Democracy in Crisis: Germany 1929-1932

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At only one moment in history do all of the great ideologies of the modern West collide as roughly equal and viable contenders: Germany during the so-called Weimar Republic, 1919–1933. For over a decade since World War One, liberalism, nationalism, conservatism, social democracy, Christian democracy, communism, fascism, and every variant of these movements have contended for power in Germany. Although the constitutional framework boldly enshrines liberal democratic values, the political spectrum is so broad and fully represented that a stable parliamentary majority requires constant compromises – compromises that alienate supporters, opening the door to radical alternatives. Along with intense parliamentary wrangling, players, as delegates of the Reichstag, must contend with street fights, trade union strikes, assassinations, and even insurrections. Our game begins in late 1929, just after the US Stock Market Crash and as the German Reichstag (Parliament) deliberates on the Young Plan (a revision to the reparations payment plan of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War One). The players are mostly Reichstag delegates belonging to the various political parties. They must debate these matters and more as the combination of economic stress, political gridlock, and foreign pressure turn Germany into a volcano on the verge of eruption.

About the Author:

Robbie Goodrich’s research interests lie in Modern Central European history with a broad, integrative approach. In particular, his research and teaching emphasize cultural and social history with an eye towards the interplay of various factors such as labor, gender, sexuality, and religion. However, the nature of his research into religion and identity also requires a comparative view of European and American experiences, reflected in his interest in transnational history and recent focus on questions of identity related to Austro-Hungarian migration to/from Michigan. Goodrich also actively works to promote internationalization. He has taken students to Spain, Peru, Greece, and, most regularly, to Austria.