June 13, 2009


I have made several commentaries about the dangers of following the path of the Weimar Republic. Here's important pieces of the Weimar history from WIKI. I strongly suggest that you read the rest of WIKI's report on your own.

Weimar Republic

The Weimar Republic ( Weimarer Republik (help·info), IPA: [ˈvaɪmarɐ repuˈbliːk]) is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government, named after Weimar, the place where the constitutional assembly took place. Its official name was still Deutsches Reich (German Empire), however. Following World War I, the republic emerged from the German Revolution in November 1918. In 1919, a national assembly convened in the city of Weimar, where a new constitution for the German Reich was written, to be adopted on 11 August. This liberal democracy eventually lapsed in the early 1930, leading to the the ascent of the NSDAP and Adolf Hitler in 1933. Although the 1919 Weimar constitution was never officially repealed, the legal measures taken by the Nazi government in February and March 1933, commonly known as Gleichschaltung ("forcible coordination") meant that the government could legislate contrary to the constitution. The constitution became irrelevant, therefore 1933 is usually seen as the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of Hitler's "Third Reich".
In its 14 years the Weimar Republic was faced with numerous problems, including a disastrous inflation, political extremists and their paramilitaries, and hostility from the victors of the First World War. It overcame many discriminatory regulations of the Treaty of Versailles, reformed the currency, unified tax politics and the railway system. Its constitution was seen as one of the most modern in the world and the Republic represented a period of cultural innovation in Germany. However, the republic is widely seen as an example of a failed democracy.
he reasons for the Weimar Republic's collapse are the subject of continuing debate. It may have been doomed from the beginning since even moderates disliked it and extremists on both the left and right loathed it. Germany had limited democratic traditions and Weimar democracy was widely seen as chaotic. And since Weimar politicians had been blamed for the 'Dolchstosslegende - a then widely believed theory that Germany's surrender in World War I had been the unnecessary act of traitors - the popular legitimacy of the government was on shaky ground.
No single reason can explain the failure of the Weimar Republic. The most commonly asserted causes can be grouped into three categories: economic problems, institutional problems and the roles of specific individuals.
Economic problems
Main article: Great Depression in Central Europe
The Weimar Republic had some of the most serious economic problems ever experienced by any Western democracy in history. Rampant hyperinflation, massive unemployment and a large drop in living standards were primary factors. In 1923–1929 there was a short period of economic recovery, but the Great Depression of the 1930s led to a worldwide recession. Germany was particularly affected because it depended heavily on American loans. In 1926, about 2 million Germans were unemployed - this rose to around 6 million in 1932. Many blamed the Weimar Republic. This was made apparent when political parties on both right and left wanting to disband the Republic altogether made any democratic majority in Parliament impossible.
The Weimar Republic was severely affected by the Great Depression. The economic stagnation led to increased demands on Germany to repay the debts owed to the United States. As the Weimar Republic was very fragile in all of its existence, the depression proved to be devastating, and played a major role in the NSDAP's takeover.
The Treaty of Versailles was considered by most Germans to be a punishing and degrading document because it forced them to surrender resource-rich areas and pay massive amounts of compensation. These punitive reparations caused consternation and resentment, although the actual economic damage resulting from the Treaty of Versailles is difficult to determine. While the official reparations were considerable, Germany ended up paying only a fraction of them. However, the reparations did damage Germany's economy by discouraging market loans, which forced the Weimar government to finance its deficit by printing more money, causing rampant hyperinflation. In addition, the rapid disintegration of Germany in 1919, due to the return of a disillusioned army, the rapid change from possible victory in 1918 to defeat in 1919, and the political chaos may have caused a psychological imprint on Germans that could lead to extreme nationalism, shown by Hitler.
Most historians agree that many industrial leaders identified the Weimar Republic with labour unions and with the Social Democrats, who had established the Versailles concessions of 1918/1919. Although some did see Hitler as a means to abolish the latter, the Republic was already unstable before any industry leaders were supporting Hitler. Even those who supported Hitler's appointment often did not want Nazism in its entirety and considered Hitler a temporary solution in their efforts to abolish the Republic. Industry support alone cannot explain Hitler's enthusiastic support by large segments of the population, including many workers who had turned away from the left.
Institutional problems
It is widely believed that the 1919 constitution had several weaknesses, making the eventual establishment of a dictatorship likely but it is unknown whether a different constitution could have prevented the Third Reich. However, the 1949 West German constitution (the Grundgesetz) is generally viewed as a strong response to these flaws.
The institution of the Reichspräsident was frequently considered as an Ersatzkaiser ("substitute emperor"), an attempt to replace the Kaiser with a similarly strong institution meant to diminish party politics. Article 48 of the constitution gave the President power to "take all necessary steps" if "public order and security are seriously disturbed or endangered". Although this was intended as an emergency clause, it was often used before 1933 to issue decrees without the support of Parliament (see above) and also made Gleichschaltung easier.
During the Weimar Republic, it was accepted that a law did not have to conform to the constitution as long as it had the support of two thirds of parliament, the same majority needed to change the constitution (verfassungsdurchbrechende Gesetze). This was a precedent for the Enabling Act of 1933. The Basic Law of 1949 requires an explicit change of the wording, and it prohibits abolishing the basic rights or the federal structure of the republic.
The use of proportional representation meant any party with a small amount of support could gain entry into the Reichstag. This led to many small parties, some extremist, building political bases within the system. Yet, it has to be noted that the Reichstag of the monarchy was fractioned to a similar degree although being elected by majority vote (under a two-round system). And the republic did not fall due to the small parties, but to the strength of the communists, conservatives and national socialists.
The Reichstag could remove the Reichskanzler from office even if it was unable to agree on a successor. This "Motion of No Confidence" caused since 1932 that a government could not be hold in office when the parliament came together. As a result, the 1949 Grundgesetz stipulates that a chancellor may only be voted down by Parliament if a successor is elected at the same time (see Constructive Vote of No Confidence).
Role of individuals
Some historians prefer to consider individuals and the decisions they made. This brings up the problematic question of what alternatives were available at the time and leads to speculation and hypothesis.
Brüning's economic policy from 1930–1932 has been the subject of much debate. It caused many Germans to identify the Republic with cuts in social spending and extremely liberal economics. Whether there were alternatives to this policy during Great Depression is an open question.
Paul von Hindenburg became Reichspräsident in 1925. He represented the older authoritarian 1871 Empire, and it is hard to label him as a democrat in support of the 1919 Republic, but he was never a Nazi. During his later years (at well over 80 years old), he was also senile. A president with solid democratic beliefs may not have allowed the Reichstag to be circumvented with the use of Article 48 decrees and might have avoided signing the Reichstag Fire Decree. Hindenburg waited one and a half days before he appointed Hitler as Reichskanzler on 30 January 1933, which indicates some hesitance. Some claim Nazism would have lost much public support if Hitler had not been named chancellor.

Do we see any parallels between Weimar and the U.S.A.? Notice the "strength of communists, socialists and conservatives? What happened to Weimar when they tried to monetize the debt and force private businesses to pay while freezing the credit market? Notice how China took a page from our book on how to destroy a country financially. But worst of all, when the Depression hit, notice that there was a short time of slight recovery? I'm glad we're not in a slight recovery right now..uh well it's time for my anxiety medication. This post is my birthday present to all of you. It is my hope that if we see that the car before us slid into the lake, maybe we can hit the brakes soon enough not to drown.
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