I believe that between 1924 and 1929, the Weimar Republic was highly successful. They managed to start rebuilding Germany, and completely turn around the country’s morale. This period subdued political opposition, and helped Germany move forward. However, although all seemed rosy on the surface, the method in which Stresemann had achieved stability would cause Germany to fall into turmoil after the 1929 Wall Street Crash. Stresemann wanted to achieve an ecomically stable Germany. Germany was currently crippled by the despised Treaty of Versailles.
The reparations Germany were made to pay were sending an already declining country over the edge. Stresemann also wanted to create a single, unified, proud Germany. They had lost much land from the war, and many Germans were being ruled by people that were not German. There were many reasons for Stresemann’s success, as I will now explain. Germany’s industry levels, thanks to increased foreign investment, were back to those of 1913. Germany was an industry-led country, so getting industry back to a profitable level caused the whole country to run smoother.
This was a success as it showed that Germany was rebuilding itself and restoring itself to its former glory. As a result of this, and with increasing presence in the world trade, German exports rose by 40% between 1924 and 1929. This showed that the rest of the world were no longer feeling threatened by Germany, and accepted their desire to move forward and rebuild. However, it can’t all be seen as a success. Although there was economic growth, it was extremely uneven. There were more imports than exports, meaning that Germany was still losing money.
This shows a failure on Stresemann’s behalf as he should of focused on exports rather than imports, as this would of benefitted the country overall. Also, unemployment rates never fell below 1. 3 million. So, although industry appeared to be booming, there were many people still living in poverty-struck conditions. Probably the main success of Stresemann was his foreign policy. Stresemann established the Dawes Plan in 1924 with America, allowing reparations to be cut, and Germany to be loaned money. This had an extremely positive effect on Germany society.
Everything began flourishing and the days were going back to those of pre-war. This shows the Dawes Plan was a success as it restored peoples’ faith in the Weimar Republic. No one revolted when times were good. Another success was the Locarno Pact, in 1925. This established borders and accepted previously enforced ones. This was a success as the Rhineland was demilitarized, showing that the world was beginning to trust what Germany proposed. Although these were huge successes, they can also be seen as failures. For example, the Dawes Plan was dangerously reliant on American loans.
This meant that if anything happens to America’s economy, Germany would be the first hit. This showed Stresemann’s lack of vision for the future, for if he had considered it, it would of been obvious it was a dangerous move. There was also a drawback to the Locarno pact. Many German civillians saw this as something only beneficial to France, and a way of accepting the Versailles treaty terms. This of course injured Germanys pride and caused resentment amongst those who had been working hard to get rid of the label ‘War mongers’.
Another success, due to the Dawes Plan, is the cultural boom that happened. Society was liberated, due to the reduced censorship. Various new art forms such as cabaret, jazz music and art were emerging from the shadows, and giving the German people a canvas to vent their feelings onto. There were also new types of architecture, and films. These changed created hope and optimism amongst Germans, and made them forget about anything that was wrong with Germany. However, some people opposed these new cultural developments.
Many, such as the Nazis, believed it symbolised all that was wrong with the Weimar republic, as it undermined tradition. They also believed it was degenerate, decadant and unpatriotic. This showed the clear split in society, those who wanted tradition, and those who wanted more radical change. This was a symbol for things that were to come, and Stresemann should of tried to find a way he could of kept more of society satisfied using culture. Stresemann’s final success was his political success.
When the times were good, as they were, extremist parties dropped completely out of favour, helping restore stability in the Weimar Republic. With no opposition, it showed that Weimar was ever closer to being the strong, stable government it set out to be. On the other hand, the parties that were in power did not work together. They did not compromise to do what was best for Germany, and instead stayed stubborn with their views. In conclusion, I believe that Stresemann was a success.
He managed to take Germany from poverty to being a culturally, economically and politically strong country. He introduced a new currency, Rentenmark, and got Germany trading with the world again. However, this pleasure was only skin deep. Under the surface lay a system heavily reliant on American loans, and one that did not see possible changes in the market. This failure to plan ahead ultimately caused Germany everything. But, all in all, I believe that whilst the years lasted, they were highly successful