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Although Germany Gained A Fully Democratic State In 1919, Explain Why Some Historians Believe It Was Doomed From The Start.

1466 words - 6 pages

Despite the Weimar Republic lasting fourteen years some historians viewed it as merely an interlude between imperial and Nazi Germany, and believe that it was doomed from the outset. It had been described as a 'republic without republicans', which to have been introduced immediately after the war was 'a gamble standing virtually no chance of success'. There are many factors that have drawn them to this conclusion, primarily the long-term weaknesses it faced. These included a lack of any democratic history and the circumstances under which it was established. The foundations for this government were not strong or appropriate. A semi-democratic state had been created to alleviate blame from the politicians and generals over the loss of the war and then a full democracy introduced as a way of preventing a communist uprising that Russia had just experienced. With a lack of support from the German people, a country exhausted after the First World War and harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles awaiting it, the Weimar Republic had an incredible struggle ahead.Germany was far from a settled country long before the arrival of the Weimar Republic. It had a relatively short history as a nation state; the empire created by Bismarck had only come into existence in 1871, unlike Britain or France, which had existed as unified states for centuries. The success of Bismark's creation of a united Germany persuaded many middle-class Liberals to support the new authoritarian national state. Consequently support for a future fully democratic Germany had been substantially reduced. A process of rapid industrialisation had been taking place before the First World War, resulting in Germany becoming one of three leading industrial powers in the world. From this had emerged an industrial class, represented mainly by the Social Democratic Party. But since such groups had little power in imperial Germany, they remained dominated by conservative forces. This newly formed section of the people encountered conflict with a depressed agricultural sector, tensions that Ebert would soon have to deal with. There was also a sense of frustrated nationalism, not everyone had been satisfied by the creation of the empire because it did not include all Germans. The Prussian Junkers dominated the country; they held key positions as army officers, diplomats, top civil servants and senior judges. They were linked to the industrial elite and were all opposed any form of radical change. This is extremely important as many of these people maintained their positions under the Weimar republic. What existed was a modernising country run on extremely conservative lines, this was almost an unworkable combination and initiated many social tensions that still existed when the democracy was later formed. However, Germany had been built around authoritarianism, not everyone liked it, but most were familiar, confident and secure with it.The impact of the war on Germany and subsequently the Weimar...

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