At 11:00 in the morning on November 11th 1918 the 11thhour of the 11th day of the 11thmonth WWI came to an end. But German generals and troops claimed that they lost the war because of their cowardly politicians.
In December 1918 the US President Woodrow Wilson arrived in Europe. He promised to create a new world order. He persuaded the world leaders and they signed up to a League of Nations, which would be an international organization to protect peace. At the treaty of Versailles they agreed that from now on disputes between countries would be resolved not by fighting but by debate in the league.
With the same treaty, the peoples of Europe were set free. Germany’s ally the Austria Hungarian Empire was divided. Out of it new nations were created; Austria, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. This was a time-bomb because not everyone was happy about it.
Germany had a serious economic problem: it had to pay a 6.6 billion pounds to Britain and France.
Germany was no longer a monarchy. It had become a democracy. But there was unrest in the country. There were street battles between nationalists and communists.
In 1923, there was hyper inflation in Germany, which reached hundreds of percent per month. People lost their savings and became very poor.
This was an opportunity for politicians like Adolf Hitler.
Hitler had been born in Austria. He had fought in the WWI. They gave him a reward for it. After the war he settled in Munich. He was a great speaker. Soon he was in control of the National Socialist (NAZI) Party. In 1923 he and his friends attempted an armed coup against the government. It failed. Hitler was imprisoned. While in prison, he wrote a book, Mein Kampf = My Struggle. In this book he said that Jews caused trouble for Germans, and Germans must get rid of Jews. He wrote that Germany must be powerful and big. After his release from prison, he decided to use democracy for his political aims. He made NAZI a disciplined party. But people didn’t support him because they were happy. Germany was getting rich. (www.bebekce.gen.tr) However, in 1929 US Stock Market crashed and it caused a worldwide economic crisis. It was called the Great Depression. This was an opportunity for Hitler. People lost their jobs and savings. They were unhappy. They would support Hitler. With the 1933 elections, the Nazis became the largest political party in Germany. Hitler became the chancellor (=prime minister). Then he banned other political parties.
In 1934 the German President died and Hitler declared himself the new president.
In the first three years, he re-built the German economy. He employed a lot of workers and gave them a lot of money. He also spent money on arms.
According to the Versailles Treaty (1918), Germany could have
- No more than 100.000 soldiers in the army
- No tanks, no submarines, no air force
But in 1935 Germany had 300.000 soldiers. It also had a large air force (=Luftwaffe in German), with 2500 planes. Germany was becoming a powerful country again and German people were happy.