Structural Problem of the Weimar Republic

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On January 1933 Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Weimar Republic in Germany, six months later he consolidated power and became dictator. What follows is an account of the steps Hitler took to consolidate power. On February 27th 1933 The Reichstag, the parliamentary building in Germany is burned to the ground by arsons. A Dutch Communist by the name of van der Lubbe is caught in the act. In addition to this two other suspects with Communist ties are also placed under suspicion. Lastly, one of the arsonists that was arrested admitted to having ties to the Social Democratic Party. “This confession clearly establishes that the Communists and Social Democrats quite obviously built a united front. ” In response to this Hitler and the German parliament took drastic action, by passing what is known as the Reichstag Fire Decree, which among other things suspended civil liberties. This Decree was used to raid the offices of Communist party leaders and to arrest much of the party, which effectively eliminated them as a political force. Next in the March, 1933 elections the Nazi party took 43 percent of the popular vote. This was a 10 percent increase from the November elections. This large increase in Nazi support was due to the fact that support for the Communist party dropped rapidly, because of the claims of the Reichstag fire. With this increase in Nazi support the Nazi part was able to pass the Enabling Act. The enabling act was an amendment to the Weimar Constitution, which allowed the German Cabinet to pass laws directly without the approval of the Reichstag. This allowed Hitler, as head of the Cabinet without any legislative approval. The voting for the Act took place without the Communists, because of the Reichstag Fire De... ... middle of paper ... on why Hitler would make a bad Chancellor. Schleicher becomes Chancellor. However there are many objections and fearing a state of civil war Hindenburg dismisses Schleicher and tells Hitler that if he finds a majority he can become Chancellor. Hitler goes to the Center party and they throw their support to the Nazi’s and Hitler becomes Chancellor. In a few years Hindenburg dies and Hitler seizes power. It can be argued the Weimar was doomed from the start, however there was a period of peace from 1923-1929, showing that this government was successful. Rather it should be argued that the Weimar failed due to a mix of bad luck i.e. the Depression and an abuse of the emergency powers by people like Brüning and Schleicher. If the depression did not occur it can be argued that we might still have the Weimar Republic and that there would have been no World War II.
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