The new German government faced many crises during its first few years in power. “Even during the years of relative stabilization all was not well with Weimar Republic- (98 Source 1 Worksheet).
The Weimar Republic was working through harsh conditions with the task of stabilizing the economy, rebuilding the country after the First World War and having to cope with the account of the Treaty of Versailles; “underlying economic problems remained, and the relative political stability of Weimar’s golden years’ rested on shaky foundations – (98 Source 1 Worksheet).In part, international affairs of the Weimar Republic were strong however the economy and domestic political problems proved a hindrance to the survival of the republic. Stresemann helped pull Germany out of the crises of 1923, but the fragile government could not keep the support of the Reichstag. Stresemann could not keep both left and right wing sides happy and was opposed.
Even though such separations occurred, Stresemann still managed to be the Foreign minister from 1924 to 1929.
He was responsible for various foreign policy successes. The Locarno treaties signing with Britain, France, and Italy ensured Germany’s frontiers with France and Belgium. Furthermore, he guaranteed a spot for Germany in the League of Nations in 1926 along side Britain and France.
Most of all the Dawes Plan of 1924 and the Young Plain in 1929 benefited Germany the most. They both reduced Germany’s total reparations as well helped gain foreign recognition for the payment of these debts.Slowly, foreign troops intervention was withdrawn starting with British troops removal in 1926 followed by the withdrawal of the Inter-Allied Control Commission in 1927 which acted as the main overseer in Treaty of Versailles terms. “No area of policy under the Weimar Republic could claim to rival the success of its foreign policy.
Its tragedy was that it failed consistently to convince the zealots of the political extremes of the constructive good sense of that policy. When international economic crisis undermined the Republic, its foreign policy of restrained national reassertion was to be one of the first casualties of its collapse. (252 Morris).The Treaty of Versailles had left the German government devastated, as the republic could not pay the costs of the debts.
Unable to pay the 6. 6 Billion pound fee, foreign opposition was determined to make Germany pay, even if necessary to occupy raw materials for themselves. France and Belgium troops marched in to the industrial city of Ruhr and occupied it by force, which was legal under the Treaty of Versailles. Proclaiming a policy of passive resistance, Germany lost a huge industrial advantage.
Due to the actions in Ruhr, the government was unable to pay the damages and began printing more bills.Hyperinflation broke out and the Weimar Republic was the one to blame. Old people who lived on fixed pensions or savings found that these were now worthless, as well many small business and private trade became impossible. The state at which inflation increased was absurd and damaging to the German economy as the following passage explains: ” One fine day I dropped into a cafe to have a coffee.
As I went in I noticed the price was 5000 marks – just about what I had in my pocket. I sat down, read my paper, drank my coffee, and spent altogether about one hour in the cafe, and then asked for the bill.The waiter duly presented me with a bill for 8000 marks. Why 8000 marks? ‘ I asked.
The mark had dropped in the meantime, I was told. So I gave the waiter all the money I had, and he was generous enough to leave it at that. “” (Source 6 The Memories of a German Writer). Inflation in 1923 destroyed all savings and there was little or not money left for further investment.
By 1924 the Dawes plan was signed allowing 800 million marks to come into the country for investment in industry and commerce allowing Germany to recover its ruined economy. Even though by 1928 industrial production was high, the economy still faced many weaknesses.The economy was entirely based upon American loans. These loans could be removed at any time, resulting back to economic ruin.
The biggest sector, which faced trouble, was farming, where all farms were in a loss throughout the 1920’s. Even though economic stability was acquired by 1929, Germany’s economy was entirely dependent on foreign countries. Thus, by the coming of the Great Depression in America, Germany was also affected as America stopped all loans and recalled some, which had already been given. Germany’s economy again collapsed with high inflation and a stop to most industrial sectors.
The collapse of the Weimar Republic was evident as the people saw the government was not capable of stabilizing Germany. The weakest prospect of the Weimar Republic was of the continuing clashing of political parties of both left and right wings against the republic. No single party ever had won a majority in the Reichstag but a rather many small parties existed. Even though the Social Democrats did receive the most votes, the party was not big enough to rule of its own.
Many times, coalitions had to be formed between these small parties and often times such coalitions did not work.Thus, rivalries within coalitions formed an unstable government. Furthermore, there were twenty-five separate government in fourteen years of rule in the republic. Some of these twenty-five governments lasted only a few weeks.
Stresemann hoped, that foreign policy success would aid political parties to work together, however, this failed. The nationalist opposed Stresemann entirely as being too cautious and rejected the Versailles Treaty rather than having it revised. As well parties such as the Nazi and Communists showed no hesitancy in wising to overthrow the republic.Weimar Republic’s failure was sealed by the constitution itself.
Since no one party could take control with ease, proportional representation led to a lard number of small parties with little political influence. It was this lack of strength and inability to unite the parties that led to extremist movements of the right and left wing. Ultimately, it was the entire political system, which led to the republic downfall itself. All in all, the Republic did prove strong with its foreign policy, but even though such aspects did help to improve the Republic.
The republic was forced into downfall, as no political party did agree with a democratic government. Such coalition rivalries lead to extremist movements making the government unstable and incapable of ruling properly. Furthermore, the economic state of Germany was in peril as well. With hyperinflation on the run and very little industrial production the country was in chaos.
Stresemann did try hard to pull Germany out of harms way however, the Weimar republic was doomed from the beginning and perished leaving way for Hitler to lead Germany.
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