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Account for the failure of democracy in Germany in the period 1928 to 1934.

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MODERN HISTORY Richard Sawyer Account for the failure of democracy in Germany in the period 1928 to 1934. Those in power in Weimar Germany so consistently mishandled the political and economic situation leading up to the period 1928-1934, that a well-structured challenge from the Nazi Party brought about the fall of democracy. This Nazi Party was stronger ideologically, structurally within the party and politically, with Hitler as Fuhrer a major factor himself. In addition, factions within Germany for whom a right-wing political system was more beneficial, such as the army and big business, aided the eventual change in governance. Thus a series of events occurred which can be summarised by these three main factors: failure of the Weimar Government, strength of the Nazi Party and finally the political finesse of Hitler himself in the total abolition of democracy in Germany in 1934. The Weimar democracy was weak in three key areas, which led to the failure of this democracy. These areas can be roughly classified as political, structural and economic weaknesses. The declaration of a German democratic republic on November 9th 1918 by Philipp Scheidemann was not a result of a revolution or popular movement within Germany, and thus it was not necessarily a solution with great support from the populace. ...read more.


Nazi claims to stop reparations to the Allies, expand through Eastern Europe (Lebensraum) and the use of scapegoats such as communist and Jews were all popular in a country used to the vague position of a conglomerate democracy from the Weimar Government. Therefore the ideology of the Nazis was one factor leading to the failure of democracy in Germany. The Nazi party were also increasingly well structured throughout the 1920s. This structure had three main affects. First, propaganda and bullying was institutionalised in the Nazi party in the SA and SA. The SA was created in 1920 to protect party meetings, but also disrupted communist party meetings and pamphleteer for the Nazis. The SA's marches demonstrated the might of the Nazi Party, and their consistent undermining of communist marches and party meetings weakened the left wing of German politics. The SA was massively popular in Germany in recruiting members, and had grown to 3 million by 1930, demonstrating the success of the Nazi party's diverse structure. Second, the Nazi party followed a policy of gleischaltung once Hitler had become Chancellor in 1933, under which large sections of the German community became extensions of the Nazi Party. This included youth groups and women's organizations, and importantly many branches of law enforcement, creating a state under increasing Nazi control. ...read more.


Finally, the moves by Hitler were made possible by the determined effort the Weimar Democracy had made throughout the 1920s to undermine the leftwing of German politics, which it saw as the main threat to democracy. Thus, the Weimar politicians had used conservative elements such as the Army to defend against communism, and by the 1930s, it was the rightwing of politics that was strong enough to defeat democracy and instill a dictatorship. Therefore the weakness of Weimar and the various strengths of the Nazi party resulted in the failure of democracy in Germany between 1928-1934. Weimar had been historically weak politically, structurally and faced new economic problems by 1929. The Nazis utilised a popular ideology and an effective party structure, including use of brutality, to infiltrate German society. Historians have debated Hitler's role, but his skills in speaking and manipulating assisted the party's success. Finally, the economic capitalist base was a determining factor, as big business and the forces of the army supported the Nazi regime. Thus it was in 1934 that democracy failed in Germany, and Hitler was able to begin to move towards his ambitions for Germany as he saw fit. Word Count: 1313 Richard Sawyer Form VI Modern History ...read more.

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