Modern World History 8.2 Democracy, or Something Like It

It's 1919, and it looks like Germany wants to build a democratic government. But don't count your democratic governments before they hatch.

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Transcript

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government had been burned to the ground were socialists, moderate socialists in

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fact they were so moderate that the communists to the left thought they were

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enemies of the worker and the political forces to the right thought they were

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Bolsheviks well these guys just couldn't catch a break until they did the results

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of the next national election put the Social Democrats in charge of Germany [German national election candidate votes]

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the new government met in the city of Weimar in July 1919 and put together a

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constitution that made Germany an officially democratic state the Allies

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were not impressed however neither was a group of former army officers they

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staged a revolt and tried to kick the Weimar Republic to the curb while their

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plot didn't succeed well they were to be the first in a long line of malcontents [Hitler appears]

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sout to destroy German democracy the Weimar Republic was an interesting place

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it had universal suffrage, it had proportional representation,

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it allowed recalls and referendums yeah the idea was that this was a government

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that everyone could and should be involved in yet the new government left

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a lot of the old Germany in place people who'd been in power in the past didn't

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lose their land statues of long-dead aristocrats in the city squares [Statue of aristocrat]

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continued to serve as toilets for pigeons but destiny just would not leave

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Germany alone in 1929 a global Great Depression got its start in the United

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States by 1932 six million Germans were unemployed the depression in combination [Employment percentages in 1932 Germany]

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with the fallout from the war and the Treaty of Versailles made Germany a

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really sad place to live it also made the country unstable the constitution

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hammered out 1919 had a big honkin loophole in it called article 48

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basically this article gave the president of the Weimar Republic the

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power to take emergency measures without the legislative approval of the

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Reichstag in certain situation well president Paul von Hindenburg who had [von Hindenburg appears]

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been Germany's leader since 1925 decided to bust out article 48 in response to

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the Great Depression he used his authority to try and pass a finance

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reform bill that absolutely no one liked once Hindenburg had gotten a little

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taste of unrestricted presidential power he just had to have another in 1933 the

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building in Berlin where the Reichstag met burned down thanks to a Dutch [Reichstag building on fire]

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Firebug who also happened to be a communist Hindenburg promptly wigged out

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because the Communists were coming and issued the Reichstag fire decree it was

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auf wiedersein, free press and free speech and hallow to a stronger Nazi Party after

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that one year later Hindenburg was dead Hitler was in charge and the downhill [Hitler saluting to army]

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slide to World War two had begun [Earth sliding down a hill]