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Weimar Republic

By justinwong Oct 06, 2012 692 Words
To what extent did weakness in the Weimar Republic account for the growth and rise to power of the Nazi party in 1933?

The WR began after WWII the Treaty of Versailles was signed by the Germans and forced to have a democracy rather than a monarchy. The Government from the start was full of problems with its economy, social and political areas, what made it worse was the Great Depression in 1929. The WR was vulnerable to a number of attacks from many different areas including the Nazi party and its leader Hitler. It was attacked for its constitution, unfamiliar structure and its inability to quickly restore Germany. The Nazis appealed to their audience with its foreign and domestic policies, its authoritarian rule, propaganda radical policies and Hitler’s Charisma. After many problems challenging the WR, it collapsed in 1933 and the Nazis thrived from this.

The Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 by the WR and was a huge hit on Germany and its people. The treaty was seen by Germans as the loss of Germany’s image of a great nation with a powerful military. As a result the WR was often called the ‘November Criminals’ and accused them of the idea of the ‘Dolchstoss(stab in the back)”. Most of this was due to the fact that the allies forced Germany to pay the harsh terms of the war reparations amounting to 60 billion dollars. The WR’s obvious economic problems and the public’s view on them made it look like it was inevitably going to collapse. Hitler used the idea of ‘November Criminals’ and the Treaty of Versailles as propaganda to show the shame that the WR brought on Germany. In one video it is shows Hitler ripping the Treaty of Versailles in front of the crowd causing a frenzy of high German spirit.

The WR as a democratic system was very new to the Germans as they were used to an authoritative monarchy. Germans had a “rich monarchical tradition that had substantial success under authoritative moulds of government” which made it difficult to accept the democracy. Another problem faced by the WR was that the constitution clause of the Reichstag being that of proportional representation which meant a political leader for every party. This was troublesome as it was difficult to find a majority because of many conflicting perspectives. The fire in the parliamentary building in 1933, which some believe the Nazis started, was a situation used by Hitler to show the failure of democracy. He also took advantage of Article 48. In years later when Hitler has much power he completely contrasts the WR policies by being a single powerful dictator and making policies to get rid of all opposition by any means as shown in the ‘Night of the long knives”.

In 1924 to 1929 Germany was surprisingly paying the reparations rather quickly. During this period Stresemann agreed to the Dawes Plan, the system of loans from the United states helped Germany get back on its feet which got rid of the French in the Ruhr that troubled the Germany people as well as the WR. “The Dawes Plan sounded the signal for a period of recovery, the scope and intensity of which were unparalleled in recent German History”. This period of stability however fell due to the depression in which the stock markets crashed. Unemployment soared and many lived in poor conditions. The German people had last all hope in the Weimer republic and started looking for radical change like the communists and the Nazis. As a result, Hitler became popular and made promises to the military and to the industrialists that Germany would return to greatness once again. Hitler exploited the trust of the German people to its fullest during these times of hardship so he could gain support to become in full control of the German state.

The depression was a main factor in Hitler’s success and the rise of the Nazi party. The weakness of the WR were truly revealed by Hitler and showed its shame and thus gaining support from the public. “The depression put the wind into Hitler’s sails”

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