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Success and failures of democracy in 1918- 1933
Transcript of Success and failures of democracy in 1918- 1933
(1918 - 1933) By Angel KO Introduction •Can be considered as both successful and unsuccessful
•The democracy system was chaotic when it first emerged, but it became relatively stable until it collapsed during the great depression in 1929 and was taken over by Nazism.
•Democracy refers to a form of government that is controlled by people.
•The success of democracy can be seen through the establishment of the bills of rights and mainly through the Stresemann era
•The failures can be seen through the flaws in the constitution, political parties, economic failures the lack of support towards the republic. The Weimar Republic •The term is used to describe the German democratic system in 1919 - 1933.
• It was a provisional government formed due to the abdication of the Kaiser.
•The new parliament met in February 1919 and drew up a constitution that established Germany as a democracy.
•It was a constitution that would preserve German democracy, liberties and rights of the people.
•The republic consisted of the upper house (Reichsrat) and the lower house (Reichstag) Weimar Republic and democracy •Under the Weimar constitution, all Germans were to be equal before the law.
•Under the bill of rights, Germans were entitled to freedom of speech, assembly, association and religion.
•As part of the democracy system, Germans were allowed to vote and elect members of the Reichstag and the president.
•Then the president then holds the power to appoint and dismiss a chancellor.
•Under the constitution, Germany was to have an elected president every 7 years.
•Article 48 enhanced the power of the president, by providing the right to intervene using arm forces to maintain stability of the country and the power to abandon the constitution in emergencies. Democracy in 1919 - 1923 Germany under the Weimar Republic experienced a true democracy.
The republic and the foreign concept of democracy faced many significant obstacles at the time.
This can be caused by the abdication of the Kaiser, which led to the belief that the democratic republic was only a temporary replacement until a great leader stepped in.
And the fact that the republic was given the name "November Criminals" for signing the treaty of Versailles.
The government had to deal with difficult problems e.g
Ruhur crisis, hyperinflation in 1923, political instability and had to manage the constant political attacks from both extreme left and right parties.
The idea of democracy was highly unpopular during this time. Democracy in 1924- 1929 The golden years Economic:
Stresemann became chancellor in Auguest 1923.
Stresemann altered the policies with the introduction of Dawes plan and the young plan.
Germany was able to meet its reparation payments and the French left the area of Ruhr in 1924.
The dollar was relatively stable, by 1928 Germany's industrial production was better than pre-war conditions.
Stresemann abandoned the passive resistance policy and the old currency "Mark" and replaced it with a temporary Rentenmark in October 1923. Democracy in 1924- 1929 The golden years Political
The republic achieved stability as people altered their opposing view towards the republic and the concept of democracy.
Stresemann formed the "Great Coalition" of moderate pro-democracy parties, including the SPD,the centre party, German worker's party and the DVP.
The Great Coalition had an overall majority and was able to pass laws.
Political stability was maintained as extreme parties lacked support
People were able to express their ideas freely, including the ability to criticise politians
The republic either held steady votes or had increased their representations in elections. The collapse of Weimar Germany & Democracy The Great Depression in October 1929 was an incentive for the lying problems of the republic to emerge due to a weak foundation
Extremist including Hitler used this opportunity to exploit the situation of the government to seize power.
The republic use a deflationary method as a solution to the economic crisis.
Since deflationary method was a highly unpopular measure, the government used article 48 to pass this policy.
The government's inability to provide a solution to the problem caused severe social hardship in the society and people began looking for parties that provided radical solutions.
The ineffective economic policy caused the SPD to withdraw from the coalition government.
" Incalculable human anxiety and embitterment" Bullock Was the democratic system successful in Germany during 1918- 1933? 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.
However, the democratic system was mainly considered as a failure, as democracy only lasted for 15 years in Weimar Germany. Why did democracy fail? Flaws in the Constitution Proportional representation Votes were casted for the party instead of the member, allowing small parties to gain a place in the parliament.
This became a problem as government continuously calling for new elections to settle disputes between coalition parties.
The fact that all 21 Weimar government was a coalition government contributed to political instability
Historians including Carl Heidrich argued that "It [Coalition government] was difficult to create and maintain coalitions." Article 48 This policy allowed the president in emergency situations to rule by decree
it allowed enemies of democracy like Hitler to seize power legally and destroyed the system as it didn't state the type of emergency.
It was used over 130 times during 1919-1924
Eberhard Kolb believed that "Article 48 is often pointed as being one of the chief reasons for the collapse of the republic." Why did Democracy Fail Lack Of Democratic Tradition Germany didn't experience in a liberal democratic revolution and didn't fight for liberty, equality and rights.
As a result, these concepts were foreign to Germans
On the other hand, Germany had a history of strong rulers and German liberalism was strongly influenced by nationalism.
As the republic suffered from political disorder and economic crisis, Germans became to oppose the idea of democracy. Physical disillusionment The republic was established at a time where it faced numerous complex problems, therefore it had a negative effect on Germans as they contrasted the stability and the progress of pre-war Germany with Weimar Germany.
The republic was hated for signing the treaty of Versailles.
In 1919, the majority view was the army had not been defeated, but got "stabbed in the back" by the democrats. Why Did Democracy Fail? The government's inability to settle political violence and long-term economy stability caused a lack of faith in the party system.
The government was unable to persuade Germans to reconcile with the democratic system when there was an increase in nationalism in Germany. Failure of the party system Lack of experience Lack of experience to operate a democratic system and parties failed to compromise causing disagreements & outbreaks of violence. Historiography 1. Was the republic and German democracy doomed from the start?
2. Did the democracy have a chance but collapsed in the face of continued challenges, including the depression and the Nazi movement? Determinist view VS An alternative view Determinist View Suggests that the Weimar republic suffered from structural weaknesses when it emerged, the failure of Germany democracy was unavoidable.
Karl Bracher (German dictatorship) & Eberhard (The Weimar republic) believed that the republic overcame early problems, but didn't solve fundamental problems.
Therefore, the republic was unable to survive the depression and Nazism.
Other historians including Richard Bessel and Ian Kershaw also came to the same conclusion that the republic was "doomed from the start."
Karl Bracher believed the failure of democracy is caused by
SPD's inability to establish a stable democracy and failed to persuade the army and upper class politicians from pre-war Germany to accept the new system.
Lack of democratic traditions in Germany.
An Alternative View Historians that believe in an alternative view Accept the structural weaknesses but do not believe that the republic was doomed from the start.
Knut Borchardt argued that Germany wasn't able to deal with the depression was due to the serious economic problems in the country. (High level of foreign debt, high wage levels, strong influence of the trade union, inability in increase export volumes & fail to adopt effective economic policies.)
Borchardt believed that as the depression took place, there was no hope for the survival of democracy.
Carl Holtfrerich believed the cause of the downfall of democracy is the lack of strong political leadership.
There was no lack of option, just "a lack of determination." Nazi electoral success and the state of the economy 1924-32 My opinion Source from: Mastering Modern war history by Norman Lowe P.305 Bibliography: Websites
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