1919 to 1933
BerlinThe Weimar Republic, officially named the German Reich, was the government of Germany from 1918 to 1933, during which it was a constitutional federal republic for the first time in history; hence it is also referred to, and unofficially proclaimed itself, as the German Republic (Deutsche Republik). The state's informal name is derived from the city of Weimar, which hosted the constituent assembly that established its government. In English, the state was usually simply called "Germany", with "Weimar Republic" (a term introduced by Adolf Hitler in 1929) not commonly used until the 1930s.
On June 28, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, which ordered Germany to reduce its military, take responsibility for the World War I, relinquish some of its territory and pay exorbitant reparations to the Allies. It also prevented Germany from joining the League of Nations at that time.
By 7 November, the revolution had reached Munich, resulting in King Ludwig III of Bavaria fleeing. The MSPD decided to make use of their support at the grassroots and put themselves at the front of the movement, demanding that Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicate.
On 9 November 1918, the "German Republic" was proclaimed by MSPD member Philipp Scheidemann at the Reichstag building in Berlin, to the fury of Friedrich Ebert, the leader of the MSPD, who thought that the question of monarchy or republic should be answered by a national assembly.
Hostilities in World War I took place between 28 July 1914 and 11 November 1918, during which over 70 million military personnel were mobilised; the war ended with 20 million military and civilian deaths —exclusive of fatalities from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which accounted for millions more—making it one of the largest and deadliest wars in history. The position of Germany and the Central Powers deteriorated, leading them to sue for peace.
On 11 November 1918, an armistice was signed at Compiègne by German representatives. It effectively ended military operations between the Allies and Germany. It amounted to German capitulation, without any concessions by the Allies; the naval blockade would continue until complete peace terms were agreed upon.
In 1926, about 2 million Germans were unemployed, which rose to around 6 million in 1932. Many blamed the Weimar Republic. That was made apparent when political parties on both right and left wanting to disband the Republic altogether made any democratic majority in Parliament impossible.
The general elections on 31 July 1932 yielded major gains for the Communists, and for the Nazis, who won 37.3% of the vote—their high-water mark in a free election. The Nazi party then supplanted the Social Democrats as the largest party in the Reichstag, although it did not gain a majority.