UNIT 6 PAPER 5b: HITLER AND THE NAZI STATE: POWER AND CONTROL 1933-1939
1. The Legacy of the Weimar government in explaining initial support for Nazi regime: acceptance of, and support for, Nazi rule among different social, economic and religious groups
▪ Germany became a Parliamentary Republic in November 1918 following the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
▪ The Republic survived a period of crisis 1919-23, enjoyed a fragile recovery 1924-29, but had collapsed by the end of 1932.
The Legacy of the Republic helps to explain the initial support for the Nazis.
▪ The Republic was seen by many Germans as a product of Germany’s defeat in World War One.
▪ Germany’s defeat in war was never accepted by many Germans who believed that their country had been ‘stabbed in the back’ by unpatriotic Liberals, Pacifists and Jews. The new Republic was therefore seen as part of a conspiracy.
▪ The Republic was seen as an alien institution imposed by Germany’s enemies. German diplomats were barred from the peace negotiations at Versailles in 1919.
▪ Many Germans felt that they had no obligation to accept democracy as part of a dictated peace (or ‘Diktat’).
▪ The Republic never achieved lasting political stability. Governments were weak, short-lived coalitions.
▪ There were 20 Governments from 1919 to 1932. This was mainly due to the system of proportional representation which made it difficult for any one party from winning a clear majority in the Reichstag (parliament).
▪ Article 24 allowed the President to dismiss the government whilst Article 48 gave emergency powers to the President. Article 48 also undermined Governments by allowing the President to rule by Decree without reference to the Reichstag.
▪ Weimar Governments were blamed for the economic crises which plagued Germany 1919-1932. Germany suffered hyperinflation in 1923, and high levels of unemployment throughout the 1920s.
▪ An agricultural depression caused...