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Comparison of Weimar Republic and West Germany

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In this essay, we will be explaining the difference in success between these two governments and explaining the differences in their choices, as well as differences in choices and political institutions and policies that have led them to their achievements and demise. We will go over their public opinion, economy, domestic and foreign policy, and party systems. As I will discuss in this paper, the Weimar Republic may have had good strides in the middle to late 1920’s, there are massive examples on how West Germany had a higher chance of success in creation and stabilization of Democracy.

Firstly, I think it is most important to lay the foreground of the Weimar Republic so we may have a better understanding of the events that lead to the collapse of the Weimar Republic. Following the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II, a provisional government was made by the SDP and the USDP. In early 1919 the National Assembly created the Weimar Coalition, making their President of the newly founded Weimar Republic Friedrich Ebert. Though this newly founded republic was put into a financially hard position due to the Treaty of Versailles, they still had an opportunity to turn Germany around for the best.

Now we will discuss the public opinion and viewings of the Weimar Republic and West Germany during their post war experiences and how that played a part in their failures and successes. At the end of World War 1 it was easy to tell by the Treaty of Versailles that the Allies took their revenge on Germany. For the common people and even troops the situation in Germany was dire.When looking at the Weimar Republic, its main goal was to bring back stability and a future for Germany, but had then taken on the burden of its previous government. This type of atmosphere and resentment of the new administration becomes the feeding ground for radicalized parties. Though we can see major differences between post World War 1 and Germany post World War 2.

Following the surrender of the German Reich, the country was in even worse circumstances than it was at the end of World War 1. A vast portion of their infrastructure was lost including, housing, railroads, factories, as well having half their country split in two between the Allies. Not only was their country needing to be rebuilt from the ground up, their population was majorly homeless and jobless. But the one major difference that led these two democratic towards different paths, was how they were led by example by their previous enemy.

In the Treaty of Versailles the French and British sought to make the Germans suffer their defeat and pushed Germany into chaos, whereas post World War 2 the Allies had not only defeated them but stayed to help them rebuild. This not only gave the German people hope, which they had lacked with the Weimar Republic, but were guided to be able to do it for themselves.

Secondly we will be discussing the economic strides each of these democratic governments which had taken the burden of their previous governments. The Weimar Republic had reparations, hyperinflation, strikes and many other economic problems to begin with, but starting in the early 1920s did we start seeing some progress for Germany. Though West Germany did have these same problems, not so many strikes, but they had the job of creating and repairing their newly founded country. The Weimar Republic may have had good beginnings, they were always doomed to fail due to the hand they were dealt. Some accomplishments were that the Weimar Republic had an improving economy in the mid to late 1920s, Democracy was at an all time high, and it seemed for a little that Germany was on its way to stability. Though the problems that they still faced were overbearing more than their accomplishments. Repayments, radical parties, doubt of democracy, as well one of the major politicians responsible for their works Gustav Stresemann died in 29.

But as we look at West Germany in their early years of peace, through the guiding hands of their allies, the organized West Germany made a swift and quick action to revive their market. Working with private industry and promoting social works and opportunity gave the chance for West Germany to not fail. The main difference in this topic is that the Weimar Republic had a slowly growing economy with many problems still following their successes, where as West Germany had repayments, but had a influx of refugees, prisoners of war, and a workforce to bring jobs too, as well the major privatization of industry created opportunities for businesses to reopen and bring in more revenue. This was critical to the future of West Germany and made it possible to create a future for itself, where as I said before, the Weimar Republic was doomed to fail.

Next we will be explaining the difference in domestic and foreign policy and how they differed. For the Weimar Republic their domestic policy in the early to mid 20s had created the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan which were focused on economics but as well bringing in social policies that were progressive and as well ambitious. Some examples being unemployment welfare, work councils, agricultural reforms, national health insurance. Whereas we see with West Germany social reforms came much later. This was mainly due to the beliefs of their leaders, they believed that social reform could not come before economic stabilization. This was something that differed majorly from the Weimar Republic, which focused more so on trying to please the people, but still being stricken down by economic hardships. Though they did have versions of some small reforms, a lot of the social reforms came during the 60s and 70s.

For the Weimarch the foreign policy was mainly aimed toward the east and their minorities. Due to the Treaty of Versailles a lot of German territories which had ethnic Germans were now under the control of Poland, Baltics, and Czechoslovakia. The Weimar Republic knew that any policies aiming west would be pointless, this is one topic that the right agreed with the Weimar Republic.In the late 1920s Germany joined the League of Nations which not only gave them the right to vote in global decisions, but as well gave them a better image and standing to the international community.

Foreign Policy of West Germany was mainly focused on joining NATO and security with the allied nations against Russia and East Germany. Foreign policy was not the most important other than cooperating with the allies. This is something that should have been done with the Weimar Republic, due to the Weimar Republic tried using their foreign policies to please their people and not benefit them, whereas West Germany focused on rebuilding and knew that if there were a stable economy that the other desires would come.

The importance of these shows how much West Germany paid close attention to the previous democratic government and made sure to not make the same mistakes. This was majorly one of the most critical moments for West Germany mainly due to the focusing on infrastructure and economics.

Lastly we will be going over the political parties and the influences they had on West Germany and the Weimar Republic. The Weimar Republic consisted of the 7 parties. KPD, SPD, DDP, Z, DVP, DNVP, and the NSDAP. When breaking down the parties the left were inclined to implement labor unions, welfare programs, and wanted new methods of taxation. Where as the right were very nationalistic and militaristic, as well in terms of economics were wanting full control.

Though Germany in post World War 2 had 11 parties that fought for power some of these were CDU, CSU, BP, DP, DZP, WAV, SSW, and DKP-DRP. Unlike the parties in the Weimar Republic all of these parties were the voices of Democracy, though each party wanted a different kind of Democracy. The top three major parties that were in the fight for power were CDUCSU, SPD, and FDP. But the CDUCSU came out on top, in which they stood for integration with the western allies and as well a social market economy.

Clearly we can see that West Germany had no struggle of radical parties threatening the future of their democracy, as well with plans such as the Marshal Plans making sure that there would be no fuel put into the fire of radicals, mainly communists. This was critical for the success of West Germany, for if they had no allied power support and guidance through this time, there could have been a very big chance and opportunity for a communist party to make a rise within West Germany.

After all things considered and going over the public opinion, economy, domestic and foreign policy, and party systems. It is clear to me that the Weimar Republic was doomed from the beginning, public disorder, economic burdens, and distrust of the government fed the flames of radicalized parties. Though as we discussed West Germany did have many problems at the end of World War 2, the evidence shows that West Germany had multiple advantages for them to create a Democracy.

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