Can anyone PLEASE proofread my essay?!

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To what extent were economic problems the main issue in German history between 1919 and 1933?

1919 marked the end of World War One and 1933 was the year Hitler was appointed chancellor.  Many believe that this was caused by a number of issues that took place during this period of time. German history between 1919 and 1933 cannot be explained by a single issue – there were many. However there can be no doubt of the importance of economic problems and the impacts they made. For example, if the Wall Street Crash had never taken place, poverty would not have hit Germany so hard or perhaps it would have never hit at all. Although economic problems were, in my opinion, the main issue in German history there were also political issues such as the weakness of the Weimar Republic as it spent a lot of money that Germany did not have. There was also instability in government caused by the method of proportional representation affecting the important decisions that were made for the country. As no one had full control in government there were a wide variety of opinions and views that couldn’t be compromised. Perhaps if Germany had just one powerful leader such as a ‘Kaiser’ as they did until 1918, they would have made more sensible choices for the country such as refusing to sign the Treaty of Versailles that forced her to accept to paying reparations, another factor that caused poverty. Finally, there were social and cultural issues such as the Spartacists revolts that took place in January 1919 in Berlin that caused it to become too dangerous a city to set up the National Assembly in.

The Weimar Republic brought some stability to politics. To begin with, there were no more attempted revolutions after 1923. One politician who had opposed views to Ebert’s in 1923 said that ‘the Republic is beginning to settle and the German people are becoming reconciles to the way things are.’ To back up his point, source 28 on page 261 shows that the parties supporting Weimar democracy did particularly well during these years. By 1928 the left wing parties had 136 more seats in the Reichstag than the right wing parties. Hitler’s Nazis gained less than 3 per cent of the vote in the 1928 election. This suggests that at this period of time in German history, most of the German population supported Stresemann and the Weimar democracy because it brought prosperity and a higher standard of living to them.

There was also a cultural revival in Germany. In the Kaiser’s time there had been a strict censorship, but the Weimar constitution allowed free expression of ideas. This was a time where writers, poets, artists and musicians were flourishing, especially in Berlin. Artists such as George Grosz produced powerful shocking paintings. Source 25 shows one of his paintings named ‘pillars of Society’ in 1926 which criticised the politicians of the Weimar period. He felt too many leading figures in society still believed in the ideals of the Kaiser’s Germany and suggested this view in this painting as you can see the civilians still dream of military glory.

Stresemann (although Chancellor only a few months) had a wide support as he helped the fact that through the 1920s the rest of Europe was gradually coming out of its post-war depression. Slowly but surely, he built up Germany’s prosperity again. Under the Dawes Plan reparation payments were spread over a longer period, and 800 million marks in loans from the USA poured into German industry. By 1927 German industry seemed to have recovered very well. In 1928 Germany finally regained its place the world’s second greatest industrial power (behind the USA). This prosperity that Stresemann brought in the Roaring Twenties soon came to an end on 14th October 1929 (black Thursday) the Wall Street Crash occurred. The USA recalled all loans, which meant that Germany was put into more debt, and was not able to fund its government properly, resulting in the Great Depression. The most effected were the peasant farmers and the middle class. The peasant farmers had increased production during the war therefore soon they found themselves overproducing. They had mortgages to pay but no enough demand for food they produced. In addition, a university lecturer in 1913 earned ten times as much as a coal miner. In the 1920’s he only earned twice as much. These people began to feel the Weimar government offered them little.

The Nazi Party blamed the Weimar Republic for signing the Treaty of Versailles. In the 1923 Munich Putsch Hitler led a rebellion because the government was about to sign the Dawes Plan to make the payment of reparations possible. Hitler thought the Weimar Republic was weak because it was democratic and no party could gain a majority in the Reichstag without a coalition.

The Treaty of Versailles was not the only reason for the weakness of the Weimar Republic before 1929. In many ways Germany has brought weakness on herself, rather than having it imposed on her. The loss of the war, the abdication of the Kaiser, the creation of the weak Republican Constitution and the extremism of German politics would have made Germany weak even without the Treaty.

However, the Treaty did shock the German nation. The loss of so many Germans to other states, such as Poland, was an important reason for nationalists like Kapp and Hitler to blame the government. The restrictions on German armed forces, especially the army, meant that the Republic could not defend itself properly.

Communism was bred by poverty, which in turn was prolonged at least by the need to pay the reparations demanded by the Treaty. After 1929, the determination of Hindenburg to rule by decree meaning that he could make up the rules as he went along was important, but the Wall Street Crash and the effects of the Depression on Germany were important too.

The fact that the Depression hit Germany so hard was because of the number of loans set up to allow the payment of reparations, such as the Young Plan. Hitler was also able to profit by promising to destroy the Treaty of Versailles: nationalism was what bound the Nazi Party together.

So, although Germany would have been weak without the Treaty of Versailles, the Treaty was probably the most important cause of its weakness.


Posted Sat 1st December, 2012 @ 13:08 by Alexa

1 Answer

  • -1 votes

you have used some colloquial language, either that or you may have to look over for grammar mistakes, when you said "the treaty of versailles was probably the most important cause of its weakness" (botttom line), it sounds either colloquial (ie slang) or a grammar mistake.

Also, you might want to have some connectives to connect paragraphs which wilol gain you marks :D can't proff read the whole thing.

Answered Sun 2nd December, 2012 @ 12:34 by Eamon Walker