How far do you agree with Interpretation 2 about the challenges facing the Weimar Republic in the years 1919-23? Explain your answer, using both interpretations and your own knowledge of the historical context.
Interpretation 2 argues that the Weimar Republic was weakened by economic problems. It is certainly possible to agree with Interpretation 2 as hyperinflation created a significant problem for the Weimar Republic, and was a big factor in the German people losing faith in the government. For example, the government had to print more money for the workers who were on strike in the Ruhr, and this led to money losing value. Therefore the government had to print higher denominations of money until eventually, money had no value and people had to resort to bartering. The hyperinflation affected all groups in society, particularly the middle class as they lost their small businesses. As a consequence, the German government and Weimar politicians lost a lot of support in 1923 as people looked for someone to blame. This shows that the economic failure laid the foundation for the distrust in the government and the political challenges. Therefore I would agree with Interpretation 2 that the main challenges were economic.
However, it is certainly possible to disagree with Interpretation 2. For example, Interpretation 1 argues that the main problem facing Weimar was political. It is certainly possible to agree with Interpretation 1 as the left and right-wing groups were determined to, by using violence if necessary, wipe out the Weimar Republic from the beginning. For example in 1919 a number of German communists attempted a revolution known as the Spartacist uprising. Over 100,000 protested on the streets, calling for an uprising and a general strike. They also took control of government communications (newspapers). Not only did the government face challenges from the left-wing, but they also faced challenges from the right-wing. For example, the Weimar Republic faced an attack from the right, the Munich Putsch in 1923. The Nazis marched from a Beerhall into Munich to seize control. Hitler and the SA interrupted a meeting of Von Kahr and senior Bavarian officials and declared a revolution, and the next day the Nazis marched through Munich to the army headquarters. These uprisings, along with the Kapp Putsch of 1920, challenged the government because it added extra fear and put more pressure on them, which ultimately made it harder to govern Germany.
In conclusion, I agree with Interpretation 2 that the main challenges facing the Weimar Republic were economic, and disagree with Interpretation 1 which argues the main challenges are political. Germany’s economic problems caused the German population to lose faith in their government, which then led to more political challenges. Therefore if the government had been able to deal with the economic hardships more effectively, then people might have had more trust in the Weimar Republic, which would’ve meant they faced less political challenges. Overall whilst still a significant challenge, I would argue that the economic problems were causing the political ones, thus I would agree with Interpretation 2 that the economic problems were the main challenge that the Weimar Republic faced in the years 1919-1923.