dawes Plan’?
Ans. It was a plan by Americans which reworked the terms of reparation to ease the financial burden on the Germans.
11. Which of the following statements is true about the economic crisis in Germany in 1923?
Ans. The value of ‘Mark’ (German currency) collapsed and prices of goods soared high.
12. Which article of the Weimar Constitution gave the President the powers to impose emergency, suspend civil rights and rule by decree in Germany?
Ans. Article 48 gave the President the powers to impose emergency in Germany.
II. Short Answer Type Questions. [3 Marks]
1. Describe what happened to Germany after its defeat in the First World War.
Ans. World War I ended with the Allies defeating Germany and the Central powers in November 1918. The Peace Treaty at Versailles with the Allies was a harsh and humiliating treaty. Germany lost its overseas colonies, a tenth of its population, 13 per cent of its territories, 75 per cent of its iron and 26 per cent of its coal to France, Poland, Denmark and Lithuania. The Allied Powers demilitarised Germany to weaken its power. Germany was forced to pay compensation amounting to 6 billion. The Allied armies also occupied the resource-rich Rhineland for much of the 1920s.
2. ‘The German economy was the worst hit by the economic crisis.’ Discuss.
Ans. The image of German carrying cartloads of currency notes to buy a loaf of bread was widely publicised evoking worldwide sympathy. This crisis came to be known as a ‘‘hyperinflation’’, a situation when prices rise phenomenally high. The German economy was the worst hit by the economic crisis. Industrial production was reduced to 40 per cent of the 1929 level. Workers lost their jobs or were paid reduced wages. On the streets of Germany, you could see men with placards around their necks saying, ‘‘willing to do any work.” The economic crisis created deep anxieties and fears in people.
3. Describe the main provisions of the Treaty of Versailles.
Ans. The Treaty of Versailles was harsh and humiliating peace for the Germans.
(i) Germany lost all its overseas colonies, a tenth of its population.
(ii) 13 per cent of its territories, 75 per cent of its iron and 26 per cent of its coal to France.
(iii) Germany was demilitarized to weaken its power.
(iv) The war guilt clause held Germany responsible for war and damages the Allied countries. It was forced to pay a compensation amounting to £6 billion.
(v) The Allied forces occupied the resource-rich Rhineland till the 1920s.
4. Why did Germany suffer from ‘‘Hyperinflation” in 1923? Who bailed her out from this situation?
Ans. Germany had fought the war largely on loans and had to pay war reparations in gold. The depleted gold reserves at a time were scarce. In 1923 Germany refused to pay and the French occupied Ruhr, to claim their coal. Germany retaliated with passive resistance and printed paper currency recklessly. With too much-printed money in circulation, the value of the German mark fell. In April the US dollar was equal to 24,000 marks, in July 353,000 marks and at 98,860,000 marks by December, the figure had run into trillions. As the value of the marks collapsed, prices of goods soared. This crisis came to be known as hyperinflation, a situation when prices rise phenomenally high.
III. Long Answer Type Questions. [5 Marks]
1. Give reasons why the Weimar Republic failed to solve the problems of Germany.
Ans. The birth of the Weimar Republic coincided with the uprising of the Spartacus League on the pattern of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The Democrats, Socialists and Catholics opposed it. They met in Weimar to give shape to a democratic republic. The republic was not received well by its own people largely because of the terms it was forced to accept after Germany’s defeat at the end of the First World War. Many Germans held the new Weimar Republic responsible for not only the defeat in the war but the disgrace at Versailles. This republic was finally crippled by being forced to pay compensation. Soon after the economic crisis hit Germany in 1923, the value of the German mark fell considerably. The Weimar Republic had to face hyperinflation. Then came the Wall Street exchange crash in 1929. Politically too the Weimar Republic was fragile. The Weimar Constitution had some inherent defects, which made it unstable and vulnerable to dictatorship. One was proportional representation. This made achieving a majority by any one party a near-impossible task, leading to a rule by coalitions. Another defect was Article 48, which gave the president the powers to impose emergency, suspend civil rights and rule by decree. Within its short life, the Weimar Republic saw twenty different cabinets lasting on an average 239 days, and liberal use of Article 48. Yet the crisis could not be managed. People lost confidence in the democratic parliamentary system, which seemed to offer no solutions.