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Discuss the impact of the Depression on Democracy in Germany in the period up to 1934

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Question: Discuss the impact of the Depression on Democracy in Germany in the period up to 1934 Introduction The depression had a negative impact on democracy and the survival of the Weimar Government. The Weimar Government was still coming to terms with the impact of hyperinflation, a previous economic crisis in which it barely survived and could by no means survive another. The Wall Street Crash was another economic crisis which had an impact on a world scale and resulted in all out disaster for Germany and the Weimar Government. Firstly the depression turned the already extremely discontent citizens of Germany further against democracy. Secondly it forced them to look for alternative forms of government like the Nazi's and the Communists. Para 1 The German nation was used to being ruled, rather than ruling itself which meant Weimar and democracy were facing an uphill battle from the outset. ...read more.


By 1932 roughly one worker in three was registered as unemployed with rates even higher in industrial areas of Germany. Matters were made worse by the fact that the drastic fall in people's income caused a collapse in tax revenues. Many soon were not in receipt of unemployment benefits as state governments could not afford to pay it. Crime and suicide rates rose sharply and many lost hope. The impact democracy was meant to have, was to better the standard of living, but with help by the depression it lowered the standard of life to an unprecedented low. It was these unprecedented lows which forced the German people to lose faith in democracy and turn to alternative forms of government. Perhaps something they were used to and felt worked. Para 3 It was in this economic chaos that the Nazis and Communists thrived. ...read more.


People deserted the democratic parties in droves and turned to either the Communists or the Nazis. In the election of 1930, the Nazis made their electoral breakthrough winning 107 deputies while the Communists won 77. Both parties were opposed to the democratic system and used violence against their political opponents. Hitler's Brown shirts clashed frequently on the streets with their Communist enemies. * Cut budget for war victims pensions by a third- pissed off thousands of people who felt betrayed by the system * The economic crisis made governments appear weak and divided. Blame fell not only on individual politicians and parties but on the whole democratic system of the Weimar republic. * However the government eventually became more interventionist, but too late. Once reparations were suspended in 1931 Chancellor Bruning set up some public works schemes. Classic example of too little too late. The economy did start to improve in late 1932 but was too little to influence voters. Instead it was Hitler who built on this recovery and took all the credit. ...read more.

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