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Discuss the fortunes of Germany during the Weimar Republic 1919 - 1923.

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Introduction

Discuss the fortunes of Germany during the Weimar Republic 1919 - 1923, under the following headings: i. Economic Developments ii. Foreign Relations; iii. Cultural Activities. (1983 Exam Question) The German economy collapsed between 1919 and 1923. Four main factors were responsible for this collapse. Firstly, the end of the war dislocated industry geared to the production of war material, while demilitarisation threw millions of ex-soldiers on to an unprepared labour market. Secondly, the reparations demanded by the Treaty of Versailles drained the country of capital which would have been required to restructure the economy; thirdly, the government's attempt to solve currency led to hyper-inflation. Paper money became worthless and so did savings. Those on regular incomes and pensions found themselves unable to make ends meet. Finally, the French occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 precipitated a general strike in that region which deprived German industry elsewhere of vital raw materials and unemployment reached ever higher levels. Within a few months, however, the work of Gustav Stresemann and his colleagues went a long way to reversing this situation. A new currency was introduced and those who had most greedily profited under inflation were penalised - up to a point. The reparations clauses of the Versailles Treaty were renegotiated and the Dawes Plan allowed for smaller annual payments as well as providing an 800 million dollar loan to redevelop German industry. ...read more.

Middle

Many of the plays of the period were directly critical of capitalism, conservatism and war and there fore unacceptable to the conservative forces which still dominated the Weimar Republic. The new art of the cinema threw up great producers and directors such as Joseph Von Sternberg and Fritz Land, but while there were some fine films such as "M", "The Blue Angel" and "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", most films of the time were simply vehicles of escapism. Exam tips Although it would be acceptable to go through each problem in date order in your essay, it would be much better to structure your essay by having a section on political problems, another section on economic problems and a separate section on social problems. * Political - things to do with the government and authority. * Economic - things to do with money (this would also include trade and industry). * Social - things affecting people's ordinary lives and the way different groups of people interact with each other. The problems Here is a chronological list of the problems faced by the Weimar Republic. Read through them and think about how you might group them according to political, economic and social problems. 1. Treaty of Versailles - The government had signed the Versailles Treaty even though this included Clause 231. ...read more.

Conclusion

Here are two alternatives: Maxine - It seems amazing that the Weimar republic could survive so many problems. The government faced challenges from left and right wing groups not just in 1919 and 1920 but right up to 1923. Meanwhile, the economic problems, which were bad in 1919, seemed to get worse during this period until there was a crisis in 1923. These economic problems also made the social problems worse. Out of them all, the economic problems were probably the worst and without them there would probably have been fewer social problems and less opposition to the government. Diana - In this answer I have shown that the Weimar government faced a range of problems from 1919 to 1923. There were political challenges, economic problems and social discontent yet, somehow, the republic survived. Which do you think is best, Maxine's or Diana's? Examiner's view Maxine's answer is clearly the best but this is not just because she has written more than Diana. Maxine has done more than just summarise the points she has already made; she covers the whole period and has added her own view of what was the most important of these problems, so her conclusion includes a judgement rather than just being description. The conclusion is not the place to raise an important new point - if it is important it should be in the main essay - but it should do more than just repeat what you've already said. ...read more.

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