On the 9th of November, 1918, the Weimar Government, the first democratic government of Germany, was founded. However, in 1933, the Weimar Government collapsed and Adolf Hitler took over after a mere 15 years. So what events led to the Weimar government’s quick downfall, as well as Hitler’s subsequent rise?
There are three main weaknesses of the Weimar Government that led to its collapse.
Firstly, the government was run with an unsuitable political system which the people did not readily accept. Secondly, the lack of action taken by the Weimar Government during major crises showed that it was overly reliant on the army, unable to root out and eliminate threats, and incompetent. Lastly, the Weimar Government’s poor responses to various events led to distrust and dissatisfaction among the people, and thus unpopularity.
These weaknesses allowed Hitler to build a government that addressed the people’s needs and wants. Hitler’s government thus became overwhelmingly popular and the Nazis managed to win a great number of votes in the 1932 elections[endnoteRef:1]. [1: The Rise of the Nazi Party. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2017, from http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/modern-world-history-1918-to-1980/weimar-germany/the-rise-of-the-nazi-party/]
The inherently democratic voting system of the Weimar Government meant that the German people elected the chancellor[footnoteRef:1] and the representatives of the Reichstag[footnoteRef:2] via a balloting process. Due to the democratic system, any one party could form a government in its own right, filling the Reichstag with a number of smaller parties. Parties thus had to group together into coalitions to form a majority[endnoteRef:2]. However, the different parties within each coalition government often disagreed as they had different aims and objectives. For example, the German communists wanted a Soviet-style government while the right-wing paramilitaries wanted a strong centralised government with total rule over the state. As a result, the coalition governments that came in power kept dissolving[endnoteRef:3]. For example, the longest lasting coalition government only lasted for a mere two years. This sometimes resulted in up to 4 elections conducted in a year. [1: Equivalent to our present day prime minister] [2: The German Parliament] [2: Why the Weimar Republic failed. (2015, November 12). Retrieved July 31, 2017, from http://alphahistory.com/weimarrepublic/why-the-weimar-republic-failed/] [3: Bernard Owen on effects of electoral systems. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2017, from http://www.skubi.net/owen_en.html]
In the past, under the rule of Kaiser[footnoteRef:3] Wilhelm II, Germany went by an autocratic political system, thus elections were unneeded as power was always controlled by an authority. Thus, the Germans were unhappy because they were not used to having to keep voting. The political instability as a result of the constant transfer of power caused much dissent[endnoteRef:4]...