In early November, 1918, a defeated Germany was forced to abandon their monarchical government and adopt the Weimar Republic, a democratic but flawed system. While forces from the left pressured Kaiser Wilhelm II to abdicate his throne and flee to Belgium, the Social Democratic Party assumed power and on 11 August, 1919, signed the Weimar Constitution – making it the first parliamentary democracy in German history. However, nearly a decade and a half after the Social Democrats came to power; Hitler and the Nazi movement emerged from the shadows to watch the Weimar Republic crumble to the ground. While under vicious attack from the militarist right and the radical socialist left, and also being identified with the shame of the despised Treaty of Versailles, Germany’s experiment with a representative government seemed to have a slim chance for survival. But, what actually accounted for the fall of the Weimar? My essay will contend that there was not one single reason, but in fact a series of troubled events that led to the distrust – and later demise – of the pioneering Weimar Republic. These troubled events include, but are not limited to, Germany’s reaction to World War I loss, opposition to the Treaty of Versailles, the Great Inflation of 1923 and governmental weakness induced by a poorly constructed constitution. With these perils weighing down on the Weimar Republic and the conscience of the German People, the NSDAP exploited the Weimar weaknesses and ushered in an ethereal sense of nationalism and culture which led Germany into a brief stint of National Socialism.
The early Weimar Republic was faced with immediate and violent opposition from both the left and right-wing. Following Germany’s defeat in the First World War, German soldiers returned home to find themselves in the midst of a very foreign and befuddling new government – a democratic Republic. The Weimar Republic, proclaimed on November... [continues]
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