To What Extent Was The Weimar Government Successful In Addressing Its Social And Economic Problems? Ib History Hl Essay

1857 words - 8 pages

Essay: To what extent was the Weimar
government successful in addressing its social
and economic problems?
Following the first world war, Germany was left devastated by
struggle, and faced various problems. Apart from the loss of major
territories, its entire colonial empire, and its prestige, the nation had lost
its Kaiser’s leadership, and founded a new republican government. The
Weimar Republic, as it became known, suffered problems such as
unrest, famine, unemployment, and disease, all while struggling with
economic issues like hyperinflation, industrial decline, and overall
sluggishness. While it was able to survive most of its social and
economic problems, the government was incapable of dealing with them
fully, and set the scene for its demise in the inability to successfully
solve the massive problems it faced.
Weimar faced various social problems throughout its reign and
was only able to deal with them to a certain extent. Social unrest was a
crippling issue, as was unemployment and disenfranchisement, and the
republic faced widespread epidemics, which were worsened by famine.
Many Germans felt the republic had back-stabbed Germany by signing
the Treaty of Versailles, and considered the government illegitimate,
calling the republic’s founders the “november criminals”. Citizens,
inspired either by a desire to return to the stability and power associated
with the defunct German Empire, or by the idea of a leftist utopia
promulgated by the rising Soviet Union, led or supported revolts aimed
at overthrowing it. The republican era’s plethora of conflicts, ranging
from the monarchist Kapp Putsch which aimed to return the kaiser to the
Nazi beerhall putsch seeking to impose a new authoritarian government
testify to the reactionary unrest, and communist uprisings like the
Spartacist revolt, combined with the stable position of communist party
within the Reichstag show how drastically this social unrest affected
Germany. The government had manifest difficulty both in suppressing
the rebels and maintaining the enthusiasm of ordinary Germans. To
defeat the communists for example, it relied primarily the paramilitary
freikorps militia, an organization independent from the government and
with an agenda of its own. When the freikorps themselves revolted, the
government fled and only popular demonstrations were able to disperse
the troops. The revolts were defeated by the early twenties, but the
government never managed to suppress disillusion, with anti-
establishment parties like the communists continuing to thrive, while
political assassinations became rampant and many continued resenting
the government, eventually leading to the republic’s downfall in 1933.
With post-war Germany reeling from Spanish flu and widespread
disease, the German health system was also under threat, and thousands
were dying of disease and hunger. The war had claimed millions of
lives, and many Germans suffered from crippling injuries, both physical
and mental. These people...

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