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Part E: Economic Crisis and Hyper-inflation

1923 proved to be a very troubled year for the Republic, a year in which troubles in Germany and foreign pressure combined to being about a major crisis. The reactions of political parties and the Army to the crisis showed how insecure the Republic’s foundations were. The crisis was weathered and brought to the fore the man who was to be Weimar’s leading statesmen - Gustav Stressemann. Events included Adolf Hitler’s first bid for power.
Notes should be made on the following aspects:


Trying to meet Allied demands?

This involves considering:


The final reparations bill presented to Germany


Economic problems in Germany i.e.

  • Debates

  • Wartime losses

  • The need to tackle post-war problems

  • The difficulty of enforcing a strict taxation policy

  • Signs of inflation


The Wirth Government and the policy of ‘fulfilment’


Von Seeckt and the Army policy of avoiding military restrictions


The Treaty of Rapallo and avoidance of restrictions.


The occupation of the Ruhr

This involves considering:


German inability to meet reparation demands


Poincaré and the Franco-Belgian occupation


The Cuno Government and passive resistance


The use of French workers; violence, strikes and sabotage.



This involves considering:


How the Ruhr occupation worsened the state of the economy


Price rises and the fall in value of the Mark


Who benefited


Damage done to wages, savings and attitudes to the Republic.


Reactions in Germany

This involves considering:


Bavaria as a shelter for Patriotic League paramilitaries


Von Kahn’s policies


Army attitudes to events in Bavaria


Army intervention to remove left-wing governments in Saxony and Thuringia


Stressemann, his career and personality


Stressemann resumes reparation payments


Hitler’s Munich Putsch and its consequences.

Issues to consider

  • Why did Britain and France press so hard for reparations? Did their reasons differ?

  • Should the French be blamed for their actions?

  • Why was Bavaria so important a centre of right-wing activity?

  • Why did not Hitler’s failure simply make him a figure of ridicule?

theme 2: a period of relative stability

During the years 1924 to 1929, the Weimar Republic seemed to flourish. Living standards rose, industrial production increased, exports grew. These developments took place amid a background of international negotiations that helped to stabilise the German economy and seemed to have sorted out the question of reparations agreements.
In foreign affairs too, Germany moved back into a world of better relations with the countries that had so recently been her enemies. French troops left the Ruhr and Allied troops began to leave the Rhineland. Germany’s changed status was marked by her entry into the League of Nations.
Yet all was not entirely well. Foreign money poured into Germany, attracted by high interest rates, and might just as easily leave. Extremist political parties on left and right continued to denounce the Republic and its policies. Those who accepted the Weimar political system were fragmented in different political parties and did not find it easy to co-operate with one another. The Army continued to fail to offer enthusiastic backing for the Weimar Republic.
The concepts of ideology and authority pervade this part of the course as people with differing political beliefs clashed and the government continued to struggle to assert really effective and generally accepted authority.

Issues to consider / investigate / discuss

  • How soundly-based was Germany’s economic recovery of 1924-1929?

  • How ready were Germans at this time to now accept the territorial arrangement made in the Versailles Treaty?

  • How secure and stable was the Weimar political system?

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