Effects of Depression on Democracy
The depression that hit Germany in 1929 is said to have been the most severe depression in modern world history. It devastated the lives of the German republic as well as caused the German Reichstag of 1930 to crumble. However, there were many other reasons for the demise of democracy. These include, but are not limited too, radical right wing extremists challenging democracy, structural problems within the government and hyperinflation.
The most significant factor that contributed to the downfall of democracy was the economic repercussions caused by the depression. These consequences devastated the lives of the German population. Unemployment rates for the era of 1929-1934 show the rapid deterioration of the economic climate. In September 1929, 1.3 million employable people were unemployed. In September 1930, these figures rose to 3 million and by 1934 unemployment escalated to 7.5 million. Due to the democratic nature of the Reichstag, that is, that left wing views denied a balanced budget, democracy as a form of government grew more and more unpopular.
Consequently, the situation gave way for the Nationalist Socialist party to gain the favourability of the republic. A.J.P. Taylor described the situation best when he stated; "The depression put the wind in Hitler's sails."
The political corollary of the depression was just as acute. These ramifications served as the second most important reason for the demise of democracy. Unresolved issues and old determinations to destroy the republic again surfaced. The avowed determinations of the old anti-republican elites to destroy the already battered democratic beliefs were renewed. This resulted in the recommenced attacks of the right wing extremist supporters who continued to take advantage of the situation, manipulated it to suit their needs, and further diminished the favourability of the democratic republic.
Moreover, the continued unrest due to...