The Weimar Republic, Germany
The Weimar republic was a term coined in reference to the German state from 1919-1933.This was done to honor the city of Weimar following the country’s defeat in world war I. Weimar republic was founded on democratic ideals with a constitution being drafted in 1919. On August 11,the same year the draft constitution came into force.(Wikipedia.org). The Weimar Republic, as it was known, comprised all the essential elements of a perfect democracy.
The rise of the Weimar republic had a profound aspect in the name of greater democratic space among the people of Germany.This, however was to the chagrin of the left wing and right wing groups that competed for political dominance. The Weimar republic had a couple of other strengths as well. Under chancellor Stresemann German was able to address some of the issues that had bedeviled her since the defeat at the World War I. Following German’s admission of responsibility in the World War I under the Versailles treaty, huge amounts of money were paid by the German people. These payments evidently crippled the German economy.Stressman purposed to introduce a new currency, the Rentenmark.This move stabilized the value of the Germany money. In the following year, the Reichsmark was introduced. Investment in industry and commerce increased significantly following financial help from the United States. (Orlow, 2002).This actually jump started the economy. Germany also took over coalmines that were initially owned by France following the latter’s exit out of the Ruhr. This created a number of job opportunities though it never addressed the massive unemployment problem. A pact with allies in 1925 ushered Germany into the membership of the League of Nations. This move saw a remarkable decline in the political and economic crises that were dogging Germany.
Weaknesses of the Weimar republic
A number of events contributed to the demise of the Weimar republic. Of dire implication was the defeat of the German republic in the World War I. The resulting effect was the signing of a pact of which compelled Germany to pay a whooping 132 billion marks. This was spelt in the Treaty of Versailles. The treaty also imposed a number of sanctions on Germany. These sanctions included the reduction of military forces, giving up of territory and sanctions on industry. The rapid rise in popularity of the Nazi party also served to weaken the Weimar republic. The Nazi party capitalized on the situation by promising to revamp the ailing economy. Although the Weimar republic had made remarkable progress in regard to governance, politics and elections, its weaknesses seemed to threaten its prosperity. (www.helium.com)One of the greatest weaknesses of the Weimar republic was its constitution which came into force in august 1919.The draft document provided for proportional representation in government. This essentially gave way for not only the election of an individual but also a political party. Party membership was open to anyone; hence a party received seats commensurate to the number of votes it garnered. Consequently it was difficult for a single party to achieve a clear majority. With the prevailing civil unrest in the state, Hitler took advantage of this to ascend to power through his Nazi party which promised many goodies to the now desperate population. While Hitler was at the helm of the Weimar republic; he explored the flaws in the constitution. Besides the proportional representation, the constitution’s article 48 gave the president full powers to decree anything without the sanctioning of the Reichstag. The two big flows therefore allowed Hitler to tighten his grip on Germany and even declare him chancellor. The weaknesses of the Weimar constitution coupled with Hitler’s impeccable propaganda tool and intimidation led to the eventual collapse of the state. (www.grammaticus.net)
Many a historians have posed the question; was the Weimar republic bound to fail? The realm in which the Weimar republic was founded was purely democractic.The ideals of an impeccable democracy were taken into account. However, many Germans were disgruntled by the state leadership after the loss at the World War I. Many firmly believed that the leadership was responsible for the signing of the Versailles treaty which heaped the blame of World War I on Germany. This treaty imposed heavy penalties on Germans that its economy was adversely affected. With this kind of turmoil, communist groups that were against democratic governance capitalized on this to win the support of the public. This was the typical strategy used by Hitler and his Nazi party to ascend to power and mark the eventual collapse of the Weimar republic. The ascension of Hitler to power under a party that hitherto, was known to have insignificant support in national politics caught many by surprise. Many have failed to understand how this happened.However, the steady rise in popularity of the Nazi party could be termed as a mixture of planning, luck and distortion of information by the Hitler propaganda machine.
In conlusion, the demise of the Weimar republic is summed up on the following premises. The shaky economy, the weak institutions and the role individuals played in the period preceeding the founding of the Weimar state triggered its demise. In regard to the economy, the hyperinflation as a result of the reparation to its allies only served to shrinktheeconomy and bring about massive unemployment. Institutionally, the flaws in the Weimar constitution led to its failure. In 1925, Paul Von Hindenburg, failed to veto article 48 of the constitution which gave full powers to the chancellor to overrule the Reichstag. (Wikipedia.org)
Origin of the Nazi party
After the loss of World War I by Germany and the subsequent signing of a pact that heaped blame of the war on Germany; Versailles treaty, there was widespread disgruntlement about the leadership at the time. This was in 1919 when the Weimar republic had just been founded. The Nazi party originated from the practices and ideals of Nazism. The term Nazism was coined from the German National Socialist worker party. The Nazi party was founded in the early 1920’s and was against democratic governance. It also pursued racist policies. The Nazi was a fight against what it referred to as the Jewish/communist conspiracy. (Bullock,1961)
This dissent culminated into formation of the German National Socialist worker party in 1920.This party went on to publish its first programme which comprised a twenty five point plan. The most outstanding aspects of this plan were the apparent refusal of the term of the treaty of Versailles. Also in the plan was the call for the unification of the German people. This implied that only people of German decent were to be granted equal rights. The Party also sought to endear itself to the Public by outlining a programme that sought to redistribute wealth equally. The Nazi party vocally advocated for the ethnic nationalism, was against economic and political liberalism and was antiparliamentarianism. It also stood for eugenism, anti-Semitism, anticommunist and overly totalitarian. The Nazi also established its military wing s in the name of the Hitler youth, Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel.All these served as paramilitary organizations of the party. Their establishment marked the development of the Nazi party from strength to strength. These also doubled up as support groups of the Nazi party. Other support groups of the Nazi party included German natives who were referred to as German Nazis.
The Nazi party also enjoyed support from outside German. Many of the Nazi sympathizers outside Germany became adherents during the world war II.In America the Nazi party had some loyalists. They included former military officers. It is interesting though to note that within the Nazi party there was some sort of division in the sense that there were two factions. The two factions differed albeit on a small scale in terms of ideology. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, there were two factions; the one led by Adolf Hitler and the other under the leadership of one Otto Strasser.However this was short lived since in 1930,Strasser was expelled from the party. The policies of the Nazi party largely advocated for violence against its opponents. This went on without the intervention of the right wing Bavarian government. The height of the Nazi influence came when Hitler stormed into a meeting of Bavarian Government officials and publicly declared the start of what he called National Revolution. The fact that Hitler first conquered the Bavarian Government clearly explains his massive support in Bavaria. (www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk). This culminated in an attempted coup of the Berlin Government. This was however suppressed and Hitler was arrested and charged with treason. While in Prison in 1925 he authored a book titled Mein Kampf which served to popularize the Nazi ideology. In this book, he described the new Nazi flag with swastika which had been adapted by the Nazi as its emblem in 1920.With the Weimar constitution; Hitler seized an opportunity to counter any opposition. This he did by pushing the then President to grant the institution of the president absolute power. Soon after this all perceived dissidents were detained in camps.Consequently, under the Nazi, trade unions were outlawed and political parties banned as well. With this done there was no source of challenge for The Nazi party. The Nazi rule intensified its crackdown on Jews by execution in what was known as the holocaust. Millions of Jews, homosexuals and other alien groups in German were killed at the height of the Nazi rule. The mass execution of the Jews was motivated by the belief that the German race was more superior to other races especially the Jews. State authorities also killed other minority groups. These included the disabled persons and slaves. Other groups with different political, religious or ideological stands were also executed. Communists and socialists were not spared either. The Nazi regime came into power when the Jewish population was high in Germany. Nearly half a million physically and mentally disabled persons were killed in the operation.
In conclusion, the phenomenal growth of the Nazi party across Germany could be attributed to a number of factors.Retrospectively, the flawed constitution that allowed the fragmentation of political parties could be said to have handed the Nazi party a head start in politics. The failure of the Weimar state could be termed as a blessing in disguise for the Nazi party, for without its demise the ascension to power of the Nazi party under Hitler would have been much more tricky.Adolf Hitler’s ingenuity and charisma played a great role in his rise to power. Starting as an obscure party in the 1920’s the Nazi party also employed political manipulation and violence to come to power. This was followed by the successful reclaiming of the Rhine- land in 1936, the mass killing of the Jews and the robust growth of Hitler’s Propaganda machine under Joseph Goebbels who was one of Hitler’s confidants. The above text highlights the growth of the Nazi party over the period spanning 1933-1938 with a special emphasis on landmark events unique to the Nazi regime. (Sax & Kuntz, 1992).
The Nazi socialist program was tied on the 25 point plan by the party during its infant stages. Looking at the prevailing condition among civilians in the crippling German economy, the Nazi party sought to draft its 25 point plan ostensibly for the Nazi people to reflect the wishes of the then frustrated population that was ailing in abject poverty. It is worth noting that the infant stages of the Nazi party coincided with the imminent collapse of the Weimar republic. Likewise, the economic plunder that was prevailing over the same period served as a platform for the popularization of the Nazi socialist program.Ironically, the Nazi socialist programme included clause that provided for greater democratic space.However, on rising to power the Nazi party never pursued the democratic ideals it had stood for earlier on. One aspect that ought to be pointed out is the fact that Adolf Hitler himself played no role in the development of the Nationalist socialist programme.The programme was actually developed by Austrian leaders and was only adapted by the Nazi party on its ascension to power. (wikipedia.org).
The subsequent text seeks to extensively evaluate the role of the farmers, women and workers in the Nationalists socialist ideology. It could be argued as well that the socialist ideology has the above three groups as its pillars. To attest to this, point number 17 in the 25 point plan provide for a land reform programme specially tailored to the needs of the people. This involves the availability of land for use by the public. Other aspects of the land reform programme would be the abolition of taxes levied on land and further prevent all the hoarding of land. Such a move was triggered by the agrarian crisis in the late 1920’s.All land that was perceived to be utilized against the will of the national welfare was also to be reclaimed.Specifically; this was targeted towards the huge chunks of land that was run by Jewish land speculation firms.
Looking at the twenty-five point plan that constituted the National Socialists ideology, a substantial number of the plan is skewed towards labor. In a nutshell, the right of the worker was meant to be addressed conclusively. Workers happened to be bearing the brunt of the economic downturn that preceded the demise of the Weimar republic. This was pursued through the nationalization of all associated industries and the abolition of rent slavery. Nationalization of industries would essentially institute profit sharing and halt the appropriation of profits earned out of wars. In further pursuit of the pro labor policies, it advocated for the prosecution of those behind exploitation of labor for the sake of earning higher profits. In addition, communalization of major private enterprises and the extension of the pension system were to be implemented.Likewise; the launch of an all inclusive education system was to be considered. In ensuring that education was accessible to all, the state would undertake a massive overhaul of the existing system to enable all People of German decent receive quality higher education. The 25 point plan also sought to outlaw the illicit practice of child labor in Germany besides discouraging any semblance of capitalism. (wikipedia.org).
The implementation of the National socialist ideology, however did not take place as had been envisioned. First and foremost, the Nazi party absolutely ignored part of the 25 point plan that thrust it into power. This was especially in regard to the clause that advocated for the entrenchment of democratic ideals into the political system. Some aspects of the plan however were implemented at the beginning but were later on reneged on by the Nazi regime.
It is argued that the leader of the Nazi party was against the program that was adapted from Austria. (Orlow, 2002).Orlow further states that to attest to the probability of this having been the case, Hitler never publicly declared support of the program. In fact in his book, Mein Kampf, he referred to the program only as the ‘so called program of the movement’. (Turner, 2000).It later emerged that much of the policies that were mentioned in the Nationalist Socialists ideology were not commensurate with the whims of the Nazi leadership and particularly, Hitler.Basically, Hitler envisioned a social Darwinist approach to the governance of Germany much to the chagrin of the voters of the Nazi party. He made futile attempts to change the whole program and later resorted to banning of any discussion of the program. Perhaps the policies that were successfully implemented were the unification of all Germans in the state. The equality of the German people was also highlighted in the plan. In furtherance of this, it was resolved that the treaty of the Versailles that was signed at the end of the World War I be revoked. The citizenship of the German state was only given to the people of German decent. An implication of this was that no individual of Jewish origin would be granted citizenship in Germany. In addition all foreigners in Germany were to be bound by the legislations seeking to contain foreigners. The German citizen was also granted many privileges in regard to law and administration. Hence all public offices in German were occupied by people of German decent only.
Ideally, workers, farmers and women made the bulk of the German state during the sunset days of the Weimar republic and this same lot aided the Nazi party into power since it had promised to deliver what the previous leadership had failed. Through the numerous promises this lot acted as the loyal group. This in itself ensured a smooth sail to power for the Nazi party
The third Reich was a term in reference to the Nazi state. This was the period between the collapse of the Weimar republic to the ascension of the Nazi to power and eventually the collapse of the Nazi state in 1945.The third Reich rapidly turned to be a regime in which the Germans received no basic rights as a guarantee. Following a move by the German parliament to invoke the rights of the citizens to civil rights and the declaration of a state of emergency the German state was destined for ruins. The chancellor was also granted power to overrule the parliament. The Nazi state invested in quality higher education for its youth as stipulated in its ideology. This underscored the place of the youth in the third Reich. (www.maebrussell.com)
A year after his ascension to power, Hitler named one Bernhard Rust the minister of Science, Education of Popular culture. Rust was entrusted with the control of German science, the public schools, institutions of higher learning and youth organizations. Under Hitler, the Nazi regime had a different vision for education in Germany. His vision was that of a quality education. Education was to impart skills on youth groups with a view of creating a formidable labor force that would later serve in the military. (www.maebrussell.com)
The Nazi state had immense dislike for scholars in the name of professors. Hitler himself asserted that the role of education was not merely churning out scholars but to train youth who would serve the state. Hitler boasted of his education policy that would give its youth a unique upbringing. In pursuit of this, German schools were overhauled as well as the curricula. Teachers who failed to conform to the new status were dealt with firmly. Most trainers wee enrolled in special schools to undergo National socialist training with a special mention of Hitler’s racial policies. To attest to Hitler’s contempt of the Jews; teachers of Jews decent were barred fromteaching.
In addition an oath was administered to all teachers to ensure loyalty to Hitler. Prospective teachers were required to pass a test of political reliability before being employed. With so much going on in terms of ensuring conformity to Nazi doctrines, German education was vastly affected. Racial sciences were taught in schools and colleges at the expense of conventional sciences. The idea behind this was simply the portraying of the German race as a superior race. As a result, renowned scholars who failed to tow the line were dismissed.Get help with your essay from our expert essay writers...
Six yeas later, enrollment in institutions of higher learning drastically reduced. A shortage of young men was recorded across the German state. The Nazi state attributed this to the poor quality of the technical colleges. In Hitler’s words, what was of concern was the enrolment in the Hitler youth movements and not the public schools.
Service to the state through the Hitler youth became compulsory and parents were asked to release their children to membership of such groups or face imprisonment. This was so for kids between ages six to eighteen. Enrollment in the Hitler youth would last till the children clocked fourteen. At eighteen, he passed into the labor service and later into the army.Here; young men underwent training in various aspects including military tactics. In 1938 the number of members of the Hitler youth had grown rapidly to reach seven million youth. By the end of 1938 the Hitler Youth numbered 7,728,259. This number was set to increase as the government issued a decree requiring parents to enroll their children in the movement. Education in the third Reich took another route with the establishment of three levels of schools. These included the Adolf Hitler School which was under the jurisdiction of the Hitler Youth, the Political Institute of Education and the Order castles which fell under the Nazi party administration.
With such an arrangement in place, youth in the Third Reich were trained to fight for the Nazi state to the bitter end. At the end of the training, it was evident that the youth had inculcated the ideals of the Nazi party. The zeal and zest to fight for the ideals of the Nazi party was profoundly present in this youth. The third Reich, in a bid to establish and foster a national community founded the Volksgemeinschaft.This stood for People’s community In Nazi. The idea behind its formation was to kindle a unity in the Nazi state. This was to be done through taking over all dimensions of Nazi culture and social life. Literature and theater were all controlled by the state.
The ideal situation for the Nazi party was to see a homogenous population that is committed to the Nazi state and combat. Besides this, it was meant to be made up of German nationals alone. There was room for private enterprise on condition that the entire community benefited from this enterprise.Consequently, class conflict was prohibited. In a bid to build the ideal people’s community the Nazi states embarked on measures to ensure that only distorted information would go out to the public. This was done by establishing institutions such as the chamber of culture. Entertainment and Communication industries were closely monitored. The ultimate function of the Reich chamber of commerce was to assimilate Nazism in art. In order to take charge of the state for eternity, the Nazi state recognized the importance of inducting the youthful population in the Nazi culture. Through youth groups, fostering of major values core to the Nazi ideology was undertaken.
In conlusion, the Role of the youth in the third Reich was basically that of consolidating the ideology of the Nazi state through several means. These include; the membership in youth groups that guaranteed them a place in the military and through safeguarding the culture and social life of the Nazi party. The arrangement ensured there was an energetic and dynamic youth.
Benjamin Sax and Dieter Kuntz, eds.Inside Hitler’s Germany: A documentary History of life in the Third Reich (Lexington, M.A: DC Heath, 1992)
Bullock, Alan, Hitler: A study in tyranny, revised edition (New York 1961)
Dietrich Orlow, A History of Modern Germany, 1871 to Present, 5th ed. (Prentice Hall, 2002)
Fest, Joachim C., The Face of the Third Reich, (Pantheon Books, New York, 1970).
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