Stressmann and stability 1924-1929 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Stressmann and stability 1924-1929 Deck (18):

Timeline (1924-9)

1923- End of passive resistance, Rentenmark is introduced
1924- Dawes Plan
1925-Locarno Pact
1926-Germany admitted to the league of nations; Gustav Stresemann awarded the Nobel peace prize
1927-Unemployment Insurance act
1928-Reichstag elections: extreme right-wing parties lost ground
1929-Young Plan, and Stresemann's death aged 51


Political background of Gustav Stresemann

-Life: 1878-1929
-1914-18 Stresemann is right-wing, supports all out war policy
-Initial enemy of the republic
-Party (DNP/German people's party) voted against national assembly in 1919
-Later did not take action against the Kapp Putch in 1920
-Subsequently made peace with republic as he saw no alternative


Stresemann's chancellorship

-August-November 1923
Main action:
-Called off passive resistance in the Ruhr
-Currency reform with Rentenmark
-Defended republic from threats of the extreme left/right
-Fulfilment policy: Show willingness to meet the obligations of the treaty of Versailles so that, in due course, the allies may wish to alter it in Germany's favour


Stressman's action in the Ruhr

-Ended passive resistance in the ruhr which would allow industry to resume and showed cooperation with allies
-But attacked by the right wing, who saw Stresemann's actions as a show of weakness


Stresemann's currency reform

-Replaced worthless mark with the Rentenmark, which would later be called the Reichmark
-Only distributed in small quantities so it would retain its value
-1 trillion marks: 1 rentenmark
-Ends hyperinflation, allowing for the economy to "reboot" and ends need for bartering


Stresemann's defence of the republic from the extreme left and right

-Overcame the communists by ordering the army into Saxony to declare martial law, where the communists were ordering for action to turn state power into a soviet regime
-Overcame the extreme right by waiting until it self destructed at the beer hall putch, doomed for failure


Foreign policy in the 1920s

-Centered around the Treaty of Versailles
-Different approaches to the "diktat" (dictated peace) from the extreme right/moderate socialists
-Extreme right wished to disregard and disobey the treaty entirely...largely condemned as a "disaster policy"
-Moderate socialists (Stresemann) preferred policy of "fulfilment": Germany must fulfil terms of the treaty in order to receive favourable treatment from the Allies
-Right-wing condemned fulfilment policy as outrageous and accused Stresemann of forcing Germany to accept the "war-guilt lie"


Was Stresemann an Idealist or a Realist

-Right accused him of being soft, and working towards reconciliation
-BUT he was actually a nationalist at heart, and saw fulfilment policy as a means to achieving more lenient treatment by the allies
-He wanted to get the French out of the war, scale down reparations and possibly reclaim lost territory such as the Polish corridor


Stresemann's foreign policy, treaties and pacts

-Dawes plan 1924
-Locarno pact 1925
-League of Nations 1926
-Young plan 1929


Dawes plan 1924

-Germany's payments reduced each year
-Sizeable $200 000 000 loan from USA
-French would end Ruhr occupation


Locarno pact 1925

-France and Germany agree not to alter their border (so France may not occupy Ruhr again)
-No agreements made about Germany's eastern border with Czechoslovakia, Austria or Poland
-Germany admitted to League of Nations


League of Nations 1926

-Germany admitted to League of Nations
-Means Germany is in a less isolated position and may advance its foreign relations


Young plan 1929

-Replaces Dawes plan, final reparations settlement
-Total reparations reduced from £6600 million to £1850 million, reduction of over 2/3
-Allies remove troops from the Rhineland 5 years ahead of schedule. Germany officially freed from all occupying forces


How prosperous was Germany's economy in the late 1920s?

-End of hyperinflation means Germany no longer isolated
-Target of investment, particularly from America
-Industrial output returns to pre-war levels by 1928
-Increase in wages
-People willing to spend rather than save

Not prosperous/prosperity is only apparent:
-German economy heavily dependant on foreign investment. Young plan gave Germany substantial US loans, meaning there would be severe consequences in Wall St crash 1929
-Prosperity was not felt by everyone. World food prices were very low in 1920s and farmers incomes suffered, resulting in heavy debts and bitterness as republic that did not help them
-Cause of friction between work force/employers. Employers believed too much power in hands of work force, so they adopted confrontational approach and cut work force, replacing workers with machinery. Caused strikes/industrial action
-Public spending (spending by government on public) was higher than income from taxation therefore more borrowing was required - not sustainable


How stable was Germany politically in the late 1920s?

-Germany experiencing apparent period of calm, economic prosperity. Therefore lack of hunger, anger and desperation at large so extremist tendencies/support was not as popular
-Election results: SPD up 4% in 4 years, but Nazis down 1% and Nationalists down 7%

Unstable/stability only apparent:
-Middle class disillusionment: Still unhappy following their losses in hyperinflation. Working class interests were met with unemployment insurance act 1927 but no efforts made to care for them. Middle class claimed Germany had become a "working class state"
-Unhappiness evident with election of Hindenburg, an anti-democrat, as president in 1925 and the growth of middle class protest parties. E.g. the Economy party won nearly 5% of vote in 1928
-Extreme right/left had not vanished, just changed tactics. Nazis and Communists (under Ernst Thalmann) started fighting for elections.
-Late 1920s street clashes between Nazi SA forces and the Communist "Red Front Fighters' League"


Unemployment Insurance act 1927

-Workers and employees donated to a fund which payed jobless workers
-Evident of a welfare state


Why was Stresemann such a controversial figure?

-Respected by political moderates who saw Stresemann's political courage and recognised that his foreign policy efforts had gotten Germany gains, not losses
-Respected for moving from far right to more of a leftward statesman. Less radical and more diplomatic, he had matured
-Hated by extreme right for "fulfilment" policy as they claimed negotiation with enemy was out of the question
-He had moved leftwards, so right saw him as a traitor
-Reparations agreed with Young plan would, so the right claimed, enslave Germany to the allies for a prolonged period
-Evident of hatred of Stresemann by right-wing was referendum forced by the right-wing before Streemann's death in 1929 on a law. Referendum was a threat to Stresemann's credibility, but it only received 14% of the public vote


How far was Stresemann responsible for upturn of the later 1920s

-It is evidence that Stresemann had a significant hand in the upturn of the late 1920s, Stresemann's "golden years"

However he was not entirely responsible:
-Rathenau originally orchestrated policy of "fulfilment" (Rathenau was the foreign minister assassinated in 1922)
-President Ebert used emergency powers in 1923 to keep the republic afloat
-Rentenmark was largely not the work of Stresemann himself
-Stresemann operated with support of coalition governments. It would not have been possible for him to act as he did without their support
-Much of his policy (ie ending passive resistance/young plan/league of nations) relied on allied cooperation. Without their support his foreign policy may not have been as successful