Gustav Stressemann and the Rentenmark
August 1923, Gustav Stressemann became the Chancellor of Germany. The German people believed that he and other politicians of Germany would not be able to solve the major problems that Germany was facing. The years were Stressemann was leader of Germany were known as the "Golden Years".
Stressemann created a new currency called the Rentenmark. One Rentenmark was worth 1,000 billion marks. The German people quickly accepted the new currency, and inflation was brought under control. However, people who had lost their savings felt cheated and blamed the Weimar Republic. They were not compensated.
The Dawes Plan and the Young Plan
The Dawes Plan
The Dawes Plan was an attempt in 1924 to solve the reparations problem. It was an agreement between the USA and European countries drawn up for the USA by Charles Dawes. The Dawes Plan gave Germany longer to pay the Allies.
The Young Plan
The Young Plan was an agreement made between Germany and the Allies to lower reparations and allow Germany to pay them back over a longer period of time. As a result, the reparations were lowered from 120,000 million marks to 37,000 million marks, However, the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan were hated by many Germans as they believed that Germany should not have to pay reparations at all. Even under the Young Plan, Germany would be paying reparations until 1988.
The Locarno Pact was signed in October 1925, enabling Germany to enter the League of Nations. It was a series of treaties signed between Germany, Britain, France and Italy. They guaranteed Germany's frontiers with France and Belgium. They promised to not invade one another.
Germany's Entry to the League of Nations
In 1926, Germany joined the League of Nations where it was given "great power" status and had a say in any major decisions that were made,
The Kellogg-Briand Pact was signed August 27 in 1928. It was an agreement to outlaw war, signed in Paris by 15 nations: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, the Irish Free State, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa and the USA.
The Golden Years
The years in which Gustav Stressemann was Chancellor were known as the "Golden Years". This was because some people believed that he was one of Germany's greatest leaders who solved the problems that Germany faced in 1923, and had made it strong again. In 1929, Germany had become one of the strongest economies in Europe and was trusted as well as respected by other countries,
However, other people believed that Stressemann's policies were short-term solutions and did not solve Germany's problems in the long term. They believed that Stressemann had simply covered up Germany's problems whilst it remained weak and unstable.
Nazis' 25 Point Programme (Card 1)
The Nazi Party wrote a 25 Point Programme which Hitler explained in further detail in Mein Kampf:
- The units of all German-speaking peoples.
- The abolition of the Treaty of Versailles.
- Land and colonies to feed Germany's population.
- Only Germans can be citizens. No Jew can be a German citizen.
- People in Germany who are not citizens must obey special laws for foreigners.
- Only German citizens can vote, be employed or hold public office.
- Citizens are entitled to a job and a decent standard of living. If this cannot be achieved, foreigners (with no rights as citizens) should be expelled.
- No further immigration of non-Germans must be allowed. All foreigners who have come to Germany since 1914 must be expelled.
- All citizens have equal rights and duties.
- The first duty of a citizen is to work.
- All payments to unemployed people should end.
- All profits made by profiters during the war must be shared
Nazis' 25 Point Programme (Card 2)
- Nationalisation of public industries.
- Large companies must share their profits.
- Pensions must be improved.
- Help for small shops and businesses; large department stores must be closed down.
- Property reform to give small farmers their land.
- An all out battle against criminals, profiters etc., who must be punished by death.
- Reform of the law to make it more German.
- Improve education so that all Germans can get a job.
- Improve people's health by making a law for people to do sport.
- Abolition of the Army, and a new People's Army in its place.
- German newspapers must be free of foreign influence.
- Freedom of religion.
- Strong central government with unrestricted authority."
Who the Nazis appealed to
The Nazis appealed to farmers and owners of small businesses who believed that the Nazis would solve their problems. They also appealed to those who wanted a strong leader who would change Germany for the better. The Nazis also appealed to the workers.
Why the Nazis failed to gain support 1924-1929
There were numerous reasons as to why the Nazis failed to gain support in the years 1924-1929:
- They lacked the support of the working class. Most workers voted for the Social Democratic Party, and those who wanted to see change tended to vote for the Communist Party rather than the Nazis.
- Ther Nazis' ideas were too extreme. People were put off by the Nazis' anti-Semitic ideas and aims of invading other countries. The SA were very violent and seen as little more than hired thugs.
- 1924-1929 was a time of peace and prosperity. Stressmann had managed to solve many of the economic problems of the early 1920s, and loans from other counties had helped to rebuild the German economy. As a result, many people felt better off. Stressemann had built better relationships with other countries and politcal violence inside Germany had decreased.
Change of Tactics and Organisation
In 1925, the Nazis changed their tactis when Hitler realised that they could bot gain power by force. He realised that he could only do this by democratic means and changed the organisation of the Nazi Party.
Hitler reorganised the Nazi Party to make it more electable after his release from prison:
- The Nazis ran evening classes for their members in order to improve their public speaking.
- Local leaders of the Nazi Party organised public meeting with visiting speakers - an attempt to gain more supporters,
- Nazis received most of their money from ordinary members through donations and charges to attend meetings.
- Nazi propaganda was very effective, concentrating on issues that they believed to be important.
- They adopted the raised right arm as a salute and the swastika as their symbol. Hitler designed the Nazi flag.