1: The Origins of the Weimar Republic
In November 1918 Germany was defeated in war by the allied powers and the Kaiser (King of Germany) left his throne. He was replaced by a democractic government called the Weimar Republic.
How did the new Weimar Republic work?
Germany from 1919 to 1933 is usually referred to as the Weimar Republic or Weimar Germany.
The new Weimar Constitution gave the vote to all people over the age of 20. A system of Proportional Representation (PR) was used for elections to the Reichstag (parliament).
Elections were to take place every four years and the government would be run by the Chancellor (Prime Minister). He was responsible to the Reichstag.
Germany became a federal system, with power shared between central government and state (regional) governments.
What were the problems with the constitution?
Article 48 of the constitution gave the President emergency powers to rule by decree without the Reichstag and even to suspend the constitution. The President was directly elected every seven years.
Owing to PR, there were many small parties in the Reichstag, so most Weimar governments were short-lived coalitions (this is when parties decide to try to work together). From 1919 to 1923 there were nine coalition governments- they could not seem to agree on how to sort out Germany’s problems.
PR also allowed extreme parties to gain representation. This is how the Nazis eventually managed to get into parliament.
Why did many Germans dislike the Treaty of Versailles?
One of the first things that the new government did was to sign the Treaty of Versailles. Many Germans hated the new government for signing the Treaty of Versailles.
The Treaty of Versailles was very unpopular because Germany had to pay reparations to the Allies. This meant that Germany could not rebuild its own economy after the war. Germany also had to limit their armed forces. This made them feel weak. Germany also lost land. This denied them of...