The Weimar Republic Was Doomed from the Start

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Weimar was doomed from the start

The Weimar Republic failed due to a popular distrust in democracy that was reinforced by severe economic crises and aggravated by the ‘Chains of Versailles’ and the actions of the right wing. Hyperinflation in the early 1920s and then the Great Depression from 1929 meant that the Weimar Republic never really prospered, and caused social upheaval in the form of a crime wave, as well as being tainted from the start by its association with the embarrassing Treaty of Versailles. As such, the German people, under the influence of the right wing and the army, turned back to the traditional, militarist nationalist views they had held since Bismarck. The failings of the Weimar constitution facilitated this, and eventually allowed for the rise of the extreme right wing in the Nazis.

Only formed on 19 January 1919, the Weimar Republic was a young democracy. Unfortunately it did not get the period of peace and growth that it needed to gain the trust of the conservative German populace. It was rocked by a series of economic crises that it was incapable of dealing with, the first being hyperinflation during 1923. Inflation had been rising sharply since 1916 due to large wartime and post-war spending, and by December 1922 it took 7000 Reichsmarks to buy $1US, compared to just 4 Reichsmarks in 1914 and 49 in 1918. In January 1923, French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr industrial region because the Germans had failed to make reparations payments. . The government advised policy of ‘passive resistance’ was a disaster, as they had to pay to support the thousands of workers that went on strike, eventually just printing money in order to meet the demand. By September the mistake had been realised and they returned to a policy of fulfilment, attempting to make the necessary payments as soon as possible, but it was too late. In December 1923, it took 4.2 trillion Reichsmarks to buy a single US dollar. This was soon solved by the creation of...
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