Hammond History-ESSAY,Weimar Economic Problems(Revisionworld)


Examine the Nature of Weimar Germany’s Economic Problems

Paragraph One: World economic conditions

  • World situation in 1920s less favourable than pre-1914
  • Germany had relied on exports as an impetus for growth
  • But world manufacturing output recovered from impact of war more quickly than world trade
  • Foreign trade now had smaller role in German economic life than pre-war
  • 1910-13 German exports 17.5% of Net National Product (NNP)
  • 1925-9 when Weimar most prosperous NNP figure was 14.9%
  • Note that as Germany’s territory was smaller after the war, if her economic activity had remained at pre-war levels, her export share ought to have risen

Paragraph Two: Economic effects of Versailles

  • Lost Silesian coal field, Saar Basin and phosphoric iron-ore fields of Lorraine
  • German chemical and pharmaceutical business had been one of the Empire’s most important industries – it faced new competition during 1920s because the victorious powers had confiscated the German patents
  • These problems limited the possibilities for German economic growth

Paragraph Three: Demographic developments

  • Developments in this area meant higher unemployment
  • German population, and thus overall demand, had fallen due to war casualties
  • Malnutrition and epidemic disease attacked population reducing number of live births
  • Fewer conceptions
  • Pre-1914 population boom arrived in the labour market. Pressure eased in 1930s as smaller numbers born after 1914 reached employment age
  • 1925 5 million more people in labour pool than at time of 1907 census
  • During decade number of people available for work increased
  • Work force up from 32.4 million in 1925 to 33.4 million in 1931
  • Higher unemployment likely even without depression as labour force increased in a diminished population and with lower demand

Paragraph Four: Saving and investment

  • 1910-13 investment 15.2 % of NNP at market prices
  • 1925-9 it was 11.1%
  • After 1930 there was net disinvestment (5.4% of NNP in 1931 & 4.1% 1932)
  • Figures may be misleading even in better years of late 20s…


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