Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918 – 1945

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Reichstag Fire

 

This timeline details the main events in Weimar and Nazi-Germany from 1918 – 1945

 

 

 

1918 (9th November)
Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated and Germany was declared a Republic. A provisional coalition government was formed. It was made up of SPD (German Social Democratic Party) and USPD (Independent German Social Democratic Party) members under the leadership of Friedrich Ebert.
1918 (10th November)
Friedrich Ebert received the support of the German army from General Groener.
1918 (11th November)
Armistice
At 11am an armistice was signed at Compiegne that ended World War One.
1918 (19th November)
Corporal Adolf Hitler was discharged from hospital where he had been recovering from gas poisoning.
1918 (14th December)
A militia of German ex-soldiers known as Freikorps was formed.
1918 (late December)
The USPD members of Ebert’s government resigned after German soldiers fired on some Spartacists.
1919 (1st January)
The KPD (German Communist Party) was founded by members of the Spartacists.
1919 (5th January)
Anton Drexler, Gottrried Feder, Dietrich Eckart and Karl Harrer formed the German Workers’ Party (Deutsch Arbeitrepartei) DAP
1919 (5th January)
Spartacist Uprising
The Communist Spartacist League, a branch of the German Communist party led by Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht attempted to take control of Berlin by occupying public buildings. They hoped to overthrow the new government and establish a Communist state.
1919 (13th January)
The provisional German government relocated to Weimar to escape the violence in Berlin.
1919 (13th January)
Spartacist Revolt
The Freikorps were called in by the government to put down the revolt.
1919 (15th January)
Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were arrested and executed by the Freikorps.
1919 (19th January)
The Social Democrat Party (SPD) won 38% of the vote at the German elections and formed a coalition with the DDP (German Democratic Party) and the ZP (Centre Party).
1919 (6th February)
The new government met for the first time at Weimar.
1919 (11th February)
Friedrich Ebert, leader of the SPD was declared President of the German Reublic. Philipp Scheidemann became Chancellor.
1919 (March)
A Communist revolt in Bavaria led to the formation of a soviet republic in the state. It was crushed by the Freikorps.
1919 (19th May)
The draft terms of the Treaty of Versailles were made public. There was widespread outrage at the harsh terms but Germany lacked the military power to resist.
1919 (21st June)
Philipp Scheidemann resigned as Chancellor in protest at the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. He was succeeded by Gustav Bauer.
1919 (28th June)
Treaty of Versailles
A delegation of representatives from the new Weimar government signed the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty imposed harsh sanctions on Germany including a drastic reduction of military forces, the removal of land and overseas territories and the payment of reparations to the value of £6.6 billion.
1919 (11th August)
The new Constitution in which the Weimar government set out plans for a new liberal democratic political system for Germany was approved by President Ebert.
1919 (12th September)
Adolf Hitler was sent by the German army to spy on the DAP. After attending some party meetings Hitler decided he liked the political ideas of the party and became a member.
1920 (20th February)
The German Workers’ Party changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP). It was referred to as the Nazi Party.
1920 (24th February)
The Nazi Party held its first meeting. A 25 point programme was announced.
1920 (13th March)
Kapp Putsch
This was an attempt to seize Berlin made by a small group of right wing nationalists and Freikorps led by Dr Wolfgang Kapp. The German army refused to attack the Freikorps but the Putsch failed after four days because workers went on strike and refused to follow Kapp.
1920 (27th March)
Gustav Bauer’s government resigned due to the fact that they had tried to negotiate with the leaders of the Kapp Putsch. Bauer was succeeded as Chancellor by Hermann Muller.
1920 (31st March)
Adolf Hitler was formally discharged from the German army.
1920 (June)
New elections were held. Support for the three parties of the coalition fell but they continued hold power. Constantin Fehrenbach took over as Chancellor.
1920 (17th December)
The first edition of the NSDAP newspaper (Voelkischer Beobachter) was published.
1921 (March)
Rebellions against the government in Saxony and Hamburg were successfully put down.
1921 (4th May)
Constantin Fehrenbach resigned as Chancellor after he failed to get the Reichstag’s support to fix reparations. He was replaced by Joseph Wirth.
1921 (late May)
Chancellor Joseph Wirth agreed reparation payments with the Allies.
1921 (25th June)
Adolf Hitler became leader of the NSDAP.
1921 (31st August)
Germany made the first reparations payment of £50 million.
1921 (September)
Hitler was arrested for disturbing the peace after he gate-crashed a meeting of another political group.
1921 (22nd October)
Chancellor Joseph Wirth resigned in protest at the partition of Upper Silesia which had been decided by the League of Nations against the wishes of the German population.
1921 (25th October)
President Friedrich Ebert persuaded Joseph Wirth to continue as Chancellor and form a government.
1921 (4th November)
The SA (Sturm Abteilung) were formed. They were known as Stormtroopers and formed the party militia. They were also referred to as brownshirts because brown shirts formed part of their uniform.
1922 (12th January)
Adolf Hitler was imprisoned for disturbance of the peace.
1922 (6th April)
Treaty of Rapallo
This was a treaty between Germany and Russia whereby each country renounced territorial and financial claims against the other. Although this was against the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, neither Germany nor Russia were part of the League of Nations so there was little that could be done.
1922 (November)
Germany was unable to pay the second installment of reparations as determined by the Treaty of Versailles.
1922 (14th November)
Chancellor Joseph Wirth resigned because he no longer supported the policy of complying with Allied demands over the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. He was succeeded by Wilhelm Cuno.
1922 (27th December)
French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr region after Germany defaulted on reparations repayments. They took control of the industrial region occupying mines, factories and the railway.
1923 (January)
The German government instructed workers in the Ruhr region to use passive resistance to the French takeover by refusing to follow instructions. The government promised to continue to pay workers’ wages. The French retaliated by firing at workers in the Krupp steel works.
1923 (12th August)
Wilhelm Cuno resigned as Chancellor of Germany after the Reichstag passed a vote of no confidence against him. Gustav Stresemann was appointed Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany. Stresemann believed that the best way forward for Germany was to accept Versailles and try to negotiate with the Allies over reparations in order to build a strong economy.
1923 (26th September)
Stresemann called off the Ruhr workers’ passive resistance to the French. He told the French that Germany would resume payment of reparations if the French pulled out of the Ruhr.
1923 (October)
The German economy was in decline as it was struck by hyperinflation. The government printed banknotes to try to stop the hyperinflation but it had little effect and may Germans lost their life savings.
1923 (November)
With hyperinflation out of control, Gustav Stresemann issued a new currency, the Rentenmark, to stabilise the economy.
1923 (8th November)
Munich (Beer Hall) Putsch
Around 3,000 members of the Bavarian government held a meeting in a beer hall in Munich. Hitler and the NSDP saw this as an opportunity to overthrow the Bavarian government and stormed the meeting and took control persuading the Bavarians to join the Nazis in overthrowing the government. However, the Bavarians lost their nerve and when Hitler attempted to take Munich the following day he was arrested and charged with treason.
1923 (23rd November)
Gustav Stresemann and his Cabinet resigned after the Social Democrats refused to co-operate with him. He was succeeded by Centrist politician, Wilhelm Marx who formed a minority government.
1924 (26th February)
Adolf Hitler was put on trial for his part in the Munich Putsch. He was sentenced to five years in prison.
1924 (April)
The Dawes Plan
This was published follwing an investigation into Germany’s financial situation by an international conference. It decided that the reparation payments to be made by Germany should be determined by Germany’s ability to pay. The Americans lent money to Germany to help with the repayments.
1924 (Summer)
While in prison, Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf in which he spelled out his future for Germany.
1924 (15th December)
Following new elections, Wilhelm Marx was unable to form a government and resigned as Chancellor. He was succeeded by Hans Luther.
1924 (20th December)
Adolf Hitler was released from Landsburg prison after serving just ten months of his sentence.
1925 (28th February)
President Friedrich Ebert died. He was succeeded by Paul von Hindenburg.
1925 (April)
The SS (Schutzstaffel) were formed. They acted as Hitler’s personal bodyguard and wore black shirts to distinguish them from the SA.
1925 (July)
Adolf Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ was published.
1925 (1st December)
Locarno Treaties
These were a set of treaties whereby Germany France and Belgium agreed to respect the borders set out in the Treaty of Versailles. Germany agreed with Poland and Czechoslovakia that border disputes would be settled peacefully.
1926 (12th May)
Hans Luther resigned as Chancellor after a dispute over the German flag. He was succeeded by Wilhelm Marx who became Chancellor for the second time.
1926 (4th July)
Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth, League of German Worker Youth was formed.
1926 (September)
League of Nations
Germany became a member of the League of Nations. Germany had originally been excluded from membership but this was changed following the signing of the Locarno treaties.
1926 (17th December)
Wilhelm Marx resigned as Chancellor after losing a vote for secret military relations between Germany and Russia.
1927 (during)
The Weimar government introduced a compulsory unemployment insurance scheme which protected workers from financial hardship in the event of unemployment.
1927 (January)
Wilhelm Marx returned as Chancellor after successfully forming a new government.
1927 (20th August)
Nuremberg was chosen as the venue for the annual party conference.
1928 (12th June)
Wilhelm Marx again resigned as Chancellor after losing support of the Centre Party. His resignation was accepted by President Hindenburg and he was succeeded by Hermann Muller who became Chancellor for the second time.
1928 (27th August)
Kellog-Briand Pact
Germany was one of the signatory states that agreed not to use war as a method of resolving disputes or conflicts between nations.
1928 (November)
Joseph Goebbels was made head of propaganda for the Nazi Party.
1929 (September)
The Young Plan
This reduced Germany’s total reparations bill to £1850 million. It was accepted by Stresemann. However, although it reduced the ultimate payment, many felt that Stresemann and Chancellor Muller had sold Germany short. The right wing parties believed that Germany should cease payments altogether since they were based on the war guilt clause of the Versailles Treaty that Germany had been forced to agree to.
1929 (3rd October)
Gustav Stresemann died following a heart attack.
1929 (29th October)
Wall Street Crash
The value of stocks and shares fell dramatically causing the Great Depression.
1930 (during)
The Great Depression saw large numbers of Germans facing unemployment and poverty as American banks withdrew loans to German companies who in turn had to lay workers off. Dissatisfaction with the Weimar government led to an increased support for the Nazi Party.
1930 (27th March)
Hermann Muller resigned due to ill health and the fact that his government would not agree to compromise with the Centre Party. He was succeeded by Heinrich Bruning.
1930 (September)
The Nazi Party won 18.3% (107 seats) in the Reichstag elections and became the second largest party.
1931 (January)
Ernst Roehm was appointed head of the SA.
1931 (July)
Five leading German banks failed.
1932 (January)
The level of unemployment in Germany reached 6.1 million.
1932 (13th April)
Chancellor Bruning banned the SA and the SS.
1932 (13th March)
Paul von Hindenburg was re-elected President of Germany.
1932 (May)
Chancellor Bruning resigned after his plan to prevent the rise of the Nazis by restoring the monarchy was proved unable to gain sufficient support to pass Parliament. He was succeeded by Von Papen. Von Papen lifted the ban on the SA and the SS.
1932 (July)
The Nazi Party won 37.4% (230 seats) in the Reichstag elections and became the largest party in the Reichstag. Following the election Hitler decided not to back Von Papen’s government and called for President Hindenburg to make him Chancellor instead.
1932 (13th August)
Adolf Hitler met with President Hindenburg and asked him directly to make him Chancellor. Hindenburg refused the request.
1932 (12th September)
Members of the Communist Party in government put forward a motion of no confidence in Von Papen’s government. The Nazi Party backed the motion. Rather than resign Von Papen called another election.
1932 (17th November)
Von Papen resigned as Chancellor and formed a caretaker government.
1932 (November)
A new election was held and although the Nazis lost votes it was not enough for Von Papen to form a new government.
1932 (3rd December)
Kurt von Schleicher was appointed Chancellor he intended to try to gain the support of the Nazi Party for his Chancellorship.
1933 (28th January)
Kurt von Schleicher was unable to hold the government together and resigned as Chancellor.
1933 (30th January)
President Hindenburg appointed Hitler Chancellor of Germany.
1933 (3rd February)
Adolf Hitler stated that the main aim of Nazi foreign policy should be to secure lebensraum (living space) for the German master race.
1933 (early February)
Meetings of Communists was banned and meetings of other political non-Nazis were threatened and intimidated.
1933 (27th February)
Reichstag Fire
A fire broke out in the Reichstag building. It was blamed on the Communist Party (KPD). The Communist Party were subsequently banned which left the Nazis with a clear majority in government.
1933 (28th February)
Reichstag Fire Decree
Hitler called a state of emergency and persuaded Hindenburg to suspend a number of civil liberties and give the Nazi government the power to take action against political activism in general and the Communists in particular.
1933 (5th March)
Adolf Hitler ordered new elections to be held. The Nazi Party gained 44% of the vote (17 million votes).
1933 (22nd March)
The first concentration camp for political prisoners was opened at Dachau.
1933 (23rd March)
Enabling Act
This act gave Hitler the power to make emergency laws without the backing of the Reichstag for a period of four years. It was passed by the Reichstag after Hitler promised not to use the Act to change the constitution and used the Enabling Act to keep those likely to oppose the act away.
1933 (April)
All public servants – teachers, professors, judges and government officials – that were Jewish or not deemed to be true Nazis were removed from office.
1933 (26th April)
The Gestapo, the Nazi secret police, were formed by Herman Goering.
1933 (26th April)
The Nazis took over local government.
1933 (late Spring)
The Weimar flag was banned and was replaced by the flag of the Empire and the Swastika flag.
1933 (2nd May)
Trade unions were banned.
1933 (10th May)
Action against the un-German spirit
Organised by Joseph Goebbels head of propaganda, this saw 25,000 un-German books burned.
1933 (22nd June)
The Social Democratic Party was banned and its assets seized by the government.
1933 (29th June)
The German National People’s Party disbanded after their offices were raided by the SA. The other major parties disbanded soon afterwards.
1933 (14th July)
A law was passed that decreed the Nazi Party to be the only party in Germany. The founding of new parties was made illegal and any other existing party was banned.
1933 (October)
Germany withdrew from the League of Nations after a referendum showed the German people wholly in favour of the withdrawal.
1934 (during)
Hitler managed to drastically reduce unemployment by creating around 1.7 million jobs in public work projects such as road building.
1934 (4th April)
Heinrich Himmler was appointed assistant chief of the Gestapo.
1934 (30th June)
Night of the Long Knives
150 leaders of the SA (Stormtroopers) including Ernst Rohm were executed after it became clear that they wanted greater power.
1934 (2nd August)
President Hindenburg died. Hitler decided that the post of President and Chancellor should be combined. He gave himself the title Fuhrer. Hitler’s new position gave him control of the armed forces.
1934 (September)
Hitler made a speech to the National Socialist Women’s Organisation and told its members that a woman’s ‘world is her husband, her family, her children and her home’.
1935 (during)
The Swastika became the only flag of Nazi Germany.
1935 (January)
The people of the Saarland region, which had been under the supervision of the League of Nations, voted to become a part of Germany.
1935 (26th February)
Hitler ordered Hermann Goering to re-establish the German airforce, Luftwaffe, in defiance of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.
1935 (March)
In defiance of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler began expanding the German army and order the creation of an airforce (Luftwaffe). He also introduced conscription.
1935 (18th June)
Anglo-German Naval Agreement
This agreed that Germany could build a naval fleet.
1935 (15th September)
Nuremburg Laws
This set of laws defined German citizenship and banned relationships between Aryans and Jews.
1936 (7th March)
In contravention of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler sent 3,000 German troops to re-occupy the Rhineland.
1936 (1st August)
The Berlin Olympics began.
1936 (25th October)
Axis Alliance
This was a treaty of mutual alliance between Germany and Italy.
1936 (25th November)
Anti-Comintern Pact
This Pact was a treaty of alliance between Germany and Japan.
1936 (December)
Law Concerning the Hitler Youth
This law made membership of the Hitler Youth compulsory for all boys.
1938 (14th March)
Anschluss with Austria
Hitler made a triumphant entry into Vienna as Germany and Austria were united.
1938 (30th September)
Munich Agreement
This was an agreement between the allies and Germany that Germany could take the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia and that Hitler would seek no further land grabs.
1938 (November)
Kristallnacht
This was a night of extreme violence where Jewish shops and synagogues were looted and destroyed.
1939 (during)
Hitler created the Einsatzgruppen, mobile death squads that rounded up and shot large numbers of Jewish people and others deemed undesirable in Nazi Germany.
1939 (15th March)
Hitler invaded and occupied Czechoslovakia in contravention of the Munich Agreement.
1939 (25th March)
Membership of the Hitler Youth became compulsory for all children over the age of ten.
1939 (31st March)
Britain issued a statement guaranteeing Poland’s independence.
1939 (23rd August)
Nazi-Soviet Pact/Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
This was an alliance between Germany and Russia which agreed to divide Poland between the two countries.
1939 (25th August)
Anglo-Polish Common defence Pact
This agreement offered mutual military assistance in the event that one country was attacked by another European country. A clause was added specifying that the assistance would only be offered if the invaded country’s army fought against the aggressor.
1939 (1st September)
Hitler invaded Poland using Blitzkrieg (lightning war) tactics. Although the Poles fought back they were quickly defeated and Poland was occupied.
1939 (3rd September)
Britain and France declared war on Germany marking the beginning of World War Two.
1939 (17th September)
The Soviet Union attacked Poland as agreed with Germany.
1940 (9th April)
Denmark and Norway were invaded and occupied by the Nazis.
1940 (10th May)
Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France were invaded and occupied by the Nazis.
1940 (10th July)
Battle of Britain
This began as Hitler used the German Luftwaffe to try to take over British airspace by defeating the Royal airforce. His aim was to then mount a full scale invasion.
1940 (27th September)
Tripartitie Pact
Hungary joined the Axis powers.
1940 (October)
The Blitz, daylight and nighttime bombing raids on Britain were abandoned by Hitler.
1940 (17th November)
Tripartitie Pact
Bulgaria joined the Axis powers.
1940 (23rd November)
Tripartitie Pact
Romania joined the Axis powers.
1941 (February)
German troops, known as the Afrika Korps, were sent to Libya to support Italian troops.
1941 (6th April)
Yugoslavia and Greece were invaded and occupied by the Nazis.
1941 (22nd June)
Operation Barbarossa
In contravention of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Hitler sent 3 million German troops into Russia.
1941 (October)
The German army in Russia had advanced to Moscow.
1941 (5th December)
The German advance in Russia had been halted by the Russian winter and counterattacks from the Russian army.
1941 (7th December)
Pearl Harbor
The Japanese airforce mounted a large-scale bombing raid of Pearl Harbor. President Roosvelt responded by declaring war on Japan.
1941 (11th December)
Wannsee Conference
This conference approved plans for a ‘final solution’ to eliminate the Jews either by working them to death or by mass killing.
1942 (11th November)
Second Battle of El Alamein
German forces led by Erwin Rommel were defeated.
1943 (2nd February)
Battle of Stalingrad
The German army had been trapped in Stalingrad since late November but Hitler had refused all requests to retreat. Many soldiers had been killed and those that still survived decided to surrender.
1943 (4th March)
The allies began making bombing raids on German cities.
1943 (July)
The allies landed in Sicily and began pushing north through Italy.
1943 (23rd August)
Battle of Kursk
This battle between German and Soviet forces saw a decisive victory for the Russians.
1944 (6th June)
Operation Overlord (D-Day)
The allies mounted an invasion of Normandy.
1944 (20th July)
July Bomb Plot
This plot, led by Colonel Stauffenburg, failed to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
1945 (25th January)
Ardennes Offensive
This German offensive to try to stop the allied advance failed.
1945 (27th January)
Soviet forces crossed the Eastern German border.
1945 (30th April)
With the Russians approaching Berlin, Adolf Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun committed suicide. Karl Donitz took over as President of Germany and Joseph Goebbels became Chancellor.
1945 (1st May)
Joseph Goebbels murdered his six children then he and his wife committed suicide.
1945 (2nd May)
General Helmuth Weildling offered a German unconditional surrender to the allies.
1945 (8th May)
The German surrender was accepted and formalised ending the war in Europe.
1945 (22nd May)
Heinrich Himmler committed suicide.
1945 (20th November)
The Nuremberg war crimes trial began.

 

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2018). Weimar and Nazi Germany 1918 – 1945. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/weimar-and-nazi-germany-1918-1945 Last accessed December 12th, 2018

 

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