Weimar Republic

German Reich
Deutsches Reich
Das Lied der Deutschen
"Song of the Germans"
Germany in 1930
German states during the Weimar Republic period
Capital Berlin
Languages German
Religion 1925 census[1]
64.1% Protestant (Lutheran, Reformed, Prussian United)
32.4% Roman Catholic
0.9% Jewish
2.6% Other
Government 1919–30 Semi-presidential
representative federal republic
1930–33 De facto authoritarian
rule by decree
 •  1919–25 Friedrich Ebert
 •  1925–33 Paul von Hindenburg
 •  1919 (first) Philipp Scheidemann
 •  1933 (last) Adolf Hitler
Legislature Reichstag
 •  State Council Reichsrat
Historical era Interwar period
 •  Established 9 November 1918
 •  Government by decree begins 29 March 1930[2]
 •  Hitler appointed Chancellor 30 January 1933
 •  Reichstag fire 27 February 1933
 •  Enabling Act 24 March 1933
 •  1925[3] 468,787 km2 (181,000 sq mi)
 •  1925[3] est. 62,411,000 
     Density 133/km2 (345/sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
German Empire
Nazi Germany
Today part of
The coat of arms shown above is the version used after 1928, which replaced that shown in the "Flag and coat of arms" section.[4]

The Weimar Republic (German: Weimarer Republik [ˈvaɪmaʁɐ ʁepuˈbliːk] (About this sound listen)) is an unofficial, historical designation for the German state as it existed between 1919 and 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the state remained Deutsches Reich, unchanged since 1871. In English, the country was usually known simply as Germany.

A national assembly was convened in Weimar, where a new constitution for the Deutsches Reich was written and adopted on 11 August 1919. In its fourteen years, the Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism (with paramilitaries – both left- and right-wing) as well as contentious relationships with the victors of the First World War. The people of Germany blamed the Weimar Republic rather than their wartime leaders for the country's defeat and for the humiliating terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Weimar Germany fulfilled most of the requirements of the Treaty of Versailles although it never completely met its disarmament requirements and eventually paid only a small portion of the war reparations (by twice restructuring its debt through the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan).[5] Under the Locarno Treaties, Germany accepted the western borders of the republic, but continued to dispute the eastern borders.

From 1930 onwards President Hindenburg used emergency powers to back Chancellors Heinrich Brüning, Franz von Papen and General Kurt von Schleicher. The Great Depression, exacerbated by Brüning's policy of deflation, led to a surge in unemployment.[6] In 1933, Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor with the Nazi Party being part of a coalition government. The Nazis held two out of the remaining ten cabinet seats. Von Papen as Vice Chancellor was intended to be the "éminence grise" who would keep Hitler under control, using his close personal connection to Hindenburg. Within months, the Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Act of 1933 had brought about a state of emergency: it wiped out constitutional governance and civil liberties. Hitler's seizure of power (Machtergreifung) was permissive of government by decree without legislative participation. These events brought the republic to an end—as democracy collapsed, the founding of a single-party state began the Nazi era.

  1. ^ Volume 6. Weimar Germany, 1918/19–1933 Population by Religious Denomination (1910-1939) Sozialgeschichtliches Arbeitsbuch, Volume III, Materialien zur Statistik des Deutschen Reiches 1914-1945, edited by Dietmar Petzina, Werner Abelshauser, and Anselm Faust. Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck, 1978, p. 31. Translation: Fred Reuss.
  2. ^ Cite error: The named reference ThomasAdam was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ "Das Deutsche Reich im Überblick". Wahlen in der Weimarer Republik. Retrieved 26 April 2007. 
  4. ^ Cf. Der Große Brockhaus: Handbuch des Wissens in zwanzig Bänden: 21 vols., completely revis. ed., Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 151928–1935, vol. 4 (1929): "Vierter Band Chi–Dob", article: 'Deutsches Reich', pp. 611–704, here pp. 648 and 651. No ISBN.
  5. ^ Marks, Sally, The Illusion of Peace: International Relations in Europe, 1918–1933, St. Martin's, NY, 1976, pp.96–105.
  6. ^ Büttner, Ursula Weimar: die überforderte Republik, Klett-Cotta, 2008, ISBN 978-3-608-94308-5, p. 424

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