In the early 20th century, Germany was a terribly young and diverse nation held together artificially by perceived power in the hands of the Kaiser. The idea of nationalism was present but it’s a much easier concept to manifest in a place like France or Vietnam- places with one language, a similar culture and experience, and a previous political foundation to map itself under. Germany is a conglomerate of culture, religion, history, and political institutions that was quickly meshed together and formed one of the most industrialized nations in the world when war pressed across Europe in 1914. The world watched as they let a child behind the steering wheel, hoping they may not crash the car. We cannot and should not think of Germany as we do the nation we see today. There sat a Prussian King who called himself emperor over a massive territory that was highly diverse. That emperor with the aid of the imperial elite led a young nation without a true identity into a war that the masses could not identify with. There can be no question that Germany was ruled by a select elite that was in no way representative of the German people. The conglomerate was being held together by artificial rope and when there was no more strength to hold on, the nation split into factions which were realized in the 1918 revolution.
The Weitz reading further clarifies the diverse political institutions and organizations that formed to speak for the people directly after the war. The 1918 Revolution fully shows what kind of a powder keg the masses of Germany were to the imperial elite. They threw off a Prussian Emperor and sought to establish a truly German republic and representative system. The people of Germany knew the level of diversity their nation possessed which is why so many parties, organizations, and councils formed to meet political demands.
I believe that Germany’s path following WWI may have been its greatest option because of its dramatic political system to capture the population. Instead of thousands of organizations and groups each speaking to the level of diversity found in the nation now without a king holding it together, these groups needed to consolidate their message. A Protestant vs. Catholic war in Germany in 1918 would have been much bloodier than the trenches in France. Social pubs and worker’s unions warring in the streets would prove to be anarchy. Germany needed dramatic politics so that sides could form instead of every diverse group for themselves and let anarchy ensue. While the radical Nazi Party and Communist Party each gained ground because of the drama of politics, a common rallying party served as the correct vehicle to fuse the nation.