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Structural Problem Of The Weimar Republic

1448 words - 6 pages

On January 1933 Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Weimar Republic in Germany, six months later he consolidated power and became dictator. What follows is an account of the steps Hitler took to consolidate power.
On February 27th 1933 The Reichstag, the parliamentary building in Germany is burned to the ground by arsons. A Dutch Communist by the name of van der Lubbe is caught in the act. In addition to this two other suspects with Communist ties are also placed under suspicion. Lastly, one of the arsonists that was arrested admitted to having ties to the Social Democratic Party. “This confession clearly establishes that the Communists and Social Democrats quite obviously built a united ...view middle of the document...

The Center party joined the Nazi cause possibly because they feared Civil War or the dissolving of the Reichstag. Another reasons the center party sided with the Nazi’s is because they thought they could retain some voice in government affairs by complying. Wirth their support Hitler banned the Social Democrat Party.
The next move Hitler made was banning the trade unions. Hitler felt the trade unions had too much power, so he banned them and gave the role of regulating workers to the government. He had head unionists sent off to concentration camps. Hitler felt that this could keep the working class under control.
Next Hitler signed a Concordat with the Catholic Church in which the Pope saw the party as a Hitler as someone who can destroy communism. This agreement allowed Hitler to seize power, as long as he left the church alone.
The last step Hitler took to consolidate power was to make the law against the Formation of Parties. declared the Nazi Party the only political party in Germany. All other parties were banned, and their leaders were put in prison.

There were many examples of early structural problems of the Weimar Republic. One of these examples was the Versailles Treaty. This treaty placed constraints on this new fledgling government. In addition to making this new government pay roughly 132 billion marks in reparation for World War I, it also placed constraints on the government such as, renunciation of various colonies and restrictions on military size. Starting out a new government already hundreds of billions of dollars in debt and a small military force is never a good idea. Also there were many who did not understand why the war was lost. Conservatives, nationalists and military leaders hated the treaty.
There was a lot of opposition to the treaty from German Elites, many of them are anti-republic and wanted the return of the Kaiser. Many of the Judiciary were anti-republic monarchists and anti-republic. At the Military level, the leaders tried to keep themselves apart from politics, however as time when on and the Weimar Republic would not give them more funding for weapons and other military support they became anti-republic. At the university level many of the teachers and the youth were anti-republic and in favor of restoring the monarch. At the industrial level with increasing inflation to the bad economy the owners of the factories became anti-republic because they felt that the republic gave too much power to the workers due to the unions. The Weimar may have been doomed from the start do to the incomplete democratization of Germany.
Another initial argument for the Weimar Republic being doomed from the start is constitutional flaws, such as Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. This article allowed the president to take emergency measures without requiring the consent of the Reichstag. This article allowed for the exploitation of this emergency power which will be discussed later.
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