Germany in the years 1919–1933
The Weimar Republic (German: Weimarer Republik [ˈvaɪmaʁɐ ʁepuˈbliːk] (listen)) was the German state from 1918 to 1933 when it functioned as a federal constitutional republic. The state was officially named the German Reich (Deutsches Reich), and was also referred to as the German Republic (Deutsche Republik). The first term refers to the city of Weimar, where the republic's constituent assembly first took place. In English the country was usually simply called "Germany"; the term "Weimar Republic" did not become common in English until the 1930s.
After four years of hostilities in World War I from 1914 to 1918 with heavy losses, Germany was exhausted and sued for peace under desperate circumstances. Awareness of imminent defeat sparked revolution, the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany's surrender, and the proclamation of the Weimar Republic on 9 November 1918.From 1918 to 1923, the Weimar Republic suffered grave problems, such as hyperinflation, political extremism, including political murders and two attempted power seizures by contending paramilitaries, as well as contentious relationships with the victors of the First World War. From 1924 to 1929, a great deal of monetary and political stability were restored, and the Republic enjoyed relative prosperity. Those years are sometimes called the Golden Twenties. But the global economic crisis, as of October 1929, hit Germany exceptionally hard. High unemployment led to the collapse of the coalition government and from March 1930 various chancellors ruled through emergency powers granted by President Paul von Hindenburg. This period ended with Adolf Hitler's appointment as chancellor on 30 January 1933.
Resentment in Germany towards the Treaty of Versailles was strong, especially on the political right where there was great anger towards those who had signed and submitted to the treaty. The Weimar Republic fulfilled most of the requirements of the Treaty of Versailles, although it never completely met its disarmament commitments and eventually paid only a small portion of the war reparations (by twice restructuring its debt through the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan).Under the Locarno Treaties, signed in 1925, Germany moved toward normalising relations with its neighbours. Germany recognised the western borders that had been established through the Versailles Treaty, however its eastern borders remained subject to possible revisions. In 1926, Germany joined the League of Nations.
From 1930 onwards, President Hindenburg used emergency powers to back Chancellors Heinrich Brüning, Franz von Papen and General Kurt von Schleicher. The Great Depression, exacerbated by Brüning's policy of deflation, led to a surge in unemployment. On 30 January 1933, Hindenburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor at the head of a coalition government. Hitler's Nazi Party held two out of ten cabinet seats. Von Papen as Vice-Chancellor was intended to be the "éminence grise" who would keep Hitler under control, using his close personal connection to Hindenburg. These intentions badly underestimated Hitler's political abilities.
By the end of March, the Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Act of 1933 had used the perceived state of emergency to effectively grant the new Chancellor broad power to act outside parliamentary control. Hitler promptly used these powers to thwart constitutional governance and suspend civil liberties, which brought about the swift collapse of democracy at the federal and state level and the creation of a single-party dictatorship under Hitler.
Until the collapse of the Third Reich in 1945, the Nazis governed the German state under the pretense that all of the extraordinary measures and laws they brought into force starting in 1933 were legal under the provisions of the Weimar constitution, and notably did not attempt to formally enact an entirely new constitution to replace the one adopted in 1919. Nevertheless, Hitler's seizure of power (Machtergreifung) had effectively ended the republic.
Read more or edit on Wikipedia
main subject: Weimar Republic25
2009 book edited by Noah Isenberg