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Weimar Republic's Success In Dealing With Economic And Political Problems

2251 words - 9 pages

Weimar Republic's Success in Dealing With Economic and Political Problems

When the Republic was first 'born' in 1919 they faced a huge amount of
problems - both internal and external. Not only did they have a
remarkably unstable government, but also faced threats from both the
left and the right. Furthermore to this their economic problems were
extremely acute. Historians such as Stephen Lee believe that the
government "emerged by 1924 with a stability that suggested reasonable
success". Whether this is to be taken as true or not, it cannot
necessarily be taken as true that the government were responsible for
creating that stability. To decipher their role in stabilising events
between 1919-23 it is necessary to look at each problem individually
and asses the governments role and the outcome of these events.

At the very heart of problems was the fact that the government was
remarkably unstable. Hannah Vogt believes that 'the men who were to
pick up the reins of government faced a tremendous, thankless task'.
With this in mind it is obvious the need for a stable government was
great, as they were not to be given much support from others they
should at least obtain it from themselves! Their first stumbling block
was the constitution and voting system. The constitution, though well
thought out and well meaning, had one fatal flaw: article 48. This one
article undermined the entire constitution. It gave all power over to
the President who could rule by decree and govern the Republic
directly; 'article 48 was abused and became a permanent way of
governing' (Evans and Jenkins). Also the voting system of Proportional
Representation proved to be a destructive force. With no person/party
able to gain an overall support/majority the government became a huge
mix of people with lots of ideas, so many in-fact that it took most of
the day just to discuss them. In this way very little decisions were
made and it was extremely hard to decide on any one thing. This
problem was also contributed to by the fact that so many of the
parties held extremist views. This ranged from the German Communist
party, to the Catholic Centre party, to the German National People's
party. As we will see later these parties on both sides were very
hostile to the Republic and showed a worrying willingness to use
violence.

Not only were there problems with the parties, but the civil service,
judiciary, army etc also proved to be very unsupportive. All of these
people had kept their jobs from the time of the Kaiser. They were
"unwilling to transfer their loyalty from the imperialist Kaiser to
the democratically elected president of a Republic" and they were "to
prove a dangerous and subversive influence" (Evans and Jenkins)

Not only was the government divided in opinions, but also so to was
the country. Germany...

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