Stresemann Years of Weimar Republic 1924-1929

Gustav Stresemann as Chancellor and Foreign Minister

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Relative political stability -

  • During 1924-29 there were no attempts to overthrow the gov, however coalition gov's failed to deal with problems due to political parties. Parties needed to act on compromise due to PR but failed and political paralysis was frequent; didnt tackle political and economic problems.
  • Election May 1924 - Stresemanns gov collapsed and he became Foreign Minister, the centre party led on.The election saw rise in extremist group votes such as Nationalist and Communist parties.
  • The Dawes Plan - Stresemann wanted to restore German economy but the ToV and Reparations was restricting economic growth. Drew up Dawes plan to ask French to leave the Rhur, reparations paid over a longer time with credits allowing German to rebuild, reparations paid in a way that does not threaten currency security. Hard to push this through Reichstag as SPD votes had collapsed and Ger still had to pay reparations. But it did go through with help of DNVP support.
  • Obstruction of SPD - SPD obstructed forming coalition gov's with 'bourgeois' parties. It did not want to compromise its ideals and as a result weakened the democracy process and contradicted PR. Its influence decreased in 1925 when Hindenburg became president; cutting them out.
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Relative political stability -

  • Election of President Hindenburg - He was greatly respected and won due to split in anti-republican vote. He did not accept the SPD in any coalition gov's as he was anti-socialist and conservative. He worked hard to keep the SPD out which made it hard for Chancellors to form working govs. he wanted the DNVP in every gov as these were anti-republican. He manipulated article 48 so he had allot of power.

Political instability -

  • There were many coalition govs; 1926 saw 2 due to SPD cabinet falling, 1927 saw 1 as it argued over education and religion. All failed to negotiate.
  • Election of May 1928 - Left votes increased and right saw decrease in seats. splinter parties rose in support whilst centre parties saw a decrease. This made the possibility of forming a stable government impossible.
  • The DNVP moves right - went from broad based to very anti-republican.
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Political instability -

  • Young Plan - Germany wanted France to leave the Rhineland, and proposed that reparations be paid for longer, a new institution manage the currencies of the reparation payments, payments increase slowly. As a result the French left 5 years early; diplomatic victory for Stresemann.
  • Freedom Law - Many German politicians were unhappy they still had to pay reparations so under article 73 they were able to petition for a referendum. In 1929 Reich Committee for Referendum set up; including Hitler and anti-socialist parties. It was not a success and the Reichstag passed the Young Plan in 1930.
  • Collapse of the Grand Coalition - Due to lent moneyand depression strain on unemployment benefit system grew. The Reich institution had to borrow from gov to pay benefits due to rising unemployment levels which strained their finances and the coalition gov had difference opinion on how it should be dealt with. SPD - local and central gov increase their contributions. DVP - benefits should be cut. Centre Party - issue put off until 1930. SPD rejected  Centre party compromise and the coalition fell. RESULT - voters looked at extreme parties to deal with wider concerns.
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1924-29 Period of economic stability?

  • Foreign investment - Due to the Retenmark and the Dawes plan and investment from the US Germany had economic stability.
  • Delay of Reparation payments - Delaying payments under the Dawes plan allowed capital investment and national income increased by 12% in 1928.
  • Agricultural problems - Collapse in food prices meant rural poverty
  • Industrial unrest - Unemplyment still remained high . People found it hard to settle from normality from such disruption; work hours increased from 8 to 10 hours. As a result unions demanded higher wages and some companies locked out workers instead of seeking arbitration.

1924-29 Period of social change?

  • Welfare state - provision from sate increased due to higher taxation. protection of children heightened and religious freedom guaranteed. War increased need for welfare state due to orphans.
  • Public housing - increased by 33 times which also included medical centres.
  • Women - did not advance in work force but did enter new professions. Attitudes towards them working were conservative.
  • Youth - Children given right to a decent upbringing; Juvenile courts opened.
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Weimar Culture -

  • Neu Sachlichkeit - modern matter of factness designs and themes. Architecture was Bauhaus in design; combining art and technology. Music, films and theatre all represented the challenge of social issues and included WW1 scenes. The left and right parties portrayed how the constitution had failed to construct a new political culture.
  • Conservative side to Weimar Culture - Treatment of war in literature was divided into escapism vs neu sachlichkeit. Escapism was Charlie Chaplin. The clash of culture reflected the split in political and social polarisation; both did not support the regime.

Foreign Policy -

  • Better relations with the Allies - New Labour gov in GB meant they had a friendly attitude towards Germany. Victory of left in France also increased their friendliness and this allowed Stresemann to negotiate.
  • Locarno - in 1925 all Allies met in Locarno to discuss Rhineland issues. They agreed borders and Treaties were signed, some troops left the Rhineland and the Young plan was approved; evacuation before 1930.
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Foreign Policy -

  • LoN and other developments - Germany was admitted into the LoN but it remained free from the military obligations involved.Treaty of Berlin guaranteed USSR and Ger to remain neutral id attacked and the IMCC Allie troops were removed from Ger. Trading also commenced between France and Ger started.

Was Stresemann a successful Foreign Minister?

  • YES - He followed fulfilment which allowed the allies to see how harsh the ToV was. USSR and Ger worked together which proved to Allies they could be trusted. he settled the Ger and France security issue as he wanted troops to leave the Rhineland. Troops did evacuate the Rhineland and tactfully revised the ToV with France. He was able to successfully influence the Allies and they accepted both the Dawes and Young plan and left the Rhur. Dawes plan strengthened the economy and US relations and the Young plan lead to the Rhineland being evacuated early and debt was reduced.
  • NO - ToV still undermined Weimar and society did not support this, and it caused many coalition govs to fall. The military was still not built up so Ger had to follow peaceful policy.
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naomi Olaniyi



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