Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Andreas Kluth

The U.S. Mustn't Follow Weimar Germany and Ancient Rome

In its moment of crisis, the American republic can find warnings but also inspiration in the past.

Backed by Roman pillars.

Backed by Roman pillars.

Photographer: Jon Cherry/Getty Images North America

Since the ransacking of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, America’s institutions, leaders and citizens have been groaning under one of the most severe tests in the history of the republic. Are there lessons to draw on from the past?

History, according to a famous aphorism, may not repeat itself, but it rhymes. Here, then, is my own personal musing on two republics that failed, with consequences for the whole world: pre-Imperial Rome between 133 BCE and 27 BCE, and Weimar Germany between 1919 and 1933.