How Far Is It True To Say That The Weimar Republic Was Doomed From Its Foundation?

1361 words - 5 pages

How far is it true to say that the Weimar Republic was doomed from its foundation ?In November 1918, the first republic is declared in Germany. It is however unable to survive, and only 25 years later replaced by the dictatorship of Hitler. Indeed, the democrats lacked legitimacy right from the start. Directly after the war, army generals blamed the SPD as "November Criminals", accusing them of having betrayed the German people by signing the humilating peace Treaty of Versailles. The "Stab in the back myth" was universally accepted by the people who were not a all prepared for the defeat, and outraged by the democrats' signing of the treaty, which burdened the people wih huge reparation payments. The task for the democrats was therefore to regain the faith of the people, by making succesful policies and by establishing democratic institutions if they wanted democratic progress. In this essay essay we will focus on why the democrats failed in bringing the Weimar Republic forward, by investigating the constitutional, political economic and social weaknesses of Weimar. Moreover, we will assess the degree of success of the democrats' policies.The Weimar republic was already weak in its constitution. The system of proportional representation meant that no party ever held the majority of all seats in the Reichstag. The parties were thus forced to enter coalitions, to the expense of a stable government. Democracy effectively ended with the collapse of the government led by Müller, as the wings did not agree how to cope with the economic crises generated by the Wall Street Crash in 1929. Whereas the right refused to sanction higher taxes, the left wanted to introduce measures which would favour the workers and fight unemployment. The new chancellor Brüning decided to rule by decree, thus bypassing the Reichstag and in the same way marking the beginning of dictatorship. There was another feature of the constitution which helped the downfall: Article 48. Initially designated at providing a "safety valve" for democracy in times of crisis, it was effectively abused in the later periods. When Hindenburg was appointed President, he turned democracy into a dictatorship, by bypassing the Reichstag through the use of Article 48.The constitutional weaknesses of the republic were reinforced by the generally divided character of parties. The division between the KPD and the SPD undermined a sane establishment of democracy. Following the hardline-policies of Stalin, who outlawed the SPD as "socialist fascists", the communists prevented the left- wing from unification to build a powerful bulwark against the right- wing who was perhaps the most potential enemy of Weimar. Instead, they tried to overtake Berlin by a Spartacist rising in 1919, which was violently suppressed. Following this, a large revolutionary wave broke out in the Ruhr in 1920. But this time again, Ebert prevented the setting up of a Soviet by crushing the revolt. The short life of the...

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