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Proportional Representation Allowed Hitler to Come to Power. Discuss.

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Introduction

Proportional Representation Allowed Hitler to Come to Power. Discuss. Germany's first attempt at democracy was through the Weimar constitution. The essence of this constitution was based on a democratic system of proportional representation. As a result of this system, no party ever gained a majority and therefore all governments in Weimar were coalitions. According to the Collins dictionary proportional representation is defined as: a method of parliamentary representation designed to allow the various political parties to represented in proportion to their voters and characterized by the use of the transferable vote. I.e. the filling up of seats, where a quota is not secured by first choices, by the transference of votes from second choices, and so on. There are many reasons why Hitler was able to gain power. Firstly there was the appeal of Hitler and Nazism and their promises for a better Germany. The mistrust in Weimar was also a major factor in Hitler's accession to power. The government had failed Germany on so many counts within the economy and the signing of the treaty of Versailles. To the people Weimar appeared to be against Germany rather than helping it to succeed. Then the ineffectual attempt to control Hitler during the Bruning- Papen era finally allowed Hitler to obtain power. Nazism appealed to all sectors of the German society but it drew its greatest support from the middle classes. ...read more.

Middle

Money was required for food, heating a home, clothes etc. With no obvious end to their plight under the Weimar regime, it is not surprising that those who saw no end to their troubles turned to the more extreme political parties in Germany - the Nazi and Communist Parties. The unemployment levels from 1928 are as follows; September 1928- 650,000 unemployed, September 1929- 1,320,000 unemployed, September 1930- 3,000,000 unemployed, September 1931- 4,350,000 unemployed, September 1932 5,102,000 unemployed, January 1933- 6,100,000. By the winter of 1932 one third of the German workforce were unemployed. This was seen as a huge weakness of the Weimar government. The onset of depression after the Wall Street crash in 1929 was the final straw for the Weimar government. America was, through the Young plan, loaning money to Germany to help pay for the reparations. The Wall Street crash led to the withdrawal of these loans. In the 1930 coalition between the Social Democrats, the Centre Party and the Peoples party collapsed because of disagreements about measures to deal with the budget deficit. President Hindenburg appointed Bruning, leader of the Centre Party, as Chancellor. Unable to gain a majority in the Reichstag, Bruning used the emergency decrees to force through his proposed expenditure cuts. On the streets the Communists and Nazis were increasingly turning to political violence. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Nazification of Germany would never have occurred and democracy may have survived. It is a fact that proportional representation is a weak form of democracy. The government is always a coalition; frequently the parties involved are in opposition therefore sagacious decisions are rarely made. There were many other factors that allowed Hitler to come to power such as the appeal of Nazism and Hitler as an authoritative power, Weimar's failure economically and politically, the hatred of the Treaty of Versailles and the naivety of Von Papen and Hindenburg thing that they could control Hitler. "The rise of Nazism was due to special conditions within a sixty year span- anti-semitism, nationalism, imperialism, defeat in war, the Versailles Treaty, the vindictive attitude of the Western powers, catastrophic economic circumstances, Germany's unstable political institutions and parties, the myopia of Hindenburg and his conservative clique, and the charismatic genius of Adolf Hitler." Within the system of proportional representation of Weimar, no matter how many votes a party acquired they were all represented in the Reichstag. Hitler used this to his advantage and gained power democratically. If the system had been different in Germany Hitler would never have gained a majority to accomplish power. This utilisation of the indecisive form of democracy allowed Hitler to obtain enough authority to become Chancellor, consolidate his power and to eliminate democracy and create a one party terror state. ...read more.

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