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

Why was the Weimar Republic so short-lived?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why was the Weimar Republic so short-lived? The Weimar Republic entered a broken Germany in 1919. The Treaty of Versailles had plunged Germany into an economic recession and social outrage; the new government faced unpredictable political rivalry from extremist parties and its own constitution and parliamentary system could not solve the problems it faced as a result of the negativities of an overly-pure democracy. Apart from this, the Great Depression had the final say in securing Germany's (arguably inevitable) fate. The extensive �6600 million reparations payments (determined in 1921) of the Treaty of Versailles threw the Republic into a deeper state of national debt. Territorial losses on Germany's behalf meant that it was now harder than ever to cover these payments. Alsace-Lorraine - acquired by Germany in 18711 - was an economically and geographically important area of land that had trade routes leading from Germany to other European countries although the government now suffered a great loss in potential tax revenue. ...read more.

Middle

This therefore disclosed the general lack of support for the government from the army and the Freikorps (who were partially supporting the revolt under General Luddwitz and General Ludendorff) which limited Ebert's power when dealing with such situations as he needed the support of the masses to successfully suppress these rebellions. The collapse of the parliamentary system played a key role in determining the life-span of the Weimar Republic. Ultimately the most obvious sign of failure was the appointment of Hitler as chancellor in 1933 - who supported authoritarianism and anti-Semitism - through growing support for the Nazis during early 1932 and political pressure on Hindenburg to appoint him although one of the many other reasons leading to this collapse was the policy of proportional representation and Article 48 of the constitution that disallowed effective policies from being passed. For example, Franz von Papen's 'government' only lasted eight months during 1932 in which Reichstag support for his newly formed 'non-party' government was minimal6. ...read more.

Conclusion

Many historians argue over the inevitability of Germany being a militaristic state. A.J.P. Taylor argues that it was "no more a mistake...to end up with Hitler than it is an accident when a river flows into the sea"9. He argues that throughout history Germany had experienced the extremes of success and failure and it was expected that a figure-head such as Hitler would revive Germany from the humiliation of World War One through a dictatorial and revengeful upturn. However, Michael Laffan argues that the failure of the Republic was caused by their weaknesses and their enemies' strengths and that the fate of Germany was not "predestined"10. The Weimar government was struggling from the very beginning. It lacked the necessary competence to cope with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and the international embarrassment Germany faced. It also struggled to effectively suppress the violence of attempted rebellions from extremist parties promoting communism and authoritarianism as well as failing to establish a sustainable level of democracy. The Great Depression sealed Germany's fate of returning to militarism and political isolation to dissolve any hope of the survival of a typical democracy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History 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 International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. Why did the Second Spanish Republic Fail?

    This led to General Mola's conspiracy to overthrow the government in 1936. The last and immediate trigger of the Civil War and the Republic's collapse was the Republican's murder of the monarchist politician, Calvo Sotelo.

  2. Was the Weimar Republic doomed from the start?

    The Germans had agreed to a peace settlement based on the Fourteen Points, but were given terms that were much harsher. This then led to deep resentment towards the politicians that had signed the Treaty, who then set up the Weimar Republic.

  1. Can the period between 1924-1929 really be called the Golden period for the Weimar ...

    made him an easy prey to his rightist advisors as he was heavily influenced by those surrounding him. Thus the extremist parties were profiting simultaneously from Hindenburg's ineffectiveness, which was an enormous gain for the Nazis. Furthermore, the pubic was unhappy with the electoral system because voters were voting for the party rather than the individual deputy.

  2. Why was the Weimar republic so short lived?

    In 1919 the general belief that the German army had not been defeated but it had been "stabbed in the back" by the democrats who had passively agreed to the Versailles Treaty was heavily spread among the opposition of the Republic.

  1. Weimar Republic

    Paragraph 2 - Economy Topic Sentence: The period 1923-29 was a period of positive economic advances for Germany because Stresseman had good policies and managed to stabilize the German currency, the industry was booming and Germany became attractive for foreign investments, however, these advances are outweighed by the Welfare state

  2. IB History HL, Extended Notes: Russia, the Tsars, the Provisional Govenment and the Revolution.

    Lenin issued the April Theses which stated 1. If the workers and army rank-and-file wanted to quickly end the war they would need to overthrow capitalism. The capitalists had interests beyond the defense of the Russian people. 2. PG was middle class and must not be supported; task now

  1. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Weimar Republic

    Another important factor of the Constitution was article 48, that gave the chancellor the power to rule by presidential decree in a case of emergency. What the definition for emergency was, remained unclear, so this became a back door for many politicians- such as Bruenning, von Papen, von Schleicher and finally Hitler- to legally seize power.

  2. Analyse the reasons for the weaknesses and collapse of democracy between 1918 and 1939 ...

    Most profoundly, land reform raised expectations for the dispossessed but angered the traditional elites when the Republic became to inefficient to deal with it. Without the backing of the traditional elites, the government would face a hard time combating Franco especially since they were already known to be physically incapable to defeating the Right e.g.

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