2.2) Germany: Social developments.

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Social welfare reforms:

  • Aftermath of way changes Germany's society and culture.
  • Weimar gave more rights, liberty and equality.
  • There was a conflict between traditionalists and mondernists.


  • 1924, Public assistance systems - Modernised way of helping poor.
  • 1925, State Accident Insurance System - Extended help to injured and occupational diseases.
  • 1927, National Employment Insurance System - Benefits to unemployed financed by workers.
  • But Welfare system promised more than delivered.
  • Very expensive, supported more than 300,000 War veterans, widows and disabled.
  • Raised taxes after 1924.
  • Tried to keep expendature down by a tightening of 'means test' to see if those needing support really needed it and delayed benefits.
  • Many War veterans and families were humiliated by Weimar.
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Living standard, Lifestyles and Women.

  • 1924-28, Living standard improved.
  • Those in work got wage increases.
  • The Welfare dependent were less happy but were helped not to fall into poverty.
  • Businessmen benefited from trade.
  • But those who lost out in Hyperinflation never gained money.
  • Farmers suffered from trading and low pay.
  • Women, Jews and Younger groups were affected.


  • Many like Elsa Hermann refused to be Housewives.
  • New woman was a term used to describe their life after war.
  • Was sexually free, independent and more public.
  • Given more voting rights and education, equal pay and civil service.
  • During war many young men died, young women couldn't marry.
  • War put many women in employment, women lives were different to their mother.
  • But although constitution gave more rights, Civil Code 1896 still existed.
  • Involved Husband making key decisions on family, if wife should work etc.
  • Many women weren't happy, BFD women groups wanted tradition back.
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New woman was not real.


  • Myth: Women had more rights, in work and were 36% of Germans workforce.
  • Reality: Many Women actually left jobs so ex-soldiers could work, they got married, paid   less than men and criticised as being dual earners by Conservatives.


  • Myth: Birth control was widespread and birth rate declined, divorce increased and               abortions rose in 1930 1m a year.
  • Reality: Aborton was illegal in 1930 it was 12,000, Conservatives criticised the low Birth     rate, Churches opposed birth control, divorce etc and many women were apart of                 the Church.


  • Myth: Women could vote and became reich deputies more than Britain, active in local         government.
  • Reality:No women reps in reichstag, cabinets, political parties and parties never spoke for   them.
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German Youth:

  • Young were breaking from family, school and religion.
  • More crime and anti-social behaviour.
  • Left school at 14 to start apprenticeships employment.
  • A lot of youth unemployed.
  • 1925-26, 17% youth unemployed.
  • Benefits and day centres helped fund skills.
  • Could help unemployed.
  • Many joined gangs with mutual interests.


  • Clique is a gang.
  • Common is big cities.
  • Hamburg cliques were Farmes' fear, Red Apaches, Death Diers and Eagle's claw.
  • Names represented toughnes.
  • Many broke the law.
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Youth Education and Groups.

  • Gymnasiums were for students' wanting to go uni.
  • Realschule gave 6 years of schooling.
  • Many class and religious divisions.
  • Wanted to stop divisions.
  • Intro of elementary schools for everyone was success.
  • Church influence still powerful.


  • WANDEVOGEL - Middle class boys, Nationalists, hated industrialisation, practised nudism.
  • CHURCH YOUTH - Catholics and Protestants had groups, Catholics had diff groups for diff sects of youth, e.g. New Germany for middle class. Both promoted religion.
  • POLITICAL YOUTH GROUPS - SPD youth, Young Communist league KPD, Hitler Youth Nazis.
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  • Half 1m Jews in Germany, 80% in cities and educated.
  • Many felt more German than Jew.
  • Wanted Assimulation, keeping culture but fully integrated in society.
  • Key in Banking, University and culture.


  • Powerful before 1914 too. 
  • 2 Jew Newspapers, Berlin Tageblatt and Frankfurter Zeitfung.
  • USPD Hugo Haase, Spartacist Rosa Luxemburg and Kurt Eisner were Jewish.
  • Kurt Eisner was leading SPD member in Bavaria.
  • Jewish families, Rothschild owned 18% banks in Germany.
  • Good as Law and Medicine, 1/2 of them in Berlin were Jewish.
  • Jews Succesful in acedemia,9 German Jews won NPP.
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  • Many Jews wished to Assimilate via dress, language and life.
  • Many Jews married Germans.
  • During Golden age, anti-semitism was fading away.
  • Some Germans didn't accept them, mainly the right wing.
  • 1918-24, Jewish Bolshevism, Communist and Jews were linked.
  • Hyperinflation led to anger to Jewish financers
  • Accused Jews of corruption and exploitation.
  • 1925, Barmat case worsened anti-semitism.
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German Culture:

  • Time of freedom and experimentation in Arts.
  • Began to modernise in art, architecture, music and literature.
  • Modernists V Conservatives.


  • Nightlife was extremely popular.
  • Cabarets and Nudity was popular.
  • Gay people expressed themselves.
  • American Jazz grew, comedians attacked politicians.
  • But many saw this as morally degenerating, USA culture has influenced German and discipline was lost after 1918.


  • Expressionsm dominated art and music, expressed real emotion of Germans.
  • Atonel Music avoided traditional forms of beauty, conveyed powerful emotions.
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German Culture:


  • Expressionism again dominated.
  • Poets had free form of writing.
  • Displayed persons mental state, showed revolt to parent too.


  • Bauhaus was modern influence.
  • Was an architecture school.
  • Many started to use steel, concrete and glass in architecture.


  • Expressionist ideas.
  • Used symbols and shapes to tell a message.
  • Attaced Capitalism, nationalism and war.
  • Seen as cultural Bolsheviks.
  • Film made Berlin centre of cinema.
  • Blue Angel was popular which was about a women seducing a proffessor.
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