How stable was the Weimar Republic?

Gareth Affleck identifies the points to discuss.

This question, frequently asked, is a vital one for any student studying the period. Answering it requires both looking back at the circumstances surrounding the establishment of the Republic, and forward to a consideration of the reasons for its failure. Of course within the constraints of an exam essay, or even within a two-page article, a comprehensive answer is impossible. This article is intended both to provide a brief answer to the question and to illustrate how a good A-level student approached this essay.


The years 1924-9 in Weimar Germany present one of the most tantalising 'might have beens' in history. In this period the Republic prospered economically, politically and in its foreign policy, and it is tempting to conclude that but for the intervention of the Great Depression of the 1930s Germany would have developed into a stable parliamentary democracy, and the horrors of Hitler might have been avoided. However a closer examination of the situation reveals otherwise, as this student believes:

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