The Weimar Republic Primary Sources

This section of the website offers a sampling of primary source documents from the Weimar Republic. While not comprehensive, the selections found here paint a rich portrait of the time period.

The primary source documents are divided into four main categories: Culture, Economics, Politics, and Society. Each category has a short description that covers historical background information and the main issues related to that topic. Many of the documents also have descriptions, questions to help stimulate classroom discussions, and links to lessons or other Facing History resources that may be useful.

Culture

Weimar Germany was a center of artistic innovation, great creativity, and considerable cultural experimentation. In film, the visual arts, architecture, craft, theater, and music, Germans were in the forefront of exciting developments. The unprecedented freedom and widespread latitude for varieties of cultural expression led to an explosion of artistic production. Explore Weimar cultural primary sources from the Bauhaus arts and crafts school, as well as cabaret song, film, painting/drawing/etching, and sculpture.

Economics

Germany emerged from World War I with huge debts incurred to finance a costly war for almost five years. The treasury was empty, the currency was losing value, and Germany needed to pay its war debts and the huge reparations bill imposed on it by the Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended the war. The Economics primary sources reveal how the new German government struggled to deal with these crises, which had produced a serious hyperinflation.

Politics

The Weimar Republic was Germany’s first democracy, a state in which elected representatives had real power. The new constitution attempted to blend the European parliamentary system with the American presidential system. In this section, find primary sources representing the political landscape of the Weimar Republic, including political party platforms, political party posters, World War I, and the Treaty of Versailles.

Society

Rigid class separation and considerable friction among the classes characterized pre-World War I German society. In Weimar Germany, class distinctions, while somewhat modified, were still important. The primary sources in this section highlight the class relations during this period, as well as issues of antisemitism, gender, homophobia, racism, and religion. Find primary sources on Weimar society.

Search Our Collection

Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.