Weimar Republic at 100: Echoes from the past

Germany is far stronger now than when the ill-fated republic came into being. Yet its shadow lingers on in the revival of populism and extremist politics.

BERLIN • This year Germans should have every reason to celebrate. A hundred years ago the first democratic republic in Germany came to life, the so-called Weimar Republic, named after the city where freshly elected deputies had gathered for the first time to constitute the new Parliament on Feb 6.

But the Germans are not in a party mood. First, because the memory of the republic, as democratic as it was, is heavily tainted. Weimar is seen as a flawed project, eventually enabling the Nazi terror that followed in 1933. Second, with the recent rise of populism and political extremes in today's Germany, some of the characteristics of Weimar are casting long shadows up till now.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2019, with the headline 'Weimar Republic at 100: Echoes from the past'. Subscribe