Was the Weimar Republic doomed from its very beginning? Discuss this view of Germany’s infant democratic system.
The Weimar Republic was born out of German defeat in World War I and lasted until 1933 with the rise of Nazism and Hitler’s becoming dictator. Throughout this time the Federal Republic was plagued by persistent attempts of revolution, three years of hyperinflation, all the while having to make extortionate reparations to the Allied victors. Yet while the Communist uprisings of 1919 had gone so far as to declare Bavaria a Socialist Republic, these threats were more or less quashed with the execution of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Indeed once the Rentenmark had been introduced the Weimar Republic enjoyed some stability in the Goldene Zwanziger (Golden Twenties), until the Wall Street Crash of 1929 inevitable brought the government to its end. Yet insofar as the Republic being “fatally flawed” one must say this was not entirely the case. This essay will expand on these various interlinking points and come to the conclusion that, despite various hereditary shackles, the Weimar Republic was not a terminal government. Despite the Proportional Representation laid down in the constitution that led to a fractured Reichstag, it was the Great Depression that culled German democracy into submission. From its outset the wounds of war were still very much open and could well have been a fatal flaw to the Weimar government. Historians have recognised the significant achievements of the Republic, in particular the period of stability and recovery under Gustav Stresemann, as proof that Weimar was by no means doomed. Yet such were the problems of the Weimar Republic in its early years that on several occasions it appeared that it could not possibly survive. Indeed most notably the German Revolution, which broke in October 1918 when soldiers in Wilhelmshaven refused to put out to sea for fear of being sent on suicide missions. This mutiny quickly spread to...
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