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2. Did Proportional Representation Cause Political Instability?
About this Lecture
In this module, we'll explore whether proportional representation caused the political instability that would undermine the Republic. It has often been argued that the proportionally representative system of the Weimar Republic provided for political instability which allowed Nazism to flourish. However this is far from the case. Firstly, the absence of a stable two-party system was due to long-term structural factors, especially the deep religious, social, regional and historical divisions in the electorate. Secondly, minor and fringe parties (such as the Nazi Party) never had much influence and were seldom in government, a particularly in the 1920s when the Grand Coalition controlled government. Thirdly, there was ministerial continuity in key areas, such as foreign policy under Gustav Stresemann, labour policy under Heinrich Brauns, and military policy under Otto Gessler. And Finally, if elections had been based on a one-member constituency, first-past-the-post system, the Nazi Party would have gained more seats in the 1930 and 1932 elections than it did.
In this course, Professor Sir Richard J. Evans (University of Cambridge) discusses the rise of the Nazi Party from 1918-33. In the the first module, we'll set out the entire period with a timeline of crucial events. In the following modules, we'll then go on to answer some key questions: (i) did proportional representation cause political instability? (ii) did the power and personality of the President undermine the Republic? (iii) was the Weimar Republic undermined by inflation? (iv) was the Republic destroyed by the Depression? (v) did Hitler come to power legally?
Sir Richard J. Evans is Regius Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Cambridge and is Provost of Gresham College. He specialises in European history with a focus on Germany. He is the author of eighteen books, including a three-volume series called The Third Reich Trilogy.
Cite this Lecture
Evans, R. (2021, December 01). Germany – The Rise of the Nazi Party, 1918-33 - Did Proportional Representation Cause Political Instability? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/germany-the-rise-of-the-nazi-party-1918-33/did-proportional-representation-cause-political-instability
Evans, Richard. "Germany – The Rise of the Nazi Party, 1918-33 – Did Proportional Representation Cause Political Instability?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Dec 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/germany-the-rise-of-the-nazi-party-1918-33/did-proportional-representation-cause-political-instability