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Write an essay on accounting for the success as well as the failures of democracy in Germany during the period 1918-33?


The democracy that was set up in Germany during 1918/19 marked its outcome of its defeat of 1918 including the revolution. It was not actually the preferable choice of the German people. It was hoped by the people that overthrowing of Kaiser along with adoption democracy would enable the Allies to grant Germany some peace (Zake, 2005). To discuss about the success of the democracy, it may be mentioned the German democracy surely has but with much controversy and doubt. The mid of 1920s may be suitably regarded as the golden years for German democracy. Germany had regained her pre-war living standard. The actual potential of the recovery of the German remains a debating matter, due to the political as well as economic weaknesses that prevailed. It was tough under that democratic system to attain stable democracy. This is attributed to several political parties as well as the urge for forming coalitions. The blame was actually targeted upon the electoral mechanism of proportional presentation that permitted even minor parties to gather few elected members with immediately reflection, in absence of any barrier, the rise or fall of parties (Sandler, 2014). Key issue referred that the parties considered it tough to co-ordinate. This was much affected by the presence of extremist parties upon the right as well as the left. It was actually tough for the majority party to result in coalition along with other middle-class parties, since work-class voters would then mould t the Communist party, that had even a quarter of the left-wing vote always.


There were even several failures of the democracy. The Weimar Republic had to face serious issues from the outset which forced Germans to either retain support from the parliamentary democracy or destroy it completely. Much of right and that of extreme left imparted the democracy’s most vitriolic opponents (Imperial Germany, 1867-1918: politics, culture, and society in an authoritarian state, 1996). In the face of this military alliance, left elements considered the alliance to be great barrier towards its goals. Presented by the Communist Party of Germany, they felt adequate hostility towards the Weimar Republic which sometimes cooperated with the extreme right for destroying the republic. Besides venomous political obstruction, democracy had to bear a weak economy with high inflation rates as well as unemployment rates. Inflation was instigated partially by enough wartime debts and government inevitably contracted and did not raise taxes for financing the war (Fulbrook, 1988). Inflation destroyed several mid-class Germans, who perceived all savings as well as pensions erased off. Unemployment remained the key social issue throughout, thereby making millions of people suffer including their families. The economic set back made them vulnerable as well as susceptible towards the claims of extremist parties in politics. The so called pervasive social as well as political dissatisfaction due to Germans' grievances soon had due consequences (Hoffman and Halperin, 1947).

The Treaty of Versailles in Germany was termed as humiliating as well as incapable of satisfaction. Walking the path of the Versailles treaty, disillusionment along with key democracy resulted in the instance of March 1920, the very first trial by right-wing nationalists for removing the republic, the Kapp Putsch. Here, this particular point all republican forces, the central party as well as the left were quite strong enough for frustrating the coup (Guillebaud and Reich, 1939). A strike played the role in defeating all plotters. During the year 1923 the republic faced the major crisis. In the month of January French as well as Belgian troops captured the intense industrialized Ruhr region due to the German defaults upon payments of reparations. The government even started concept of printing money at great rate and gradually became almost worthless. This marked the failure of 1923 (Ellis, 1995). Most historians would agree that several industrial leaders had identified this German democracy with labor unions as well as with the social democrats. Hence, Germany possessed a real tough democratic system. The president possessed the right as well as the power to call off the cabinet, then dissolve and also veto legislation.



Ellis, T. (1995). Democracy in Germany: A president speaks. Representation, 33(1), pp.3-4.

Fulbrook, M. (1988). Bernstein to Brandt: A Short History of German Social Democracy; A History of German Social Democracy, from 1848 to the Present. German History, 6(3), pp.318-320.

Guillebaud, C. and Reich, N. (1939). Labour Relations in Republican Germany. An Experiment in Industrial Democracy, 1918-1933. The Economic Journal, 49(195), p.519.

Hoffman, R. and Halperin, S. (1947). Germany Tried Democracy: A Political History of the Reich from 1918 to 1933. Political Science Quarterly, 62(1), p.128.

Imperial Germany, 1867-1918: politics, culture, and society in an authoritarian state. (1996). Choice Reviews Online, 33(07), pp.33-4080-33-4080.

Sandler, W. (2014). Weimar Colonialism: Discourses and Legacies of Post-Imperialism in Germany after 1918. German History, 33(1), pp.149-150.

Zake, I. (2005). Latvian nationalist intellectuals and the crisis of democracy in the inter-war period.Nationalities Papers, 33(1), pp.97-117.

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