The Weimar Republic was founded after World War I ended with Germany’s defeat by Allied forces. The country was left devastated and bankrupted by war; with millions dead and many more wounded or displaced from their homes. In November 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated as German Emperor and King of Prussia, following Germany’s defeat at the hands of Allied Powers at the end of World War I (1914–1918).
The Weimar Republic was named after Weimar because it was based on the constitution that had been written for that town by liberal intellectuals. However, this form of government was only intended as a temporary measure until elections could be held again.
The republic was formed following World War I, when Germany had to surrender territory and pay reparations for the damage inflicted during the conflict.
The Weimar Republic was ultimately unable to meet these obligations, leading to hyperinflation, unemployment and social unrest. It faced many challenges throughout its relatively short lifespan (1919–1933), including economic instability, hyperinflation, political extremism and foreign interference. However, it was also home to many important achievements, including the adoption of the world’s first constitution with a provision for women’s suffrage.
The republic was not immediately successful, with hyperinflation and political unrest causing much instability. But it did survive until Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933.