The majority of Americans believe the worst civil unrest America will endure is far behind us. Sure, there are protests in the streets and cities are being burnt and looted, but things really are not that bad. What many do not see are the destabilizing forces actively at work behind the curtain. Do not be swayed by arguments that no modern western nation has ever succumbed to a violent revolution in recent history. There is a clear example of such a situation becoming acute and creating dire consequences not only for it, but also the world. Look no further than the Weimar Republic. This ghost can reveal much about our country’s present situation.
Many people would have to do an internet search on the Weimar Republic as it was at best only a footnote in history classes. Usually it was only used as a prelude to more significant historical events. The brief synopsis is it was the German republic which existed from 1919 till 1933. Its short unhappy life was filled with political, social, and economic turmoil. The Weimar was a parliamentary republic that began at the end of World War I as the financial and social state of Imperial Germany was collapsing. Once the terms of the Versailles Treaty were set a new constitution and government were finalized. The new government faced immediate internal and external pressures which led to a very tumultuous period until 1923. Weimar Germany then had only a temporary respite from societal disruptions until October of 1929, before being replaced in 1933.
Upon this dissolution, German society completely jumped off the ledge of reason and set a course for destruction on an unparalleled level. The purpose of this article will be to provide an in-depth look at both the causes and divisive groups that lead to the Weimar Republic’s capitulation. Then make some comparisons to certain active groups here in the United States. All in the hope that our society can inoculate itself from the influence these groups have, and prevent history repeating itself.
The actual nation called Germany was created in 1871. Previously, it was a collection of much smaller independent states that became dominated by Prussian rule. It quickly solidified to become a dominant world power. Germany, like most of Europe, had been undergoing strong societal changes since the Napoleonic era. Compound this with the industrial revolution creating even more opportunities for gaining wealth, new political philosophies, like Marxism took hold of the disenfranchised. The power and influence of these new socialists and communists was held in check by the long-established power dynamic in Europe. World War I brought this all to an end.
Germany was racked with incredible hardships compounded by the high level of human casualties. The winter of 1916-17 was called the Turnip Winter as rationing to feed the military and the British blockade of German ports led to massive food shortages. The poor dietary state of many German civilians would be a major reason why the Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919 would claim more than 750,000 lives. It’s also important to understand that 20% of the German population served in the war. Also, of those who served, one in five became casualties. Similar conditions of societal erosion allowed for a successful revolution in Russia in 1917, and it soon spread to Germany.