Unit 5 The Stresemann Years of the Weimar Republic

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Unit 5: "Stresemann Years" of the Weimar Republic
Relative Political Stability
The middle years of the Weimar republic were marked by an absence of the
attempts at extra-parliamentary action typified in the 1918-23 period by the
Spartacist uprising. Kapp-Luttwitz Putsch etc.
However these years were not ones of political stability as the parliamentary
system failed to mature and develop despite the reduction in the threat
from the extreme left and right. There are many reasons for this including,
the failure of the coalition system to produce governments that had
sufficient support to tackle the problems that faced the new democracy.
However nativity and cultural deficiency became highly apparent during the
Weimar tears when the parties still acted as interest groups representing
their own sectional interests than as national parties of government. Parties
needed to act in spirit of compromise and consensus but most did not.
The inability of successive coalitions to act or legislate with any cohesion
meant that many of the structural problems Weimar faced were not tackled.
Election May 1924
Gustav Stresemann's government lacked the supports of a majority in the
Reichstag and it collapsed in late November 1923 to be replaced by Wilhelm
Marx of the Centre Party. Yet Stresemann remained as Foreign Minister until
1929.
In the Reichstag elections of May 1924 of that year, the nationalist and
communist parties gains at the expense of the more moderate parties of the
centre.
The Dawes Plan
Stresemann believed that a policy of fulfilment was the best course of action
in dealing with the allies. Above all else, Germany needed raw materials and
to restore confidence in its economy. The Dawes plan was put together by a
committee of economists and other experts chaired by American banker
Charles Dawes. In April 1924, the committee produced its proposals.
The French would leave the Ruhr and further sanctions would be made
harder to apply.
Reparations would be paid over a longer period of time
The Reichsbank would be reorganised under allied supervision. Reparation
payments would be paid in such a way as not to threaten the stability of the
German Currency.
However the most challenging for the government of Marx was the passage
through the Reichstag of the Dawes plan. The main problem was that the

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Germany accepting that it would have to continue paying
reparations.
The plan was approved in the Reichstag on the 29th of August 1924.
Obstruction by the SPD
The new coalition of January 1925 was led by Hans Luther. The coalition
excluded the socialists but included members of the nationalist DNVP for the
first time. Basically, the problems for the Republic's political system of
coalition government were made worse by the behaviour of the SPD.…read more

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Election May 1928
The election of May 1928 was an important turning point for the Weimar
Republic. The left made important gains such as the SPD's seats increasing
along with the KPD.
By the time the SPD was prepared to form a coalition after the May election
victory of 1928, the political polarisation that a developing feature of the
period meant that forming a stable majority government had become nearly
impossible.…read more

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However the right were defeated and the Reichstag passed the Young Plan
legislation in March 1930, although events were increasingly becoming
overshadowed by the Wall Street Crash in October 1929.
Collapse of the Grand Coalition
Much of the economic recovery of the mid-1920's had relied on short-term
loans from abroad. Unemployment was growing and an increasing strain was
placed on the benefit system.…read more

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Foreign Policy ­ Better Relations with the Allies
From 1919 to 1924 relations between the Allies and Germany were poor
from the Treaty of Versailles along with other problems contributed to a
continuing mistrust. However 1924 brought a change in attitudes on all
sides.
The election of a labour government led by Ramsay Macdonald in Britain in
January 1924 produced a friendly attitude towards Germany, and subsequent
British governments maintained this.…read more

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Yet there were economic side effects to the improvement in diplomatic
relations: for example a commercial treaty was signed between France and
Germany in 1927.…read more

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