Was the period 1924-28 really a Golden era for the Weimar Republic? (8 marks) Mark Scheme:
Simple statements are made about the period of time.
The answer briefly describes the improvements in Germany in this era. The answer refers to some events and offers a brief explanation of how this improved life for Germans. The student may have offered simple statements questioning the claim that the era was one of prosperity and success – there is no depth to this evaluation however.
This answer is well structured, with different interpretations defined. The answer makes use of dates, events and personalities to suggest that the republic did overcome the problems of the early 1920’s. This answer attempts to evaluate the claim that the era was a ‘Golden’ one. The student has a good grasp of the content and uses the information to form a substantiated conclusion.
This answer evaluates the claim that the period 1924-28 was a Golden era for the Weimar Republic. The student has a good grasp of events and links these together well to show the impact of events and policies on the German population. This answer looks for weaknesses in the republic at the time and points to events outside the control of Germany to show that the improvements were reliant upon a number of factors not necessarily under the control of German politicians. This answer reaches a conclusion that is clear and objective.
Make your notes here:
Read through these answers, make a note of the good points in each answer. Use the above mark scheme to establish a score for each response.
Answer 1 The period 1924-28 was a time in which life improved for most German people. The economy was much stronger and unemployment fell. The mid 1920’s was a Golden era for the Weimar Republic because everything was better than it had been before. Other countries stopped hating the Germans and the Americans helped them out with loans and things like that. Because of this the Republic was much better off and people began to like it. Lots of this was because of Gustav Stresemann who was a very good politician.
Answer 2 The Weimar Republic was transformed in the period 1924-28, from a weak and unstable government which was openly opposed to a democratic system that was widely respected and in full control of the nations economy. The fact that this period of stability and prosperity was so short however, suggests that the wealth of the mid 20’s may have been more of an illusion than a reality.
Under the shrewd leadership of Gustav Stresemann, amongst others, the Weimar Republic overcame many of it’s early problems. Germany benefited from a general worldwide improvement in economic circumstances, which led to Stresemann being able to negotiate the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan. These plans made efficient use of loans from the USA to partially solve the problem of reparations repayments. The funding enabled repayments to be made at the same time as industry was invested in. The benefits of this were great. Unemployment fell, inflation was brought under control and people had access to a greater variety of luxury goods than they had previously.
In comparison with the early period of the Republics existence then, this clearly was a golden age. There were no uprisings, rebellions, attempted revolutions or mass demonstrations against the republic. Extremist forms of politics were ignored by most of the population and rhetoric about the stab in the back et al was missing from public conversation. However the age was not one in which standards of living were particularly high, nor were all of the problems eradicated.
It can be argued that the prosperity of this period was simply storing up problems for later, the loans would have to be repaid at some stage. Nor can it be forgotten that the newfound wealth was actually the result of American loans rather than German efficiency. Unemployment may have fallen but wages were low and hours of work long – hardly an indication of a booming economy!
The mid twenties were a period of increased stability for Germany. People were better off than they had been in the first 4 years of the new government and were better off than they were in the 3 years following the Wall Street Crash. The period 1224-28 was therefore the best that the republic has to offer. However, it only appears to be ‘Golden’ because of the unusually high level of opposition and the depth of economic crisis that it had faced in the period 1919-23. Relatively the mid twenties were heavenly, but compared with other countries, such as the USA, Britain and France the Weimar republic was still a poor relation .