Monarchism in the Weimar Republic

By Walter H. Kaufmann | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
The Consolidation of the Republic

1. The Re-Grouping of the Political Forces in the Republic

Under the impact of the revolution the monarchistic opposition kept quiet at first. It seems that their main endeavor was not to be noticed. So far as the revolution had aimed at the liquidation of the monarchy, it virtually crashed through an open door. There was, for the time being, no attempt whatsoever to stem the tide of republicanism by a counter-revolution. For once the rightists were realistic enough to appraise their own weakness correctly; with the Army defeated in the field and permeated by the spirit of mutiny, the monarchists lacked the forces for successful counteraction.

Their temporary acquiescence to the establishment of the Republic showed prudence, rather than cowardice. They were biding their time, knowing that the only chance for an eventual restitution of the monarchy lay in the freedom a democratic Republic offered. They trusted in the traditionally monarchic sentiment of the German people, which they hoped would re-assert itself in quieter times. The greatest danger for this projected resurrection of the monarchy was threatening from the left-wing radicals, who wanted to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. This situation offered an easy alternative to even those bourgeois parties which were not eager to accept the Republic. As the democratic Republic had become the first line of defense against the radicals' attack, the bourgeois rallied behind the Social Democrats to fight for democracy. Units of the same army which traditionally had been the main supporting pillar of the Prussian- German monarchy, answered readily the S.O.S. call of the once despised Social Democrats. The High Command put the army at the disposition of the new government "until the reorganization of Germany (had been) effected."1

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