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Part A: Economic Depression and Mass Unemployment


The world economic crisis that developed rapidly from the collapse of the USA’s Wall Street Stock Exchange in October 1929 soon made its impact on Germany. In March 1930 Bruning of the Centre Party had become Chancellor and for two years he struggled no deal with the crisis that hit German farming, industry, trade and finance. In the election that Bruning called in September 1930 pro Weimar parties did badly, extreme parties (especially Nazis and Communists) did well. It is against this background, and heavily dependent on President Hindenburg’s support, that Bruning tried to cope with the economic crisis.
Notes will be required on the following aspects:


1.

World Depression




This involves considering the background to the crisis in Germany including:




(i)

Wall Street Crash and the stock market crisis




(ii)

Bank failures




(iii)

Crisis in farming and industries and price falls




(iv)

World trade problems and increasing tariffs.




2.

The Depression in Germany




This involves considering:




(i)

German dependence on foreign loans and the withdrawal of loans




(ii)

Business failures and problems of trade




(iii)

Farming crisis




(iv)

Banking troubles




(v)

Rising unemployment.




3.

Government policies under Bruning




This involves considering:




(i)

Falling government tax revenues




(ii)

Government cuts and their consequences




(iii)

The problem of sustaining the Mark’s value




(iv)

Tax increases




(v)

The unsuccessful attempt at customs union with Austria.




4.

The End of Reparations




This involves considering:




(i)

Bruning’s aim of ending reparations




(ii)

Hoover and US readiness to end inter-allied debts




(iii)

British and French responses




(iv)

The virtual end of reparations.



Issues to consider / investigate / discuss


  • What criticisms were made in Germany of Bruning’s policies?




  • Were they justified? Should he have acted differently?




  • How far were Germany’s deep problems, 1929 – 32, the result of mistaken policies pursued 1924-1929? Was the economy in an unsound condition anyway?

Part B: The Weakening of Democracy; Bruning to Schleicher


Bruning became Chancellor in March 1930. At the end of January 1933, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor. The period between these dates is a critical time in understanding why the parliamentary democracy that had survived since the war finally came to an end. Political dealing between parties took place against the background of the economic depression and the effects that this had on Germany’s voters. The 1930 election saw big gains for the extremes of left and right yet the remaining parties still seemed to fail to collaborate to resist movements determined to end parliamentary democracy. Running through this section is the key question of how far the Weimar Republic brought about its own downfall. Once Hitler became chancellor the parliamentary system was rapidly dismantled.
Notes will be needed on the following aspects:


1.

The Bruning Government




This involves considering:




(i)

The influence of Schleicher




(ii)

Bruning’s political beliefs, qualities, etc




(iii)

Why Bruning replaced Müller




(iv)

His reliance on Hindenburg




(v)

His budget proposals and clash with the Reichstag.




2.

The 1930 Election




This involves considering:




(i)

The election results and the reasons for them




(ii)

The problems facing the Socialists




(iii)

How the Government survived.




3.

The Crisis of 1932




This involves considering:




(i)

The Presidential campaign




(ii)

The failure of constitutional supporters to effectively organise




(iii)

Army attitudes




(iv)

The fall of Bruning and appointment of von Papen




(v)

The July and November elections and the reasons for the results




(vi)

Von Papen’s attack on the Prussian Government




(vii)

The replacement of von Papen by Schleicher.



Issue to debate


What can be said for and against the view that:

The real turning point in the collapse of Weimar democracy was the fall of Bruning not the fall of Müller’?


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