Was Trhe Weimar Republic Doomed from the Start?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 145
  • Published : February 18, 2007
Open Document
Text Preview
Was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start?

It had a promising beginning:

A constitution guaranteeing federal rights, seven year presidential terms and proportional representation was passed in Weimar on the 19th July 1919.

This should have meant a good foundation for democracy and sound government. Article 48 stopped (in theory) the major politicians from arguing. It was supported by the Big 3 world Superpowers (Great Britain, USA and France). The Constitution meant that everyone as politically accountable within quite an advanced political structure which seemed to promise true democracy.

And yet it was also based on flimsy foundations.

It had accepted the validity of the hugely unpopular Versailles Treaty which ended the First World War – this meant that it accepted as law the large amount of reparations imposed on Germany as instigator of the conflict. This led to financial and economic weakness underpinned by political unpopularity with the people. It was associated with defeat and dishonour from the start.

There was a tradition in Germany of autocratic leadership from the Officer class. The Army had put it about that it had felt betrayed by the ‘weak' democrats and bureaucrats who had sold out the army at the end of the war. The Treaty and the Weimar Constitution was the public face of this.

Proportional Representation (PR) was a good idea in theory as it guaranteed all the participating political groups an equal say in decision making, but the reality was that there were too may small groups and there result was chaos. No one party could ever achieve a working majority. A succession of coalition governments led to in-fighting and accusations that the system wasn't working.

The political parties had little experience of how to run government. Traditionally the Chancellor held final power but under the new constitution he had to report to the Reichstag who in turn was divided and leaderless. The Communists and...
tracking img