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Essay Plan ‘The Main Threat To The Existence Of The Weimar Republic In The Years 1919 23 Was Its Fated Constitution.’ How Far Do You Agree With This Judgement Notes

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Essay Plan ­ 'The main threat to the existence of the Weimar Republic in the Years 1919­23 was its fated constitution.' How far do you agree with this judgement?
Constitution:

• Proportional representation:

• Germany divided into 35 equal electoral districts + every 60,000 votes in each district
added one deputy to Reichstag, and parties gaining fewer across multiple districts
added up.

• V.democratic BUT made it v.difficult to form a stable GVT or majority as 1/2 of votes
needed, necessitating coalitions.

• BUT, coalitions hard to maintain + longest GVT lasted just 18 months under Chancellor
Wirth (1919­23). So created huge instability w/constantly changing GVTs.

• COULD argue due to parties acting irresponsibly + not compromising, BUT constitution
should ensure stable GVTs + not rely on inherently unstable coalitions.

• Lack of legitimacy:

• Pro­Weimar coalition who created constitution (SPD, Centre + DDP) gained 76% of vote in 1919 National Assembly elections, but declined to under 45% (44.6%) in 1920
Reichstag election.

• Quick decline in support could reveal lack of democratic legitimacy, threatening its right
to exist.

• K. Fischer ­ German historically + psychologically not prepared for huge shift from
autocracy to democracy + it was doomed to fail.

• Counter:

• Problem was not design, but misuse, as constitution (created by prominent legal scholar
Hugo Preuss) had in built checks + balances + was v.democratic

• WAS legitimate, as PR accepted by most across political spectrum. Left + centre for
democratic reasons + right to stop the SPD gaining an outright majority, which was too
difficult under PR.

• Created stability as article 48 (rule by decree) used responsibly by P.Ebert to give army
power to put down Munich Putsch in Nov 1923

• Parties represented in approx. same proportions in 1919 as 1912. Gave continuity +
allowed all sectional interests to be represented, guarding against uprisings.

• D. Peukert ­ Despite imperfections (which constitution doesn't have these), a good
attempt + good framework for a new democracy Left­Wing:

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