Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between the Allied Powers, it was signed on 28 June 1919 in Versailles five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which had directly led to World War I. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I signed separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty; the treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919. Of the many provisions in the treaty, one of the most important and controversial required "Germany accept the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage" during the war; this article, Article 231 became known as the War Guilt clause. The treaty required Germany to disarm, make ample territorial concessions, pay reparations to certain countries that had formed the Entente powers.
In 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion marks. At the time economists, notably John Maynard Keynes, predicted that the treaty was too harsh—a "Carthaginian peace"—and said the reparations figure was excessive and counter-productive, views that, since have been the subject of ongoing debate by historians and economists from several countries. On the other hand, prominent figures on the Allied side such as French Marshal Ferdinand Foch criticized the treaty for treating Germany too leniently; the result of these competing and sometimes conflicting goals among the victors was a compromise that left no one content: Germany was neither pacified nor conciliated, nor was it permanently weakened. The problems that arose from the treaty would lead to the Locarno Treaties, which improved relations between Germany and the other European powers, the re-negotiation of the reparation system resulting in the Dawes Plan, the Young Plan, the indefinite postponement of reparations at the Lausanne Conference of 1932.
Although it is referred to as the "Versailles Conference", only the actual signing of the treaty took place at the historic palace. Most of the negotiations were in Paris, with the "Big Four" meetings taking place at the Quai d'Orsay. On 28 June 1914 the Bosnian-Serbs assassinated the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary in the name of Serbian nationalism; this caused a escalating July Crisis resulting in Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia, followed by the entry of most European powers into First World War. Two alliances faced off, the Triple Entente. Other countries entered as fighting ranged across Europe, as well as the Middle East and Asia. In 1917, two revolutions occurred within the Russian Empire; the new Bolshevik government under Vladimir Lenin in March 1918 signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, favourable to Germany. Sensing victory before American armies could be ready, Germany now shifted forced to the Western Front and tried to overwhelm the Allies, it failed. Instead the Allies won decisively on the battlefield and forced an armistice in November 1918 that resembled a surrender.
On 6 April 1917, the United States entered the war against the Central Powers. The motives were twofold: German submarine warfare against merchant ships trading with France and Britain, which led to the sinking of the RMS Lusitania and the loss of 128 American lives; the American war aim was to detach the war from nationalistic disputes and ambitions after the Bolshevik disclosure of secret treaties between the Allies. The existence of these treaties tended to discredit Allied claims that Germany was the sole power with aggressive ambitions. On 8 January 1918, President Woodrow Wilson issued the Fourteen Points, it outlined a policy of free trade, open agreements, democracy. While the term was not used self-determination was assumed, it called for a negotiated end to the war, international disarmament, the withdrawal of the Central Powers from occupied territories, the creation of a Polish state, the redrawing of Europe's borders along ethnic lines, the formation of a League of Nations to guarantee the political independence and territorial integrity of all states.
It called for a democratic peace uncompromised by territorial annexations. The Fourteen Points were based on the research of the Inquiry, a team of about 150 advisors led by foreign-policy advisor Edward M. House, into the topics to arise in the expected peace conference. After the Central Powers launched Operation Faustschlag on the Eastern Front, the new Soviet Government of Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany on 3 March 1918; this treaty ended the war between Russia and the Central powers and annexed 1,300,000 square miles of territory and 62 million people. This loss equated to a third of the Russian population, a quarter of its territory, around a third of the country's arable land, three-quarters of its coal and iron, a third of its factories, a quarter of its railroads. During the autumn of 1918, the Central Powers began to collapse. Desertion rates within the German army began to increase, civilian strikes drastically reduced
The Weimar Republic is an unofficial historical designation for the German state from 1918 to 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar; the official name of the republic remained Deutsches Reich unchanged from 1871, because of the German tradition of substates. Although translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm", in that the term does not have monarchical connotations in itself; the Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was known as Germany. Germany became a de facto republic on 9 November 1918 when Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated the German and Prussian thrones with no agreement made on a succession by his son Crown Prince Wilhelm, became a de jure republic in February 1919 when the position of President of Germany was created. A national assembly was convened in Weimar, where a new constitution for Germany was written and adopted on 11 August 1919. In its fourteen years, the Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism as well as contentious relationships with the victors of the First World War.
Resentment in Germany towards the Treaty of Versailles was strong on the political right where there was great anger towards those who had signed the Treaty and submitted to fulfill the terms of it. The Weimar Republic fulfilled most of the requirements of the Treaty of Versailles although it never met its disarmament requirements and paid only a small portion of the war reparations. Under the Locarno Treaties, Germany accepted the western borders of the country by abandoning irredentist claims on France and Belgium, but continued to dispute the eastern borders and sought to persuade German-speaking Austria to join Germany as one of Germany's states. From 1930 onwards President Hindenburg used emergency powers to back Chancellors Heinrich Brüning, Franz von Papen and General Kurt von Schleicher; the Great Depression, exacerbated by Brüning's policy of deflation, led to a surge in unemployment. In 1933, Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor with the Nazi Party being part of a coalition government.
The Nazis held two out of the remaining ten cabinet seats. Von Papen as Vice Chancellor was intended to be the "éminence grise" who would keep Hitler under control, using his close personal connection to Hindenburg. Within months, the Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Act of 1933 had brought about a state of emergency: it wiped out constitutional governance and civil liberties. Hitler's seizure of power was permissive of government by decree without legislative participation; these events brought the republic to an end – as democracy collapsed, the founding of a single-party state began the dictatorship of the Nazi era. The Weimar Republic is so called because the assembly that adopted its constitution met at Weimar, from 6 February 1919 to 11 August 1919, but this name only became mainstream after 1933. Between 1919 and 1933 there was no single name for the new state that gained widespread acceptance, why the old name Deutsches Reich remained though hardly anyone used it during the Weimar period.
To the right of the spectrum the politically engaged rejected the new democratic model and cringed to see the honour of the traditional word Reich associated with it. The Catholic Centre party, Zentrum favoured the term Deutscher Volksstaat while on the moderate left the Chancellor's SPD preferred Deutsche Republik. By 1925, Deutsche Republik was used by most Germans, but for the anti-democratic right the word Republik was, along with the relocation of the seat of power to Weimar, a painful reminder of a government structure, imposed by foreign statesmen, along with the expulsion of Kaiser Wilhelm in the wake of massive national humiliation; the first recorded mention of the term Republik von Weimar came during a speech delivered by Adolf Hitler at a National Socialist German Worker's Party rally in Munich on 24 February 1929—it was a few weeks that the term Weimarer Republik was first used in a newspaper article. Only during the 1930s did the term become mainstream, both within and outside Germany.
According to historian Richard J. Evans: The continued use of the term'German Empire', Deutsches Reich, by the Weimar Republic....conjured up an image among educated Germans that resonated far beyond the institutional structures Bismarck created: the successor to the Roman Empire. After the introduction of the republic, the flag and coat of arms of Germany were altered to reflect the political changes; the Weimar Republic without the symbols of the former Monarchy. This left the black eagle with one head, facing to the right, with open wings but closed feathers, with a red beak and claws and white highlighting. By reason of a decision of the Reich's Government I hereby announce, that the Imperial coat of arms on a gold-yellow shield shows the one headed black eagle, the head turned to the right, the wings open but with closed feathering, beak and claws in red color. If the Reich's Eagle is shown without a frame, the same charg
Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well
Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives, or the Röhm Purge called Operation Hummingbird, was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from June 30 to July 2, 1934, when Adolf Hitler, urged on by Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, carried out a series of political extrajudicial executions intended to consolidate his hold on power in Germany, as well as to alleviate the concerns of the German military about the role of Ernst Röhm and the Sturmabteilung, the Nazis' own mass paramilitary organization. Nazi propaganda presented the murders as a preventive measure against an alleged imminent coup by the SA under Röhm – the so-called Röhm putsch; the primary instruments of Hitler's action, who carried out most of the killings, were the Schutzstaffel paramilitary force under Himmler and its Security Service under Reinhard Heydrich, the Gestapo, the secret police, under Göring. Göring's personal police battalion took part in the killings. Many of those killed in the purge were leaders of the SA, the best-known being Röhm himself, the SA's chief of staff and one of Hitler's longtime supporters and allies.
Leading members of the socialist-leaning Strasserist faction of the Nazi Party, including its figurehead, Gregor Strasser, were killed, as were establishment conservatives and anti-Nazis, such as former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Bavarian politician Gustav Ritter von Kahr, who had suppressed Hitler's Munich Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. The murders of SA leaders were intended to improve the image of the Hitler government with a German public, critical of thuggish SA tactics. Hitler saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his newly gained political power, he wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr, the German military, who feared and despised the SA as a potential rival, in particular because of Röhm's ambition to merge the army and the SA under his own leadership. Additionally, Hitler was uncomfortable with Röhm's outspoken support for a "second revolution" to redistribute wealth. In Röhm's view, President Hindenburg's appointment of Hitler as Chancellor on January 30, 1933 had brought the Nazi Party to power, but had left unfulfilled the party's larger goals.
Hitler used the purge to attack or eliminate German critics of his new regime those loyal to Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen, as well as to settle scores with old enemies. At least 85 people died during the purge, although the final death toll may have been in the hundreds, with high estimates running from 700 to 1,000. More than a thousand perceived opponents were arrested; the purge consolidated the support of the Wehrmacht for Hitler. It provided a legal grounding for the Nazi regime, as the German courts and cabinet swept aside centuries of legal prohibition against extrajudicial killings to demonstrate their loyalty to the regime; the Night of the Long Knives was a turning point for the German government. It established Hitler as the supreme administrator of justice of the German people, as he put it in his July 13 speech to the Reichstag. Before its execution, its planners sometimes referred to the purge as Hummingbird, the codeword used to send the execution squads into action on the day of the purge.
The codename for the operation appears to have been chosen arbitrarily. The phrase "Night of the Long Knives" in the German language predates the killings and refers to acts of vengeance. President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler Chancellor on January 30, 1933. Over the next few months, during the so-called Gleichschaltung, Hitler dispensed with the need for the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic as a legislative body and eliminated all rival political parties in Germany, so that by the middle of 1933 the country had become a one-party state under his direction and control. Hitler did not exercise absolute power, despite his swift consolidation of political authority; as chancellor, Hitler did not command the army, which remained under the formal leadership of Hindenburg, a respected veteran field marshal. While many officers were impressed by Hitler's promises of an expanded army, a return to conscription, a more aggressive foreign policy, the army continued to guard its traditions of independence during the early years of the Nazi regime.
To a lesser extent, the Sturmabteilung, a Nazi paramilitary organisation, remained somewhat autonomous within the party. The SA evolved out of the remnants of the Freikorps movement of the post-World War I years; the Freikorps were nationalistic organisations composed of disaffected and angry German combat veterans founded by the government in January 1919 to deal with the threat of a Communist revolution when it appeared that there was a lack of loyal troops. A large number of the Freikorps believed that the November Revolution had betrayed them when Germany was alleged to be on the verge of victory in 1918. Hence, the Freikorps were in opposition to the new Weimar Republic, born as a result of the November Revolution, whose founders were contemptuously called "November criminals". Captain Ernst Röhm of the Reichswehr served as the liaison with the Bavarian Freikorps. Röhm was given the nickname "The Machine Gun King of Bavaria" in the early 1920s, since he was responsible for storing and issuing illegal machine guns to the Bavarian Freikorps units.
Röhm left the Reichswehr in 1923 and became commander of the SA. During the 1920s and 1930s, the SA functioned as a private militia used by Hitler to intimidate rivals and disrupt the meetings of competing political parties those of the Social Democrats and the Communists. Known as the "brownshi
Virtual International Authority File
The Virtual International Authority File is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center. Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities; this would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process. The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress, the German National Library and the OCLC on August 6, 2003; the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined the project on October 5, 2007. The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012; the aim is to link the national authority files to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, refers to the original authority records.
The data are available for research and data exchange and sharing. Reciprocal updating uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting protocol; the file numbers are being added to Wikipedia biographical articles and are incorporated into Wikidata. VIAF's clustering algorithm is run every month; as more data are added from participating libraries, clusters of authority records may coalesce or split, leading to some fluctuation in the VIAF identifier of certain authority records. Authority control Faceted Application of Subject Terminology Integrated Authority File International Standard Authority Data Number International Standard Name Identifier Wikipedia's authority control template for articles Official website VIAF at OCLC
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
The Kapp Putsch known as the Kapp–Lüttwitz Putsch after its leaders Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Lüttwitz, was an attempted coup on 13 March 1920 which aimed to undo the German Revolution of 1918–1919, overthrow the Weimar Republic and establish an autocratic government in its place. It was supported by parts of nationalist and monarchist factions; the coup took place in the capital and the legitimate German government was forced to flee the city. The coup failed after a few days, when large sections of the German population followed a call by the government to join a general strike. Most civil servants refused to cooperate with his allies. Despite its failure, the putsch had significant consequences for the future of the Weimar Republic, it was one of the causes of the Ruhr uprising of March 1920, which the government suppressed by military force, whilst dealing leniently with those behind the putsch. These events polarized the electorate, resulting in a shift in the majority after the June Reichstag elections.
After Germany had lost World War I, the German Revolution of 1918–1919 ended the monarchy and the German Empire was abolished and a democratic system, the Weimar Republic, was established in 1919 by the Weimar National Assembly. Right-wing nationalist and militarist circles opposed the new republic and promoted the stab-in-the-back myth, claiming that the war had only been lost because the brave efforts of the undefeated German military had been undermined by civilians at home. In 1919–20, the government of Germany was formed by the Weimar Coalition, consisting of the Social Democratic Party, German Democratic Party and Zentrum. President Friedrich Ebert, Chancellor Gustav Bauer and Defence Minister Gustav Noske were all members of the SPD. According to the constitution, the president was the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, represented in peace time by the Minister of Defence; the most senior officer of the land forces was called Chef der Heeresleitung, a post held in early 1920 by General Walther Reinhardt.
Gustav Bauer was obliged to sign the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 though he disagreed with it. The treaty had been dictated by the victorious Allies of World War I. In early 1919, the strength of the Reichswehr, the regular German army, was estimated at 350,000, with more than 250,000 men enlisted in the various Freikorps, volunteer paramilitary units consisting of returning soldiers from the war; the German government had used Freikorp troops to put down Communist uprisings after the war. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, which came into effect on 10 January 1920, Germany was required to reduce its land forces to a maximum of 100,000 men; the initial deadline was set for 31 March 1920. Freikorps units were expected to be disbanded. Since the reason for their creation—internal repression—had become obsolete with the crushing of the leftist uprisings, they were becoming a threat to the government; some senior military commanders had started discussing the possibility of a coup as early as July 1919.
Although the putsch has been named after Wolfgang Kapp, a 62-year-old nationalist East Prussian civil servant, planning a coup against the republic for a while, it was instigated by the military. On 29 February 1920, the Defence Minister Noske ordered the disbandment of two of the most powerful Freikorps, the Marinebrigade Loewenfeld and Marinebrigade Ehrhardt; the latter numbered from 5,000–6,000 men and had been stationed at the Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz, near Berlin, since January 1920. An elite force, it had been created from former Imperial Navy officers and NCOs, boosted by Baltikumer. During the civil war in 1919, the brigade had seen action in Berlin, it was opposed to the democratic government of Friedrich Ebert. Its commander, Korvettenkapitän Hermann Ehrhardt, declared that the unit would refuse its dissolution. On 1 March, it staged a parade without inviting Noske. General Walther von Lüttwitz, in command of all the regular troops in and around Berlin, the highest ranking general in the army at the time and in command of many Freikorps, said at the parade that he would "not accept" the loss of such an important unit.
Several of Lüttwitz' officers were horrified at this open rejection of the government's authority and tried to mediate, by setting up a meeting between Lüttwitz and the leaders of the two major right-wing parties. Lüttwitz was not dissuaded from his course of action. Noske removed the Marinebrigade from Lüttwitz' command and assigned it to the leadership of the Navy, hoping that they would disband the unit. Lüttwitz agreed to a meeting with President Ebert, suggested by his staff. In the evening of 10 March, Lüttwitz came with his staff to Ebert's office. Ebert had asked Noske to attend. Lüttwitz, drawing on demands by the right-wing parties and adding his own, now demanded the immediate dissolution of the National Assembly, new elections for the Reichstag, the appointment of technocrats as Secretaries for Foreign Affairs, Economic Affairs and Finance, the dismissal of General Reinhardt, appointment of himself as supreme commander of the regular army and the revocation of the orders of dissolution for the Marinebrigaden.
Ebert and Noske rejected these demands and Noske told Lüttwitz that he expected his resignation the next day. Lüttwitz went