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Was the Weimar Republic Doomed from the Start?

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Introduction

C. Jeary 10C 28/9/2001 Mr. Panter Was the Weimar Republic Doomed from the Start? From the evidence in the forthcoming essay, we can confirm that the Weimar Republic wasn't necessarily doomed from the start. It was however, but was dealt an extremely difficult hand with which to start controlling a weakened Germany after WW1. With the benefit of hindsight we know that the Republic lasted for a whole decade. Its tenure which lasted a decade, can be divided into two distinct halves: 1919-1923 and 1923-1929; at the end of 1929, after the Republic experienced the effects of the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression, it was finally overthrown and the Weimar Republic came to an end. After the end of WW1 when Allied troops broke through the German Hindenburg line, Germany emerged shocked, beaten and weakened from expenses of war. Many people were not sure whom to blame for defeat and demanded change in Germany's Government. In October, sailors at the naval base at Wilhemshaven mutinied and another mutiny occurred at Kiel when the marines were told to attack the Allies. On 7th November 1918 Kurt Eisner declared Bavaria a Socialist Republic, and all over Germany, similar groups followed, bringing about a change of Government in Germany to the left wing. On the 9th November Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated and Friedrich Ebert, leader of the SPD (Social Democratic Party) declared Germany a Republic, with him as President. ...read more.

Middle

They were bitter opponents of the Communists. They executed Luxemburg and Liebknecht and crushed the revolt. As a consequence of the use of the Freikorps, Ebert and the SPD lost the support of the Communist parties. The second challenge to power came in 1920 when Ebert, in an act to regain Communist support, tried to disband the Freikorps. There was a rebellion; the Freikorps marched on Berlin and proclaimed Dr Wolfgang Kapp as Germany's new leader. The army wouldn't fire on their own side, so the government fled. But many of the Berlin population didn't like Kapp. They obeyed the government's request for a General Strike, which cut all water, gas and electricity supplies into Berlin. Kapp was forced to flee to Sweden and the Freikorps were disbanded. However, a small number of Freikorps remained and formed an extreme group called 'Organisation Consul' which in 1921 murdered Matthias Erzberger, Germany's Foreign Minister, who had agreed to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The third test came on the 24th June 1922 when Organisation Consul murdered Walther Rathenau as he was driving to work in an open top car. The group pumped bullets into him with an automatic pistol and finished the job with a hand grenade. The fourth test came on 9th November 1923. The night before Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi party broke up a meeting in a beer hall in Munich at which leaders of the Bavarian State Government were speaking. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stresemann went against his associates' judgments to introduce Germany back into the International world, but he succeeded and became a National hero. But during his time Germany flourished in many areas, including art, writing and architecture. In 1919 the Weimar Republic inherited serious political and economic problems and had to fight to maintain its position until 1923, however it successfully maintained political stability and prevented a revolution by an extreme party for a decade. People forgot about the 'good old days' of the Kaiser and Stresemann brought stability and prosperity to Germany again. However this 'golden age' was an illusion based on foreign loans. Exports fell and huge sums were spent on welfare and health care. Political stability was wafer thin and in 1925 Hindenburg was elected President. In 1929 during the Great Depression, after the death of Stresemann and the Wall Street Crash, the Republic fell to its knees and eventually collapsed from economical and political frailties that had existed since the conception of the Government. The Weimar Republic wasn't doomed from the start, but never had full control due to inherited opposition and the demands of the Allies after WWI. It was given such frailties; it was always susceptible to being overthrown. There was a 'Golden Period', but this was based mainly on foreign loans. When these ran out, the Republic was so weakened it collapsed and finally collapsed when Stresemann died and the Wall Street Crash devastated Germany's financial situation. Hindenburg was elected President and the Weimar Republic's reign had ended. ...read more.

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