Weimar Republic Facts

Weimar Republic Facts
The Weimar Republic was the name of the German government from after World War I in 1918 until the National Socialists took power in 1933. The government was so named because the city of Weimar is where the constitution was drafted, but it was never known as such until years later. The Weimar Republic was different than previous and later forms of the German government because it was a semi-presidential system. In many ways, the Weimar Republic was marked by extremes: Germany, especially Berlin, became a center for new art movements and modern culture, but at the same time World War I veterans were having difficulties surviving and the economy in general was weak. The Weimar Republic was for the most part inept in dealing with problems like the hyperinflation cycle and the Great Depression, so the ranks of the National Socialist German Workers' Party and the Communist Party swelled.
Interesting Weimar Republic Facts:
Although Germany's post-World War I constitution was drafted in Weimar, which is how the government got its name, the capital was in Berlin.
General Paul von Hindenburg was the second President of the Weimar Republic from 1925-1934.
The president of the Weimar Republic was elected through a direct election, while the chancellor was appointed by the president.
The first major challenge that the Weimar government faced was a hyperinflationary cycle from 1921 to 1923. During that period, the Mark, the German currency standard, became so devalued that inflation reached 1,000%.
The Freikorps became a common sight on many German streets during the 1920. The Freikorps, which means "Free Corps" in German, were right-wing paramilitary squads comprised mainly of World War I veterans. The Freikorps battled communist groups in the streets and many later joined the Nazi Party.
American jazz music became popular during the Weimar Republic and several prominent cabaret clubs were open in Berlin.
Although originating in Switzerland, Dadaism became a popular art movement in Germany during the Weimar Republic.
After serving in the Germany Army in World War I, Adolf Hitler moved to Munich, where he began his foray into politics. He began his career by railing against Versailles Treaty and by calling out the Weimar government as weak and feckless.
Believing that the Weimar government was too weak to stop them, Hitler and about 2,000 members of the Nazi Party attempted to take over the Bavarian state government after he gave a raucous speech at a beer hall on November 8, 1923. Hitler served eight months in prison for his part in the failed putsch, perhaps ironically proving that the Weimar government was indeed weak.
German society during the Weimar Republic became extremely polarized. Urban elites, who were more politically leftwing, for the most part supported the government. The more rural and middleclass population tended to resent the social changes and libertine attitudes of the urban elite, while urban leftists also saw the urbanites as "bourgeoise."
Politically, the Weimar Republic was eventually torn apart by the extremes. The centrist parties could offer no real answers to the economic problems associated with the harsh peace of the Versailles Treaty, so the Communist Party and the Nazi Party became the groups with the seemingly simple, yet effective answers.


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