Collapse of the Second Reich

Collapse of the Second Reich

The Weimar Republic was announced following the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in November 1918. The removal of the Emperor left an apparent power vacuum, with no Head of State the political structure of the Second Reich was obsolete, and an alternative form of government would have to be established. In fact the move towards a different form of Government had begun prior to the Kaisers abdication. As it became apparent to the German High Command that the war was lost moves were made to not only sue for peace but to amend the way in which the decision making process was conducted in Germany.

In October of 1918 a significant change in the constitution was instigated. The Chancellor and his ministers were no longer accountable directly to the Kaiser. Removed from the construction was the right of the Kaiser to install and remove his chief minister as he saw fit. From this point onwards the Chancellor was accountable to the Reichstag. Thus the first moves towards a democratic state were made prior to the abdication of Wilhelm II. This is significant in that this illustrates that there was recognition of the need to change. What is open to debate is where the pressure for this change came from (by fuller). Historians are split as to whether the impetus for change came from the High Command and the Kaiser himself, or whether pressure from leading members of the Reichstag led to the change in the construction whichever interpretation is more valid, it meant that upon the Kaiser’s abdication, there was still a form of government in which authority, no matter how much weakened, was held. This meant that to an extent the power vacuum left by the abdication was filled, if left in an extremely precarious position.

German History Homepage

The Second Reich
Unification of GermanyPolitical systems within the Second Reich
German Society during the Second ReichCollapse of the Second Reich

Weimar Republic

Interim GovernmentFounding of the Weimar Republic
Impact of the First World War on GermanyThe Treaty of Versailles
Weimar Constitution1919-1923: Years of Crisis?
Spartacist UprisingKapp Putsch
The Munich PutschHyperinflation in Germany, 1923
ReparationsDid the Economic Crisis of 1923 help the Nazi's?
Origins of the Nazi Party1924-1928: A Golden Era?
Gustav StresemannGerman Foreign Relations 1919-1932
Germany in the Great DepressionRise of the Nazi Party
Failings of the Weimar RepublicTotalitarian Regime
How did Hitler consolidate power?Mein Kampf
Nazi methods of controlOpposition to the Nazi Regime
Organisation of the Nazi PartyFuhrerprinzip
KristallnachtYouth and Education
Goering and the 2nd 4 Year PlanAnti-Jewish Boycott, 1933
Nazi Anti-SemitismDAF (The German Labour Front)
PropagandaEconomic Policy
Weimar GermanyOur sister site provides in depth coverage of many aspects of life in Germany at the time of the Weimar Republic
Resistance and Opposition to the Nazi RegimeA wide ranging series of articles on the different opposition and resistance movements in Nazi Germany.
Lesson plans, resources and ideas on Nazi GermanyA range of lesson plans, teaching resources and links of use in the classroom
Economy under Nazi ruleArticles, Resources and Documentation relating to the Economy under Nazi rule
The HolocaustHistory Teachers' Resources

Revision Diagrams

Was the Weimar Republic Doomed from the outset?To what extent did Germany recover under Stresemann?
The Nazi Party up to 1929How did Hitler become Chancellor of Germany?
Who gained from Nazi rule?

Revision Diagrams

Was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start?|To what extent did Weimar recover under Stresemann?
How did the Nazi Party develop up to 1929?How did Hitler become Chancellor?
How did Hitler become Chancellor?How did the Nazi's create a Totalitarian State?