The Weimar Republic (German: Weimarer Republik) is the name given by historians to the federal republic and parliamentary representative democracy established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government. It was named after Weimar, the city where the constitutional assembly took place.
Following World War I, the republic emerged from the German Revolution in November 1918. In 1919, a national assembly was convened in Weimar, where a new constitution for the German Reich was written, then adopted on 11 August of that same year. The ensuing period of liberal democracy lapsed by 1930, when Hindenburg assumed dictatorial emergency powers, leading to the ascent of the nascent Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler in 1933. The legal measures taken by the new Nazi government in February and March 1933, commonly known as the Machtergreifung (seizure of power) meant that the government could legislate contrary to the constitution. The republic nominally continued to exist until 1945, as the constitution was never formally repealed, but the measures taken by the Nazis in the early part of their rule rendered the constitution irrelevant. Thus, 1933 is usually seen as the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of Hitler’s Third Reich.
In its fourteen years, the Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremists (with paramilitaries – both left and right wing), and continuing contentious relationships with the victors of World War I. However, it did eliminate most of the requirements of the Treaty of Versailles, in that Germany never completely met the disarmament requirements, and eventually only paid a small portion of the total reparations required by the treaty, which were reduced twice by restructuring Germany’s debt through the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan, (with the last payment finally being made on 3 October 2010), reformed the currency, and unified tax policies and the railway system.
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