Account for the Success and Failures of the Weimar Republic (Germany 1919-1934)

1790 WordsJun 3, 20138 Pages
HSC Modern History Maddie Chandler Account for the successes and failures of democracy in Germany in the period 1919-1934. The crippling aftermath of World War 1 had a devastating impact on the German economy, society, and political system was devastating. Reparations had to be paid to the Allies, hyperinflation was reaching senseless levels, and unemployment was high. The nation was angry, resentful, and almost every move made by their leaders was criticised. The traditional monarch, the Kaiser, was abdicated from his throne and fled the nation. This resulted in the foundation of a more contemporary and unfamiliar system of government – democracy; which had periods of prosperity and success as well as catastrophe and failure. The…show more content…
Historian Craig believes proportional voting “made for an inherent instability that manifested itself in what appeared to the bemused spectator to be a continuous game of musical chairs.”1 This is commenting on the ever-changing and erratic political structure of the Reichstag. Extremist parties from the left and the right emerged in the early years of the Republic; they served as great threats to the government as they were members of the Reichstag and received considerable support from the community. Another aspect of the Weimar Constitution that turned out to be a failure was the amount of power given to the president; he was the head of state, supreme leader of the military, and the nation’s strongest political figure. Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution also allows the president to use emergency powers; these basically give him the right to disregard the constitution and issue laws that deny people of their basic rights and liberties if the situation is seen as an emergency. An example of this is when Hitler used Article 48 during his time as president to suspend the constitution and allow Nazis to arrest, oppress, and threaten any opposition, and it was considered legal under the circumstances of the article. All weaknesses of the political structure allowed Hitler, with the support from fellow Nazis, to weave his way to the top of the system and eventually abolish the Republic and democracy in the 1932 elections. The political structure of the

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