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What problems did Germany face after World War I?

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jamesmatthewking eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Germany faced numerous problems after World War I.  The most pressing involved the political climate.  After the defeat of Germany, the Wilhelm II was forced to abdicate and the Weimar Republic was declared.  This was only after a revolution that took place in 1918-19.  The Republic, however, was on shaky ground to begin with.  There were over thirty political parties, though only six had any real power.  This situation meant that parties had to form coalitions with one another to get anything done.  Since the parties were more interested in their survival than that of the makeshift Republic, these coalitions often proved weak.

There were also at least three major money problems.  First, the reparation payments of the Versailles Treaty, though still quite exorbitant, were manageable.  Second, the shift to a peace time economy was rather smooth because Germany continued to print money, which led to the astronomical inflation of 1923-4.  Third, because of the weakening by inflation and the dependence on foreign loans, the Great Depression hit Germany especially hard. 

What was most pressing, however, was the psychological shock of losing the war.  Many people, especially due to fabricated military reports, were surprised to learn of Germany's defeat.  (Hitler was one of these people.)  There was also the stab-in-the-back theory, insisting the military lost because of poor political support.

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clane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Germany faced a lot of problems at the end of World War I. Germany had gained some territories during World War I, but toward the close of the war Germany was forced to concede and sign a peace treaty, the famous Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1919. In addition to being forced into peace because Germany had run out of money and resources to continue fighting a war they were also blamed for the war. When the postwar map was redrawn Germany also had to give back part of their colonial empire that was obtained during the war. In addition to losing what it was they had fought for they were also forced to pay reparations for various regions around the world. Germany's economy was in a sad state of affairs after the war and now having to pay reparations that were astronomical (approximately $35 billion) the economy was in a very vulnerable state, the whole country was and it was searching for its savior.

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sidliste1 | Student

Germany was one of the losers of WWI and faced many challenges as a result of the Versailles Treaty, which the Allies imposed on the country in 1919. For one, Germany lost vast amounts of territory and people. In particular, it lost the industrial Saarland, the formerly French provinces of Alscace-Lorraine, as well as eastern territories that were ceded to Poland. In total, these concessions amounted to a loss of 7 million inhabitants. Besides territorial losses, Germany also faced a disarmament mandate. The army was reduced to a mere 100,000 soldiers and the Rhineland was forcibly demilitarized. Finally, the Versailles Treaty imposed heavy reparations upon Germany as a direct response to its aggressive tendencies during WWI.

Politically, Germany's emergent Weimar Republic was weak. Its stability rested on a precarious 6-party coalition that soon faced threats from burgeoning nationalist sentiment. Fervent nationalism emerged in the 19th century but assumed a truly mass character only in the 1920s in response to tumult that befell Germany in the aftermath of its loss in WWI. By the late 1920s, theories like the stab-in-the-back myth, which postulated that German Jews were to blame for Germany's wartime loss, and Hitler's fascist ideology eventually took on mass appeal. This very climate only came about as a result of the multifaceted disadvantages that Germany endured in the aftermath of WWI.

revolution | Student

Germany face many problems after the end of the war. Due to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, segments of Germany's population would be divided by new borders and forced to join other nations, and their land was redistributed to other countries. They lost all of its overseas colonies, and was not allowed to form a anschluss with Austria. Germany have to scaled back its military forces, restricted to 100 000 professional soldiers, preventing it from building up a large reserve force to call up in a war. All of Germany's wartime weapons to be destroyed and conscription was prohibhited. Germany was not allowed to have an air force, tanks and submarines. The Naqvy was limited to six battleships and some other ships. The Rhineland was made into a demillitarised zone. Finally, Germany had to take full responsibility for the war, known as the War Guilte Clause.