Explain how and why German social and cultural life changed in the period 1923-1933:
The social and cultural life in Germany changed dramatically from 1923 to 1933, seeing Germany through three distinctive periods in history. The years of instability from 1918 to 1923, the ‘golden years’ from 1924 to 1929 and the depression years and rise of the Nazi party from 1929 to 1933.
The beginning of 1923 was a time of great social, cultural, political and economic unrest for Germany. As a result of the war and the treaty of Versailles, Germany had given up its key industrial resources in an attempt to pay back crippling war reparations and, in turn, had little capacity for economic recovery. Due to the weak government at the time being vulnerable to pressures from the left and right, they did not consider the necessary economic reforms because they would have added to the suffering of the people. So, to counteract Germany’s financial struggle they opted to print more money. This lead to hyperinflation and by November 1923, at the height of inflation, German marks were practically worthless. Social hardship increased as unemployment rates raised severely and many Germans lost their savings or found their fixed incomes worthless.
In August 1923, the German government finally fell after losing control of the economy. Gustav Stresemann formed a new government. An ‘enabling act’ was passed, giving the Stresemann government special emergency powers to deal with problems facing the country. Two days after this act was passed, the Stresemann government created a new currency called the rentenmark to work against hyperinflation. Stremanns government did not stay in power, but it saw Germany out of crisis. This restored the German peoples trust in democracy. The German economy began to recover and was leant 800 million marks from the USA through the Dawes plan to invest in industry and commerce. This rise is economic well-being saw the beginning of the ‘golden years’....
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