The Weimar Republic Was Failed from the Beginning

Last Updated: 24 Mar 2020
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The Weimar republic was failed from the beginning. It began with the collapses of political governments within the Weimar republic. Stresemann’s government collapsed in late 1923 to be replaced by another government led by Wilhelm Marx of the Centre party. However the main contributing catalyst to the failure of the Weimar republic was the ever rising inflation in the country. The Weimar republic was failed from the start as the inflation started at the begging of the war as Bonnel points out “Inflation began in 1914 and was linked to the way in which the imperial government chose to pay for the war effort.

Undoubtedly the imperial government had indirectly doomed the Weimar republic. This was the reason for the growing disillusionment within the Weimar Republic. The growing disillusion with the Weimar Republic was the deteriorating economy . This view is generally accepted but most historians are that of the German economist Kurt Borchardt (1982) . Borchardt suggests the slow growth within the Weimar republic was because that the trade union power kept wages high and therefore squeezed profits and middle class income. Borchardt believes that the Weimar Republic was unstably weak before 1929.

This backs up Bonnels statement and is supported by K. J. Mason statement “The economic prosperity of the 1920s, however, was built on weak foundations” . However there are historians such as C-L Holtfrerich that have challenged such a view that high wages were the cause of the Weimar unstable economy . The weight of the evidence shows that C-L Holtfrerich could not have a significantly large change in the economy as the economy was already plummeting into inflation. Hyper-inflation initiated by the government to pay back reparations however it was blamed on the invasion of the Ruhr.

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There response to the economic situation was to print more money. Salmon suggests “The government simply printed more money…. Banknotes became increasingly worthless”. By 1923 the Reichsmarck became so worthless that 4 200 000 000 000 was worth one U. S. dollar. This alienated the middle class from the regime. The social and political cost of the hyperinflation was high. Scholars note that the inflation did more to undermine the middle classes than the ostensibly socialist revolution of 1918. A lifetime of savings would no longer buy a loaf of bread.

Money was being carried in a wheel barrow to carry money to buy loaves of bread, it end up that the wheel barrow was worth more than the money in it. Trade union funds wiped out the middle classes and Capitalists losing there savings there for making the rich poor over night. Pensions planned for a lifetime were wiped out completely. Politically, the hyperinflation fuelled radicalism on both the left and the right. The Communists, badly damaged by their failure in January 1919, saw greatly improved prospects for a successful revolution.

In Munich the leader of the small National Socialist German Workers' (Nazi) Party, Adolf Hitler, used the turmoil to fashion an alliance with other right-wing groups and attempt a coup in November 1923—the Beer of the left succeeded in imposing their will. In the short run they did not succeed because of ineptitude and miscalculation; in the long run they failed because the government sponsored a currency reform that restabilized the mark and also decided to end its policy of passive resistance in the Ruhr in exchange for an end to the occupation and a rescheduling of the reparation payments that it owed to the Allies .

Hall Putsch—that sought to use Bavaria as a base for a nationalist march on Berlin. He hoped to overthrow the democratic system of Weimar that he believed was responsible for Germany's political and economic humiliation. Neither the radicals of the right nor those of the left succeeded in imposing their will .

In the short run they did not succeed because of ineptitude and miscalculation; in the long run they failed because the government sponsored a currency reform that restabilized the mark and also decided to end its policy of passive resistance in the Ruhr in exchange for an end to the occupation and a rescheduling of the reparation payments that it owed to the Allies. The wages of the working class became worthless. This caused society to turn to extreme anti-republican groups, the evidence of this was shown in the 1932 elections as anti republican parties gaining majority such as the Nazi party and the KPD.

The financial recovery that began with the restabilisation of the German currency in late 1923 received a boost in 1924 when the Allies agreed to end their occupation of the Ruhr and to grant the German government a more realistic payment schedule on reparations. A committee of the Allied Reparations Commission headed by the American financier and soon-to-be vice president Charles Dawes had recommended these changes and urged the Allies to grant sizable loans to Germany to assist its economic recovery . The Dawes Plan marked a significant step in the upswing of the German economy that lasted until the onset of the Great Depression.

The 800 million gold marks in foreign loans had by 1927 enabled German industrial production to regain its 1913 pre-war high . That same year the Reichstag addressed the vital need for social and class reconciliation by voting for a compulsory unemployment insurance plan. Reconciliation on the political level seemed achieved in 1925 when the 77-year-old Hindenburg was elected to succeed the deceased Ebert as president . Although no democrat, the aged field marshal took seriously his duty to support the constitution and the republic . The economy played a major part in the fall of the Weimar Republic.

The hyper inflation in the 1920s was a catalyst which sped up the obvious fall of the Weimar Republic. This is supported by Feuchtwanger as he states “… in the final years of the Republic the governments chances for survival were slim ‘. Furthermore supports the fact that Weimar was doomed from the beginning with the debts of the war which passed on during the Weimar “ the principle causes for the failure, however,, to be sought in the years after 1918. as for these the many reason of the economy led to the fall of the Weimar Republic by 1933.

When the Germans spoke of Lebensraum, which means “living space”, they used the term to denote a perceived need to have enough physical room to provide for themselves comfortably. This was used as propaganda in the invasion of Russia in 1941. Using children’s school books and the education system Hitler put in place to brain wash society into believing that this is how Germans should be. Propaganda might take the form of persuading others that your military might is too great to be challenged; that your political might within a nation is too great or popular to challenge etc. In Nazi Germany, Dr Joseph Goebbels was in charge of propaganda.

Goebbels official title was Minister of Propaganda and National Enlightenment. As Minister of Enlightenment, Goebbels had two main tasks to ensure nobody in Germany could read or see anything that was hostile or damaging to the Nazi Party. To ensure that the views of the Nazis were put across in the most persuasive manner possible. To ensure success, Goebbels had to work with the SS and Gestapo and Albert Speer. The former hunted out those who might produce articles defamatory to the Nazis and Hitler while Speer helped Goebbels with public displays of propaganda. The Nazis understood human psychology.

It was Goebbels' simple realisation that, for instance in cinematic propaganda, there was a need for the viewer to be entertained. Otherwise, there would be no interest in watching at all. This is simply a single instance of the successfulness of Nazi propaganda. Goebbels realised this and corrected it. How Successful was Nazi Propaganda 1933-39? The relevance of how successful propaganda was at reaching people is that: it would be largely true to say - if it had reached people, if it had influenced peoples thought in a way beneficial to the rise of the Nazi party, therefore it had achieved a primary aim.

The cinema allowed people to see the might of Germany... but far from via raw imagery - the influence of propagandists was initially clear, however became more transparent and therefore more effective: Cinema attendance figures quadrupled. Propaganda, however slight or extreme, was being seen. The object of Riefenstahl's 'Triumph of the Will' was also another facet of propaganda. The ensure that everybody could hear Hitler speak, Goebbels organised the sale of cheap radios. These were called the "People's Receiver" and they cost only 76 marks. A smaller version cost just 35 marks.

Goebbels believed that if Hitler was to give speeches, the people should be able hear to him. Loud speakers were put up in streets so that people could not avoid any speeches by the Fuhrer. Cafes and other such properties were ordered to play in public speeches by Hitler. Goebbels and his skill at masterminding propaganda are best remembered for his night time displays at Nuremberg . Although it was his idea Speer brought it to life. Here, he and Speer, organised rallies that were designed to show to the world the might of the Nazi nation. In August of each year, huge rallies were held at Nuremberg. Arenas to hold 400,000 people were built.

In the famous night time displays, 150 search lights surrounded the main arena and were lit up vertically into the night sky. Their light could be seen over 100 kilometres away in what a British politician, Sir Neville Henderson, called a "cathedral of light". The propaganda allowed people to feel a sense of pride for there nation even though they themselves were suffering. That there suffering was for a reason and that it was not all in vain because that it was being fixed. They believed this because of all the great feats of design that Speer and Goebbels had put up inspired them this was he effect of Nazi propaganda.

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