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Assess The Importance Of Nationalism As Cause Of The Failure Of Democracy In Germany In The Period 1918 1934.

1831 words - 7 pages

Nationalism was an important and integral factor in the downfall of the Weimar Republic and in turn, the ensuing failure of democracy in Germany in the period 1918-1934. The sense of loyalty and devotion to one’s nation, which the German citizens had felt in their militaristic past, was ultimately devastated by WWI and its consequences. Although nationalism was a major cause of the failure of democracy in Germany, there were many other factors adding to the stress upon the country’s government at this time. This included the Treaty of Versailles, the Reparations Bill, the occupation of the Ruhr and hyperinflation. Several attempts to install nationalistic beliefs back in the government occurred, the most important of these being the Kapp Putsch by the right-wing nationalists and the ‘Beer Hall’ Putsch by the right-wing Nazi party. The disillusionment felt by the people and their need to restore pride in their nation influenced many factors that led to the failure of democracy, and to the rise of the Nazi political party and its leader Adolf Hitler.By the outbreak of WWI in August 1914, Germany was well-established as a major and prominent world power. Such an achievement could be seen in the country’s industrial and economic strength, overseas colonies, extensive trading interests and its vast army. Prior to the war of 1914, the people of Germany had a strong sense of pride, largely owing to their autocratic government and militaristic background. However, within five years, Germany was shattered, its armies on the Western front were in retreat, its citizens were in poverty and the monarchy lead by Kaiser Wilhelm II had abdicated in favour of a republic before the signing of the Versailles Treaty.The Versailles Treaty was one of the many documents written up to ensure that Germany would never come to full power again. The terms of the Versailles Treaty included the loss of the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine, Eupen-Malmedy, Memel, the Hultschin district, Poznania, parts of East Prussia and Upper Silesia. The Versailles Treaty also caused Germany's army to be limited to 100, 000 men with no conscription, no tanks, no heavy artillery, no poison-gas supplies, no aircraft and no airships; and the limitation of the German Navy to Vessels under 100,000 tons, with no submarines. Because the Versailles Treaty was signed by the Weimar Republic, this caused the majority of German people to hate the newly established form of government and the Dolchstosslegende myth was born. Dolchstosslegende was the ‘stab in the back’ theory; it meant that neither the army nor the Kaiser would be blamed for defeat. The myth undermined the faith that many Germans had in the new republic and was used to attack democracy in Germany.Germany’s economy relied heavily on its militaristic power, and due to such shortages being made as part of the Versailles Treaty, no money was being generated from the Weimar Republic, which in turn meant that...

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