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How far can the impact of the depression be seen as a key turning point in terms of the changes within foreign policy in Germany from 1890 to 1990?

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Introduction

How far can the impact of the depression be seen as a key turning point in terms of the changes within foreign policy in Germany from 1890 to 1990? Germany?s foreign policy changed in many ways from 1890 to 1990, despite underlying themes of nationalism, the need for ?living space?, and the urge to become a World Power, able to compete with even the mighty British Empire. These desires and beliefs were tackled in different ways and with different degrees of intensity throughout the century, as is evident when studying the succession of periodic changes Germany went through with Bismarck and Wilhelm, the Weimar republic, the Nazi era, and the division of the country in 1945-1990. Multiple key turning points can be picked out from these periods which can attempt to explain the metamorphosis that Germany?s foreign policy underwent, most notably Weltpolitik in 1897, the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the employment of Gustav Stresemann in 1924, the depression in 1929, Hitler?s appointment as Chancellor in 1933, and the division of Germany in 1945. Before considering the change between 1890 and 1990, it?s important to understand the system of foreign policy conducted by Chancellor Bismarck, who was in charge of German foreign policy from 1870 to his dismissal in 1890. ...read more.

Middle

On the other hand, Stresemann was in no way seeking a friendship with the Allies, rather he conceded that the best way he could take back lost colonies was through peaceful exchanges**, though he too detested the treaty, and in fact he was continuing the idea of Weltpolitik in the only way he could, reverting temporarily back to more Bismarckian methods of foreign policy in order to achieve his goals, and this ended with his death- so although the Dawes Plan and re-building of Franco-German Relations earned him the Nobel peace prize and arguably saved Germany from its darkest days of hyperinflation, his lasting impact on German Foreign policy was debateable. Despite Stresemann?s efforts to improve the economy, it was still balancing on a knife?s edge until 1929- the Wall Street Crash. The collapse of the largest American stock market made waves throughout the entirety of the Western World, starting the decade long Great Depression, and Germany was hit the hardest.*** In addition to its already incredibly fragile economy, Germany had been relying on America for financial aid since the implementation of the Dawes plan, and later, the Young Plan. American banks immediately withdrew their loans and Germany was suddenly faced with extreme hyperinflation, to the point where even vast quantities of money became virtually worthless. ...read more.

Conclusion

In particular during the Cold War ? but continuous into the 21st century (West) German foreign policy pursues the country's integration into NATO and a strong co-operation and collective security with its Western partners. In conclusion, in over a century, Germany has experienced a large flux in its methods for handling foreign policy, and this flux has been sparked by key turning points throughout German history- the introduction of Weltpolitik, The Treaty of Versailles, Gustav Stresemann, the Depression, Hitler?s rise to power, and the division of Germany. While Weltpolitik established the basis of all the expansionist goals to come, and Hitler?s rise to power as well as the division of Germany all mark evident and undeniable turning points in terms of foreign policy, the Great Depression is neither. Its only significance is that it helped lead to a key turning point- that does not make it one itself, and when compared to other events that occurred from 1890-1990, it becomes relatively insignificant. **************************************************************************************** * World History at KMLA- GDR Foreign Policy, First posted in 2000, last revised on June 22nd 2006 (Web) ** Explanation of the Hallstein Doctrine, Interview of Wilhelm Grewe, Head of the Political Dept. of the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany (11 December 1955). ...read more.

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