National Study- Germany 1919-1939

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To What Extent did the Weaknesses in the Weimar Republic account for the growth and rise to power of the Nazi Party to 1933? The instalment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor, the ever continuing rise of Nazism and the final fall of the Weimar Republic. Events of 1933 in Germany through which the birth of the Third Reich was to begin, National Socialism implemented through Gleichschaltung and Hitler’s Weltanschauung would be a reality. A pivotal year indeed, through which The Nazi Party was able to legally gain control of government and wipe away all traces of the Weimar Republic, a move based not only on political promise but also on securing the base of Hitler’s new Germany from the ailments that affected the Weimar Republic. A system that Hitler not only despised but understood to be fundamentally weak. While Hitler was only one of many enemies and adversaries of the Republic, Hitler’s success was by no means based solely on either the faults of the Republic or on the prowess of his Nazi Party to overcome other competing forces for German government. It shall also be stated that though all the faults within the Weimar Republic were not directly an advantage to the Nazi Party, they still lead to an overall situation in which any problems the Weimar faced, the Nazis could view as an advantage. Herewith it will be shown that Hitler’s image and the belief in Nazi action which rallied many Germans to his Party over others in the final years of Weimar, highlighted an important fact. That is, the rise of the Nazi’s relied on the circumstances that it could exploit and the ability of the leaders to succeed in furthering their gains from these failings which ailed the Republic politically, socially and economically.

From its beginning in the chaotic and unstable months of 1918, the Weimar Republic was a government without allies in any significant quarter of German society, a regularity which persisted till its death throes and final end in 1933. Though the mass citizenry were content with the Republic through much of its time in power, at times of crises however, the middle class (Mittelstand) and working classes would react to major problems by voting for extreme political parties whose own goals involved the removal of the Republican system for Germany. Such extreme political parties such as the KDP communists and the NAZI National Socialists were parties who were able to exploit and be given a voice in the Reichstag due to the constitutional flaws within the Republic.

Such flaws within the Republic were the grants of proportional voting and article 48 within the constitution. These were weaknesses due to the disruptions that proportional voting allowed to the stability of active governments and the near tyrannical abuses of the president when enforcing article 48. Examples of such disruption was evident in the constant and fragile coalitions which were employed to run government throughout the Republic’s life due to no clear majorities allowing any party to rule unhindered by oppositional forces. This effect on disabling any effective government from being in power was a crucial point of scrutiny from the republics opponents who were able to convince the citizenry that democracy was not the solution for Germany’s problems in times of crises.

The most vocal opponents of the Republic were located in mostly political and intellectual circles but even within the Republic civil services, there was strong opposition to the idea of Germany being governed as a democracy. Evidence of the lack of democratic support and a yearning for the reign of a traditional ruler are found within the sentencing punishments given out to right wing associated terrorists and the leniency with which they received. Examples of such actions were the right winged murderers of Kurt Eisner and Gustav Landuer whom were given simple fortress imprisonments as punishment. Strong anti-socialist and communist sentiment was also prevalent within the public...
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