• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How accurate is it to suggest that Treaty of Versailles was mainly responsible for the political and economic instability in Germany in the years 1919-1923?

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐How accurate is it to suggest that Treaty of Versailles was mainly responsible for the political and economic instability in Germany in the years 1919-1923? The Weimer Republic was established on extremely shaky grounds, with much of the public viewing those responsible for the new government as the ?November Criminals?, the German signatories of the initial armistice which led to the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles was responsible for the later crushing of much of Germany?s military and economic stability. However, the pre-existing weaknesses of the Weimar government, Weimar?s political opponents as well as the failure of domestic policy. Overall, the most important reason is clearly the long-term effects of the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles contributed greatly to Germany?s economic destruction. Under the treaty, Germany was forced to pay an exceedingly large amount of reparations, contributing to the Weimer government?s 144 billion debt in gold marks by 1919. As WWI had been fought on loaned money, Germany?s economy desperately needed foreign trade in order to make up for these losses, yet the treaty ensured that Germany would be crippled on the international market; it was prohibited from participating in trade of arms, chemicals as well as military armaments. Without these key exports, the German economy faced extreme stagnation, worsened by the clause that would grant France the entirety of the Ruhr?s coal output, a key resource Germany needed for economic stability. ...read more.


Instead of encouraging German industry, the government enacted the policy of ?passive resistance?; workers were encouraged to strike to defy the will of their French occupiers, while the government shouldered even greater debt by promising to pay the workers their wages. This was a significant failure of domestic policy, and the German economy, now facing both French hostility and economic downturn was essentially crippled. The political implications were also clear ? the government faced increasingly hostile opinion for the mismanagement of the economy. Instead of pacifying opposition to domestic policy, the government ordered that one sector of the Freikorps should disband, an order that was defied by their leader, who instead organised a march onto Berlin and the later Kapp Putsch. Most notably the weakness of domestic policy was revealed in this instance; the Weimer government ordered the central army to supress the march, only to have its orders refused by the army, and served as proof of the political instability that existed, where the government had little control. While domestic policy was a key failure, it is not as important as the underlying Treaty of Versailles due to the fact that many of the economic problems and social unrest were created by the treaty, and arguably no matter how successful domestic policy was Germany would always be economically strained by the treaty, at unease socially. ...read more.


While this factor was an inherent weakness, it is overall the least important as demonstrated by the use of the army to crush dissent, and the fact that Article 48 was only enacted during times of crisis such as the Munich Putsch, and even so arguably within reason. Overall, it is clear that the Treaty of Versailles was the key cause of political and economic instability. Initially crippling the German economy, it also served to suppress any attempts for recovery, especially with the later French occupation of the Ruhr under the treaty. While the government?s domestic response to the treaty was a general failure such as the policy of passive resistance, it is clear that without the treaty, the government would have been able to deal with the economic implications much more effectively. The Treaty of Versailles can also be seen to be the root cause of the political divide within Germany, such as the right-wing groups forming the ?stab in the back myth? while left-wing groups enacted numerous strikes that further crippled the economy. The Weimer constitution remained an inherent weakness, but remains the least significant as the government proved that extremist views could be quashed in the short-term. Therefore, it is clear that the Treaty of Versailles is mainly responsible for the economic and political instability in the years1919-23. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. The main threat to the stability of the Weimar Republic in the period 1919 ...

    The Weimar government sought to cut down their deficit in order to stabilise the economy by neither cutting down expenditure or increasing taxes in the hope that the public with an increased spending power would buy the country out of recession.

  2. What were the causes of the German hyperinflation of 1923 and what were its ...

    In stark contrast the onus fell upon Germany to repay its own internal debts and this placed massive financial burdens upon the German Government who realised that they were in no position to meet their debts. In addition by May 1921 the Allied Reparations Commission had also finalised the amount

  1. How Serious Were The Problems Facing The Weimar Republic In The Years 1919-23?

    The only people prepared to defend the Weimar republic against the right were the working class. Maybe not through force but through strikes. The other uprising that took place was the Munich Putsch in 1923.

  2. To what extent did the treaty of Versailles undermine democracy 1919-1923

    This shows us that although the German public were angry about the treaty they would not let it destabilize the new government and so in this respect the treaty did not much undermine democracy. During the period 1919-1923 there were attempted uprisings from both the left and the right which

  1. How significant was foreign influence in shaping Italian political and social development in the ...

    They wanted to create ?Italians? having made ?Italy?, individuals taking action to maintain the unified Liberal state. However, Dupretis?s foreign policy was weak, only participating abroad when Italy joined the triple alliance with Germany and Austria in 1882. The new state was trying to keep a low profile after removing Austria and weakening the papacy.

  2. How accurate is it to suggest that the Treaty of Versailles was mainly responsible ...

    The war guilt clause angered governments from both the left and right as they felt they felt it was unjust and found it impossible to accept. They felt that Germany could not be held solely responsible for the outbreak of the war, which was a view shared also by many Germans.

  1. The main threat to the stability of the Weimar Republic in the period 1919 ...

    This meant that the republic was destined for instability from the start. Article 48 which let the president rule by decree demonstrated a threat to the republic as it provided the president with too much power over Germany. It meant that the personality of the president was accountable for whether or not he used the law to rule by decree.

  2. Assess the short-term significance of the Treaty of Versailles.

    For example; in 1922 Germany could not pay another instalment so France and Belgium invaded the Ruhr, the industrial heart of the German economy. This brought production to a halt. Consequently, this caused one of the worst cases of hyperinflation in history.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work