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Fortunate to survive so many enemies for so long' - discuss this verdict of the Weimar, 1919-24

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Introduction

Bethany Davis 12RP 1st October 04 'Fortunate to survive so many enemies for so long' - discuss this verdict of the Weimar, 1919-24 In November 1918, following the calamity of World War One, the authoritarian German Kaiser Wilhelm II was forced to abdicate. Two months later the Weimar was established. This new authority promised to rule more liberally, and brought hope of freedom and prosperity to the German people. However, from its birth in 1919 to its collapse, the Weimar Republic was to face many problems. Thus, the verdict that the Weimar was fortunate to survive would seem correct. The Weimar began its rule over a country in unfavourable circumstances with considerable deep-routed problems. These dated back to Imperial Germany, and were obvious even before the war. Germany had only been united since 1871. Social tensions had been created by rapid industrialisation that led to changes within the class system, as agriculturists were suspicious of industrial workers taking their place. ...read more.

Middle

However, the President was given powers under article 48 which could, in times of 'national emergency', be used to undermine the democratic constitution. This was often abused, and led to dictator-like rulers. Also, the new constitution meant that the Republic consisted of many small parties that had to work together in coalition governments with a proportional representation system. This did not work as the parties had very different political views, and so often couldn't agree on issues. As well as this, many parties within the Weimar actually disagreed with its existence. Leaders of the army, civil service and legal system disliked the new constitution. This lead to certain figures deliberately working against the Republic and stirred trouble in hope that it might fail. The most significant threat came from the President of the Republic from 1925, Field Marshall Paul von Hindenburg. Thus, the Weimar itself led to further weakness in Germany. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, many of the factors that led to the Weimar's weaknesses inter-link with one another, for example the lack of German unity partly resulted due to previous deep-routed problems of Imperial Germany, or the Spartacist revolt that resulted in the unsuccessful Eber-Groner pact. Yet, despite all of these varied problems, the Weimar remained, supporting the statement that it was 'Fortunate to survive so many enemies for so long'. Yet, there were some factors that worked in favour of the Weimar i.e. many people were simply relieved to have change, and pleased that the soldiers were able to return home. Another helpful act is that in 1926 reparations were reduced, and assistance was given to Germany to help with re-building. Therefore, as well as simply withstanding defeat, the Weimar managed several accomplishments which led to an improvement the German people' way of life, for example the Constitution solved hyperinflation in 1923, and also improved foreign relations. Plus, after 1924 further improvements were made i.e. Dawes plan by Stresseman. Yet, overall the Weimar's weaknesses seem to out-weigh its strengths, and hence the statement seems to be an accurate interpretation. ...read more.

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