By Geoff Layton
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Extra resources for Access to History. Democracy and Dictatorship in Germany 1919-63
Next you need to examine the powers of the president. The case here might be stronger: was the political balance of power between the president and the Reichstag badly drawn? Article 48 needs a special focus in your answer. To do that you could compare how the president acted in two periods of crisis: 1923–4 (Chapters 2 and 3, pages 20–45 and 47–58) and 1933 (Chapters 6 and 7). e. Ebert acted properly as the president of a democracy whereas Hindenburg did not? Finally, the third area to think about is the constitution’s failure to reform institutions.
In the short term it should be noted that the government of the State of Bavaria was under the control of the ultraconservative Gustav von Kahr, who blamed most of Germany’s problems on the national government in Berlin. Like Hitler, he wished to destroy the republican regime, although his long-term aim was the creation of an independent Bavaria. By October 1923 General von Lossow, the Army’s commander in Bavaria, had fallen under von Kahr’s spell and had even begun to disobey orders from the Defence Minister from Berlin.
But opposition to the Republic ranged from indifference to brutal violence and, as early as 1920, democratic support for Weimar began to switch to the extremes. This is shown by the results of the ﬁrst election after the Treaty of Versailles. The extent of the opposition from the extreme right to democracy was not always appreciated. Instead, President Ebert and the Weimar governments overestimated the threat from the extreme left and they came to rely on the forces of reaction for justice and law and order.
Access to History. Democracy and Dictatorship in Germany 1919-63 by Geoff Layton