The Weimar Republic 1924-1929 was a period of success for all. How far do you agree?
Weimar Germany between the years of 1924 and 1929 is often called the ‘Golden Era’ because of Germany’s reassertion as a great European power. Certainly, this period was a time of great success for many with some businesses booming, a brand new currency and the approval of America. It is fair to say that for some, these years provided an opportunity to renew pre-war standards but for others the right wing politics meant only despair. The economic, political and cultural developments, as well as Stresemann’s controversial foreign policy, had both good and bad sides that determined to what extent this phase was a success for all.
One of the positives to come out of the Stresemann era was the Dawes Plan which benefitted Germany’s economy. Reparations would be paid over a longer period of time and the USA loaned Germany 800 million marks. This, along with the introduction of the rentenmark to tackle inflation, meant that by 1928 Germany’s levels of production were up to pre-war levels. However, the loans from America could be recalled at any time which would mean absolute ruin. Although big businesses such as chemical and steel industries benefited from The Weimar Republic’s economic policies, agricultural workers and the middle classes did not fare so well; from 1923-1929 production declined to the point that farmers were earning half the national average. As well as this, unemployment was a rapidly increasing problem and hyperinflation meant that the people’s faith in the government had been destroyed. The economic boom may have benefitted some, but it disadvantaged many, many more.
Stresemann is known for his triumphs in foreign policy. The Locarno Treaties, signed in 1925, meant that Germany’s borders with France and Belgium were guaranteed. This achievement led to Germany’s acceptance into the League of Nations with a permanent membership and a seat on the council, thus recognising Germany’s position as a great power once more. After these successes, Stresemann’s main concern was reversing the terms of the much hated Treaty of Versailles; by the time of his death in 1929, the Young Plan had been successfully negotiated. Nonetheless, Stresemann certainly had his critics. Nationalists thought that by agreeing to join the League of Nations he was conforming to the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles. On the other end of the political spectrum, Communists criticised him for the Locarno Treaties and saw it as a threat to the Communist government in the USSR. It is clear that Germany was still far from a united country and this would only mean further political problems.
The “golden age” of the Weimar Republic was a time of increased political stability. There were fewer uprisings and a more central voting trend. Having said that, there were also a great deal of political problems. During the Stresemann era no single party won a majority, largely due to the use of proportional representation in elections. This meant that governments formed from coalitions which often couldn’t agree on policy and broke down; in just 14 years there were 25 new governments. The extremist political parties such as the Nazis wanted rid of the Weimar entirely and so began to build up their party. Most serious was the election of Hindenburg as President in 1926. He was extremely nationalistic having been a general in the Germany Army for WW1 and so asked the exiled Kaiser permission to take up his post!
During this time, there was a cultural revival. Germany became famous for her
music, architecture, industry, cinema, theatre and art. Marlene Dietrich and Fritz Lang became cultural icons of the 20s and, since the Kaiser’s exile, daring and political songs that would have previously been censored became almost commonplace. This more liberal approach to the arts brought in tourists and fame that benefitted Germany greatly. However, what was excitingly liberal and fresh for some signalled a moral decline for others and they blamed it on American immigrants or Jewish artists. While on one hand Germany’s cultural renaissance meant new found artistic freedom, on the other it meant the start of such organisations as the Wandervogel movement. They wanted increased help for the countryside and less debauchery in the towns and it was this sentiment that the Nazis used to their advantage years later.
Although the Stresemann era solved some of the major problems Germany was faced with in 1924, it also caused some difficulties. The Weimar Republic had returned to its state of unpopularity by the time of Stresemann’s death and the Nazis and Communists were quickly organising their parties. As well as this, small businesses and middle to lower classes were badly affected by the economic situation along with the Republic’s political policies whereas larger department stores or landowners benefitted so much that the value of land in Berlin rose by 700%. This, along with some alienating foreign policies, show that although the Stresemann era was a great success for some, for others it only caused more problems and overall bread distrust in a democratic political system.
The Weimar Republic's Recovery by 1929 Essay example
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The Weimar Republic's Recovery by 1929
From 1919 until 1924 the Weimar Republic had somehow managed to survive political, economic and foreign policy problems. This was followed by a period of stability and apparent prosperity until 1929, but I am cautious about the extent to which the Weimar Republic recovered by 1929. There are three main problematic areas; political, economic and foreign policy.
There were many economic problems that Germany needed to resolve. Germany was left completely bankrupt after World War I and the Treaty of Versailles, which meant that she had to pay reparations of £6, 600 million. In 1923, the new leader, Stresemann made important economic changes that were key to…show more content…
There were high taxes and farming was not doing well. On top of all of this Germany still had to make reparation payment as the Young Plan just gave her more time to pay reparations.
Overall I believe that Germany made a good recovery for the time being, They were stable and I think well on her way to full recovery but there were still big problems that needed to be resolved. A main problem that was causing Germany a lot of grief was that she still needed to pay reparations. I think once they pay back her loans then she will be able to start to make a full recovery but in the long run I don't think she has recovered completely.
There were also political problems. Stresemann called off the passive resistance in the Ruhr and agreed to resume reparations payments, then renegotiated the terms of reparations. After Germany began to make reparations payments, France and Belgium had no real reason to stay in the Ruhr, which they had occupied since 1923, and once they had withdrawn the German government could try to establish political stability. Socialists had become more popular with the middle classes, there were no more revolutions and even with all of these problems Weimar had survived!
But there were still problems. A main problem was that no political party ever won a majority and so Germans were still voting for extreme parties. In 1925 Hindenburg was