• Wall Street Crash in the USA, stock market collapsed.
  • Demanded immediate repayment of short-term loans back from Germany
  • German economy collapses due to these repayment.
  • Decline in: workforce, wages, hours, banks, employment, industrial production, export trade declined, farming, civil service cuts.


  • 1930: There were negotiations/moves to limit the amount of benefits being paid.
  • The unemployed were only entitled to benefits for a fixed period, then had to apply via local authorities, (less generous and strictly tested).
  • Women received less benefits than men, young less than adults.
  • Brand-Erbisdorff: (near Dresden) centre for glass making, in April 1931 - glassworks closed and half of the pop were under welfare payments. After two years, they no longer qualified for benefuts and to rely on the less generous relief of local authorities.
  • Disease linked to poor nutrition and poor conditions, e.g TB.
  • Cases of malnutrition among children.
  • Many were evicted and shanty towns were built in the edges of Berlin.
  • June 1933 (Hamburg): unemployment amongst youth (14-25) was 39%. and females it was 25.2%.
  • Due to unemployment - lack of optimism led to gangs and young men congregating public spaces (arlarmed mc citizens).
  • 14-25 year olds accused of crime increased, theft, charged with offences against the state (violent disorder during political dem).
  • Political extremism: young men involved in political organisations increased.
  • KPD successfully recruited wc youth from wild-cliques to engage in street battles with their opponents.
  • HJ and SA offered unemployed boys food, uniforms, shelter and excitement of fighting street battles.
  • Gov priority: keep control in over expenditure on unemployment benefit, lessen the damaging effects on the young.
  • established day centres, where they can participate in work related activities and socialise.
  • emergency labour schemes: unemployed youths were required to undertake unskilled manual labour, receiving minimum wages.
  • Unpopular: two strikes for higher wages in October 1930 and June 1932.
  • Voluntary labor schemes: young people sent to do residential work camps for 6 months.
  • Priority was to get the youths of the streets.
  • Women: experienced Depression better than men - female proportion in workforce increased.
  • Question of whether married women should be in employment whilst men were unemployed?
  • May 1932: right wing parties campaign on 'double-earners' achieved success in passing a law which allowed married women civil servants to be dismissed.
  • The law was only limited to central gov. civil servants + they had to prove that they were economically secure.
  • Reich postal Service: dismissed 1000 married women from its employment.
  • The cause of equal rights for women suffered a serious setback during the Depression.

Overall summary

Mass unemployment had a corrosive effect on German society. Although the Weimar had a well-developed system of unemployment and welfare benefits, the cost overwhelmed the welfare budget. Towns who depended on one industry, the impact was far worse. The youth and women suffered the most socially during the Depression. But, the government did try to introduce schemes to improve the situation of the youth. 


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