Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia

Československo
Česko‑Slovensko[a]
1918–1939
1945–1992
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1939–1945: Government-in-exile
Flag of Czechoslovakia
Flag (1920–1992)

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Lesser coat of arms (1920–1960)

Motto: ‘Pravda vítězí / Pravda víťazí’ (Czech / Slovak, 1918–1990)
’Veritas vincit’ (Latin, 1990–1992)
’Truth prevails’
Anthem: ’Kde domov můj’ (Czech)
’Where is my home’

’Nad Tatrou sa blýska’ (Slovak)
’Lightning Over the Tatras’

Czechoslovakia during interwar period and Cold War

Czechoslovakia during interwar period and Cold War
Capital Prague (Praha)
Common languages Czech · Slovak · German · Hungarian · Yiddish · Rusyn
Demonym(s) Czechoslovak
Government First Czechoslovak Republic (1918–1938)
Second Czechoslovak Republic (1938–1939)
Third Czechoslovak Republic (1945–1948)
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1948–1990)
Czech and Slovak Federative Republic (1990–1992)
President  
• 1918–1935
Tomáš G. Masaryk
• 1935–1938 · 1945–1948
Edvard Beneš
• 1938–1939
Emil Hácha
• 1948–1953
Klement Gottwald
• 1953–1957
Antonín Zápotocký
• 1957–1968
Antonín Novotný
• 1968–1975
Ludvík Svoboda
• 1976–1989
Gustáv Husák
• 1989–1992
Václav Havel
Prime Minister  
• 1918–1919 (first)
Karel Kramář
• 1992 (last)
Jan Stráský
Historical era 20th century
• Independence
28 October 1918
• German occupation
1939
• Liberation
9 May 1945
• Coup d’etat
25 February 1948
• Velvet Revolution
November–December 1989
• Dissolution
31 December 1992
Area
1921 140,446 km2 (54,227 sq mi)
1992 127,900 km2 (49,400 sq mi)
Population
• 1921
13,607,385
• 1992
15,600,000
Currency Czechoslovak koruna
Calling code +42
Internet TLD .cs

Preceded by

Succeeded by
Austria-Hungary
Kingdom of Bohemia
Margraviate of Moravia
Czech Republic
Slovakia
Today part of  Czech Republic
 Slovakia
 Ukraine
   Zakarpattia Oblast
Calling code +42 was withdrawn in the winter of 1997. The number range was divided between the Czech Republic (+420) and Slovak Republic (+421).
Current ISO 3166-3 code is “CSHH”.

Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia[1] (/ˌɛkslˈvækiə, –kə-, –slə-, –ˈvɑː-/;[2][3]Czech and Slovak: Československo, Česko-Slovensko[4][5]), was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.

From 1939 to 1945, following its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany, the state did not de facto exist but its government-in-exile continued to operate.

From 1948 to 1990, Czechoslovakia was part of the Eastern Bloc with a command economy. Its economic status was formalized in membership of Comecon from 1949 and its defense status in the Warsaw Pact of May 1955. A period of political liberalization in 1968, known as the Prague Spring, was forcibly ended when the Soviet Union, assisted by several other Warsaw Pact countries, invaded. In 1989, as Marxist–Leninist governments and communism were ending all over Europe, Czechoslovaks peacefully deposed their government in the Velvet Revolution; state price controls were removed after a period of preparation. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into the two sovereign states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Contents

  • 1 Characteristics
  • 2 Official names
  • 3 History

    • 3.1 Origins
    • 3.2 First Czechoslovak Republic

      • 3.2.1 Formation
      • 3.2.2 Ethnicity
      • 3.2.3 Interwar period
    • 3.3 Munich Agreement, and Two-Step German Occupation
    • 3.4 Socialist Czechoslovakia
    • 3.5 After 1989
  • 4 Government and politics

    • 4.1 Constitutional development
    • 4.2 Heads of state and government
    • 4.3 Foreign policy

      • 4.3.1 International agreements and membership
    • 4.4 Administrative divisions
  • 5 Population and ethnic groups
  • 6 Economy
  • 7 Resource base
  • 8 Transport and communications
  • 9 Society
  • 10 Education
  • 11 Religion
  • 12 Health, social welfare and housing
  • 13 Mass media
  • 14 Sports
  • 15 Culture
  • 16 Postage stamps
  • 17 See also
  • 18 Notes
  • 19 References
  • 20 Sources
  • 21 Further reading
  • 22 External links

Characteristics

Form of state
  • 1918–1938: A democratic republic.
  • 1938–1939: After annexation of Sudetenland by Nazi Germany in 1938, the region gradually turned into a state with loosened connections among the Czech, Slovak, and Ruthenian parts. A large strip of southern Slovakia and Carpatho-Ukraine was annexed by Hungary, and the Zaolzie region was annexed by Poland.
  • 1939–1945: The region was split into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the Slovak Republic. A government-in-exile continued to exist in London, supported by the United Kingdom, United States and its Allies; after the German invasion of Russia, it was also recognised by the Soviet Union. Czechoslovakia adhered to the Declaration by United Nations and was a founding member of the United Nations.
  • 1946–1948: The country was governed by a coalition government with communist ministers, including the prime minister and the minister of interior. Carpathian Ruthenia was ceded to the Soviet Union.
  • 1948–1989: The country became a socialist state under Soviet domination with a centrally planned economy. In 1960, the country officially became a socialist republic, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. It was a satellite state of the Soviet Union.
  • 1969–1990: The federal republic consisted of the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic.
  • 1990–1992: Following the Velvet Revolution, the state was renamed the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, consisting of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, and reverted to a democratic republic.
Neighbours
  • Austria 1918–1938, 1945–1992
  • Germany (Both predecessors, West Germany and East Germany, were neighbors between 1949 and 1990.)
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Romania 1918–1938
  • Soviet Union 1945–1991

    • Ukraine 1945–1992 (independent from 1991)
Topography

The country was of generally irregular terrain. The western area was part of the north-central European uplands. The eastern region was composed of the northern reaches of the Carpathian Mountains and lands of the Danube River basin.

Climate

The weather is mild winters and mild summers. Influenced by the Atlantic Ocean from the west, Baltic Sea from the north, and Mediterranean Sea from the south. There is no continental weather.

Official names

  • 1918–1920: Republic of Czechoslovakia (abbreviated ČSR)/Czecho-Slovak State,[6] or Czecho-Slovakia/Czechoslovakia
  • 1920–1938: Czechoslovak Republic (ČSR), or Czechoslovakia
  • 1938–1939: Czecho-Slovak Republic, or Czecho-Slovakia
  • 1945–1960: Czechoslovak Republic (ČSR), or Czechoslovakia
  • 1960–1990: Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (ČSSR), or Czechoslovakia
  • April 1990: Czechoslovak Federative Republic (Czech version) and Czecho-Slovak Federative Republic (Slovak version)
    • The country subsequently became the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic (ČSFR), or Československo (Czech version) and Česko-Slovensko (Slovak version).

History

Origins

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, founder and first president

Czechoslovak troops in Vladivostok (1918)

Czechoslovak declaration of independence rally in Prague on Wenceslas Square, 28 October 1918

The area was long a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the empire collapsed at the end of World War I. The new state was founded by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk[7] (1850–1937), who served as its first president from 14 November 1918 to 14 December 1935. He was succeeded by his close ally, Edvard Beneš (1884–1948).

The roots of Czech nationalism go back to the 19th century, when philologists and educators, influenced by Romanticism, promoted the Czech language and pride in the Czech people. Nationalism became a mass movement in the second half of the 19th century. Taking advantage of the limited opportunities for participation in political life under Austrian rule, Czech leaders such as historian František Palacký (1798–1876) founded many patriotic, self-help organizations which provided a chance for many of their compatriots to participate in communal life prior to independence. Palacký supported Austro-Slavism and worked for a reorganized and federal Austrian Empire, which would protect the Slavic speaking peoples of Central Europe against Russian and German threats.

An advocate of democratic reform and Czech autonomy within Austria-Hungary, Masaryk was elected twice to the Reichsrat (Austrian Parliament), first from 1891 to 1893 for the Young Czech Party, and again from 1907 to 1914 for the Czech Realist Party, which he had founded in 1889 with Karel Kramář and Josef Kaizl.

During World War I small numbers of Czechs, the Czechoslovak Legions, fought with the Allies in France and Italy, while large numbers deserted to Russia in exchange for its support for the independence of Czechoslovakia from the Austrian Empire. With the outbreak of World War I, Masaryk began working for Czech independence in a union with Slovakia. With Edvard Beneš and Milan Rastislav Štefánik, Masaryk visited several Western countries and won support from influential publicists.[8]

Bohemia and Moravia, under Austrian rule, were Czech-speaking industrial centres, while Slovakia, which was part of the Kingdom of Hungary, was an undeveloped agrarian region. Conditions were much better for the development of a mass national movement in the Czech lands than in Slovakia. Nevertheless, the two regions united and created a new nation.

First Czechoslovak Republic

Formation

Czechoslovakia in 1928

The Bohemian Kingdom ceased to exist in 1918 when it was incorporated into Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia was founded in October 1918, as one of the successor states of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I and as part of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It consisted of the present day territories of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia. Its territory included some of the most industrialized regions of the former Austria-Hungary.

Ethnicity

Linguistic map of Czechoslovakia in 1930

The new country was a multi-ethnic state. The population consisted of Czechs (51%), Slovaks (16%), Germans (22%), Hungarians (5%) and Rusyns (4%).[9] Many of the Germans, Hungarians, Ruthenians and Poles[10] and some Slovaks, felt oppressed because the political elite did not generally allow political autonomy for minority ethnic groups.[citation needed] This policy led to unrest among the non-Czech population, particularly in German-speaking Sudetenland, which initially had proclaimed itself part of the Republic of German-Austria in accordance with the self-determination prinicple.

The state proclaimed the official ideology that there were no separate Czech and Slovak nations, but only one nation of Czechoslovaks (see Czechoslovakism), to the disagreement of Slovaks and other ethnic groups. Once a unified Czechoslovakia was restored after World War II (after the country had been divided during the war), the conflict between the Czechs and the Slovaks surfaced again. The governments of Czechoslovakia and other eastern European nations deported ethnic Germans to the West, reducing the presence of minorities in the nation. Most of the Jews had been killed during the war by the Nazis and their allies.


Ethnicities of Czechoslovakia in 1921[11]


Czechoslovaks 8,759,701 64.37%
Germans 3,123,305 22.95%
Hungarians 744,621 5.47%
Ruthenians 461,449 3.39%
Jews 180,534 1.33%
Poles 75,852 0.56%
Others 23,139 0.17%
Foreigners 238,784 1.75%
Total population 13,607,385


Ethnicities of Czechoslovakia in 1930[12]


Czechoslovaks 10,066,000 68.35%
Germans 3,229,000 21.93%
Ruthenians 745,000 5.06%
Hungarians 653,000 4.43%
Jews* 354,000 2.40%
Poles 76,000 0.52%
Romanians 14,000 0.10%
Foreigners 239,000 1.62%
Total population 14,726,158

*Jews identified themselves as Germans or Hungarians (and Jews only by religion not ethnicity), the sum is, therefore, more than 100%.

Interwar period

During the period between the two world wars, democracy thrived in Czechoslovakia. Of all the new states established in central Europe after 1918, only Czechoslovakia preserved a democratic government until the war broke out. Thus, despite regional disparities, its level of development was much higher than that of neighboring states.[citation needed] The population was generally literate, and contained fewer alienated groups. The influence of these conditions was augmented by the political values of Czechoslovakia’s leaders and the policies they adopted. Under Tomas Masaryk, Czech and Slovak politicians promoted progressive social and economic conditions that served to defuse discontent.

Foreign minister Beneš became the prime architect of the Czechoslovak-Romanian-Yugoslav alliance (the “Little Entente”, 1921–38) directed against Hungarian attempts to reclaim lost areas. Beneš worked closely with France. Far more dangerous was the German element, which after 1933 became allied with the Nazis in Germany. The increasing feeling of inferiority among the Slovaks,[citation needed] who were hostile to the more numerous Czechs, weakened the country in the late 1930s. Many Slovaks supported an extreme nationalist movement and welcomed the puppet Slovak state set up under Hitler’s control in 1939.[citation needed]

After 1933, Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in central and eastern Europe.[13]

Munich Agreement, and Two-Step German Occupation

The partition of Czechoslovakia after Munich Agreement

The car in which Reinhard Heydrich was killed

Territory of the Second Czechoslovak Republic (1938–1939)

In September 1938, Adolf Hitler demanded control of the Sudetenland. On 29 September 1938, Britain and France ceded control in the Appeasement at the Munich Conference; France ignored the military alliance it had with Czechoslovakia. During October 1938, Nazi Germany occupied and annexed the Sudetenland border region, effectively crippling Czechoslovak defences.

On 15 March 1939, the remainder (“rump”) of Czechoslovakia was invaded and divided into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and the puppet Slovak State.

Much of Slovakia and all of Carpathian Ruthenia were annexed by Hungary. Poland occupied Zaolzie, an area whose population was majority Polish, in October 1938.

The eventual goal of the German state under Nazi leadership was to eradicate Czech nationality through assimilation, deportation, and extermination of the Czech intelligentsia; the intellectual elites and middle class made up a considerable number of the 200,000 people who passed through concentration camps and the 250,000 who died during German occupation.[14] Under Generalplan Ost, it was assumed that around 50% Czechs would be fit for Germanization. The Czech intellectual elites were to be removed not only from Czech territories but from Europe completely. The authors of Generalplan Ost believed it would be best if they emigrated overseas, as even in Siberia they were considered a threat to German rule. Just like Jews, Poles, Serbs, and several other nations, Czechs were considered to be untermenschen by the Nazi state.[15] In 1940, in a secret Nazi plan for the Germanization of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia it was declared that those considered to be of racially Mongoloid origin and the Czech intelligentsia were not to be Germanized.[16]

The deportation of Jews to concentration camps was organized under the direction of Reinhard Heydrich, and the fortress town of Terezín was made into a ghetto way station for Jewish families. On 4 June 1942 Heydrich died after being wounded by an assassin in Operation Anthropoid. Heydrich’s successor, Colonel General Kurt Daluege, ordered mass arrests and executions and the destruction of the villages of Lidice and Ležáky. In 1943 the German war effort was accelerated. Under the authority of Karl Hermann Frank, German minister of state for Bohemia and Moravia, some 350,000 Czech laborers were dispatched to the Reich. Within the protectorate, all non-war-related industry was prohibited. Most of the Czech population obeyed quiescently up until the final months preceding the end of the war, while thousands were involved in the resistance movement.

For the Czechs of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia, German occupation was a period of brutal oppression. Czech losses resulting from political persecution and deaths in concentration camps totaled between 36,000 and 55,000. The Jewish population of Bohemia and Moravia (118,000 according to the 1930 census) was virtually annihilated. Many Jews emigrated after 1939; more than 70,000 were killed; 8,000 survived at Terezín. Several thousand Jews managed to live in freedom or in hiding throughout the occupation.

Despite the estimated 136,000 deaths at the hands of the Nazi regime, the population in the Reichsprotektorate saw a net increase during the war years of approximately 250,000 in line with an increased birth rate.[17]

On 6 May 1945, the third US Army of General Patton entered Pilsen from the south west. On 9 May 1945, Soviet Red Army troops entered Prague.

Socialist Czechoslovakia

Socialist coat of arms in 1960–1990

After World War II, pre-war Czechoslovakia was re-established, with the exception of Subcarpathian Ruthenia, which was annexed by the Soviet Union and incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Beneš decrees were promulgated concerning ethnic Germans (see Potsdam Agreement) and ethnic Hungarians. Under the decrees, citizenship was abrogated for people of German and Hungarian ethnic origin who had accepted German or Hungarian citizenship during the occupations. In 1948, this provision was cancelled for the Hungarians, but only partially for the Germans. The government then confiscated the property of the Germans and expelled about 90% of the ethnic German population, over 2 million people. Those who remained were collectively accused of supporting the Nazis after the Munich Agreement, as 97.32% of Sudeten Germans had voted for the NSDAP in the December 1938 elections. Almost every decree explicitly stated that the sanctions did not apply to antifascists. Some 250,000 Germans, many married to Czechs, some antifascists, and also those required for the post-war reconstruction of the country, remained in Czechoslovakia. The Beneš Decrees still cause controversy among nationalist groups in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Hungary.[18]

Spartakiad in 1960

Carpathian Ruthenia (Podkarpatská Rus) was occupied by (and in June 1945 formally ceded to) the Soviet Union. In the 1946 parliamentary election, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was the winner in the Czech lands, and the Democratic Party won in Slovakia. In February 1948 the Communists seized power. Although they would maintain the fiction of political pluralism through the existence of the National Front, except for a short period in the late 1960s (the Prague Spring) the country had no liberal democracy. Since citizens lacked significant electoral methods of registering protest against government policies, periodically there were street protests that became violent. For example, there were riots in the town of Plzeň in 1953, reflecting economic discontent. Police and army units put down the rebellion, and hundreds were injured but no one was killed. While its economy remained more advanced than those of its neighbors in Eastern Europe, Czechoslovakia grew increasingly economically weak relative to Western Europe.

The currency reform of 1953 caused dissatisfaction among Czechoslovakian laborers. Prior to World War II, the Czech purchasing power surpassed that of the Soviet Union by 115-144%. This disparity was noted after Czechoslovakia came under the Soviet bloc. To equalize the wage rate, Czechoslovakians had to turn in their old money for new at a decreased value. This lowered the real value of wages by about 11%.[19] The banks also confiscated savings and bank deposits to control the amount of money in circulation. The economy continued to suffer as production achievements of bituminous coal was less than anticipated. Bituminous coal powered 85% of Czechoslovakia’s economy. Because of low production, coal was utilized in industry only. Pre-war years, consumers used both coal and lignite for fuel, however due to low production, coal was for industrial use only which meant the consumer was only able to utilize lignite. In 1929, a typical family of four consumed approximately 2.34 tons of lignite but, by 1953, this same family unit was only allowed to use 1.6-1.8 tons per year.[19]

Czechoslovakia after 1969

In 1968, when the reformer Alexander Dubček was appointed to the key post of First Secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, there was a brief period of liberalization known as the Prague Spring. In response, after failing to persuade the Czechoslovak leaders to change course, five other Eastern Bloc members of the Warsaw Pact invaded. Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia on the night of 20–21 August 1968.[20] The General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party Leonid Brezhnev viewed this intervention as vital for the preservation of the Soviet, socialist system and vowed to intervene in any state that sought to replace Marxism-Leninism with capitalism.[21] In the week after the invasion there was a spontaneous campaign of civil resistance against the occupation. This resistance involved a wide range of acts of non-cooperation and defiance: this was followed by a period in which the Czechoslovak Communist Party leadership, having been forced in Moscow to make concessions to the Soviet Union, gradually put the brakes on their earlier liberal policies.[22] In April 1969 Dubček was finally dismissed from the First Secretaryship of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. Meanwhile, one plank of the reform program had been carried out: in 1968-69, Czechoslovakia was turned into a federation of the Czech Socialist Republic and Slovak Socialist Republic. The theory was that under the federation, social and economic inequities between the Czech and Slovak halves of the state would be largely eliminated. A number of ministries, such as education, now became two formally equal bodies in the two formally equal republics. However, the centralised political control by the Czechoslovak Communist Party severely limited the effects of federalization.

The 1970s saw the rise of the dissident movement in Czechoslovakia, represented among others by Václav Havel. The movement sought greater political participation and expression in the face of official disapproval, manifested in limitations on work activities, which went as far as a ban on professional employment, the refusal of higher education for the dissidents’ children, police harassment and prison.

After 1989

The Visegrád Group signing ceremony in February 1991

In 1989, the Velvet Revolution restored democracy. This occurred at around the same time as the fall of communism in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland.

The word “socialist” was removed from the country’s full name on 29 March 1990 and replaced by “federal”.

In 1992, because of growing nationalist tensions in the government, Czechoslovakia was peacefully dissolved by parliament. On 1 January 1993 it formally separated into two independent countries, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

Government and politics

After World War II, a political monopoly was held by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ). Gustáv Husák was elected first secretary of the KSČ in 1969 (changed to general secretary in 1971) and president of Czechoslovakia in 1975. Other parties and organizations existed but functioned in subordinate roles to the KSČ. All political parties, as well as numerous mass organizations, were grouped under umbrella of the National Front. Human rights activists and religious activists were severely repressed.

Constitutional development

Federative coat of arms in 1990–1992

Czechoslovakia had the following constitutions during its history (1918–1992):

  • Temporary constitution of 14 November 1918 (democratic): see History of Czechoslovakia (1918–1938)
  • The 1920 constitution (The Constitutional Document of the Czechoslovak Republic), democratic, in force until 1948, several amendments
  • The Communist 1948 Ninth-of-May Constitution
  • The Communist 1960 Constitution of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic with major amendments in 1968 (Constitutional Law of Federation), 1971, 1975, 1978, and 1989 (at which point the leading role of the Communist Party was abolished). It was amended several more times during 1990–1992 (for example, 1990, name change to Czecho-Slovakia, 1991 incorporation of the human rights charter)

Heads of state and government

  • List of presidents of Czechoslovakia
  • List of Prime Ministers of Czechoslovakia

Foreign policy

International agreements and membership

In the 1930s, the nation formed a military alliance with France, which collapsed in the Munich Agreement of 1938. After World War II, active participant in Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon), Warsaw Pact, United Nations and its specialized agencies; signatory of conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.[23]

Administrative divisions

  • 1918–1923: Different systems in former Austrian territory (Bohemia, Moravia, a small part of Silesia) compared to former Hungarian territory (Slovakia and Ruthenia): three lands (země) (also called district units (kraje)): Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, plus 21 counties (župy) in today’s Slovakia and three counties in today’s Ruthenia; both lands and counties were divided into districts (okresy).
  • 1923–1927: As above, except that the Slovak and Ruthenian counties were replaced by six (grand) counties ((veľ)župy) in Slovakia and one (grand) county in Ruthenia, and the numbers and boundaries of the okresy were changed in those two territories.
  • 1928–1938: Four lands (Czech: země, Slovak: krajiny): Bohemia, Moravia-Silesia, Slovakia and Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia, divided into districts (okresy).
  • Late 1938 – March 1939: As above, but Slovakia and Ruthenia gained the status of “autonomous lands”. Slovakia was called Slovenský štát, with its own currency and government.
  • 1945–1948: As in 1928–1938, except that Ruthenia became part of the Soviet Union.
  • 1949–1960: 19 regions (kraje) divided into 270 okresy.
  • 1960–1992: 10 kraje, Prague, and (from 1970) Bratislava (capital of Slovakia); these were divided into 109–114 okresy; the kraje were abolished temporarily in Slovakia in 1969–1970 and for many purposes from 1991 in Czechoslovakia; in addition, the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic were established in 1969 (without the word Socialist from 1990).

Population and ethnic groups

Economy

Before World War II, the economy was about the fourth in all industrial states in Europe. The state was based on strong economy, manufacturing cars (Škoda, Tatra), trams, aircraft (Aero, Avia), ships, ship engines (Škoda), canons, shoes (Baťa), turbines, guns (Zbrojovka Brno). It was the industrial workshop for Austro-Hungarian empire. The Slovak lands were more in agriculture.

After World War II, the economy was centrally planned, with command links controlled by the communist party, similarly to the Soviet Union. The large metallurgical industry was dependent on imports of iron and non-ferrous ores.

  • Industry: Extractive industry and manufacturing dominated the sector, including machinery, chemicals, food processing, metallurgy, and textiles. The sector was wasteful in its use of energy, materials, and labor and was slow to upgrade technology, but the country was a major supplier of high-quality machinery, instruments, electronics, aircraft, airplane engines and arms to other socialist countries.
  • Agriculture: Agriculture was a minor sector, but collectivized farms of large acreage and relatively efficient mode of production enabled the country to be relatively self-sufficient in food supply. The country depended on imports of grains (mainly for livestock feed) in years of adverse weather. Meat production was constrained by shortage of feed, but the country still recorded high per capita consumption of meat.
  • Foreign trade: Exports were estimated at US$17.8 billion in 1985. Exports were machinery (55%), fuel and materials (14%), and manufactured consumer goods (16%). Imports stood at estimated US$17.9 billion in 1985, including fuel and materials (41%), machinery (33%), and agricultural and forestry products (12%). In 1986, about 80% of foreign trade was with other socialist countries.
  • Exchange rate: Official, or commercial, rate was crowns (Kčs) 5.4 per US$1 in 1987. Tourist, or non-commercial, rate was Kčs 10.5 per US$1. Neither rate reflected purchasing power. The exchange rate on the black market was around Kčs 30 per US$1, which became the official rate once the currency became convertible in the early 1990s.
  • Fiscal year: Calendar year.
  • Fiscal policy: The state was the exclusive owner of means of production in most cases. Revenue from state enterprises was the primary source of revenues followed by turnover tax. The government spent heavily on social programs, subsidies, and investment. Budget was usually balanced or left small surplus.

Resource base

After World War II, the country was short of energy, relying on imported crude oil and natural gas from Soviet Union, domestic brown coal, and nuclear and hydroelectric energy. Energy constraints were a major factor in the 1980s.

Transport and communications

Slightly after the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918, there was a lack of needful infrastructure in many areas – paved roads, railways, bridges etc. Massive improvement in the following years enabled Czechoslovakia to develop its industry. Prague’s civil airport in Ruzyně became one of the most modern terminals in the world, when it was finished in 1937. Tomáš Baťa, Czech entrepreneur and visionary outlined his ideas in the publication “Budujme stát pro 40 milionů lidí”, where he described the future motorway system. Construction of the first motorways in Czechoslovakia begun in 1939, nevertheless, they were stopped after Nazi occupation during the World War II.

Society

Education

Education was free at all levels and compulsory from age 6 to 15. The vast majority of the population was literate. There was a highly developed system of apprenticeship training and vocational schools supplemented general secondary schools and institutions of higher education.

Religion

In 1991: Roman Catholics 46%, Evangelical Lutheran 5.3%, Atheist 30%, n/a 17%, but there were huge differences in religious practices between the two constituent republics; see Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Health, social welfare and housing

After World War II, free health care was available to all citizens. National health planning emphasised preventive medicine; factory and local health care centres supplemented hospitals and other inpatient institutions. There was substantial improvement in rural health care during the 1960s and 1970s.

Mass media

During the era between the World Wars, Czechoslovak democracy and liberalism facilitated conditions for free publication. The most significant daily newspapers in these times were Lidové noviny, Národní listy, Český deník and Československá republika.

During Communist rule, the mass media in Czechoslovakia were controlled by the Communist Party. Private ownership of any publication or agency of the mass media was generally forbidden, although churches and other organizations published small periodicals and newspapers. Even with this information monopoly in the hands of organizations under KSČ control, all publications were reviewed by the government’s Office for Press and Information.

Sports

The Czechoslovakia national football team was a consistent performer on the international scene, with eight appearances in the FIFA World Cup Finals, finishing in second place in 1934 and 1962. The team also won the European Football Championship in 1976, came in third in 1980 and won the Olympic gold in 1980.

Well-known football players such as Pavel Nedvěd, Antonín Panenka, Milan Baroš, Tomáš Rosický, Vladimír Šmicer or Petr Čech were all born in Czechoslovakia.

The International Olympic Committee code for Czechoslovakia is TCH, which is still used in historical listings of results.

The Czechoslovak national ice hockey team won many medals from the world championships and Olympic Games. Peter Šťastný, Jaromír Jágr, Dominik Hašek, Peter Bondra, Petr Klíma, Marián Gáborík, Marián Hossa, Miroslav Šatan and Pavol Demitra all come from Czechoslovakia.

Emil Zátopek, winner of four Olympic gold medals in athletics, is considered one of the top athletes in the history.

Věra Čáslavská was an Olympic gold medallist in gymnastics, winning seven gold medals and four silver medals. She represented Czechoslovakia in three consecutive Olympics.

Several accomplished professional tennis players including Ivan Lendl, Jan Kodeš, Miloslav Mečíř, Hana Mandlíková, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Jana Novotna, Petra Kvitová and Daniela Hantuchová were born in Czechoslovakia.

Culture

  • Czech Republic / Slovakia
  • List of Czechs / List of Slovaks
  • MDŽ (International Women’s Day)
  • Jazz in dissident Czechoslovakia

Postage stamps

  • List of people on stamps of Czechoslovakia
  • Czechoslovakia stamp reused by Slovak Republic after 18 January 1939 by overprinting country and value

See also

  • Effects on the environment in Czechoslovakia from Soviet influence during the Cold War
  • Former countries in Europe after 1815
  • Kingdom of Bohemia (Czech Kingdom)
  • 1968 Red Square demonstration
  • Moravia
  • Bohemia

Notes

  1. ^ In other recognized languages of Czechoslovakia:
    *German: Tschechoslowakei
    *Rusyn: Чеськословеньско, Cheskoslovensko
    *Yiddish: טשעכאסלאוואקיי‎, Tshekhaslavakey

References

  1. ^ “THE COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS”..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.), Longman, ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0
  3. ^ Roach, Peter (2011), Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-15253-2
  4. ^ “Ján Kačala: Máme nový názov federatívnej republiky (The New Name of the Federal Republic), In: Kultúra Slova (official publication of the Slovak Academy of Sciences Ľudovít Štúr Institute of Linguistics) 6/1990 pp. 192–197” (PDF).
  5. ^ Czech pronunciation: [ˈtʃɛskoslovɛnsko], Slovak pronunciation: [ˈtʃɛskɔslɔʋɛnskɔ].
  6. ^ Votruba, Martin. “Czecho-Slovakia or Czechoslovakia”. Slovak Studies Program. University of Pittsburgh. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  7. ^ Czechs Celebrate Republic’s Birth, 1933/11/06 (1933). Universal Newsreel. 1933. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  8. ^ Z. A. B. Zeman, The Masaryks: The Making of Czechoslovakia (1976)
  9. ^ “The War of the World”, Niall Ferguson Allen Lane 2006.
  10. ^ “Playing the blame game”. Archived from the original on 30 June 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2008.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), Prague Post, 6 July 2005
  11. ^ Škorpila F. B.; Zeměpisný atlas pro měšťanské školy; Státní Nakladatelství; second edition; 1930; Czechoslovakia
  12. ^ “Československo 1930 (Sčítání)(2)”.
  13. ^ edited by Gorazd Mesko, Charles B. Fields, Branko Lobnikar, Andrej Sotlar. Handbook on Policing in Central and Eastern Europe.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Universities in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (1800–1945), Walter Rüegg Cambridge University Press (28 October 2004), page 353
  15. ^ “HITLER’S PLANS FOR EASTERN EUROPE Selections from Janusz Gumkowski and Kazimierz Leszczynski POLAND UNDER NAZI OCCUPATION”. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  16. ^ “Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression Volume I Chapter XIII Germanization & Spoliation Czechoslovakia”.
  17. ^ “Vaclav Havel – A Political Tragedy in 6 Acts” by John Keane, published 2000, page 54
  18. ^ East European Constitutional Review Archived 15 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ ab Mares, Vaclav (June 1954). “Czechoslovakia under Communism”. Current History.
  20. ^ “Russia Invades Czechoslovakia: 1968 Year in Review, UPI.com” Archived 31 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (New York: The Penguin Press), 150.
  22. ^ Philip WIndsor and Adam Roberts, Czechoslovakia 1968: Reform, Repression and Resistance (London: Chatto & Windus, 1969), pp. 97–143.
  23. ^ Ladislav Cabada and Sarka Waisova, Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic in World Politics (Lexington Books; 2012)

Sources

  • Czechoslovak Republic at the Wayback Machine (archived 4 March 2007)

Further reading

  • Heimann, Mary. Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed (2009).
  • Hermann, A. H. A History of the Czechs (1975).
  • Kalvoda, Josef. The Genesis of Czechoslovakia (1986).
  • Leff, Carol Skalnick. National Conflict in Czechoslovakia: The Making and Remaking of a State, 1918–87 (1988).
  • Mantey, Victor. A History of the Czechoslovak Republic (1973).
  • Myant, Martin. The Czechoslovak Economy, 1948–88 (1989).
  • Naimark, Norman, and Leonid Gibianskii, eds. The Establishment of Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe, 1944–1949 (1997) online edition
  • Orzoff, Andrea. Battle for the Castle: The Myth of Czechoslovakia in Europe 1914–1948 (Oxford University Press, 2009); online review DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367812.001.0001 online
  • Paul, David. Czechoslovakia: Profile of a Socialist Republic at the Crossroads of Europe (1990).
  • Renner, Hans. A History of Czechoslovakia since 1945 (1989).
  • Seton-Watson, R. W. A History of the Czechs and Slovaks (1943).
  • Stone, Norman, and E. Strouhal, eds.Czechoslovakia: Crossroads and Crises, 1918–88 (1989).
  • Wheaton, Bernard; Zdenek Kavav. “The Velvet Revolution: Czechoslovakia, 1988–1991” (1992).
  • Williams, Kieran, “Civil Resistance in Czechoslovakia: From Soviet Invasion to “Velvet Revolution”, 1968–89″,
    in Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash (eds.), Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Windsor, Philip, and Adam Roberts, Czechoslovakia 1968: Reform, Repression and Resistance (1969).
  • Wolchik, Sharon L. Czechoslovakia: Politics, Society, and Economics (1990).

External links

  • Online books and articles
  • U.S. Library of Congress Country Studies, “Czechoslovakia”
  • English/Czech: Orders and Medals of Czechoslovakia including Order of the White Lion
  • Czechoslovakia by Encyclopædia Britannica

Maps with Hungarian-language rubrics:

  • Border changes after the creation of Czechoslovakia
  • Interwar Czechoslovakia
  • Czechoslovakia after Munich Agreement


Second Spanish Republic

Spanish Republic

República Española
1931–1939
Flag of Spain
Flag

{{{coat_alt}}}
Coat of arms

Motto: Plus Ultra
Further Beyond
Anthem: Himno de Riego
Anthem of Riego
Territories and colonies of the Spanish Republic: *   Spain, Sahara and Guinea    *   Protectorate of Morocco      *   International Zone of Tangier

Territories and colonies of the Spanish Republic:

  •   Spain, Sahara and Guinea   
  •   Protectorate of Morocco     
  •   International Zone of Tangier
Capital Madrid (1931–1936)
Valencia (1936–1937)
Barcelona (1937–1939)
Common languages Spanishb
Government Federal multi-party semi-presidential republic[1]
President  
• 1931–1936
Niceto Alcalá-Zamora
• 1936–1939
Manuel Azaña
Prime Minister  
• 1931
Niceto Alcalá-Zamora
• 1937–1939
Juan Negrín López
Legislature Congress of Deputies
Historical era Interwar period
• Pronunciamiento
14 April 1931
• Constitution adopted
9 December 1931
• Spanish Civil War
17 July 1936
• Fall of the Republic
1 April 1939
Currency Spanish peseta
ISO 3166 code ES

Preceded by

Succeeded by
Kingdom of Spain
Spanish State
Spanish Republican government in exile
a. Espainiako Errepublika in Basque, República Espanyola in Catalan and República Espanhola or “República Española” in Galician.
b. Catalan, Basque and Galician would gain formal officiality with the approval of the Statute of Autonomy.

The Spanish Republic (Spanish: República Española), commonly known as the Second Spanish Republic (Spanish: Segunda República Española), was the democratic government that existed in Spain from 1931 to 1939. The Republic was proclaimed on 14 April 1931, after the deposition of Alfonso XIII, and it lost the Spanish Civil War on 1 April 1939 to the rebel faction, that would establish a military dictatorship under the rule of Francisco Franco.

After the proclamation of the Republic, a provisional government was established until December 1931, when the 1931 Constitution was approved a Constitutional Republic was formally established. The republican government of Manuel Azaña would start a great number of reforms to “modernize” the country. After the 1933 general election, Alejandro Lerroux (Radical Party) formed a government with the confidence and supply of the Spanish Confederation of Autonomous Right-wing Groups (CEDA). Under Lerroux’s premiership, the Republic found itself before an insurrection of anarchists and socialists that took a revolutionary undertone in Asturias. The revolt was finally suppressed by the Republic with the intervention of the army. The Popular Front won the 1936 general election. On 17–18 July 1936, a coup d’état fractured the Spanish Republican Armed Forces and partially failed, marking the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

During the Spanish Civil War, there were three governments. The first was led by left-wing republican José Giral (from July to September 1936); however, a revolution inspired mostly on libertarian socialist, anarchist and communist principles broke within the Republic, which weakened the rule of the Republic. The second government was led by socialist Francisco Largo Caballero of the trade union General Union of Workers (UGT). The UGT, along with the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), were the main forces behind the aforementioned social revolution. The third government was led by socialist Juan Negrín, who led the Republic until the military coup of Segismundo Casado, which ended republican resistance and led, ultimately, to the victory of the nationalists, who would establish a military dictatorship under the rule of Francisco Franco, known as Francoist Spain.

The Republican government survived in exile, and it had an embassy in Mexico City until 1976. After the restoration of democracy in Spain, the government formally dissolved the following year.[2]

Contents

  • 1 Reformist Biennium

    • 1.1 1931 Constitution
  • 2 1934–1935 period and miners’ uprising
  • 3 1936 elections
  • 4 Assassinations of political leaders and beginning of the war
  • 5 Civil war

    • 5.1 Causes
    • 5.2 War
  • 6 See also
  • 7 Notes
  • 8 References
  • 9 Further reading
  • 10 External links

Reformist Biennium

On 28 January 1930 the military dictatorship of General Miguel Primo de Rivera (who had been in power since September 1923) was overthrown.[3] This led various republican factions from a wide variety of backgrounds (including old conservatives, socialists and Catalan nationalists) to join forces.[4] The Pact of San Sebastián was the key to the transition from monarchy to republic. Republicans of all tendencies were committed to the Pact of San Sebastian in overthrowing the monarchy and establishing a republic. The restoration of the royal Bourbons was rejected by large sectors of the populace who vehemently opposed the King. The pact, signed by representatives of the main Republican forces, allowed a joint anti-monarchy political campaign.[5] The 12 April 1931 municipal elections led to a landslide victory for republicans.[6] Two days later, the Second Republic was proclaimed, and King Alfonso XIII went into exile.[7] The king’s departure led to a provisional government of the young republic under Niceto Alcalá-Zamora. Catholic churches and establishments in cities like Madrid and Sevilla were set ablaze on 11 May.[8] In June 1931 a Constituent Cortes was elected to draft a new constitution, which came into force in December.[9]

1931 Constitution

The new constitution established freedom of speech and freedom of association, extended suffrage to women in 1933, allowed divorce, and stripped the Spanish nobility of any special legal status. It also effectively disestablished the Roman Catholic Church, but the disestablishment was somewhat reversed by the Cortes that same year. Its controversial articles 26 and 27 imposed stringent controls on Church property and barred religious orders from the ranks of educators.[10] Scholars have described the constitution as hostile to religion, with one scholar characterising it as one of the most hostile of the 20th century.[11]José Ortega y Gasset stated, “the article in which the Constitution legislates the actions of the Church seems highly improper to me.”[12]Pope Pius XI condemned the Spanish government’s deprivation of the civil liberties of Catholics in the encyclical Dilectissima Nobis.[13]

Allegory of the Spanish Republic, displaying republican paraphernalia such as the Phrygian cap and symbols of modernity

The legislative branch was changed to a single chamber called the Congress of Deputies. The constitution established legal procedures for the nationalisation of public services and land, banks, and railways. The constitution provided generally accorded civil liberties and representation.[14]

Catholic churches in major cities were again subject to arson in 1932, and a revolutionary strike action was seen in Málaga the same year.[8] A Catholic church in Zaragoza was burnt down in 1933, and the cathedral in Oviedo was destroyed by flames in 1934.[8] The church of San Lorenzo in Gijon was also set ablaze in the same year. The church of San Juan in Albacete was torched three months prior to the onset of the civil war, in March 1936.[8]

The 1931 Constitution was formally effective from 1931 until 1939. In the summer of 1936, after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, it became largely irrelevant after the authority of the Republic was superseded in many places by revolutionary socialists and anarchists on one side, and fascists on the other.[15]

The Republican Constitution also changed the country’s national symbols. The Himno de Riego was established as the national anthem, and the Tricolor, with three horizontal red-yellow-purple fields, became the new flag of Spain. Under the new Constitution, all of Spain’s regions had the right to autonomy. Catalonia (1932), the Basque Country (1936) and Galicia (although the Galician Statute of Autonomy couldn’t come into effect due to the war) exercised this right, with Aragon, Andalusia and Valencia, engaged in negotiations with the government before the outbreak of the Civil War. The Constitution guaranteed a wide range of civil liberties, but it opposed key beliefs of the conservative right, which was very rooted in rural areas, and desires of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, which was stripped of schools and public subsidies.

1934–1935 period and miners’ uprising

The majority vote in the 1933 elections was won by the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right (CEDA). José María Gil Robles, their leader, led a coalition of centre-right and far-right parties: CEDA set up a coalition with the Radical Republican Party led by Alejandro Lerroux, which had come second in the elections. The Socialists came third. With Lerroux as head of Government, the new coalition suspended most of the reforms carried out by the last government.

The inclusion of three CEDA ministers in the government that took office on 1 October 1934 led to a general strike and a rebellion by socialists and anarchists in Asturias on 6 October. Miners in Asturias occupied the capital, Oviedo, killing officials and clergymen, and burning theatres and the university. This rebellion lasted for two weeks until it was crushed by the army, led by General Francisco Franco, who, in the process, destroyed large parts of the city. This operation earned Franco the nickname “Butcher of Asturias”. Another rebellion by the autonomous government of Catalonia, led by its president Lluís Companys, was also suppressed and was followed by mass arrests and trials.

The suspension of the land reforms that had been attempted by the previous government, and the failure of the Asturias miners’ uprising, led to a more radical turn by the parties of the left, especially in the PSOE (Socialist Party), where the moderate Indalecio Prieto lost ground to Francisco Largo Caballero, who advocated a socialist revolution. At the same time, the involvement of the Centrist government party in the Straperlo scandal deeply weakened it, further polarising political differences between right and left. These differences became evident in the 1936 elections.

1936 elections

On 7 January 1936, new elections were called. Despite significant rivalries and disagreements, the socialists, Communists, and the Catalan-and-Madrid-based left-wing Republicans decided to work together under the name Popular Front. The Popular Front won the election on 16 February with 263 MPs against 156 right-wing MPs, grouped within a coalition of the National Front with CEDA, Carlists, and Monarchists. The moderate centre parties virtually disappeared; between the elections, Lerroux’s group fell from the 104 representatives it had in 1934 to just 9.

In the following months, there was increasing violence between left and right. This helped the development of the fascist-inspired Falange Española, a National party led by José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the son of the former dictator, Miguel Primo de Rivera. Although it only received 0.7 percent of the votes in the election, by July 1936 the Falange had 40,000 members.

Assassinations of political leaders and beginning of the war

On 12 July 1936, Lieutenant José Castillo, an important member of the anti-fascist military organisation Unión Militar Republicana Antifascista (UMRA), was shot by Falangist gunmen.

In response a group of Guardia de Asalto and other leftist militiamen led by Civil Guard Fernando Condés went to right-wing opposition leader José Calvo Sotelo’s house in the early hours of 13 July on a revenge mission. Sotelo was arrested and later shot dead in a police truck. His body was dropped at the entrance of one of the city’s cemeteries. According to all later investigations, the perpetrator of the murder was a socialist gunman, Luis Cuenca, who was known as the bodyguard of PSOE leader Indalecio Prieto. Calvo Sotelo was one of the most prominent Spanish monarchists who, describing the government’s actions as Bolshevist and anarchist, had been exhorting the army to intervene, declaring that Spanish soldiers would save the country from communism if “there are no politicians capable of doing so”.[16]

Prominent rightists blamed the government for Calvo Sotelo’s assassination. They claimed that the authorities did not properly investigate it and promoted those involved in the murder whilst censoring those who cried out about it and shutting down the headquarters of right-wing parties and arresting right-wing party members, often on “flimsy charges”.[17] The event is often considered the catalyst for the further political polarisation that ensued, the Falange and other right-wing individuals, including Juan de la Cierva, had already been conspiring to launch a military coup d’état against the government, to be led by senior army officers.[18]

Stanley Payne claims the idea of a rebellion by army officers against the government had weakened before these events, but the kidnapping and murder of Calvo Sotelo had an electrifying effect which provided a catalyst to transform what was a “limping conspiracy” to a powerful revolt that could set off a civil war.”. The involvement of forces of public order in the plot and a lack of punishment or action against the attackers hurt public opinion of the government. No effective action was taken, Payne points towards possible veto by socialists within the government who shielded the killers who had been drawn from their ranks. Within hours of learning of the murder and the reaction Franco changed his mind on rebellion and dispatched a message to Mola to display his firm commitment.[17]

When the antifascist Castillo and the anti-socialist Calvo Sotelo were buried on the same day in the same Madrid cemetery, fighting between the Police Assault Guard and fascist militias broke out in the surrounding streets, resulting in four more deaths.

Three days later (17 July), the coup d’état began more or less as it had been planned, with an army uprising in Spanish Morocco, which then spread to several regions of the country. Franco’s move was intended to seize power immediately, but his army uprising met with serious resistance, and great swathes of Spain, including most of the main cities, remained loyal to the Republic of Spain. The leaders of the treason (Franco was not commander-in-chief yet) did not lose heart with the stalemate and apparent failure of the coup. Instead, they initiated a slow and determined war of attrition against the Republican government in Madrid.[19]
As a result, an estimated total of half a million people would lose their lives in the war that followed; the number of casualties is actually disputed as some have suggested as many as a million people died. Over the years, historians kept lowering the death figures and modern research concluded that 500,000 deaths were the correct figure.[20]

Civil war

Causes

The Second Republic was proclaimed during a period of worldwide economic depression. In spite of the high hopes, the Republican authorities had to struggle with rising unemployment and poverty. In the ensuing civil unrest, violence in the form of assassination, revolutionary general strikes, and mob actions increased to dangerous levels in the eyes of the traditional centres of power, such as the landowners, the Church, and the nobility. Thus, it was easy for them to whip up dissatisfaction with the republican government.

The murders of the leftist military leader José Castillo and the rightist politician José Calvo Sotelo opened the way to a rapidly increasing flood of violence between the political left and right.

Rightists in Spain justified their military coup against the Republic claiming that it was ungovernable and failed to respond adequately to the threats of communism, anarchism, anti-clericalism, and acts of random violence.[21] As well as this growth in extreme-left violence, the attitude of the Republican elite was perceived as permissive to the secessionist politics of the wealthy industrial regions of Catalonia and the Basque Country, which were felt by Spanish nationalists to pose a threat to the very existence of Spain as a nation-state.

War

Twenty-six republicans that were assassinated by fascists who belonged to Franco’s Nationalists side at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, between August and September 1936. This mass grave is placed at the small town named Estépar, in Burgos, northern Spain. The excavation occurred in July–August 2014.

International Brigadiers volunteered on the side of the Republic. The photo shows members of the XI International Brigade on a tank during the Battle of Belchite (August–September 1937)

On 17 July 1936, General Franco led the Spanish Army of Africa from Morocco to attack the mainland, while another force from the north under General Emilio Mola moved south from Navarre. Military units were also mobilised elsewhere to take over government institutions. Before long the professional Army of Africa had much of the south and west under the control of the rebels. Bloody purges followed in each piece of captured “Nationalist” territory in order to consolidate Franco’s future regime.[19]
Although both sides received foreign military aid, the help that Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany (as part of German involvement in the Spanish Civil War), and neighbouring Portugal gave the rebels was much greater and more effective than the assistance that the Republicans received from the USSR, Mexico, and volunteers of the International Brigades. While the Axis powers wholeheartedly assisted General Franco’s military campaign, the governments of France, Britain, and other European powers looked the other way and let the Republican forces die, as the actions of the Non-Intervention Committee would show.[22] Imposed in the name of neutrality, the international isolation of the Spanish Republic ended up favouring the interests of the future Axis Powers.[23]

The Siege of the Alcázar at Toledo early in the war was a turning point, with the rebels winning after a long siege. The Republicans managed to hold out in Madrid, despite a Nationalist assault in November 1936, and frustrated subsequent offensives against the capital at Jarama and Guadalajara in 1937. Soon, though, the rebels began to erode their territory, starving Madrid and making inroads into the east. The north, including the Basque country, fell in late 1937, and the Aragon front collapsed shortly afterward. The bombing of Guernica was probably the most infamous event of the war and inspired Picasso’s painting. It was used as a testing ground for the German Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion. The Battle of the Ebro in July–November 1938 was the final desperate attempt by the Republicans to turn the tide. When this failed and Barcelona fell to the rebels in early 1939, it was clear the war was over. The remaining Republican fronts collapsed, and Madrid fell in March 1939.

See also

  • Spanish Republican Armed Forces
  • Spanish Republican government in exile
  • Flag of the Second Spanish Republic
  • Coat of Arms of the Second Spanish Republic
  • Order of the Spanish Republic
  • LAPE (Líneas Aéreas Postales Españolas), the Spanish Republican Airline
  • Catholicism in the Second Spanish Republic
  • Battle of the Ebro
  • Revisionism (Spain)

Notes

  1. ^ Payne, Stanley G. (1993) Spain’s First Democracy: The Second Republic, 1931–1936, pp. 62–3. Univ of Wisconsin Press. Google Books. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
  2. ^ Javier Rubio, Los reconocimientos diplomáticos del Gobierno de la República española en el exilio
  3. ^ Casanova 2010, p. 10
  4. ^ Casanova 2010, p. 1
  5. ^ Mariano Ospina Peña, La II República Española, caballerosandantes.net/videoteca.php?action=verdet&vid=89
  6. ^ Casanova 2010, p. 18
  7. ^ Casanova 2010, p. vii
  8. ^ abcd abc.es: “La quema de iglesias durante la Segunda República” 10 May 2012
  9. ^ Casanova 2010, p. 28
  10. ^ Smith, Angel, Historical Dictionary of Spain, p. 195, Rowman & Littlefield 2008
  11. ^ Stepan, Alfred, Arguing Comparative Politics, p. 221, Oxford University Press
  12. ^ Paz, Jose Antonio Souto Perspectives on religious freedom in Spain Brigham Young University Law Review 1 January 2001
  13. ^ Dilectissima Nobis, 2 (On Oppression Of The Church Of Spain)
  14. ^ Payne, Stanley G. (1973). “A History of Spain and Portugal (Print Edition)”. University of Wisconsin Press. Library of Iberian resources online. 2, Ch. 25: 632. Retrieved 30 May 2007..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg/12px-Wikisource-logo.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  15. ^ Payne, Stanley G. (1973). “A History of Spain and Portugal (Print Edition)”. University of Wisconsin Press. Library of Iberian resources online. 2, Ch. 26: 646–47. Retrieved 15 May 2007.
  16. ^ “Uneasy path”. Evening Post, Volume CXXI, Issue 85, 9 April 1936. National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  17. ^ ab G., Payne, Stanley. The Spanish Civil War. New York. ISBN 9781107002265. OCLC 782994187.
  18. ^ Beevor 2006, p. 51
  19. ^ ab Imperial War Museum (2002). “The Spanish Civil War exhibition: Mainline text” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  20. ^ Thomas Barria-Norton, The Spanish Civil War (2001), pp. xviii & 899–901, inclusive.
  21. ^ Helen Graham, among others.
  22. ^ La Pasionaria’s Farewell Message to the International Brigade fighters
  23. ^ Ángel Viñas, La Soledad de la República Archived 30 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine

References

  • Beevor, Antony (2006). The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936–1939. New York: Penguin Books.
  • Casanova, Julián (2010). The Spanish Republic and Civil War. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511763137. ISBN 0-521-49388-9.

Further reading

  • Gerald Brenan, The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War (1943)
  • Henry Buckley, The Life and Death of the Spanish Republic: a Witness to the Spanish Civil War, IB Tauris, (1940, rep 2013). First Edition almost entirely destroyed and not reprinted until 2013.
  • Raymond Carr, ed. The Republic and the Civil War in Spain (1971)
  • Raymond Carr, Spain 1808–1975 (2nd ed. 1982) online
  • Julián Casanova. The Spanish Republic and Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  • Helen Graham (2003). The Spanish Republic at War 1936-1939. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521459327.

External links

  • Constitución de la República Española (1931)
  • English Translation of the Constitution of the Spanish Republic (1931)
  • Second Spanish Republic National Anthem on YouTube
  • (in Spanish) Pro-Republic, 75th Anniversary Manifiesto
  • Original article from the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in The Guardian’s archives.
  • History of the republic and the victory of the Popular Front in elections
  • (in Spanish) Video La II República Española


Weimar Republic

Germany state in the years 1918/1919–1933

German Reich

Deutsches Reich
1918–1933
Flag of Weimar Republic
Flag

{{{coat_alt}}}
Coat of arms

Motto: Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
“Unity and Justice and Freedom”
Anthem: 

Das Lied der Deutschen
(English: “Song of the Germans”)
Germany in 1930

Germany in 1930
German states in 1920s (Free State of Prussia with its provinces shown in blue)

German states in 1920s (Free State of Prussia with its provinces shown in blue)
Capital Berlin
Common languages German
Religion

1925 census[1]
64.1% Protestant (Lutheran, Reformed, United)
32.4% Roman Catholic
0.9% Jewish
2.6% Other
Government 1919–30 Federal
semi-presidential
constitutional republic
1930–33 De facto authoritarian
presidential republic
President  
• 1919–25
Friedrich Ebert
• 1925–33
Paul von Hindenburg
Chancellor  
• 1919 (first)
Philipp Scheidemann
• 1933 (last)
Adolf Hitler
Legislature Reichstag
• State Council
Reichsrat
Historical era Interwar period
• Established
9 November 1918
• Government by decree begins
29 March 1930[2]
• Hitler appointed Chancellor
30 January 1933
• Reichstag fire
27 February 1933
• Enabling Act
24 March 1933
Area
1925[3] 468,787 km2 (181,000 sq mi)
Population
• 1925[3]
62,411,000
Currency
  • 1919–23 “Papiermark” (ℳ)
  • 1923–33 Rentenmark
  • 1924–33 Reichsmark (ℛℳ)

Preceded by

Succeeded by
German Empire
Nazi Germany

The Weimar Republic (German: Weimarer Republik [ˈvaɪmaʁɐ ʁepuˈbliːk] (About this soundlisten)) is an unofficial historical designation for the German state from 1918 to 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the republic remained Deutsches Reich unchanged from 1871, because of the German tradition of substates. Although commonly translated as “German Empire”, the word Reich here better translates as “realm”, in that the term does not in itself have monarchical connotations per se. The Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was usually known simply 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, and 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 (with paramilitaries—both left- and right-wing) as well as contentious relationships with the victors of the First World War. Resentment in Germany towards the Treaty of Versailles was strong especially 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 completely met its disarmament requirements and eventually paid only a small portion of the war reparations (by twice restructuring its debt through the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan).[4] 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.[5] 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 (Machtergreifung) 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.

Contents

  • 1 Name
  • 2 Government
  • 3 Flag and coat of arms
  • 4 Armed forces
  • 5 History

    • 5.1 November Revolution (1918–1919)
    • 5.2 Years of crisis (1919–1923)

      • 5.2.1 Burden from the First World War

        • 5.2.1.1 Treaty of Versailles
        • 5.2.1.2 Allied Rhineland occupation
        • 5.2.1.3 Reparations
        • 5.2.1.4 Hyperinflation
      • 5.2.2 Political turmoil
    • 5.3 Golden Era (1924–1929)
    • 5.4 Culture
    • 5.5 Social policy under Weimar
    • 5.6 Decline (1930–1933)

      • 5.6.1 Onset of the Great Depression
      • 5.6.2 Brüning’s policy of deflation (1930–1932)
      • 5.6.3 The Papen deal
      • 5.6.4 Elections of July 1932
      • 5.6.5 Schleicher cabinet
    • 5.7 End of the Weimar Republic

      • 5.7.1 Hitler’s chancellorship (1933)
      • 5.7.2 Hitler cabinet meeting in mid-March
      • 5.7.3 Enabling Act negotiations
      • 5.7.4 Passage of the Enabling Act
      • 5.7.5 Consequences
  • 6 Reasons for failure

    • 6.1 Economic problems
    • 6.2 Institutional problems
    • 6.3 Role of individuals
  • 7 Constituent states
  • 8 See also
  • 9 References
  • 10 Further reading

    • 10.1 Historiography
  • 11 External links

Name

The Weimar Republic is so called because the assembly that adopted its constitution met at Weimar, Germany from 6 February 1919 to 11 August 1919,[6] 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, which is precisely why the old name Deutsches Reich remained even though hardly anyone used it during the Weimar period.[7] 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.[8] The Catholic Centre party, Zentrum favoured the term Deutscher Volksstaat (“German People’s State”) while on the moderate left the Chancellor’s SPD preferred Deutsche Republik (“German Republic”).[8] 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 that had been imposed by foreign statesmen, along with the expulsion of Kaiser Wilhelm in the wake of massive national humiliation.[8] The first recorded mention of the term Republik von Weimar (“Republic of 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 later that the term Weimarer Republik was first used (again by Hitler) in a newspaper article.[7] 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; the vision of God’s Empire here on earth; the universality of its claim to suzerainty; and a more prosaic but no less powerful sense, the concept of a German state that would include all German speakers in central Europe–‘one People, one Reich, one Leader’, as the Nazi slogan was to put it.[9]

Government

Flag and coat of arms

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The official coat of arms of Germany (Reichswappen) from 1919 to 1928.
The official coat of arms of Germany from 1928 to 1933, designed by Tobias Schwab.

After the introduction of the republic, the flag and coat of arms of Germany were officially altered to reflect the political changes. The Weimar Republic retained the Reichsadler, but without the symbols of the former Monarchy (Crown, Collar, Breast shield with the Prussian Arms). This left the black eagle with one head, facing to the right, with open wings but closed feathers, with a red beak, tongue and claws and white highlighting.

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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, tongue and claws in red color. If the Reich’s Eagle is shown without a frame, the same charge and colors as those of the eagle of the Reich’s coat of arms are to be used, but the tops of the feathers are directed outside. The patterns kept by the Federal Ministry of the Interior are decisive for the heraldic design. The artistic design may be varied for each special purpose.

— President Ebert; Minister of the Interior Koch, Bekanntmachung betreffend das Reichswappen und den Reichsadler (“Announcement concerning the imperial coat of arms and the imperial eagle”), 11 November 1919

The republican tricolour is based on the flag that the Paulskirche Constitution of 1849 introduced, which was decided upon by the German National Assembly in Frankfurt am Main, at the peak of the German civic movement that demanded parliamentary participation and unification of the German states.

The achievements and signs of this movement were mostly done away with after its downfall and the political reaction. Only the tiny German Principality of Waldeck-Pyrmont upheld the tradition and continued to use the German colours called Schwarz-Rot-Gold in German, (English: Black-Red-Gold) that had originated within a German-held state as early as 1778.

These signs had remained symbols of the Paulskirche movement. Weimar wanted to express its origins in that political movement between 1849 and 1858; while anti-republicans opposed this flag. While the first German Confederal Navy (Reichsflotte, 1848–1852) had proudly deployed a naval ensign based on Schwarz-Rot-Gold, the Weimar republic navy, or Reichsmarine (1918–1933) insisted on using the pre-1918 colours of the former Kaiserliche Marine (1871–1918), which were Black-White-Red, as did the German merchant marine.

The republicans took up the idea of the German Coat of Arms established by the Paulskirche movement, using the same charge animal, an eagle, in the same colours (black, red and gold), but modernising its form, including a reduction of the heads from two to one. Friedrich Ebert initially declared the official German coat of arms to be a design by Emil Doepler (shown in the first infobox above) as of 12 November 1919, following a decision of the German government.[10]

In 1928, however, the Reichswappen (Reich coat of arms) designed by Tobias Schwab (1887–1967) in 1926 (or 1924[11]) replaced it as the official emblem for the German Olympic team.[12][13][14] The Reichswehr adopted the new Reichswappen in 1927.[14] Doepler’s design then became the Reichsschild (Reich’s escutcheon) with restricted use such as pennant for government vehicles. In 1949 the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) adopted all three signs of Weimar Republic – Reichswappen, Reichsschild and Reichsflagge – as Bundeswappen, Bundesschild and Bundesflagge[14] (Federal coat of arms, escutcheon and flag).

Armed forces

Jack of the Kaiserliche Marine (1903–1919)

Jack of the Reichsmarine (1918–1935)

After the dissolution of the army of the former German Empire, known as the Deutsches Heer (simply “German Army”) or the Reichsheer (Army of the Realm) in 1918; Germany’s military forces consisted of irregular paramilitaries, namely the various right-wing Freikorps (“Free Corps”) groups composed of veterans from the war. The Freikorps units were formally disbanded in 1920 (although continued to exist in underground groups), and on 1 January 1921, a new Reichswehr (figuratively; Defence of the realm) was created.

The Treaty of Versailles limited the size of the Reichswehr to 100,000 soldiers (consisting of seven infantry divisions and three cavalry divisions), 10 armoured cars and a navy (the Reichsmarine) restricted to 36 ships in active service. No aircraft of any kind was allowed. The main advantage of this limitation, however, was that the Reichswehr could afford to pick the best recruits for service. However, with inefficient armour and no air support, the Reichswehr would have had limited combat abilities.
Privates were mainly recruited from the countryside, as it was believed that young men from cities were prone to socialist behaviour, which would fray the loyalty of the privates to their conservative officers.

Although technically in service of the republic, the army was predominantly officered by conservative reactionaries who were sympathetic to right-wing organisations. Hans von Seeckt, the head of the Reichswehr, declared that the army was not loyal to the democratic republic, and would only defend it if it were in their interests. During the Kapp Putsch for example, the army refused to fire upon the rebels. However, as right wing as the army was, it was reluctant to assist the Nazis, whom they mostly viewed as thugs.[citation needed] The SA was the Reichswehr’s main opponent throughout its existence, as they saw them as a threat to their existence,[dubious ] and the army fired at them during the Beerhall Putsch. Upon the establishment[dubious ] of the SS, the Reichswehr took a softer line about the Nazis, since the SS seemed more respectable, and openly favoured order over anarchy. In 1935, two years after Hitler came to power, the Reichswehr was renamed the Wehrmacht.

History

November Revolution (1918–1919)

The rebellion, November 1918

In October 1918, the constitution of the German Empire was reformed to give more powers to the elected parliament. On 29 October, rebellion broke out in Kiel among sailors. There, sailors, soldiers, and workers began electing Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils (Arbeiter und Soldatenräte) modeled after the Soviets of the Russian Revolution of 1917. The revolution spread throughout Germany, and participants seized military and civil powers in individual cities. The power takeover was achieved everywhere without loss of life.

At the time, the Socialist movement which represented mostly laborers was split among two major left-wing parties: the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD), which called for immediate peace negotiations and favored a soviet-style command economy, and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) also known as “Majority” Social Democratic Party of Germany (MSPD), which supported the war effort and favoured a parliamentary system. The rebellion caused great fear in the establishment and in the middle classes because of the Soviet-style aspirations of the councils. To centrist and conservative citizens, the country looked to be on the verge of a communist revolution.

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. When he refused, Prince Max of Baden simply announced that he had done so and frantically attempted to establish a regency under another member of the House of Hohenzollern. Gustav Noske, a self-appointed military expert in the MSPD, was sent to Kiel to prevent any further unrest and took on the task of controlling the mutinous sailors and their supporters in the Kiel barracks. The sailors and soldiers, inexperienced in matters of revolutionary combat, welcomed him as an experienced politician and allowed him to negotiate a settlement, thus defusing the initial anger of the revolutionaries in uniform.

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. Two hours later, a “Free Socialist Republic” was proclaimed, 2 km (1.2 mi) away, at the Berliner Stadtschloss. The proclamation was issued by Karl Liebknecht, co-leader (with Rosa Luxemburg) of the communist Spartakusbund (Spartacist League), a group of a few hundred supporters of the Russian revolution that had allied itself with the USPD in 1917. In a legally questionable act, Imperial Chancellor (Reichskanzler) Prince Max of Baden transferred his powers to Friedrich Ebert, who, shattered by the monarchy’s fall, reluctantly accepted. In view of the mass support for more radical reforms among the workers’ councils, a coalition government called “Council of the People’s Deputies” (Rat der Volksbeauftragten) was established, consisting of three MSPD and three USPD members. Led by Ebert for the MSPD and Hugo Haase for the USPD it sought to act as a provisional cabinet of ministers. But the power question was unanswered. Although the new government was confirmed by the Berlin worker and soldier council, it was opposed by the Spartacist League.

Philipp Scheidemann addresses a crowd from a window of the Reich Chancellery, 9 November 1918

The Executive Council of the Workers’ and Soldiers’ Councils, a coalition that included Majority Socialists, Independent Socialists, workers, and soldiers, implemented a programme of progressive social change, introducing reforms such as the eight-hour workday, the releasing of political prisoners, the abolition of press censorship, increases in workers’ old-age, sick and unemployment benefits, and the bestowing upon labour the unrestricted right to organise into unions.[15]

A number of other reforms were carried out in Germany during the revolutionary period. It was made harder for estates to sack workers and prevent them from leaving when they wanted to; under the Provisional Act for Agricultural Labour of 23 November 1918 the normal period of notice for management, and for most resident labourers, was set at six weeks. In addition, a supplementary directive of December 1918 specified that female (and child) workers were entitled to a fifteen-minute break if they worked between four and six hours, thirty minutes for workdays lasting six to eight hours, and one hour for longer days.[16] A decree on 23 December 1918 established committees (composed of workers’ representatives “in their relation to the employer”) to safeguard the rights of workers. The right to bargain collectively was also established, while it was made obligatory “to elect workers’ committees on estates and establish conciliation committees”. A decree on 3 February 1919 removed the right of employers to acquire exemption for domestic servants and agricultural workers.[17]

With the Verordnung of 3 February 1919, the Ebert government reintroduced the original structure of the health insurance boards according to an 1883 law, with one-third employers and two-thirds members (i.e. workers).[18] From 28 June 1919 health insurance committees became elected by workers themselves.[19] The Provisional Order of January 1919 concerning agricultural labour conditions fixed 2,900 hours as a maximum per year, distributed as eight, ten, and eleven hours per day in four-monthly periods.[20] A code of January 1919 bestowed upon land-labourers the same legal rights that industrial workers enjoyed, while a bill ratified that same year obliged the States to set up agricultural settlement associations which, as noted by Volker Berghahn, “were endowed with the priority right of purchase of farms beyond a specified size”.[21] In addition, undemocratic public institutions were abolished, involving, as noted by one writer, the disappearance “of the Prussian Upper House, the former Prussian Lower House that had been elected in accordance with the three-class suffrage, and the municipal councils that were also elected on the class vote”.[22]

On 11 November, 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.

A rift developed between the MSPD and USPD after Ebert called upon the OHL (Supreme Army Command) for troops to put down a mutiny by a leftist military unit on 23/24 December 1918, in which members of the Volksmarinedivision (People’s Army Division) had captured the city’s garrison commander Otto Wels and occupied the Reichskanzlei (Reich Chancellery) where the “Council of the People’s Deputies” was situated. The ensuing street fighting left several dead and injured on both sides. The USPD leaders were outraged by what they believed was treachery by the MSPD, which, in their view, had joined with the anti-communist military to suppress the revolution. Thus, the USPD left the “Council of the People’s Deputies” after only seven weeks. On 30 December, the split deepened when the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) was formed out of a number of radical left-wing groups, including the left wing of the USPD and the “Spartacist League” group.

From November 1918 to January 1919, Germany was governed by the “Council of the People’s Deputies”, under the leadership of Ebert and Haase. The Council issued a large number of decrees that radically shifted German policies. It introduced the eight-hour workday, domestic labour reform, works councils, agricultural labour reform, right of civil-service associations, local municipality social welfare relief (split between Reich and States) and important national health insurance, re-instatement of demobilised workers, protection from arbitrary dismissal with appeal as a right, regulated wage agreement, and universal suffrage from 20 years of age in all types of elections—local and national. Ebert called for a “National Congress of Councils” (Reichsrätekongress), which took place from 16 to 20 December 1918, and in which the MSPD had the majority. Thus, Ebert was able to institute elections for a provisional National Assembly that would be given the task of writing a democratic constitution for parliamentary government, marginalizing the movement that called for a socialist republic.

To ensure his fledgling government maintained control over the country, Ebert made an agreement with the OHL, now led by Ludendorff’s successor General Wilhelm Groener. The ‘Ebert–Groener pact’ stipulated that the government would not attempt to reform the army so long as the army swore to protect the state. On the one hand, this agreement symbolised the acceptance of the new government by the military, assuaging concern among the middle classes; on the other hand, it was thought contrary to working-class interests by left wing social democrats and communists, and was also opposed by the far right who believed democracy would make Germany weaker. The new Reichswehr armed forces, limited by the Treaty of Versailles to 100,000 army soldiers and 15,000 sailors, remained fully under the control of the German officer class, despite their nominal re-organisation.

In January, the Spartacist League and others in the streets of Berlin made more armed attempts to establish communism, known as the Spartacist uprising. Those attempts were put down by paramilitary Freikorps units consisting of volunteer soldiers. Bloody street fights culminated in the beating and shooting deaths of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht after their arrests on 15 January.[23] With the affirmation of Ebert, those responsible were not tried before a court martial, leading to lenient sentences, which made Ebert unpopular among radical leftists.

Official postcard of the National Assembly

The National Assembly elections took place on 19 January 1919. In this time, the radical left-wing parties, including the USPD and KPD, were barely able to get themselves organised, leading to a solid majority of seats for the MSPD moderate forces. To avoid the ongoing fights in Berlin, the National Assembly convened in the city of Weimar, giving the future Republic its unofficial name. The Weimar Constitution created a republic under a parliamentary republic system with the Reichstag elected by proportional representation. The democratic parties obtained a solid 80% of the vote.

During the debates in Weimar, fighting continued. A Soviet republic was declared in Munich, but was quickly put down by Freikorps and remnants of the regular army. The fall of the Munich Soviet Republic to these units, many of which were situated on the extreme right, resulted in the growth of far-right movements and organisations in Bavaria, including Organisation Consul, the Nazi Party, and societies of exiled Russian Monarchists. Sporadic fighting continued to flare up around the country. In eastern provinces, forces loyal to Germany’s fallen Monarchy fought the republic, while militias of Polish nationalists fought for independence: Great Poland Uprising in Provinz Posen and three Silesian uprisings in Upper Silesia.

Germany lost the war because the country ran out of allies and its economic resources were running out; support among the population began to crumble in 1916 and by mid-1918 there was support for the war only among the die-hard monarchists and conservatives. The decisive blow came with the entry of the United States into the conflict, which made its vast industrial resources available to the beleaguered Allies. By late summer 1918 the German reserves were exhausted while fresh American troops arrived in France at the rate of 10,000 a day. Retreat and defeat were at hand, and the Army told the Kaiser to abdicate for it could no longer support him. Although in retreat, the German armies were still on French and Belgian territory when the war ended on 11 November. Ludendorf and Hindenburg soon proclaimed that it was the defeatism of the civilian population that had made defeat inevitable. The die-hard nationalists then blamed the civilians for betraying the army and the surrender. This was the “stab-in-the-back myth” that was unceasingly propagated by the right in the 1920s and ensured that many monarchists and conservatives would refuse to support the government of what they called the “November criminals”.[24][need quotation to verify][25]

Years of crisis (1919–1923)

Burden from the First World War

In the first four years following the First World War, the situation for German civilians remained dire. The severe food shortages improved little to none up until 1923. Many German civilians expected life to return to prewar normalcy following the removal of the naval blockade in June 1919. Instead, the struggles induced by the First World War persisted for the decade following. Throughout the war German officials made rash decisions to combat the growing hunger of the nation, most of which were highly unsuccessful. Examples include the nationwide pig slaughter, Schweinemord, in 1915. The German government’s rationale behind exterminating the population of swine in Germany was to decrease the use of potatoes and turnips for animal consumption, transitioning all foods toward human consumption. In 1922, now three years after the German signing of the Treaty of Versailles, meat consumption in the country had not increased since the war era. 22 kg per person per year was still less than half of the 52 kg statistic in 1913, before the onset of the war. German citizens felt the food shortages even deeper than during the war, because the reality of the nation contrasted so significantly from their expectations of a postwar nation. The burdens of World War I saw little improvement in the immediate years following, and with the onset of the Treaty of Versailles, coupled by mass inflation, Germany still remained in a crisis. The continuity of pain introduced the Weimar authority in a negative light, having public opinion being one of the main sources behind its failure.[26]

Treaty of Versailles

Germany after Versailles


  Administered by the League of Nations
  Annexed or transferred to neighbouring countries by the treaty, or later via plebiscite and League of Nation action
  Weimar Germany

The growing post-war economic crisis was a result of lost pre-war industrial exports, the loss of supplies in raw materials and foodstuffs due to the continental blockade, the loss of the colonies, and worsening debt balances, exacerbated by an exorbitant issue of promissory notes raising money to pay for the war. Military-industrial activity had almost ceased, although controlled demobilisation kept unemployment at around one million. In part, the economic losses can also be attributed to the Allied blockade of Germany until the Treaty of Versailles.

The Allies permitted only low import levels of goods that most Germans could not afford.[citation needed] After four years of war and famine, many German workers were exhausted, physically impaired and discouraged. Millions were disenchanted with capitalism and hoping for a new era. Meanwhile, the currency depreciated, and would continue to depreciate following the French invasion of the Ruhr.[citation needed]

The German peace delegation in France signed the Treaty of Versailles, accepting mass reductions of the German military, the prospect of substantial war reparations payments to the victorious allies, and the controversial “War Guilt Clause”. Explaining the rise of extreme nationalist movements in Germany shortly after the war, British historian Ian Kershaw points to the “national disgrace” that was “felt throughout Germany at the humiliating terms imposed by the victorious Allies and reflected in the Versailles Treaty…with its confiscation of territory on the eastern border and even more so its ‘guilt clause’.”[27]Adolf Hitler repeatedly blamed the republic and its democracy for accepting the oppressive terms of this treaty. The Republic’s first Reichspräsident (“Reich President”), Friedrich Ebert of the SPD, signed the new German constitution into law on 11 August 1919.

The new post-World War I Germany, stripped of all colonies, became 13.3% smaller in its European territory than its imperial predecessor. Of these losses, a large proportion consisted of provinces that were originally Polish, and Alsace-Lorraine, seized by Germany in 1870, where Germans constituted only part or a minority of local populations despite nationalist outrage at the fragmentation of Germany.

Allied Rhineland occupation

The occupation of the Rhineland took place following the Armistice with Germany of 11 November 1918. The occupying armies consisted of American, Belgian, British and French forces.

In 1920, under massive French pressure, the Saar was separated from the Rhine Province and administered by the League of Nations until a plebiscite in 1935, when the region was returned to the Deutsches Reich. At the same time, in 1920, the districts of Eupen and Malmedy were transferred to Belgium (see German-Speaking Community of Belgium). Shortly after, France completely occupied the Rhineland, strictly controlling all important industrial areas.

Reparations

The actual amount of reparations that Germany was obliged to pay out was not the 132 billion marks decided in the London Schedule of 1921 but rather the 50 billion marks stipulated in the A and B Bonds. Historian Sally Marks says the 112 billion marks in “C bonds” were entirely chimerical—a device to fool the public into thinking Germany would pay much more. The actual total payout from 1920 to 1931 (when payments were suspended indefinitely) was 20 billion German gold marks, worth about US$5 billion or £1 billion British pounds. 12.5 billion was cash that came mostly from loans from New York bankers. The rest was goods such as coal and chemicals, or from assets like railway equipment. The reparations bill was fixed in 1921 on the basis of a German capacity to pay, not on the basis of Allied claims. The highly publicised rhetoric of 1919 about paying for all the damages and all the veterans’ benefits was irrelevant for the total, but it did determine how the recipients spent their share. Germany owed reparations chiefly to France, Britain, Italy and Belgium; the US Treasury received $100 million.[28]

Hyperinflation

In the early post-war years, inflation was growing at an alarming rate, but the government simply printed more currency to pay debts. By 1923, the Republic claimed it could no longer afford the reparations payments required by the Versailles Treaty, and the government defaulted on some payments. In response, French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr region, Germany’s most productive industrial region at the time, taking control of most mining and manufacturing companies in January 1923. Strikes were called, and passive resistance was encouraged. These strikes lasted eight months, further damaging both the economy and society.[citation needed]

The strike prevented some goods from being produced, but one industrialist, Hugo Stinnes, was able to create a vast empire out of bankrupt companies. Because the production costs in Germany were falling almost hourly, the prices for German products were unbeatable. Stinnes made sure that he was paid in dollars, which meant that by mid-1923, his industrial empire was worth more than the entire German economy. By the end of the year, over two hundred factories were working full-time to produce paper for the spiralling bank note production. Stinnes’ empire collapsed when the government-sponsored inflation was stopped in November 1923.[citation needed]

In 1919, one loaf of bread cost 1 mark; by 1923, the same loaf of bread cost 100 billion marks.[citation needed]

One-million mark notes used as notepaper, October 1923

Since striking workers were paid benefits by the state, much additional currency was printed, fuelling a period of hyperinflation. The 1920s German inflation started when Germany had no goods to trade. The government printed money to deal with the crisis; this meant payments within Germany were made with worthless paper money, and helped formerly great industrialists to pay back their own loans. This also led to pay raises for workers and for businessmen who wanted to profit from it. Circulation of money rocketed, and soon banknotes were being overprinted to a thousand times their nominal value and every town produced its own promissory notes; many banks and industrial firms did the same.[citation needed]

The value of the Papiermark had declined from 4.2 Marks per U.S. dollar in 1914 to one million per dollar by August 1923. This led to further criticism of the Republic. On 15 November 1923, a new currency, the Rentenmark, was introduced at the rate of one trillion (1,000,000,000,000) Papiermark for one Rentenmark, an action known as redenomination. At that time, one U.S. dollar was equal to 4.2 Rentenmark. Reparation payments were resumed, and the Ruhr was returned to Germany under the Locarno Treaties, which defined the borders between Germany, France, and Belgium.

Political turmoil

A 50 million mark banknote issued in 1923, worth approximately one U.S. dollar when issued, would have been worth approximately 12 million U.S. dollars nine years earlier, but within a few weeks inflation made the banknote practically worthless

The Republic was soon under attack from both left- and right-wing sources. The radical left accused the ruling Social Democrats of having betrayed the ideals of the workers’ movement by preventing a communist revolution and sought to overthrow the Republic and do so themselves. Various right-wing sources opposed any democratic system, preferring an authoritarian, autocratic state like the 1871 Empire. To further undermine the Republic’s credibility, some right-wingers (especially certain members of the former officer corps) also blamed an alleged conspiracy of Socialists and Jews for Germany’s defeat in World War I.

In the next five years, the central government, assured of the support of the Reichswehr, dealt severely with the occasional outbreaks of violence in Germany’s large cities. The left claimed that the Social Democrats had betrayed the ideals of the revolution, while the army and the government-financed Freikorps committed hundreds of acts of gratuitous violence against striking workers.

The first challenge to the Weimar Republic came when a group of communists and anarchists took over the Bavarian government in Munich and declared the creation of the Bavarian Soviet Republic. The uprising was brutally attacked by Freikorps, which consisted mainly of ex-soldiers dismissed from the army and who were well-paid to put down forces of the Far Left. The Freikorps was an army outside the control of the government, but they were in close contact with their allies in the Reichswehr.

On 13 March 1920 during the Kapp Putsch, 12,000 Freikorps soldiers occupied Berlin and installed Wolfgang Kapp, a right-wing journalist, as chancellor. The national government fled to Stuttgart and called for a general strike against the putsch. The strike meant that no “official” pronouncements could be published, and with the civil service out on strike, the Kapp government collapsed after only four days on 17 March.

Inspired by the general strikes, a workers’ uprising began in the Ruhr region when 50,000 people formed a “Red Army” and took control of the province. The regular army and the Freikorps ended the uprising on their own authority. The rebels were campaigning for an extension of the plans to nationalise major industries and supported the national government, but the SPD leaders did not want to lend support to the growing USPD, who favoured the establishment of a socialist regime. The repression of an uprising of SPD supporters by the reactionary forces in the Freikorps on the instructions of the SPD ministers was to become a major source of conflict within the socialist movement and thus contributed to the weakening of the only group that could have withstood the National Socialist movement. Other rebellions were put down in March 1921 in Saxony and Hamburg.

A disabled war veteran, Berlin, 1923

In 1922, Germany signed the Treaty of Rapallo with the Soviet Union, which allowed Germany to train military personnel in exchange for giving Russia military technology. This was against the Treaty of Versailles, which limited Germany to 100,000 soldiers and no conscription, naval forces of 15,000 men, twelve destroyers, six battleships, and six cruisers, no submarines or aircraft. However, Russia had pulled out of World War I against the Germans as a result of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and was excluded from the League of Nations. Thus, Germany seized the chance to make an ally. Walther Rathenau, the Jewish Foreign Minister who signed the treaty, was assassinated two months later by two ultra-nationalist army officers.

Further pressure from the political right came in 1923 with the Beer Hall Putsch, also called the Munich Putsch, staged by the Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler in Munich. In 1920, the German Workers’ Party had become the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), or Nazi party, and would become a driving force in the collapse of Weimar. Hitler named himself as chairman of the party in July 1921. On 8 November 1923, the Kampfbund, in a pact with Erich Ludendorff, took over a meeting by Bavarian prime minister Gustav von Kahr at a beer hall in Munich.

Ludendorff and Hitler declared that the Weimar government was deposed and that they were planning to take control of Munich the following day. The 3,000 rebels were thwarted by the Bavarian authorities. Hitler was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison for high treason, a minimum sentence for the charge. Hitler served less than eight months in a comfortable cell, receiving a daily stream of visitors before his release on 20 December 1924. While in jail, Hitler dictated Mein Kampf, which laid out his ideas and future policies. Hitler now decided to focus on legal methods of gaining power.

Golden Era (1924–1929)

Gustav Stresemann was Reichskanzler for 100 days in 1923, and served as foreign minister from 1923 to 1929, a period of relative stability for the Weimar Republic, known in Germany as Goldene Zwanziger (“Golden Twenties”). Prominent features of this period were a growing economy and a consequent decrease in civil unrest.

Once civil stability had been restored, Stresemann began stabilising the German currency, which promoted confidence in the German economy and helped the recovery that was so ardently needed for the German nation to keep up with their reparation repayments, while at the same time feeding and supplying the nation.

Once the economic situation had stabilised, Stresemann could begin putting a permanent currency in place, called the Rentenmark (October 1923), which again contributed to the growing level of international confidence in the German economy.

Wilhelm Marx’s Christmas broadcast, December 1923

To help Germany meet reparation obligations, the Dawes Plan was created in 1924. This was an agreement between American banks and the German government in which the American banks lent money to German banks with German assets as collateral to help it pay reparations. The German railways, the National Bank and many industries were therefore mortgaged as securities for the stable currency and the loans.[29]

Germany was the first state to establish diplomatic relations with the new Soviet Union. Under the Treaty of Rapallo, Germany accorded it formal (de jure) recognition, and the two mutually cancelled all pre-war debts and renounced war claims. In October 1925 the Treaty of Locarno was signed by Germany, France, Belgium, Britain and Italy; it recognised Germany’s borders with France and Belgium. Moreover, Britain, Italy and Belgium undertook to assist France in the case that German troops marched into the demilitarised Rhineland. Locarno paved the way for Germany’s admission to the League of Nations in 1926.[30] Germany signed arbitration conventions with France and Belgium and arbitration treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia, undertaking to refer any future disputes to an arbitration tribunal or to the Permanent Court of International Justice. Other foreign achievements were the evacuation of foreign troops from the Ruhr in 1925. In 1926, Germany was admitted to the League of Nations as a permanent member, improving her international standing and giving the right to vote on League matters.

Overall trade increased and unemployment fell. Stresemann’s reforms did not relieve the underlying weaknesses of Weimar but gave the appearance of a stable democracy. Even Stresemann’s ‘German People’s party’ failed to gain nationwide recognition, and instead featured in the ‘flip-flop’ coalitions. The Grand Coalition headed by Muller inspired some faith in the government, but that didn’t last. Governments frequently lasted only a year, comparable to the political situation in France during the 1930’s. The major weakness in constitutional terms was the inherent instability of the coalitions, which often fell prior to elections. The growing dependence on American finance was to prove fleeting, and Germany was one of the worst hit nations in the Great Depression.

Culture

The “Golden Twenties” in Berlin: a jazz band plays for a tea dance at the hotel Esplanade, 1926

The 1920s saw a remarkable cultural renaissance in Germany. During the worst phase of hyperinflation in 1923, the clubs and bars were full of speculators who spent their daily profits so they would not lose the value the following day. Berlin intellectuals responded by condemning the excesses of capitalism, and demanding revolutionary changes on the cultural scenery. Influenced by the brief cultural explosion in the Soviet Union, German literature, cinema, theatre and musical works entered a phase of great creativity. Innovative street theatre brought plays to the public, and the cabaret scene and jazz band became very popular. According to the cliché, modern young women were Americanized, wearing makeup, short hair, smoking and breaking with traditional mores. The euphoria surrounding Josephine Baker in the metropolis of Berlin for instance, where she was declared an “erotic goddess” and in many ways admired and respected, kindled further “ultramodern” sensations in the minds of the German public.[31] Art and a new type of architecture taught at “Bauhaus” schools reflected the new ideas of the time, with artists such as George Grosz being fined for defaming the military and for blasphemy.

Artists in Berlin were influenced by other contemporary progressive cultural movements, such as the Impressionist and Expressionist painters in Paris, as well as the Cubists. Likewise, American progressive architects were admired. Many of the new buildings built during this era followed a straight-lined, geometrical style. Examples of the new architecture include the Bauhaus Building by Gropius, Grosses Schauspielhaus, and the Einstein Tower.[32]

Not everyone, however, was happy with the changes taking place in Weimar culture. Conservatives and reactionaries feared that Germany was betraying its traditional values by adopting popular styles from abroad, particularly those Hollywood was popularizing in American films, while New York became the global capital of fashion. Germany was more susceptible to Americanization, because of the close economic links brought about by the Dawes plan.[citation needed]

In 1929, three years after receiving the 1926 Nobel Peace Prize, Stresemann died of a heart attack at age 51. When the New York Stock Exchange crashed in October, 1929, American loans dried up and the sharp decline of the German economy brought the “Golden Twenties” to an abrupt end.

Social policy under Weimar

A wide range of progressive social reforms were carried out during and after the revolutionary period. In 1919, legislation provided for a maximum working 48-hour workweek, restrictions on night work, a half-holiday on Saturday, and a break of thirty-six hours of continuous rest during the week.[33] That same year, health insurance was extended to wives and daughters without their own income, people only partially capable of gainful employment, people employed in private cooperatives, and people employed in public cooperatives.[34] A series of progressive tax reforms were introduced under the auspices of Matthias Erzberger, including increases in taxes on capital[35] and an increase in the highest income tax rate from 4% to 60%.[36] Under a governmental decree of 3 February 1919, the German government met the demand of the veterans’ associations that all aid for the disabled and their dependents be taken over by the central government[37] (thus assuming responsibility for this assistance) and extended into peacetime the nationwide network of state and district welfare bureaus that had been set up during the war to coordinate social services for war widows and orphans.[38]

The Imperial Youth Welfare Act of 1922 obliged all municipalities and states to set up youth offices in charge of child protection, and also codified a right to education for all children,[39] while laws were passed to regulate rents and increase protection for tenants in 1922 and 1923.[40] Health insurance coverage was extended to other categories of the population during the existence of the Weimar Republic, including seamen, people employed in the educational and social welfare sectors, and all primary dependents.[34] Various improvements were also made in unemployment benefits, although in June 1920 the maximum amount of unemployment benefit that a family of four could receive in Berlin, 90 marks, was well below the minimum cost of subsistence of 304 marks.[41]

In 1923, unemployment relief was consolidated into a regular programme of assistance following economic problems that year. In 1924, a modern public assistance programme was introduced, and in 1925 the accident insurance programme was reformed, allowing diseases that were linked to certain kinds of work to become insurable risks. In addition, a national unemployment insurance programme was introduced in 1927.[42] Housing construction was also greatly accelerated during the Weimar period, with over 2 million new homes constructed between 1924 and 1931 and a further 195,000 modernised.[43]

Decline (1930–1933)

Onset of the Great Depression

The German army feeds the poor, Berlin, 1931

Gross national product (inflation adjusted) and price index in Deutsches Reich 1926–1936 while the period between 1930 and 1932 is marked by a severe deflation and recession

Unemployment rate in Deutsches Reich between 1928 and 1935 as during Brüning’s policy of deflation (marked in purple) the unemployment rate soared from 15.7% in 1930 to 30.8% in 1932

Communist Party (KPD) leader Ernst Thälmann (person in foreground with raised clenched fist) and members of the Roter Frontkämpferbund (RFB) marching through Berlin-Wedding, 1927

Federal election results 1919–1933: the Communist Party (KPD) (red) and the Nazi Party (NSDAP) (brown) were radical enemies of the Weimar Republic and the surge in unemployment during the Great Depression led to a radicalization of many voters as the Nazi Party rose from 2.6% of the total votes in 1928 to 43.9% in 1933 while the DNVP (orange) lost its conservative wing and subsequently joined the radical opposition in 1929[44]

Nazi Party (NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler saluting members of the Sturmabteilung in Brunswick, Lower Saxony, 1932

In 1929, the onset of the depression in the United States of America produced a severe shockwave in Germany. The economy was supported by the granting of loans through the Dawes Plan (1924) and the Young Plan (1929). When American banks withdrew their loans to German companies, the onset of severe unemployment could not be stopped by conventional economic measures. Unemployment grew rapidly, at 4 million in 1930,[45] and in September 1930 a political earthquake shook the republic to its foundations. The Nazi Party (NSDAP) entered the Reichstag with 19% of the popular vote and made the fragile coalition system by which every chancellor had governed unworkable. The last years of the Weimar Republic were stamped by even more political instability than in the previous years. The administrations of Chancellors Brüning, Papen, Schleicher and, from 30 January to 23 March 1933, Hitler governed through presidential decree rather than through parliamentary consultation.

Brüning’s policy of deflation (1930–1932)

On 29 March 1930, after months of lobbying by General Kurt von Schleicher on behalf of the military, the finance expert Heinrich Brüning was appointed as Müller’s successor by Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg. The new government was expected to lead a political shift towards conservatism.

As Brüning had no majority support in the Reichstag, he became, through the use of the emergency powers granted to the Reichspräsident (Article 48) by the constitution, the first Weimar chancellor to operate independently of parliament. This made him dependent on the Reichspräsident, Hindenburg.[2] After a bill to reform the Reich’s finances was opposed by the Reichstag, it was made an emergency decree by Hindenburg. On 18 July, as a result of opposition from the SPD, KPD, DNVP and the small contingent of NSDAP members, the Reichstag again rejected the bill by a slim margin. Immediately afterward, Brüning submitted the president’s decree that the Reichstag be dissolved. The consequent general election on 14 September resulted in an enormous political shift within the Reichstag: 18.3% of the vote went to the NSDAP, five times the percentage won in 1928. As a result, it was no longer possible to form a pro-republican majority, not even with a grand coalition that excluded the KPD, DNVP and NSDAP. This encouraged an escalation in the number of public demonstrations and instances of paramilitary violence organised by the NSDAP.

The SA had nearly two million members at the end of 1932

Between 1930 and 1932, Brüning tried to reform the Weimar Republic without a parliamentary majority, governing, when necessary, through the President’s emergency decrees. In line with the contemporary economic theory (subsequently termed “leave-it-alone liquidationism”), he enacted a draconian policy of deflation and drastically cutting state expenditure.[2] Among other measures, he completely halted all public grants to the obligatory unemployment insurance introduced in 1927, resulting in workers making higher contributions and fewer benefits for the unemployed. Benefits for the sick, invalid and pensioners were also reduced sharply.[46] Additional difficulties were caused by the different deflationary policies pursued by Brüning and the Reichsbank, Germany’s central bank.[47] In mid-1931, the United Kingdom abandoned the gold standard and about 30 countries (the sterling bloc) devalued their currencies,[48] making their goods around 20% cheaper than those produced by Germany.[clarification needed] As the Young Plan did not allow a devaluation of the Reichsmark, Brüning triggered a deflationary internal devaluation by forcing the economy to reduce prices, rents, salaries and wages by 20%.[5] Debate continues as to whether this policy was without alternative: some argue that the Allies would not in any circumstances have allowed a devaluation of the Reichsmark, while others point to the Hoover Moratorium as a sign that the Allies understood that the situation had changed fundamentally and further German reparation payments were impossible. Brüning expected that the policy of deflation would temporarily worsen the economic situation before it began to improve, quickly increasing the German economy’s competitiveness and then restoring its creditworthiness. His long-term view was that deflation would, in any case, be the best way to help the economy. His primary goal was to remove Germany’s reparation payments by convincing the Allies that they could no longer be paid.[49] Anton Erkelenz, chairman of the German Democratic Party and a contemporary critic of Brüning, famously said that the policy of deflation is:

A rightful attempt to release Germany from the grip of reparation payments, but in reality it meant nothing else than committing suicide because of fearing death. The deflation policy causes much more damage than the reparation payments of 20 years … Fighting against Hitler is fighting against deflation, the enormous destruction of production factors.[50]

In 1933, the American economist Irving Fisher developed the theory of debt deflation. He explained that a deflation causes a decline of profits, asset prices and a still greater decline in the net worth of businesses. Even healthy companies, therefore, may appear over-indebted and facing bankruptcy.[51] The consensus today is that Brüning’s policies exacerbated the German economic crisis and the population’s growing frustration with democracy, contributing enormously to the increase in support for Hitler’s NSDAP.[2]

Most German capitalists and landowners originally supported the conservative experiment more from the belief that conservatives would best serve their interests rather than any particular liking for Brüning. As more of the working and middle classes turned against Brüning, however, more of the capitalists and landowners declared themselves in favour of his opponents Hitler and Hugenberg. By late 1931, the conservative movement was dead and Hindenburg and the Reichswehr had begun to contemplate dropping Brüning in favour of accommodating Hugenberg and Hitler. Although Hindenburg disliked Hugenberg and despised Hitler, he was no less a supporter of the sort of anti-democratic counter-revolution that the DNVP and NSDAP represented.[52] In April 1932, Brüning had actively supported Hindenburg’s successful campaign against Hitler for re-election as Reichspräsident;[53] five weeks later, on 20 May 1932, he had lost Hindenburg’s support and duly resigned as Reichskanzler.

The Papen deal

Hindenburg then appointed Franz von Papen as new Reichskanzler. Papen lifted the ban on the NSDAP’s SA paramilitary, imposed after the street riots, in an unsuccessful attempt to secure the backing of Hitler.[citation needed]

Papen was closely associated with the industrialist and land-owning classes and pursued an extremely conservative policy along Hindenburg’s lines. He appointed as Reichswehr Minister Kurt von Schleicher, and all the members of the new cabinet were of the same political opinion as Hindenburg. The government was expected to assure itself of the co-operation of Hitler. Since the republicans were not yet ready to take action, the Communists did not want to support the republic and the conservatives had shot their political bolt, Hitler and Hugenberg were certain to achieve power.[citation needed]

Elections of July 1932

Because most parties opposed the new government, Papen had the Reichstag dissolved and called for new elections. 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.

The immediate question was what part the now large Nazi Party would play in the Government of the country. The party owed its huge increase to growing support from middle-class people, whose traditional parties were swallowed up by the Nazi Party. The millions of radical adherents at first forced the Party towards the Left. They wanted a renewed Germany and a new organisation of German society. The left of the Nazi party strove desperately against any drift into the train of such capitalist and feudal reactionaries. Therefore, Hitler refused ministry under Papen, and demanded the chancellorship for himself, but was rejected by Hindenburg on 13 August 1932. There was still no majority in the Reichstag for any government; as a result, the Reichstag was dissolved and elections took place once more in the hope that a stable majority would result.[citation needed]

Schleicher cabinet

The 6 November 1932 elections yielded 33.1% for the Nazis,[54] two million voters fewer than in the previous election. Franz von Papen stepped down and was succeeded as Chancellor (Reichskanzler) by General Kurt von Schleicher on 3 December. Schleicher, a retired army officer, had developed in an atmosphere of semi-obscurity and intrigue that encompassed the Republican military policy. He had for years been in the camp of those supporting the Conservative counter-revolution. Schleicher’s bold and unsuccessful plan was to build a majority in the Reichstag by uniting the trade unionist left wings of the various parties, including that of the Nazis led by Gregor Strasser. This policy did not prove successful either.

Poster for the nationalist “Black–White–Red” coalition of Alfred Hugenberg (DNVP leader), Franz von Papen and Franz Seldte

In this brief Presidential Dictatorship intermission, Schleicher assumed the role of “Socialist General” and entered into relations with the Christian Trade Unions, the left-wing members of the Nazi party, and even with the Social Democrats. Schleicher planned for a sort of labour government under his Generalship. But the Reichswehr officers were not prepared for this, the working class had a natural distrust of their future allies, and the great capitalists and landowners also did not like the plans.

Hitler learned from Papen that the general had not received from Hindenburg the authority to abolish the Reichstag parliament, whereas any majority of seats did. The cabinet (under a previous interpretation of Article 48) ruled without a sitting Reichstag, which could vote only for its own dissolution. Hitler also learned that all past crippling Nazi debts were to be relieved by German big business.

On 22 January, Hitler’s efforts to persuade Oskar von Hindenburg, the President’s son and confidant, included threats to bring criminal charges over estate taxation irregularities at the President’s Neudeck estate; although 5,000 acres (20 km2) extra were soon allotted to Hindenburg’s property. Outmaneuvered by Papen and Hitler on plans for the new cabinet, and having lost Hindenburg’s confidence, Schleicher asked for new elections. On 28 January, Papen described Hitler to Paul von Hindenburg as only a minority part of an alternative, Papen-arranged government. The four great political movements, the SPD, Communists, Centre, and the Nazis were in opposition.

On 29 January, Hitler and Papen thwarted a last-minute threat of an officially sanctioned Reichswehr takeover, and on 30 January 1933 Hindenburg accepted the new Papen-Nationalist-Hitler coalition, with the Nazis holding only three of eleven Cabinet seats: Hitler as Chancellor, Wilhelm Frick as Minister of the Interior and Hermann Göring as Minister Without Portfolio. Later that day, the first cabinet meeting was attended by only two political parties, representing a minority in the Reichstag: The Nazis and the German National People’s Party (DNVP), led by Alfred Hugenberg, with 196 and 52 seats respectively. Eyeing the Catholic Centre Party’s 70 (plus 20 BVP) seats, Hitler refused their leader’s demands for constitutional “concessions” (amounting to protection) and planned for dissolution of the Reichstag.

Hindenburg, despite his misgivings about the Nazis’ goals and about Hitler as a personality, reluctantly agreed to Papen’s theory that, with Nazi popular support on the wane, Hitler could now be controlled as Chancellor. This date, dubbed by the Nazis as the Machtergreifung (seizure of power), is commonly seen as the beginning of Nazi Germany.

End of the Weimar Republic

Hitler’s chancellorship (1933)

Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor on the morning of 30 January 1933 in what some observers later described as a brief and indifferent ceremony. By early February, a mere week after Hitler’s assumption of the chancellorship, the government had begun to clamp down on the opposition. Meetings of the left-wing parties were banned and even some of the moderate parties found their members threatened and assaulted. Measures with an appearance of legality suppressed the Communist Party in mid-February and included the plainly illegal arrests of Reichstag deputies.

The Reichstag fire on 27 February was blamed by Hitler’s government on the Communists. Hitler used the ensuing state of emergency to obtain the presidential assent of Hindenburg to issue the Reichstag Fire Decree the following day. The decree invoked Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution and “indefinitely suspended” a number of constitutional protections of civil liberties, allowing the Nazi government to take swift action against political meetings, arresting and killing the Communists.

Hitler and the Nazis exploited the German state’s broadcasting and aviation facilities in a massive attempt to sway the electorate, but this election yielded a scant majority of 16 seats for the coalition. At the Reichstag elections, which took place on 5 March 1933, the NSDAP obtained 17 million votes. The Communist, Social Democrat and Catholic Centre votes stood firm. This was the last multi-party election of the Weimar Republic and the last multi-party all-German election for 57 years.

Hitler addressed disparate interest groups, stressing the necessity for a definitive solution to the perpetual instability of the Weimar Republic. He now blamed Germany’s problems on the Communists, even threatening their lives on 3 March. Former Chancellor Heinrich Brüning proclaimed that his Centre Party would resist any constitutional change and appealed to the President for an investigation of the Reichstag fire. Hitler’s successful plan was to induce what remained of the now Communist-depleted Reichstag to grant him, and the Government, the authority to issue decrees with the force of law. The hitherto Presidential Dictatorship hereby was to give itself a new legal form.

On 15 March, the first cabinet meeting was attended by the two coalition parties, representing a minority in the Reichstag: The Nazis and the DNVP led by Alfred Hugenberg (288 + 52 seats). According to the Nuremberg Trials, this cabinet meeting’s first order of business was how at last to achieve the complete counter-revolution by means of the constitutionally allowed Enabling Act, requiring a 66% parliamentary majority. This Act would, and did, lead Hitler and the NSDAP toward his goal of unfettered dictatorial powers.[55]

Hitler cabinet meeting in mid-March

At the cabinet meeting on 15 March, Hitler introduced the Enabling Act, which would have authorised the cabinet to enact legislation without the approval of the Reichstag. Meanwhile, the only remaining question for the Nazis was whether the Catholic Centre Party (Zentrum) would support the Enabling Act in the Reichstag, thereby providing the ⅔ majority required to ratify a law that amended the constitution. Hitler expressed his confidence to win over the Centre’s votes. Hitler is recorded at the Nuremberg Trials as being sure of eventual Centre Party Germany capitulation and thus rejecting of the DNVP’s suggestions to “balance” the majority through further arrests, this time of Social Democrats. Hitler, however, assured his coalition partners that arrests would resume after the elections and, in fact, some 26 SPD Social Democrats were physically removed. After meeting with Centre leader Monsignor Ludwig Kaas and other Centre Trade Union leaders daily and denying them a substantial participation in the government, negotiation succeeded in respect of guarantees towards Catholic civil-servants and education issues.

At the last internal Centre meeting prior to the debate on the Enabling Act, Kaas expressed no preference or suggestion on the vote, but as a way of mollifying opposition by Centre members to the granting of further powers to Hitler, Kaas somehow arranged for a letter of constitutional guarantee from Hitler himself prior to his voting with the centre en bloc in favour of the Enabling Act. This guarantee was not ultimately given. Kaas, the party’s chairman since 1928, had strong connections to the Vatican Secretary of State, later Pope Pius XII. In return for pledging his support for the act, Kaas would use his connections with the Vatican to set in train and draft the Holy See’s long desired Reichskonkordat with Germany (only possible with the co-operation of the Nazis).

Ludwig Kaas is considered along with Papen as being one of the two most important political figures in the creation of a National Socialist dictatorship.[56]

Enabling Act negotiations

On 20 March, negotiation began between Hitler and Frick on one side and the Catholic Centre Party (Zentrum) leaders—Kaas, Stegerwald and Hackelsburger on the other. The aim was to settle on conditions under which Centre would vote in favour of the Enabling Act. Because of the Nazis’ narrow majority in the Reichstag, Centre’s support was necessary to receive the required two-thirds majority vote. On 22 March, the negotiations concluded; Hitler promised to continue the existence of the German states, agreed not to use the new grant of power to change the constitution, and promised to retain Zentrum members in the civil service. Hitler also pledged to protect the Catholic confessional schools and to respect the concordats signed between the Holy See and Bavaria (1924), Prussia (1929) and Baden (1931). Hitler also agreed to mention these promises in his speech to the Reichstag before the vote on the Enabling Act.

The ceremonial opening of the Reichstag on 21 March was held at the Garrison Church in Potsdam, a shrine of Prussianism, in the presence of many Junker landowners and representatives of the imperial military caste. This impressive and often emotional spectacle—orchestrated by Joseph Goebbels—aimed to link Hitler’s government with Germany’s imperial past and portray National Socialism as a guarantor of the nation’s future. The ceremony helped convince the “old guard” Prussian military elite of Hitler’s homage to their long tradition and, in turn, produced the relatively convincing view that Hitler’s government had the support of Germany’s traditional protector—the Army. Such support would publicly signal a return to conservatism to curb the problems affecting the Weimar Republic, and that stability might be at hand. In a cynical and politically adroit move, Hitler bowed in apparently respectful humility before President and Field Marshal Hindenburg.

Passage of the Enabling Act

The Reichstag convened on 23 March 1933, and in the midday opening, Hitler made a historic speech, appearing outwardly calm and conciliatory. Hitler presented an appealing prospect of respect towards Christianity by paying tribute to the Christian faiths as “essential elements for safeguarding the soul of the German people”. He promised to respect their rights and declared that his government’s “ambition is a peaceful accord between Church and State” and that he hoped “to improve [their] friendly relations with the Holy See”. This speech aimed especially at the future recognition by the named Holy See and therefore to the votes of the Centre Party addressing many concerns Kaas had voiced during the previous talks. Kaas is considered to have had a hand therefore in the drafting of the speech.[56] Kaas is also reported as voicing the Holy See’s desire for Hitler as bulwark against atheistic Russian nihilism previously as early as May 1932.[57]

Hitler promised that the Act did not threaten the existence of either the Reichstag or the Reichsrat, that the authority of the President remained untouched and that the Länder would not be abolished. During an adjournment, the other parties (notably the Centre) met to discuss their intentions.[58]

In the debate prior to the vote on the Enabling Act, Hitler orchestrated the full political menace of his paramilitary forces like the storm division in the streets to intimidate reluctant Reichstag deputies into approving the Enabling Act. The Communists’ 81 seats had been empty since the Reichstag Fire Decree and other lesser known procedural measures, thus excluding their anticipated “No” votes from the balloting. Otto Wels, the leader of the Social Democrats, whose seats were similarly depleted from 120 to below 100, was the only speaker to defend democracy and in a futile but brave effort to deny Hitler the ⅔ majority, he made a speech critical of the abandonment of democracy to dictatorship. At this, Hitler could no longer restrain his wrath.[59]

In his retort to Wels, Hitler abandoned earlier pretence at calm statesmanship and delivered a characteristic screaming diatribe, promising to exterminate all Communists in Germany and threatening Wels’ Social Democrats as well. He did not even want their support for the bill. “Germany will become free, but not through you,” he shouted.[60] Meanwhile, Hitler’s promised written guarantee to Monsignor Kaas was being typed up, it was asserted to Kaas, and thereby Kaas was persuaded to silently deliver the Centre bloc’s votes for the Enabling Act anyway. The Act—formally titled the “Act for the Removal of Distress from People and Reich”—was passed by a vote of 441 to 94. Only the SPD had voted against the Act. Every other member of the Reichstag, whether from the largest or the smallest party, voted in favour of the Act. It went into effect the following day, 24 March.

Consequences

The passage of the Enabling Act of 1933 is widely considered to mark the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of the Nazi era. It empowered the cabinet to legislate without the approval of the Reichstag or the President, and to enact laws that were contrary to the constitution. Before the March 1933 elections, Hitler had persuaded Hindenburg to promulgate the Reichstag Fire Decree using Article 48, which empowered the government to restrict “the rights of habeas corpus […] freedom of the press, the freedom to organise and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications” and legalised search warrants and confiscation “beyond legal limits otherwise prescribed”. This was intended to forestall any action against the government by the Communists. Hitler used the provisions of the Enabling Act to pre-empt possible opposition to his dictatorship from other sources, in which he was mostly successful.

The Nazis in power brought almost all major organisations into line under Nazi control or direction, which was termed Gleichschaltung.

The constitution of 1919 was never formally repealed, but the Enabling Act meant that it was a dead letter. Those articles of the Weimar constitution (which dealt with the state’s relationship to various Christian churches) remain part of the German Basic Law.

Reasons for failure

The reasons for the Weimar Republic’s collapse are the subject of continuing debate. It may have been doomed from the beginning since even moderates disliked it and extremists on both the left and right loathed it, a situation often referred to as a “democracy without democrats”.[61] Germany had limited democratic traditions, and Weimar democracy was widely seen as chaotic. Since Weimar politicians had been blamed for the Dolchstoß (“stab-in-the-back”), a widely believed theory that Germany’s surrender in World War I had been the unnecessary act of traitors, the popular legitimacy of the government was on shaky ground. As normal parliamentary lawmaking broke down and was replaced around 1930 by a series of emergency decrees, the decreasing popular legitimacy of the government further drove voters to extremist parties.

No single reason can explain the failure of the Weimar Republic. The most commonly asserted causes can be grouped into three categories: economic problems, institutional problems and the roles of specific individuals.[citation needed]

Economic problems

The Weimar Republic had some of the most serious economic problems ever experienced by any Western democracy in history. Rampant hyperinflation, massive unemployment, and a large drop in living standards were primary factors. From 1923 to 1929, there was a short period of economic recovery, but the Great Depression of the 1930s led to a worldwide recession. Germany was particularly affected because it depended heavily on American loans. 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 Weimar Republic was severely affected by the Great Depression. The economic stagnation led to increased demands on Germany to repay the debts owed to the United States. As the Weimar Republic was very fragile in all its existence, the depression was devastating, and played a major role in the Nazi takeover.

Most Germans thought the Treaty of Versailles was a punishing and degrading document because it forced them to surrender resource-rich areas and pay massive amounts of compensation. The punitive reparations caused consternation and resentment, but the actual economic damage resulting from the Treaty of Versailles is difficult to determine. While the official reparations were considerable, Germany ended up paying only a fraction of them. However, the reparations damaged Germany’s economy by discouraging market loans, which forced the Weimar government to finance its deficit by printing more currency, causing rampant hyperinflation. In addition, the rapid disintegration of Germany in 1919 by the return of a disillusioned army, the rapid change from possible victory in 1918 to defeat in 1919, and the political chaos may have caused a psychological imprint on Germans that could lead to extreme nationalism, later epitomised and exploited by Hitler.[citation needed]

Princeton historian Harold James argues that there was a clear link between economic decline and people turning to extremist politics.[62]

Institutional problems

It is widely believed that the 1919 constitution had several weaknesses, making the eventual establishment of a dictatorship likely, but it is unknown whether a different constitution could have prevented the rise of the Nazi party. However, the 1949 West German constitution (the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany) is generally viewed as a strong response to these flaws.

  • The institution of the Reichspräsident was frequently considered as an Ersatzkaiser (“substitute emperor”), an attempt to replace the emperors with a similarly strong institution meant to diminish party politics. Article 48 of the Constitution gave the President power to “take all necessary steps” if “public order and security are seriously disturbed or endangered”. Although it was intended as an emergency clause, it was often used before 1933 to issue decrees without the support of Parliament (see above) and also made Gleichschaltung easier.
  • During the Weimar Republic, it was accepted that a law did not have to conform to the constitution as long as it had the support of two-thirds of parliament, the same majority needed to change the constitution (verfassungsdurchbrechende Gesetze). That was a precedent for the Enabling Act of 1933. The Basic Law of 1949 requires an explicit change of the wording, and it prohibits abolishing the basic rights or the federal structure of the republic.
  • The use of a proportional representation without large thresholds meant a party with a small amount of support could gain entry into the Reichstag. That led to many small parties, some extremist, building political bases within the system. To counter the problem, the modern German Bundestag introduced a 5% threshold limit for a party to gain parliamentary representation. However, the Reichstag of the monarchy was fractioned to a similar degree even if it was elected by majority vote (under a two-round system). The republic fell not by the small parties but by the strength of the communists, conservatives and ultimately the national socialists.
  • The Reichstag could remove the Reichskanzler from office even if it was unable to agree on a successor. The use of such a motion of no confidence meant that since 1932, that a government could not be held in office when the parliament came together. As a result, the 1949 Grundgesetz (“Basic Law”) stipulates that a chancellor may not be removed by Parliament unless a successor is elected at the same time, known as a “constructive vote of no confidence”.
  • The political parties started to have a role in creating a government only in October 1918. They were massively inexperienced.

Role of individuals

Brüning’s economic policy from 1930 to 1932 has been the subject of much debate. It caused many Germans to identify the Republic with cuts in social spending and extremely liberal economics. Whether there were alternatives to this policy during the Great Depression is an open question.

Paul von Hindenburg became Reichspräsident in 1925. As he was an old style monarchist conservative, he had little love lost for the Republic,[citation needed] but for the most part, he formally acted within the bounds of the constitution;[citation needed] however, he ultimately – on the advice of his son and others close to him – appointed Hitler chancellor, thereby effectively ending the Republic.

Constituent states

Prior to World War I, the constituent states of the German Empire were 22 smaller monarchies, three republican city-states and the Imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine. After the territorial losses of the Treaty of Versailles and the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the remaining states continued as republics. The former Ernestine duchies continued briefly as republics before merging to form the state of Thuringia in 1920, except for Saxe-Coburg, which became part of Bavaria.

Free State of Waldeck-Pyrmont Free State of Waldeck-Pyrmont Free State of Waldeck-Pyrmont Free State of Schaumburg-Lippe Free State of Schaumburg-Lippe Free State of Lippe Free State of Lippe Free City of Lübeck Free City of Lübeck Hamburg Hamburg Hamburg Hamburg Hamburg Free State of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Free State of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Free State of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Free State of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Free State of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Bremen (state) Bremen (state) Bremen (state) Free State of Brunswick Free State of Brunswick Free State of Brunswick Free State of Brunswick Free State of Brunswick Free State of Anhalt Free State of Anhalt Free State of Anhalt Free State of Oldenburg Free State of Oldenburg Free State of Oldenburg Free State of Oldenburg Free State of Oldenburg Free State of Saxony Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Thuringia Free State of Thuringia Free State of Thuringia Republic of Baden People's State of Hesse People's State of Hesse Free People's State of Württemberg Free State of Bavaria Free State of Bavaria Saar (League of Nations) Saar (League of Nations) Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free State of Prussia Free City of Danzig Free City of Danzig Free City of Danzig

Weimar Republic states map.svg

About this image
State Capital
Free States (Freistaaten)
Flagge Herzogtum Anhalt.svg Anhalt Dessau
Flagge Großherzogtum Baden (1891–1918).svg Baden Karlsruhe
Flag of Bavaria (striped).svg Bavaria (Bayern) Munich
Flagge Herzogtum Braunschweig.svg Brunswick (Braunschweig) Braunschweig
Flagge Herzogtum Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha (1911-1920).svg Coburg – to Bavaria in 1920 Coburg
Flagge Großherzogtum Hessen ohne Wappen.svg Hesse (Hessen) Darmstadt
Flagge Fürstentum Lippe.svg Lippe Detmold
Flagge Großherzogtümer Mecklenburg.svg Mecklenburg-Schwerin Schwerin
Flagge Großherzogtümer Mecklenburg.svg Mecklenburg-Strelitz Neustrelitz
Civil flag of Oldenburg.svg Oldenburg Oldenburg
Flag of Prussia (1918–1933).svg Prussia (Preußen) Berlin
Flag of Saxony.svg Saxony (Sachsen) Dresden
Flagge Fürstentum Schaumburg-Lippe.svg Schaumburg-Lippe Bückeburg
Flag of Thuringia.svg Thuringia (Thüringen) – from 1920 Weimar
Flag of Germany (3-2 aspect ratio).svg Waldeck-Pyrmont – to Prussia
(Pyrmont joined Prussia in 1921, Waldeck followed in 1929)
Arolsen
Flagge Königreich Württemberg.svg Württemberg Stuttgart
Free and Hanseatic Cities (Freie und Hansestädte)
Flag of Bremen.svg Bremen
Flag of Hamburg.svg Hamburg
Flag of the Free City of Lübeck.svg Lübeck
States merged to form Thuringia in 1920
Flagge Herzogtum Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha (1911-1920).svg Gotha Gotha
Flagge Fürstentum Reuß ältere Linie.svg Reuss Gera
Flagge Herzogtum Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha (1826-1911).svg Saxe-Altenburg (Sachsen-Altenburg) Altenburg
Flagge Herzogtum Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha (1826-1911).svg Saxe-Meiningen (Sachsen-Meiningen) Meiningen
Flagge Großherzogtum Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1897-1920).svg Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach) Weimar
Flagge Fürstentümer Schwarzburg.svg Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Rudolstadt
Flagge Fürstentümer Schwarzburg.svg Schwarzburg-Sondershausen Sondershausen

These states were gradually de facto abolished under the Nazi regime via the Gleichschaltung process, whereby they were effectively replaced by Gaue. However, the city-state of Lübeck was formally incorporated into Prussia in 1937 following the Greater Hamburg Act, apparently motivated by Hitler’s personal dislike for the city. Most of the remaining states were formally dissolved by the Allies at the end of World War II and ultimately reorganised into the modern states of Germany.[citation needed]

See also

  • Württemberg Landtag elections in the Weimar Republic
  • Timeline of the Weimar Republic
  • The 1920s Berlin Project

References

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  8. ^ abc Sebastian Ullrich as quoted by Eva-Maria Schnurr (September 2014). “Der Name des Feindes: Warum heißt der erste deutsche Demokratie eigentlich “Weimarer Republik?“. 5/2014 (Der Spiegel – Geschichte 3 Hausmitteilung 137 Impressum ed.). Der Spiegel: 20.
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  11. ^ According to sources of the German national football team Schwab created the emblem for the team in 1924.
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  14. ^ abc Jana Leichsenring, “Staatssymbole: Der Bundesadler”, in: Aktueller Begriff, Deutscher Bundestag—Wissenschaftliche Dienste (ed.), No. 83/08 (12 December 2008), p. 2
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  19. ^ “Social Relations in the Estate Villages of Mecklenburg C.1880–1924”.
  20. ^ Industrial and Labour Information, Volume 20, International Labour Office, 1926
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  25. ^ Watson, Alexander (2008). “Stabbed at the Front: After 1918 the Myth Was Created That the German Army Only Lost the War Because It Had Been ‘Stabbed in the Back’ by Defeatists and Revolutionaries on the Home Front. Reviews the Clear Evidence That in Reality It Simply Lost the Will to Go on Fighting”. History Today. 58 (11).
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  32. ^ Delmer, Sefton (1972). Weimar Germany: Democracy on Trial. London: Macdonald. pp. 82–93.
  33. ^ “Full text of “Labour Under Nazi Rule“.
  34. ^ ab http://www.ministerial-leadership.org/sites/default/files/resources_and_tools/10%20german%20health%20insu.pdf
  35. ^ “Dying of Money”.
  36. ^ “Decoding Modern Consumer Societies”.
  37. ^ American Journal of Care for Cripples, Volume 8, Douglas C. McMurtrie, 1919
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  39. ^ “The Provision of Public Services in Europe”.
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    ISBN 978-1-4614-0078-3, p. 122
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  53. ^ Unlike the Reichskanzler, the Reichspräsident was elected by a direct popular vote.
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  55. ^ As Kershaw notes (p. 468[full citation needed]), after the passage of the Act, “Hitler was still far from wielding absolute power. But vital steps toward consolidating his dictatorship now followed in quick succession.”
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Further reading

.mw-parser-output .refbegin{font-size:90%;margin-bottom:0.5em}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul{list-style-type:none;margin-left:0}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul>li,.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>dl>dd{margin-left:0;padding-left:3.2em;text-indent:-3.2em;list-style:none}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-100{font-size:100%}

  • Allen, William Sheridan (1984). The Nazi seizure of Power: the experience of a single German town, 1922–1945. New York, Toronto: F. Watts. ISBN 0-531-09935-0.
  • Berghahn, V. R. (1982). Modern Germany. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-34748-3.
  • Bingham, John (2014). Weimar Cities: The Challenge of Urban Modernity in Germany, 1919-1933. London.
  • Bookbinder, Paul (1996). Weimar Germany: the Republic of the Reasonable. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-4286-0.
  • Broszat, Martin (1987). Hitler and the Collapse of Weimar Germany. Leamington Spa, New York: Berg and St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-85496-509-2.
  • Childers, Thomas (1983). The Nazi Voter: The Social Foundations of Fascism in Germany, 1919–1933. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-1570-5.
  • Craig, Gordon A. (1980). Germany 1866–1945 (Oxford History of Modern Europe). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-502724-8.
  • Dorpalen, Andreas (1964). Hindenburg and the Weimar Republic. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
  • Eschenburg, Theodor (1972). Hajo Holborn, ed. The Role of the Personality in the Crisis of the Weimar Republic: Hindenburg, Brüning, Groener, Schleicher. New York: Pantheon Books. pp. 3–50, Republic to Reich The Making of the Nazi Revolution.
  • Evans, Richard J. The Coming of the Third Reich (2003), a standard scholarly survey; part of three volume history 1919–1945.
  • Feuchtwanger, Edgar (1993). From Weimar to Hitler: Germany, 1918–1933. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-27466-0.
  • Gay, Peter (1968). Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider. New York: Harper & Row.
  • Gordon, Mel (2000). Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin. New York: Feral House.
  • Hamilton, Richard F. (1982). Who Voted for Hitler?. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-09395-4.
  • Harman, Chris (1982). The Lost Revolution: Germany 1918–1923. Bookmarks. ISBN 090622408X.
  • James, Harold (1986). The German Slump: Politics and Economics, 1924–1936. Oxford, Oxfordshire: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-821972-5.
  • Kaes, Anton; Jay, Martin; Dimendberg, Edward, eds. (1994). The Weimar Republic Sourcebook. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06774-6.
  • Kershaw, Ian (1990). Weimar. Why did German Democracy Fail?. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-312-04470-4.
  • Kershaw, Ian (1998). Hitler 1889–1936: Hubris. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 0-393-04671-0.
  • Kolb, Eberhard (1988). The Weimar Republic. P.S. Falla (translator). London: Unwin Hyman.
  • Lee, Stephen J. (1998). The Weimar Republic. Routledge. pp. 144pp.
  • McElligott, Anthony, ed. (2009). Weimar Germany. Oxford University Press.
  • Mommsen, Hans (1991). From Weimar to Auschwitz. Philip O’Connor (translator). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03198-3.
  • Nicholls, Anthony James (2000). Weimar and the Rise of Hitler. New York: St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-312-23350-7.
  • Peukert, Detlev (1992). The Weimar Republic: the Crisis of Classical Modernity. New York: Hill and Wang. ISBN 0-8090-9674-9.
  • Rosenberg, Arthur. A History of the German Republic (1936) 370pp online
  • Smith, Helmut Walser, ed. (2011). The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History. ch 18–25.
  • Turner, Henry Ashby (1996). Hitler’s Thirty Days To Power: January 1933. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-40714-0.
  • Turner, Henry Ashby (1985). German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-503492-9.
  • Weitz, Eric D. (2007). Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-01695-5.
  • Wheeler-Bennett, John (2005). The Nemesis of Power: German Army in Politics, 1918–1945. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 1-4039-1812-0.
  • Widdig, Bernd (2001). Culture and Inflation in Weimar Germany. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-22290-8.

Historiography

  • Fritzsche, Peter. “Did Weimar Fail?” Journal of Modem History 68 (1996): 629–656. in JSTOR
  • Graf, Rüdiger. “Either-Or: The Narrative of ‘Crisis’ in Weimar Germany and in Historiography,” Central European History (2010) 43#4 pp. 592–615

External links

  • (in German)—Documentarchiv.de: Historical documents
  • National Library of Israel.org: Weimar Republic collection

Coordinates: 52°31′N 13°24′E / 52.517°N 13.400°E / 52.517; 13.400


Strasbourg

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Prefecture and commune in Grand Est, France
Strasbourg
Prefecture and commune
Strasbourg Railway Station at Night, Alsace, France - Diliff.jpg
Strasbourg Cathedral.jpg
Absolute ponts couverts 02.jpg
Strasbourg Palais Rohan depuis le quai des Bateliers.jpg
Absolute Petite France 02.jpg
Straßburger Kaiserpalast (heute Palais du Rhin).jpg
Strasbourg-Hôtel Brion (2).jpg
European Parliament Strasbourg Hemicycle - Diliff.jpg
Strasbourg seen from Esca Tower in 2014.jpg
From top left: Strasbourg Station; Strasbourg Cathedral and the Old Town; Ponts Couverts; Palais Rohan; Petite France; Palais du Rhin; Hôtel Brion; Hemicycle of the European Parliament; Strasbourg skyline in 2014
Flag of Strasbourg
Flag
Coat of arms of Strasbourg
Coat of arms
Location of Strasbourg
Strasbourg is located in France

Strasbourg
Strasbourg

Show map of France

Strasbourg is located in Grand Est

Strasbourg
Strasbourg

Show map of Grand Est

Coordinates: 48°35′N 7°45′E / 48.58°N 7.75°E / 48.58; 7.75Coordinates: 48°35′N 7°45′E / 48.58°N 7.75°E / 48.58; 7.75
Country France
Region Grand Est
Department Bas-Rhin
Arrondissement Strasbourg
Canton 6 cantons
Intercommunality Strasbourg Eurométropole
Government

 • Mayor .mw-parser-output .nobold{font-weight:normal}
(2014–2020)
Roland Ries (PS)
Area

1
78.26 km2 (30.22 sq mi)
 • Urban

 (2013[1])
224 km2 (86 sq mi)
 • Metro

 (2013[1])
1,351.5 km2 (521.8 sq mi)
Population

(1 January 2016[2])2
279,284
 • Rank 8th in France
 • Density 3,600/km2 (9,200/sq mi)
 • Urban

 (2015[1])
461,101[3]
 • Metro

 (1 January 2016[1])
785,839[4]
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
67482 /
Dialling codes 0388, 0390, 0368
Elevation 132–151 m (433–495 ft)
Website www.strasbourg.eu
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
BlasonAlsace.svg
Part of the series on
Alsace
Flag of Alsace (historical).svg

Rot un Wiss, traditional flag of Alsace

Strasbourg (/ˈstræzbɜːrɡ/, French: [stʁazbuʁ, stʁasbuʁ]; Alsatian: Strossburi [ˈʃd̥ʁɔːsb̥uʁi] (About this soundlisten); German: Straßburg [ˈʃtʁaːsbʊɐ̯k]) is the capital and largest city of the Grand Est region of France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located at the border with Germany in the historic region of Alsace, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department. In 2016, the city proper had 279,284 inhabitants and both the Eurométropole de Strasbourg (Greater Strasbourg) and the Arrondissement of Strasbourg had 491,409 inhabitants. Strasbourg’s metropolitan area had a population of 785,839 in 2015 (not counting the section across the border in Germany), making it the ninth largest metro area in France and home to 13% of the Grand Est region’s inhabitants. The transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau had a population of 915,000 inhabitants in 2014.[5]

Strasbourg is one of the de facto capitals of the European Union (alongside Brussels and Luxembourg), as it is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. The city is also the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine and the International Institute of Human Rights.[6]

Strasbourg’s historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island), was classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is immersed in Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a cultural bridge between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg, currently the second largest in France, and the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture. It is also home to the largest Islamic place of worship in France, the Strasbourg Grand Mosque.[7]

Economically, Strasbourg is an important centre of manufacturing and engineering, as well as a hub of road, rail, and river transportation. The port of Strasbourg is the second largest on the Rhine after Duisburg, Germany.[8]

Contents

  • 1 Etymology and names
  • 2 Geography

    • 2.1 Location
    • 2.2 Climate
  • 3 History
  • 4 Districts
  • 5 Main sights

    • 5.1 Architecture
    • 5.2 Parks
    • 5.3 Museums

      • 5.3.1 Fine art museums
      • 5.3.2 Other museums
      • 5.3.3 University museums
      • 5.3.4 Museums in the suburbs
  • 6 Demographics

    • 6.1 Population growth
    • 6.2 Population composition
  • 7 Culture

    • 7.1 Events
  • 8 Education

    • 8.1 Universities and tertiary education
    • 8.2 Primary and secondary education
  • 9 Libraries

    • 9.1 Incunabula
  • 10 Transportation

    • 10.1 Strasbourg Public Transportation Statistics
  • 11 European role

    • 11.1 Institutions
    • 11.2 Eurodistrict
  • 12 Sports
  • 13 Honours
  • 14 Notable people
  • 15 Twin towns and sister cities
  • 16 In popular culture

    • 16.1 In film
    • 16.2 In literature
    • 16.3 In music
  • 17 References
  • 18 Sources
  • 19 External links

Etymology and names

Before the 5th century, the city was known as Argantorati (in the nominative, Argantorate in the locative), a Celtic Gaulish name Latinized first as Argentorate (with Gaulish locative ending, as appearing on the first Roman milestones in the 1st century CE), and then as Argentoratum (with regular Latin nominative ending, in later Latin texts). That Gaulish name is a compound of -rati, the Gaulish word for fortified enclosures, cognate to the Old Irish ráth (see ringfort), and arganto(n)- (cognate to Latin argentum, which gave modern French argent), the Gaulish word for silver, but also any precious metal, particularly gold, suggesting either a fortified enclosure located by a river gold mining site, or hoarding gold mined in the nearby rivers.[9]

After the 5th century, the city became known by a completely different name Gallicized as Strasbourg (Lower Alsatian: Strossburi, [ˈʃd̥rɔːsb̥uri]; German: Straßburg, [ˈʃtʁaːsbʊɐ̯k]). That name is of Germanic origin and means “Town (at the crossing) of roads”. The modern Stras- is cognate to the German Straße and English street, all of which are derived from Latin strata (“paved road”), while -bourg is cognate to the German Burg and English borough, all of which are derived from Proto-Germanic *burgz (“hill fort, fortress”).

Gregory of Tours was the first to mention the name change: in the tenth book of his History of the Franks written shortly after 590 he said that Egidius, Bishop of Reims, accused of plotting against King Childebert II of Austrasia in favor of his uncle King Chilperic I of Neustria, was tried by a synod of Austrasian bishops in Metz in November 590, found guilty and removed from the priesthood, then taken “ad Argentoratensem urbem, quam nunc Strateburgum vocant” (“to the city of Argentoratum, which they now call Strateburgus“), where he was exiled.[10]

Geography

Location

Strasbourg seen from Spot Satellite

Strasbourg is situated at the eastern border of France with Germany. This border is formed by the Rhine, which also forms the eastern border of the modern city, facing across the river to the German town Kehl. The historic core of Strasbourg however lies on the Grande Île in the river Ill, which here flows parallel to, and roughly 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from, the Rhine. The natural courses of the two rivers eventually join some distance downstream of Strasbourg, although several artificial waterways now connect them within the city.

The city lies in the Upper Rhine Plain, at between 132 metres (433 ft) and 151 metres (495 ft) above sea level, with the upland areas of the Vosges Mountains some 20 km (12 mi) to the west and the Black Forest 25 km (16 mi) to the east. This section of the Rhine valley is a major axis of north–south travel, with river traffic on the Rhine itself, and major roads and railways paralleling it on both banks.

The city is some 397 kilometres (247 mi) east of Paris.[11] The mouth of the Rhine lies approximately 450 kilometres (280 mi) to the north, or 650 kilometres (400 mi) as the river flows, whilst the head of navigation in Basel is some 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the south, or 150 kilometres (93 mi) by river.

Climate

Climate diagram of Strasbourg

In spite of its position far inland, Strasbourg’s climate is classified as oceanic (Köppen climate classification Cfb),[12][13] with warm, relatively sunny summers and cool, overcast winters. Precipitation is elevated from mid-spring to the end of summer, but remains largely constant throughout the year, totaling 631.4 mm (24.9 in) annually. On average, snow falls 30 days per year.

The highest temperature ever recorded was 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) in August 2003, during the 2003 European heat wave. The lowest temperature ever recorded was −23.4 °C (−10.1 °F) in December 1938.

Strasbourg’s location in the Rhine valley, sheltered from the dominant winds by the Vosges and Black Forest mountains, results in poor natural ventilation, making Strasbourg one of the most atmospherically polluted cities of France.[14][15] Nonetheless, the progressive disappearance of heavy industry on both banks of the Rhine, as well as effective measures of traffic regulation in and around the city have reduced air pollution.[16]

Climate data for Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, France (1981–2010 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 17.5
(63.5)
21.1
(70.0)
25.7
(78.3)
30.0
(86.0)
33.4
(92.1)
37.0
(98.6)
38.3
(100.9)
38.7
(101.7)
33.4
(92.1)
29.1
(84.4)
22.1
(71.8)
18.3
(64.9)
38.7
(101.7)
Average high °C (°F) 4.5
(40.1)
6.4
(43.5)
11.4
(52.5)
15.7
(60.3)
20.2
(68.4)
23.4
(74.1)
25.7
(78.3)
25.4
(77.7)
21.0
(69.8)
15.3
(59.5)
8.8
(47.8)
5.2
(41.4)
15.3
(59.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.8
(35.2)
2.9
(37.2)
7
(45)
10.5
(50.9)
15
(59)
18.1
(64.6)
20.1
(68.2)
19.8
(67.6)
15.8
(60.4)
11.2
(52.2)
5.8
(42.4)
2.8
(37.0)
11
(52)
Average low °C (°F) −0.8
(30.6)
−0.6
(30.9)
2.5
(36.5)
5.2
(41.4)
9.8
(49.6)
12.8
(55.0)
14.5
(58.1)
14.1
(57.4)
10.6
(51.1)
7.1
(44.8)
2.8
(37.0)
0.3
(32.5)
6.6
(43.9)
Record low °C (°F) −23.6
(−10.5)
−22.3
(−8.1)
−16.7
(1.9)
−5.6
(21.9)
−2.4
(27.7)
1.1
(34.0)
4.9
(40.8)
4.8
(40.6)
−1.3
(29.7)
−7.6
(18.3)
−10.8
(12.6)
−23.4
(−10.1)
−23.6
(−10.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 32.2
(1.27)
34.5
(1.36)
42.8
(1.69)
45.9
(1.81)
81.9
(3.22)
71.6
(2.82)
72.7
(2.86)
61.4
(2.42)
63.5
(2.50)
61.5
(2.42)
47.0
(1.85)
50.0
(1.97)
665.0
(26.18)
Average precipitation days 8.4 8.1 9.1 9.2 11.5 10.7 10.8 9.9 8.6 9.5 9.3 9.8 114.9
Average snowy days 7.8 6.7 4.0 1.5 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.4 6.3 29.8
Average relative humidity (%) 86 82 76 72 73 74 72 76 80 85 86 86 79
Mean monthly sunshine hours 58.1 83.8 134.8 180.0 202.5 223.8 228.6 219.6 164.5 98.7 55.3 43.1 1,692.7
Source #1: Meteo France[17][18]
Source #2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity, snowy days 1961–1990)[19]

History

Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor visiting Strasbourg in 1414, detail of a painting by Léo Schnug

The Roman camp of Argentoratum was first mentioned in 12 BC; the city of Strasbourg which grew from it celebrated its 2,000th anniversary in 1988. The fertile area in the Upper Rhine Plain between the rivers Ill and Rhine had already been populated since the Middle Paleolithic.[20][21]

Between 362 and 1262, Strasbourg was governed by the bishops of Strasbourg; their rule was reinforced in 873 and then more in 982.[22] In 1262, the citizens violently rebelled against the bishop’s rule (Battle of Hausbergen) and Strasbourg became a free imperial city. It became a French city in 1681, after the conquest of Alsace by the armies of Louis XIV. In 1871, after the Franco-Prussian War, the city became German again, until 1918 (end of World War I), when it reverted to France. After the defeat of France in 1940 (World War II), Strasbourg came under German control again; since the end of 1944, it is again a French town. In 2016, Strasbourg was promoted from capital of Alsace to capital of Grand Est.

Strasbourg played an important part in Protestant Reformation, with personalities such as John Calvin, Martin Bucer, Wolfgang Capito, Matthew and Katharina Zell, but also in other aspects of Christianity such as German mysticism, with Johannes Tauler, Pietism, with Philipp Spener, and Reverence for Life, with Albert Schweitzer. Delegates from the city took part in the Protestation at Speyer. It was also one of the first centres of the printing industry with pioneers such as Johannes Gutenberg, Johannes Mentelin, and Heinrich Eggestein. Among the darkest periods in the city’s long history were the years 1349 (Strasbourg massacre), 1793 (Reign of Terror), 1870 (Siege of Strasbourg) and the years 1940–1944 with the Nazi occupation (atrocities such as the Jewish skeleton collection) and the British and American bombing raids. Some other notable dates were the years 357 (Battle of Argentoratum), 842 (Oaths of Strasbourg), 1538 (establishment of the university), 1605 (world’s first newspaper printed by Johann Carolus), 1792 (La Marseillaise), and 1889 (pancreatic origin of diabetes discovered by Minkowski and Von Mering).

Strasbourg is the seat of European Institutions since 1949: first of the International Commission on Civil Status and of the Council of Europe, later of the European Parliament, of the European Science Foundation, of Eurocorps, and others as well.

Districts

Strasbourg is divided into the following districts:[23]

  1. Bourse, Esplanade, Krutenau
  2. Centre République
  3. Centre Gare
  4. Conseil des XV, Rotterdam
  5. Cronenbourg, Hautepierre, Poteries, Hohberg
  6. Koenigshoffen, Montagne-Verte, Elsau
  7. Meinau
  8. Neudorf, Schluthfeld, Port du Rhin, Musau
  9. Neuhof, Stockfeld, Ganzau
  10. Robertsau, Wacken

Main sights

Panorama from the Barrage Vauban with the medieval bridge Ponts Couverts in the foreground (the fourth tower is hidden by trees at the left) and the cathedral in the distance on the right.

Architecture

Strasbourg, Cathedral of Our Lady

The city is chiefly known for its sandstone Gothic Cathedral with its famous astronomical clock, and for its medieval cityscape of Rhineland black and white timber-framed buildings, particularly in the Petite France district or Gerberviertel (“tanners’ district”) alongside the Ill and in the streets and squares surrounding the cathedral, where the renowned Maison Kammerzell stands out.

Notable medieval streets include Rue Mercière, Rue des Dentelles, Rue du Bain aux Plantes, Rue des Juifs, Rue des Frères, Rue des Tonneliers, Rue du Maroquin, Rue des Charpentiers, Rue des Serruriers, Grand’ Rue, Quai des Bateliers, Quai Saint-Nicolas and Quai Saint-Thomas.
Notable medieval squares include Place de la Cathédrale, Place du Marché Gayot, Place Saint-Étienne, Place du Marché aux Cochons de Lait and Place Benjamin Zix.

Place du Marché aux Cochons de Lait.

Place Gutenberg with statue of Gutenberg and Carousel.

Maison des tanneurs.

View of the Ill with Église Saint-Thomas.

In addition to the cathedral, Strasbourg houses several other medieval churches that have survived the many wars and destructions that have plagued the city: the Romanesque Église Saint-Étienne, partly destroyed in 1944 by Allied bombing raids, the part Romanesque, part Gothic, very large Église Saint-Thomas with its Silbermann organ on which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Albert Schweitzer played,[24] the Gothic Église protestante Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune with its crypt dating back to the seventh century and its cloister partly from the eleventh century, the Gothic Église Saint-Guillaume with its fine early-Renaissance stained glass and furniture, the Gothic Église Saint-Jean, the part Gothic, part Art Nouveau Église Sainte-Madeleine, etc.
The Neo-Gothic church Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux Catholique (there is also an adjacent church Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux Protestant) serves as a shrine for several 15th-century wood worked and painted altars coming from other, now destroyed churches and installed there for public display; especially the Passion of Christ.
Among the numerous secular medieval buildings, the monumental Ancienne Douane (old custom-house) stands out.

The German Renaissance has bequeathed the city some noteworthy buildings (especially the current Chambre de commerce et d’industrie, former town hall, on Place Gutenberg), as did the French Baroque and Classicism with several hôtels particuliers (i.e. palaces), among which the Palais Rohan (1742, now housing three museums) is the most spectacular. Other buildings of its kind are the “Hôtel de Hanau” (1736, now the city hall), the Hôtel de Klinglin (1736, now residence of the préfet), the Hôtel des Deux-Ponts (1755, now residence of the military governor), the Hôtel d’Andlau-Klinglin (1725, now seat of the administration of the Port autonome de Strasbourg) etc. The largest baroque building of Strasbourg though is the 150-metre-long (490 ft) 1720s main building of the Hôpital civil.
As for French Neo-classicism, it is the Opera House on Place Broglie that most prestigiously represents this style.

Strasbourg also offers high-class eclecticist buildings in its very extended German district, the Neustadt, being the main memory of Wilhelmian architecture since most of the major cities in Germany proper suffered intensive damage during World War II. Streets, boulevards and avenues are homogeneous, surprisingly high (up to seven stories) and broad examples of German urban lay-out and of this architectural style that summons and mixes up five centuries of European architecture as well as Neo-Egyptian, Neo-Greek and Neo-Babylonian styles. The former imperial palace Palais du Rhin, the most political and thus heavily criticized of all German Strasbourg buildings epitomizes the grand scale and stylistic sturdiness of this period. But the two most handsome and ornate buildings of these times are the École internationale des Pontonniers (the former Höhere Mädchenschule, girls college) with its towers, turrets and multiple round and square angles[25] and the Haute école des arts du Rhin with its lavishly ornate façade of painted bricks, woodwork and majolica.[26]

The baroque organ of the Église Saint-Thomas

Notable streets of the German district include: Avenue de la Forêt Noire, Avenue des Vosges, Avenue d’Alsace, Avenue de la Marseillaise, Avenue de la Liberté, Boulevard de la Victoire, Rue Sellénick, Rue du Général de Castelnau, Rue du Maréchal Foch, and Rue du Maréchal Joffre. Notable squares of the German district include: Place de la République, Place de l’Université, Place Brant, and Place Arnold.

Impressive examples of Prussian military architecture of the 1880s can be found along the newly reopened Rue du Rempart, displaying large-scale fortifications among which the aptly named Kriegstor (war gate).

As for modern and contemporary architecture, Strasbourg possesses some fine Art Nouveau buildings (such as the huge Palais des Fêtes and houses and villas like Villa Schutzenberger and Hôtel Brion), good examples of post-World War II functional architecture (the Cité Rotterdam, for which Le Corbusier did not succeed in the architectural contest) and, in the very extended Quartier Européen, some spectacular administrative buildings of sometimes utterly large size, among which the European Court of Human Rights building by Richard Rogers is arguably the finest. Other noticeable contemporary buildings are the new Music school Cité de la Musique et de la Danse, the Musée d’Art moderne et contemporain and the Hôtel du Département facing it, as well as, in the outskirts, the tramway-station Hoenheim-Nord designed by Zaha Hadid.

Place Kléber

The city has many bridges, including the medieval and four-towered Ponts Couverts that, despite their name, are no longer covered. Next to the Ponts Couverts is the Barrage Vauban, a part of Vauban’s 17th-century fortifications, that does include a covered bridge. Other bridges are the ornate 19th-century Pont de la Fonderie (1893, stone) and Pont d’Auvergne (1892, iron), as well as architect Marc Mimram’s futuristic Passerelle over the Rhine, opened in 2004.

The largest square at the centre of the city of Strasbourg is the Place Kléber. Located in the heart of the city’s commercial area, it was named after general Jean-Baptiste Kléber, born in Strasbourg in 1753 and assassinated in 1800 in Cairo. In the square is a statue of Kléber, under which is a vault containing his remains. On the north side of the square is the Aubette (Orderly Room), built by Jacques François Blondel, architect of the king, in 1765–1772.

Parks

The Pavillon Joséphine (rear side) in the Parc de l’Orangerie

The Château de Pourtalès (front side) in the park of the same name

Strasbourg features a number of prominent parks, of which several are of cultural and historical interest: the Parc de l’Orangerie, laid out as a French garden by André le Nôtre and remodeled as an English garden on behalf of Joséphine de Beauharnais, now displaying noteworthy French gardens, a neo-classical castle and a small zoo; the Parc de la Citadelle, built around impressive remains of the 17th-century fortress erected close to the Rhine by Vauban;[27] the Parc de Pourtalès, laid out in English style around a baroque castle (heavily restored in the 19th century) that now houses a small three-star hotel,[28] and featuring an open-air museum of international contemporary sculpture.[29]
The Jardin botanique de l’Université de Strasbourg (botanical garden) was created under the German administration next to the Observatory of Strasbourg, built in 1881, and still owns some greenhouses of those times. The Parc des Contades, although the oldest park of the city, was completely remodeled after World War II. The futuristic Parc des Poteries is an example of European park-conception in the late 1990s. The Jardin des deux Rives, spread over Strasbourg and Kehl on both sides of the Rhine opened in 2004 and is the most extended (60-hectare) park of the agglomeration. The most recent park is Parc du Heyritz (8,7 ha), opened in 2014 along a canal facing the hôpital civil.

Museums

For a city of comparatively small size, Strasbourg displays a large quantity and variety of museums:

Fine art museums

A room in the Musée des Arts décoratifs

Unlike most other cities, Strasbourg’s collections of European art are divided into several museums according not only to type and area, but also to epoch. Old master paintings from the Germanic Rhenish territories and until 1681 are displayed in the Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame, old master paintings from all the rest of Europe (including the Dutch Rhenish territories) and until 1871 as well as old master paintings from the Germanic Rhenish territories between 1681 and 1871 are displayed in the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Old master graphic arts until 1871 is displayed in the Cabinet des estampes et dessins. Decorative arts until 1681 (“German period”) are displayed in the Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame, decorative arts from 1681 to 1871 (“French period”) are displayed in the Musée des Arts décoratifs. International art (painting, sculpture, graphic arts) and decorative art since 1871 is displayed in the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain. The latter museum also displays the city’s photographic library.

  • The Musée des Beaux-Arts owns paintings by Hans Memling, Francisco de Goya, Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, Giotto di Bondone, Sandro Botticelli, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, El Greco, Correggio, Cima da Conegliano and Piero di Cosimo, among others.
  • The Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame (located in a part-Gothic, part-Renaissance building next to the Cathedral) houses a large and renowned collection of medieval and Renaissance upper-Rhenish art, among which original sculptures, plans and stained glass from the Cathedral and paintings by Hans Baldung and Sebastian Stoskopff.
  • The Musée d’Art moderne et contemporain is among the largest museums of its kind in France.
  • The Musée des Arts décoratifs, located in the sumptuous former residence of the cardinals of Rohan, the Palais Rohan displays a reputable collection of 18th century furniture and china.
  • The Cabinet des estampes et des dessins displays five centuries of engravings and drawings, but also woodcuts and lithographies.
  • The Musée Tomi Ungerer/Centre international de l’illustration, located in a large former villa next to the Theatre, displays original works by Ungerer and other artists (Saul Steinberg, Ronald Searle … ) as well as Ungerer’s large collection of ancient toys.

Other museums

  • The Musée archéologique presents a large display of regional findings from the first ages of man to the sixth century, focussing especially on the Roman and Celtic period.
  • The Musée alsacien is dedicated to traditional Alsatian daily life.
  • Le Vaisseau (“The vessel”) is a science and technology centre, especially designed for children.
  • The Musée historique (historical museum) is dedicated to the tumultuous history of the city and displays many artifacts of the times, among which the ‘Grüselhorn, the horn that was blown every evening at 10:00, during medieval times, to order the Jews out of the city.
  • The Musée de la Navigation sur le Rhin, also going by the name of Naviscope, located in an old ship, is dedicated to the history of commercial navigation on the Rhine.
  • The Musée vodou (Vodou museum) opened its doors on 28 November 2013. Displaying a private collection of artefacts from Haiti, it is located in a former water tower (château d’eau) built in 1883 and classified as a Monument historique.
  • The Musée du barreau de Strasbourg (The Strasbourg bar association museum) is a museum dedicated to the work and the history of lawyers in the city.[30][31]

University museums

The Université de Strasbourg is in charge of a number of permanent public displays of its collections of scientific artefacts and products of all kinds of exploration and research.[32]

  • The Musée zoologique is one of the oldest in France and is especially famous for its collection of birds. The museum is co-administrated by the municipality.
  • The Gypsothèque (also known as Musée des moulages or Musée Adolf Michaelis) is France’s second largest cast collection and the largest university cast collection in France.
  • The Musée de Sismologie et Magnétisme terrestre displays antique instruments of measure
  • The Musée Pasteur is a collection of medical curiosities
  • The Musée de minéralogie is dedicated to minerals
  • The Musée d’Égyptologie houses a collections of archaeological findings made in and brought from Egypt and Sudan
  • The Crypte aux étoiles (“star crypt”) is situated in the vaulted basement below the Observatory of Strasbourg and displays old telescopes and other antique astronomical devices such as clocks and theodolites.

Museums in the suburbs

  • Musée Les Secrets du Chocolat (Chocolate museum) in Geispolsheim[33]
  • Fort Frère in Oberhausbergen[34]
  • Fort Rapp in Reichstett
  • Pixel Museum, a video game museum, in Schiltigheim[35]
  • MM Park France, a military museum, in La Wantzenau[36]

Demographics

The metropolitan area of Strasbourg had a population of 768,868 inhabitants in 2012 (French side of the border only), while the transnational Eurodistrict had a population of 915,000 inhabitants in 2014.

Population growth

1684 1789 1851 1871 1890 1910 1921 1936 1946
22,000 49,943 75,565 85,654 123,500 178,891 166,767 193,119 175,515
1954 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2014
200,921 228,971 249,396 253,384 248,712 252,338 263,941 272,975 276,170

The Ill, seen from the terrace of the Palais Rohan

Population composition

2012 % 2007 %
Total Population 274,394 100 272,123 100
0–14 years 47,473 17.3 46,263 17.0
15–29 years 77,719 28.3 78,291 28.8
30–44 years 54,514 19.9 54,850 20.2
45–59 years 45,436 16.6 47,236 17.4
60–74 years 30,321 11.1 27,060 9.9
75+ years 18,931 6.9 18,424 6.8

Culture

Strasbourg is the seat of internationally renowned institutions of music and drama:

  • The Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg, founded in 1855, one of the oldest symphonic orchestras in western Europe. Based since 1975 in the Palais de la musique et des congrès.
  • The Opéra national du Rhin
  • The Théâtre national de Strasbourg
  • The Percussions de Strasbourg
  • The Théâtre du Maillon
  • The “Laiterie”
  • Joshy’s house – a venue for performance poetry and freestyle urban music.
  • Au Zénith

Other theatres are the Théâtre jeune public, the TAPS Scala, the Kafteur …  

Events

  • Musica, international festival of contemporary classical music (autumn)
  • Festival international de Strasbourg (founded in 1932), festival of classical music and jazz (summer)
  • Festival des Artefacts, festival of contemporary non-classical music
  • Les Nuits électroniques de l’Ososphère
  • The Spectre Film Festival is an annual film festival that is devoted to science fiction, horror and fantasy.
  • The Strasbourg International Film Festival is an annual film festival focusing on new and emerging independent filmmakers from around the world.

Education

Universities and tertiary education

Strasbourg, well known as centre of humanism, has a long history of excellence in higher-education, at the crossroads of French and German intellectual traditions. Although Strasbourg had been annexed by the Kingdom of France in 1683, it still remained connected to the German-speaking intellectual world throughout the 18th century and the university attracted numerous students from the Holy Roman Empire, including Goethe, Metternich and Montgelas, who studied law in Strasbourg, among the most prominent. With 19 Nobel prizes in total, Strasbourg is the most eminent French university outside of Paris.

Up until January 2009 there were three universities in Strasbourg, with an approximate total of 48,500 students as of 2007[update] (another 4,500 students are being taught at one of the diverse post-graduate schools):[37]

  • Strasbourg I – Louis Pasteur University
  • Strasbourg II – Marc Bloch University
  • Strasbourg III – Robert Schuman University

Since 1 January 2009, those three universities have merged and constitute now the Université de Strasbourg.
Schools part of the Université de Strasbourg include:

  • The IEP (Institut d’études politiques de Strasbourg), the University of Strasbourg’s political science & international studies center.
  • The EMS (École de management Strasbourg), the University of Strasbourg’s Business School.
  • The INSA (Institut national des sciences appliquées), the University of Strasbourg’s Engineering School.
  • The ENA (École nationale d’administration). ENA trains most of the nation’s high-ranking civil servants. The relocation to Strasbourg was meant to give a European vocation to the school and to implement the French government’s “décentralisation” plan.
  • The ESAD (École supérieure des arts décoratifs) is an art school of European reputation.
  • The ISEG Group (Institut supérieur européen de gestion group).
  • The ISU (International Space University) is located in the south of Strasbourg (Illkirch-Graffenstaden).
  • The ECPM (École européenne de chimie, polymères et matériaux).
  • The EPITA (École pour l’informatique et les techniques avancées).
  • The EPITECH (École pour l’informatique et les nouvelles technologies).
  • The INET (Institut national des études territoriales).
  • The IIEF (Institut international d’études françaises).
  • The ENGEES (École nationale du génie de l’eau et de l’environnement de Strasbourg).
  • The CUEJ (Centre universitaire d’enseignement du journalisme).
  • TÉLÉCOM Physique Strasbourg,(École nationale supérieure de physique de Strasbourg), Institute of Technology, located in the South of Strasbourg (Illkirch-Graffenstaden).

Primary and secondary education

International schools include:

Multiple levels:

  • European School of Strasbourg (priority given to children whose parents are employed at the European institutions)

For elementary education:[38]

  • École Internationale Robert Schuman
  • Strasbourg International School
  • International School at Lucie Berger
  • Russian Mission School in Strasbourg[39]

For middle school/junior high school education:[38]

  • Collège Internationale de l’Esplenade

For senior high school/sixth form college:[38]

  • Lycée international des Pontonniers (FR)

Libraries

Lateral view of the National Library.

The Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire (BNU) is, with its collection of more than 3,000,000 titles,[40] the second largest library in France after the Bibliothèque nationale de France. It was founded by the German administration after the complete destruction of the previous municipal library in 1871 and holds the unique status of being simultaneously a students’ and a national library. The Strasbourg municipal library had been marked erroneously as “City Hall” in a French commercial map, which had been captured and used by the German artillery to lay their guns. A librarian from Munich later pointed out “…that the destruction of the precious collection was not the fault of a German artillery officer, who used the French map, but of the slovenly and inaccurate scholarship of a Frenchman.”[41]

The municipal library Bibliothèque municipale de Strasbourg (BMS) administrates a network of ten medium-sized librairies in different areas of the town. A six stories high “Grande bibliothèque”, the Médiathèque André Malraux, was inaugurated on 19 September 2008 and is considered the largest in Eastern France.[42]

Incunabula

As one of the earliest centers of book-printing in Europe (see above: History), Strasbourg for a long time held a large number of incunabula—documents printed before 1500—in her library as one of her most precious heritages. After the total destruction of this institution in 1870, however, a new collection had to be reassembled from scratch. Today, Strasbourg’s different public and institutional libraries again display a sizable total number of incunabula, distributed as follows: Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire, ca. 2 098[43]Médiathèque de la ville et de la communauté urbaine de Strasbourg, 394[44]Bibliothèque du Grand Séminaire, 238[45]Médiathèque protestante, 94[46] and Bibliothèque alsatique du Crédit Mutuel, 5.[47]

Transportation

One of Strasbourg’s trams passes over one of its canals, whilst a tourist trip boat passes underneath

Train services operate from the Gare de Strasbourg, the city’s main station in the city centre, eastward to Offenburg and Karlsruhe in Germany, westward to Metz and Paris, and southward to Basel. Strasbourg’s links with the rest of France have improved due to its recent connection to the TGV network, with the first phase of the TGV Est (Paris–Strasbourg) in 2007, the TGV Rhin-Rhône (Strasbourg-Lyon) in 2012, and the second phase of the TGV Est in July 2016.

Strasbourg also has its own airport, serving major domestic destinations as well as international destinations in Europe and northern Africa. The airport is linked to the Gare de Strasbourg by a frequent train service.[48][49]

City transportation in Strasbourg includes the futurist-looking Strasbourg tramway that opened in 1994 and is operated by the regional transit company Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS), consisting of 6 lines with a total length of 55.8 km (34.7 mi). The CTS also operates a comprehensive bus network throughout the city that is integrated with the trams. With more than 500 km (311 mi) of bicycle paths, biking in the city is convenient and the CTS operates a cheap bike-sharing scheme named Vélhop’. The CTS, and its predecessors, also operated a previous generation of tram system between 1878 and 1960, complemented by trolleybus routes between 1939 and 1962.

Being a city on the Ill and close to the Rhine, Strasbourg has always been an important centre of fluvial navigation, as is attested by archeological findings. In 1682 the Canal de la Bruche was added to the river navigations, initially to provide transport for sandstone from quarries in the Vosges for use in the fortification of the city. That canal has since closed, but the subsequent Canal du Rhone au Rhine, Canal de la Marne au Rhin and Grand Canal d’Alsace are still in use, as is the important activity of the Port autonome de Strasbourg. Water tourism inside the city proper attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists yearly.

The tram system that now criss-crosses the historic city centre complements walking and biking in it. The centre has been transformed into a pedestrian priority zone that enables and invites walking and biking by making these active modes of transport comfortable, safe and enjoyable. These attributes are accomplished by applying the principle of “filtered permeability” to the existing irregular network of streets. It means that the network adaptations favour active transportation and, selectively, “filter out” the car by reducing the number of streets that run through the centre. While certain streets are discontinuous for cars, they connect to a network of pedestrian and bike paths which permeate the entire centre. In addition, these paths go through public squares and open spaces increasing the enjoyment of the trip. This logic of filtering a mode of transport is fully expressed in a comprehensive model for laying out neighbourhoods and districts – the Fused Grid.

At present the A35 autoroute, which parallels the Rhine between Karlsruhe and Basel, and the A4 autoroute, which links Paris with Strasbourg, penetrate close to the centre of the city. The Grand contournement ouest (GCO) project, programmed since 1999, plans to construct a 24-kilometre-long (15 mi) highway connection between the junctions of the A4 and the A35 autoroutes in the north and of the A35 and A352 autoroutes in the south. This routes well to the west of the city and is meant to divest a significant portion of motorized traffic from the unité urbaine.[50]

Strasbourg Public Transportation Statistics

The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Strasbourg, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 52 min. 7% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 9 min, while 11% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 3.9 km (2.4 mi), while 0% travel for over 12 km (7.5 mi) in a single direction.[51]

European role

The Palace of Europe of the Council of Europe

Institutions

Strasbourg is the seat of over twenty international institutions,[52] most famously of the Council of Europe and of the European Parliament, of which it is the official seat. Strasbourg is considered the legislative and democratic capital of the European Union, while Brussels is considered the executive and administrative capital and Luxembourg the judiciary and financial capital.[53]

Strasbourg is the seat of the following organisations, among others:

  • Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (since 1920)
  • Council of Europe with all the bodies and organisations affiliated to this institution (since 1949)
  • European Parliament (since 1952)
  • European Ombudsman
  • Eurocorps headquarters,
  • Franco-German television channel Arte
  • European Science Foundation
  • International Institute of Human Rights
  • Human Frontier Science Program
  • International Commission on Civil Status
  • Assembly of European Regions
  • Centre for European Studies (French: Centre d’études européennes de Strasbourg)
  • Sakharov Prize

Eurodistrict

France and Germany have created a Eurodistrict straddling the Rhine, combining the Greater Strasbourg and the Ortenau district of Baden-Württemberg, with some common administration. It was established in 2005 and is fully functional since 2010.

Sports

Stade de la Meinau, home of RC Strasbourg

Sporting teams from Strasbourg are the Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace (football), Strasbourg IG (basketball) and the Étoile Noire (ice hockey).[54] The women’s tennis Internationaux de Strasbourg is one of the most important French tournaments of its kind outside Roland-Garros. In 1922, Strasbourg was the venue for the XVI Grand Prix de l’A.C.F. which saw Fiat battle Bugatti, Ballot, Rolland Pilain, and Britain’s Aston Martin and Sunbeam.

Honours

Honours associated with the city of Strasbourg.

  • The Medal of Honor Strasbourg
  • Sakharov Prize seated in Strasbourg
  • City of Strasbourg Silver (gilt) Medal, a former medal with City Coat of Arms and Ten Arms of the Cities of the Dekapolis[55]

Notable people

In chronological order, notable people born in Strasbourg include: Eric of Friuli, Johannes Tauler, Sebastian Brant, Jean Baptiste Kléber, Louis Ramond de Carbonnières, François Christophe Kellermann, Marie Tussaud, Ludwig I of Bavaria, Charles Frédéric Gerhardt, Louis-Frédéric Schützenberger, Gustave Doré, Émile Waldteufel, René Beeh, Jean/Hans Arp, Charles Münch, Hans Bethe, Maurice Kriegel-Valrimont, Marcel Marceau, Tomi Ungerer, Arsène Wenger, Petit and Matt Pokora.

In chronological order, notable residents of Strasbourg include: Johannes Gutenberg, Hans Baldung, Martin Bucer, John Calvin, Joachim Meyer, Johann Carolus, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, Georg Büchner, Louis Pasteur, Ferdinand Braun, Albrecht Kossel, Georg Simmel, Albert Schweitzer, Otto Klemperer, Marc Bloch, Alberto Fujimori, Marjane Satrapi, Paul Ricoeur and Jean-Marie Lehn.

Twin towns and sister cities

Strasbourg is twinned with:[56]

  • United States Boston, United States, since 1960[56][57]
  • United Kingdom Leicester, United Kingdom, since 1960[56][58][59]
  • Germany Stuttgart, Germany, since 1962[56][60]
  • Germany Dresden, Germany, since 1990[56][61]
  • Israel Ramat Gan, Israel, since 1991[56][62]

Strasbourg has cooperative agreements with:

  • Jacmel, Haiti, since 1996 (Coopération décentralisée)
  • Veliky Novgorod, Russia, since 1997 (Coopération décentralisée)
  • Fes, Morocco (Coopération décentralisée)
  • Douala, Cameroon (Coopération décentralisée)
  • Bamako, Mali (Coopération décentralisée)

In popular culture

In film

  • The opening scenes of the 1977 Ridley Scott film The Duellists take place in Strasbourg in 1800.
  • The 2007 film In the City of Sylvia is set in Strasbourg.
  • Early February 2011, principal photography for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) moved for two days to Strasbourg. Shooting took place on, around, and inside the Strasbourg Cathedral. The opening scene of the movie covers an assassination-bombing in the city.

In literature

  • One of the longest chapters of Laurence Sterne’s novel Tristram Shandy (1759–1767), “Slawkenbergius’ tale”, takes place in Strasbourg.[63]
  • An episode of Matthew Gregory Lewis’ novel The Monk (1796) takes place in the forests then surrounding Strasbourg.

In music

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart called his Third violin concerto (1775) Straßburger Konzert because of one of its most prominent motives, based on a local, minuet-like dance that had already appeared as a tune in a symphony by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf.[64] It is not related to Mozart’s ulterior stay in Strasbourg (1778), where he gave three concert performances on the piano.
  • Havergal Brian’s Symphony No.7 was inspired by passages in Goethe’s memoirs recalling his time spent at Strasbourg University. The work ends with an orchestral bell sounding the note E, the strike-note of the bell of Strasbourg Cathedral.
  • British art-punk band The Rakes had a minor hit in 2005 with their song “Strasbourg”. This song features witty lyrics with themes of espionage and vodka and includes a cleverly placed count of ‘eins, zwei, drei, vier!!’, even though Strasbourg’s spoken language is French.
  • On their 1974 album Hamburger Concerto, Dutch progressive band Focus included a track called “La Cathédrale de Strasbourg”, which included chimes from a cathedral-like bell.
  • Strasbourg pie, a dish containing foie gras, is mentioned in the finale of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats.
  • Several works have specifically been dedicated to Strasbourg Cathedral, notably ad hoc compositions (masses, motets etc.) by Kapellmeisters Franz Xaver Richter and Ignaz Pleyel and, more recently, It is Finished by John Tavener.

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Sources

  • Connaître Strasbourg by Roland Recht, Georges Foessel and Jean-Pierre Klein, 1988,
    ISBN 2-7032-0185-0
  • Histoire de Strasbourg des origines à nos jours, four volumes (ca. 2000 pages) by a collective of historians under the guidance of Georges Livet and Francis Rapp, 1982,
    ISBN 2-7165-0041-X

External links

  • Strasbourg municipality website
  • Tourist office of Strasbourg
  • CTS – Compagnie des transports strasbourgeois
  • The museums of Strasbourg
  • The city archives of Strasbourg (in French)


French Third Republic

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Capital Paris
Common languages French (official), several others
Religion

Roman Catholicism
Calvinism
Lutheranism
Judaism
(4 September 1870—9 December 1905; applied to Alsace-Lorraine from December 5, 1918 to 10 July 1940)
Secular state
(9 December 1905—10 July 1940; excluding Alsace-Lorraine)
Government Unitary parliamentary republic
President  
• 1871–1873
Adolphe Thiers (first)
• 1932–1940
Albert Lebrun (last)
President of the Council of Ministers  
• 1870–1871
Louis Jules Trochu
• 1940
Philippe Pétain
Legislature Parliament
• Upper house
Senate
• Lower house
Chamber of Deputies
History  
• Proclamation by Leon Gambetta
4 September 1870
• Vichy France established
10 July 1940
Population
• 
42,000,000
Currency French Franc
ISO 3166 code FR

Preceded by

Succeeded by
Second French Empire
Vichy France
Free France
German military administration
Today part of  France
 Algeria
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The French Third Republic (French: La Troisième République, sometimes written as La IIIe République) was the system of government adopted in France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed during the Franco-Prussian War, until 10 July 1940 after France’s defeat by Nazi Germany in World War II led to the formation of the Vichy government in France.

The early days of the Third Republic were dominated by political disruptions caused by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, which the Republic continued to wage after the fall of Emperor Napoleon III in 1870. Harsh reparations exacted by the Prussians after the war resulted in the loss of the French regions of Alsace (keeping the Territoire de Belfort) and Lorraine (the northeastern part, i.e. present-day department of Moselle), social upheaval, and the establishment of the Paris Commune. The early governments of the Third Republic considered re-establishing the monarchy, but confusion as to the nature of that monarchy and who should be awarded the throne caused those talks to stall. Thus, the Third Republic, which was originally intended as a provisional government, instead became the permanent government of France.

The French Constitutional Laws of 1875 defined the composition of the Third Republic. It consisted of a Chamber of Deputies and a Senate to form the legislative branch of government and a president to serve as head of state. Issues over the re-establishment of the monarchy dominated the tenures of the first two presidents, Adolphe Thiers and Patrice de MacMahon, but the growing support for the republican form of government in the French population and a series of republican presidents during the 1880s quashed all plans for a monarchical restoration.

The Third Republic established many French colonial possessions, including French Indochina, French Madagascar, French Polynesia, and large territories in West Africa during the Scramble for Africa, all of them acquired during the last two decades of the 19th century. The early years of the 20th century were dominated by the Democratic Republican Alliance, which was originally conceived as a centre-left political alliance, but over time became the main centre-right party. The period from the start of World War I to the late 1930s featured sharply polarized politics, between the Democratic Republican Alliance and the more Radical socialists. The government fell during the early years of World War II as the Germans occupied France and was replaced by the rival governments of Charles de Gaulle’s Free France (La France libre) and Philippe Pétain’s Vichy France (L’État français).

Adolphe Thiers called republicanism in the 1870s “the form of government that divides France least”; however, politics under the Third Republic were sharply polarized. On the left stood Reformist France, heir to the French Revolution. On the right stood conservative France, rooted in the peasantry, the Roman Catholic Church and the army.[1] In spite of France’s sharply divided electorate and persistent attempts to overthrow it, the Third Republic endured for seventy years, which as of 2018 makes it the longest lasting system of government in France since the collapse of the Ancien Régime in 1789.

Contents

  • 1 Politics

    • 1.1 Parliamentary monarchy
    • 1.2 The Ordre Moral government
    • 1.3 The Opportunist Republicans
    • 1.4 Boulanger crisis
    • 1.5 Panama scandal
    • 1.6 The welfare state and public health
  • 2 Dreyfus affair
  • 3 Social history

    • 3.1 Newspapers
    • 3.2 Modernization of the peasants
    • 3.3 The city department store
  • 4 The Radicals’ republic
  • 5 Church and state
  • 6 Foreign policy

    • 6.1 Diplomats
    • 6.2 1871–1900
    • 6.3 1900–1914
    • 6.4 Overseas colonies
  • 7 First World War

    • 7.1 Entry
    • 7.2 The fighting
    • 7.3 War economy
    • 7.4 Morale
  • 8 Peace and revenge
  • 9 Interwar period

    • 9.1 Great Depression
    • 9.2 Foreign policy
    • 9.3 The Popular Front
    • 9.4 Conservatism
    • 9.5 Relations with Catholicism
  • 10 Downfall of the Third Republic
  • 11 Interpreting the Third Republic
  • 12 Historiography of decadence
  • 13 Timeline to 1914
  • 14 See also
  • 15 Notes
  • 16 Bibliography

    • 16.1 Surveys
    • 16.2 Foreign policy and colonies
    • 16.3 Political ideas and practice
    • 16.4 Culture and society
    • 16.5 Women, sexuality, gender
    • 16.6 World War I
    • 16.7 Primary sources

Politics

A French propaganda poster from 1917 is captioned with an 18th-century quote: “Even in 1788, Mirabeau was saying that War is the National Industry of Prussia.”

The Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871 resulted in the defeat of France and the overthrow of Emperor Napoleon III and his Second French Empire. After Napoleon’s capture by the Prussians at the Battle of Sedan (1 September 1870), Parisian deputies led by Léon Gambetta established the Government of National Defence as a provisional government on 4 September 1870. The deputies then selected General Louis-Jules Trochu to serve as its president. This first government of the Third Republic ruled during the Siege of Paris (19 September 1870 – 28 January 1871). As Paris was cut off from the rest of unoccupied France, the Minister of War, Léon Gambetta, who succeeded in leaving Paris in a hot air balloon, established the headquarters of the provisional republican government in the city of Tours on the Loire river.

After the French surrender in January 1871, the provisional Government of National Defence disbanded, and national elections were called with the aim of creating a new French government. French territories occupied by Prussia at this time did not participate. The resulting conservative National Assembly elected Adolphe Thiers as head of a provisional government, nominally (“head of the executive branch of the Republic pending a decision on the institutions of France”). Due to the revolutionary and left-wing political climate that prevailed in the Parisian population, the right-wing government chose the royal palace of Versailles as its headquarters.

The new government negotiated a peace settlement with the newly proclaimed German Empire: the Treaty of Frankfurt signed on 10 May 1871. To prompt the Prussians to leave France, the government passed a variety of financial laws, such as the controversial Law of Maturities, to pay reparations. In Paris, resentment against the government built and from late March – May 1871, Paris workers and National Guards revolted and established the Paris Commune, which maintained a radical left-wing regime for two months until its bloody suppression by the Thiers government in May 1871. The following repression of the communards would have disastrous consequences for the labor movement.

Parliamentary monarchy

Composition of the national Assembly – 1871

The French legislative election of 1871, held in the aftermath of the collapse of the regime of Napoleon III, resulted in a monarchist majority in the French National Assembly that was favourable to making a peace agreement with Prussia. The “Legitimists” in the National Assembly supported the candidacy of a descendant of King Charles X, the last monarch from the senior line of the Bourbon Dynasty, to assume the French throne: his grandson Henri, Comte de Chambord, alias “Henry V.” The Orléanists supported a descendant of King Louis Philippe I, the cousin of Charles X who replaced him as the French monarch in 1830: his grandson Louis-Philippe, Comte de Paris. The Bonapartists were marginalized due to the defeat of Napoléon III and were unable to advance the candidacy of any member of his family, the Bonaparte family. Legitimists and Orléanists came to a compromise, eventually, whereby the childless Comte de Chambord would be recognised as king, with the Comte de Paris recognised as his heir. Consequently, in 1871 the throne was offered to the Comte de Chambord.[2]

Chambord believed the restored monarchy had to eliminate all traces of the Revolution (including most famously the Tricolor flag) in order to restore the unity between the monarchy and the nation, which the revolution had sundered apart. Compromise on this was impossible if the nation were to be made whole again. The general population, however, was unwilling to abandon the Tricolor flag. Monarchists therefore resigned themselves to wait for the death of the aging, childless Chambord, when the throne could be offered to his more liberal heir, the Comte de Paris. A “temporary” republican government was therefore established. Chambord lived on until 1883, but by that time, enthusiasm for a monarchy had faded, and as a result the Comte de Paris was never offered the French throne.[3]

The Ordre Moral government

The Sacré-Cœur Basilica was built as a symbol of the Ordre Moral.

The term ordre moral (“moral order”) was applied to the policies of the early governments of the Third Republic in reference to the bloody suppression of the Paris Commune, whose political and social innovations were viewed as morally degenerate by large conservative segments of the French population.[4]

In February 1875, a series of parliamentary acts established the constitutional laws of the new republic. At its head was a President of the Republic. A two-chamber parliament consisting of a directly-elected Chamber of Deputies and an indirectly-elected Senate was created, along with a ministry under the President of the Council (prime minister), who was nominally answerable to both the President of the Republic and the legislature. Throughout the 1870s, the issue of whether a monarchy should replace the republic dominated public debate.

In France, children were taught in school not to forget the lost regions of Alsace-Lorraine, which were coloured in black on maps.

On 16 May 1877, with public opinion swinging heavily in favour of a republic, the monarchist President of the Republic, Patrice de MacMahon made one last desperate attempt to salvage the monarchical cause by dismissing the republican prime minister Jules Simon and appointing the monarchist leader Albert, duc de Broglie, to office. He then dissolved parliament and called a general election for the following October. If his hope had been to halt the move towards republicanism, it backfired spectacularly, with the president being accused of having staged a constitutional coup d’état known as le seize Mai (“the 16 May Crisis”) after the date on which it happened. Indeed, it was not until Charles de Gaulle, 80 years later, that a President of France next unilaterally dissolved parliament.[5]

Republicans returned triumphantly after the October elections for the Chamber of Deputies. The prospect of a monarchical restoration died definitively after the republicans gained control of the Senate on 5 January 1879. MacMahon himself resigned on 30 January 1879, leaving a seriously weakened presidency in the hands of Jules Grévy.

The Opportunist Republicans

Following the 16 May crisis in 1877, Legitimists were pushed out of power, and the Republic was finally governed by republicans referred to as Opportunist Republicans for their support of moderate social and political changes in order to establish the new regime firmly. The Jules Ferry laws that made public education free, mandatory, and secular (laїque), were voted in 1881 and 1882, one of the first signs of the expanding civic powers of the Republic. From that time onward, public education was no longer under the exclusive control of the Catholic congregations.[6]

To discourage French monarchism as a serious political force, the French Crown Jewels were broken up and sold in 1885. Only a few crowns, their precious gems replaced by coloured glass, were kept.

Boulanger crisis

Georges Ernest Boulanger, nicknamed Général Revanche

In 1889, the Republic was rocked by a sudden political crisis precipitated by General Georges Boulanger. An enormously popular general, he won a series of elections in which he would resign his seat in the Chamber of Deputies and run again in another district. At the apogee of his popularity in January 1889, he posed the threat of a coup d’état and the establishment of a dictatorship. With his base of support in the working districts of Paris and other cities, plus rural traditionalist Catholics and royalists, he promoted an aggressive nationalism aimed against Germany. The elections of September 1889 marked a decisive defeat for the Boulangists. They were defeated by the changes in the electoral laws that prevented Boulanger from running in multiple constituencies; by the government’s aggressive opposition; and by the absence of the general himself, who placed himself in self-imposed exile to be with his mistress. The fall of Boulanger severely undermined the political strength of the conservative and royalist elements within France; they would not recover their strength until 1940.[7]

Revisionist scholars have argued that the Boulangist movement more often represented elements of the radical left rather than the extreme right. Their work is part of an emerging consensus that France’s radical right was formed in part during the Dreyfus era by men who had been Boulangist partisans of the radical left a decade earlier.[8]

Panama scandal

The Panama scandals of 1892 involved the enormous cost of a failed attempt to build the Panama Canal. Due to disease, death, inefficiency, and widespread corruption, the Panama Canal Company handling the massive project went bankrupt, with millions in losses. It is regarded as the largest monetary corruption scandal of the 19th century. Close to a billion francs were lost when the French government took bribes to keep quiet about the Panama Canal Company’s financial troubles.[9]

The welfare state and public health

The state had a smaller role in France than in Germany before the First World War. French income levels were higher than German income levels despite France having fewer natural resources, while taxation and government spending were lower in France than in Germany.

France lagged behind Bismarckian Germany, as well as Great Britain, in developing a welfare state with public health, unemployment insurance and national old age pension plans. There was an accident insurance law for workers in 1898, and in 1910, France created a national pension plan. Unlike Germany or Britain, the programs were much smaller – for example, pensions were a voluntary plan.[10] Historian Timothy Smith finds French fears of national public assistance programs were grounded in a widespread disdain for the English Poor Law.[11]Tuberculosis was the most dreaded disease of the day, especially striking young people in their 20s. Germany set up vigorous measures of public hygiene and public sanatoria, but France let private physicians handle the problem.[12] The French medical profession guarded its prerogatives, and public health activists were not as well organized or as influential as in Germany, Britain or the United States.[13][14] For example, there was a long battle over a public health law which began in the 1880s as a campaign to reorganize the nation’s health services, to require the registration of infectious diseases, to mandate quarantines, and to improve the deficient health and housing legislation of 1850.

However, the reformers met opposition from bureaucrats, politicians, and physicians. Because it was so threatening to so many interests, the proposal was debated and postponed for 20 years before becoming law in 1902. Implementation finally came when the government realized that contagious diseases had a national security impact in weakening military recruits, and keeping the population growth rate well below Germany’s.[15] Another theory put forth is that the low rate of French population growth, relative to Germany, was due to a lower French birth rate perhaps due to the provision under French Revolutionary law that land must be divided up among all the sons (or a large compensation paid) — this led peasants to not want more than one son. There is no evidence to suggest than French life expectancy was lower than that of Germany.[citation needed]

Dreyfus affair

The Dreyfus affair was a major political scandal that convulsed France from 1894 until its resolution in 1906, and then had reverberations for decades more. The conduct of the affair has become a modern and universal symbol of injustice. It remains one of the most striking examples of a complex miscarriage of justice in which a central role was played by the press and public opinion. At issue was blatant anti-Semitism as practiced by the French Army and defended by conservatives and Catholic traditionalists against secular centre-left, left and republican forces, including most Jews. In the end, the latter triumphed.[16][17]

Capt. Alfred Dreyfus

The affair began in November 1894 with the conviction for treason of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Alsatian Jewish descent. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for communicating French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris and sent to the penal colony at Devil’s Island in French Guiana (nicknamed la guillotine sèche, the dry guillotine), where he spent almost five years.

Two years later, evidence came to light that identified a French Army major named Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy as the real spy. After high-ranking military officials suppressed the new evidence, a military court unanimously acquitted Esterhazy. In response, the Army brought up additional charges against Dreyfus based on false documents. Word of the military court’s attempts to frame Dreyfus began to spread, chiefly owing to the polemic J’accuse, a vehement open letter published in a Paris newspaper in January 1898 by the notable writer Émile Zola. Activists put pressure on the government to re-open the case.

In 1899, Dreyfus was returned to France for another trial. The intense political and judicial scandal that ensued divided French society between those who supported Dreyfus (now called “Dreyfusards”), such as Anatole France, Henri Poincaré and Georges Clemenceau, and those who condemned him (the anti-Dreyfusards), such as Édouard Drumont, the director and publisher of the anti-Semitic newspaper La Libre Parole. The new trial resulted in another conviction and a 10-year sentence, but Dreyfus was given a pardon and set free. Eventually all the accusations against him were demonstrated to be baseless, and in 1906, Dreyfus was exonerated and re-instated as a major in the French Army.

From 1894 to 1906, the scandal divided France deeply and lastingly into two opposing camps: the pro-Army “anti-Dreyfusards” composed of conservatives, Catholic traditionalists and monarchists who generally lost the initiative to the anti-clerical, pro-republican “Dreyfusards”, with strong support from intellectuals and teachers. It embittered French politics and facilitated the increasing influence of radical politicians on both sides of the political spectrum.

Social history

Newspapers

The democratic political structure was supported by the proliferation of politicized newspapers. The circulation of the daily press in Paris went from 1 million in 1870 to 5 million in 1910; it later reached 6 million in 1939. Advertising grew rapidly, providing a steady financial basis for publishing, but it did not cover all of the costs involved and had to be supplemented by secret subsidies from commercial interests that wanted favorable reporting. A new liberal press law of 1881 abandoned the restrictive practices that had been typical for a century. High-speed rotary Hoe presses, introduced in the 1860s, facilitated quick turnaround time and cheaper publication. New types of popular newspapers, especially Le Petit Journal, reached an audience more interested in diverse entertainment and gossip than hard news. It captured a quarter of the Parisian market and forced the rest to lower their prices. The main dailies employed their own journalists who competed for news flashes. All newspapers relied upon the Agence Havas (now Agence France-Presse), a telegraphic news service with a network of reporters and contracts with Reuters to provide world service. The staid old papers retained their loyal clientele because of their concentration on serious political issues.[18] While papers usually gave false circulation figures, Le Petit Provençal in 1913 probably had a daily circulation of about 100,000 and Le Petit Meridional had about 70,000. Advertising only filled 20% or so of the pages.[19]

The Roman Catholic Assumptionist order revolutionized pressure group media by its national newspaper La Croix. It vigorously advocated for traditional Catholicism while at the same time innovating with the most modern technology and distribution systems, with regional editions tailored to local taste. Secularists and Republicans recognized the newspaper as their greatest enemy, especially when it took the lead in attacking Dreyfus as a traitor and stirring up anti-Semitism. After Dreyfus was pardoned, the Radical government closed down the entire Assumptionist order and its newspaper in 1900.[20]

Banks secretly paid certain newspapers to promote particular financial interests and hide or cover up misbehavior. They also took payments for favorable notices in news articles of commercial products. Sometimes, a newspaper would blackmail a business by threatening to publish unfavorable information unless the business immediately started advertising in the paper. Foreign governments, especially Russia and Turkey, secretly paid the press hundreds of thousands of francs a year to guarantee favorable coverage of the bonds it was selling in Paris. When the real news was bad about Russia, as during its 1905 Revolution or during its war with Japan, it raised the ante to millions. During the World War, newspapers became more of a propaganda agency on behalf of the war effort and avoided critical commentary. They seldom reported the achievements of the Allies, crediting all the good news to the French army. In a sentence, the newspapers were not independent champions of the truth, but secretly paid advertisements for banking.[21]

The World War ended a golden era for the press. Their younger staff members were drafted, and male replacements could not be found (female journalists were not considered suitable.) Rail transportation was rationed and less paper and ink came in, and fewer copies could be shipped out. Inflation raised the price of newsprint, which was always in short supply. The cover price went up, circulation fell and many of the 242 dailies published outside Paris closed down. The government set up the Interministerial Press Commission to supervise the press closely. A separate agency imposed tight censorship that led to blank spaces where news reports or editorials were disallowed. The dailies sometimes were limited to only two pages instead of the usual four, leading one satirical paper to try to report the war news in the same spirit:

War News. A half-zeppelin threw half its bombs on half-time combatants, resulting in one-quarter damaged. The zeppelin, halfways-attacked by a portion of half-anti aircraft guns, was half destroyed.”[19]

Regional newspapers flourished after 1900. However the Parisian newspapers were largely stagnant after the war. The major postwar success story was Paris Soir, which lacked any political agenda and was dedicated to providing a mix of sensational reporting to aid circulation and serious articles to build prestige. By 1939, its circulation was over 1.7 million, double that of its nearest rival the tabloid Le Petit Parisien. In addition to its daily paper. Paris Soir sponsored a highly successful women’s magazine Marie-Claire. Another magazine, Match, was modeled after the photojournalism of the American magazine Life.[22]

Modernization of the peasants

France was a rural nation, and the peasant farmer was the typical French citizen. In his seminal book Peasants Into Frenchmen (1976), historian Eugen Weber traced the modernization of French villages and argued that rural France went from backward and isolated to modern with a sense of national identity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[23] He emphasized the roles of railroads, republican schools, and universal military conscription. He based his findings on school records, migration patterns, military service documents and economic trends. Weber argued that until 1900 or so a sense of French nationhood was weak in the provinces. Weber then looked at how the policies of the Third Republic created a sense of French nationality in rural areas. Weber’s scholarship was widely praised, but was criticized by some who argued that a sense of Frenchness existed in the provinces before 1870.[24]

The city department store

Au Bon Marché

Aristide Boucicaut founded Le Bon Marché in Paris in 1838, and by 1852 it offered a wide variety of goods in “departments inside one building.”[25] Goods were sold at fixed prices, with guarantees that allowed exchanges and refunds. By the end of the 19th century, Georges Dufayel, a French credit merchant, had served up to three million customers and was affiliated with La Samaritaine, a large French department store established in 1870 by a former Bon Marché executive.[26]

The French gloried in the national prestige brought by the great Parisian stores.[27] The great writer Émile Zola (1840–1902) set his novel Au Bonheur des Dames (1882–83) in the typical department store. Zola represented it as a symbol of the new technology that was both improving society and devouring it. The novel describes merchandising, management techniques, marketing, and consumerism.[28]

The Grands Magasins Dufayel was a huge department store with inexpensive prices built in 1890 in the northern part of Paris, where it reached a very large new customer base in the working class. In a neighbourhood with few public spaces, it provided a consumer version of the public square. It educated workers to approach shopping as an exciting social activity, not just a routine exercise in obtaining necessities, just as the bourgeoisie did at the famous department stores in the central city. Like the bourgeois stores, it helped transform consumption from a business transaction into a direct relationship between consumer and sought-after goods. Its advertisements promised the opportunity to participate in the newest, most fashionable consumerism at reasonable cost. The latest technology was featured, such as cinemas and exhibits of inventions like X-ray machines (that could be used to fit shoes) and the gramophone.[29]

Increasingly after 1870, the stores’ work force became feminized, opening up prestigious job opportunities for young women. Despite the low pay and long hours, they enjoyed the exciting complex interactions with the newest and most fashionable merchandise and upscale customers.[30]

The Radicals’ republic

The most important party of the early 20th century in France was the Radical Party, founded in 1901 as the “Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party” (“Parti républicain, radical et radical-socialiste”). It was classically liberal in political orientation and opposed the monarchists and clerical elements on the one hand, and the Socialists on the other. Many members had been recruited by the Freemasons.[31] The Radicals were split between activists who called for state intervention to achieve economic and social equality and conservatives whose first priority was stability. The workers’ demands for strikes threatened such stability and pushed many Radicals toward conservatism. It opposed women’s suffrage for fear that women would vote for its opponents or for candidates endorsed by the Catholic Church.[32] It favored a progressive income tax, economic equality, expanded educational opportunities and cooperatives in domestic policy. In foreign policy, it favored a strong League of Nations after the war, and the maintenance of peace through compulsory arbitration, controlled disarmament, economic sanctions, and perhaps an international military force.[33]

Followers of Léon Gambetta, such as Raymond Poincaré, who would become President of the Council in the 1920s, created the Democratic Republican Alliance (ARD), which became the main center-right party after World War I.[34]

Governing coalitions collapsed with regularity, rarely lasting more than a few months, as radicals, socialists, liberals, conservatives, republicans and monarchists all fought for control. Some historians argue that the collapses were not important because they reflected minor changes in coalitions of many parties that routinely lost and gained a few allies. Consequently, the change of governments could be seen as little more than a series of ministerial reshuffles, with many individuals carrying forward from one government to the next, often in the same posts.

Church and state

Separation of the Church and the State in 1905

Throughout the lifetime of the Third Republic (1870–1940), there were battles over the status of the Catholic Church in France among the republicans, monarchists and the authoritarians (such as the Napoleonists). The French clergy and bishops were closely associated with the monarchists and many of its hierarchy were from noble families. Republicans were based in the anti-clerical middle class, who saw the Church’s alliance with the monarchists as a political threat to republicanism, and a threat to the modern spirit of progress. The republicans detested the Church for its political and class affiliations; for them, the Church represented the Ancien Régime, a time in French history most republicans hoped was long behind them. The republicans were strengthened by Protestant and Jewish support. Numerous laws were passed to weaken the Catholic Church. In 1879, priests were excluded from the administrative committees of hospitals and boards of charity; in 1880, new measures were directed against the religious congregations; from 1880 to 1890 came the substitution of lay women for nuns in many hospitals; in 1882, the Ferry school laws were passed. Napoleon’s Concordat of 1801 continued in operation, but in 1881, the government cut off salaries to priests it disliked.[35]

The first page of the bill, as brought before the Chambre des Députés in 1905

Republicans feared that religious orders in control of schools—especially the Jesuits and Assumptionists—indoctrinated anti-republicanism into children. Determined to root this out, republicans insisted they needed control of the schools for France to achieve economic and militaristic progress. (Republicans felt one of the primary reasons for the German victory in 1870 was their superior education system.)

The early anti-Catholic laws were largely the work of republican Jules Ferry in 1882. Religious instruction in all schools was forbidden, and religious orders were forbidden to teach in them. Funds were appropriated from religious schools to build more state schools. Later in the century, other laws passed by Ferry’s successors further weakened the Church’s position in French society. Civil marriage became compulsory, divorce was introduced, and chaplains were removed from the army.[36]

When Leo XIII became pope in 1878, he tried to calm Church-State relations. In 1884, he told French bishops not to act in a hostile manner toward the State (‘Nobilissima Gallorum Gens’[37]).
In 1892, he issued an encyclical advising French Catholics to rally to the Republic and defend the Church by participating in republican politics (‘Au milieu des sollicitudes’[38]).
This attempt at improving the relationship failed. Deep-rooted suspicions remained on both sides and were inflamed by the Dreyfus Affair (1894–1906). Catholics were for the most part anti-Dreyfusard. The Assumptionists published anti-Semitic and anti-republican articles in their journal La Croix. This infuriated republican politicians, who were eager to take revenge. Often they worked in alliance with Masonic lodges. The Waldeck-Rousseau Ministry (1899–1902) and the Combes Ministry (1902–05) fought with the Vatican over the appointment of bishops. Chaplains were removed from naval and military hospitals in the years 1903 and 1904, and soldiers were ordered not to frequent Catholic clubs in 1904.

Emile Combes, when elected Prime Minister in 1902, was determined to defeat Catholicism thoroughly. After only a short while in office, he closed down all parochial schools in France. Then he had parliament reject authorisation of all religious orders. This meant that all fifty-four orders in France were dissolved and about 20,000 members immediately left France, many for Spain.[39] In 1904, Émile Loubet, the president of France from 1899 to 1906, visited King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy in Rome, and Pope Pius X protested at this recognition of the Italian State. Combes reacted strongly and recalled his ambassador to the Holy See. Then, in 1905, a law was introduced that abrogated Napoleon’s 1801 Concordat. Church and State were finally separated. All Church property was confiscated. Religious personnel were no longer paid by the State. Public worship was given over to associations of Catholic laymen who controlled access to churches. However, in practice, masses and rituals continued to be performed.

The Combes government worked with Masonic lodges to create a secret surveillance of all army officers to make sure that devout Catholics would not be promoted. Exposed as the Affaire Des Fiches, the scandal undermined support for the Combes government, and he resigned. It also undermined morale in the army, as officers realized that hostile spies examining their private lives were more important to their careers than their own professional accomplishments.[40]

In December 1905, the government of Maurice Rouvier introduced the French law on the separation of Church and State. This law was heavily supported by Combes, who had been strictly enforcing the 1901 voluntary association law and the 1904 law on religious congregations’ freedom of teaching. On 10 February 1905, the Chamber declared that “the attitude of the Vatican” had rendered the separation of Church and State inevitable and the law of the separation of church and state was passed in December 1905. The Church was badly hurt and lost half its priests. In the long run, however, it gained autonomy; ever after, the State no longer had a voice in choosing bishops, thus Gallicanism was dead.[41]

Foreign policy

Foreign-policy 1871-1914 was based on a slow rebuilding of alliances With Russia and Britain in order to counteract the threat from Germany. [42] Bismarck had made a mistake in taking Alsace and Lorraine in 1871, setting off decades of popular hatred of Germany and demand for revenge. Bismarck’s decision came in response to popular demand, and the Army’s demand for a strong frontier. It was not necessary since France was much weaker militarily than Germany, but it forced Bismarck to orient German foreign policy to block France from having any major allies. Alsace and Lorraine were a grievance for some years, but by 1890 had largely faded away with the French realization that nostalgia was not as useful as modernization. France rebuilt its Army, emphasizing modernization in such features as new artillery, and after 1905 invested heavily in military aircraft. Most important in restoring prestige was a strong emphasis on the growing French Empire, which brought prestige, despite large financial costs. Very few French families settled in the colonies,, and they were too poor in natural resources and trade to significantly benefit the overall economy. Nevertheless, they were second in size only to the British Empire, provided prestige in world affairs, and gave an opportunity for Catholics (under heavy attack by the Republicans in Parliament) to devote their energies to spread French culture and civilization worldwide. An extremely expensive investment in building the Panama Canal was a total failure, in terms of money, many deaths by disease, and political scandal.[43] Bismarck was fired in 1890, and after that German foreign policy was confused and misdirected. For example, Berlin broke its close ties with Moscow, allowing the French to enter through heavy financial investment, and a Paris-St Petersburg military alliance that proved essential and durable. Germany feuded with Britain, which encouraged London and Paris to drop of their grievances over Egypt and Africa, reaching a compromise whereby the French recognized British primacy in Egypt, while Britain recognized French primacy in Morocco. This enabled Britain and France to move closer together, finally achieving a informal military relationship after 1904.[44][45]

Diplomats

French diplomacy was largely independent of domestic affairs; economic, cultural and religious interest groups paid little attention to foreign affairs. Permanent professional diplomats and bureaucrats had developed their own traditions of how to operate at the Quai d’Orsay (where the Foreign Ministry was located), and their style changed little from generation to generation.[46] Most of the diplomats came from high status aristocratic families. Although France was one of the few republics in Europe, its diplomats mingled smoothly with the aristocratic representatives at the royal courts. Prime ministers and leading politicians generally paid little attention to foreign affairs, allowing a handful of senior men to control policy. In the decades before the First World War they dominated the embassies in the 10 major countries where France had an ambassador (elsewhere, they set lower-ranking ministers). They included Théophile Delcassé, the foreign minister from 1898 to 1905; Paul Cambon, in London, 1890-1920; Jules Jusserand, in Washington from 1902 to 1924; and Camille Barrère, in Rome from 1897 to 1924. In terms of foreign policy, there was general agreement about the need for high protective tariffs, which kept agricultural prices high. After the defeat by the Germans, there was a strong widespread anti-German sentiment focused on revanchism and regaining Alsace and Lorraine. The Empire was a matter of great pride, and service as administrators, soldiers and missionaries was a high status, occupation.[47]
French foreign policy from 1871 to 1914 showed a dramatic transformation from a humiliated power with no friends and not much of an empire in 1871, to the centerpiece of the European alliance system in 1914, with a flourishing colonial empire that was second in size only to Great Britain. Although religion was a hotly contested matter and domestic politics, the Catholic Church made missionary work and church building a specialty in the colonies. Most Frenchman ignored foreign policy; its issues were a low priority in politics.[48][49]

1871–1900

French foreign policy was based on a fear of Germany—whose larger size and fast-growing economy could not be matched—combined with a revanchism that demanded the return of Alsace and Lorraine.[50] At the same time, imperialism was a factor.[51] In the midst of the Scramble for Africa, French and British interest in Africa came into conflict. The most dangerous episode was the Fashoda Incident of 1898 when French troops tried to claim an area in the Southern Sudan, and a British force purporting to be acting in the interests of the Khedive of Egypt arrived. Under heavy pressure the French withdrew, securing Anglo-Egyptian control over the area. The status quo was recognised by an agreement between the two states acknowledging British control over Egypt, while France became the dominant power in Morocco, but France suffered a humiliating defeat overall.[52]

The Suez Canal, initially built by the French, became a joint British-French project in 1875, as both saw it as vital to maintaining their influence and empires in Asia. In 1882, ongoing civil disturbances in Egypt prompted Britain to intervene, extending a hand to France. The government allowed Britain to take effective control of Egypt.[53]

France had colonies in Asia and looked for alliances and found in Japan a possible ally. At Japan’s request Paris sent military missions in 1872–1880, in 1884–1889 and in 1918–1919 to help modernize the Japanese army. Conflicts with China over Indochina climaxed during the Sino-French War (1884–1885). Admiral Courbet destroyed the Chinese fleet anchored at Foochow. The treaty ending the war put France in a protectorate over northern and central Vietnam, which it divided into Tonkin and Annam.[54]

Under the leadership of expansionist Jules Ferry, the Third Republic greatly expanded the French colonial empire. France acquired Indochina, Madagascar, vast territories in West Africa and Central Africa, and much of Polynesia.[55]

1900–1914

Marianne (left), Mother Russia (centre) and Britannia (right) personifying the Triple Entente as opposed to the Triple Alliance.

In an effort to isolate Germany, France went to great pains to woo Russia and Great Britain, first by means of the Franco-Russian Alliance of 1894, then the 1904 Entente Cordiale with Great Britain, and finally the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907 which became the Triple Entente. This alliance with Britain and Russia against Germany and Austria eventually led Russia and Britain to enter World War I as France’s Allies.[56]

French foreign policy in the years leading up to the First World War was based largely on hostility to and fear of German power. France secured an alliance with the Russian Empire in 1894 after diplomatic talks between Germany and Russia had failed to produce any working agreement. The Franco-Russian Alliance served as the cornerstone of French foreign policy until 1917. A further link with Russia was provided by vast French investments and loans before 1914. In 1904, French foreign minister Théophile Delcassé negotiated the Entente Cordiale with Lord Lansdowne, the British Foreign Secretary, an agreement that ended a long period of Anglo-French tensions and hostility. The Entente Cordiale, which functioned as an informal Anglo-French alliance, was further strengthened by the First and Second Moroccan crises of 1905 and 1911, and by secret military and naval staff talks. Delcassé’s rapprochement with Britain was controversial in France as Anglophobia was prominent around the start of the 20th century, sentiments that had been much reinforced by the Fashoda Incident of 1898, in which Britain and France had almost gone to war, and by the Boer War, in which French public opinion was very much on the side of Britain’s enemies.[57] Ultimately, the fear of German power was the link that bound Britain and France together.[58]

Preoccupied with internal problems, France paid little attention to foreign policy in the period between late 1912 and mid-1914, although it did extend military service to three years from two over strong Socialist objections in 1913.[59] The rapidly escalating Balkan crisis of July 1914 surprised France, and not much attention was given to conditions that led to the outbreak of World War I.[60]

Overseas colonies

Monument in Bonifacio commemorating the soldiers of the French Foreign Legion killed on duty for France during the South-oranais campaign (1897–1902).

The Third Republic, in line with the imperialistic ethos of the day sweeping Europe, developed a French colonial empire. The largest and most important were in French North Africa and French Indochina. French administrators, soldiers, and missionaries were dedicated to bringing French civilization to the local populations of these colonies (the mission civilisatrice). Some French businessmen went overseas, but there were few permanent settlements. The Catholic Church became deeply involved. Its missionaries were unattached men committed to staying permanently, learning local languages and customs, and converting the natives to Christianity.[61]

France successfully integrated the colonies into its economic system. By 1939, one third of its exports went to its colonies; Paris businessmen invested heavily in agriculture, mining, and shipping. In Indochina, new plantations were opened for rubber and rice. In Algeria, land held by rich settlers rose from 1,600,000 hectares in 1890 to 2,700,000 hectares in 1940; combined with similar operations in Morocco and Tunisia, the result was that North African agriculture became one of the most efficient in the world. Metropolitan France was a captive market, so large landowners could borrow large sums in Paris to modernize agricultural techniques with tractors and mechanized equipment. The result was a dramatic increase in the export of wheat, corn, peaches, and olive oil. French Algeria became the fourth most important wine producer in the world.[62][63]

Opposition to colonial rule led to rebellions in Morocco in 1925, Syria in 1926, and Indochina in 1930, all of which the colonial army quickly suppressed.

First World War

French poilus sustained the highest number of casualties among the Allies in World War I.

Entry

France entered World War I because Russia and Germany were going to war, and France honored its treaty obligations to Russia.[64] Decisions were all made by senior officials, especially president Raymond Poincaré, Premier and Foreign Minister René Viviani, and the ambassador to Russia Maurice Paléologue. Not involved in the decision-making were military leaders, arms manufacturers, the newspapers, pressure groups, party leaders, or spokesmen for French nationalism.[65]

Britain wanted to remain neutral but entered the war when the German army invaded Belgium on its way to Paris. The French victory at the Battle of the Marne in September 1914 ensured the failure of Germany’s strategy to win quickly. It became a long and very bloody war of attrition, but France emerged on the winning side.

French intellectuals welcomed the war to avenge the humiliation of defeat and loss of territory in 1871. At the grass roots, Paul Déroulède’s League of Patriots, a proto-fascist movement based in the lower middle class, had advocated a war of revenge since the 1880s.[66] The strong socialist movement had long opposed war and preparation for war. However, when its leader Jean Jaurès, a pacifist, was assassinated at the start of the war, the French socialist movement abandoned its anti-militarist positions and joined the national war effort. Prime Minister René Viviani called for unity in the form of a “Union sacrée” (“Sacred Union”), and in France there were few dissenters.[67]

The fighting

After the French army successfully defended Paris in 1914, the conflict became one of trench warfare along the Western Front, with very high casualty rates. It became a war of attrition. Until spring of 1918, amazing as it seems, there were almost no territorial gains or losses for either side. Georges Clemenceau, whose ferocious energy and determination earned him the nickname le Tigre (“the Tiger”), led a coalition government after 1917 that was determined to defeat Germany. Meanwhile, large swaths of northeastern France fell under the brutal control of German occupiers.[68] The bloodbath of the war of attrition reached its apogee in the Battles of Verdun and the Somme. By 1917 mutiny was in the air. A consensus among soldiers agreed to resist any German attacks, but to postpone French attacks until the Americans arrived.[69]

A state of emergency was proclaimed and censorship imposed, leading to the creation in 1915 of the satirical newspaper Le Canard enchaîné to bypass the censorship. The economy was hurt by the German invasion of major industrial areas in the northeast. Although the occupied area in 1914 contained only 14% of France’s industrial workers, it produced 58% of the steel and 40% of the coal.[70]

War economy

In 1914, the government implemented a war economy with controls and rationing. By 1915, the war economy went into high gear, as millions of French women and colonial men replaced the civilian roles of many of the 3 million soldiers. Considerable assistance came with the influx of American food, money and raw materials in 1917. This war economy would have important reverberations after the war, as it would be a first breach of liberal theories of non-interventionism.[71]

The production of munitions proved a striking success, well ahead of Britain or the United States or even Germany. The challenges were monumental: the German seizure of the industrial heartland in the northeast, a shortage of manpower, and a mobilization plan that left France on the brink of defeat. Nevertheless, by 1918 France was producing more munitions and artillery than its allies, while supplying virtually all of the heavy equipment needed by the arriving American army. (The Americans left their heavy weapons at home in order to use the available transports to send as many soldiers as possible.) Building on foundations laid in the early months of the war, the Ministry of War matched production to the operational and tactical needs of the army, with an emphasis on meeting the insatiable demands for artillery. The elaborately designed link between industry and the army, and the compromises made to ensure that artillery and shells of the required quantity and quality were supplied, proved crucial to French success on the battlefield.[72]

In the end the damages caused by the war amounted to about 113% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 1913, chiefly the destruction of productive capital and housing. The national debt rose from 66% of GDP in 1913 to 170% in 1919, reflecting the heavy use of bond issues to pay for the war. Inflation was severe, with the franc losing over half its value against the British pound.[73]

Morale

To uplift the French national spirit, many intellectuals began to fashion patriotic propaganda. The Union sacrée sought to draw the French people closer to the actual front and thus garner social, political, and economic support for the soldiers.[74] Antiwar sentiment was very weak among the general population. However among intellectuals there was a pacifistic “Ligue des Droits de l’Homme” (League for the Rights of Mankind) (LDH). It kept a low profile in the first two years of war, holding its first congress in November 1916 against the background slaughters French soldiers on the Western Front. The theme was the “conditions for a lasting peace.” Discussions focused on France’s relationship with its autocratic, undemocratic ally, Russia, and in particular how to square support for all that the LDH stood for with Russia’s bad treatment of its oppressed minorities, especially the Poles. Secondly, many delegates wanted to issue a demand for a negotiated peace. This was rejected only after a lengthy debate showed how the LDH was divided between a majority that believed that arbitration could be applied only in times of peace, and a minority that demanded an immediate end to the carnage.[75] In spring 1918 the desperate German offensive failed, and the Allies successfully pushed back. The French people of all classes rallied to Prime Minister George Clemenceau’s demand for total victory and harsh peace terms.[76]

Peace and revenge

The Council of Four in Versailles, 1919: David Lloyd George of Britain, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando of Italy, Georges Clemenceau of France and Woodrow Wilson of the U.S.

A change of fortunes in the late summer and autumn of 1918 led to the defeat of Germany in World War I. The most important factors that led to the surrender of Germany were its exhaustion after four years of fighting and the arrival of large numbers of troops from the United States beginning in the summer of 1918. Peace terms were imposed on Germany by the Big Four: Great Britain, France, the United States, and Italy. Clemenceau demanded the harshest terms and won most of them in the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Germany was largely disarmed and forced to take full responsibility for the war, meaning that it was expected to pay huge war reparations. France regained Alsace-Lorraine, and the German industrial Saar Basin, a coal and steel region, was occupied by France. The German African colonies, such as Kamerun, were partitioned between France and Britain. From the remains of the Ottoman Empire, Germany’s ally during World War I that also collapsed at the end of the conflict, France acquired the Mandate of Syria and the Mandate of Lebanon.[77]

Interwar period

French soldiers observing the Rhine at Deutsches Eck, Koblenz, during the Occupation of the Rhineland.

From 1919 to 1940, France was governed by two main groupings of political alliances. On the one hand, there was the right-center Bloc national led by Georges Clemenceau, Raymond Poincaré and Aristide Briand. The Bloc was supported by business and finance and was friendly toward the army and the Church. Its main goals were revenge against Germany, economic prosperity for French business and stability in domestic affairs. On the other hand, there was the left-center Cartel des gauches dominated by Édouard Herriot of the Radical Socialist party. Herriot’s party was in fact neither radical nor socialist, rather it represented the interests of small business and the lower middle class. It was intensely anti-clerical and resisted the Catholic Church. The Cartel was occasionally willing to form a coalition with the Socialist Party. Anti-democratic groups, such as the Communists on the left and royalists on the right, played relatively minor roles.

The flow of reparations from Germany played a central role in strengthening French finances. The government began a large-scale reconstruction program to repair wartime damages, and was burdened with a very large public debt. Taxation policies were inefficient, with widespread evasion, and when the financial crisis grew worse in 1926, Poincaré levied new taxes, reformed the system of tax collection, and drastically reduced government spending to balance the budget and stabilize the franc. Holders of the national debt lost 80% of the face value of their bonds, but runaway inflation did not occur. From 1926 to 1929, the French economy prospered and manufacturing flourished.

Foreign observers in the 1920s noted the excesses of the French upper classes, but emphasized the rapid re-building of the regions of northeastern France that had seen warfare and occupation. They reported the improvement of financial markets, the brilliance of the post-war literature and the revival of public morale.[78]

Great Depression

The world economic crisis known as the Great Depression affected France a bit later than other countries, hitting around 1931.[79] While the GDP in the 1920s grew at the very strong rate of 4.43% per year, the 1930s rate fell to only 0.63%.[80] In comparison to countries such as the United States, Great Britain, and Germany, the depression was relatively mild: unemployment peaked under 5%, and the fall in production was at most 20% below the 1929 output. In addition, there was no banking crisis.[73][81]

In 1931 the well-organized veterans movement demanded and received pensions for their wartime service. This was funded by a lottery–the first one allowed in France since 1836. The lottery immediately became popular, and became a major foundation of the annual budget. Although the Great Depression was not yet severe, the lottery appealed to charitable impulses, greed, and respect for veterans. These contradictory impulses produced cash that make possible the French welfare state, at the crossroads of philanthropy, market and public sphere.[82]

Foreign policy

Foreign policy was of growing concern interest to France during the inter-war period, with fears of German militarism in the forefront. The horrible devastation of the war, including the death of 1.5 million French soldiers, the devastation of much of the steel and coal regions, and the long-term costs for veterans, were always remembered. France demanded that Germany assume many of the costs incurred from the war through annual reparation payments. French foreign and security policy used the balance of power and alliance politics to compel Germany to comply with its obligations under the Treaty of Versailles. the problem was that the United States and Britain rejected a defensive alliance. Potential allies in Eastern Europe, such as Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were too weak to confront Germany. Russia have been the long term French ally in the East, but now it was controlled by deeply distrusted in Paris. Francis transition to a more conciliatory policy in 1924 was a response to pressure from Britain and the United States, as well as to French weakness.[83]

France enthusiastically joined the League of Nations in 1919, but felt betrayed by President Woodrow Wilson, when his promises that the United States would sign a defence treaty with France and join the League were rejected by the United States Congress. The main goal of French foreign policy was to preserve French power and neutralize the threat posed by Germany. When Germany fell behind in reparations payments in 1923, France seized the industrialized Ruhr region. The British Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, who viewed reparations as impossible to pay successfully, pressured French Premier Édouard Herriot into a series of concessions to Germany. In total, France received ₤1600 million from Germany before reparations ended in 1932, but France had to pay war debts to the United States, and thus the net gain was only about ₤600 million.[84]

France tried to create a web of defensive treaties against Germany with Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. There was little effort to build up the military strength or technological capabilities of these small allies, and they remained weak and divided among themselves. In the end, the alliances proved worthless. France also constructed a powerful defensive wall in the form of a network of fortresses along its German border. It was called the Maginot Line and was trusted to compensate for the heavy manpower losses of the First World War.[85]

The main goal of foreign policy was the diplomatic response to the demands of the French army in the 1920s and 1930s to form alliances against the German threat, especially with Britain and with smaller countries in central Europe.[86][87]

Appeasement was increasingly adopted as Germany grew stronger after 1933, for France suffered a stagnant economy, unrest in its colonies, and bitter internal political fighting. Appeasement, says historian Martin Thomas was not a coherent diplomatic strategy or a copying of the British.[88] France appeased Italy on the Ethiopia question because it could not afford to risk an alliance between Italy and Germany.[89] When Hitler sent troops into the Rhineland—the part of Germany where no troops were allowed—neither Paris nor London would risk war, and nothing was done.[90] The military alliance with Czechoslovakia was sacrificed at Hitler’s demand when France and Britain agreed to his terms at Munich in 1938.[91][92]

The Popular Front

In 1920, the socialist movement split, with the majority forming the French Communist Party. The minority, led by Léon Blum, kept the name Socialist, and by 1932 greatly outnumbered the disorganized Communists. When Stalin told French Communists to collaborate with others on the left in 1934, a popular front was made possible with an emphasis on unity against fascism. In 1936, the Socialists and the Radicals formed a coalition, with Communist support, to complete it.[93]

The Popular Front’s narrow victory in the elections of the spring of 1936 brought to power a government headed by the Socialists in alliance with the Radicals. The Communists supported its domestic policies, but did not take any seats in the cabinet. The prime minister was Léon Blum, a technocratic socialist who avoided making decisions. In two years in office, it focused on labor law changes sought by the trade unions, especially the mandatory 40-hour work week, down from 48 hours. All workers were given a two-week paid vacation. A collective bargaining law facilitated union growth; membership soared from 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 in one year, and workers’ political strength was enhanced when the Communist and non-Communist unions joined together. The government nationalized the armaments industry and tried to seize control of the Bank of France in an effort to break the power of the richest 200 families in the country. Farmers received higher prices, and the government purchased surplus wheat, but farmers had to pay higher taxes. Wave after wave of strikes hit French industry in 1936. Wage rates went up 48%, but the work week was cut back by 17%, and the cost of living rose 46%, so there was little real gain to the average worker. The higher prices for French products resulted in a decline in overseas sales, which the government tried to neutralize by devaluing the franc, a measure that led to a reduction in the value of bonds and savings accounts. The overall result was significant damage to the French economy, and a lower rate of growth.[94]

Most historians judge the Popular Front a failure, although some call it a partial success. There is general agreement that it failed to live up to the expectations of the left.[95][96]

Politically, the Popular Front fell apart over Blum’s refusal to intervene vigorously in the Spanish Civil War, as demanded by the Communists.[97] Culturally, the Popular Front forced the Communists to come to terms with elements of French society they had long ridiculed, such as patriotism, the veterans’ sacrifice, the honor of being an army officer, the prestige of the bourgeois, and the leadership of the Socialist Party and the parliamentary Republic. Above all, the Communists portrayed themselves as French nationalists. Young Communists dressed in costumes from the revolutionary period and the scholars glorified the Jacobins as heroic predecessors.[98]

Conservatism

Historians have turned their attention to the right in the interwar period, looking at various categories of conservatives and Catholic groups as well as the far right fascist movement.[99] Conservative supporters of the old order were linked with the “haute bourgeoisie” (upper middle class), as well as nationalism, military power, the maintenance of the empire, and national security. The favorite enemy was the left, especially as represented by socialists. The conservatives were divided on foreign affairs. Several important conservative politicians sustained the journal Gringoire, foremost among them André Tardieu. The Revue des deux Mondes, with its prestigious past and sharp articles, was a major conservative organ.

Summer camps and youth groups were organized to promote conservative values in working-class families, and help them design a career path. The Croix de feu/Parti social français (CF/PSF) was especially active.[100]

Relations with Catholicism

France’s republican government had long been strongly anti-clerical. The Law of Separation of Church and State in 1905 had expelled many religious orders, declared all Church buildings government property, and led to the closing of most Church schools. Since that time, Pope Benedict XV had sought a rapprochement, but it was not achieved until the reign of Pope Pius XI (1922–39). In the papal encyclical Maximam Gravissimamque (1924), many areas of dispute were tacitly settled and a bearable coexistence made possible.[101]

The Catholic Church expanded its social activities after 1920, especially by forming youth movements. For example, the largest organization of young working women was the Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne/Féminine (JOC/F), founded in 1928 by the progressive social activist priest Joseph Cardijn. It encouraged young working women to adopt Catholic approaches to morality and to prepare for future roles as mothers at the same time as it promoted notions of spiritual equality and encouraged young women to take active, independent, and public roles in the present. The model of youth groups was expanded to reach adults in the Ligue ouvrière chrétienne féminine (“League of Working Christian Women”) and the Mouvement populaire des familles.[102][103]

Catholics on the far right supported several shrill, but small, groupings that preached doctrines similar to fascism. The most influential was Action Française, founded in 1905 by the vitriolic author Charles Maurras. It was intensely nationalistic, anti-Semitic and reactionary, calling for a return to the monarchy and domination of the state by the Catholic Church. In 1926, Pope Pius XI condemned Action Française because the pope decided that it was folly for the French Church to continue to tie its fortunes to the unlikely dream of a monarchist restoration and distrusted the movement’s tendency to defend the Catholic religion in merely utilitarian and nationalistic terms. Action Française never fully recovered from the denunciation, but it was active in the Vichy era.[104][105]

Downfall of the Third Republic

French Char B1 tank destroyed in 1940

The looming threat to France of Nazi Germany was delayed at the Munich Conference of 1938. France and Great Britain abandoned Czechoslovakia and appeased the Germans by giving in to their demands concerning the acquisition of the Sudetenland (the portions of Czechoslovakia with German-speaking majorities). Intensive rearmament programs began in 1936 and were re-doubled in 1938, but they would only bear fruit in 1939 and 1940.[106]

Historians have debated two themes regarding the sudden collapse of the French government in 1940. One emphasizes a broad cultural and political interpretation, pointing to failures, internal dissension, and a sense of malaise that ran through all French society.[107] A second one blames the poor military planning by the French High Command. According to the British historian Julian Jackson, the Dyle Plan conceived by French General Maurice Gamelin was destined for failure, since it drastically miscalculated the ensuing attack by German Army Group B into central Belgium.[108] The Dyle Plan embodied the primary war plan of the French Army to stave off Wehrmacht Army Groups A, B, and C with their much revered Panzer divisions in the Low Countries. As the French 1st, 7th, 9th armies and the British Expeditionary Force moved in Belgium to meet Army Group B, the German Army Group A outflanked the Allies at the Battle of Sedan of 1940 by coming through the Ardennes, a broken and heavily forested terrain that had been believed to be impassable to armoured units. The Germans also rushed along the Somme valley toward the English Channel coast to catch the Allies in a large pocket that forced them into the disastrous Battle of Dunkirk. As a result of this brilliant German strategy, embodied in the Manstein Plan, the Allies were defeated in stunning fashion. France had to accept the terms imposed by Adolf Hitler at the Second Armistice at Compiègne, which was signed on 22 June 1940 in the same railway carriage in which the Germans had signed the armistice that ended the First World War on 11 November 1918.[109]

The Third Republic officially ended on 10 July 1940, when the French parliament gave full powers to Marshal Philippe Pétain, who proclaimed in the following days the État Français (the “French State”), commonly known as the “Vichy Regime” or “Vichy France” following its re-location to the town of Vichy in central France. Charles de Gaulle had made the Appeal of 18 June earlier, exhorting all French not to accept defeat and to rally to Free France and continue the fight with the Allies.

Throughout its seventy-year history, the Third Republic stumbled from crisis to crisis, from dissolved parliaments to the appointment of a mentally ill president (Paul Deschanel). It fought bitterly through the First World War against the German Empire, and the inter-war years saw much political strife with a growing rift between the right and the left. When France was liberated in 1944, few called for a restoration of the Third Republic, and a Constituent Assembly was established by the government of a provisional French Republic to draft a constitution for a successor, established as the Fourth Republic (1946 to 1958) that December, a parliamentary system not unlike the Third Republic.

Interpreting the Third Republic

Adolphe Thiers, first president of the Third Republic, called republicanism in the 1870s “the form of government that divides France least.”[110] France might have agreed about being a republic, but it never fully accepted the Third Republic. France’s longest-lasting governmental system since before the 1789 Revolution, the Third Republic was consigned to the history books as being unloved and unwanted in the end. Yet, its longevity showed that it was capable of weathering many storms, particularly the First World War.

One of the most surprising aspects of the Third Republic was that it constituted the first stable republican government in French history and the first to win the support of the majority of the population, but it was intended as an interim, temporary government. Following Thiers’s example, most of the Orleanist monarchists progressively rallied themselves to the Republican institutions, thus giving support of a large part of the elites to the Republican form of government. On the other hand, the Legitimists remained harshly anti-Republicans, while Charles Maurras founded the Action française in 1898. This far-right monarchist movement became influential in the Quartier Latin in the 1930s. It also became a model for various far right leagues that participated to the 6 February 1934 riots that toppled the Second Cartel des gauches government.

Historiography of decadence

The Representatives of Foreign Powers Coming to Greet the Republic as a Sign of Peace, 1907 painting by Henri Rousseau

A major historiographical debate about the latter years of the Third Republic concerns the concept of La décadence (the decadence). Proponents of the concept have argued that the French defeat of 1940 was caused by what they regard as the innate decadence and moral rot of France.[111] The notion of la décadence as an explanation for the defeat began almost as soon as the armistice was signed in June 1940. Marshal Philippe Pétain stated in one radio broadcast, “The regime led the country to ruin.” In another, he said “Our defeat is punishment for our moral failures” that France had “rotted” under the Third Republic.[112] In 1942 the Riom Trial was held bringing several leaders of the Third Republic to trial for declaring war on Germany in 1939 and accusing them of not doing enough to prepare France for war.

John Gunther in 1940, before the defeat of France, reported that the Third Republic (“the reductio ad absurdum of democracy”) had had 103 cabinets with an average length of eight months, and that 15 former prime ministers were living.[113]Marc Bloch in his book Strange Defeat (written in 1940, and published posthumously in 1946) argued that the French upper classes had ceased to believe in the greatness of France following the Popular Front victory of 1936, and so had allowed themselves to fall under the spell of fascism and defeatism. Bloch said that the Third Republic suffered from a deep internal “rot” that generated bitter social tensions, unstable governments, pessimism and defeatism, fearful and incoherent diplomacy, hesitant and shortsighted military strategy, and, finally, facilitated German victory in June 1940.[114] The French journalist André Géraud, who wrote under the pen name Pertinax in his 1943 book, The Gravediggers of France indicted the pre-war leadership for what he regarded as total incompetence.[114]

After 1945, the concept of la décadence was widely embraced by different French political fractions as a way of discrediting their rivals. The French Communist Party blamed the defeat on the “corrupt” and “decadent” capitalist Third Republic (conveniently hiding its own sabotaging of the French war effort during the Nazi-Soviet Pact and its opposition to the “imperialist war” against Germany in 1939–40).

From a different perspective, Gaullists called the Third Republic a “weak” regime and argued that if France had a regime headed by a strong-man president like Charles de Gaulle before 1940, the defeat could have been avoided.[115] In power, they did exactly that and started the Fifth Republic. Then was a group of French historians, centered around Pierre Renouvin and his protégés Jean-Baptiste Duroselle and Maurice Baumont, that started a new type of international history to take into what Renouvin called forces profondes (profound forces) such as the influence of domestic politics on foreign policy.[116] However, Renouvin and his followers still followed the concept of la décadence with Renouvin arguing that French society under the Third Republic was “sorely lacking in initiative and dynamism” and Baumont arguing that French politicians had allowed “personal interests” to override “…any sense of the general interest.”[117]

In 1979, Duroselle published a well-known book entitled La Décadence that offered a total condemnation of the entire Third Republic as weak, cowardly and degenerate.[118] Even more so then in France, the concept of la décadence was accepted in the English-speaking world, where British historians such A. J. P. Taylor often described the Third Republic as a tottering regime on the verge of collapse.[119]

A notable example of the la décadence thesis was William L. Shirer’s 1969 book The Collapse of the Third Republic, where the French defeat is explained as the result of the moral weakness and cowardice of the French leaders.[119] Shirer portrayed Édouard Daladier as a well-meaning, but weak willed; Georges Bonnet as a corrupt opportunist even willing to do a deal with the Nazis; Marshal Maxime Weygand as a reactionary soldier more interested in destroying the Third Republic than in defending it; General Maurice Gamelin as incompetent and defeatist, Pierre Laval as a crooked crypto-fascist; Charles Maurras (whom Shirer represented as France’s most influential intellectual) as the preacher of “drivel”; Marshal Philippe Pétain as the senile puppet of Laval and the French royalists, and Paul Reynaud as a petty politician controlled by his mistress, Countess Hélène de Portes. Modern historians who subscribe to la décadence argument or take a very critical view of France’s pre-1940 leadership without necessarily subscribing to la décadence thesis include Talbot Imlay, Anthony Adamthwaite, Serge Berstein, Michael Carely, Nicole Jordan, Igor Lukes, and Richard Crane.[120]

The first historian to denounce la décadence concept explicitly was the Canadian historian Robert J. Young, who, in his 1978 book In Command of France argued that French society was not decadent, that the defeat of 1940 was due to only military factors, not moral failures, and that the Third Republic’s leaders had done their best under the difficult conditions of the 1930s.[121] Young argued that the decadence, if it existed, did not impact French military planning and readiness to fight.[122][123] Young finds that American reporters in the late 1930s portrayed a calm, united, competent, and confident France. They praised French art, music, literature, theater, and fashion, and stressed French resilience and pluck in the face of growing Nazi aggression and brutality. Nothing in the tone or content of the articles foretold the crushing military defeat and collapse of June 1940.[124]

Young has been followed by other historians such as Robert Frankenstein, Jean-Pierre Azema, Jean-Louis Crémieux-Brilhac, Martin Alexander, Eugenia Kiesling, and Martin Thomas, who argued that French weakness on the international stage was due to structural factors as the impact of the Great Depression had on French rearmament and had nothing to do with French leaders being too “decadent” and cowardly to stand up to Nazi Germany.[125]

Timeline to 1914

  • September 1870: following the collapse of the Empire of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War the Third Republic was created and the Government of National Defence ruled during the Siege of Paris (19 September 1870 – 28 January 1871).
  • May 1871: The Treaty of Frankfurt (1871), the peace treaty ending the Franco-Prussian War. France lost Alsace and most of Lorraine, and had to pay a cash indemnity to the new nation of Germany.
  • 1871: The Paris Commune. In a formal sense the Paris Commune of 1871 was simply the local authority that exercised power in Paris for two months in the spring of 1871. It was separate from that of the new government under Adolphe Thiers. The regime came to an end after a bloody suppression by Thiers’s government in May 1871.
  • 1872–73: After the nation faced the immediate political problems, it needed to establish a permanent form of government. Thiers wanted to base it on the constitutional monarchy of Britain, however he realised France would have to remain republican. In expressing this belief, he violated the Pact of Bordeaux, angering the Monarchists in the Assembly. As a result, he was forced to resign in 1873.
  • 1873: Marshal MacMahon, a conservative Roman Catholic, was made President of the Republic. The Duc de Broglie, an Orleanist, as the prime minister. Unintentionally, the Monarchists had replaced an absolute monarchy by a parliamentary one.
  • Feb 1875: Series of parliamentary Acts established the organic or constitutional laws of the new republic. At its apex was a President of the Republic. A two-chamber parliament was created, along with a ministry under the President of the Council, who was nominally answerable to both the President of the Republic and Parliament.
  • May 1877: with public opinion swinging heavily in favour of a republic, the President of the Republic, Patrice MacMahon, himself a monarchist, made one last desperate attempt to salvage the monarchical cause by dismissing the republic-minded Prime Minister Jules Simon and reappointing the monarchist leader the Duc de Broglie to office. He then dissolved parliament and called a general election. If his hope had been to halt the move towards republicanism, it backfired spectacularly, with the President being accused of having staged a constitutional coup d’état, known as le seize Mai after the date when it happened.
  • 1879: Republicans returned triumphant, finally killing off the prospect of a restored French monarchy by gaining control of the Senate on 5 January 1879. MacMahon himself resigned on 30 January 1879, leaving a seriously weakened presidency in the shape of Jules Grévy.
  • 1880: The Jesuits and several other religious orders were dissolved, and their members were forbidden to teach in state schools.
  • 1881: Following the 16 May crisis in 1877, Legitimists were pushed out of power, and the Republic was finally governed by republicans, called Opportunist Republicans as they were in favor of moderate changes to firmly establish the new regime. The Jules Ferry laws on free, mandatory and secular public education, voted in 1881 and 1882, were one of the first sign of this republican control of the Republic, as public education was not anymore in the exclusive control of the Catholic congregations.
  • 1882: Religious instruction was removed from all state schools. The measures were accompanied by the abolition of chaplains in the armed forces and the removal of nuns from hospitals. Due to the fact that France was mainly Roman Catholic, this was greatly opposed.
  • 1889: The Republic was rocked by the sudden but short-timed Boulanger crisis spawning the rise of the modern intellectual Émile Zola. Later, the Panama scandals also were quickly criticized by the press.
  • 1893: Following anarchist Auguste Vaillant’s bombing at the National Assembly, killing nobody but injuring one, deputies voted the lois scélérates which limited the 1881 freedom of the press laws. The following year, President Sadi Carnot was stabbed to death by Italian anarchist Caserio.
  • 1894: The Dreyfus Affair: a Jewish artillery officer, Alfred Dreyfus, was arrested on charges relating to conspiracy and espionage. Allegedly, Dreyfus had handed over important military documents discussing the designs of a new French artillery piece to a German military attaché named Max von Schwartzkoppen.
  • 1894: The Franco-Russian Alliance was formed.
  • 1898: Writer Émile Zola published an article entitled J’Accuse…! The article alleged an anti-Semitic conspiracy in the highest ranks of the military to scapegoat Dreyfus, tacitly supported by the government and the Catholic Church. The Fashoda Incident nearly causes an Anglo-French war.
  • 1901: The Radical-Socialist Party is founded and remained the most important party of the Third Republic starting at the end of the 19th century. The same year, followers of Léon Gambetta, such as Raymond Poincaré, who became President of the Council in the 1920s, created the Democratic Republican Alliance (ARD), which became the main center-right party after World War I and the parliamentary disappearance of monarchists and Bonapartists.
  • 1904: French foreign minister Théophile Delcassé negotiated with Lord Lansdowne, the British Foreign Secretary, the Entente Cordiale in 1904.
  • 1905: The government introduced the law on the separation of Church and State, heavily supported by Emile Combes, who had been strictly enforcing the 1901 voluntary association law and the 1904 law on religious congregations’ freedom of teaching (more than 2,500 private teaching establishments were by then closed by the state, causing bitter opposition from the Catholic and conservative population).
  • 1906: It became apparent that the documents handed over to Schwartzkoppen by Dreyfus in 1894 were a forgery and thus Dreyfus was pardoned after serving 12 years in prison.
  • 1914: After SFIO (French Section of the Workers’ International) leader Jean Jaurès’s assassination a few days before the German invasion of Belgium, the French socialist movement, as the whole of the Second International, abandoned its antimilitarist positions and joined the national war effort. First World War begins.

See also

  • Interwar France, 1919-1939
  • French Fourth Republic
  • French Fifth Republic
  • French colonial empire
  • French Presidential elections under the Third Republic
  • 6 February 1934 crisis
  • 16 May 1877 crisis
  • Dreyfus Affair
  • France in Modern Times I (1792-1920)
  • France in Modern Times II (1920-today)
  • List of French possessions and colonies

Notes

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  4. ^ D.W. Brogan, France Under the Republic: The Development of Modern France (1870-1939) (1940) pp 106-13.
  5. ^ Brogan, France Under the Republic: The Development of Modern France (1870-1939) (1940) pp 127-43.
  6. ^ D.W. Brogan, France Under the Republic: The Development of Modern France (1870-1939) (1940) pp 144-79.
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  106. ^ Thomas, Martin (1996). Britain, France and Appeasement: Anglo-French Relations in the Popular Front Era. Washington: Berg Publishers. ISBN 978-1-85973-187-1.
  107. ^ Weber, Eugen (1994). The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s. New York: W.W. Norton. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-393-03671-8.
  108. ^ Jackson, Julian (2003). The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-19-280300-9.
  109. ^ Jackson, Julian (2003). The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 40, 181. ISBN 978-0-19-280300-9.
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  112. ^ Jackson, Peter (2006). “Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War”. History Compass. 4 (5): 870–905 [p. 874]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00344.x.
  113. ^ Gunther, John (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 182.
  114. ^ ab Jackson, Peter (2006). “Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War”. History Compass. 4 (5): 870–905 [p. 873]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00344.x.
  115. ^ Jackson, Peter (2006). “Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War”. History Compass. 4 (5): 870–905 [p. 875]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00344.x.
  116. ^ Jackson, Peter (2006). “Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War”. History Compass. 4 (5): 870–905 [p. 877]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00344.x.
  117. ^ Jackson, Peter (2006). “Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War”. History Compass. 4 (5): 870–905 [p. 878]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00344.x.
  118. ^ Jackson, Peter (2006). “Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War”. History Compass. 4 (5): 870–905 [p. 884]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00344.x.
  119. ^ ab Jackson, Peter (2006). “Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War”. History Compass. 4 (5): 870–905 [p. 876]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00344.x.
  120. ^ Jackson, Peter (2006). “Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War”. History Compass. 4 (5): 870–905 [pp. 885–86]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00344.x.
  121. ^ Jackson, Peter (2006). “Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War”. History Compass. 4 (5): 870–905 [pp. 874–80]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00344.x.
  122. ^ Zahniser, Marvin R. (1987). “The French Connection: Thirty Years of French-American Relations”. Reviews in American History. 15 (3): 486–492 [p. 490]. JSTOR 2702049.
  123. ^ Young, Robert J. (2005). An Uncertain Idea of France. New York: P. Lang. pp. 259–261. ISBN 978-0-8204-7481-6.
  124. ^ Young, Robert J. (1998). “Forgotten Words and Faded Images: American Journalists before the Fall of France, 1940”. Historical Reflections. 24 (2): 205–229. JSTOR 41299115.
  125. ^ Jackson, Peter (2006). “Post-War Politics and the Historiography of French Strategy and Diplomacy Before the Second World War”. History Compass. 4 (5): 870–905 [pp. 880–83]. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2006.00344.x.

Bibliography

Surveys

  • Bell,David, et al. A Biographical Dictionary of French Political Leaders since 1870 (1990), 400 short articles by experts
  • Bernard, Philippe, and Henri Dubief. The Decline of the Third Republic, 1914–1938 (The Cambridge History of Modern France) (1988) excerpt and text search
  • Beaupré, Nicolas. Les Grandes Guerres 1914–1945 (Paris: Éditions Belin, 2012) 1152 pp.
    ISBN 978-2-7011-3387-4; in French; online review in English by James E. Connolly, Nov. 2013)
  • Brogan, D. W The development of modern France (1870–1939) (1953) online
  • Bury, J. P. T. France, 1814–1940 (2003) ch 9–16
  • Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed. 1922) comprises the 11th edition plus three new volumes 30-31-32 that cover events since 1911 with very thorough coverage of the war as well as every country and colony. Included also in 13th edition (1926) partly online

    • full text of vol 30 ABBE to ENGLISH HISTORY online free
  • Fortescue, William. The Third Republic in France, 1870–1940: Conflicts and Continuities (2000) excerpt and text search
  • Furet, François. Revolutionary France 1770-1880 (1995), pp 492–537. survey of political history by leading scholar
  • Hutton, Patrick H., ed. Historical Dictionary of the Third French Republic, 1870–1940 (Greenwood, 1986) online edition
  • Larkin, Maurice. France since the Popular Front: Government and People, 1936–1986 (Oxford UP, 1988)
  • Mayeur, Jean-Marie, and Madeleine Rebirioux. The Third Republic from its Origins to the Great War, 1871–1914 (The Cambridge History of Modern France) (1988) excerpt and text search
  • Shirer, William L. The Collapse of the Third Republic: An Inquiry into the Fall of France, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969 online free to borrow
  • Thomson, David. Democracy in France: The third republic (1952) online
  • Wolf, John B. France: 1815 to the Present (1940) online free pp 349–501.
  • Wright, Gordon. France in Modern Times (5th erd. 1995) pp 205–382

Foreign policy and colonies

  • Adamthwaite, Anthony. Grandeur and Misery: France’s Bid for Power in Europe 1914–1940 (1995) excerpt and text search
  • Conklin, Alice L. A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895–1930 (2000) excerpt and text search
  • Duroselle, Jean-Baptiste. France and the Nazi Threat: The Collapse of French Diplomacy 1932–1939 (2004); Translation of his highly influential La décadence, 1932–1939 (1979)
  • Gooch, G.P. Franco-German Relations 1871–1914 (1923)
  • MacMillan, Margaret. The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 (2013).
  • MacMillan, Margaret. Paris 1919: six months that changed the world (2007).
  • Nere, J. Foreign Policy of France 1914–45 (2010)
  • Quinn, Frederick. The French Overseas Empire (2001)

Political ideas and practice

  • Hanson, Stephen E (2010). “The Founding of the French Third Republic”. Comparative Political Studies. 43 (8–9): 1023–1058. doi:10.1177/0010414010370435.
  • Jackson, Julian. The Politics of Depression in France 1932–1936 (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Kennedy, Sean. Reconciling France Against Democracy: the Croix de feu and the Parti social français, 1927–1945 (McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP, 2007)
  • Kreuzer, Marcus. Institutions and Innovation: Voters, Parties, and Interest Groups in the Consolidation of Democracy—France and Germany, 1870–1939 (U. of Michigan Press, 2001)
  • Lehning, James R.; To Be a Citizen: The Political Culture of the Early French Third Republic (2001) online edition
  • Passmore, Kevin (1993). “The French Third Republic: Stalemate Society or Cradle of Fascism?”. French History. 7 (4): 417–449. doi:10.1093/fh/7.4.417.

Culture and society

  • La Belle Époque. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1982. ISBN 978-0870993299.
  • Freundschuh, Aaron. The Courtesan and the Gigolo: The Murders in the Rue Montaigne and the Dark Side of Empire in Nineteenth-Century Paris (2017) excerpt and text search
  • Price, Roger. A Social History of Nineteenth-Century France (1987) [https://www.questia.com/library/book/a-social-history-of-nineteenth-century-france-by-roger-price.jsp complete text online at Questia
  • Robb, Graham. The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, from the Revolution to the First World War (2007)
  • Weber, Eugen. The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s (1996)
  • Weber, Eugen. Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870–1914 (1976) excerpt and text search
  • Weber, Eugen. France, Fin de Siècle (1988)
  • Zeldin, Theodore. France: 1848–1945: Politics and Anger; Anxiety and Hypocrisy; Taste and Corruption; Intellect and Pride; Ambition and Love (2 vol 1979), topical history

Women, sexuality, gender

  • Copley, A. R. H. Sexual Moralities in France, 1780–1980: New Ideas on the Family, Divorce and Homosexuality (1992)
  • Diamond, Hanna. Women and the Second World War in France, 1939–1948: choices and constraints (Harlow: Longman, 1999)
  • Moses, Claire. French Feminism in the 19th Century (1985) excerpt and text search
  • Pedersen, Jean. Legislating the French Family: Feminism, Theater, and Republican Politics: 1870–1920 (2003) excerpt and text search

World War I

  • Audoin-Rouzeau, Stephane, and Annette Becker. 14–18: Understanding the Great War (2003)
    ISBN 0-8090-4643-1
  • Becker, Jean Jacques. The Great War and the French People (1986)
  • Darrow, Margaret H. French Women and the First World War: War Stories of the Home Front (2000)
  • Doughty, Robert A. Pyrrhic Victory: French Strategy and Operations in the Great War (2008), 592pp; excerpt and text search, military history
  • Fridenson, Patrick, ed. The French Home Front, 1914–1918 (1993).
  • Gooch, G. P. Recent Revelations of European Diplomacy (1940), pp 269–30 summarizes published memoirs by main participants
  • Smith, Leonard V. et al. France and the Great War (2003)
  • Tucker, Spencer, ed. European Powers in the First World War: An Encyclopedia (1999)
  • Winter, Jay, and Jean-Louis Robert, eds. Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin 1914–1919 (2 vol. 1999, 2007), 30 chapters 1200pp; comprehensive coverage by scholars vol 1 excerpt; vol 2 excerpt and text search

Primary sources

  • Anderson, F.M. (1904). The constitutions and other select documents illustrative of the history of France, 1789–1901., complete text online

Coordinates: 48°49′N 2°29′E / 48.817°N 2.483°E / 48.817; 2.483


Second Polish Republic

Republic of Poland

Rzeczpospolita Polska
1918–1939
Flag of Poland
Flag (after 1927)

{{{coat_alt}}}
Coat of arms

Anthem: Mazurek Dąbrowskiego
(English: “Poland Is Not Yet Lost”)

Second Polish Republic in 1930

Second Polish Republic in 1930
Capital Warsaw
52°14′N 21°1′E / 52.233°N 21.017°E / 52.233; 21.017
Common languages Official:
Polish

Unofficial:
  • Belarusian
  • Czech
  • German
  • Kashubian
  • Lithuanian
  • Silesian
  • Slovak
  • Ukrainian
  • Yiddish
Religion

1931 census
Majority:
64.8% Roman Catholicism

Minorities:
11.8% Eastern Orthodox
10.5% Greek Catholic
9.8% Jewish
2.6% Protestant
0.5% Other Christian
0.02% Other
Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic (1918-1935)


Unitary presidential constitutional (1935-1939)
President  
• 1918–1922
Józef Piłsudskia
• 1922
Gabriel Narutowicz
• 1922–1926
Stanisław Wojciechowski
• 1926–1939
Ignacy Mościcki
Prime Minister  
• 1918–1919 (first)
Jędrzej Moraczewski
• 1936–1939 (last)
Felicjan S. Składkowski
Legislature Sejm
• Upper chamber
Senate
• Lower chamber
Sejm
Historical era Interwar period
• End of World War I
11 November 1918
• Treaty of Versailles
28 June 1919
• Peace of Riga
18 March 1921
• German invasion
1 September 1939
• Soviet invasion
17 September 1939
• Fall of Warsaw
28 September 1939
• Complete occupation
6 October 1939
Area
1921 387,000 km2 (149,000 sq mi)
1931 388,634 km2 (150,052 sq mi)
1938 389,720 km2 (150,470 sq mi)
Population
• 1921
27,177,000
• 1931
32,107,000
• 1938
34,849,000
Currency Marka (until 1924)
Złoty (after 1924)
ISO 3166 code PL

Preceded by

Succeeded by
Kingdom of Poland
German Empire
Russian SFSR
Republic of Zakopane
Ukrainian PR
West Ukrainian NR
Komancza Republic
Lemko-Rusyn Republic
Galician SSR
Galicia and Lodomeria
Republic of Tarnobrzeg
Central Lithuania
Belarusian DR
Nazi Germany
Military Administration
Soviet Union
Lithuania
Slovak Republic
Polish Underground State
Polish-govt in exile
  1. As Chief of State (Naczelnik Państwa).

The Second Polish Republic, commonly known as interwar Poland, refers to the country of Poland in the period between the First and Second World Wars (1918–1939). Officially known as the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska), sometimes Commonwealth of Poland, the Polish state was re-established in 1918, in the aftermath of World War I. When, after several regional conflicts, the borders of the state were fixed in 1922, Poland’s neighbours were Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Free City of Danzig, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and the Soviet Union. It had access to the Baltic Sea via a short strip of coastline either side of the city of Gdynia. Between March and August 1939, Poland also shared a border with the then-Hungarian governorate of Subcarpathia. The Second Republic ceased to exist in 1939, when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic, marking the beginning of European theatre of World War II.

In 1938, the Second Republic was the sixth largest country in Europe. According to the 1921 census, the number of inhabitants was 27.2 million. By 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, this had grown to an estimated 35.1 million. Almost a third of population came from minority groups: 13.9% Ruthenians; 10% Ashkenazi Jews; 3.1% Belarusians; 2.3% Germans and 3.4% Czechs and Lithuanians. At the same time, a significant number of ethnic Poles lived outside the country’s borders.

The political conditions of the Second Republic were heavily influenced by the aftermath of World War I and conflicts with neighbouring states (Ukraine, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, the Soviet Union) and the emergence of Nazi Germany.

The Second Republic maintained moderate economic development. The cultural hubs of interwar Poland – Warsaw, Kraków, Poznań, Wilno and Lwów – became major European cities and the sites of internationally acclaimed universities and other institutions of higher education.

Contents

  • 1 Background

    • 1.1 End of World War I
    • 1.2 Formation of the Republic
  • 2 Politics and government

    • 2.1 Chief of State
    • 2.2 Presidents
    • 2.3 Prime ministers
    • 2.4 Military
  • 3 Economy

    • 3.1 Major industrial centers
    • 3.2 Transport
    • 3.3 Agriculture
    • 3.4 German trade
  • 4 Education and culture
  • 5 Administrative division
  • 6 Demographics

    • 6.1 Largest cities in the Second Polish Republic
    • 6.2 Prewar population density
  • 7 Geography

    • 7.1 Waters
  • 8 German–Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939
  • 9 See also
  • 10 References
  • 11 Further reading

    • 11.1 Politics and diplomacy
    • 11.2 Social and economic topics
    • 11.3 Primary sources
    • 11.4 Historiography
  • 12 External links

Background

After more than a century of Partitions between the Austrian, the Prussian, and the Russian imperial powers, Poland re-emerged as a sovereign state at the end of the First World War in Europe in 1917-1918.[1][2][3] The victorious Allies of World War I confirmed the rebirth of Poland in the Treaty of Versailles of June 1919. It was one of the great stories of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.[4] Poland solidified its independence in a series of border wars fought by the newly formed Polish Army from 1918 to 1921.[5] The extent of the eastern half of the interwar territory of Poland was settled diplomatically in 1922 and internationally recognized by the League of Nations.[6][7]

End of World War I

In the course of World War I (1914-1918), Germany gradually gained overall dominance on the Eastern Front as the Imperial Russian Army fell back. German and Austro-Hungarian armies seized the Russian-ruled part of what became Poland. In a failed attempt to resolve the Polish question as quickly as possible, Berlin set up a German puppet state on 5 November 1916, with a governing Provisional Council of State and (from 15 October 1917) a Regency Council (Rada Regencyjna Królestwa Polskiego). The Council administered the country under German auspices (see also Mitteleuropa), pending the election of a king. A month before Germany surrendered on 11 November 1918 and the war ended, the Regency Council had dissolved the Council of State, and announced its intention to restore Polish independence (7 October 1918).[citation needed] With the notable exception of the Marxist-oriented Social Democratic Party of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL), most Polish political parties supported this move. On 23 October the Regency Council appointed a new government under Józef Świeżyński and began conscription into the Polish Army.[8]

Formation of the Republic

Second Polish Republic between 1921 and 1939 (light beige), including the Eastern Borderlands (Kresy)

In 1918–1919, over 100 workers’ councils sprang up on Polish territories;[9] on 5 November 1918, in Lublin, the first Soviet of Delegates was established. On 6 November socialists proclaimed the Republic of Tarnobrzeg at Tarnobrzeg in Austrian Galicia. The same day the Socialist, Ignacy Daszyński, set up a Provisional People’s Government of the Republic of Poland (Tymczasowy Rząd Ludowy Republiki Polskiej) in Lublin. On Sunday, 10 November at 7 a.m., Józef Piłsudski, newly freed from 16 months in a German prison in Magdeburg, returned by train to Warsaw. Piłsudski, together with Colonel Kazimierz Sosnkowski, was greeted at Warsaw’s railway station by Regent Zdzisław Lubomirski and by Colonel Adam Koc. Next day, due to his popularity and support from most political parties, the Regency Council appointed Piłsudski as Commander in Chief of the Polish Armed Forces. On 14 November, the Council dissolved itself and transferred all its authority to Piłsudski as Chief of State (Naczelnik Państwa). After consultation with Piłsudski, Daszyński’s government dissolved itself and a new government formed under Jędrzej Moraczewski. In 1918 Italy became the first country in Europe to recognise Poland’s renewed sovereignty.[10]

Coat of arms of Poland during 1919-1927

Polish defences at Miłosna, during the decisive battle of Warsaw, August 1920.

Centers of government that formed at that time in Galicia (formerly Austrian-ruled southern Poland) included the National Council of the Principality of Cieszyn (established in November 1918), the Republic of Zakopane and the Polish Liquidation Committee (28 October). Soon afterward, the Polish–Ukrainian War broke out in Lwów (1 November 1918) between forces of the Military Committee of Ukrainians and the Polish irregular units made up of students known as the Lwów Eaglets, who were later supported by the Polish Army (see Battle of Lwów (1918), Battle of Przemyśl (1918)). Meanwhile, in western Poland, another war of national liberation began under the banner of the Greater Poland Uprising (1918–19). In January 1919 Czechoslovakian forces attacked Polish units in the area of Zaolzie (see Polish–Czechoslovak War). Soon afterwards the Polish–Lithuanian War (ca 1919-1920) began, and in August 1919 Polish-speaking residents of Upper Silesia initiated a series of three Silesian Uprisings. The most critical military conflict of that period, however, the Polish–Soviet War (1919-1921), ended in a decisive Polish victory.[11] In 1919 the Warsaw government suppressed the Republic of Tarnobrzeg and the workers’ councils.

Politics and government

Józef Piłsudski, Chief of State (Naczelnik Państwa) between November 1918 and December 1922

The Second Polish Republic was a parliamentary democracy from 1919 (see Small Constitution of 1919) to 1926, with the President having limited powers. The Parliament elected him, and he could appoint the Prime Minister as well as the government with the Sejm’s (lower house’s) approval, but he could only dissolve the Sejm with the Senate’s consent. Moreover, his power to pass decrees was limited by the requirement that the Prime Minister and the appropriate other Minister had to verify his decrees with their signatures. Poland was one of the first countries in the world to recognize women’s suffrage. Women in Poland were granted the right to vote on 28 November 1918 by a decree of Józef Piłsudski.[12]

The major political parties at this time were the Polish Socialist Party, National Democrats, various Peasant Parties, Christian Democrats, and political groups of ethnic minorities (German: German Social Democratic Party of Poland, Jewish: General Jewish Labour Bund in Poland, United Jewish Socialist Workers Party, and Ukrainian: Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance). Frequently changing governments (see Polish legislative election, 1919, Polish legislative election, 1922) and other negative publicity the politicians received (such as accusations of corruption or 1919 Polish coup attempt), made them increasingly unpopular. Major politicians at this time, in addition to Piłsudski, included peasant activist Wincenty Witos (Prime Minister three times) and right-wing leader Roman Dmowski. Ethnic minorities were represented in the Sejm; e.g. in 1928 – 1930 there was the Ukrainian-Belarusian Club, with 26 Ukrainian and 4 Belarusian members.

The May Coup d’État (1926)

After the Polish – Soviet war, Marshal Piłsudski led an intentionally modest life, writing historical books for a living. After he took power by a military coup in May 1926, he emphasized that he wanted to heal the Polish society and politics of excessive partisan politics. His regime, accordingly, was called Sanacja in Polish. The 1928 parliamentary elections were still considered free and fair, although the pro-Piłsudski Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government won them. The following three parliamentary elections (in 1930, 1935 and 1938) were manipulated, with opposition activists sent to Bereza Kartuska prison (see also Brest trials). As a result, pro-government party Camp of National Unity won huge majorities in them. Piłsudski died just after an authoritarian constitution was approved in the spring of 1935. During the last four years of the Second Polish Republic, the major politicians included President Ignacy Mościcki, Foreign Minister Józef Beck and the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Army, Edward Rydz-Śmigły. The country was divided into 104 electoral districts, and those politicians who were forced to leave Poland, founded Front Morges in 1936. The government that ruled Second Polish Republic in its final years is frequently referred to as Piłsudski’s colonels.[13]

Presidents and Prime ministers (November 1918 – September 1939)     

President of Poland Ignacy Mościcki (left), Warsaw, 10 November 1936, awarding the Marshal’s buława to Edward Rydz-Śmigły

Chief of State

  • Józef Piłsudski (22 November 1918 – 9 December 1922)

Presidents

  • Gabriel Narutowicz (9 December 1922 – 16 December 1922)
  • Stanisław Wojciechowski: 20 December 1922 – 14 May 1926)
  • Ignacy Mościcki – 1 June 1926 – 30 September 1939)
  • Bolesław Wieniawa-Długoszowski – 1 October 1939)

Prime ministers

  • Jędrzej Moraczewski (18 November 1918 – 16 January 1919)
  • Ignacy Paderewski (18 January 1919 – 27 November 1919)
  • Leopold Skulski (13 December 1919 – 9 June 1920)
  • Władysław Grabski (27 June 1920 – 24 July 1920)
  • Wincenty Witos (24 July 1920 – 13 September 1921)
  • Antoni Ponikowski (19 September 1921 – 5 March 1922)
  • Antoni Ponikowski (10 March 1922 – 6 June 1922)
  • Artur Śliwiński (28 June 1922 – 7 July 1922)
  • Wojciech Korfanty (14 July 1922 – 31 July 1922)
  • Julian Nowak (31 July 1922 – 14 December 1922)
  • Władysław Sikorski (16 December 1922 – 26 May 1923)
  • Wincenty Witos (28 May 1923 – 14 December 1923)
  • Władysław Grabski (19 December 1923 – 14 November 1925)
  • Aleksander Skrzyński (20 November 1925 – 5 May 1926)
  • Wincenty Witos (10 May 1926 – 14 May 1926)
  • Kazimierz Bartel (15 May 1926 – 4 June 1926)
  • Kazimierz Bartel (8 June 1926 – 24 September 1926)
  • Kazimierz Bartel (27 September 1926 – 30 September 1926)
  • Józef Piłsudski (2 October 1926 – 27 June 1928)
  • Kazimierz Bartel (27 June 1928 – 13 April 1929)
  • Kazimierz Świtalski (14 April 1929 – 7 December 1929)
  • Kazimierz Bartel (29 December 1929 – 15 March 1930)
  • Walery Sławek (29 March 1930 – 23 August 1930)
  • Józef Piłsudski (25 August 1930 – 4 December 1930)
  • Walery Sławek (4 December 1930 – 26 May 1931)
  • Aleksander Prystor (27 May 1931 – 9 May 1933)
  • Janusz Jędrzejewicz (10 May 1933 – 13 May 1934)
  • Leon Kozłowski (15 May 1934 – 28 March 1935)
  • Walery Sławek (28 March 1935 – 12 October 1935)
  • Marian Zyndram-Kościałkowski (13 October 1935 – 15 May 1936)
  • Felicjan Sławoj Składkowski (15 May 1936 – 30 September 1939)

Military

PZL.37 Łoś was a Polish twin-engine medium bomber

The interwar Poland had a considerably large army of 950,000 soldiers on active duty: in 37 infantry divisions, 11 cavalry brigades, and two armored brigades, plus artillery units. Another 700,000 men served in the reserves. At the outbreak of the war, the Polish army was able to put in the field almost one million soldiers, 4,300 guns, 1,280 tanks and 745 aircraft.[14]

The training of the Polish army was thorough. The N.C.O.s were a competent body of men with expert knowledge and high ideals. The officers, both senior and junior, constantly refreshed their training in the field and in the lecture-hall, where modern technical achievement and the lessons of contemporary wars were demonstrated and discussed. The equipment of the Polish army was less developed technically than that of Nazi Germany and its rearmament was slowed down by confidence in Western European military support and by budget difficulties.[15]

Economy

Polish pavilion at expo in Paris 1937.

Polish pavilion at expo in New York 1939.

After regaining its independence, Poland was faced with major economic difficulties. In addition to the devastation wrought by World War I, the exploitation of the Polish economy by the German and Russian occupying powers, and the sabotage performed by retreating armies, the new republic was faced with the task of economically unifying disparate economic regions, which had previously been part of different countries.[16] Within the borders of the Republic were the remnants of three different economic systems, with five different currencies (the German mark, the Russian ruble, the Austrian crown, the Polish marka and the Ostrubel)[16] and with little or no direct infrastructural links. The situation was so bad that neighboring industrial centers as well as major cities lacked direct railroad links, because they had been parts of different nations. For example, there was no direct railroad connection between Warsaw and Kraków until 1934. This situation was described by Melchior Wańkowicz in his book Sztafeta.

On top of this was the massive destruction left after both World War I and the Polish–Soviet War. There was also a great economic disparity between the eastern (commonly called Poland B) and western (called Poland A) parts of the country, with the western half, especially areas that had belonged to the German Empire being much more developed and prosperous. Frequent border closures and a customs war with Germany also had negative economic impacts on Poland. In 1924 Prime Minister and Economic Minister Władysław Grabski introduced the złoty as a single common currency for Poland (it replaced the Polish marka), which remained a stable currency. The currency helped Poland to control the massive hyperinflation. It was the only country in Europe able to do this without foreign loans or aid.[17] The average annual growth rate (GDP per capita) was 5.24% in 1920–29 and 0.34% in 1929–38.[18]

GDP per capita
[18][19]
Year Int$.
1922 1,382
1929 2,117
1930 1,994
1931 1,823
1932 1,658
1933 1,590
1934 1,593
1935 1,597
1936 1,626
1937 1,915
1938 2,182

Hostile relations with neighbours were a major problem for the economy of interbellum Poland. In the year 1937, foreign trade with all neighbours amounted to only 21% of Poland’s total. Trade with Germany, Poland’s most important neighbour, accounted for 14.3% of Polish exchange. Foreign trade with the Soviet Union (0.8%) was virtually nonexistent. Czechoslovakia accounted for 3.9%, Latvia for 0.3%, and Romania for 0.8%. By mid-1938, after the Anschluss of Austria, Greater Germany was responsible for as much as 23% of Polish foreign trade.

Poland’s MS Batory, and MS Piłsudski, at the sea port of Gdynia, 18 December 1937

The basis of Poland’s gradual recovery after the Great Depression was its mass economic development plans (see Four Year Plan), which oversaw the building of three key infrastructural elements. The first was the establishment of the Gdynia seaport, which allowed Poland to completely bypass Gdańsk (which was under heavy German pressure to boycott Polish coal exports). The second was construction of the 500-kilometer rail connection between Upper Silesia and Gdynia, called Polish Coal Trunk-Line, which served freight trains with coal. The third was the creation of a central industrial district, named COP – Central Industrial Region (Centralny Okręg Przemysłowy). Unfortunately, these developments were interrupted and largely destroyed by the German and Soviet invasion and the start of World War II.[20] Other achievements of interbellum Poland included Stalowa Wola (a brand new city, built in a forest around a steel mill), Mościce (now a district of Tarnów, with a large nitrate factory), and the creation of a central bank. There were several trade fairs, with the most popular being Poznań International Fair, Lwów’s Targi Wschodnie, and Wilno’s Targi Północne. Polish Radio had ten stations (see Radio stations in interwar Poland), with the eleventh one planned to be opened in the autumn of 1939. Furthermore, in 1935 Polish engineers began working on the TV services. By early 1939, experts of the Polish Radio built four TV sets. The first movie broadcast by experimental Polish TV was Barbara Radziwiłłówna, and by 1940, regular TV service was scheduled to begin operation.[21]

Interbellum Poland was also a country with numerous social problems. Unemployment was high, and poverty was widespread, which resulted in several cases of social unrest, such as the 1923 Kraków riot, and 1937 peasant strike in Poland. There were conflicts with national minorities, such as Pacification of Ukrainians in Eastern Galicia (1930), relations with Polish neighbors were sometimes complicated (see Soviet raid on Stołpce, Polish–Czechoslovak border conflicts, 1938 Polish ultimatum to Lithuania). On top of this, there were natural disasters, such as the 1934 flood in Poland.

Major industrial centers

Lwów, Eastern Trade Fair (Targi Wschodnie), 1930

Gdynia, modern Polish seaport established 1926, photo dated 1938

Interbellum, Poland was unofficially divided into two parts – better developed “Poland A” in the west, and underdeveloped “Poland B” in the east. Polish industry was concentrated in the west, mostly in Polish Upper Silesia, and the adjacent Lesser Poland’s province of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie, where the bulk of coal mines and steel plants was located. Furthermore, heavy industry plants were located in Częstochowa (Huta Częstochowa, founded in 1896), Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski (Huta Ostrowiec, founded in 1837–1839), Stalowa Wola (brand new industrial city, which was built from scratch in 1937 – 1938), Chrzanów (Fablok, founded in 1919), Jaworzno, Trzebinia (oil refinery, opened in 1895), Łódź (the seat of Polish textile industry), Poznań (H. Cegielski – Poznań), Kraków and Warsaw (Ursus Factory). Further east, in Kresy, industrial centers included two major cities of the region – Lwów and Wilno (Elektrit).[22]

Besides coal mining, Poland also had deposits of oil in Borysław, Drohobycz, Jasło and Gorlice (see Polmin), potassium salt (TESP), and basalt (Janowa Dolina). Apart from already-existing industrial areas, in the mid-1930s, an ambitious, state-sponsored project of Central Industrial Region was started under Minister Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski. One of characteristic features of Polish economy in the interbellum was gradual nationalization of major plants. This was the case of Ursus Factory (see Państwowe Zakłady Inżynieryjne), and several steelworks, such as Huta Pokój in Ruda Śląska – Nowy Bytom, Huta Królewska in Chorzów – Królewska Huta, Huta Laura in Siemianowice Śląskie, as well as Scheibler and Grohman Works in Łódź.[22]

Transport

Industry and communications in Poland before the start of World War II

According to the 1939 Statistical Yearbook of Poland, total length of railways of Poland (as for 31 December 1937) was 20,118 kilometres (12,501 miles). Rail density was 5.2 kilometres (3.2 miles) per 100 square kilometres (39 square miles). Railways were very dense in western part of the country, while in the east, especially Polesie, rail was non-existent in some counties. During the interbellum period, the Polish government constructed several new lines, mainly in the central part of the country (see also Polish State Railroads Summer 1939). Construction of extensive Warszawa Główna railway station was never finished due to the war, and Polish railroads were famous for their punctuality (see Luxtorpeda, Strzała Bałtyku, Latający Wilnianin).

In the interbellum, road network of Poland was dense, but the quality of the roads was very poor – only 7% of all roads was paved and ready for automobile use, and none of the major cities were connected with each other by a good-quality highway. Poles built in 1939 only one highway, 28 km of straight concrete road connecting villages Warlubie and Osiek (mid-northern Poland). It was designed by Italian engineer Piero Puricelli.

CWS T-1 Torpedo was the first serially-built car manufactured in Poland

In the mid-1930s, Poland had 340,000 kilometres (211,266 miles) of roads, but only 58,000 had hard surface (gravel, cobblestone or sett), and 2,500 were modern, with asphalt or concrete surface. In different parts of the country, there were sections of paved roads, which suddenly ended, and were followed by dirt roads.[23] The poor condition of the roads was the result of both long-lasting foreign dominance and inadequate funding. On 29 January 1931, the Polish Parliament created the State Road Fund, the purpose of which was to collect money for the construction and conservation of roads. The government drafted a 10-year plan, with road priorities: a highway from Wilno, through Warsaw and Cracow, to Zakopane (called Marshall Pilsudski Highway), asphalt highways from Warsaw to Poznań and Łódź, as well as a Warsaw ring road. However, the plan turned out to be too ambitious, with insufficient money in the national budget to pay for it. In January 1938, the Polish Road Congress estimated that Poland would need to spend three times as much money on roads to keep up with Western Europe.

In 1939, before the outbreak of the war, LOT Polish Airlines, which was established in 1929, had its hub at Warsaw Okęcie Airport. At that time, LOT maintained several services, both domestic and international. Warsaw had regular domestic connections with Gdynia-Rumia, Danzig-Langfuhr, Katowice-Muchowiec, Kraków-Rakowice-Czyżyny, Lwów-Skniłów, Poznań-Ławica, and Wilno-Porubanek. Furthermore, in cooperation with Air France, LARES, Lufthansa, and Malert, international connections were maintained with Athens, Beirut, Berlin, Bucharest, Budapest, Helsinki, Kaunas, London, Paris, Prague, Riga, Rome, Tallinn, and Zagreb.[24]

Agriculture

Ciągówka Ursus was the first Polish farm tractor, produced in the years 1922-1927 in the Ursus Factory

Statistically, the majority of citizens lived in the countryside (75% in 1921). Farmers made up 65% of the population. In 1929, agricultural production made up 65% of Poland’s GNP.[25] After 123 years of partitions, regions of the country were very unevenly developed. Lands of former German Empire were most advanced; in Greater Poland and Pomerelia, crops were on Western European level.[26] The situation was much worse in parts of Congress Poland, Eastern Borderlands, and former Galicia, where agriculture was most backward and primitive, with a large number of small farms, unable to succeed in either the domestic and international market. Another problem was the overpopulation of the countryside, which resulted in chronic unemployment. Living conditions were so bad that in several regions, such as counties inhabited by the Hutsuls, there was permanent starvation.[27] Farmers rebelled against the government (see: 1937 peasant strike in Poland), and the situation began to change in the late 1930s, due to construction of several factories for the Central Industrial Region, which gave employment to thousands of countryside residents.

German trade

Beginning in June 1925 there was a customs’ war with the revanchist Weimar Republic imposing trade embargo against Poland for nearly a decade; involving tariffs, and broad economic restrictions. After 1933 the trade war ended. The new agreements regulated and promoted trade. Germany became Poland’s largest trading partner, followed by Britain. In October 1938 Germany granted a credit of Rm 60,000,000 to Poland (120,000,000 zloty, or £4,800,000) which was never realized, due to the outbreak of war. Germany would deliver factory equipment and machinery in return for Polish timber and agricultural produce. This new trade was to be in addition to the existing German-Polish trade agreements.[28][29]

Education and culture

Prime Minister Kazimierz Bartel, also a scholar and mathematician

The National Museum in Warsaw, opened in 1938.

In 1919, the Polish government introduced compulsory education for all children aged 7 to 14, in an effort to limit illiteracy, which was widespread especially in the former Russian Partition and the Austrian Partition of eastern Poland. In 1921, one-third of citizens of Poland remained illiterate (38% in the countryside). The process was slow, but by 1931, the illiteracy level had dropped to 23% overall (27% in the countryside) and further down to 18% in 1937. By 1939, over 90% of children attended school.[22][30] In 1932, Minister of Religion and Education Janusz Jędrzejewicz carried out a major reform which introduced two main levels of education: common school (szkoła powszechna), with three levels – 4 grades + 2 grades + 1 grade; and middle school (szkoła średnia), with two levels – 4 grades of comprehensive middle school and 2 grades of specified high school (classical, humanistic, natural and mathematical). A graduate of middle school received a small matura, while a graduate of high school received a big matura, which enabled them to seek university-level education.

Before 1918, Poland had three universities: Jagiellonian University, University of Warsaw and Lwów University. Catholic University of Lublin was established in 1918; Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, in 1919; and finally, in 1922, after the annexation of Republic of Central Lithuania, Wilno University became the Republic’s sixth university. There were also three technical colleges: the Warsaw University of Technology, Lwów Polytechnic and the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, established in 1919. Warsaw University of Life Sciences was an agricultural institute. By 1939, there were around 50,000 students enrolled in further education. Women made up 28% of university students, the second highest proportion in Europe.[31]

Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski, Polish mathematicians and cryptologists who worked at breaking the German Enigma ciphers before and during World War II

Polish science in the interbellum was renowned for its mathematicians gathered around the Lwów School of Mathematics, the Kraków School of Mathematics, as well as Warsaw School of Mathematics. There were world-class philosophers in the Lwów–Warsaw school of logic and philosophy.[32]Florian Znaniecki founded Polish sociological studies. Rudolf Weigl invented a vaccine against typhus. Bronisław Malinowski counted among the most important anthropologists of the 20th century. In Polish literature, the 1920s were marked by the domination of poetry. Polish poets were divided into two groups – the Skamanderites (Jan Lechoń, Julian Tuwim, Antoni Słonimski and Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz) and the Futurists (Anatol Stern, Bruno Jasieński, Aleksander Wat, Julian Przyboś). Apart from well-established novelists (Stefan Żeromski, Władysław Reymont), new names appeared in the interbellum – Zofia Nałkowska, Maria Dąbrowska, Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, Jan Parandowski, Bruno Schultz, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Witold Gombrowicz. Among other notable artists there were sculptor Xawery Dunikowski, painters Julian Fałat, Wojciech Kossak and Jacek Malczewski, composers Karol Szymanowski, Feliks Nowowiejski, and Artur Rubinstein, singer Jan Kiepura. Theatre was very popular in the interbellum, with three main centers in the cities of Warsaw, Wilno and Lwów. Altogether, there were 103 theaters in Poland and a number of other theatrical institutions (including 100 folk theaters). In 1936, different shows were seen by 5 million people, and main figures of Polish theatre of the time were Juliusz Osterwa, Stefan Jaracz, and Leon Schiller. Also, before the outbreak of the war, there were about a million radios (see Radio stations in interwar Poland).

Administrative division

The administrative division of the Republic was based on a three-tier system. On the lowest rung were the gminy, local town and village governments akin to districts or parishes. These were then grouped together into powiaty (akin to counties), which, in turn, were grouped as województwa (voivodeships, akin to provinces).

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Administrative map of Poland (1930)
Polish voivodeships 1922–39
Polish voivodeships (1 April 1937)
Car plates
(starting 1937)
Voivodeship
or city
Capital Area (1930)
in 1,000s km2
Population (1931)
in 1,000s
00–19 City of Warsaw Warsaw 0.14 1,179.5
85–89 warszawskie Warsaw 31.7 2,460.9
20–24 białostockie Białystok 26.0 1,263.3
25–29 kieleckie Kielce 22.2 2,671.0
30–34 krakowskie Kraków 17.6 2,300.1
35–39 lubelskie Lublin 26.6 2,116.2
40–44 lwowskie Lwów 28.4 3,126.3
45–49 łódzkie Łódź 20.4 2,650.1
50–54 nowogródzkie Nowogródek 23.0 1,057.2
55–59 poleskie (Polesia) Brześć nad Bugiem 36.7 1,132.2
60–64 pomorskie (Pomeranian) Toruń 25.7 1,884.4
65–69 poznańskie Poznań 28.1 2,339.6
70–74 stanisławowskie Stanisławów 16.9 1,480.3
75–79 śląskie (Silesian) Katowice 5.1 1,533.5
80–84 tarnopolskie Tarnopol 16.5 1,600.4
90–94 wileńskie Wilno 29.0 1,276.0
95–99 wołyńskie (Volhynian) Łuck 35.7 2,085.6
The borders of several western and central voivodeships were revised on 1 April 1938

Demographics

Partitioned Poland overlaid with the outline of the Second Republic. Most territories annexed by the Russian Empire (in shades of green) remained in the Soviet Union, and became the scene of genocide of Poles in 1938.[33]

Historically, Poland was a nation of many nationalities. This was especially true after independence was regained in the wake of World War I and the subsequent Polish–Soviet War ending at Peace of Riga. The census of 1921 shows 30.8% of the population consisted of ethnic minorities,[34] compared with a share of 1.6% (solely identifying with a non-Polish ethnic group) or 3.8 % (including those identifying with both the Polish ethnicity and with another ethnic group) in 2011.[35] The first spontaneous flight of about 500,000 Poles from the Soviet Union occurred during the reconstitution of sovereign Poland. In the second wave, between November 1919 and June 1924 some 1,200,000 people left the territory of the USSR for Poland. It is estimated that some 460,000 of them spoke Polish as the first language.[36] According to the 1931 Polish Census: 68.9% of the population was Polish, 13.9% were Ukrainian, around 10% Jewish, 3.1% Belarusian, 2.3% German and 2.8% other, including Lithuanian, Czech, Armenian, Russian, and Romani. The situation of minorities was a complex subject and changed during the period.[5]

Poland was also a nation of many religions. In 1921, 16,057,229 Poles (approx. 62.5%) were Roman (Latin) Catholics, 3,031,057 citizens of Poland (approx. 11.8%) were Eastern Rite Catholics (mostly Ukrainian Greek Catholics and Armenian Rite Catholics), 2,815,817 (approx. 10.95%) were Greek Orthodox, 2,771,949 (approx. 10.8%) were Jewish, and 940,232 (approx. 3.7%) were Protestants (mostly Lutheran).[37]

By 1931, Poland had the second largest Jewish population in the world, with one-fifth of all the world’s Jews residing within its borders (approx. 3,136,000).[34] The urban population of interbellum Poland was rising steadily; in 1921, only 24% of Poles lived in the cities, in the late 1930s, that proportion grew to 30%. In more than a decade, the population of Warsaw grew by 200,000, Łódź by 150,000, and Poznań – by 100,000. This was due not only to internal migration, but also to an extremely high birth rate.[22]

Largest cities in the Second Polish Republic

Poland’s population density in 1930

Contemporary map showing language frequency in 1931 across Poland; red colour: more than 50% native Polish language speakers; green colour: more than 50% native language other than Polish, including Yiddish, Hebrew, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Russian and less frequent others

The Second Mountain Brigade of the Polish Legions in World War I officers establishing the Polish-Czechoslovak border near the summit of Popadia in Gorgany during the formation of the Second Republic, 1915

City Population Voivodeship
1 Herb Warszawy Warsaw 1,289,000 Warsaw Voivodeship
2 Herb Łodzi Łódź 672,000 Łódź Voivodeship
3 Herb Lwowa Lwów 318,000 Lwów Voivodeship
4 Herb Poznania Poznań 272,000 Poznań Voivodeship
5 Herb Krakowa Krakow 259,000 Kraków Voivodeship
6 Herb Wilna Wilno 209,000 Wilno Voivodeship
7 Herb Bydgoszczy Bydgoszcz 141,000 Poznań Voivodeship
later Pomeranian Voivodeship
8 Herb Częstochowy Częstochowa 138,000 Kielce Voivodeship
9 Herb Katowic Katowice 134,000 Silesian Voivodeship
10 Herb Sosnowca Sosnowiec 130,000 Kielce Voivodeship
11 Herb Lublina Lublin 122,000 Lublin Voivodeship
12 Herb Gdyni Gdynia 120,000 Pomeranian Voivodeship
13 Herb Chorzowa Chorzów 110,000 Silesian Voivodeship
14 Herb Białegostoku Białystok 107,000 Białystok Voivodeship
15 Herb Kalisza Kalisz 81,000 Poznań Voivodeship
16 Herb Radomia Radom 78,000 Kielce Voivodeship
17 Herb Torunia Toruń 62,000 Pomeranian Voivodeship
18 Herb Stanisławowa Stanisławów 60,000 Stanisławów Voivodeship
19 Herb Kielc Kielce 58,000 Kielce Voivodeship
20 Herb Włocławka Włocławek 56,000 Pomeranian Voivodeship
21 Herb Grudziądza Grudziądz 54,000 Pomeranian Voivodeship
22 Herb Brześcia nad Bugiem Brześć nad Bugiem 51,000 Polesie Voivodeship
23 Herb Piotrkowa Trybunalskiego Piotrków Trybunalski 51,000 Łódź Voivodeship
24 Herb Przemyśla Przemyśl 51,000 Lwów Voivodeship

Prewar population density

Date Population Percentage of
rural population
Population density
(per km2)
Ethnic minorities (total)
30 September 1921 (census) 27,177,000 75.4% 69.9 30,77% [34]
9 December 1931 (census) 32,348,000 72.6% 82.6 31.09%
31 December 1938 (estimate) 34,849,000 70.0% 89.7 Upward trend in immigration

Geography

The Second Polish Republic was mainly flat with average elevation of 233 metres (764 ft) above sea level, except for the southernmost Carpathian Mountains (after World War II and its border changes, the average elevation of Poland decreased to 173 metres (568 ft)). Only 13% of territory, along the southern border, was higher than 300 metres (980 ft). The highest elevation in the country was Mount Rysy, which rises 2,499 metres (8,199 ft) in the Tatra Range of the Carpathians, approximately 95 kilometres (59 miles) south of Kraków. Between October 1938 and September 1939, the highest elevation was Lodowy Szczyt (known in the Slovak language as Ľadový štít), which rises 2,627 metres (8,619 ft) above sea level. The largest lake was Lake Narach.

Physical map of the Second Polish Republic

The country’s total area, after the annexation of Zaolzie, was 389,720 square kilometres (150,470 sq mi). It extended 903 kilometres (561 miles) from north to south and 894 kilometres (556 miles) from east to west. On 1 January 1938, total length of boundaries was 5,529 kilometres (3,436 miles), including: 140 kilometres (87 miles) of coastline (out of which 71 kilometres (44 miles) were made by the Hel Peninsula), the 1,412 kilometres (877 miles) with Soviet Union, 948 kilometers with Czechoslovakia (until 1938), 1,912 kilometres (1,188 miles) with Germany (together with East Prussia), and 1,081 kilometres (672 miles) with other countries (Lithuania, Romania, Latvia, Danzig). The warmest yearly average temperature was in Kraków among major cities of the Second Polish Republic, at 9.1 °C (48.4 °F) in 1938; and the coldest in Wilno (7.6 °C or 45.7 °F in 1938). Extreme geographical points of Poland included Przeświata River in Somino to the north (located in the Braslaw county of the Wilno Voivodeship); Manczin River to the south (located in the Kosów county of the Stanisławów Voivodeship); Spasibiorki near railway to Połock to the east (located in the Dzisna county of the Wilno Voivodeship); and Mukocinek near Warta River and Meszyn Lake to the west (located in the Międzychód county of the Poznań Voivodeship).

Waters

Almost 75% of the territory of interbellum Poland was drained northward into the Baltic Sea by the Vistula (total area of drainage basin of the Vistula within boundaries of the Second Polish Republic was 180,300 square kilometres (69,600 square miles), the Niemen (51,600 square kilometres or 19,900 square miles), the Odra (46,700 square kilometres or 18,000 square miles) and the Daugava (10,400 square kilometres or 4,000 square miles). The remaining part of the country was drained southward, into the Black Sea, by the rivers that drain into the Dnieper (Pripyat, Horyn and Styr, all together 61,500 square kilometres or 23,700 square miles) as well as Dniester (41,400 square kilometres or 16,000 square miles)

German–Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939

Polish Army, 1939

Polish soldiers with anti-aircraft artillery near the Warsaw Central Station during the first days of September, 1939.

The Second World War in 1939 ended the sovereign Second Polish Republic. The German invasion of Poland began on 1 September 1939, one week after Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the secret Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. On that day, Germany and Slovakia attacked Poland, and on 17 September the Soviets attacked eastern Poland. Warsaw fell to the Nazis on 28 September after a twenty-day siege. Open organized Polish resistance ended on 6 October 1939 after the Battle of Kock, with Germany and the Soviet Union occupying most of the country. Lithuania annexed the area of Wilno, and Slovakia seized areas along Poland’s southern border – including Górna Orawa and Tatranská Javorina – which Poland had annexed from Czechoslovakia in October 1938. Poland did not surrender to the invaders, but continued fighting under the auspices of the Polish government-in-exile and of the Polish Underground State. After the signing of the German–Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Demarcation on 28 September 1939, Polish areas occupied by Nazi Germany either became directly annexed to the Third Reich, or became part of the so-called General Government. The Soviet Union, following Elections to the People’s Assemblies of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus (22 October 1939), annexed eastern Poland partly to the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, and partly to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (November 1939).

Polish light tanks 7TP

Polish war plans (Plan West and Plan East) failed as soon as Germany invaded in 1939. The Polish losses in combat against Germans (killed and missing in action) amounted to ca. 70,000 men. Some 420,000 of them were taken prisoners. Losses against the Red Army (which invaded Poland on 17 September) added up to 6,000 to 7,000 of casualties and MIA, 250,000 were taken prisoners. Although the Polish army – considering the inactivity of the Allies – was in an unfavorable position – it managed to inflict serious losses to the enemies: 14,000 German soldiers were killed or MIA, 674 tanks and 319 armored vehicles destroyed or badly damaged, 230 aircraft shot down; the Red Army lost (killed and MIA) about 2,500 soldiers, 150 combat vehicles and 20 aircraft. The Soviet invasion of Poland, and lack of promised aid from the Western Allies, contributed to the Polish forces defeat by 6 October 1939.

ORP Orzeł was the lead ship of her class of submarines serving in the Polish Navy during World War II

A popular myth is that Polish cavalry armed with lances charged German tanks during the September 1939 campaign. This often repeated account, first reported by Italian journalists as German propaganda, concerned an action by the Polish 18th Lancer Regiment near Chojnice. This arose from misreporting of a single clash on 1 September 1939 near Krojanty, when two squadrons of the Polish 18th Lancers armed with sabers surprised and wiped out a German infantry formation with a mounted sabre charge. Shortly after midnight the 2nd (Motorized) Division was compelled to withdraw by Polish cavalry, before the Poles were caught in the open by German armored cars. The story arose because some German armored cars appeared and gunned down 20 troopers as the cavalry escaped. Even this failed to persuade everyone to reexamine their beliefs—there were some who thought Polish cavalry had been improperly employed in 1939.

Between 1939 and 1990, the Polish government-in-exile operated in Paris and later in London, presenting itself as the only legal and legitimate representative of the Polish nation. In 1990 the last president in exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski handed the presidential insignia to the newly elected President, Lech Wałęsa, signifying continuity between the Second and Third republics.

See also

  • History of Poland (1918–39)
  • 1938 in Poland
  • 1939 in Poland
  • Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, also known as the “First Polish Republic” and described as a “republic under the presidency of the King”

References

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  12. ^ A. Polonsky, Politics in Independent Poland, 1921–1939: The Crisis of Constitutional Government (1972)
  13. ^ Peter Hetherington, Unvanquished: Joseph Piłsudski, Resurrected Poland, and the Struggle for Eastern Europe (2012); W.
    Jędrzejewicz, Piłsudski. A Life for Poland (1982)
  14. ^ David G. Williamson (2011). Poland Betrayed: The Nazi-Soviet Invasions of 1939. Stackpole Books. p. 21. ISBN 9780811708289.
  15. ^ Walter M. Drzewieniecki,”The Polish Army on the Eve of World War II,” Polish Review (1981) 26#3 pp 54–64 in JSTOR
  16. ^ ab Nikolaus Wolf, “Path dependent border effects: the case of Poland’s reunification (1918–1939)”, Explorations in Economic History, 42, 2005, pgs. 414–438
  17. ^ Godzina zero. Interview with professor Wojciech Roszkowski, Tygodnik Powszechny, 04.11.2008″Także reformę Grabskiego przeprowadziliśmy sami, kosztem społeczeństwa, choć tym razem zapłacili obywatele z wyższych sfer, głównie posiadacze ziemscy.”
  18. ^ ab Stephen Broadberry, Kevin H. O’Rourke. The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe: Volume 2, 1870 to the Present. Cambridge University Press. 2010. pp. 188, 190.
  19. ^ (1929-1930) Angus Maddison. The World Economy Volume 1: A Millennial Perspective Volume 2: Historical Statistics. Academic Foundation. 2007. p. 478. [1]
  20. ^ Atlas Historii Polski, Demart Sp, 2004,
    ISBN 83-89239-89-2
  21. ^ 70 years of television in Poland, TVP INFO, 26.08.2009
  22. ^ abcd Witold Gadomski, Spłata długu po II RP. Liberte.pl (in Polish).
  23. ^ Piotr Osęka, Znoje na wybojach. Polityka weekly, July 21, 2011
  24. ^ Urzędowy Rozkład Jazy i Lotów, Lato 1939. Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Komunikacji, Warszawa 1939
  25. ^ Sprawa reformy rolnej w I Sejmie Âlàskim (1922–1929) by Andrzej Drogon
  26. ^ Godzina zero, interview with Wojciech Roszkowski. 04.11.2008
  27. ^ Białe plamy II RP, interview with professor Andrzej Garlicki, December 5, 2011
  28. ^ Wojna celna (German–Polish customs’ war) (Internet Archive), Encyklopedia PWN, Biznes.
  29. ^ Keesing’s Contemporary Archives Volume 3, (October 1938) p. 3283.
  30. ^ Norman Davies (2005), God’s Playground A History of Poland: Volume II: 1795 to the Present. Oxford University Press, p. 175.
    ISBN 0199253390.
  31. ^ B. G. Smith. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History: 4 Volume Set. Oxford University Press. 2008 p. 470.
  32. ^ Maria Carla Galavotti, Elisabeth Nemeth, Friedrich Stadler (2013). European Philosophy of Science – Philosophy of Science in Europe and the Viennese Heritage. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 408, 175–176, 180–183. ISBN 978-3319018997.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
    Also in: Sandra Lapointe, Jan Wolenski, Mathieu Marion, Wioletta Miskiewicz (2009). The Golden Age of Polish Philosophy: Kazimierz Twardowski’s Philosophical Legacy. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 127, 56. ISBN 978-9048124015.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  33. ^ Michael Ellman (2005), Stalin and the Soviet Famine of 1932-33 Revisited. Europe-Asia Studies. PDF file.
  34. ^ abc Joseph Marcus, Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland, 1919–1939, Mouton Publishing, 1983,
    ISBN 90-279-3239-5, Google Books, p. 17
  35. ^ “Przynależność narodowo-etniczna ludności – wyniki spisu ludności i mieszkań 2011” [Ethnic makeup of Polish citizenry according to census of 2011] (PDF). Materiał Na Konferencję Prasową W Dniu 2013-01-29: 3, 4 – via PDF file, direct download 192 KB.
  36. ^ PWN (2016). “Rosja. Polonia i Polacy”. Encyklopedia PWN. Stanisław Gregorowicz. Polish Scientific Publishers PWN.
  37. ^ Powszechny Spis Ludnosci r. 1921

Further reading

  • Davies, Norman. God’s Playground. A History of Poland. Vol. 2: 1795 to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981. pp 393–434
  • Latawaski, Paul. Reconstruction of Poland 1914–23 (1992)
  • Leslie, R. F. et al. The History of Poland since 1863. Cambridge U. Press, 1980. 494 pp.
  • Lukowski, Jerzy and Zawadzki, Hubert. A Concise History of Poland. Cambridge U. Press, 2nd ed 2006. 408pp. excerpts and search
  • Pogonowski, Iwo Cyprian. Poland: A Historical Atlas. Hippocrene, 1987. 321 pp. new designed maps
  • Stachura, Peter D. Poland, 1918–1945: An Interpretive and Documentary History of the Second Republic (2004) online
  • Stachura, Peter D. ed. Poland Between the Wars, 1918–1939 (1998) essays by scholars
  • Watt, Richard M. Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate, 1918–1939 (1998) excerpt and text search, comprehensive survey

Politics and diplomacy

  • Cienciala, Anna M. “The Foreign Policy of Józef Pi£sudski and Józef Beck, 1926–1939: Misconceptions and Interpretations,” The Polish Review (2011) 56#1 pp.111–151 in JSTOR; earlier version
  • Cienciala, Anna M. (1968), Poland the Western Powers, 1938–1939. A Study in the Interdependence of Eastern and Western Europe. PDF, Kansas U. Press.
  • Cienciala, Anna M., and Titus Komarnicki (1984), From Versailles to Locarno, Keys to Polish Foreign Policy, 1919–1925 PDF, Kansas U. Press.
  • Drzewieniecki, Walter M. “The Polish Army on the Eve of World War II,” Polish Review (1981) 26#3 pp 54–64.
  • Garlicki, Andrzej. Józef Piłsudski, 1867–1935 (New York: Scolar Press 1995), scholarly biography; one-vol version of 4 vol Polish edition
  • Hetherington, Peter. Unvanquished: Joseph Pilsudski, Resurrected Poland, and the Struggle for Eastern Europe (2012) 752pp excerpt and text search
  • Jędrzejewicz, W. Piłsudski. A Life for Poland (1982), scholarly biography
  • Kantorosinski, Zbigniew. Emblem of Good Will: a Polish Declaration of Admiration and Friendship for the United States of America. Washington, DC: Library of Congress (1997)
  • Polonsky, A. Politics in Independent Poland, 1921–1939: The Crisis of Constitutional Government (1972)
  • Riekhoff, H. von. German-Polish Relations, 1918–1933 (Johns Hopkins University Press 1971)
  • Rothschild, J. Piłsudski’s Coup d’État (New York: Columbia University Press 1966)
  • Wandycz, P. S. Polish Diplomacy 1914–1945: Aims and Achievements (1988)
  • Wandycz, P. S. Soviet-Polish Relations, 1917–1921 (Harvard University Press 1969)
  • Wandycz, P. S. The United States and Poland (1980)
  • Zamoyski, Adam. Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe (2008) excerpt and text search

Social and economic topics

  • Abramsky, C. et al. eds. The Jews in Poland (Oxford: Blackwell 1986)
  • Blanke, R. Orphans of Versailles. The Germans in Western Poland, 1918–1939 (1993)
  • Gutman, Y. et al. eds. The Jews of Poland Between Two World Wars (1989).
  • Landau, Z. and Tomaszewski, J. The Polish Economy in the Twentieth Century (Routledge, 1985)
  • Moklak, Jaroslaw. The Lemko Region in the Second Polish Republic: Political and Interdenominational Issues 1918–1939 (2013); covers Old Rusyns, Moscophiles and National Movement Activists, & the political role of the Greek Catholic and Orthodox Churches
  • Olszewski, A. K. An Outline of Polish Art and Architecture, 1890–1980 (Warsaw: Interpress 1989.)
  • Roszkowski, W. Landowners in Poland, 1918–1939 (Cambridge University Press, 1991)
  • Staniewicz, Witold. “The Agrarian Problem in Poland between the Two World Wars,” Slavonic and East European Review (1964) 43#100 pp. 23–33 in JSTOR
  • Taylor, J. J. The Economic Development of Poland, 1919–1950 (Cornell University Press 1952)
  • Wynot, E. D. Warsaw Between the Wars. Profile of the Capital City in a Developing Land, 1918–1939 (1983)
  • Żółtowski, A. Border of Europe. A Study of the Polish Eastern Provinces (London: Hollis & Carter 1950)
  • Eva Plach, “Dogs and dog breeding in interwar Poland,” Canadian Slavonic Papers 60. no 3-4

Primary sources

  • Small Statistical Yearbook, 1932 (Mały rocznik statystyczny 1932) complete text (in Polish)
  • Small Statistical Yearbook, 1939 (Mały rocznik statystyczny 1939) complete text (in Polish)

Historiography

  • Kenney, Padraic. “After the Blank Spots Are Filled: Recent Perspectives on Modern Poland,” Journal of Modern History (2007) 79#1 pp 134–61, in JSTOR
  • Polonsky, Antony. “The History of Inter-War Poland Today,” Survey (1970) pp143–159.

External links

  • Bbs.keyhole.com: Google Earth map with borders of the Second Republic of Poland
  • Polish Tangos: The Unique Inter-War Soundtrack to Poland’s Independence
  • Polish Cinema’s Golden Age: The Glamour & Progress Of Poland’s Inter-War Films

Coordinates: 52°13′N 21°00′E / 52.217°N 21.000°E / 52.217; 21.000


Republic of Venice

Most Serene Republic of Venice

  • Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia  (Italian)
  • Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta  (Venetian)
697–1797
Flag of Venice
Banner of Saint Mark

{{{coat_alt}}}
Coat of arms

Motto: Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus
Diachronic map of the Republic and the Venetian Empire.

Diachronic map of the Republic and the Venetian Empire.
Capital Eraclea
(697–742)
Malamocco
(742–810)
Venice
(810–1797)
Common languages Italian
Venetian
Latin
Government Parliamentary merchant republic with elective monarchistic features.
Doge  
• 697–717 (first)
Paolo Lucio Anafestoa
• 1789–1797 (last)
Ludovico Manin
Legislature Great Council
• Upper Chamber
Senate
• Lower Chamber
Council of Ten
Historical era Middle Ages – Early modern period
• Established1
697
• Golden Bull of Alexios I

1082
• Sack of Constantinople
1204
• Battle of Motta
1412
• Battle of Lepanto
1571
• Treaty of Passarowitz
1718
• Treaty of Campo Formio
1797
Currency Venetian ducat
Venetian lira

Preceded by

Succeeded by
Simple Labarum.svg Byzantine Empire
Venetian Province
Cisalpine Republic
French departments of Greece
Today part of  Italy
 Slovenia
 Croatia
 Montenegro
 Albania
 Greece
 Cyprus
a. ^ Paolo Lucio Anafesto is traditionally the first Doge of Venice, but John Julius Norwich suggests that this may be a mistake for Paul, Exarch of Ravenna, and that the traditional second doge Marcello Tegalliano may have been the similarly named magister militum to Paul. Their existence as doges is uncorroborated by any source before the 11th century, but as Norwich suggests, is probably not entirely legendary. Traditionally, the establishment of the Republic is, thus, dated to 697.

The Republic of Venice (Italian: Repubblica di Venezia[1]; Venetian: Repùblica de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Veneta[2]; Venetian: Repùblica Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima (English: Most Serene Republic of Venice; Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia; Venetian: Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta) was a sovereign state and maritime republic in northeastern Italy, which existed for a millennium between the 8th century and the 18th century. It was based in the lagoon communities of the historically prosperous city of Venice, and was a leading European economic and trading power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

The Venetian city state was founded as a safe haven for the people escaping persecution in mainland Europe after the decline of the Roman Empire. In its early years, it prospered on the salt trade. In subsequent centuries, the city state established a thalassocracy. It dominated trade on the Mediterranean Sea, including commerce between Europe and North Africa, as well as Asia. The Venetian navy was used in the Crusades, most notably in the Fourth Crusade. Venice achieved territorial conquests along the Adriatic Sea. The city became home to an extremely wealthy merchant class, who patronized renowned art and architecture along the city’s lagoons. Venetian merchants were influential financiers in Europe. The city was also the birthplace of great European explorers, especially Marco Polo, as well as Baroque composers such as Vivaldi and Benedetto Marcello.

The republic was ruled by the Doge, who was elected by members of the Great Council of Venice, the city-state’s parliament. The ruling class was an oligarchy of merchants and aristocrats. Venice and other Italian maritime republics played a key role in fostering capitalism. Venetian citizens generally supported the system of governance. The city-state enforced strict laws and employed ruthless tactics in its prisons.

The opening of new trade routes to the Americas and the East Indies via the Atlantic Ocean marked the beginning of Venice’s decline as a powerful maritime republic. The city state suffered defeats from the navy of the Ottoman Empire. In 1797, the republic was plundered by retreating Austrian and then French forces, following an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Republic of Venice was split into the Austrian Venetian Province, the Cisalpine Republic, a French client state, and the Ionian French departments of Greece. Venice then became a part of a unified Italy in the 19th century.

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Contents

  • 1 Name
  • 2 History

    • 2.1 Rise
    • 2.2 Early Middle Ages
    • 2.3 High Middle Ages
    • 2.4 13th century
    • 2.5 14th century
    • 2.6 15th century: the expansion in the mainland
    • 2.7 League of Cambrai, the loss of Cyprus, and Battle of Lepanto
    • 2.8 17th century
    • 2.9 18th century: decline
    • 2.10 Fall
    • 2.11 Legacy
  • 3 Government
  • 4 Heraldry
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References

    • 6.1 Notes
    • 6.2 Bibliography

      • 6.2.1 Primary source
      • 6.2.2 Secondary sources
  • 7 External links

Name

It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice (Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, Venetian: Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta, or Venetian: Repùblica de Venesia) and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in reference to its title as one of the “Most Serene Republics”.

History

During the 5th century, North East Italy was devastated by the Germanic invasions. A large number of the inhabitants moved to the coastal lagoons, looking for a safer place to live. Here they established a collection of lagoon communities, stretching over about 130 km from Chioggia in the south to Grado in the north, who banded together for mutual defence from the Lombards, Huns, and other invading peoples as the power of the Western Roman Empire dwindled in northern Italy.

These communities were subjected to the authority of the Byzantine Empire.

The Venetia c 600 AD

At some point in the first decades of the eighth century, the people of the Byzantine province of Venice elected their first leader Ursus (or Orso Ipato), who was confirmed by Constantinople and given the titles of hypatus and dux. He was the first historical Doge of Venice. Tradition, however, first attested in the early 11th century, states that the Venetians first proclaimed one Anafestus Paulicius duke in 697, though this story dates to no earlier than the chronicle of John the Deacon. Whichever the case, the first doges had their power base in Heraclea.

Rise

Ursus’s successor, Deusdedit, moved his seat from Heraclea to Malamocco in the 740s. He was the son of Ursus and represented the attempt of his father to establish a dynasty. Such attempts were more than commonplace among the doges of the first few centuries of Venetian history, but all were ultimately unsuccessful. During the reign of Deusdedit, Venice became the only remaining Byzantine possession in the north and the changing politics of the Frankish Empire began to change the factional divisions within Venetia. One faction was decidedly pro-Byzantine. They desired to remain well-connected to the Empire. Another faction, republican in nature, believed in continuing along a course towards practical independence. The other main faction was pro-Frankish. Supported mostly by clergy (in line with papal sympathies of the time), they looked towards the new Carolingian king of the Franks, Pepin the Short, as the best provider of defence against the Lombards. A minor, pro-Lombard faction was opposed to close ties with any of these further-off powers and interested in maintaining peace with the neighbouring (and surrounding, but for the sea) Lombard kingdom.

Early Middle Ages

The Venetia c 840 AD

The successors of Obelerio inherited a united Venice. By the Pax Nicephori (803-814), the two emperors had recognised that Venice belonged to the Byzantine sphere of influence. Many centuries later, the Venetians claimed that the treaty had recognised Venetian de facto independence, but the truth of this claim is doubted by modern scholars. A Byzantine fleet sailed to Venice in 807 and deposed the Doge, replacing him with a Byzantine governor. Nevertheless, during the reign of the Participazio family, Venice grew into its modern form. Though Heraclean by birth, Agnello, the first Participazio doge, was an early immigrant to Rialto and his dogeship was marked by the expansion of Venice towards the sea via the construction of bridges, canals, bulwarks, fortifications, and stone buildings. The modern Venice, at one with the sea, was being born. Agnello was succeeded by his son Giustiniano, who stole the remains of Saint Mark the Evangelist from Alexandria, took them to Venice, and made him the republic’s patron saint. According to tradition, Saint Mark was the founder of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. With the patriarch’s flight to Grado after the Lombard invasion, the patriarchate split into two: one on the mainland, under the control of the Lomabrds and later the Franks, and the other in Grado on the lagoons and the areas under Byzantine control; this would later become the Patriarchate of Venice. With the apostle’s reliquiae in its hands, Venice could reaffirm to be the rightful heir of Aquileia: in the Late Middle Ages, this would be the basis to legitimize the seizure of the patriarchy’s vast territories in Friuli and eastwards.

Map of the Venetian Republic, circa 1000

During the reign of the successor of the Participazio, Pietro Tradonico, Venice began to establish its military might, which would influence many a later crusade and dominate the Adriatic for centuries. Tradonico secured the sea by fighting Narentine and Saracen pirates. Tradonico’s reign was long and successful (837–64), but he was succeeded by the Participazio and a dynasty appeared to have been finally established. Around 841, the Republic of Venice sent a fleet of 60 galleys (each carrying 200 men) to assist the Byzantines in driving the Arabs from Crotone, but it failed.[3] In 1000, Pietro II Orseolo sent a fleet of 6 ships to defeat the Narentine pirates from Dalmatia.[4]

High Middle Ages

The Republic of Venice in the 15th–16th centuries.

  Venice
  Territory at the start of the 15th c.
  Subsequent acquisitions
  Temporary acquisitions
  Seas dominated by Venetians at the start of the 16th c.
  Primary Venetian routes

    Primary Venetian trading colonies

  Ottoman Empire

In the High Middle Ages, Venice became extremely wealthy through its control of trade between Europe and the Levant, and it began to expand into the Adriatic Sea and beyond. In 1084, Domenico Selvo personally led a fleet against the Normans, but he was defeated and lost nine great galleys, the largest and most heavily armed ships in the Venetian war fleet.[5] Venice was involved in the Crusades almost from the very beginning. Two hundred Venetian ships assisted in capturing the coastal cities of Syria after the First Crusade. In 1110, Ordelafo Faliero personally commanded a Venetian fleet of 100 ships to assist Baldwin I of Jerusalem and Sigurd I Magnusson, king of Norway in capturing the city of Sidon (in present-day Lebanon).[6] In 1123, they were granted virtual autonomy in the Kingdom of Jerusalem through the Pactum Warmundi.[7]

The Venetians also gained extensive trading privileges in the Byzantine Empire during the 12th century, and their ships often provided the Empire with a navy. In 1182, a vicious anti-Western riot broke out in Constantinople targeting Latins, and Venetians in particular. Many in the Empire had become jealous of Venetian power and influence, thus when the pretender Andronikos I Komnenos marched on the city, Venetian property was seized and the owners imprisoned or banished, an act which humiliated and angered the republic. In 1183, the city of Zara (Croatian: Zadar) successfully rebelled against Venetian rule. The city then put itself under the dual protection of the papacy and Emeric, King of Hungary. The Dalmatians separated from Hungary by a treaty in 1199, and they paid Hungary with a portion of Macedonia. In 1201, the city of Zara recognized Emeric as overlord.

13th century

The leaders of the Fourth Crusade (1202–04) contracted with Venice to provide a fleet for transportation to the Levant. When the crusaders were unable to pay for the ships, Doge Enrico Dandolo offered transport if the crusaders were to capture Zara, a city that had rebelled years ago and was a concurrent to Venice. Upon the capture of Zara, the crusade was again diverted, this time to Constantinople. The capture and sacking of Constantinople has been described as one of the most profitable and disgraceful sacks of a city in history.[8] The Venetians claimed much of the plunder, including the famous four bronze horses that were brought back to adorn St Mark’s Basilica. Furthermore, in the subsequent partition of the Byzantine lands, Venice gained a great deal of territory in the Aegean Sea, theoretically amounting to three-eighths of the Byzantine Empire. It also acquired the islands of Crete (Candia) and Euboea (Negroponte); the present core city of Chania on Crete is largely of Venetian construction, built atop the ruins of the ancient city of Cydonia.[9] The Aegean islands came to form the Venetian Duchy of the Archipelago. The Byzantine Empire was re-established in 1261 by Michael VIII Palaiologos, but never again recovered its previous power, and was eventually conquered by the Ottoman Turks.

The Republic of Venice signed a trade treaty with the Mongol Empire in 1221.[10]

In 1295, Pietro Gradenigo sent a fleet of 68 ships to attack a Genoese fleet at Alexandretta, then another fleet of 100 ships was sent to attack the Genoese in 1299.[11] From 1350 to 1381, Venice fought an intermittent war with the Genoese. Initially defeated, they devastated the Genoese fleet at the Battle of Chioggia in 1380 and retained their prominent position in eastern Mediterranean affairs at the expense of Genoa’s declining empire.

14th century

In 1363, the revolt of Saint Titus against Venetian rule broke out in the overseas colony of Candia (Crete). It was a joint effort of Venetian colonists and Cretan nobles who attempted to create an independent state. Venice sent a multinational mercenary army which soon regained control of the major cities. However, Venice was not able to fully reconquer Crete until 1368.

By the end of the 14th century, Venice had acquired mainland possessions in Italy, annexing Mestre and Serravalle in 1337, Treviso and Bassano del Grappa in 1339, Oderzo in 1380, and Ceneda in 1389.

15th century: the expansion in the mainland

In the early 15th century, the republic began to expand onto the Terraferma. Thus, Vicenza, Belluno, and Feltre were acquired in 1404, and Padua, Verona, and Este in 1405.

Venice expanded as well along the Dalmatian coast from Istria to Albania, which was acquired from King Ladislaus of Naples during the civil war in Hungary. Ladislaus was about to lose the conflict and had decided to escape to Naples, but before doing so, he agreed to sell his now practically forfeit rights on the Dalmatian cities for the reduced sum of 100,000 ducats.

Procession in St Mark’s Square by Gentile Bellini in 1496

Venice exploited the situation and quickly installed nobility to govern the area, for example, Count Filippo Stipanov in Zara. This move by the Venetians was a response to the threatening expansion of Giangaleazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan. Control over the northeast main land routes was also a necessity for the safety of the trades. By 1410, Venice had a navy of 3,300 ships (manned by 36,000 men) and taken over most of what is now the Veneto, including the cities of Verona (which swore its loyalty in the Devotion of Verona to Venice in 1405) and Padua.[12]

The situation in Dalmatia had been settled in 1408 by a truce with King Sigismund of Hungary, but the difficulties of Hungary finally granted to the republic the consolidation of its Adriatic dominions. At the expiration of the truce in 1420, Venice immediately invaded the Patriarchate of Aquileia, and subjected Traù, Spalato, Durazzo, and other Dalmatian cities. In Lombardy, Venice acquired Brescia in 1426, Bergamo in 1428, and Cremona in 1499.

Slaves were plentiful in the Italian city-states as late as the 15th century. Between 1414 and 1423, some 10,000 slaves, imported from Caffa, were sold in Venice.[13]

In 1481, Venice retook nearby Rovigo, which it had held previously from 1395-1438; in February 1489, the island of Cyprus, previously a crusader state (the Kingdom of Cyprus), was added to Venice’s holdings.

League of Cambrai, the loss of Cyprus, and Battle of Lepanto

The Ottoman Empire started sea campaigns as early as 1423, when it waged a seven-year war with the Venetian Republic over maritime control of the Aegean, the Ionian, and the Adriatic Seas. The wars with Venice resumed after Ottomans captured Kingdom of Bosnia in 1463, and lasted until a favorable peace treaty was signed in 1479 just after the troublesome siege of Shkodra. In 1480 (now no longer hampered by the Venetian fleet), the Ottomans besieged Rhodes and briefly captured Otranto. By 1490, the population of Venice had risen to about 180,000 people.[14]

War with the Ottomans resumed from 1499 to 1503. In 1499, Venice allied itself with Louis XII of France against Milan, gaining Cremona. In the same year, the Ottoman sultan moved to attack Lepanto by land, and sent a large fleet to support his offensive by sea. Antonio Grimani, more a businessman and diplomat than a sailor, was defeated in the sea battle of Zonchio in 1499. The Turks once again sacked Friuli. Preferring peace to total war both against the Turks and by sea, Venice surrendered the bases of Lepanto, Durazzo, Modon, and Coron.

Venice’s attention was diverted from its usual maritime position by the delicate situation in Romagna, then one of the richest lands in Italy, which was nominally part of the Papal States, but effectively divided into a series of small lordships which were difficult for Rome’s troops to control. Eager to take some of Venice’s lands, all neighbouring powers joined in the League of Cambrai in 1508, under the leadership of Pope Julius II. The pope wanted Romagna; Emperor Maximilian I: Friuli and Veneto; Spain: the Apulian ports; the king of France: Cremona; the king of Hungary: Dalmatia, and each one some of another’s part. The offensive against the huge army enlisted by Venice was launched from France.

The Venetian fort of Palamidi in Nafplion, Greece, one of many forts that secured Venetian trade routes in the Eastern Mediterranean.

On 14 May 1509, Venice was crushingly defeated at the battle of Agnadello, in the Ghiara d’Adda, marking one of the most delicate points in Venetian history. French and imperial troops were occupying Veneto, but Venice managed to extricate itself through diplomatic efforts. The Apulian ports were ceded in order to come to terms with Spain, and Pope Julius II soon recognized the danger brought by the eventual destruction of Venice (then the only Italian power able to face kingdoms like France or empires like the Ottomans).

The citizens of the mainland rose to the cry of “Marco, Marco”, and Andrea Gritti recaptured Padua in July 1509, successfully defending it against the besieging imperial troops. Spain and the pope broke off their alliance with France, and Venice regained Brescia and Verona from France, also. After seven years of ruinous war, the Serenissima regained its mainland dominions west to the Adda River. Although the defeat had turned into a victory, the events of 1509 marked the end of the Venetian expansion.

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Giovan Battista Tiepolo’s Neptune offers the wealth of the sea to Venice, 1748–50, an allegory of the power of the Republic of Venice, as the wealth and power of the Serenissima was based on the control of the sea
Sebastiano Venier commander of the Venetian fleet at Lepanto (1571)

In 1489, the first year of Venetian control of Cyprus, Turks attacked the Karpasia Peninsula, pillaging and taking captives to be sold into slavery. In 1539, the Turkish fleet attacked and destroyed Limassol. Fearing the ever-expanding Ottoman Empire, the Venetians had fortified Famagusta, Nicosia, and Kyrenia, but most other cities were easy prey. By 1563, the population of Venice had dropped to about 168,000 people.[14]

In the summer of 1570, the Turks struck again, but this time with a full-scale invasion rather than a raid. About 60,000 troops, including cavalry and artillery, under the command of Mustafa Pasha landed unopposed near Limassol on 2 July 1570, and laid siege to Nicosia. In an orgy of victory on the day that the city fell – 9 September 1570 – 20,000 Nicosians were put to death, and every church, public building, and palace was looted.[15] Word of the massacre spread, and a few days later, Mustafa took Kyrenia without having to fire a shot. Famagusta, however, resisted and put up a defense that lasted from September 1570 until August 1571.

The fall of Famagusta marked the beginning of the Ottoman period in Cyprus. Two months later, the naval forces of the Holy League, composed mainly of Venetian, Spanish, and papal ships under the command of Don John of Austria, defeated the Turkish fleet at the Battle of Lepanto.[16] Despite victory at sea over the Turks, Cyprus remained under Ottoman rule for the next three centuries. By 1575, the population of Venice was about 175,000 people, but partly as a result of the plague of 1575–76 dropped to 124,000 people by 1581.[14]

17th century

According to University of California, Berkeley economic historian Jan De Vries, Venice’s economic power in the Mediterranean had declined significantly by the start of the 17th century. De Vries attributes this decline to the loss of the spice trade (to the Dutch and English), a declining uncompetitive textile industry, competition in book publishing due to a rejuvenated Catholic Church, the adverse impact of the Thirty Years’ War on Venice’s key trade partners, and the increasing cost of cotton and silk imports to Venice.[17]

In 1606, a conflict between Venice and the Holy See began with the arrest of two clerics accused of petty crimes, and with a law restricting the Church’s right to enjoy and acquire landed property. Pope Paul V held that these provisions were contrary to canon law, and demanded that they be repealed. When this was refused, he placed Venice under an interdict. The Republic paid no attention to the interdict or the act of excommunication, and ordered its priests to carry out their ministry. It was supported in its decisions by the Servite monk Paolo Sarpi, a sharp polemical writer who was nominated to be the Signoria’s adviser on theology and canon law in 1606. The interdict was lifted after a year, when France intervened and proposed a formula of compromise. Venice was satisfied with reaffirming the principle that no citizen was superior to the normal processes of law.[citation needed]

The latter half of the 17th century also had prolonged wars with the Ottoman Empire; in the Cretan War (1645–1669), after a heroic siege that lasted 24 years, Venice lost its major overseas possession, the island of Crete, while it made some advances in Dalmatia. In 1684, however, taking advantage of the Ottoman involvement against Austria in the Great Turkish War, the republic initiated the Morean War, which lasted until 1699 and in which it was able to conquer the Morea peninsula in southern Greece.

18th century: decline

These gains did not last, however; in December 1714, the Turks began the last Turkish–Venetian War, when the Morea was “without any of those supplies which are so desirable even in countries where aid is near at hand which are not liable to attack from the sea”.[18]

The Republic of Venice around 1700

The Turks took the islands of Tinos and Aegina, crossed the isthmus, and took Corinth. Daniele Dolfin, commander of the Venetian fleet, thought it better to save the fleet than risk it for the Morea. When he eventually arrived on the scene, Nauplia, Modon, Corone, and Malvasia had fallen. Levkas in the Ionian islands, and the bases of Spinalonga and Suda on Crete which still remained in Venetian hands, were abandoned. The Turks finally landed on Corfù, but its defenders managed to throw them back.

In the meantime, the Turks had suffered a grave defeat by the Austrians in the Battle of Petrovaradin on 5 August 1716. Venetian naval efforts in the Aegean Sea and the Dardanelles in 1717 and 1718, however, met with little success. With the Treaty of Passarowitz (21 July 1718), Austria made large territorial gains, but Venice lost the Morea, for which its small gains in Albania and Dalmatia were little compensation. This was the last war with the Ottoman Empire. By the year 1792, the once-great Venetian merchant fleet had declined to a mere 309 merchantmen.[19]

Although Venice declined as a seaborne empire, it remained in possession of its continental domain north of the Po Valley, extending west almost to Milan. Many of its cities benefited greatly from the Pax Venetiae (Venetian peace) throughout the 18th century.

Fall

Drawing of the Doge’s Palace, late 14th century

By 1796, the Republic of Venice could no longer defend itself since its war fleet numbered only four galleys and seven galliots.[20] In spring 1796, Piedmont fell and the Austrians were beaten from Montenotte to Lodi. The army under Bonaparte crossed the frontiers of neutral Venice in pursuit of the enemy. By the end of the year, the French troops were occupying the Venetian state up to the Adige. Vicenza, Cadore and Friuli were held by the Austrians. With the campaigns of the next year, Napoleon aimed for the Austrian possessions across the Alps. In the preliminaries to the Peace of Leoben, the terms of which remained secret, the Austrians were to take the Venetian possessions in the Balkans as the price of peace (18 April 1797), while France required the Lombard part of the State.

After Napoleon’s ultimatum, Doge Ludovico Manin surrendered unconditionally on 12 May, and abdicated himself, while the Major Council declared the end of the republic. According to Bonaparte’s orders, the public powers passed to a provisional municipality under the French military governor. On 17 October, France and Austria signed the Treaty of Campo Formio, agreeing the sharing of all the territory of the ancient republic, with a new border just west of the Adige River. Italian democrats, especially young poet Ugo Foscolo, viewed the treaty as a betrayal. The metropolitan part of the disbanded republic became an Austrian territory, under the name of Venetian Province (Provincia Veneta in Italian, Provinz Venedig in German).

Legacy

Though the economic vitality of the Venetian Republic had started to decline since the 16th century due to the movement of international trade towards the Atlantic, its political regime still appeared in the 18th century as a model for the philosophers of the enlightenment.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was hired in July 1743 as Secretary by comte de Montaigu, who had been named Ambassador of the French in Venice. This short experience, nevertheless, awakened the interest of Rousseau to the policy, which led him to design a large book of political philosophy project.[21] After the Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men (1755), he published The Social Contract (1762).

Government

In the early years of the republic, the Doge of Venice ruled Venice in an autocratic fashion, but later his powers were limited by the promissione ducale, a pledge he had to take when elected. As a result, powers were shared with the Maggior Consiglio or Great Council, composed of 480 members taken from patrician families, so that in the words of Marin Sanudo, “[The Doge] could do nothing without the Great Council and the Great Council could do nothing without him”.

Venice followed a mixed government model, combining monarchy in the doge, aristocracy in the senate, and a “democracy” of Rialto families in the major council.[22] Machiavelli considered it “excellent among modern republics” (unlike his native Florence).[23][24]

The governmental structure of Venice

In the 12th century, the aristocratic families of Rialto further diminished the doge’s powers by establishing the Minor Council (1175), composed of the six ducal councillors, and the Council of Forty or Quarantia (1179) as a supreme tribunal. In 1223, these institutions were combined into the Signoria, which consisted of the doge, the Minor Council, and the three leaders of the Quarantia. The Signoria was the central body of government, representing the continuity of the republic as shown in the expression: “si è morto il Doge, no la Signoria” (“If the Doge is dead, the Signoria is not”). During the late 14th and early 15th centuries, the Signoria was supplemented by a number of boards of savii (“wise men”): the six savii del consiglio, who formulated and executed government policy; the five savii di terraferma, responsible for military affairs and the defence of the Terraferma; five the savii ai ordini, responsible for the navy, commerce, and the overseas territories. Together, the Signoria and the savii formed the Full College (Pien Collegio), the de facto executive body of the Republic.

In 1229, the Consiglio dei Pregadi or Senate, was formed, being 60 members elected by the major council.[25] These developments left the doge with little personal power and put actual authority in the hands of the Great Council.

The hearing given by the Doge in the Sala del Collegio in Doge’s Palace by Francesco Guardi, 1775–80

In 1310, a Council of Ten was established, becoming the central political body whose members operated in secret. Around 1600, its dominance over the major council was considered a threat and efforts were made in the council and elsewhere to reduce its powers, with limited success.

In 1454, the Supreme Tribunal of the three state inquisitors was established to guard the security of the republic. By means of espionage, counterespionage, internal surveillance, and a network of informers, they ensured that Venice did not come under the rule of a single “signore”, as many other Italian cities did at the time. One of the inquisitors – popularly known as Il Rosso (“the red one”) because of his scarlet robe – was chosen from the Doge’s councillors, two – popularly known as I negri (“the black ones”) because of their black robes – were chosen from the Council of Ten. The Supreme Tribunal gradually assumed some of the powers of the Council of Ten.[25]

In 1556, the provveditori ai beni inculti were also created for the improvement of agriculture by increasing the area under cultivation and encouraging private investment in agricultural improvement. The consistent rise in the price of grain during the 16th century encouraged the transfer of capital from trade to the land.

Heraldry

Flag of Veneto

The Winged Lion of Venice (top left) on the Italian naval jack

The winged Lion of St. Mark, which had appeared on the Republic’s flag and coat of arms, is still featured in the red-yellow flag of the city of Venice (which has six tails, one for each sestier of the city), in the coat of arms of the city and in the yellow-red-blue flag of Veneto (which has seven tails representing the seven provinces of the region).

The winged lion also appears in the naval ensign of the Italian Republic, alongside the coat of arms of three other medieval Italian maritime republics (Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi).

See also

  • Timeline of the Republic of Venice
  • Republic of San Marco (1848–49)
  • History of the Byzantine Empire
  • List of historic states of Italy
  • Wars in Lombardy (1425–54)
  • Ottoman wars in Europe
  • Italian Wars (1494–1559)
  • Marco Polo (circa 1254–1324)
  • Kingdom of Candia
  • Venetian Ionian Islands
  • Venetian Dalmatia
  • Venetian Albania
  • Venetian Slovenia
  • Venetian Carnival
  • Commune Veneciarum
  • Venetian navy
  • Venetian School (art)
  • Venetian School (music)
  • Venetian Gothic architecture
  • Venetian nationalism

References

Notes

  1. ^ Si veda ad esempio “Giacomo Diedo Senatore (1751). Storia della Repubblica di Venezia sino l’anno MDCCXLVII. Venezia: Stamperia Andrea Poletti..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png”)no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em} e “del Mar Adriatico della Serenissima Republica di Venetia, descritto da Fr. Paolo Sarpi suo consultore d’ordine pubblico Dominio del Mar Adriatico della Serenissima Republica di Venetia, descritto da Fr. Paolo Sarpi suo consultore d’ordine pubblico“, Venezia, 1685, stamperia Roberto Meietti.
  2. ^ Si veda per esempio “Petri Pauli Vergerii senioris Justinopolitani De republica Veneta fragmenta nunc primum in luce edita“, Venezia, 1830, tipografia Picottiana.
  3. ^ J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 32.
  4. ^ J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 53.
  5. ^ J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 72.
  6. ^ J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 83.
  7. ^ J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 77.
  8. ^ Phillips, The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, Introduction, xiii.
  9. ^ C.Michael Hogan, Cydonia, Modern Antiquarian, 23 January 2008
  10. ^ The enemy within: a history of espionage, General Military, p.49, Terry Crowdy, Osprey Publishing, 2006.
    ISBN 978-1-84176-933-2
  11. ^ J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 176–180.
  12. ^ J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 269.
  13. ^ Witzenrath, Christoph (November 2015). Eurasian Slavery, Ransom and Abolition in World History, 1200-1860 (New ed.). Ashgate. p. 13. ISBN 978-1472410580. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  14. ^ abc J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 494.
  15. ^ Turnbull, Stephen (2003). The Ottoman Empire 1326–1699. Routledge. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-415-96913-0.
  16. ^ Melisseides Ioannes A. (2010). “E epibiose:odoiporiko se chronus meta ten Alose tes Basileusas (1453-1605 peripou)”, (in Greek), epim.Pulcheria Sabolea-Melisseide, Ekd.Vergina, Athens (Worldcat, Regesta Imperii, etc.), p.91-108,
    ISBN 9608280079
  17. ^ De Vries, Jan. “Europe in an age of crisis 1600-1750”. Cambridge University Press. p. 26. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
  18. ^ Zorzi, Alvise (1983). Venice: The Golden Age, 697 – 1797. New York: Abbeville Press. p. 255. ISBN 0896594068. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  19. ^ J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 591.
  20. ^ J. J. Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 615.
  21. ^ Raymond Trousson, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Tallandier, p. 452
  22. ^ The Political Ideas of St. Thomas Aquinas, Dino Bigongiari ed., Hafner Publishing Company, NY, 1953. p. xxx in footnote.
  23. ^ Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. & ed. by Robert M. Adams, W.W. Norton & Co., NY, 1992. Machiavelli Balanced Government
  24. ^ Niccolò Machiavelli, Discourses on Livy, trans. by Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1996.
  25. ^ ab Catholic Encyclopedia, “Venice”, p. 602.

Bibliography

Primary source

.mw-parser-output .refbegin{font-size:90%;margin-bottom:0.5em}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul{list-style-type:none;margin-left:0}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul>li,.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>dl>dd{margin-left:0;padding-left:3.2em;text-indent:-3.2em;list-style:none}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-100{font-size:100%}

  • Contarini, Gasparo (1599). The Commonwealth and Government of Venice. Lewes Lewkenor, translator. London: “Imprinted by I. Windet for E. Mattes”. The most important contemporary account of Venice’s governance during the time of its blossoming; numerous reprint editions; online facsimile[permanent dead link].

Secondary sources

  • Benvenuti, Gino (1989). Le repubbliche marinare. Rome: Newton Compton.
  • Brown, Patricia Fortini (2004). Private Lives in Renaissance Venice: art, architecture, and the family.
  • Chambers, D. S. (1970). The Imperial Age of Venice, 1380–1580. London: Thames & Hudson. The best brief introduction in English, still completely reliable.
  • Drechsler, Wolfgang (2002). Venice Misappropriated. Trames 6(2):192–201. A scathing review of Martin & Romano 2000; also a good summary on the most recent economic and political thought on Venice.
  • Garrett, Martin (2006). Venice: a Cultural History. Revised edition of Venice: a Cultural and Literary Companion (2001).
  • Grubb, James S. (1986). When Myths Lose Power: Four Decades of Venetian Historiography. Journal of Modern History 58, pp. 43–94. The classic “muckraking” essay on the myths of Venice.
  • Howard, Deborah, and Sarah Quill (2004). The Architectural History of Venice.
  • Hale, John Rigby (1974). Renaissance Venice.
    ISBN 0-571-10429-0.
  • Lane, Frederic Chapin (1973). Venice: Maritime Republic.
    ISBN 0-8018-1445-6. A standard scholarly history with an emphasis on economic, political and diplomatic history.
  • Laven, Mary (2002). Virgins of Venice: Enclosed Lives and Broken Vows in the Renaissance Convent. The most important study of the life of Renaissance nuns, with much on aristocratic family networks and the life of women more generally.
  • Mallett, M. E. and Hale, J. R. (1984). The Military Organisation of a Renaissance State, Venice c. 1400 to 1617.
    ISBN 0-521-03247-4.
  • Martin, John Jeffries and Dennis Romano (eds.) (2002). Venice Reconsidered: The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State, 1297–1797. Johns Hopkins UP. The most recent collection on essays, many by prominent scholars, on Venice.
  • Melisseides Ioannes A. (2010), E epibiose:odoiporiko se chronus meta ten Alose tes Basileusas (1453-1605 peripu), (in Greek), epim.Pulcheria Sabolea-Melisseide, Ekd.Vergina Athens, (Worldcat, Greek National Bibliography 9217/10, Regesta Imperii, etc.), p. 91-108,
    ISBN 9608280079
  • Muir, Edward (1981). Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice. Princeton UP. The classic of Venetian cultural studies, highly sophisticated.
  • Norwich, John Julius (1982). A History of Venice. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf.
  • Prelli, Alberto. Sotto le bandiere di San Marco, le armate della Serenissima nel ‘600, Itinera Progetti, Bassano del Grappa, 2012
  • Rosand, David (2001). Myths of Venice: The Figuration of a State. How writers (especially English) have understood Venice and its art.
  • Tafuri, Manfredo (1995). Venice and the Renaissance. On Venetian architecture.
  • Tafel, Gottlieb Lukas Friedrich, and Georg Martin Thomas (1856). Urkunden zur älteren Handels- und Staatsgeschichte der Republik Venedig.
  • Tomaz, Luigi (2007). Il confine d’Italia in Istria e Dalmazia. Foreword by Arnaldo Mauri. Conselve: Think ADV.
  • Tomaz, Luigi. In Adriatico nel secondo millennio. Foreword by Arnaldo Mauri.
  • Tomaz, Luigi (2001). In Adriatico nell’antichità e nell’alto medioevo. Foreword by Arnaldo Mauri. Conselve: Think ADV.

External links

  • Geschichte Venedigs. Politik (in German)
  • Sources for the history of the Republic of Venice (in Italian)
  • Interactive map of venetian fortresses & fortified villages in Greece and Aegean sea