Abstract. The treaty of Versailles and the Weimar constitution were written in 1919 with expert advice from John Maynard Keynes and Max Weber respectively. This paper considers how advances in political and economic theory since then could help to better understand the problems of Weimar and Versailles. The Weimar constitution's combination of a strong presidency with a proportional-representation legislature may be responsible for the breakdown of German parliamentary government, and may have facilitated the careers of extremist authoritarian politicians. The Versailles treaty's huge reparations bill created a war of attrition that encouraged Germans to cultivate the Depression and Nazism
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