History Assignment Weimar Essay examples

Submitted By georgiefarrar777
Words: 2892
Pages: 12

Assess the view that the collapse of the Weimar Republic was primarily due to the appeal of Hitler and his Nazi Party.
From its initial inception, the democratic Weimar Republic was doomed to fail. Having begun its regime by signing a severely unpopular peace treaty, the newly instated Weimar Government not only “lacked moral validity”1 but also ensured and vast variety of problems whilst similarly guaranteeing the distrust of its people for the duration of its existence. The Republic encountered a multitude of difficulties whilst trying to govern a country that, not only was immensely inexperienced with democracy, but whose leaders -and other influential figures- from the outset, endeavored to destroy Weimar and the very system that it was based upon. The democratic Government was constantly placed in a state of threat, as a relentless demand for the annihilation of the system, continually warranted a place for extremist groups and parties within German society. Whilst it can be argued that the primary motive behind the collapse of the Republic was the appeal of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party, it must be noted that there is, however, a vast array of additional causes which led to the ultimate demise of democracy in post-war Germany. These include: German society’s resentment towards the Treaty of Versailles, the November Criminals and the subsequent reparations, the nations multiple economic catastrophes, the inability and instability of the Government’s political powers, and lastly, the lack of experience that Germany had with a purely democratic system of parliament.
Created in the aftermath of World War I, the Weimar Government was intended to govern a defeated Germany. The economic situation in Germany deteriorated further following the First World War, as Eric Weitz argues, "the legacy of World War One was the republic’s greatest obstacle. It hobbled developments at every turn and gave the enemies of democracy endless rounds of ammunition".2 Subsequent to the abdication of a defeated Kaiser Wilhelm II, and the consequences that the German nation would face following the 1st World War, it became an apparent fact that the need for a new government was immense. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), being the largest political party of that time, was assigned with the duty to take control of the confused nation, and form a new democratic parliament. In February 1919, a national assembly was convened in Weimar -as there was a current communist revolutionary uprising (the Spartacists) in Berlin- and subsequently, a new constitution for the German Reich was written, which was then later adopted on 11th August of that same year. Although the intended purpose of the constitution was to make the state a liberal parliamentary democracy, there were fundamental political and economic factors, that, when combined, would definitively make Germany a total dictatorship within fifteen years. Numerous factors undermined prevalent support for the new republic, whilst within the constitution itself, lay multiple avenues for the seizure of absolute power.

The appeal of Nazism, and the persuasive man who governed it, played a significant role in the definitive collapse of the Weimar Republic. Adolf Hitler, an extreme nationalist who had fought in WW1, was a powerful and spellbinding speaker as well as an innovative and cunning leader. Following the repercussions of the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler, along with millions of other loyal soldiers had been demilitarized in order to adhere to the strict terms of the treaty (only 100,000 man army was allowed). Filled with bitterness and resentment, Hitler had attended the meeting of the (then) German Worker’s Party, in the hopes to find other like-minded individuals. Not only did he become an eventual member, but instead their persuasive and determined leader. He later changed the name of the party to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, otherwise known as the NSDAP or Nazi’s, as he