Changes in Weimar


Election changes & polarisation

May 1924 Election- Stressman's gov didn't have the support it needed and collapsed in Nov 1923.  Replaced by centre party leader .Stressman continued to service as FM until 1929.

  • Nationalist and communist parties made significant gains at the expense of the more moderate parties of the centre. 

January 1926- Hans Luther formed a minority coalition with centre, DVP & DNVP- wanted to use old imperial flag.

  • Got a vote of no confidence from Reichstag
  • Then Luther replaced by William Marx as chancellor
  • No one could agree on the refferendum on royal property

January 1927- Replaced by Marx government including DNVP (despite the mess, some social legislation passed on things like unemployment)

May 1928 election- Political polarisation meant a stable government was impossible. The left  made hefty gains, with the SPD increasing seats of 22 KPD got a rise of 9 seats. Right wingers dropped.

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Political changes- reduction of SPD's 'politcal le

SPD avoiding coalition.

  • Background- new coaltion in January 1925 led by Hans Luther, excluded socialists but included DNVP for first time.
  • DNVP objected terms of Locarno treaties as they were supported by SPD

A new coalition was needed, but the SPD refused to join a coaltion of 'bourgeiouse parties'

  • From 1924-1928 SPD didn't want to get involved in a coalition despite its position as the Reichstags largest party. This was because they thought the bouergois paties would compromise their ideals
  • This idea strengthened by Heidelberg Programme which was a marxist based conference outlining how capitalism could be transfered to social owners
  • SPD decline in coalition meant they had less influence in Reichstag- but their support for e.g. Marx's government was the key to survival in 1926
  • SPD joining made worse by election of Hindenburg as president who was hated socialism.
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The role of Hindenburg

Elected 1925- was a very respected person for his war efforts.

People though he would blow the democracy but because of the constitution oath, he was unable to do so.

  • Used his presedential powers on membership of coalition government, tried his best to exclude the SPD
  • But even in the Muller government, in 1928 he had to reluctantly accept the SPD power, as they had the largest seats in the Recishtag.
  • Insisted on including DNVP
  • Made it clear he didn't want any restrains on his political power, used article 48 excessively

DNVP moves right

  • Publication of Lambach article in 1928 triggered their  shift as it told them to get used to the republic.

Freedom law- get rid of treaty of Versailles and evaluate areas controlled by allies powers.

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Collapse of coalition

Background to situation- Consequence of depression was growing growing unemployment and strain on benifits system. In 1920s employers started complaining at the cost of social security payments Reich institution had to start paying fixed benifits to those out of work. 1927- unemployment at 1.33 million. Feb 1929-3.6 million.

  • SPD and DVP disagreed on unemployment benifits. SPD thought central and loal govs should increase contribution by 4%. DVP thought benifits should be cut.

  • Centre party negotiated a deal where a decision of the issue would be put of till 1930.

  • March 1930- SPD deputies and Centre Party compromised and brought down Mullers gov.

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The Dawes Plan

Background- Germany needed raw materials, new markets for its goods and new sources of cpaital. He cooperated in an American initiative.

Proposals in 1924.

  • French would leave the Ruhr, and further sanctions would be made harder to apply
  • Reparations would be paid over a longer period of time and credit would be advanced to help rebuild the German economy. > 1st years would see a international plan of 800 million Reichsmarks to cover 4/5 of reparation payments of 1,000 Reichsmarks a year.
  • Reichsbank organised under allied supervision
  • Payments would be paid in such a way it would not harm the Germany economy.

The biggest challenge for the Wilhem Marx gov was passing through the Reichstag the DP.

  • MAIN ISSUE- plan involved Germany continuing to pay reparations.
  • SPD numbers down in Reichstag
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The Young Plan

June 1928- socialist dominated ministry was formed. Drafted because the Germans asked French to leave Rhine land but they said they would only do so with plans for future reparations.

  • Time scale set- Germany was to pay reparations for next 59 years till 1988. It was to pay 2,000 million marks a year, than 2,5000million marks as laid out by Dawes plan
  • Germany was now responsible for paying reparations, Swiss bank would handle it now
  • Payments would increase gradually from 1929-1932, but it would pay 1,700 million marks less than it would have under DP
  • French promised to evaculate Rhineland- important diplomatic victory for Stressman
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