• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Was the Weimar Republic Doomed From the Start? 1919-23

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Was the Weimar Republic Doomed From the Start? 1919-23 By 1918 Germany faced the point of economic collapse and the entry of the US into World War I made German military defeat inevitable. Defeat led to the collapse of the German monarchy amid clamour for change and an allied desire to see a democratic German nation. News of peace negotiations led to unrest in the army and the country was left torn and humiliated. The establishment of the Weimar Constitution left the nation in an unfamiliar political state with many challenges to overcome and the state proceeded into a period of crisis between 1919-23. Yet even with all this to surmount was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start? Germany had never previously had a fully democratic system. It already had a constitution that was drawn up when a united Germany was created. This was theoretically extremely democratic, for example it was the only country in Europe at that time with universal male suffrage. However, in practise the Reichstag prior to 1919 had little or no influence over the running of Germany, the real power being held by the Kaiser and his chancellor. It was only after it was realised that the war was lost that, under direction from Ludendorff, the unofficial wartime leader of Germany, the Weimar republic was set up. This resulted in the abolishment of the Prussian three-tier system, the creation of a chancellor responsible to the Reichstag and the eventual abdication of the Kaiser. The new fledgling democracy was not only left with a legacy of accumulated war debt, but it was left with a society unused to totally democratic ways and means. ...read more.

Middle

After the decline of the Kaiser Reich, many of the civil servants were requested to stay on under the new Weimar republic. For this reason, many of the judges and senior civil servants had right wing, authoritarian, monarchist sympathies, and therefore right wing revolutions were kindly dealt with in comparison to their left wing counterparts. Much of this political unrest in Germany during this time was due to the raging inflation of the time. Germany had many economic problems stemming from the war; these were mainly due to the huge amounts of national debt accumulated by the Kaiser Reich to finance the war effort, but also the huge amounts of reparations that Germany was forced to pay the Allies. Instead of tackling the root problems by cutting government expenditure and creating greater levels of income through raising taxes, the government felt that they could not risk the unpopularity with these measures that would inevitably bring. Instead, the government chose to print large quantities of marks and sell them on foreign exchanges in order to obtain the required hard currency. The result of this policy was that a spiral of hyperinflation ensued, resulting in the mark becoming worthless to such an extent that the paper on which the mark was printed was worth more than the note itself. This situation of economic crisis would be expected to produce a detrimental effect on the state of the country politically. However, the contrary is true, the hyperinflation of 1923 was, in actual fact beneficial to those elements of society intelligent enough to grasp the rare opportunity. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Weimar government itself took action to save the republic by making changes in the government, taking action to save the economy and introducing emergency powers. To prevent things getting out of control under Article 48 in times of crisis the President had the right to dismiss and dissolve the Reichstag and interfere in legislations. In August 1923 Gustav Stresemann was appointed Chancellor and this proved to be a fundamental turning point that set Weimar on the road to recovery, as he was prepared to actually face up to the country's problems and set about resolving them. He called off passive resistance and recommenced reparation payments, reduced the trade deficit by cutting down the government expenditure and also created a new currency. This new currency, the Rentenmark, immediately stopped hyperinflation and established a stable currency, creating a basis on which Weimar's economic predicaments could be internationally negotiated. In my opinion the problems faced by the Weimar Republic were not insurmountable as in the end they were in some cases successfully overcome. However, there is no doubt that they were very serious and at times posed a very real threat to the survival of the Republic. Although it is easy to say that the eventual collapse of the Constitution clearly states its failure, I feel that Weimar was by no means doomed to fail. Instead it was the misguidance and misjudgements of its leaders that bought the Republic to its downfall. As I have mentioned previously it was the majority of the German people who desired such a state, had this not been true the democracy would have collapsed long before it did. Furthermore, the government faced some of the hardest challenges possible to face in such era, thus showing the strength of the Republic. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Germany 1918-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Germany 1918-1939 essays

  1. Weimar, 1918 - 1923

    G�ring and Hess fled to Austria. Ludendorff was arrested at the Odeonsplatz. R�hm surrendered at the War Ministry, two hours after the shooting at the former royal palace. WL Shirer "The Nazi Putsch had ended in a fiasco. The party was dissolved.

  2. What problems did the Weimar Republic face from 1919 to 1923, and why did ...

    In 1920, after the failure of the Kapp Putsch, a paramilitary group called the Red Army rebelled in the Ruhr. 3. Right-wing terrorism Many right-wing groups hated the new government for signing the Versailles Treaty (June 1919): a. The Kapp Putsch: in March 1920, a Freikorps brigade rebelled against the Treaty, led by Dr Wolfgang Kapp.

  1. Why was the Weimar Republic able to survive 1919 - 1929?

    On November 16th 1923, 4, 200, 000, 000, 000 Marks was equal to 1 U.S. Dollar. George Grosz said, "Lingering at the [shop] window was a luxury because shopping had to be done immediately. Even an additional minute meant an increase in price".

  2. To what extent were the problems of 1919-1923 overcome by the Weimar Government by ...

    Therefore, the government's effectiveness was limited. Another way of increasing German influence and power was found in signing the Treaty of Berlin to gain alliance with the USSR. The treaty secured economic and military deals and gave an advantage to Germany. It also put gentle pressure on the western world to make an effort to treat

  1. Was the collapse of the Weimar Republic inevitable?

    Therefore, if the collapse of the Weimar Republic was inevitable, why had it not collapsed by 1923? It is clear, then, that the Weimar Republic was not as unstable as we are sometimes led to believe. Even though many Germans were suspicious of democracy, they seemed to be tolerating it, and may be even supporting it.

  2. What problems did the Weimar Republic face between 1919 and 1923?

    However, the loss of the district meant that there could be problems which sprang from a poor economy at a later date which meant that it would become a major cumulative problem. The Saarland was taken from Germany and this contained coal fields that were very important to Germany's industry.

  1. Was the Weimar Republic Doomed from the Start?

    Many people, (especially the old army and elderly people who remembered the 'good old days'), weren't ready to accept the changes and tried to regain power and restore Germany to the country they wanted. The Republic drew up the Weimar Constitution, setting out very clearly how Germany was to be run.

  2. WWII History Revision Notes. How far did the Weimar Republic Recover between 1924-1928.

    What was Life like in the Great Depression[c]? Businessmen: 1. Many businesses closed. If the business survived, the income fell and the Government raised taxes to help pay for the increasing numbers of poor people. Young people: 1. In 1933, half of Germans aged between 16-30 were unemployed.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work