From 1920 neither the Weimar Coalition nor the parties of the Right
alone could achieve majority in the Reichstag due to the numbers of
the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD) and the KPD, the great
parliamentary problem of the Weimar Republic was the relationship
between the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and The Peoples Party (DVP).
This relationship determined the possibility, at any given time, of
continuing government at all, either through a minority of the
bourgeois parties or through a Coalition. The difficulty was that the
SPD was the party of the workers and the DVP the party of the
employers. The struggle to change the party's character was therefore
a struggle to make it more suitable to collaboration with the SPD, and
a struggle for the survival of the Republic itself.
The whole parliamentary life of the Weimar Republic was fundamentally
different from that of the Empire. It was a constitutional state, in
which political parties played a vital and active role, as distinct
from the shadow-boxing to which they had been condemned by Bismarck's
constitutionalism. One consequence was that the parties reorganised
and strengthened their internal machinery. The lead was taken by the
successor to the two imperial conservative parties, the National
People's Party (DNVP. The DNVP from campaigned militantly for the
restoration of the Hohenzollern monarchy.
The fact that such a party could exist is partially due to the SPD's
unwillingness to destroy the position of the Prussian Junkers during
the provisional government. Even apart from its cautious approach, the
SPD as an urban party had ...
... middle of paper ...
..., and one of
the few statesmen who appealed to young people-Stresemann's
appointment should therefore have raised the question of the viability
of a ''Republic without republicans'' as early as 1923.
Fortunately, Stresemann was a practical man, a ''pragmatic
conservative,'' which accounts not only for the not always entirely
honest discrepancy between theory and practice, but also for his
flowering when given office and his relative success as a statesman
and politician. He needed an immediate practical problem. Without one,
he tended to lose himself in romantic and irrational meandering. This
dichotomy in his nature goes far to explain the contrast between the
nationalist extremist of 1917 and the responsible chancellor and
foreign minister of the 1920s, who even dropped his monarchism when he
found it obsolete.
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