To what extent was the Great Depression responsible for the collapse of the Weimar Republic? While the Great Depression had a huge impact on Germany, it is too simplistic to say that the Depression alone led to the collapse of the Weimar Republic. The Depression had a great impact both economically, socially, politically and psychologically, but its main significance was the opportunity it provided radical politicians such as Hitler. The collapse of the Republic itself can almost be described as inevitable, having being built on unstable and weak foundations. As well as the Depression, the collapse of the Republic can be linked to a large number of factors, including the influence of the army, political instability and constitutional weaknesses.
Several attempts from both the left and right sides of government tried to imbue the nationalistic beliefs that were embodied in Germany before they were destroyed by their humiliating defeat in WW1. These include the Spartacist uprising, the Kapp Putsch and the Munich Beer Hall Putsch. The disillusionment felt by the people and their need to restore pride in their nation influenced many factors that led to the failure of the democracy, and to the rise of the Nazi political party and its leader Adolf Hitler. In hindsight, a mixture of political, social and economic issues, combined with nationalistic goals give grounds to the reason that nationalism mainly brought about the fall of the democracy of the Weimar Republic in Germany. By the outbreak of WW1 in August 1914, Germany was well established as a major and prominent world power.
“Assess the view that the collapse of the Weimar Republic was primarily due to the appeal of Hitler and his Nazi party” The Weimar Republic government was riddled with weakness and incompetence in a variety of crucial social, economic and political areas. This caused the influence of the Nazi Party, which through its charismatic and nationalistic leader, Adolf Hitler, it gained a large amount of support. However it was due to the Weimar Republic’s own failings that the Nazi Party became appealing and as a result the Weimar Republic was brought to its inevitable demise in 1933 with Hitler ready to take the reigns. When the Treaty of the Versailles was signed in 1919, the government was making a very unpopular decision amongst the citizens, as it a result lead to the downfall of the Weimar Republic. The Treaty caused humiliation and shock amongst the citizens of the country, much of the political backlash was due to the fact that the Allies were dictating to Germany the harsh terms of the war reparations, which was seen as absurd by many citizens as they did not feel as if they were responsible for starting the war nor did they feel as though they had lost.
This was due to events like the devastating 1923 hyperinflation, and of course the Treaty of Versailles, which had tainted Weimar’s reputation from its inception. The Reichstag was in a constant state of flux as the parties struggled to create and maintain coalition governments, and this added to the public’s negative perception of a democratic republic. The economic slump from 1928-32 was undoubtedly responsible for the NSDAP’s rise in support, as it was the cause of social and political problems within Germany. Even prior to the Wall Street Crash in October 1929 the economy was in trouble – economic growth was uneven throughout the 1920s. Trade was in debt as imports exceeded exports; this was because Germany was
Even though Hindenburg was in Hitler’s way of gaining the Chancellorship, there were many other factors that lead to Hitler becoming Chancellor in January 1933 and not just because he was leader of the most popular Party in Germany. For example, the Weimar Republic was suffering from the political polarisation between nationalist and communist’s parties and the economic crisis caused by the Great Depression. These two issues put pressure on the governing coalition and it was beginning to break up. Furthermore political intrigue and the self interest of political parties, along with the inherent flaws of the Weimar constitution and the weakness of government by coalition, all played into Hitler’s hands. These factors caused the loss of public support for the grand coalition of the Weimar Republic and the German people subsequently looked for a new style of leadership.
This could have acted as a powerbase for the Kapp Putsch and the eventual rise of the Nazis. The humiliation was also a main factor in weakening prospects for democracy for two reasons it led to stab in the back myth and a national inferiority complex. The stab in the back myth was perpetuated by the far right and the leading army generals. The stab in the back myth was that Germany was not losing ww1 and that the democratic politicians “stabbed Germany in the back” by surrendering to the entente. This allowed the far right to exploit the Germans hate of the treaty of Versailles and connect the treaty to democracy, so the people wouldn’t blame the loss of ww1 on the army but the democratic politician’s.
Treaty of Versailles was the peace treaty which officially ended World War I. it was very burdensome on the German economy. Germany was just a devastated by the war as anyone else, but they were very hard pressed to rebuild with the massive reparation payments they were required to make. But the reason why they did soo debt on them is because of Germany made a great destruction on countries, especially on French. I think the reasons for WW2 were: Treaty of Versailles, Hitler’s rise to power and Militarism. Treaty
Although the Treaty of Versailles can be said to have has the most substantial impact on the political and economic stability of Germany, the arguments against its influence suggest that other factors were more important. For example, though the treaty can be said to have caused bad feeling in the country and hyperinflation, there were a number of problems with the constitution that meant that the Government became unpopular, sparking a number of revolts. In opposition to the sentiment expressed in the question, one factor that affected political stability of the Weimar republic was the fact that it was ruled by a coalition Government. Clauses of the constitution meant that elections were held using proportional representation. As a result, a clear majority of one party over the remaining twenty-seven was never a result, and so the country, from the time the Constitution was drawn up, was governed by coalitions.
I feel that the great depression was needed to shape the new Republic. The Great Depression has shaped America in many different ways, both positive and negative ways. America is difficult to imagine without the effects of the depression and the series of chain events it triggered, the Depression was essentially exactly what a new independent country needed. The Great Depression was unexpected, yet inevitable. There are several reasons why America needed the Great Depression to solidify their foundation.
This rise to power is important since the SS played a big role in the events in Germany for the duration of Nazi rule. The Night of the Long Knives, supposedly repressed a planned revolution by the SA, led by Ernst Rohm. Hitler, who had recently found status as a respected politician, was wary of these rumours undermining that status, and felt threatened by the rumours that the SA, were planning a “second