‘During this period [the 1920s] the parliamentary and political system in Germany failed to make any real progress. It just coped as best it could. Government carried out its work but with only limited success.’ Geoff Layton, Democracy and Dictatorship in Germany 1919–63, 2015
Evaluate the strengths and limitations of this interpretation, referring to other interpretations that you have studied (20)
Economic problems were serious, including rising prices, unemployment, etc…
· Early challenges to the Weimar Republic
· Reasons for early unpopularity of the republic include, the “stab in the back” theory and the key terms of the treaty of Versailles.
· Challenges to the republic from left and right: Freikorps, Kapp Putsch.
· Challenges of 1923: hyperinflation, occupation of the Ruhr
· The recovery of the republic
· Reasons for economic recovery, including work of Stresemann, Rentenmark, the Dawes & young plan and American loans/investments.
· Impact on domestic policies of Stresemann’s achievements abroad: the Locarno pact and joining the league of nations.
Post world war I in 1919 the Weimar Republic was formed. At the beginning of this period it was thought that the country could accept a new democratic constitution, but the republic faced many challenges early on between 1919 and 1923 such as economic instability, political problems, and foreign policy issues. However, by the end of 1923 political and economic stability were being restored to Germany, and the Weimar did not face any challenges until 1929. Overall, I would say that the republic effectively managed with the problems it was faced during 1919-29.
During the Weimar Republic the political system faced some of the problems ineffectively as the Weimar Republic failed to provide a stable government this was because very few Germans really believed in democracy. The government was constantly unstable because there was no election threshold in the constitution, this resulted in a lot of smaller parties being elected to parliament. During the fourteen years of the Weimar Republic, there were twenty separate coalitions. The government didn’t last very long, the longest government lasted 2 years. This political chaos caused many to lose faith in the new democratic system. Another reason for this was because the voting system (voters voted for a party rather than individual candidates) meant that voters didn’t feel close to politicians. This resulted in dozens of tiny parties, with no party strong enough to get a majority, no government gets its laws passed in the Reichstag. This was a major weakness of the Republic.
The republic was threatened by communist uprisings (Spartacus revolt) in 1918-1919 in both Berlin & Munich. The communists wanted Germany to be run by the working classes, they believed that power and wealth should be shared equally among the population. The communists wanted to: overthrow the central government, establishing soviets (workers’ and...