Problems Of The Weimar Republic Up To 1923

1205 words - 5 pages

It is a known fact that after World War 1 an entire nation, Germany, was brought to its knees, smashed and broken. In attempts to repair its broken state, it was hastily taped back together; this tape just so happened to be Germany's "free trial" of democracy. And so the Weimar Republic was born. The Weimar republic had numerous problems, each with its own significance in accordance with the greater picture. Some of its main problems were that it had a ghastly constitution, there was constant political unrest, as well as great challenges posed by Germany's economy.The Weimar republics constitution was riddled with holes right from the start. One of these holes was the German parliament, otherwise known as the Reichstag. Within the Reichstag, as opposed to having only parties of the same political stance it used proportional representation of all votes, leading to a parliament seating a group of parties which amongst themselves hold all three general political standpoints, Left wing, Right wing, as well as central. This mixed bag of politicians lead to the Reichstag not only bearing upon itself a chaotic cloud of indecision, but also brought into being many coalition governments and re-elections. Between the years 1919 and 1933, the years of the Weimar Republic, there were a total of 21 different coalition governments brought into power. This shocking statistic shows that on average not one coalition government lasted more than a single year in office. The constant change took its toll on the Weimar government's popularity with the people as they could never quite be certain as to whether or not they could trust such an indecisive gang of quarrelsome politicians when they themselves do not trust eachother. An additional hitch in the Weimar Republic's constitution was Article 48, which stated that in "times of emergency" the president held the power to appoint and dismiss governments, as well as suspend civil rights without the Reichstag's consent . This article gave the president a power which contradicted the very essence of democracy, which the Weimar Republic was supposed to embrace hands down. Further more, the so called "state of emergency", within which the president could bring article 48 into effect, could only be announce should the president himself see fit. President Ebert, who was president from 1919 to 1925, seldom used the article as he was himself an out and out democrat who understood that the abuse of such power could cause the republic to crumble. President Hindenburg however, who came into power after Ebert's death in 1925, used article 48 consistently with total inconsideration of Weimar's democracy. The most significant use of article 48 by Hindenburg was in 1930, whereby he utterly dissolved the Reichstag and ended Germany as a parliamentary republic. It is therefore Hindenburg, through article 48, who can be considered responsible for giving Hitler the opportunity to ascend to eventual dictator of Germany. Thus it can be...

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