History - Weimar Republic Downfall

Topics: Weimar Republic, Adolf Hitler, Great Depression Pages: 5 (1844 words) Published: April 7, 2013
When considering the importance and extent to which the Great Depression was the main cause of the collapse and decline of the Weimar Republic, it is necessary to assess other factors which also added to its failure. The Great Depression was a prominent reason in the latter stages of the Weimar republics collapse, it accelerated its failure in 1929 and by 1932 arguably the Weimar Republic couldn’t go on. Despite this, the main cause of the collapse was the continuous poor economic state of Germany which hindered the success of democracy and finally resulted in the failure of the Weimar. The results of the First World War, the effects of the Treaty of Versailles and the 1923 hyperinflation crisis significantly worsened Germany's economic problems, in which Hitler and the Nazis easily exploited. The Great Depression and derived from this constant financial strain that the government suffered under and eventually spiralled the situation out of control which proved unmanageable for the government. This created a cut back in support from those who were in favour of democracy and produced resentment amongst other parties. Finally the Weimar's inability to deal with the crisis via unsuccessful decision making and the long term traditional attitudes of the elites within the government that were also highly important contributions to the collapse of the Weimar. Consequently with detrimental ongoing economic crisis and contributing political factors, the Weimar Republic was doomed from the outset, resulting in its collapse. Arguably the Great Depression played a vital role in the collapse of the Weimar but was not the main reason. The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic crisis that began in the United States with the Wall Street Crash on October 29th, 1929. International trade, incomes, and profits plummeted and unemployment rose. In source 2, the German Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen said “Germany is also plagued by its foreign debts”, the Depression created problems for Germany as they relied on loans from America pay off their reparations and revive their economy. Furthermore Von Papen claims “Unemployment is more widespread than in any other country; some 20-25% of the working population is unemployed” this shows us that the depression had caused immense problems for the working population and the Weimar republic would be pinned with the blame by the NSDAP. Although the government attempted to resolve the problem of unemployment for example, chancellor Heinrich Bruning who introduced a series of policies to deal with this fiscal crisis. He cut down wages, salaries and prices in an effort to restore confidence in the German financial and industrial system. His efforts were unsuccessful and ineffective as subsequent to this by 1931 there were nearly 4.5 million people out of work, thus illustrating the Weimar's inability to deal with the crisis contributing to its own collapse. This initiated further opposition and bitterness towards the Republic. Clearly the depression contributed to the Weimar's unpopularity and more so its collapse. Additionally both liberal parties, the DVP(German's People Party) and DDP (German Democrat Party) witnessed a decrease in votes during the 1930 election as much of their support rested on the middle class who were "monetary advantageous" to the average class man felt humiliated, betrayed and angry towards the Weimar Government. Consequently faced with a "fundamentally undermined Weimar system” as seen in source 3 many people turned to the Nazi party in hope of a radical solution to their troubles. This strengthens the argument that economics was central to the collapse of the Weimar republic; the Depression added the final touches. Furthermore with large firms dependent on USA loans and German banks that also had taken out loans to invest in businesses, when the depression struck it destroyed the relative stability of the financial system and hence placed an overwhelming burden on the...
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