The Collapse of Democracy (Political Parties (Weimar republic was becoming…
The Collapse of Democracy
Weimar republic was becoming increasingly polarised, and many extremist parties saw the changing culture as a danger. SDP and DVP had the most support between 1924-28. Nazi party dropped from 32 to 12 seats and the DNVP dropped from 95 to 73
Were in many coalitions with the DVP
Had many internal party divides so gained few votes.
Appealed to academic and professional groups
Committed to success of democracy
Largest communist party outside of Russia.
Lots of support in industrial areas
Significant presence in the Reichstag
Entered a period of decline after the Munich Putsch failure
Whilst in prison, Hitler thought about new tactic for the party
Hitler was released early and went about rebuilding the party (he couldn't speak in public until 1927)
Nazis did badly at the 1928 elections and lost 100,000 votes
By October 1929 membership grew again and the party secured their first town council
Remained the largest single party
Had taken a leading role in the 1918 revolution and the establishment of the Republic
Great interest in the success of a democratic government
SDP were in only one coalition cabinet, probably due to their inflexibility. They were comfortable in opposition
Close links with trade unions and appealed to industrial workers but no support from farmers
Established to defend the Roman Catholic empire
Appeal crossed class and occupation boundaries
Supported by industrialists, workers, farmers and landlords
Participated in all coalition governments
Support from academics and industrialists
Following the death of Stressmann, the party became more of a pressure group
Conservative; hated the Weimar republic and refused to take part in Parliament
Later on, they agreed to take part in a few coalitions
By 1928 they were much less popular, after appointing a far right leader.
Wanted to restore the monarchy
In 1925, President Ebert died and new elections were held
Karl Jarres (DVP + DNVP) / Otto Braun (SDP) / Erich / Ludendorff (Nazi) / Wilhelm Marx (Centre) / Ernst Thalmann
Jarres wins most votes - no outright winner
Jarres withdraws in favour of Hindenburg. SDP thought Marx had a better chance against Hindenburg thn Braun, so he withdrew and advised voters to vote for Marx.
Hindenburg won with 48.3% of the vote, against Marx's 45.3% and Thalmann's 6.4%
PROS AND CONS
Hindenburg had experience in the military = good leadership skills; knowledge of politics due to previous experience; respected by the people
supporter of the monarchy, not as devoted to the new system; excluded the SDP from forming governments.
Dramatic social change and developments
Represent works and lower class
Uprisings from below
Society would eventually become classless
Ideology: workers to be represented; no class difference; hatred towards military figures
National Socialism (NSDAP)
Maintaining society as it was
One person to lead the party (Fuhrer)
Emblem = Swastika
Ideology: hatred of war; anti-democracy; development of culture and society = bad; against Stresseman cooperating eg. Dawes Plan
Germany agreed to keep troops out of the Rhineland; Britain and Italy promised to aid Germany, France and Belgium; Germany, France and Belgium promised to respect the Western frontier
League of Nations
Germany joined in September 1926, and given great power status on the league council, including veto powers
Treaty of Berlin
Germany would remain neutral if the USSR were involve in a War, as long as they were not the aggressor
Removing foreign forces from German soil - French were very reluctant, but Germany had showed willing to cooperate and so France agreed.
Germany's army limited to 100,000 and not allowed an airforce, Rhineland to be demilitarise and the navy were prevented from having submarines or large battleships
Wall Street Crash
Industrial production declined sharply
Five major banks collapsed in 1931
50,000 businesses bankrupted
Registered unemployment rose from 1.8 million in 1929 to 5.6 million by 1932.
Unemployment continued to rise (peaking at 6 million in January 1933 (not taking into account anyone not registered as unemployed)
People turned against the state as they were looking for someone to blame. Many believed that society was breaking down.
Farmers struggled as prices collapsed and exports declined
Women received less benefits than men, and young people less than adults
Diseases linked to poor health and living conditions continued to rise and spread
Increased number of youth involved in crime
Failures of Parliamentary Democracy
Parliamentary democracy effectively ended in 1930! With the appointment of Bruning being a crucial part.
Bruning ruled without a majority due to support from Hindenburg/his government and the SDP 'tolerated him.' Democracy gave way to a 'presidential government'
1930 also saw the beginning of an increase in votes for extremist groups the KPD and Nazis.
Increase for pro-democratic parties, such as SDP who received 100 votes in 1924, and then increased to 153 votes in 1928.
Extremist votes lowered, but still remained overall as quite a high percentage of votes, receiving about 30% of overall votes. Some extremists did gain votes, such as the KPD who went from 45 seats to 54.
Between 1924-28, there were 7 coalition governments, each only lasting a short amount of time. In 1926, one coalition fell apart because of disagreements over a flag! No coalitions functioned for more than two years
Extremist uprisings were much less common, and support seemed to have decreased. However, the KPD still received 10% of votes in 1928.
Hitler was imprisoned, and the Nazi party began trialling new propaganda methods and reorganising to have more appeal
Election turnout peaked at 77% in May 1924, but declined to 68.5% at the 1925 Presidential elections. Hindernburg was selected, and many saw him as a 'virtual Kaiser' as he represented more traditional views.