The Weimar Republic Essay

854 words - 3 pages

The Weimar Republic

The Weimar Republic was created in Germany in 1918 as a result of
widespread socialist unrest. A liberal constitution was drawn up in
1919. There was extensive instability in Germany around this time. The
Weimar government had trouble pleasing right and left wing parties
because, at this time, Germany was very polarised politically. Hitler
dissolved the republic in 1933. But was it doomed from it's beginning?

One of the main fields where problems arose was the legacy of World
War 1. Germany's unexpected defeat was blamed on the "November
Criminals" and made people suspicious of the new government. The
Treaty of Versailles associated the government with Germany's
acceptance of this national humiliation. The soldiers returning back
from the front line were bitter at the republic and many joined right
wing paramilitary groups, such as the Freikorps. The war left Germany
with few allies with which to trade. This caused a growth in national
debt, which the Treaty of Versailles worsened. To counter this the new
government printed off more money causing hyperinflation, which upset
people on fixed incomes.

The nature of the revolution also upset people. It was fairly limited,
despite the liberal constitution. Ebert, the first President of the
republic, made a deal with Groener, a top General, which resulted in
the military remaining largely unchanged. This meant that many groups
hostile to the republic retained their power. The judiciary and
bureaucracy were also largely unchanged, as was the academic world. In
addition to this, the suppression of the Spartacist uprising dashed
the left wing's hopes of a socialist revolution. The fact that there
was an uprising shows that many socialists were disillusioned with the
Weimar Republic and were willing to revolt against it.

The make up of the Weimar constitution causes historians to doubt
whether it could have survived. Article 48, which states that the
President may "take the necessary measures to restore law and order…by
force of arms" meant that the President had a very powerful position
and if an anti-Weimar politician became President he could use it to
dissolve the republic. The principle of the welfare state, fairly
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