Problems Faced By The Weimer Republic.

Essay by gemzz90A, March 2004

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In order to answer this question we must first establish whether in fact the problems that Weimar faced were insurmountable and how much of a threat they posed to the survival of the republic. The years of 1918 to 1923 are deemed by many historians as the "crisis years" as they were a period of much unrest and discontentment, to add to this there were social, economic and political breakdowns and much opposition from several quarters.

Before the arise of any additional problems there was already instability in the government, with the abandonment of the Kaiserreich, three parties made up the broadly based Weimar Coalition. Although democratic, the coalition operated on a system of proportional representation - in other words if party A, for example, gets 10% of the votes then they would get 10% of seats in the Reichstag. The introduction of proportional representation became a controversial issue and was the subject of much criticism at the time.

By having several parties running the country, all with different aims and ideas, it was difficult to agree on policies. It can also be argued that this system may have assisted in the rise of Nazism and Communism.

There was also tension in the government due to the ambiguous relationship between the President and the Reichstag. The president acted as a counter-balance to the Reichstag as a result of fears of parliamentary absolutism, he could dismiss and dissolve the Reichstag and had the right to interfere with legislations. This ambiguity meant that there was uncertainty from the start as to whether ultimate authority was with a representative assembly or the elected head of state. Due to the continuity of traditional social and economic institutions and the introduction of progressive civil liberties, the daily life of the republic was greatly influenced by...