Long Answer Type Questions (5 Marks)
- Write a note on Germany and the First World War.
- Name the peace treaty signed after the First World War with Germany.
- Give reason why the Weimar Republic failed to solve the problems of Germany.
- Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union?
- Why was the Weimar Republic not received well by its own people? Explain any five
reasons. [CBSE 2012]
- The First World War left a deep imprint on the European society and polity. Elaborate the
given statement. [CBSE 2012]
- Germany, a powerful empire in the early years of the twentieth century, fought the First World War (1914-1918) alongside the Austrian Empire and against the Allies (England, France and Russia).
(i) All joined the war enthusiastically hoping to gain from a quick victory. Little did they realize that the war would stretch on, eventually draining Europe of all its resources.
(ii) Germany made initial gains by occupying France and Belgium. However, the Allies, strengthened by the US entry in 1917, won defeating Germany and the Central Powers in November 1918.
- It was called ‘Treaty of Versailles’. The Peace Treaty at Versailles with the Allies was a harsh and humiliating peace. 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 demilitarized Germany to weaken its power. The War Guilt Clause held Germany responsible for the war and damages the Allied countries suffered. Germany was forced to pay compensation amounting to pound 6 billion.
- (i) The birth of the Weimar Republic coincided with the uprising of the Spartacus League on the pattern of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
(ii) The Democrats, Socialists and Catholics opposed it. They met in Weimar to give shape to a democratic republic.
(iii) 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.
(iv) 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 German mark fell considerably.
(v) The Weimar Republic had to face hyperinflation. Then came the Wall Street exchange crash in 1929.
- (i) The defeat of Germany in the World War I made Hitler angry. It horrified him.
(ii) The Treaty of Versailles made him furious.
(iii) He joined the German Workers Party and renamed it National Socialist German Workers Party. This later came to be known as the Nazi Party.
(iv) Hitler promised to build a strong nation, undo the injustice of the Versailles Treaty and restore the dignity of the German people. After First World War, Germany was compelled to sign this treaty under the threat of war.
(v) In September 1939, Germany in vaded Poland. In 1940, a Tripartite Pact was signed between Germany, Italy and Japan, strengthening Hitler’s claim to international power. Puppet regimes, supportive of Nazi Germany, were installed in a large part of Europe. Hitler then attacked the Soviet Union.
- Reasons for the Weimar Republic not being accepted well by its own people are:
(i) It was not received well by its own people largely because of the terms it was forced to accept after Germany’s defeat.
(ii) The peace treaty was harsh and humiliating. It was believed that the Republic compromised with Germany’s honour by signing the Peace Treaty at Versailles. According to this, Germany lost its overseas colonies, 13% of its territories, 75% of the iron and 26% of the coal to France, Poland, Denmark and Lithuania.
(iii) Germany lost its overseas colonies.
(iv) The allied powers demilitarized Germany.
(v) The war guilt clause held Germany responsible for war and damage.
(vi) Germany was forced to pay compensation of 6 billion pounds.
(vii) Most of the Germans held the new Weimar Republic responsible for defeat in war and disgrace at Versailles.
- Impact of the First World War on European society and polity was immense.
(i) Soldiers were to be placed above civilians.
(ii) Politicians and publicists laid great stress on the need for the men to be aggressive, strong and masculine.
(iii) Media glorified trench life.
(iv) Aggressive war propaganda and national honour occupied centre stage.
(v) Popular support grew for conservative dictatorships.