The Weimar Republic

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Slide one
The Weimar Republic (1919-1933) was born in the aftermath of the defeat of Germany in World War I. After Germany lost the First World War, the Kaiser fled and a new democratic government of Germany was declared in February 1919 at the small town of Weimar. It was too dangerous to make a declaration in Berlin where there had just been a revolt by a Communist group called the Spartacists. The Weimar Republic was a genuine attempt to create a perfect democratic country. Slide two

All Germans had equal rights including the right to vote, free speech, religious freedom, to travel freely and hold political meetings. Weimar was witness to an amazing burst of artistic energy. In art, architecture, theatre, literature, poetry, music and the new medium, film, a renaissance was flowering The election system of proportional representation meant that all parties got a fair share of seats in Reichstag to match the percentage of people who voted for them. Slide three

Proportional representation made the government weak because it led to too many parties in the Reichstag, including extremist parties like the Nazis. No one party got enough votes to form a majority in the Reichstag, so parties had to get together in coalition governments which were often weak and short lived. Article 48 this said that, in an emergency, the president did not need the agreement of the Reichstag, but could issue decrees. The problem with this was that it did not say what an emergency was, and in the end, it turned out to be a back door that Hitler used to take power legally.
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