Strengths and Weaknesses of the Weimar Constitution

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  • Strengths and Weaknesses of the Weimar Constitution
    • The democratic nature of the Constitution
      • A secret ballot was used to elect the Reichstag
      • The Reichstag was elected by the German public
      • The Reichstag had the power to block laws put forward by the Kaiser or Bundesrat
      • Universal male suffrage over the age of 25
      • The Reichstag had the power to alter the army budget
    • The increasing role of the Reichstag and 'pressure from below'
      • The SPD was growing in influence in the Reichstag - by 1910 there were 720,000 members
      • The Reichstag passed a vote of no confidence against Bethmann in the Zabern Affair - shows they are using their powers
      • The Reichstag voted against Bulow's budget in 1905 - demonstrates their use of constitutionalpowers
      • Coalitions in the Reichstag are made by the Chancellor in order to pass laws
    • Weaknesses in the 1871 Constitution and Constitutional powers
      • The Kaiser had the power to dissolve the Reichstag in order to eliminate opposition - 1905 budget
      • The Reichstag only had the power to debate and block legislation, it could not introduce its own
      • The Kaiser could break any democracy in the system:
        • Able to dismiss the Reichstag
        • Ignored vote of no confidence - Zabern Affair
        • The Kaiser could dismiss Chancellors - Caprivi, Bulow
    • Evidence of 'autocracy' = Kaiser Wilhelm's 'personal rule'
      • The Kaiser surrounded himself with his supporters
      • The Kaiser was able to dismiss Chancellors to ensure he got his own way
      • The Kaiser's personality mean he abused his powers to keep himself in control of politics
      • The Kaiser valued the influence of the military and allowed them to abuse their power - Zabern Affair


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