1919 – 1923
Civil war 1919
After the Social Democratic Party’s victory in the elections for the National Assembly the left-wing parties became more radical. Among those were the Independent Social Democratic PartyThe Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) was established in 1917 as the result of a split of left wing members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. It attempted to chart a centrist course between electorally oriented revisionism on the one hand and bolshevism on the other of Germany and the Communist Party of GermanyThe Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933. After World War I it became gradually ever more committed to Leninism and later Stalinism. The Communist Party of Germany had developed in January 1919 from the communistic spartacist league; according to the example set by the Russian revolution they claimed a council system and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In response to the spartacist uprising the Social democratic party ordered the FreikorpsFreikorps were German volunteer military after World War I to quell the riot. Known assassinations are those of Karl LiebknechtKarl Liebknecht was a German socialist and a co-founder of the Spartacist League and Rosa LuxemburgRosa Luxemburg was a Marxist theorist and revolutionary socialist, the former leaders of the spartacist league1.
Treaty of Versailles
The negotiations concerning the European realignment commenced in January 1919 in Versailles. In the subsequent Treaty of VersaillesThe Treaty of Versailles was the peace treaty after World War I in 1919. It forced Germany to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions, and pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers Germany had to accept sole responsibility for the outbreak of war, the relinquishment of all conquered regions including its colonies and the payment of high reparations. In consequence Germany was internationally isolated and driven into economic recession. This led to fierce criticism among the population, directed against the government for signing the contract2.
Due to warfare and the unaffordable reparations Germany was severely indebted, leading to inflation in 1923. Payments the government could originally not afford were compensated by the money printing press. This strategy led to recession, as money lost its worth. The German economy only recovered when the USA offered economic aid with the so called Dawes planThe Dawes-Plan (1924) was the American support to compromise and collect war reparations debt from Germany.
This economic upswing eventually led to the “Golden 20sGolden Twenties describe the 1920s, in which most of the continent had an economic boom following the First World War, before the Wall Street Crash in 1929”3.