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How Far Can the Weimar Constitution be Described as Creating an "Effective" Democracy

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Introduction

How Stable Were the Politics of Weimar Germany 1924 - 1929? The problems of 1919-1923 had gone with the aid of American loans. Weimar quickly found its economic feet for the first time in its history. In 1928 Germany had returned to pre-1914 industrial figures. An expanding job market, confidence restored in foreign investors and house & factory building were all indications of Germany getting its old strength back, and generally becoming more stable. Minority political parties were quiet during this time. People were content with the way Germany was being run, so why turn to extremist parties? In fact the "Golden Age," of Weimar seemed to indicate that extremist parties only flourish in extreme circumstances. With similarities to the apparent stability of the Weimar economy at this time, the political situation seemed stable enough, but deeper probing can deeply show the illusory factors of this argument. Weimar politics at this time can be shown to support the argument for stability. From 1924, there were no long any attempts at a coup to overthrow the Republic like the Kapp Putsch (1920,) the Munich Putsch (1923,) and the Spartacist uprising (1919.) The electoral parties on the left and right, that were hostile to the Republic, seemed to be in political decline, as shown by comparing the Reichstag election results of May 1924, to May 1928, when the right wing DNVP declined from 95 to 73 seats, the Nazi party declined from 32 to 12 seats, and the communist KPD declined from 62 seats to 54. ...read more.

Middle

Thus the only real alternatives were a coalition from the moderate left to the moderate right consisting of SPD, DDP, Centre & DVP; or a coalition comprising the centre to the right, being the same as the previous coalition with the moderate left SPD replaced with the right wing DNVP. The moderate coalition worked together with foreign policy issues, tending to agree on a general direction going along with Stresemann's policy of d�tente. However they were divided over internal issues. The right-wing/centre coalition worked together terribly with regard to foreign policies, since the DNVP were in essence completely against d�tente in Europe, meaning that individual treaties had to be passed through with a Reichstag majority, as the majority coalition were completely disunited in this regard. Ironically this went against the DNVP's nature of authoritarianism, and so any foreign policy passed through with a majority from the Reichstag would have been very controversial; not the key to stable politics. Detlev Peukert, the left wing German historian, puts it in terms of there being "something unnatural about these political permutations, since deep regional & ideological tensions, ahd to be glossed over for the sake of making the parliamentary arithmetic come out right." There was no meeting of minds on political goals just, no enagement in debate between the left and right, just two brick walls pushing against each other, trying to achieve individual goals. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, although things seemed stable on the surface, during this period the scene was being set for the political horrors of the 30's the domino effect had been started. Indication of this is the fact that over this period no chancellor could hold a government for over two years. Marx and Luther seemed to be continually interchanging as chancellor, heavilly indicating a sort of general political stalemate, with each one trying, failing, and then being replaced with the next. No party had a clear majority like the SPD, the biggest party by far, had anything near a majority, making a coalition the only option, so in this unstable period, for years there was a coalition which the biggest party was not actually in power. There were no charismatic characters, or democratic periods, like Hitler for the Nazis, to encourage an increase in democratic activity, and political debate was non-existant. Politics was incredibly unstable, which only really had significant implications that effected the people in a major way, when the (lack of) political stability caused Hitlers rise to and consolidation of power in 1933. In conclusion whilst it seemed stable, like the economy, Weimar politics was being set up for the horrors of the 30's. ?? ?? ?? ?? How Stable Were the Politics of Weimar Germany 1924 - 1929? Clive Freedman Page 4 of 4 ...read more.

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