Democratic deadlock and leadership - Germany and Austria and the rise of Nazism/Fascism
Within two years and four election cycles, the Weimar democracy collapsed and the Nazi regime had risen. This was a result of an escalating polarization of the German society that led to a political paralysis and inability to establish a stable coalition. Hitler used article 48 that credited the president with wide powers to limit liberal rights and democratic institutions, to destroy democracy . This put an end to a long bitter dispute between authoritarian (Carl Schmitt) and liberal (Hans Kelsen) legal interpretations of this article. In my lecture I will discuss the roots of article 48 before the First World War as presented by Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903), a liberal historian, jurist and politician, who took part in the formulation of the German Empire constitution. I will claim that while he anticipated democratic deadlocks, he became gradually reluctant about leadership as a proper response.
Dr. Sharon Gordon received her PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She studied economics and history in Israel and Germany and Austria. Her research is focused on the perceptions of the relationship between state and economy in modern Central Europe as presented in theories, practices and images of money, including perceptions on Jews and money.
She was the editor of "Chidushim – Studies in the History of German and Central European Jewry" and several volumes of "Tabur – Yearbook for European History, Society, Culture and Thought. Her book, edited together with Dr. Rina Peled, about Vienna 1900 was published in 2019.