The Weimar Republic

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what was it?

  • mid 1919 - An attempt to make the country democratic. 
  • After Kaiser fled to Holland and a new government was agreed 
  • This was Ebert's government
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What caused it?

  • failure of war
  • The Kaiser fleeing so the social democrat party could form a new government
  • The German Revolution
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The terms of the constitution

  • The Reichstag was the dominant house of the new german parliament

They controlled taxation 

members elected every four years and men and women over 20 could vote

  • The number of Reichstag seats which political parties were given depended on the percentage of votes they gained (proportional representation)
  • Chancellor was the head of government

They chose ministers and ran the country

To pass laws they needed majority support of the Reichstag

  • President = head of state. directly elected by public every 7 years

took no part in day-to-day government

chose the chancellor

he could dismiss the Reichstag, call new elections and control the army

Could suspend the constitution and pass laws by decree

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Strengths of the constitution

Germany became more democratic

more people voted

had a system of checks and balances - there were two houses in the parliament and the powerof one was checked by the other 

two key offices (president and chancellor) power was shared so no single person had all of the power

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weaknesses of the constitution

  • Even a party with a small number of votes gained seats in the Reichstag

to get majority support several parties (needed coalitions) had to join together

e.g - like liberals and coservatives did

  • having a stable government was difficult as all of the parties wanted different things
  • whenever compromise was broken down, the chancellor had to ask the president to susped the government.
  • Extremist groups didn't support it
  • German people thought it was too weak
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