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Weimar and Nazi Germany

The Weimar Constitution

The impact of the Treaty of Versailles

1919 -1923: years of crisis?

The Munich Putsch

The Origins of the Nazi Party

1924 - 1929: A Golden era?

Gustav Stresemann

German Foreign Policy 1919 to 1933

Germany in the Depression

The Rise of the Nazi party

From Chancellor to Fuhrer

The failures of Weimar

Creating a totalitarian state

Nazi methods of control

Opposition to the Nazi's

Propaganda

The Economy under the Nazi's

Nazi Foreign Policy

Education in Nazi Germany

The Holocaust

 

 

Economic problems

The Weimar Republic had some of the most serious economic problems ever experienced by any Western democracy in history. Rampant hyperinflation, massive unemployment and a large drop in living standards were primary factors. In 1923-29 there was a short period of economic recovery, but the Great Depression of the 1930s led to a worldwide recession. Germany was particularly affected because it depended heavily on American loans. In 1932, about 5 million Germans were unemployed. Many blamed the Weimar Republic. This was made apparent when political parties on both right and left wanting to disband the Republic altogether made any democratic majority in Parliament impossible.

The Weimar Republic was severely affected by the Great Depression triggered by the Wall Street crash in 1929. The crash and subsequent economic stagnation led to increased demands on Germany to repay the debts owed to the U.S. As the Weimar Republic was very fragile in all of its existence, the depression proved to be devastating, and played a major role in the NSDAP's takeover.

The Versailles treaty was considered by most Germans to be a punishing and degrading document because it forced them to surrender resource-rich areas and pay massive amounts of compensation. These punitive reparations caused consternation and resentment, although the actual economic damage resulting from the Treaty of Versailles is difficult to determine. While the official reparations were considerable, Germany ended up paying only a fraction of them. However, the reparations did damage Germany's economy by discouraging market loans, which forced the Weimar government to finance its deficit by printing more money, causing rampant hyperinflation. In addition, the rapid disintegration of Germany in 1919, due to the return of a disillusioned army, the rapid change from possible victory in 1918 to defeat in 1919, and the political chaos may have caused a psychological imprint on Germans that could lead to extreme nationalism, shown by Hitler.

Most historians agree that many industrial leaders identified the Weimar Republic with labour unions and with the Social Democrats, who had established the Versailles concessions of 1918/1919. Although some did see Hitler as a means to abolish the latter, the Republic was already unstable before any industry leaders were supporting Hitler. Even those who supported Hitler's appointment often did not want Nazism in its entirety and considered Hitler a temporary solution in their efforts to abolish the Republic. Industry support alone cannot explain Hitler's enthusiastic support by large segments of the population, including many workers who had turned away from the left.

The content of this page were originally published on the Wikipedia website. They are reproduced here under the GNU Free Documentation License. (Link at foot of page)

Wikipedia page cited http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Republic#Economic_problems

Terms of GNU license: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License

   
   
 

In this unit:

Essential Revision

Key Issues:

  1. How far did Germany recover under Stresemann?
  2. How did the Nazi party develop, upto 1929?
  3. How did Hitler become Chancellor?
  4. Howdid Hitler create a dictatorship?
  5. What were the main features of Totalitarian rule?
  6. What were the benefits of Nazi rule?

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SchoolsHistory.org.uk highly recommends these sites:

gcsehistory.org.uk - new site aiming to provide an accessible narrative for GCSE History pupils.
Schoolhistory.co.uk - fantastic range of interactive games, revision materials and links.
ActiveHistory.co.uk - outstanding use of ICT to engage pupils.
Thinkinghistory.co.uk - a brilliant range of learning activities from Ian Dawson
JohnDClare.net - simply the best for Modern World GCSE students
Historyboxes.com - make your lessons 'real' with artefacts and living history provided by experts
Schoolshistory.com - same author as this site, just put together in a slightly different way!
Medicinethroughtime.co.uk - all new resources for teachers and pupils of the SHP Medicine course
Crimeandpunishmentthroughtime.co.uk - A new site providing resources for teachers and pupils of the Crime and Punishment unit

Wallarms.com Militaria - a range of interesting pieces of militaria is available via tihs site
The Turkey Inn, Goose Eye, Oakworth - great historical public house with loads of great beer and a lovely atmosphere