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Examine the degree to which the flaws of the Weimar Constitution explain the continuing instability in the years 1919 to 1923.

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Introduction

Examine the degree to which the flaws of the Weimar Constitution explain the continuing instability in the years 1919 to 1923. In 1918, a revolution broke out in Germany, largely as a consequence of world war one. Initially revolution was instigated by the conservative ruling classes, although this revolution was soon to be followed by the revolution from below, which established German democracy. The end of revolution opened the gates to a new constitution, the Weimar Republic. However this was no ordinary time for Germany. War had been lost and German economy ruined. Although the Weimar republic was the first democratic constitution to rise from the ashes of authoritarianism, instigating universal suffrage, giving Liberal freedoms to the people and concessions to the workers etc, it faced huge unpopularity from the German population. After facing attacks from the left and the right, many questioned whether the Weimar Republic was just a democratic experiment, weakened by being born at such a tumultuous time. The instability suffered by the Weimar Republic could have been partially the fault of the constitution itself. However, when examining the degree to which this was the ultimate factor for instability, it is essential to asses other factors which I feel are more significantly responsible for its unstable nature. ...read more.

Middle

However the Stab in the Back Theory was created by General Ludendorff and served to shift the blame for military defeat to the Weimar Republic, accusing it of stabbing the army in the back. The motivation for such a theory being proposed undermined the validity of the theory itself. However the associations, it provoked, weakened the prospects of stability for the Weimar Republic as it was widely believed and reinforced, despite it's falsity. Such problems which would lead to instability only seemed to be amplified by the signing of the Treaty Of Versailles. It was a very harsh settlement; Germans lost territory, armed forces, industry and population, being forced to pay �6.6 million in reparations as well as accepting the guilt clause for starting the war. The people bitterly resented the Weimar Republic for signing which affected the stability of a new constitution which was unpopular with the people. The fact that the Weimar Republic was born out of such turmoil is very significant in relation to its stability and does not have close links with the nature of the constitution itself. This goes to show that the problems in the constitution may well be a relatively insignificant in relation to other factors. ...read more.

Conclusion

I therefore believe that this factor is significantly more important than the constitution itself when explaining the instability. However left and right wing extremism is also a factor more significant than that of the constitution but can curiously be linked to it as the left believed it had not gone far enough and the right felt it had gone too far. Maybe if the constitution had met a more happy medium it wouldn't have been attacked so vigorously and may have been more stable. In conclusion I believe a full explanation for the Weimar Republic's continuing instability can not be found in the constitution as it was only one of a number of factors but together with the more significant circumstantial factors, like the defeat in WW1, it helps to explain the back bone to some the instability it faced in the years 1919 to 1923. The links the other factors do have to the constitution come back to how the Weimar Republic dealt with them, questioning whether a constitution, embodying measures to stabilize in the event of crisis would have survived to be more stable than the Weimar Republic. However despite its instability, the Weimar Republic had managed to survive by 1923, questioning how dangerously unstable it actually was. ...read more.

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