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The Golden Years of the Weimar Republic presented a faade of success which in reality masked serious underlying weaknesses. How far do you agree with this judgement?

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Introduction

‘The ‘Golden Years’ of the Weimar Republic presented a façade of success which in reality masked serious underlying weaknesses.’ How far do you agree with this judgement? (30)- The Weimar Republic, led by Gustav Stresemann was traditionally seen as the ‘Golden years’ of Germany due to its façade of success. However, in reality, these successes masked serious underlying weaknesses through the economy, politics, foreign policy and social factors. The economy served as the Republic’s greatest façade, causing many more underlying problems than successes. Arguably the biggest issue the Weimar Republic had in Germany was the hyperinflation of 1923. This hyperinflation caused: widespread poverty throughout Germany; the class status of many groups of people to be affected; unemployment and homelessness; political unrest and a loss of faith in the Weimar Government. Although Stresemann helped secure a remarkably quick recovery from this, by introducing the Rentenmark as the new currency and appointing Hjalmar Schacht and Hans Luther as the Head of Bank and Finance Minister respectively, this did not eradicate many of the issues and thoughts felt by the hyperinflation. In order for a true recovery of hyperinflation to take place, industry had to thrive. This was hugely encouraged by foreign investment (notably from America). ...read more.

Middle

This made it extremely difficult for any party to get a majority and thus coalitions had to be formed which, meant that any decision-making was near impossible. In 1924 when the SPD and the DNVP allied to pass the Dawes Plan they alienated the DDP and ZP. The DNVP were a right wing party and so would not make an allegiance with the left in usual circumstances, however, they were willing to change in order to gain some degree of power. The DDP, who hugely opposed the Treaty of Versailles and therefore the Dawes Plan, felt isolated along with the ZP; this alienation led to the collapse of the government. The Heidelberg Programme of 1926, which declared that the SPD would not work with the perceived bourgeoisie, also led to a decline in SPD influence as well as leading to the questioning of the true worth of democracy. As the largest party, the SPD’s refusal to participate caused significant tremors in the government. Despite the outward signs of success in politics, with the end of political violence, this was also a façade; it simply transferred the rife internally and made the dealing with structural issues within the Weimar Republic all but impossible. ...read more.

Conclusion

of 1920s Germany truly reflected and commented on the changing society. For example, Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front described the hardship and mental stress soldiers that fought in the First World War suffered. His pacifist novel sparked controversy in Germany for its frankness and stereotypical themes, indeed once the Nazis came to power it was one of the first books to be burned. However, it gives insight into the thoughts and feelings of Germans during the ‘Golden Years’ of the Weimar Republic. In addition to this, George Grosz’s Pillars of Society painting depicted the Weimar Republic in a very poor light; his depiction of the judiciary, army and politicians was in a very contemptuous manner and highlights the poor running of the government. Neue Sachlichkiet commented on and criticised society. Literature and theatre were highly politicised and could certainly influence popular opinion with regards to the political situation, which people observed around them. Overall, it is evident that the ‘Golden Years’ of the Weimar Republic were merely a façade; the economy was based on foreign loans, which could never truly be sustainable and the political structure and dynamics of the Weimar Government was internally threatened. Despite the success of foreign policy, arguably the outpour of art, culture and literature in Germany at this time undermined any successes by challenging and altering the thoughts and opinions of German people, thus, outweighing any positives with negatives. ...read more.

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