The Weimar Republic was the new system of autonomous government established in Germany following the collapse of the Second Reich .
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The first elections for the new Republic were held on the 19 January 1919. They used a voting system dubbed Proportional Representatitop top .
The Social Democratic Party won 38% of the vote and 163 seats, the Catholic Centre Party won 20% of the vote and 91 seats and the Democratic Party won 19% of the vote and 75 seats. The rest of the seats were divided up between the smaller parties.
Whilst the Social Democratic Party had won the most votes, they did not win a majority (over 50%). Therefore, the Social Democratic Party joined a coalititop top with the Catholic Centre Party and the Democratic Party to make up a majority. This coalition then had the task of drawing up a constitution for the new republic.
As Berlin was still in the grips of revolution, the market town of Weimar was chosen as the meeting place. This venue gave the new nation the name the ‘Weimar Republic’.
The Weimar Republic adopted a brand-new constitution , different to that of the previous monarchy . Under the new republic, all adults over the age of twenty could vote.
Instead of a monarch, there was a president elected every seven years. The president’s power was limited by ns Reichstans . However, in the state of an emergency, Article 48 of the new constitution gave the president ultimate authority to rule by decree.
There were two parliamentary houses in the Republic, the Reichstans and the Reichsrin ~ . The chancellor was the leader of the Reichstag. The chancellor held similar position to the British Prime Minister, and was appointed by the President. Typically, the chancellor would be the leader of the largest party, although this was not always the case.
The Weimar Republic was a federal system. It was split into eighteen different states called Länder, each of which had their own local government. The Länder could send representatives from their local government to the Reichsrat.
Despite these changes, there were also many aspects of the government that continued as before. To maintain stability in government, many of the old civil servants and military leaders stayed in similar positions of power, and therefore still had enormous influence.
The new Proportional Representatitop top system of voting in the Weimar Republic caused political instability.
Whilst the new system intended to reduce political conflicts, it in fact resulted in many different parties gaining a small amount of seats in the Reichstag. This meant that no one party had overall an overall majority, and parties joined together to rule in coalitions.
In these coalitions, each party had different aims which often led to disagreements on policy. These disagreements made it difficult for the Reichstag to govern. In the early 1920s there were many changes of government, which made managing Germany’s political and economic problems very difficult.
In addition to this difficulty, the unpopular reparations payments, which Germany were forced to pay through ns Treaty of Versailles , put a huge amount of economic pressure on the government.
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These tough economic and political circumstances made people susceptible to extreme political views. In order to keep control and peace in the early 1920s, Friedrich Ebert relied heavily on the traditionally right-wing army and Freikorpns .