Recovery of Weimar

Recovery of Weimar

Stresemann and Recovery

  • Gustav Stresemann became Chancellor in August 1923 during the height of the hyperinflation crisis. Despite only being Chancellor until November 1923, he remained as Foreign Minister until his death in 1929, greatly influencing Weimar’s recovery.

  • Stresemann’s first step was to halt the policy of passive resistance in the Ruhr. This was to try and normalise relations with France and ease the economic strain.

  • In November 1923, Stresemann introduced a new currency, the Rentenmark, to replace the worthless Reichsmark and stabilise the economy.

  • Stresemann managed to renegotiate reparations in the Dawes Plan 1924, which restructured payments according to Germany’s ability to pay. This removed a major economic burden and helped restore international confidence.

Cultural Advances and Modernisation

  • Weimar Republic experienced a cultural rebirth during the Golden Age (1924-1929). Berlin became a hub for avant-garde art, theatre, film, and architecture (such as Bauhaus).

  • The introduction of a modern welfare system with unemployment pay and pensions reflected Weimar’s attempts to modernise.

International Relationships

  • Stresemann aimed to revise the Versailles Treaty through diplomatic means. His policy of fulfilment meant he co-operated with the Allies in order to revise the Treaty’s terms.

  • The Locarno Pact 1925 saw Germany willingly accept its post-Versailles western borders while leaving open the question of its Eastern borders. This improved relations between Germany, France and Great Britain.

  • Germany’s admission into the League of Nations in 1926, an organisation initially established to manage Germany’s punishment, symbolised its return to the international community as an equal.

Limitations of the Recovery

  • Recovery during the Weimar period was heavily dependent on foreign loans, particularly through the Dawes Plan, making Germany’s economy vulnerable to external disruptions.

  • There was still bitter resentment, especially among nationalist groups, over the on-going impact of the Versailles Treaty, which continued to fuel political instability.

  • Weimar’s recovery never fully reached the levels of economic performance seen before the 1914 War. Unemployment remained a constant issue, leaving a significant part of the population dissatisfied.