‘The Weimar Republic was weak from the start, its collapse was likely’. How far do you agree with t
Uploaded by deanos on Dec 02, 2004
‘The Weimar Republic was weak from the start, its collapse was likely’. How far do you agree with this judgement on the period 1919-1933?
Theoretically the constitution the Weimar Republic was based upon was a perfect democratic instrument including aspects such as individual’s rights; this was democratically advanced for its time. It would therefore be unjustified to say that the collapse of the Weimar Republic was likely form the start. It was introduced during a time of great political instability for Germany; going from Monarchy to democracy in just six weeks, having just lost a war and with popular discontent engulfing the population, the new republic had a difficult task to face. The constant disruptions of party politics as well as attempted seizes of power from both sides made this task even harder. Taking all this into account it is apparent that its collapse was due to a continuous flow of difficult and unfortunate circumstances during the period of 1919-1933, which I shall now explain.
“The German Reich is a republic. Political authority is derived from the people”, this is the first clause of the Weimar constitution, authority is derived form the people, therefore it is the people that held the power to whether the Weimar Republic would be successful or not. Early in 1919 the government faced an attack from the left in the form of the Spartacists, this was dealt with, yet early in 1920 the government faced another attack from the right in the form of the Kapp Putsch; these two examples indicate the situation into which the republic was born. Further problems came form the constitution itself, it was indeed theoretically ‘democratically perfect’; the problem with this is that democracy does not necessarily lead to a strong government. The Reichstag was elected using proportional representation which is the pinnacle of democracy however this led to a series of weak coalitions and as a result a weak government which the extremist groups realised, thus the attempted putsches took place. At this stage the government had already won the support of the military with the Ebert-Groener pact, so the Weimar republic was able to remain strong in the face of its enemies.
Another aspect of the constitution which was criticized was Article 48. Designed to give the President Powers, essentially dictatorial, to deal with any immediate threats, it...