DMPQ- Discuss the reasons for the failure of Weimar republic ?

Weimar republic which came in power in Germany after first world war failed to solve the problems and soon Germany turned into a fascist state. The reasons for it’s failures are as follows :

  • Republic lacked legitimacy from the outset. This was a result of the elites fleeing the nation just before the war ended. They wanted to escape the blame for the end of the war. As a result the “Dolchstosslegende” or “stab in the back myth” gained widespread acceptance among the general populace. The Government thus was blamed for ending the war that Germany supposedly could have won. The Nationalists used it as battering ram against the Republics’ politicians. Shortly after the “November Criminals” “betrayed the nation” once again by signing the Treaty of Versailles. This crippled the nation economically and also resulted in the loss of territory to Poland and France. So again they were blamed for betraying the nation. In fact, those who negotiated the Armistice and signed Versailles were murdered by nationalists a few years later.
  • The constitution itself played a part. It was very democratic on the one hand but also gave the President far too much power. Lots of different parties were elected and they often quarreled with each other in the Reichstag. The results can be seen below. Both Ebert and Hindenburg overused the presidential powers in this case. The continued use of Article 48 resulted in some interesting developments. Some would argue that because of this democracy was already dead before the Nazi Party came to power.
  • Historians are divided about the issue of Weimar and the inevitability of the collapse. On the one hand it was a victim of circumstances. It had to deal with the end of the war the Treaty of Versailles and two major economic upheavals. The Hyperinflation of 1923 which wiped out the savings of many middle-class Germans and the Great depression of 1929 which caused mass unemployment.

 

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