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To what extent was the Weimar constitution flawed?

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To what extent was the Weimar constitution flawed? The majority of people believe that it was the Weimar constitution which was fundamentally flawed and that this damaged the long term prospects of the Weimar republic, although strong points can be identified in the constitution which support the argument that the constitution wasn't to blame for the republics downfall. From this some historians have determined that the role of the constitution in the downfall of the republic is exaggerated. There were a wide variety of things that played a part in the collapse of the republic; one of these was the problems linked with proportional representation. There were two main problems with proportional representation the first is that in this kind of electoral system its much easier for extremist groups to gain seats in the Reichstag. In the first past the post system a certain number of votes does not guarantee a party representation in the Reichstag. This means that there is a limited number of parties in the Reichstag, making it easier to gain an overall majority thus meaning fewer coalition governments and a more stable power base. ...read more.


The reason this was seen as such a failure was that Hitler used this article to take control and set up the nazi regime during the 1930's. Other evidence indicates that that having this article in the constitution was not such a bad idea because as long as it was used in the way it was supposed to i.e. in time of crisis such as when Erbert's government was under threat from the Spartacists. The reason Hitler was able to get away with bypassing the government was because large number of the population didn't support government or democratic methods therefore Hitler came up against no real opposition when he became chancellor. In most modern democracies referendums can be used to get the publics view on a proposition by vote i.e. whether Great Britain should join the euro or keep the pound. Although referendums are possible they are rarely used in today's society. In the Weimar constitution it was possible for referendums to be used for certain circumstances much like today. This it self was not a problem, it was the way they were used by extremist groups such as the nazis to gain influence and present their views to the general population. ...read more.


The constitution was not the main problem; the extreme right and left used loopholes in the constitution to gain support and destabilise the government. The biggest example of this was that Hitler was able to use article 48 to take control of Germany and install himself at the head of a dictatorship. Economic problems were also a big factor as each successive government was more worried about keeping the people happy rather than making the changes necessary to sure up the economy. Increased inflation over the years did nothing to reinstate the people's faith in democracy. The main reason the constitution failed was not because the document itself was flawed but because the German people were not ready or prepared to make such a sudden change from autocracy to democracy. Other reasons were that people like Hitler were able to take advantages of loopholes such as article 48, but this again wasn't the fault of the constitution more the people who had put Hitler in the position of chancellor. The constitution was not truly flawed because it is likely that the same constitution would have worked well under different circumstances, but the other factors involved in Germany at this time made it impossible for it to operate successfully. Sam Roberts 3 ...read more.

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