The establishment of the Weimar Republic

In November 1918 Germany surrendered and World War One was lost. A revolution followed in which Germany became a republic and a democracy. This timeline sets out the major events in the new republic’s early life, up to the beginning of 1925:

1918:

  • 9 November – the ruling monarch, Kaiser Wilhelm II, abdicated and Germany became a republic.
  • 11 November – World War One ended when an armistice was agreed with the Allies (Britain, France and the USA) and Germany surrendered.
Photo of the Spartacist uprising (january uprising) in Berlin - demonstration of armed spartacists in the Jerusalemer Straße
The Spartacist uprising in Berlin - demonstration of armed spartacists in the Jerusalemer Straße

1919:

  • 5-12 January – the Spartacist Uprising occurred when 50,000 members of the German Communist Party, known as the Spartacists, rebelled in Berlin, led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.
  • Late January – a group of members elected to represent the German people, a National Assembly, met to draw up a new constitution (a set of rules and laws) for Germany.
  • 28 June – the new German government was forced to sign a peace settlement called the Treaty of Versailles.
  • 31 July – a new constitution was agreed by the National Assembly and Ebert was appointed Germany’s first President.
Photo showing Putschists marching with the Imperial War Flag at Pariser Platz Square.
Putschists marching with the Imperial War flag at Pariser Platz Square

1920:

  • 13-17 March – the right-wing nationalist Dr Wolfgang Kapp led an attempted putsch (the Kapp Putsch) in Berlin. The government was only saved when the workers of Berlin went on strike.
  • June - the first elections in what became known as the Weimar Republic took place.
Photo of Adolf Hitler, Alfred Rosenberg (left) and Dr Friedrich Weber of the Freikorps Oberland (Oberland Free Corps), during the Munich Putsch
Adolf Hitler, Alfred Rosenberg (left) and Dr Friedrich Weber of the Freikorps Oberland, during the Munich Putsch

1921:

  • May – the amount of reparations Germany had to pay was set at £6.6 billion.

1922:

  • November – Germany defaulted on its reparations payment as scheduled. The first reparations payment had taken all she could afford to pay. The French believed Germany could make the repayment but were choosing not to, however the German government argued they could not afford to pay.

1923:

  • January – in response, France and Belgium sent troops into Germany’s main industrial area, the Ruhr Valley. Their aim was to confiscate industrial goods as reparations payments. The German response – passive resistance – led to hyperinflation.
  • August – with bank notes costing more to print than they were worth, Chancellor Stresemann introduced a new currency called the Rentenmark. This ended the hyperinflation crisis.
  • 8 November – The fledgling Nazi Party attempted to gain power in the Munich Putsch.

1924:

  • August – The Dawes Plan, rescheduling Germany’s reparations payments, was agreed.

Excerpt from the Treaty of Versailles, 1919