Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Weimar Republic
Due to the defeat in the First World War, the Allies imposed the Versailles treaty on Germany. It was the foundations for the Weimar republic and was met with controversy. The Weimar republic was a huge success for democracy, bringing it to Germany for the first time, however laid the path for the rise to Fascism. Nevertheless, it did withhold initial political and economic crises and even enjoyed the period and enjoyed the period of the Golden Years during the 1920s. `Nazi Germany did not have to happen' this is the idea that the Republic was not to blame for the rise of Hitler but more Hitler's personality itself. However, Hitler is also said to have been the `logical continuation of German history' thus implying how the Weimar Republic still contained elements of the previous system which had in effect lead to the First World War. The strengths and weaknesses of the Republic lie in the political, economical, military and social reforms and policies. In every area lie strengths and weaknesses all of which contributed to the rise of the Nazis. This essay will begin with the strengths of the Weimar Republic and will follow with the weaknesses, examining every area in both.
Firstly, the strengths of the political system of the Weimar Republic, Germany had now become a democracy and its government was formed by proportional representation. Proportional representation enabled true democracy in government as it meant the parliament was directly represented by the percentage of votes cast for the particular party. The Chancellor had to be supported by a majority in the Reichstag, therefore he had to be trusted by many and hold their confidence. The role was overseen by the President who added the element of control so that a dictatorship could not form.
Secondly, when Stresemann was President, he negotiated the Young plan and the Dawes plan. This was a highly important point for the Weimar republic as it ended the year of crisis during 1923. The year of crisis started when Germany could not pay back redemption payments imposed by the Versailles Treaty. Thus France invaded the Rhineland and the government called for passive resistance in the area which meant that nothing was being produced but wages were draining the economy. It also caused inflation throughout Germany. Stresemann negotiated the Dawes plan in 1924, borrowing 800 million marks and restarting repayments. Stresemann aimed to work with the Allies rather than fight against them, which was labelled as Erfullungspolitik. As a result Germany prospered and entered the League of Nations in 1926. All these demonstrate the increasing strength of the Weimar Republic that not only was it able to overcome problems that it encountered it prospered to produce the Golden Years.
Furthermore, the Weimar Republic had many economical strengths; the Dawes Plan as previously discussed, ended problems that has arose. A...