Weimar Germany: The First Open Access Order that Failed?


Abstract: The Weimar Republic is analysed within the concept of limited and open access orders. Before World War I, Imperial Germany had developed into a mature limited access order with rule of law and open economic access but lack of competition in politics. After World War I and inflation, Weimar Germany developed toward an open access order; open access was not, however, sustainable and collapsed in 1930–31. This case of a failed open access order suggests refining the framework of limited and open access orders in further work. It shows that the political process of “creative destruction” might result in dissolution of open access and that the political system needs the capacity of efficiently creating legitimacy in order to sustain openness. The failure of Weimar Germany also indicates that the international political system might work as a destabilizing factor of open access and that the nation-state perspective of the limited and open access order framework needs to be supplemented by an international perspective.