Germany marks centennial of Weimar era that preceded Nazis

Germany's Weimar Republic is broadly painted as an abject failure, the post-World War I period of hyperinflation, famine, ineffective leadership and other woes that helped give rise to the Nazis

BERLIN -- Germany's Weimar Republic is broadly painted as an abject failure, the post-World War I period of hyperinflation, famine, ineffective leadership and other woes that helped give rise to the Nazis.

At a ceremony on Wednesday marking its 100th anniversary, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised the ideals that gave birth to an experiment in democracy and a government that lasted from 1919 to 1933.

Steinmeier noted the republic's constitution gave men and women equal rights in a marriage; said children should be educated based on "talent and inclination" instead of their parents' religion or wealth; and advocated an economic system that provided "dignity for everyone."

He says it was a "call for a new beginning, a call for freedom and justice against the violence of the republic's enemies."