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Assess the significance of the Treaty of Versailles in the reasons for the eventual collapse of Democracy in Germany between 1

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Introduction

Assess the significance of the Treaty of Versailles in the reasons for the eventual collapse of Democracy in Germany between 1918-1934. Despite that 'the idea of democracy had finally succeeded in shaping the constitution and institutions of Germany, the Treaty and other significant factors were evident in the inevitable collapse of Democracy in Germany. The real position of the Weimar Republic was determined by the unequivocal military defeat of the German empire and its severe restriction of power in the Versailles peace treaty.'1 Emphasis upon the ideological establishment of pluralistic democracy within Weimar Republic, 'was resisted and continually undermined both by powerful and influential forces in the central government administration and by local business interests.'2 Bessel suggests 'the collapse of Weimar democracy was due to a peculiar combination of long-term and short-term pressures. These pressures, many of which are found in other industrial societies, came together with particular force in Weimar Germany.'3 Despite the significant influence of the Treaty and its reparations evoking a sense of hatred and anger amongst the German populace, there were numerous factors contributing to the eventual collapse of Democracy. 'Economic constraints in particular, both domestic and international, greatly limited the possibilities for positive political actions.'4 Democracy was weakened severely after the onset of the economic depressions in 1922-23 and 1929-1930. ...read more.

Middle

crash had peculiarly serious implications, given the dependence of the German economy on short-term loans from abroad which were rapidly withdrawn.'13 Some of the staggering results included the rise of unemployment to over 6 million, by the beginning of 1933. 'No compromise could be reached between alternative schemes, with unions, employers, and members of the different parties all having very different positions on the matter, characterised by varying degrees of intransigence.'14 The presence of extensive hyperinflation was also prominent in stirring the disillusioned middle class. Thus, fiscal and monetary problems caused the first presidential cabinet to be appointed to rule without serious regard to democracy in March 1930, amounting to the collapse of the inherently unstable and ill-fated Weimar Republic. Salmon indeed comments that 'Germany had undergone traumatic economic crises, which had undermined the integrity of the Weimar Republic.'15 The presence of underlying political structural problems were evident and prominent in the eventual collapse of a democratic Germany. These contentions lay 'deeper than the criticisms of the (Weimar) constitutional framework.'16 Despite the success encountered by the republic during the Reichstag elections of January 1919, difficulties were manifested in the very nature of the Weimar political establishment. 'The republic was confronted by political opposition from the extreme left and right, whilst its democratic supporters were faced with the ongoing problem of creating and maintaining government coalitions.'17 The 'final political crisis' of 1932 was instrumental in the demise of the Weimar Republic and the triumph of Nazism. ...read more.

Conclusion

1319 2 McElligott, A., The Collapse of Weimar, History Today, from the compendium, Book III 3 Bessel, R., Why Did the Weimar Republic Collapse?, from the compendium, Book III. pp. 148 4 ibid, pp. 121 5 ibid, pp. 133 6 Bracher, K.D., The Nazi Takeover, , from the compendium Book IV, pp. 1319 7 Layton, G., From Bismarck to Hitler: Germany 1890-1933, pp. 89 8 ibid, pp. 90 9 ibid 10 ibid, pp. 91 11 Bessel, R., Why Did the Weimar Republic Collapse?, from the compendium, Book III. pp. 124 12 ibid 13 Fulbrooke, M., A Concise History of Germany, pp. 172 14 ibid, pp. 173 15 Salmon, P., Weimar Republic: Could it have survived?, Modern History Review, from the compendium Book III, pp. 10 16 Layton, G., From Bismarck to Hitler: Germany 1890-1933, pp. 98 17 ibid 18 Salmon, P., Weimar Republic: Could it have survived?, (1992) Modern History Review, from the compendium Book III, pp. 9 19 Bessel, R., Why Did the Weimar Republic Collapse?, from the compendium, Book III. pp. 141 20 ibid 21 ibid, pp. 132 22 James, H., Economic Reasons for the Collapse of the Weimar Republic, from the compendium Book III. pp. 30 23 ibid, pp. 133 24 Bracher, K.D., The Nazi Takeover, , from the compendium Book IV, pp. 1319 25 Salmon, P., Weimar Republic: Could it have survived?, (1992) Modern History Review, from the compendium Book III, pp. 10 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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