- It was a provisional government formed due to the abdication of the Kaiser. - Success can be seen through the establishment of the bill of rights and the stresemann era, where the country experienced prosperity and people were entitled to rights and freedom - As part of the democracy system, Germans were allowed to vote and elect members of the Reichstag and the president. - The republic and the foreign concept of democracy faced many significant obstacles at the time. - Democracy in 1919 - 1923 Germany under the Weimar Republic experienced a true democracy The golden years Economic: -Stresemann became chancellor in Auguest 1923. -Stresemann altered the policies with the introduction of Dawes plan and the young plan.
3) Account for the successes and failures of democracy in Germany in the period 1918/1933 The Weimer Republic was doomed to failure from the outset. The quote from historian and journalist Sefton Delmar “Germany democracy was born with a hole in its heart”, has immense accuracy when post-war Germany is evaluated. The creation of a completely new and foreign form of government aggravated Germany’s post war position. Struggling with political, economic and social strife by the end of WWI, did not allow for a powerful government to be formed. The crucial weakness of the Weimer republic lay not in the strength of its enemies but in the striking absence of its friends.
As well, the only way that the Wilson plan would have survived the political intrigue of the Europeans was either through a league that had real teeth, or a super power willing to intervene as a worldwide police officer. Neither of which existed in 1918. Clemenceau’s views represented the average sentiment of the European Allies after the war. In the closing days of the war, a war weary European population must have tried to make sense of the carnage, of the loss. Clemenceau casts a pale light on the German population, blaming the war on the aims of “the intolerable German Aristocracy.” (Clemenceau, p. 73) The entire argument for the French and nay, European view, was the perceived threat that Europeans felt of German arrogance.
The Germans, who continued making territorial gains (marked 2), eventually began aiding the pro-Tsarist White Russian forces, attempting to stem the very revolt they had helped to foster. However the damage to the Russian infrastructure was too great, and the "White" Russians were eventually forced from power by the "Red" Communists. The treaty of Brest-Litovsk was finally concluded with the new Bolshevik government on March 3, 1918, stripping their country of all provinces west of the Ukraine. That treaty was annulled by the Armistice of November 11, and the new government in Moscow eventually re-established its presence in all of the previously held lands. Ironically, one of the lasting actions by the Bolsheviks was the attempted indoctrination of German prisoners-of-war.
POLITICAL Successes: Creating a democracy out of the ashes of defeat and the threat of Revolution in 1918/19 Creating a modern democratic constitution with explicit freedoms, PR, female suffrage and an elected Presidency. Eyck called it “an experiment in liberal, parliamentary democracy” Surviving the revolutionary period of 1918-19 and the hyperinflation crisis of 1923. Creating the stability and foreign policy successes of the ‘Golden Years’ (1924-1929) Henig - remember how fractured German society was – social class, region, age Failures: The ‘Ersatz Kaiser’ - Article 48 gave the President emergency powers. This was used extensively by Hindenburg after 1930. PR allowed small parties like the NSDAP in the 1920s, to thrive.
What is the Weimar constitution? By the terms of the Treaty of Versailles 1919, the German and Austro-Hungarian monarchies were abolished. Even before then, the Kaiser had abdicated in the face of a socialist revolution in Germany. Under the leadership (some say control) of the Allies, a National Convention met in the city of Weimar from late 1918 to the middle of 1919. A new constitution was framed for a federal republic [the Deutsches Reich - the German State] with a president, an elected parliament called the Reichstag, a number of districts called Länder each of which had a voice in the framing of laws and other aspects of legislation through a number of regional assemblies called the Reichstag.
At the time, the formation of political parties was illegal but despite this, they still existed. Every sector of society was represented through one of these illegal parties to act as opposition to the Tsarist autocracy. A number of parties set up used violence and terrorist activities to express their views. The Social Revolutionaries and the Social Democrats were set up to create a new society which gave power to the workers and peasants. The Social Revolutionaries were responsible for over 2000 assassinations from 1901-1905 including the Tsars uncle, Grand Duke Sergei in February 1905.
He wanted a new constitution, the army to be well maintained, religion to be subordinated against the united Germany, Prussia to be economically strengthened and to curb the growth of socialism. Bismarck's aim for the constitution was that he wanted to bring a federal system in to Germany. Prussia now dominated the new Germany called the Second Reich, which covered two thirds of the land area and contained the same proportion of the population and has practically all the industry. The new constitution drawn up by Bismarck would included each of the twenty-five states. Each state would have considerable control over their own affairs and decided their own form of government.
What were the features of the Weimar Constitution? On the 31st of July 1919, after much debate, the Weimar Constitution was adopted. The first major change was the head of the state. Previously, in the old constitution, the Kaiser inherited his position, but now in the new Weimar constitution, the president was elected into his/her position, and could be re elected, by both men and women over the age of 20. The president was still a very powerful figure; he could block new laws by calling a referendum and could rule without the Reichstag in times of emergency (Article 48).
The Nazi party now forced to think tactically and with the burning of the Reichstag building through a communist Hitler was able to blame the extremist party for the beginning of a revolution and with President Hindenburg's approval he arrested the ‘enemies of the state’. With this fortunate accident, the ‘missing’ SPD party and the agreement with Zentrum Hitler was able to get his two thirds majority to pass the Enabling Act which entitled him to pass laws without parliamentary approval. Although on the surface Hitler seemed to have a lot of control, this was not complete, due to the fact that President Hindenburg could over rule him and perhaps even terminate him as chancellor. This power, however, led to multiple sudden adjustments to Germany, after becoming a one party state by July 1933, through making the SPD party and all other competitors illegal, he continued to set loose on Germany’s very powerful and threatening trade unions. Trade unions posed a strong threat to the NSDAP due to their power in Germany, considering their support for the SPD and even KPD.