The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich

1193 WordsSep 7, 20145 Pages
The Weimar Constitution was a genuine attempt to create a perfect democratic country. In his book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960), American historian William L. Shirer described the Weimar Constitution as "on paper, the most liberal and democratic document of its kind the twentieth century had ever seen ... full of ingenious and admirable devices which seemed to guarantee the working of an almost flawless democracy.” The constitution guaranteed equal rights to the German people, yet also contained the fundamental structural flaws that would play a major part in the Republic 's downfall (and thus the Nazi Party’s rise). Two clear examples of such weaknesses were the use of an excessively proportional electoral system and the…show more content…
All of these factors made it very difficult for the German people to be trustworthy, faithful and supportive of the regime of the Weimar Constitution. This idea is re-affirmed through German historian Friedrich Meinecke saying that “true loyalty to the Fatherland requires disloyalty to the Republic”, leading to an opening for extremist parties as well as the Republic’s doom. The system of proportional representation was intended by the Weimar Republic to avoid the wasting of votes and to reduce political conflicts, causing many parties to gaining seats in the Reichstag. The quantity of political parties was multiplied and coalitions were made necessary. This resulted in unstable government and, consequently, frequent changes of government as each party had different aims. This was reflected in 376 political assassinations up to 1923. Similarly, despite being from the democratic left, during the early 1920s Friedrich Ebert relied heavily on the traditionally right-wing army and Freikorps in order to keep control of the country. Conservative attitudes tended to overemphasise the threat from the left, whilst the threat from the right was severely under estimated. The rise of a multitude of small trivial parties, many of which represented the extreme ends of the political
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