Germany, the German political system, the Weimar Republic, the Nazi party, Adolf Hitler, facism, democracy, the Versailles Peace Treaty, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, Arend Lijphart, Consensual Democracy
Our conception of the Federal Republic of Germany is very different from what it was only 15 years ago. Throughout much of its history, Germany was under the leadership of dictators and was never very comfortable with democracy. Germany's first experience with democracy occurred from 1918-1933 during the Weimar Republic. This economically deprived period of time was extremely unstable and gave the German people a negative perspective regarding democratic principles. After the fall of the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich was created and led by Adolf Hitler. Hitler's fascist and oppressive regime, which was known as the Nazi party, removed all signs of democracy and replaced that system with its polar opposite.
[...] This new democratic regime developed quickly both economically and politically while East Germany lagged slowly behind. In 1990, after the destruction of the Berlin Wall, both Germany's were united and West Germany tried quickly to establish democracy in the east. Because of the long separation, East Germany had changed in many ways and it was long before East Germany was able to settle with the new democratic principles being introduced. After 1990, the entire Germany became fully democratic and was renamed The Federal Republic of Germany. [...]
[...] Many people tend to think that all democracies are majoritarian, but the truth of the matter is that most government are somewhere in between these two extremes. There is no government in the world that is purely majoritarian because countries have realized the political problems that would result from such distribution of power. In explaining the majoritarian government, Lijphart first explains the problems with majority rule. He mentions some of the contradictions in this form of government, such as restraints on majorities. If the majority is in charge, who can possibly step in and restrain them from their course of action? [...]
[...] Introduction to Comparative Politics. 3rd Ed. [...]
[...] Lijphart explains that in a majoritarian democracy, the needs of the public could not possibly be fully met because only one political party would have all control. Leaving the rest of the politicians in the dark, this majority would exercise power and make laws that may be very unfair to the minority, which may be a large segment of the nation. According to Lijphart, it is both wrong and dangerous to argue, explicitly or implicitly, that majority rule is the only or the only legitimate form of democracy”(108). [...]
[...] Such an event happened only once in Germany's history in 1982 when the government replaced Helmut Schmidt with Helmut Kohl (Mahler 241). Based on Lijphart's description of democracies, Germany most closely resembles a Consensual Democracy with some aspects of a Majoritarian Democracy. Bibliography Mahler, Gregory S. Comparative Politics: An Institutional and Cross- National Approach. 3rd Ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Lijphart, Arend. Majoritarian Versus Consensual Democracy. International Social Science Journal, no (August 1991), pp.483-493. Kesselman, Mark, Joel Krieger & William A. Joseph. [...]
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