Prospects for the Survival of the Weimar Republic

2 February 2017

“By the beginning of 1929, the prospects for the survival of the Weimar Republic looked good. ” Discuss. At the beginning of 1929, the Weimar Republic was and had been in a period of stability from 1924. It seemed as if the German economy had been finally beginning to heal itself and political recovery coupled with apparent success in foreign affairs strengthened the idea that the Weimar Republic was becoming stable at last after all the challenges of the early 1920s.In comparison to the years before and after, this period was ‘stable’. Thus, though the Weimar Republic had made economic, political and foreign policies to stabilize Germany in the short term, they were based on unstable foundations, which would not create long term stability or survival of the Weimar Republic.

The stabilisation of German currency through the introduction of the Rentenmark, which ended the hyperinflation in 1923, and the introduction of the Dawes plan in 1924 helped Germany start to economically recover from the war.The Dawes plan changed Germany’s reparations according to its ability to pay them. It also included an American loan and the plan led to the evacuation of the Ruhr by French troops that were now satisfied that Germany would pay reparations. Germany seemed to make a remarkable economic recovery in this period. Between 1924 and 1929, German industry had regained up to 80-90% of its pre-war output, and Germany had repaid 23 billion marks in reparations.Thus, through greater efficiency and improved technology, increased higher levels of productivity were reached during this period. This recovery also led to increased wages which in turn led to better social welfare from the government that gave the German public the idea that the economy was recovering and the Republic was becoming more stable.

Prospects for the Survival of the Weimar Republic Essay Example

However, this recovery can be exaggerated due to being compared to the periods before and after it.German economic stability was largely based on and vulnerable to investments of foreign capital. German recovery became totally dependent upon American capital loans historian Snyder points out that the Dawes Plan helped with the immediate problem but promoted a harmful cycle for international finance. Thus, even though the economy looked prosperous in the short term, it could not be that stable when it was so heavily dependent on external forces beyond control, which is why the Great Depression had such a huge impact.The loans from the US hid the internal problems that Germany had such as declining export, lack of internal investment, reparations and slowly rising unemployment. However, it’s return to prosperity also brought an improvement in international relations. The Weimar Republic seemed to make the most progress in foreign policy between 1924-29.

However, while Stresemann had made great leaps in German relations with other powers, there had been drawbacks that were hid by the comparison to how relations had been.Stresemann’s main aim was to bring about a revision of the Treaty of Versailles. The Dawes Plan of 1924 and the Locarno Treaties of 1925 were diplomatic successes and strengthened Germany’s position. Those along with Germany’s new membership in the League of Nations and the Kellogg-Briand Pact created the idea of the diplomatic strength of the Weimar Republic. Pacts and Treaties such as these, including the Treaty of Berlin with Russia and reduced reparations in the Young Plan, led Germany to believe it was returning to the status of a power in Europe.Even with those successes, the public viewed Stresemann’s diplomatic achievements insignificant considering their hate of the Versailles Treaty and the failure to remove it. In 1929, with the death of Stresemann came the end of stability in foreign affairs.

Therefore by 1929 the Weimar Republic was not stable, even in international affairs. However, with the diplomatic successes that were achieved, the political atmosphere in Germany had become less tense. The Weimar Republic’s greatest up to 1924 had been its failure to establish lasting political stability.

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