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The Main Threat to the Stability of the Weimar Republic from 1919 – 1923 Came from the Political Violence of the Extreme Right” How Far Do You Agree?

  • Date Submitted: 12/13/2011 02:16 AM
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“The main threat to the stability of the Weimar Republic from 1919 – 1923 came from the political violence of the extreme right” How far do you agree?

Many have argued that the political violence of the extreme right was the main threat to the stability of the Weimar. However, despite elements of this argument being true; one could suggest that there are other factors that contributed to the end of the Republic, such as the constitution.

The written constitution of the Weimar Republic came under much scrutiny during the fourteen crisis ridden years of its existence. Some historians have gone as far as to argue that the real causes of the collapse and the success of the Nazis can be based upon its creation. The main problem with the new government was the introduction of proportional representation. This became the focus of criticism after 1945 because it was argued that it had encouraged the creation of new, smaller parties (such as the Nazi Party). This made it far more difficult to form and maintain governments, as in Weimar Germany it was virtually impossible to for one party to form a majority, and coalitions between four or even five parties were often needed. This tended to fade as too many parties, such as the SPD, had conflicting ideas and ideologies. Legislation could not be passed easily and this contributed to the instability of the Weimar Republic, which stood miles behind what is considered even today as “The Mother of All Parliaments” of Great Britain.

Another factor of the Weimar’s destruction within the constitution was the continuity of traditional institutions; and despite breakthroughs in human rights and democracy, old values of Imperial Germany were not reformed. Such problems existed within legal institutions and the German Army. The Judiciary seemed to enjoy its independence under the Weimar, but the hearts of many did not lie with the new government and favoured the extreme right. Significantly, the Army also sought to keep its...

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