Gustave Stresemann had a lot of influence over Germany in the period between 1923 and 1929. Though he was only chancellor for a short while he occupied other very important positions such as Germany's Foreign Minister. Before Stresemann took charge in 1923 the Weimar Republic had many problems. In 1922 the government declared that they could no longer pay reparations to France due to severe economic problems. The French responded to this by sending 60,000 French and Belgian troops to invade the Ruhr. They took most of Germany's raw materials, the government called for the workers to carry out passive resistance; the workers in Germany refused to collaborate with the French. Consequently industrial production ground to a halt. Many in Germany blamed the government for the invasion of the Ruhr as it was the government who signed the treaty which meant they had to pay large reparations to France. Already the government was facing unpopularity with some Germans. After the invasion of the Ruhr, industrial production decreased dramatically so industries and factories shut down. This meant that unemployment rose. Consequently poverty in Germany rose too. The government decided to print more money to give to the people. As more and more was printed prices rose higher and higher and then more money had to be printed to meet the increasing prices. As a result money became worthless. This was the second problem the Weimar Republic faced; hyperinflation. Although the wages rose the prices always seemed to rise faster this meant that many people's income was too low to live on. Most people suffered from the hyperinflation, and were extremely fed up with how the government had printed more money. It wasn't just the fact that all their life savings could now only buy them a loaf of bread but it was also that it was degrading and it was humiliating: the German mark and economy had become worthless. Before Stresemann the Weimar Republic was facing unpopularity amongst most people, without Stressemann the Weimar Republic might not have seen 1924.
I will first examine how Stresemann was in helping the Weimar Republic overcome the economic and social problems which they faced. Stresemann put an end to hyperinflation, he did this by getting rid of the mark and introducing the new Rentenmark. This stabilized the German currency and meant that money was worth something again. It also meant that Stresemann gained the confidence of many people because during hyperinflation many people were suffering. Stressemann also ordered striking workers back to the Ruhr to start working again and production began once more. Also, in 1924 Stresemann signed the Dawes plan with USA, Britain and France to avoid any other financial collapses such as hyperinflation in the future. The Dawes plan meant that USA would lend Germany 800 million gold marks. Stresemann used this to build new factories that would produce jobs and goods. This meant a rise in the standard of living for most German people and because of this Stresemann gained support from many Germans. The Dawes plan also spread the load of reparations according to Germany's ability to pay. Therefore the Dawes plan did much to restore the German economy and Stresemann was the one who signed the Dawes plan. Stressemann also signed the Young plan which extended the reparation payments for another 59 years, this meant that Stresemann could concentrate on building up Germany. Although Stresemann had managed to sign the Dawes plan with the USA which in the short term had positive effects on Germany's economy, in the long term it was to prove disastrous as the German economy was becoming dependent on US loans. Stressemann also helped the social problems a lot by introducing reforms to make conditions for the working class better. Labour Exchanges and unemployment pay were also introduced and Stresemann supervised 3 million houses being built in order to hose all those who had lost their homes during...
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