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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:


1.

Trying to meet Allied demands?




This involves considering:




(i)

The final reparations bill presented to Germany




(ii)

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




(iii)

The Wirth Government and the policy of ‘fulfilment’




(iv)

Von Seeckt and the Army policy of avoiding military restrictions




(v)

The Treaty of Rapallo and avoidance of restrictions.




2.

The occupation of the Ruhr




This involves considering:




(i)

German inability to meet reparation demands




(ii)

Poincaré and the Franco-Belgian occupation




(iii)

The Cuno Government and passive resistance




(iv)

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




3.

Inflation




This involves considering:




(i)

How the Ruhr occupation worsened the state of the economy




(ii)

Price rises and the fall in value of the Mark




(iii)

Who benefited




(iv)

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




4.

Reactions in Germany




This involves considering:




(i)

Bavaria as a shelter for Patriotic League paramilitaries




(ii)

Von Kahn’s policies




(iii)

Army attitudes to events in Bavaria




(iv)

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




(v)

Stressemann, his career and personality




(vi)

Stressemann resumes reparation payments




(vii)

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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