How Serious Were The Problems Facing The Weimar Republic In The Years 1919-23?
During the years of 1919-1923 Germany was under the control of a democratic government known as the Weimar Republic. Different people have different views on them. Some people were in favour of them and some favoured other political parties. The Weimar Republic suffered various threats in these four years and I’m going to look at them and analyse how serious they were and how big of a threat to the Weimar Republic.
The Weimar Republic faces threats from both left wing and right wing parties. The threats coming from the left started in 1919. In 1919 the main communist group were the spartacists; these were an extreme communist party who only gained a small percentage of the votes. In 1919 there was a rising, in which members of the spartacists marched towards Berlin, however they were defeated by the Weimar Republic relatively easily in a government plan to eliminate extreme left wing communism. However even though they had been defeated their members formed a new communist party called the KPD. The KPD were committed to establishing a communist state by revolutionary means. The KPD drew supports from Germany’s working class who were still suffering from the social and economic effects of WW1. Now because the KPD drew support from the working class and the majority of Germany at the time were majority working class they KPD had the potential to be a big threat to the Weimar Republic. However they never sufficiently made a serious challenge to the Weimar Republic, there are reasons for this, their lack of leadership at the time, with Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht dead nobody was really in charge of the KPD. They were not an organised group, they had no plans and no committed support apart from Moscow. The government knew the KPD would gain more and more support though if nothing was done to please the public so they made some reforms. The government offered the working class eight hour working days, workers rights were protected, there was increased trade union power, better housing and education and finally commitment to full employment. Now the left had no influence really on the Weimar Republic and the voters. They were finally defeated once and for all when the government used right wing parties and the Freikorps to defeat the threat from the left. So as we can see the left wing communists were a big threat to begin with but once the Weimar Republic realised they had to do something the German public favoured them over the communists. The reforms pleased the voters and they were getting what they wanted. The left wing was a big threat to begin with but they were never going to be a serious threat to the Weimar republic. There were several attempts to overthrow the Weimar republic and each time they were defeated, for example in March 1921 there was the March offensive, this was a series of strikes and uprising throughout Germany, however this was quickly crushed by police and order was restored. Then there was the German October in Saxony, this was similar to the March offensive because there was also strikes and uprisings, again though this was quickly quashed by the police and this proved to be the last attempts by the communists to create a communist revolution.