Why was 1923 a year of crisis for Germany?

This essay examines why 1923 became a year of crisis for Germany.

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Why was 1923 a year of crisis for Germany?
On 10 November 1918, the Weimar Republic was born as a result of the abdication
of the Kaiser on the previous day. The Socialist leader, Friedrich Ebert, became the new leader
of the Republic and immediately signed an armistice with the allied forces to signify, formally,
that the war was over. On 28th June 1919 Ebert decided, with much opposition, to sign the
Treaty of Versailles. This treaty placed the whole of the blame for the war towards Germany
and also insisted on a payment of £6.6 billion by Germany to the allies as reparations for the
war. This payment, in my opinion, was the main reason for the crisis of 1923.
The reparation payments were to be paid in annual instalments from 1921. The £50
million in 1921 was paid, but in 1922 nothing was paid. Ebert did his best to play for time and
to negotiate concessions from the allies, but the French in particular ran out of patience. As a
result of the default on the payments, the French Prime Minister Poincaré sent 60,000 troops
headed by General Degoutte to occupy the Ruhr, the industrial heart of Germany. In the Ruhr,
the soldiers began to take what was owed to them in the form of raw materials and goods.
Consequently, the government ordered the workers to carry out passive resistance they were
asked not to cooperate with the French, and to make the French occupation as difficult as
Hyperinflation resulted in Germany because of the lack of goods to trade due to the halt
in industrial production. Owing to the lack of goods to trade, the government simply printed
paper money as it seemed an attractive solution at the time. This hyperinflation was beneficial to
the government and many rich industrialists as they were able to pay off their debts in worthless
marks. The poor were badly affected by the hyperinflation because the price of goods could
rise between joining the back of a queue in a shop and reaching the front. Those on fixed
incomes, such as pensioners, were badly affected by the hyperinflation because they found that
their previously ample monthly pension would not even buy them a cup of coffee. Many of the
middle class were also affected by the hyperinflation because they found that their savings in the
bank, which might have bought them a house in 1921, by 1923 would not even buy a loaf of
Finally, the Munich Putsch can also be acquainted with the crisis of 1923. By
November 1923, the Nazi leader, Hitler, believed that the time had come for him and his party
to topple the government of Weimar as it was preoccupied with the economic crisis. On 8th
November, Hitler hijacked a local government meeting and announced he was taking over the
government of Bavaria. Hitler was joined by old war hero Ludendorff. On Hitler's command,
Nazi storm troopers began taking over official buildings. The next day, however, the Weimar
government forces hit back. Police rounded up storm troopers and also killed sixteen Nazis.
The rebellion had been crushed and Hitler escaped in a car while Ludendorff and others stayed
to face the armed police. The Munich Putsch was a disaster for Hitler as civilians did not rise up
to support him. He and other leading Nazis were arrested and charged with treason. At the trial,
the Nazi party gained enormous publicity as every word of Hitler's ideas were reported in the
newspapers. Hitler and his accomplices got off very lightly at the trial: Ludendorff was freed
altogether and Hitler was given only five years in prison, even thought the legal guidelines stated
that high treason should carry a life sentence. In the end, Hitler only served nine months of the
sentence and did so in great comfort in Landsberg castle.


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