Weimar Republic

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Lasting from 1918 to 1933, the Weimar Republic was the democratic government of Germany after the First World War. It had an elected President as head of state, an elected parliament, the Reichstag, and a Chancellor of Germany who was head of government.

Political parties

One of the problems of the Republic were that some of its parties fundamentally opposed democracy and wanted authoritarian government. Ironically, this was true of both the extreme right and extreme left, so they sometimes cooperated against the centrists.

The center included both religious and secular parties. As opposed to other European countries, there was no single Christian party, but a relatively strong Catholic party called Zentrum (Centre Party), but confined to predominantly Catholic areas. At first, the Protestants were princially in the Deutschnationale Volkspartei (DNVP, German National People’s Party) or the national-liberal Deutsche Volkspartei (DVP, German People’s Party) As the DNVP moved to the authoritarian right, democratic members generally moved to the Christlich-Sozialer Volksdienst (CSVD, Christian Social People’s Service), which never gained national strength. Also in the center-right was the liberal Deutsche Demokratische Partei (DDP, German Democratic Party).[1]

On the right, the DVNP "defended the economic and social interests of the large landowners in the area to the east of the River Elbe as well as the interests of the industrial magnates."[2] At a meeting on 11 November 1931 in Bad Harzburg, the DNVP joined Adolf Hitler's "National Opposition" or "Harzburg Front", along with Franz Seldte, head of the Stahlhelm, and Hjalmar Schacht. [3]

The volkisch, more radical right, Deutchvoelkische Feiheitspartei (DVFP) split from the DNVP in 1922.

Under the chairmanship of Gustav Stresemann, the DVP reluctantly accepted the legitimacy of the Weimar Republic. [4] After Stresemann's death in October 1929, however, anti-parliamentary forces grew stronger within it, and it became part of the right-wing nationalist opposition. Nevertheless, its presence in the Reichstag steadily dropped. In March 1930, it caused the Social Democratic coalition, under Chancellor Hermann Mueller, to fall in March 1930, when it withdrew from the coalition over the government's refusal to reduce unemployment benefits.[5] It did not join the Harzburg Front coalition.

References

  1. Tim Peters (March 2010), "CDU German - Example of a strong and united centre-right party", Cura Magazine
  2. The political parties in the Weimar Republic, German Bundestag
  3. Ian Kershaw (1998), Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris, W.W. Norton, ISBN 0-393-04671-0, p. 356
  4. Richard J. Evans (2003), The Coming of the Third Reich, Penguin, ISBN 1-59420-004-1, pp. 95-96
  5. Evans, p. 247