The period of German history known as the Weimar Republic, which lasted from its declaration in 1919 until the ascent of Adolf Hitler and the NSDAP in 1933, is one of great tension and inner conflict. Humiliated by its defeat in World War I and left with a power vaccum when Kaiser Wilhelm II fled to Holland in November of 1918, Germany suddenly found itself on the verge of total chaos. A bloody attempt at revolution by workers in the streets of Berlin was put down by paramilitary Freikorps units, culminating in the beating deaths of its leaders. The nation was flooded with soldiers returning from the front, many of whom were wounded physically, psychologically, or both. Violence was rampant, with fights breaking out even between rival leftist groups at funerals for leaders assasinated by right wing adversaries. It was within this context that a national assembly was called to Weimar in February of 1919 in the hopes of writing a new constitution. During their deliberations a Soviet republic would be declared in Munich only to be put down by Freikorps and regular army units, sporadic fighting would continue to flare up around the country, and the German peace deligation in France would sign the Treaty of Versailles, accepting heavy reductions of the German military, heavy reparations payments, and the infamous "war guilt clause." The Republic's first president, Friedrich Ebert, signed the new German constitution into law in August 11, 1919.
General Erich Ludendorf
Communist uprisings in Ruhr and central Germany, March and April of 1920 Communist uprisings in Saxony and Hamburg, March 1921
French and Belgian troops occupy the Ruhr region, taking control of mining and manufacturing concerns in January of 1922.
Stresemann government declares martial law in Bavaria and state of emergency in Germany, September of 1923.
Attempted Communist uprisings in October, 1923.
General Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg elected president.