The Great Depression

The Wall Street Crash Ended economic Recovery

In 1929, the Great Depression hit Germany. The desperation it caused in the 1920s and 1930s meant that the German people were willing to consider any political party that promised something different.

In October 1929, the Wall Street stock market in America crashed. It sparked an international economic crisis (the Great Depression) and meant the USA couldn't afford to prop up the German economy any longer.

1. Germany's economic recovery between 24 and 29 was built on unstable foundations. The biggest problem was that it was dependent on loans from the USA, which had been agreed in the Dawes Plan.

2. After the Crash, the USA couldn't afford to lend Germany money anymore. It also wanted some old loans to be repaid.

  • Germany's economy collapsed without American aid. Industrial production went into decline - factories closed and banks went out of business.
  • There was a mass unemployment. In October 1929 1.6 million people were out of work, and by Feb 1932 over 6 million.
  • The government also cut unemployment benefits - it couldn't afford to support the large numbers of Germans out of work. This made many Germans angry with the government.
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Extremist parties became More Popular

Popular discontent with the Weimar governmet and economic instability created an opportunity for extremist parties to grow. The KPD 9the communist Party of Germany) increased in influence.

1. The KPD was founded in December 1918 and wanted a workers' revolution. The communists promised to represent workers' needs and make German society more fair.

2. This helped them gain a lot of support from unemployed Germans during times of economic crisis.

3. When the Depression hit Germany in 1929, the KPD competed with the Nazi Party for the support of Germans who had been hit hard by the economic crisis.

4. Between 1928 and 32, membership of the KPD grew from 130,000 to almost 300,000. However, Nazi Party membership grew even more rapidly - soon the KPD got left behind.

Between 1928 and 32 the Nazi Party pulled ahead of the KPD. The Nazis became the biggest party in the Reichstag. Between July and November 1932, the Nazi Party lost votes, but was still very popular. The SPD lost support in every federal election.

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