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Collapse of the Weimar Republic

On 2 August 1934, President Hindenburg died. Within an hour of his death Hitler announced that the offices of chancellor and president were to be combined and that he was the new head of state. Hitlers adolescent dream of becoming Fuhrer of the German people had been realized President Hindenburgs death marked the official end of the Weimar Republic, a democratic experiment that had lasted since 1918. The causes of the dissolution of the Republic are wide ranging and numerous, as was explained in the articles of both Richard Bessel, and John McKenzie. The two authors agree on the sequence of events which led to the dissolution of the Republic, however, they disagree on what exactly caused the transition from Weimar to the Third Reich. The authors disagreement stem from a differing view of the fundamental cause, political structure versus political leadership.Richard Bessels article stresses the political structure of Weimar Germany as the cause of its failure. Its structure was flawed in numerous ways, all of which contributed to its inevitable failure. First of all, the problems within Germany due to the First World War were massive. This caused economic, political and social problems which first had to be dealt with by the new Weimar government. The loss of the war had left Germany with huge reparations to pay, and massive destruction to repair. In order to gain the capital needed to finance efforts to rebuild, and repay the Allies, the economy had to be brought back to its prewar levels. This was not an easy task. Roughly 2.7 million German soldiers returned from the First World War with some sort of permanent disability, and in 1923 the ReichLabour Ministry estimated the number of war widows at 533,000and of war orphans at 1,192,000the scale of the problem may be judged from the fact that during the mid-1920s nearly one third ofthe funds at the disposal of the Reich government were swallowedup by pension costs. This a...

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