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The Weimar Republic is so called because the assembly that adopted its constitution met at Weimar from 6 February 1919 to 11 August 1919, but this name only became mainstream after 1933. Between 1919 and 1933, there was no single name for the new state that gained widespread acceptance and is the reason why the old name Deutsches Reich remained ...
- Germany After World War I
- Weimar Constitution
- Hyperinflation and The Fallout
- Dawes Plan
- Great Depression
- Article 48
Germany didn’t fare well after World War I, as it was thrown into troubling economic and social disorder. After a series of mutinies by German sailors and soldiers, Kaiser Wilhelm IIlost the support of his military and the German people, and he was forced to abdicate on November 9, 1918. The following day, a provisional government was announced made up of members of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USDP), shifting power from the military. In December 1918, elections were held for a National Assembly tasked with creating a new parliamentary constitution. On February 6, 1919, the National Assembly met in the town of Weimar and formed the Weimar Coalition. They also elected SDP leader Friedrich Ebert as President of the Weimar Republic. On June 28, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, which ordered Germany to reduce its military, take responsibility for the World War I, relinquish some of its territory and pay exorbitant reparati...
On August 11, 1919, the Weimar Constitutionwas signed into law by President Ebert. The law faced venomous opposition from the military and the radical left. The Constitution contained 181 articles and covered everything from the structure of the German state (Reich) and the rights of the German people to religious freedom and how laws should be enacted. The Weimar Constitution included these highlights: 1. The German Reich is a Republic. 2. The government is made of a president, a chancellor and a parliament (Reichstag). 3. Representatives of the people must be elected equally every four years by all men and women over age 20. 4. The term of the President is seven years. 5. All orders of the President must be endorsed by the Chancellor or a Reich Minister. 6. Article 48 allows the President to suspend civil rights and operate independently in an emergency. 7. Two legislative bodies (the Reichstag and the Reichsrat) were formed to represent the German people. 8. All Germans are equal...
Despite its new constitution, the Weimar Republic faced one of Germany’s greatest economic challenges: hyperinflation. Thanks to the Treaty of Versailles, Germany’s ability to produce revenue-generating coal and iron ore decreased. As war debts and reparations drained its coffers, the German government was unable to pay its debts. Some of the former World War I Allies didn’t buy Germany’s claim that it couldn’t afford to pay. In a blatant League of Nations breach, French and Belgian troops occupied Germany’s main industrial area, the Ruhr, determined to get their reparation payments. The Weimar government ordered German workers to passively resist the occupation and go on strike, shutting down the coal mines and iron factories. As a result, Germany’s economy quickly tanked. In response, the Weimar government simply printed more money. The effort backfired, however, and further devalued the German Mark—and inflation increased at an astounding level. The cost of living rose rapidly an...
Germany elected Gustav Stresemann as their new chancellor in 1923. He ordered Ruhr workers back to the factories and replaced the Mark with a new currency, the American-backed Retenmark. In late 1923, the League of Nations asked U.S. banker and Director of the Budget, Charles Dawes, to help tackle Germany’s reparations and hyperinflation issues. He submitted the “Dawes Plan” which outlined a plan for Germany to pay more reasonable reparations on a sliding scale. Dawes was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. The Dawes Plan and Stresemann’s leadership helped stabilize the Weimar Republic and energize its economy. In addition, Germany repaired relations with France and Belgium and was finally allowed into the League of Nations, which opened the door for international trade. In general, life improved in the Weimar Republic.
Much of the Weimar Republic’s recovery was due to a steady flow of American dollars into its economy. But unbeknownst to Germany, America had positioned itself for an economic disaster of its own as it struggled with increased unemployment, low wages, declining stock values and massive, unliquidated bank loans. On October 29, 1929, the U.S. stock market crashed, sending America into a devastating economic meltdown and ushering in the Great Depression. The stock market crash had a global ripple effect. It was especially devastating for the newly recovered Weimar Republic. As the flow of American money dried up, Germany could no longer meet their financial responsibilities. Businesses failed, unemployment plummeted again, and Germany faced another devastating economic crisis.
During hyperinflation, the German middle class bore the brunt of the economic chaos. When another financial crisis hit, they grew weary and distrustful of their government leaders. Searching for new leadership and fearing a Communist takeover, many people turned to extremist parties such as the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler, despite his unpopular and failed attempt to start a national revolution in 1923. In 1932, the Nazi Party became the largest political party in Parliament. After a brief struggle for power, Hitler was named Chancellor in January 1933. Within weeks, he invoked Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution to quash many civil rights and suppress members of the Communist party. In March 1933, Hitler introduced the Enabling Act to allow him to pass laws without the approval of Germany’s Parliament or President. To make sure the Enabling Act was passed, Hitler forcibly prevented Communist Parliament members from voting. Once it became law, Hitler was free to legislate as he...
1929: A Turning Point During the Weimar Republic. Facing History and Ourselves. Charles G. Dawes: Biographical. Nobelprize.org. The Enabling Act. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Holocaust Encyclopedia. The Weimar Republic. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Holocaust Encyclopedia. The Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. Wesleyan University. Volume 6. Weimar Germany, 1918/19–1933 The Constitution of the German Empire of August 11, 1919 (Weimar Constitution). German History in Documents and Images. Weimar Republic. New World Encyclopedia. Commanding Heights: The German Hyperinflation, 1923. PBS.org. War I Aftermath. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Holocaust Encyclopedia.
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Weimar Republic, the government of Germany from 1919 to 1933, so called because the assembly that adopted its constitution met at Weimar from February 6 to August 11, 1919. The last days of World War I and the Spartacist revolt The abdication of Emperor William II on November 9, 1918, marked the end of the German Empire.
- End of The Second Reich
- Mutiny, Unrest, and Violence
- Creating A New Constitution
- Immediate Challenges
- Economic Burdens
- Cultural Changes
- Global Economic Crisis
- Hitler's Rise to Power
World War I left Germany a shattered nation. Two million young men had been killed and a further 4.2 million had been wounded; in all, 19% of the male population were casualties of the war. At home, the civilian population suffered from malnutrition as a result of the Allied blockade, with starvation a serious and often fatal outcome. Workers went on strike in attempts to gain better working conditions; in 1917 alone, there were 562 separate strikes. In short, Germany was coming apart. The go...
But, even before that government could come into being, the German navy chose in November to order a suicidal assault against the British navy in an attempt to salvage some honor. The sailors refused. A massive leftist mutiny began on November 3. On November 9, the Kaiser abdicated and fled the country. Unfortunately, this was too little, too late. Antiwar demonstrations and massive unrest in Bavaria followed thereafter which unseated the old regime, replacing it with a Soviet republic under...
With the violence quelled, 25 men including the famous sociologist Max Weber, legal scholar Hugo Preuss, politician Friedrich Naumann, and historian Friedrich Meinecke worked from February to July 1919 crafting a new constitution which became law on August 11. The drafters of this new constitution faced the difficult task of creating a government acceptable to both the political left and right without being too radical. They compromised to satisfy both groups.The basic format of the governmen...
However, the Weimar Republic faced more immediate problems in early 1920 when a group of right-wing paramilitaries seized power in what became known as the Kapp Putsch. When Ebert sought the promised help of the army in maintaining control, he was told that “the Army does not fire on other Army units.” The military, therefore, made it clear that they were happy to fight the left but would not take arms against the right-wing Freikorps. A highly effective general strike by the left saved Chanc...
Nevertheless, the leaders of the Weimar Republic still faced daunting challenges, mainly of the economic variety, particularly the burden placed upon them by the outgoing leadership of the Kaiser and the generals. This took several forms. The first was the immense cost of the war itself and the damage it had done to Germany's civilian economy. The second was the Versailles Treaty. The Allies charged the Germans with paying staggering reparations for the cost of the war while simultaneously oc...
Not everything about the Weimar period was impoverishment and political turmoil. Germany experienced its own “Roaring Twenties” until they were cut short by the Great Depression. Cities burgeoned with new arrivals from the countryside in search of jobs, setting the stage for a vibrant urban life. Urban centers like Berlin became some of the most socially liberal places in Europe, much to the chagrin of conservative elites. Berlin had a thriving nightlife full of bars and cabarets. There were...
However, the global economic downturn created by the Great Depression in America had devastating repercussions for the Weimar Republic. As the panic hit Wall Street, the US government pressed its former allies, Britain and France, to repay their war debts. Not having the money, Britain and France pressed Germany for more reparations payments, causing an economic depression. The German government faced the classic dilemma: cut government spending in an attempt to balance the budget or increase...
A combination of political and economic dissatisfaction, some of it dating back to the founding of the Republic, helped create the conditions for Hitler's rise to power. By drawing together the fringe nationalist parties into his Nazi Party, Hitler was able to gain a sufficient number of seats in the Reichstag to make him a political player. Eventually, conservatives, hoping to control him and capitalize on his popularity brought him into the government. However, Hitler used the weaknesses wr...
- The Weimar Experiment
- The Collapse of 1929
- The Rise of Nazism
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The Weimar Republic began as a bold experiment in constitutionaland representative government. Its creators sought to create a modern liberal democracy in a nation that had known only militarism and authoritarian monarchy. The first years of the Weimar Republic were unsettled and tumultuous, due to Germany’s post-war international isolation, economic exhaustion and the activities of radical political groups. In the mid-1920s, Germany moved into a more prosperous period dubbed the ‘Golden Age of Weimar‘, marked by economic recovery, social renewal and cultural innovation. Much of this prosperity, however, was propped up by foreign loans, while the Weimar government remained weak and unstable.
The Great Depressionof the early 1930s plunged Germany into widespread unemployment and brought the Weimar dream crashing to earth. By late 1933, Weimar democracy had given way to Nazi totalitarianism. The Weimar Republic is of great significance to historians and history students alike. It demonstrates how democracy can fail when it is too ambitious and when internal forces work against it. Weimar Germany was a society at the crossroads of history. It was torn between several old ideas and values of the 19th century (tradition, militarism and authoritarian government) and those of the modern era (republicanism, liberalism and democracy).
Understanding how and why the Weimar Republic failed is essential for understanding the rise of Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists. In 1920, the Nazis were one of many small groups, filled with disgruntled nationalists and ex-soldiers. Their growth, development and rise to power were shaped by the political and economic conditions in the Weimar Republic. The culture of the Weimar era – such as its art which was innovative, modernist and flourished in spite of Germany’s political and economic instability, is also worthy of study.
The Weimar Republic was the new system of democratic government established in Germany following the collapse of the Second Reich. The first elections for the new Republic were held on the 19 January 1919. They used a voting system called Proportional Representation.
Sep 06, 2020 · Yet no example known to Franklin’s generation could match the Weimar Republic as a warning from history. That is why, within a few years of its collapse in 1933, Americans had adopted Weimar as...
Apr 11, 2019 · When you think of the Weimar Republic, you likely envision a turbulent, divisive period in German history that exposed democracy’s vulnerability to authoritarianism and gave rise to Adolf Hitler’s...
- Meilan Solly