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Do the problems of 1919-1924 suggest that the Weimar Republic was doomed from the start?

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Introduction

Do the problems of 1919-1924 suggest that the Weimar Republic was doomed from the start? Following the nation's defeat in WW1 and the Kaiser's abdication Germany was left in a state of disarray. A constitution was written up in the city of Weimar due to the instability in Berlin. It was the first attempt to establish a liberal democracy in Germany at a time of civil unrest and was being governed by the Socialist Democratic Part lead by Friedrich Ebert. The Weimar Republic was faced with pressing problems from the start and great change was needed to restore Germany to its previous strength. It did eventually fail by 1933 due to a number of reasons but it is debatable whether it was the initial problems of 1919-1924 that started the downward spiral of decline for the Republic. Economic problems were a major issue especially in the early days of the Weimar Republic and had long-term effects. The terms of Treaty of Versailles such as the reparations of �6600 million to the allies and heavy losses in industry as well as the large cost of the war tipped Germany into economic chaos. ...read more.

Middle

Their stance on reform rather than revolution or imperial rule meant that they polarised parties support for extreme left and right wing parties. The German nation was used to being ruled, rather than ruling itself. Democracy was a new concept within Germany and many people were wiling to look to the left and right wings for political leadership. Strength and image were considered more important than policy itself. The weakness of Ebert's government was further emphasised by fact that they signed the armistice that signalled the German's surrender, and this was seen as a 'stab in the back' to the army. After this they too signed the Treaty of Versailles that meant they had to accept that they were guilty of starting the war. More fundamentally however, the Weimar Constitution used the system of proportional representation which caused a proliferation of smaller parties and therefore weak coalition governments. Despite these problems, at the time Ebert's party had the greatest support and the far left and right groups were internally divided and therefore much weaker than they seemed. ...read more.

Conclusion

The early problems of the Weimar Republic did seem to have a lasting effect upon the attitudes of the German people and clearly had an impact on the eventual failure of the regime. I fail to deduce that the early economic problems were a factor in their failure as it recovered well and it was the later economic problems like the Great Depression that were major factors. Political stance and popular support had much to do with the downfall however. Having no tradition of a democratic government, signing the Treaty of Versailles and constitutional problems such as proportional representation meant that the Weimar Republic was given the image of a weak state, an image that lingered in the minds of people through till the last few days and errors of the regime. Their support also declined as threats from the right and left became ever more prevalent. Overall, I believe that certain aspects from the early problems between 1919-24 contributed to the failings of the government in 1933 but I don't believe it wasn't doomed to failure from its start. ?? ?? ?? ?? Anurag Sharma 11S ...read more.

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