The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Weimar Constitution

Strengths

    • The new Weimar Government was democratic, which meant that German citizens had freedom and choice as both men and women aged 20 or above could vote.

    • The Weimar Government was a constitution, which are rules which state how a country is meant to be governed.

    • The Reichstag (the German parliament in charge of law-making in Germany) was elected by the German People. The Reichstag was determined by Proportional Representation, an electoral system, which means the higher the percentage of votes a political party receives from the German public, the more seats they receive in the Reichstag.

    • The German people elected their own President, who could only by-pass the Reichstag in times of emergency.

    • The Weimar Government also had a Chancellor, who was appointed by the President. However, he also had to have support from the majority of politicians in the Reichstag.

Weaknesses

    • The President could declare a situation an emergency and use Article 48 to pass new laws without consulting the Reichstag. This meant he could turn himself into a dictator.

    • The Republic had many enemies who hated and wanted to destroy it (e.g. because they signed the Treaty of Versailles and also because they were a Socialist Republic.)

    • Proportional Representation meant the Reichstag often had disagreements and conflicting points of view. This is because it often meant that one party failed to gain a majority. Therefore, the largest party often had to form coalition governments with the support of other political parties, and these different parties within the coalition governments often disagreed with each other and failed to cooperate.

*Evaluation Exercise*

Write a summary stating your opinion on whether the Weimar Republic made Germany weaker or stronger.