Weimar Republic and the Nazis

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Strengths and Weaknesses of Weimar 

  • Kaiser fled after Germany lost the war
  • democratic government was declared in Feb 1919 in Weimar
  • in Berlin there had just been a revolt by the Spartacists (communists)
  • Weimar Republic was an attempt to make a perfect democratic country
  • Weimar had 2 weaknesses: proportional representation and article 48
  • it had features which made sure it was perfect:
    • bill of rights- freedom of speech, religion and equality
    • voting- men and women over 20 allowed to vote
    • elected president and elected Reichstag 
    • Reichstag made the laws
  • weaknesses:
    • proportional representation: party elected instead of MP, each party given certain amount of seats in Reichstag depending on how many votes they got. resulted in tiny parties who weren't strong enough to get a majority which meant no government to get its laws passed in Reichstag 
    • article 48: in an emergency, president did not have to get agreement from Reichstag. emergency wasn't made clear and Hitler used it take power legally

Key problems 

  • faced violent uprisings and economic problems
  • Germany was starving and Kaiser had fled
  • hated for signing the Armistice in Nov 1918- called November criminals
  • continuous violence and unrest:
    • Kapp Putsch - aimed to set up new Governments because rebels were angry as they signed the Treaty of Versailles
    • Nationalist terror groups assassinated 356 government politicians
    • many Germans were communist - wanted Russian style communist government
    • many communist uprisings 
  • main crisis occurred because Germany failed to pay reparations on time 
  • this resulted in:
    • French invasion of the Ruhr
    • general strike
    • hyperinflation
    • communist rebellions
    • Munich Putsch



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