The Weimar Republic

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Why did the Weimar Republic fail to stand up to Nazism?: PASS NOTES.

2. 1929-1933: The Depression

NAZI STRENGTHS
1. What were Hitler's Talents?
2. How did the party change following the Beer Hall Putsch?
3. How did the party change following the Depression?
The 1930s were turbulent times in Germany's history. World War I had left the country in shambles and, as if that weren't enough, the people of Germany had been humiliated and stripped of their pride and dignity by the Allies. Germany's dream of becoming one of the strongest nations in the world no longer seemed to be a possibility and this caused resentment among the German people. It was clear that Germany needed some type of motivation to get itself back on its feet and this came in the form of a charismatic man, Adolf Hitler. Hitler, a man who knew what he wanted and would do anything to get it, single-handedly transformed a weary Germany into a deadly fascist state. In order to understand why exactly Hitler was able to make Germany a fascist state, we must study the effects that the end of World War I had on the country. Germany was left devastated and vulnerable at the end of the war. The Treaty of Versailles had left the country without a military and with a large debt that it just couldn't pay. Aside from that, it was forced to withdraw from its western territory where most of its coal and steel were located. This was a major implication for Germany because without these resources, it had no industrial growth (steel and coal are the forces behind industry), which meant that there was no money going into its economy. Without any economic development there was no way that Germany would be able to get out of debt. The Allies did not make any effort to help Germany during this time and left Germany to fend for itself (they seemed to be aware that this had been a mistake by the end World War II when they helped Japan out of its economic crisis; this is an example of history influencing future actions). The "humiliation imposed by the victors in the World War I, coupled with the hardship of the stagnant economy," created bitterness and anger in Germany (Berlet 1). This is the reason that, when the Allies tried to establish a new government in Germany, the German people were less than eager to embrace it. The French Revolution was a prime example that without a participant culture, there is no stability. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Weimar Republic failed so miserably in Germany. When it was introduced in 1918, it had the potential of molding Germany's government into a modern institution. It consisted of regular elections (this would later be referred to as the Reichstag), a proportional representative electoral system, and checks and balances. It was almost flawless as a formula for creating a modern institution but it did not make Germany stable by any means. Herein lies another lesson that many countries have learned the hard way: a modern institution does not, in itself, guarantee that a country will become stable. In Germany's case, there was no participant culture and, as a result, no trust in the government and no efficacy. Germans believed that people within their country were conspiring against them. They did not trust the government in the least and because of this suspicious attitude sought a scapegoat to blame for their suffering (the scapegoat, as we now know, would turn out to be the Jew). Germany was slowly falling apart and could not handle another crisis. Unfortunately, the Depression of 1929 was inevitable. It was also unfortunate that Keynsionism had not yet been conceived for, if it had, Germany might not have dug itself into a bigger hole. Because of its impoverished state and its inability to pay its reparatory debts, Germany began to produce more and more money until inflation was so high that its money became almost worthless (had Keynsionism been developed Germany...
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