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Was 1924-29 A Political And Economic Golden Age?

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Introduction

In order to assess whether or not these years were actually part of a golden age for Germany, we must compare it both economically and politically with the years immediately before and also the economic and political progress of other countries of similar size, power and development during the same time period. A significant improvement on previous years and improvement on similar or better scales to rival the other major nations would indicate a golden age. Immediately before the period we are looking at, Germany was suffering from inflation and ultimately hyper-inflation as well as a depression after the period we are looking at, in 1929. This would indicate some sort of recovery in the six years between these dates. Economically, Germany was heavily dependent on the after-effects of the Dawes Plan of 1924 which rescheduled the payments of reparations due from Germany and spread the burden according to prosperity. This along with American loans enabled the expansion of German industry and the implementation of new industrial techniques used by the other powerful nations. The government was channeling all it could into industry and public work schemes (such as swimming pools, opera houses and huge apartment blocks), increased welfare benefits, better industrial relations ultimately resulting in greater prosperity being shared by the population as a whole. ...read more.

Middle

There was split opinion over where any increasing profits should be spent with socialists feeling that wages should be increased and industrialists arguing for more investment in already saturated markets. Unemployment was never really addressed also. Slight falls took place between 1926 and 1927 after which point it continued to rise. The agriculture sector saw nothing of the prosperity being experienced elsewhere. Increased competition from overseas producers who had been more rapid in accepting modernization practices resulted in lower prices and the benefits of greater efficiency were never felt by German farmers who actually saw decreasing agricultural prices. Between 1924 and 1929, the political system also appears to have been stable. In previous years we had seen the Spartacist uprising, the Kapp Putsch, and the Munich Putsch as well as many political assassinations. However, during this period there were no such events. Parties in opposition to the Republic were in the decline on both the left and right. Between the 1924 and 1928 elections for example, the extremist KPD party saw a decrease in its number of seats, as well as the DNVP and the Nazis also. At the same time, all the parties expected to support the republic were increasing their representation. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Reichstag always felt under threat. Both the economic and political situation in Germany between 1924 and 1929 seem, on the surface to be very stable and possibly veering to what can be referred to as a 'Golden Age.' However, both had fundamental flaws which became apparent immediately after the end of this period. For example, the prosperity seen by some Germans was always very fragile due to its reliance on foreign success, primarily USA. Even whilst this so called 'golden age' was around, the agricultural industry was suffering badly and consumer demand was not high enough to take advantage of the increased efficiency in industry. Politically, support for the Weimar Republic seems to have merely been a rejection of Communism rather than support for Weimar, and support decreased continually with every agreement giving in to foreign nations, made by Stressemann. The right wing extremist parties were gradually building support and it can now be seen that the fault lines were apparent during this period which were later to cause collapse and the depression of 1929. Therefore I don't think it would be correct to refer to this as a 'Golden Age' although there were significant improvements when compared to the period immediately preceding this one. By Amandeep Bindra ...read more.

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