“the Weimar Republic Was Fatally Flawed from the Beginning and Was Lucky to Survive Her Infancy Years 1919 – 1923” How Far Do You Agree with This Statement? Essay
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“The Weimar Republic was fatally flawed from the beginning and was lucky to survive her infancy years 1919 – 1923” How far do you agree with this statement?
The defeat of imperial Germany in the First World War is what many believe to be the cause for the Weimar Constitution in 1919. Ratified by President Friedrich Ebert on August 11th, the new constitution was Germany’s step towards democracy. This new form of government played a role in what is known as Germany’s ‘Golden Years’ of 1924-1929. However, with widespread political unrest and a crippling economic crisis, was the constitution simply lucky to have survived her infancy years?
It is widely believed that the foundations of the Weimar Republic were perilous to the strength of the new government. When the armistice was signed in 1918, the Germany people were shocked and disgraced as they had been led to believe by propaganda that they were winning the war. Ebert had become a hated and disrespected political figure. Not only did the people of Germany feel betrayed by a man of their own country but consequently, had no faith in the new democratic system. The ‘November Criminals’ including Matthias Erzberger, Phillipp Scheidemann and Friedrich Ebert were regarded as unnationalistic. The reaction of the German people was further intensified by the signing of the Versailles Treaty in June 1919. Historian Richard Hunt argues that ‘it was the shame of weakness that seized Germany’s national psychology and served as a solvent of the Weimar democracy’. Whether compliant with this view or not, the fact was that the German population was not backing the leaders of this new constitution, which was damaging to its effectiveness. In my view, this is not specifically a reflection on the constitution itself but of the time and circumstance of the nation.
Without a doubt, the characteristics of the Weimar democracy were