23rd March: An enabling act giving dictatorial powers to Hitler's government is put to the Reichstag. A 2/3rds majority is required and 2/3rds of the Riechstag must be present. However along with the Nationalists, the Peoples Party and the Catholics vote for. The Democrats (all five of them ) are split but decide to vote for, on the grounds that as Hitler is going to establish a dictatorship anyway it is better to let him do it legally. Only those Social Democrats who attended (many are already under arrest) have the courage to vote against.
March 1933: During the election campaign massive intimidation by the SA means that only, apart from the Nazis, only the Nationalists are able to campaign. The Prussian police, now under Nazi control, employs 50,000 'auxiliaries' who are mainly SA to be used against the opposition. Many Nazi opponents are beaten up , some 50 killed. Despite this the Nazis only get 43.9% of the vote but with the Nationalists they have a majority. With the election over the communists are banned and their Riechstag deputies arrested.
After the Wall Street Crash, America gave Germany 90 days to start to re-pay money loaned to her. No other world power had the money to give Germany cash injections. Britain and France were still recovering from the First World War and the Wall Street Crash was to have an impact on industrial Britain. Stalin’s Russia was still in a desperate state and embarking on the 5 year plans. Therefore, an impoverished Weimar Germany could only call on America for help and she was effectively bankrupt by the end of 1929 and quite incapable of lending money.
The Weimar Republic was devastated by Wall Street Crash of October 1929 and the Great Depression that followed. The Crash had a devastating impact on the American economy but because America had propped up the Weimar Republic with huge loans in 1924 (the Dawes Plan) and in 1929 (the Young Plan), what happened to the American economy had to impact the Weimar Republic's economy.
Versailles Treaty: The Treaty, drafted by Britain, France, and the United States, is imposed on the protesting German government. Germany is forced to yield up territory to France (Alsace-Lorraine), Poland (the Polish Corridor, Silesia), Denmark, and Belgium, and is forbidden to unite with Austria. Germany is also forced to limit its army to 100,000 men; forbidden to keep troops in its Western provinces (the "demilitarized" Rhineland); required to make heavy reparations payments for damage caused in the war; and barred from the League of Nations.
The history of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) illuminates one of the most creative and crucial periods in the twentieth century and serves as a significant case study of the critical issues of our own time. Many of the questions asked about the Weimar Republic are relevant to problems that individuals and societies face in the twenty-first century.
After four disastrous years Germany had lost the war. Under the Treaty of Versailles it was forced to make a reparations payment in gold-backed Marks, and it was due to lose part of the production of the Ruhr and of the province of Upper Silesia. The Weimar Republic was politically fragile.
In 1923, the Weimar Republic was on the verge of collapse, but, surprisingly, the crisis was the start of a period of stability and success. The period 1923-1929 was a time when the economy boomed and cultural life flourished in Germany.
Under the Weimar Constitution, Germany was divided into 19 states. All citizens had the right to vote, electing members of the Reichstag or German Parliament along with the President. The President in turn appointed a chancellor and an assortment of cabinet members. As many historians have noted, on paper, the Weimar Constitution was a brilliant document, and Germany under the Weimar Republic was a true democracy.
People use the term “Weimar Republic” to refer to a period in German history between 1919 and 1933 when the government was a democratic republic governed by a constitution that was laid out in the German city of Weimar. Technically, the Weimar Constitution lasted until 1945, when the German government was formally dissolved in the wake of the Second World War, but most people date the end of the Weimar Republic to 1933, when Adolf Hitler took control and the constitution became effectively meaningless under his Third Reich.