Describe how the Wiemar government and constitution came into existence after the end of the First World War, and explain why the Republic was so unstable in the years 1919 to 1923.
Published: March 19, 2017
In 1918, as the Germany was moving towards its defeat the public opinion turned against the government. The Kaiser in a desperate bid appointed Prince Max of Baden as chancellor. But it was too late, in November revolution broke out, Kaiser ran to Holland and Prince Max resigned. The leader of the left wing Socialist Democratic Party, Friedrich Ebert, became head of the government. The new government was by no means popular. Many attempts were made to seize power; the Spartacist rising (1919) by left wing, in 1920 by right wings and a few years later by Hitler (Hitler’s Munich Beer-Hall Putsch, 1923). By the end of 1919, the National Assembly agreed on a new constitution in a meeting in Weimer. Thus got it its name the Weimer Republic.
There are several reasons as to why it was unstable in the years 1919 to 1923. Firstly, it accepted the humiliating treaty of Versailles which made it unpopular in Germany. Secondly, there was a traditional lack for democratic government instead the people admired and respected army more. Thirdly, there was the lack of experience in operating democratic institutions. Fourthly, many economic problems generated in this period due to reparation commitments. Fifthly, the parliament system introduced suffered from many limitations. The proportional representations system in a multi-party country ensured no single party win a majority. Sixthly, attempts were made by both the left wing and right wings groups to topple the government.