REASONS FOR THE RISE OF THE NAZI PARTY : FAILURE OF THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC, 1919-1933
Birth Defects of Weimar Republic
1. The new republic would always be associated with defeat as it was left to sign the armistice on 11 Nov 1918 after the "Revolution from Above" when the army high command and the Kaiser melted away and absolved themselves of blame.
2. The new government was accused by the German people of the "Stab in the Back". This legend claimed that the German army was not defeated in the field but by the "November Criminals": politicians, socialists, jews and pacifists in Germany. This myth was unwittingly fuelled by Ebert, the first Socialist Chancellor, welcoming the Germany armies back "unvanquished"
3. The Communists uprisings in Germany at the end of the war - the "Revolution from Below" forced the Socialist government into a pact with the right-wing Freikorps and army leaders to stay in power. This would legitimise and arm these conservative forces and make the government reliant on them.
Political Problems of Weimar 1. In early 1919 the government became further discredited in the eyes of the German people by accepting the disgraceful and humiliating Treaty of Versailles - the terms of which were to cripple the republic throughout the 1920s
2. The German people were not used to democratic government - they preferred the strong dictatorial type leadership of Bismarck or the Kaiser. They equated democracy with defeat and weakness. The Fascist Italian government of Mussolini looked strong compared to Weimar 3. The new republic was entirely dependant on right-wing military forces for its survival, forces which were seeking to destroy it eventually
4. Persistent problem of left-wing (Sparticists/Communists, 1919) and right- wing (Kapp Putsch, 1920; Nazi Munich Beer Hall Putsch, 1923) attempts at revolution - breakdown of law and order.
5. Serious divisions among the left- wing parties: SPD, USPD and KPD meant that they did not unite to provide an effective opposition to the Nazis. The Communists even colluded with the Nazis to destabilise the government for their own ends.
6. The republic never had a strong leadership figure. Stresemann came closest, but only in foreign policy - he had no cure for domestic problems...