To what extent did weaknesses in the Weimar republic account for the growth and rise of the Nazi Party to 1933 (HSC2009).
The weaknesses in the Weimar Republic caused to the full extent of the growth and rise of the Nazi Party from 1914-1993.These were caused by the signing of the “unfair” Treaty of Versailles, The German Constitution, political attacks from both the extreme left and right, economic instability and the lack of support from key social groupings such as the elite Junkers within the Republic. All these factors lead to an unknown party to become a paramount force in German politics.
The Treaty of Versailles (TOV) became the first major weakness in the fragile republic which in the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. These concessions stated such as the loss of territory in the west and East such as Poland which split Prussia in half to create Polish Corridor as well as the loss of territory to Czechoslovakia in addition to a reduction army size and huge reparations. However, out of the 440 articles in the TOV article 231 which Germany accepted full responsibility for the war. This was heavily used by Hitler and the Nazi Party to create an election promise to unite all of the Germanic people once again which heavily influenced the citizens election vote since there were a vast amount of German citizens were residing in Czechoslovakia and Poland. In addition to the resentment of Article 231t that provoked outrage by the German people which therefore, caused the growth and rise of the Nazi Party.
The major attack by the extreme left showed that political instability was still lingering in the background. The first example of this can be seen during the Spartacist Uprising of 1918 led by Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liekmeclt which tried to create a new government in Germany. However, it was crushed by Friekorps groups. This event shows that many groups within the political system were not supporters of the Republic and would not be the last uprising or putsch .These radical extremists from the left was manipulated by the Nazi Party in conjunction with the fear of communism was used to gradually gain support when the political situation was unstable and eventually led to the rise of the Nazi Party.
The Army is another group that was anti-Republic which be seen through the Kapp Putsch. It was the major threat to the public when the freikorps marched into Berlin and declared a new government. When Ebert pleaded to von Secckt he replied” Riechsweher do not fire against Riechsweher”. The Kapp Putsch showed that the army were not in support of the government since the army is commanded by the head of government but not in this case which is described as a “state within a state” and they cannot be relied upon to quell international rebellion and left the government isolated .The Nazi Party knew in order to gain power they would need to gain the support of the Army which it did since they were concerned about communist indoctrination they used this point is to gain support to provoke the growth and rise of the Nazi Party.
Economic problems were common during the Weimar period were common having survived the hyperinflation of 1923 and the Economic depression of 1929. However, the patience of the people was wearing them during the elections of 1930 the Nazi Party won 18.3 % of seats in the Reichstag and within two years they became the biggest party in the Reichstag. The Economic stability and the correlation between the numbers of seats won by the Nazi Party showed that in order to grow the Nazi party targeted the insecurities of the citizens in order to gain seats in the Reichstag. Rising unemployment also caused a huge shift in politics to the extremes due to the lack of faith of governing by the moderate parties which contributed to the rise of the Nazi Party because most of their propaganda was based of the faulures of the moderates.
Hindenburg and the use of Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution completely undermined the fabric of democracy. Hindenburg himself, a Junker didn’t not support the republic who towards the end of the republic issued 9 emergency decrees to pass legislation through the system without consulting the Reichstag. Hindenburg would be very influential person to the rise of the Nazi Party which without his dislike for the Republic and an unworkable government would contribute one of the greatest mistakes in political history.
Von Papen ambition manipulated the political weakness within Weimar Germany that lead to the rise and growth of the Nazi Party. He wanted at any cost to remove von Schleicher from chancellorship and conspired with Hitter to persuade Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as chancellor. Von Papen used his connection to Hindenburg’s inner circle to exploit the weakness of the political instability of numerous and unworkable governments within such a small period of time and his ambition eventually lead to the rise and growth of the Nazi Party.
In Conclusion, weaknesses in the Weimar Germany played a great extent in the growth and rise of the Nazi Party from a small, minority party to one of the largest parties in the Reichstag. These were due to a series of causes such as the economic crisis, political instability and the reminiscence of Germany “glory days”, Treaty of Versailles and the ambition of the Von Papan that ultimately resulted in Nazi Party coming into power.