- 24th October 1929, NY Stock exchange fell in it's share prices.
- A week later another collapse occured where value or large companies fell by $10b.
- Many millionaires = bankcrupt, small investors lost savings.
- Businesses = bankcrupt, workers lost jobs, bank recalled loans and stopped lending.
- This disaster effected Germany's economy, society and politics.
- German recovery from 1924-28 were due to American loans.
- In 1928, their economy froze due to low investment.
- After the Wall Street Crash, they stopped. American banks wanted immediate repayment from Germany.
- Germany needed to invest to help it's economy, money was taken away from them.
- USA was largest oversea market for Germany's goods too, but their export trade declined due to reduced demand for imported goods.
- 1929-32, export trade declined and industry fell by 60%.
- The depression effected Germany the most in Europe, e.g. UK industry only fell by 10%.
- Foreign trade collapsed and many companies bankcrupt.
- Companies that survied, lowered wages, workers and hours.
- Banks had customers withdraw money and big loans weren't paid.
- German banks were in crises., Germans were desperate.
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- Unemployment increased. 1/3 registered were unemployed in 1932.
- But this wasn't accurate, many redundant workers like women didn't register and weren't counted.
- January 1933, real no. was 8million.
- Depression effected industrial areas like the Ruhr.
- Main port cities like Hamburg was hit.
- White-collar workers suffered, Civil service had cuts in their size and salaries.
- Farmers struggled in the golden age but were now in major hardship.
- Prices fell, exports of agriculture and sales for food fell and Germans had no money.
- Farmers left farms as banks wanted loans back, effected countryside.
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- Unemployment effected German society.
- Unemployment now impacted the Welfare budget and in 1930 there were attemts to cut the amount paid.
- Had to rely on state benefits for certain amount of time.
- They then went to local authorites for relief, and local benefits were strict/less generous.
- Women benefited less than men, but young people less than both.
- Different towns were hit differently.
- E.g. Brand-Ebrisdorff in Dresden and glass making.
- Poverty was rising due to the depression.
- Diseases linked to poor nutrition like rickets increased.
- Doctors reported a lot of malnutrition in Germany at the time
- Suicide rates increased as everything = hopeless.
- Unemployed tenants couldn't pay rents were kicked out, tents and shanty towns appeared in cities like Berlin.
- It is said that their diet to too little to live on but too much to die from.
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Social impact: Young People:
- Depression led to high rates of unemployment in young people.
- June 1933 in Hamburg, unemployment for 14-25 males was 40% and females 25%.
- High rates would have consequences, no jobs, no future, the roamed the streets.
- Many reffered to gang crime and political extremism.
- Rate if juvenile convictions didn't incread during the depression.
- No. of 14-25 yea olds were accused of crime.
- young men charged with theft grew.
- They committed offences against the state via assault and threatening behaviour, violence during political demonstrations
- Involvement for young men in extreme groups rose.
- The KPD = successfully got W.Class youths to join their political demonstrations/street fight opponents
- Paramiliary groups for nationalist right recruited unemployed youth.
- Hitler Youth and SA offered food, shelter and actvities to stop boredom of unemployment.
- But majority of youth had no contact with extreme groups.
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Social impact: Young People and Women.
SCHEME TO HELP THE YOUNG UNEMPLOYED:
- Reflected Bruning's governemtn policies.
- Placed faith in market forces to help the economy in the future.
- Wanted to control expenses on benefits and reduce the damaging effects on the young.
- Day centres were set up to help young in work related activites and socialize.
- Emergecny labour schemes made youth take unskilled manual labour, they recieved below minimum wage.
- But these schemes were unpopular with the young resulting in 2 strikes for higher wages in October 1930 and June 1932.
- Voluntary labour schemere to also put in where theyd be sent from cities to resedential work camps for 6 months.
- Priority was getting the youth of the streets.
IMPACT ON WOMEN:
- Coped with the effects better than males. Female workforce increased during the depression.
- Dismissal of workers reignited debate whether women should work if males weren't
- Right wing parties were against these 'Dual-earners' and a law in 1932 dismissed women from Civil-service.
- Equal rights activists were hit hard by traditionalists and 1000 married women were dismissed. The depression set them back.
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- Consequences caused were the fall of Grand Coalition by Hermann Muller in March 1930.
- Extreme left and right parties had more chances and undermine democracy.
- More political violence.
FALL OF THE GRAND COALITION:
- A broad coalition with 5 parties from the SPD to the DVP.
- October 1929, Wall street crash = unemployemtn rose and benefit strained state finances.
- Tax fell and state budget was in a deficit by 1929.
- Coalition was split as DVP right wanted to reduce benefits and SPD wanted keep benefits and raise taxes.
- Government was deadlocked and Muller resigned in March 1930.
- Heinrich Bruning, Centre party leader was appointed by Hindenburg.
- Hindenbrug was influenced by defence minister Groener and Von Schleicher his political adviser. This showed how army began to play a role in politics.
- Both opposed Parliamentary democracy.
- In March 1930 this = their chance for an authoritarian Government.
- Hindenburg was anti democracy and Bruning had authoritarian links.
- Laws passed via Reichstag had Declined whilst Laws passed by decree increased.
- ^ Democracy to Dictatorship?
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- Brunings coalition excluded the SPD the largest party.
- This meaant they didn't have majority to pass laws.
- After mArch 1930 no Government had a majority and had ti rely on ruling be presidential decree.
- Weimar democracy was dead before Hitler was Chancellor in January 1933.
SEPTEMBER 1930 REICHSTAG ELECTION AND SUPPORT FOR THE EXTREME:
- Bruning wanted to cut expendature and raise taxes.
- He didn't have majority support in the reichstag so he pursuaded Hindenburg to pass this by presidential decree.
- This made a political crises as article 48 was only meant to be used in emergencies.
- SPD won reichstag support for the decree to be withdrawn.
- Bruning dissolved the reichstag and called an election in September 1930 which changed politics in Germany.
- Extreme parties from left and right gained alot.
- KPD = 1m votes and 77 seats.
- Nazi party support was more significant with 12 seats in 1928 to 107 seats in 1930.
- 2/5 voters were anti-democratic, 107 deputies disrupted the Reichstag.
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- The reichstag became unmanagebale. Procedings became irrelevant.
- They met less and didn't meet from February - October 1931.
- Germany was shifted from Reichstag to President.
INTENSIFICATION OF POLITICAL VIOLENCE:
- From 1919-23 there were riots, assassinations and uprisings.
- In 1924-29 it had calmed down but 29 Nazis were killed by Communists where as 92 Communists were killed by Nazis.
- 1930-33, Political violence increased a lot.
- KPD's Red Front Fighter's league vs Nazi's SA.
- Each side broke into meetings, rioted and interogated opponants.
- 1931, violence was too much, Bruning decided to ban political uniforms in December 1931.
- In April 1932 Hindenburg signed a decree to outlaw the SA which still failed to stop the SA.
- Their violence continued and membership grew to 400,000.
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