End of the Weimar Republic

End of the Weimar Republic

The Great Depression and Its Impact on Germany

  • The Wall Street Crash of 1929 marked the beginning of the Great Depression, having a catastrophic effect on the German economy, which was heavily dependent on loans from the United States of America.

  • The downturn led to severe economic instability, with businesses failing and high levels of unemployment. The hardship experienced by many Germans led to social unrest and disaffection with the Weimar government.

  • The Great Depression exposed the vulnerability of the Weimar Republic and eroded the public’s faith in the democratic system, providing fertile ground for extremist parties, particularly the Nazi Party.

Rise of National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi Party)

  • The economic and social turmoil of the 1930s allowed the Nazi Party, led by Adolf Hitler, to gain support. They promised to restore Germany’s economic might, overturn the Treaty of Versailles, and rebuild national pride.

  • In the Reichstag elections of 1930, the Nazi Party made significant gains, becoming the second largest party in the German parliament.

  • Hitler and the Nazi Party effectively utilised propaganda and mass rallies to communicate their messages and win the support of the disillusioned public.

Hitler’s Appointment as Chancellor and the End of Weimar Republic

  • In January 1933, under pressure from various conservative politicians, President Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany.

  • Hitler immediately set about consolidating power, suppressing opposition, and instituting a policy of Gleichschaltung (coordination), which effectively transformed Germany into a totalitarian state.

  • The Reichstag fire in February 1933 was used by Hitler as an excuse to issue the Reichstag Fire Decree, suspending civil liberties and enabling the arrest of Communists, including all Communist parliamentary deputies.

  • In March 1933, the Enabling Act was passed, effectively making Hitler a dictator and marking the official end of the Weimar Republic.

While it’s important to understand the sequence of events leading to the end of the Weimar Republic, remember to also consider the broader context and underlying factors that contributed to its downfall.