The Decline of the Weimar Republic and the Rise of the Nazi Party
The 1st World War characterized the involved of many countries such as Germany, Austria, France, Bulgaria just to mention but a few. Germany on their side had their share of the cake with the invasion of Russia with the help of other central powers. They had been successful in their endeavors where they even succeeded to smuggle the revolutionary Lenin into czarist Russia in 1916. This was followed by Bolshevik Revolution in October and the acquiring of a territory that encompassed countries such as Finland, Poland Ukraine and other regions in the Caucasus. The territory came about through the signing of the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty.
Germany had engaged in a series of violations that brought much intensity of the war where they invaded Belgium which had been a neutral state. This was done as they aimed at attacking France from the north in order to inhibit their tank fortification along Germany’s western border. The same scenario happened in 1917 when Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare which destructed Lusitania, the American luxury liner (Hong, 17). This move pulled the Americans to join war on the Allied side. In 1918, General Ludendorff gave orders to the invasion of the French and British troops in order to hinder the arrival of the American troops. This saw the German troops moving to the Marne River where almost half a million soldiers were killed before they were pushed back by counter attacks from the Allied troops (Hong, 17).
In the same year, von Hindenburg came to the admission that they Germany had lost the war. It also characterized the fall of Austria. One year later, the period was characterized by socio-political chaos all over Germany which eventually led to the emergence of the Weimar Republic (Hong, 17). This came after elections were held in 1919 with the socialists making the largest party under the tenure of President Friedrich Ebert. He represented Germany on many international incidents which brought humiliation and shame to them (Hong, 17). Germany was excluded from the signing of the Versailles Treaty due to the fact that they were largely blamed for causing the war. They were hence required to pay huge war compensations to the winning parties with the Allied troops occupying many of the areas (Hong, 17).
The political implications of this theory for the newly found Weimar Republic in 1919 were felt in various versions which characterize the rise and fall of the republic and the rise of the Nazi party. The post war in Germany relied on factors such as political and economic forces, internal and external aspects as well as structural and short term policies (Kaes et al, 133). The implications that emerged during the war and the emergence of the Weimar Republic range from the reparation burdens placed on Germany, the responses to the Treaty of Versailles to the effects of conspiracy theories. The Versailles treated was highly opposed in Germany and it became a point of their division in terms of how to respond to it (Kaes et al, 133). The right wing nationalists that included the Nazis wanted the Weimar government to reject acknowledging the treaty, while the moderates and pragmatists on the other hand, wanted the appraisal of the treaty. They believed that by rejecting the treaty foreign powers would probably invade Germany and bring financial constraints to their economy (Kaes et al, 133).
The reparations imposed on Germany after the war hindered the recovery of Germany economically and hence destabilized their political mandate. The effects were felt for several years after the war where Germany was even unable to pay the reparations in quarterly installments (Salter, 76). This brought about the occupation of Ruhr and Allied powers in Germany. Similarly, there was the nature of the Weimar constitution that gave the president executive powers to override the elected Reich stag. It also gave the president seven years in power with heavy emergency powers (Salter, 76). These activities required the use of powers and the disapproval of the Reichstag brought about political divisions. The electoral system in Weimar republic allocated Reichstag more representation depending on the votes received from each party. The proportional voting strategy was intrinsically democratic and eliminated prospects of majority government. This was accompanied by the establishment of smaller parties which hindered coalitions from being formed or maintained (Salter, 76).
The military organizations, nationalism and authoritative political values were still maintained in Germany even after the end of the World War I. This was accompanied by the hostility in the democratic and parliamentarian government where several political parties did not favor the political system in Weimar (Salter, 76).
Hong, Young-Sun. Welfare, Modernity, and the Weimar State, 1919-1933. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998. Print.
Kaes, Anton, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg. The Weimar Republic Sourcebook. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. Print.
Salter, Michael. Carl Schmitt: Law as Politics, Ideology and Strategic Myth. London: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2012. Print.