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Germany experienced a period of political calm

By Scarlett-Alice-Warner Apr 22, 2015 922 Words
‘Germany experienced a period of political calm, economic development and social progress in the mid-1920s’ How far do you agree with this judgement. Political Calm
Throughout the Streseman years, there was a failure to rectify the structural political defects of the Weimar state. In particular, proportional representation in the May 1924 election the Reichstag demonstrated that extremist groups made political gains at the expense of moderate parties. For example, the left wing KPD won 62 seats and the NSDAP 32, neither polled in the June 1920 elections. Of equal importance, were the powers conferred on the elected President enabled Hindenburg to prevent any coalition with SPD members. Thus, future Chancellors would find it difficult to build workable coalitions. Between 1923-29, there were twenty-one different governments and 13 different chancellors. It has been argued that the nature of coalition government made the making of difficult decisions almost impossible, e.g. to raise taxes or cut expenditure and contributed to the tendency to solve financial problems by apparently painless expedients which in fact in the long term led to serious problems, e.g. printing money 1922-23 and borrowing heavily to finance programmes in the 1925-29 period. Of a similar destructive nature was the continuation of a Federal system in which various powers were devolved to the different states. This was to be abused during Red Bavaria by a Socialist uprising and again during the Munich Putsch by the NSDAP. On the other hand it can be argued that the Weimar Constitution did not cause the fundamental problems afflicting Germany and for much of the time provided effective and successful government in which the instability was more apparent that real and there was considerable continuity in personnel even if the person of the Chancellor changed, e.g. the Centre Party and the DDP as well as the DVP usually provided the bedrock of most coalitions and extremism was put down by the Freikorps on most occasions. It can be argued that the constitution kept Hitler out of power as others would not work with him and the President was opposed to appointing him Chancellor. In this sense Weimar can be defended as a practical solution to a bitterly divided society which any system would find difficult to govern effectively, especially in the view of the intense economic problems and the legacy of Versailles. Economic Development

There is much support for the view that the years 1924-29 in Germany, saw slow growth and ‘relative stagnation’ in terms of their economy. The issues for Germany and their new form of government the Weimar Republic in this time was the post-war economic problems, during World War One the previous form of government under the Kaiser had declared total war, meaning all their forces were put towards fighting and winning the war. Unfortunately Germany did not come out victorious and was blamed for the war in the Versailles Treaty, meaning they had to pay reparations to many other countries, while they themselves were struggling financially. Fortunately other countries offered to help Germany, the U.S offered foreign aid to help the newly established democracy pay off their debts, however this influx of capital depended on how stable the lenders economy was. A downturn in the world economy would be disastrous and lead to rapid with drawl of the funding and a demand for it to be returned. So while there was growth in Germany’s economy, the fact it was relying on a source of income outside of its borders makes it easy to conclude that the period 1924-29 was not a period of economic development.

Social Progress
The Weimar constitution adopted the idea of a German welfare state, paid for by an increase in taxation. The new constitution was focused on the family and progressing the countries children, there was also guaranteed religious freedom and a promise of new houses and to protect employees. The demand for an inclusive welfare state had been made even greater due to the impact of World War One, which consequently had created new classes of widows, orphans and disabled soldiers. The promise to introduce more housing was met by the Weimar Republic, records show that by 1929 the state was spending 33 times more on housing that it had been in 1913, between 1927 and 1930 there were 300,000 homes which had been newly built or renovated in the country. Additional change in the years 1924-29 was in the interest of the countries youth. The introduction of the Reich Youth Law of 1922 was set in place in order to give all children the right to a decent upbringing. However this wasn’t always possible and there was still need for establishments such as the Reich Juvenile Court. While 1924-29 seemed to witness intense social progress in terms of Germany creating a more equal society for its inhabitants, there were areas in which the country did not alter conservative views. Whilst the war was being fought it was acceptable for women to take over the men’s work whom had left the country to fight, however after war ended they were expected to return to their lives before war was declared. While there was a slight increase in the amount of female white collared workers and civil servants the view that married women should be able to work was still under debate. However in comparison to all that Germany attempted to achieve in these years, we can still agree that there was social progress in the years 1924-29.

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