Stresemann controlling inflation was the main reason behind success of the Weimar Republic in the years 1923-1928 How far do you agree with this statement?
Joshua Painter 24/10/13
‘Stresemann controlling inflation was the main reason behind success of the Weimar Republic in the years 1923-1928’
I believe that Stresemann controlling inflation was the main reason behind success of the Weimar Republic in the years 1923-28. There are also many other factor that helped with the success of the Weimar Republic, however these would not have been possible if Stresemann had not controlled the population therefore this is the main reason behind the success.
Firstly controlling inflation was the main reason behind the success of the Weimar Republic in the years 1923-1928. This is because by doing this he stabilised the German economy. He did this by introducing a new currency called the ‘Rentenmark’. Even though by doing this he had inadvertently destroyed all people’s savings and pensions, these savings and pensions had already become worthless due to the hyperinflation and so it was not a severe calamity that would have put him off of making the decision. By stabilising the German economy, Stresemann also allowed negotiations to begin with the USA which resulted in the Dawes Plan and Young Plan. These two plans are also very important in the success of the Weimar Republic; however they would not have been possible if Stresemann had not controlled inflation and therefore this is the most important reason being the success of the Weimar Republic in the years 1923-1928. Stresemann also called of passive resistance in the Ruhr which allowed Germany to start producing tradable goods again which also helped improve the economy.
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The second most important reason for the success of the Weimar Republic was the Dawes Plan and the Young Plan Firstly; the Dawes Plan was drawn up Charles Dawes and was signed in April 1924. The terms of this treaty were; the reparations that Germany had to pay were fixed to 6.6 billion dollars, the French were made to leave the Ruhr and the USA would give Germany a loan of 800 million dollars. This plan lead too; industrial output doubling in the years of 1923-1928, imports and exports increasing as well as an increase in employment. This was very good for the Weimar Republic as people would have been much more supportive towards them as more people were able to get jobs and the economy was on the rise. As the country had just suffered hyperinflation they would have been very appreciative of these positive changes.
Next is the Young Plan. This was drawn up by the American Owen Young and was signed in 1929. The terms of this were; reparations would be reduced from 6.6 billion dollars to 2 billion dollars and Germany would we able to pay the reparations over 59 years. This allowed tax to be lowered which would have made people happier due to them not having to pay as much tax and being able to have more luxuries. As a result of this, people bought more things which also increased the economy. Despite these positives this did cause some outrage among the German people which is why it is not as important as the Dawes Plan. This plan made German people want to vote on a referendum and people said that this was ‘Passing the burden onto the unborn’. However even though the people did not agree with the signing of the Young Plan it still made the Weimar Republic successful as it further helped to improve the economy. It also massively reduced the reparations that Germany had to pay which also helped the economy grow.
The third most important reason for the success of the Weimar Republic in the years 1923-1928 were the social reforms he brought in. These reforms were aimed to help the working class. Stresemann introduced unemployment pay, job centres and there were 3 million affordable houses built. This was good for the Weimar Republic as they gained popularity with the working classes. Stresemann also focused on medicine and education, using 26% of the GDP to advance them. By doing this he tried to ensure that all children would be able to get a good education and all sick people would be able to be treated properly. This, however, angered the richer Germans as they had to pay more tax. Another problem with these reforms is that they were completely dependent on the USA loans and so made the Weimar Republic fragile. Despite this these reforms did help many of Germany’s social problems and most Germans were now able to could afford for their children to be properly educated.
The fourth and least important reason for the success of the Weimar Republic in the years 1923-1928 were the International Affairs. Firstly, Stresemann signed the Treaty of Locarno in 1925. This treaty meant that Germany agreed and accepted their new borders with France and Belgium. However Germany did gain something out of this as it also made the last of the allied troops leave the Rhineland. During the negotiations there was also talk of Germany possibly being able to join the League of Nations. This was good for the Weimar as it was seen as a step towards being equal and as the Germans had been humiliated in world war one because of the Treaty of Versailles, the concept of being equal was very pleasing. They did still receive a lot of criticism from the people as they had accepted the borders that were set in the Treaty of Versailles and many saw this as being unacceptable. Next, in 1926, Germany did join the League of Nations which helped the Weimar Republic as they were now seen to be equal with other countries and had got the countries pride back that it had lost in the war. Lastly Stresemann signed the Treaty of Berlin with the USSR in 1926. Stresemann does this as it scares the western countries due to the possible alliance between the two. However this does not affect the Weimar Republic’s success much.
In conclusion I believe that Stresemann controlling inflation was the most important reason for the success of the Weimar Republic in the years 1923-1928.This is because without him doing this, the other things that helped Weimar such as the Dawes Plan and Young Plan would never have been able to happen. This makes the controlling inflation the most important reason as the other things would not have helped the Weimar Republic without inflation being controlled first.