The Weimar Republic helped to fill the power vacuum that was created after the abdication of Kaiser William II after World War I. On 9th November 1918, Kaiser William II abdicated or left the throne and escaped to Holland following the defeat of Germany in World War I by the Allied Powers. The establishment of the Weimar Republic therefore saved Germany from the internal chaos or disorder immediately after World War I that had been created by the political vacuum left behind by Kaiser William II.
It signed the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919 on behalf of Germany. This was a treaty that ended World War I and it was signed between Germany and the Allied Powers that included Britain, France, Russia and USA among others. Although the terms of this treaty were generally unfair to Germany, it marked the end of World War I which promoted peace in Germany and Europe as a whole between 1919 and 1933.
Similarly, the Weimar Republic attempted to promote internal stability during its reign in Germany. Immediately after World War I, Germany descended into instability as the masses organized demonstrations and uprisings in response to the rampant social and economic hardships arising out of the war. However, the Weimar Republic crushed some these uprisings which restored stability in the country. For example, it defeated the German communists and the Bavarians who were organizing revolts, thus further promoting peace in Germany
It revived the German culture which promoted the German nationalism. For example, it restored the old German art, theatre and architecture. It also changed the national flag and introduced the New Republican flag consisting of Black, Red and Gold as its colours. This made the Weimar Republic popular at least in the initial days of its reign.
The Weimar Republic restored parliamentary democracy and constitutionalism in Germany. The Social Democrats were very eager to see that democracy is entrenched in Germany. Consequently, when they met in the German town of Weimar in February 1919, they proclaimed Germany a Republic with a new drafted constitution known as the Weimar constitution. This constitution provided for a parliamentary system of government in Germany, thus promoting democracy.
It secured foreign alliances for Germany which protected the German interests abroad. For example, it signed a treaty with Russia known as the Secret Russo – German Collaboration of 1921 so as to protect the German military interests in Europe. This also made the Weimar Republic popular in Germany.
It promoted liberalism and political pluralism in Germany. This is a political system where two or more political parties are allowed to contest for national leadership without restrictions. The Weimar constitution of 1919 allowed the existence of several political groups or parties with equal representation in the German parliament. Such parties included the Social Democratic Party, the Nazi Party and many others. This gave the masses a chance to compete for political power.
It carried out economic reforms in Germany. These reforms were initiated during the reign of Gustav Stresemann, the Foreign Minister up to 1929. These economic reforms included the re-building of industries that had been destroyed during World War I, improving agriculture as well as encouraging foreign investment which subsequently increased production as well as export trade that fetched Germany foreign exchange. This therefore made the Weimar Republic popular in Germany especially during its initial days.
It also stabilized the Germany currency by 1929 through carrying out currency reforms. After World War I, Germany was hit by the problem of inflation which made the Mark (the German currency) to lose value by 1923. Consequently, the Weimar Republic issued a new currency known as the Rent mark in November 1923 which was successful in stabilizing the currency by 1929.
The Weimar Republic reconciled Germany with her former World War I enemies of Britain and France through the LOCARNO Treaties of 1925. These were seven agreements negotiated at Locarno, Switzerland on 5th – 6th October 1925 and formally signed in London on 1st December 1925 in which Britain and France agreed to normalize their relations with the defeated Germany (under the Weimar Republic). This therefore restored friendship between Germany and her former enemies, thus promoting international diplomacy in Europe.
Similarly, the Weimar Republic secured Germany’s admission into the League of Nations in 1926. This entry of Germany into the League of Nations promoted international co-operation between Germany and other European powers until later when Adolf Hitler came to power and became aggressive which undermined international co-operation.
The Weimar Republic persuaded the victorious powers to reduce the war reparations that had been imposed on Germany by the Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919 that was signed at the end of World War I. The war indemnity of 6.6 billion pounds was reduced and part of it was paid by the Weimer Republic up to 1933 which was a major achievement by the government.
The Weimar Republic also persuaded the victorious powers to remove the army of occupation from Germany. This army of occupation had been stationed in the German territory of the Rhine lands at the end of World War I to safe guard France from German aggression. However, through the efforts of the Weimar Republic, the army of occupation was removed and this restored the independence and national pride of Germany.
It secured financial assistance from abroad which enabled Germany to recover from the adverse effects of World War I. For example, it secured a loan of 800 Million Marks from USA through the Dawes Plan of May 1924 (named after General Dawes, the American who chaired the committee that was in charge of these loans). Using this money, the Weimar Republic was able to rehabilitate the infrastructures that had been destroyed by World War I. For example, it rebuilt railways, bridges, roads as well as houses for over three million Germans which was a major achievement.
The Weimar Republic signed the famous Kellogg Pact or Treaty of 1928 in Paris which was important in promoting international peace and the work of the League of Nations. This treaty was named after the American Secretary of State F.W. Kellogg who arranged it together with the French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand and was signed by sixty five states, including Germany under the Weimar Republic. All the signatories to this pact renounced or outlawed war as an instrument of national policy. They therefore pledged themselves not to fight each other except in “self – defence”. This therefore promoted peace in Europe, at least in the years up to 1929.