Creating the Republic | tutor2u History
Study notes

Creating the Republic

  • Levels: GCSE
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR

The Kaiser abdicated on November 9th 1918 after it became clear that he could no longer command any authority in Germany. Many politicians in Germany realised that in order to keep order and prevent any revolutions a new government would have to be formed quickly.

As the largest party in the Reichstag, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) set about forming a government. The leader of the SPD Friedrich Ebert became leader of Germany and the following day he agreed with the army to work together to keep communists from taking power. To create change quickly, Ebert suspended the Reichstag and created a Council of People’s Representatives. It was this council that would govern until the new country was up and running. The council was filled with people who were seen as being in the middle, and who did hold extreme political ideas such as the communists.

Another early act of the new government was to sign the Armistice with the Allied Powers to end the fighting of the First World War. Whilst for Germany this was the right thing to do, it quickly became clear that the peace treaty would prove problematic for Germany and encourage bad feeling to spread among the German people.

The Council and Ebert could not set up the new country on their own so required help to do so. Ebert made sure that many of the parts of the German state were kept together. Civil servants were encouraged to stay in post and work to build a new Germany. Ebert realised the importance of these people as they ensured that public services operated and that crucially taxes continued to be collected.

Ebert won the support of the Army, who would in return for no reforms, ensure that the government was protected and that revolutions and rebellions were suppressed. Together with the reassurances to industry this brought some control and stability to Germany after the abdication of the Kaiser.

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