The Weimar Republic In Eric Weitz's A Troubled Beginning

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On November 11, 1918 at 11am Germany signed an armistice with the Allied forces effectively ending the bloodiest war in human history. What followed would be the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic which would ultimately establish the Third German Reich. This is the backdrop for Eric Weitz’s Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy, where he describes the achievements and the devastating failures which spurred on the rise and fall of a republic and the eventual creation of a dictator. The first chapter of Weitz’s book titled “A Troubled Beginning” describes the social and political landscapes of Germany following the war. All of which coalesces into the primary theme of the chapter, that the Weimer Republic was built on a foundation that was doomed…show more content…
Weitz believes it began with the sailor mutiny in the city of Kiel, which he describes as the major social shifting point as well as the final nail in the coffin for the German Empire. The sailor’s mutiny eventually expanded into a full revolution with soldiers, artisans, agricultural hands, and workers joining in. These groups form “councils” which began demanding better working conditions, higher pay, shorter work days, and the abdication of the Kaiser. Weitz explains that this push for social change quickly evolved into political activism and resulted in the death of the German Empire and the birth of the Weimar…show more content…
As stated before the social pressures as the hands of women, sailors, soldiers, and works eventually became cries for political change. Weitz explains how the rise of these groups created a rift in Germany, “To their mainly working-class supporters, the councils…were vehicles for bringing, at long last, democracy and socialism to Germany. To their opponents, including Social Democrats, the councils…meant political terror, insecurity, chaos, and economic disaster.” Due to social and political pressures the old government could not sustain power and the chancellor handed power over to the Social Democrats and their leader Friedrich Ebert. The author explains that Ebert needed to “rein in” the German people as he feared a Bolshevik type revolution. Ebert believed that establishing a constitution and a free-election would calm the chaos and control the more radical groups. For Weitz, the Social Democrats, having never held power before, to organize a successful government needed the assistance of the radical majorities in government. This resulted in compromise between the Social Democrats, army officers, high-level bureaucrats, and capitalists. Weitz describes this compromise as the start of the Weimar Republic, but also what doomed it. He states, “In grips of panic. They ran toward one another and embraced…Once the sense of panic had passed, once officers, civilians
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