November Revolution (1918) and Weimar Republic (1919–1933) Part II

By | October 18, 2021

Relative stabilization (1924-29)

The stabilization of the currency and the Dawes Plan (September 1, 1924; regulation of the modalities of the German reparations payments) initiated a relative economic upswing. Since the hyperinflation, there has also been a consensus on rationalization that has also been supported by the unions. Due to the regulations of the Dawes Plan, loans from the USA came to Germany on a large scale. a. allowed the municipalities to expand their infrastructure on a generous basis. In 1927 the economy returned to its 1913 level, and in 1929 it exceeded it by 15%. However, unemployment remained high at over 1 million. In the middle phase of the Weimar Republic, “citizen block cabinets” (Z, Bavarian People’s Party, DDP, DVP, DNVP) or bourgeois minority cabinets ruled under the Reich Chancellor W. Marx (Z; 1923/24, 1926–28) and H. Luther (independent; 1925/26). After Ebert’s death, on April 26, 1925, the population elected World War General P. von Hindenburg as Reich President with 14.7 million votes in the second ballot. a. because the Bavarian People’s Party refused to support the center candidate W. Marx (13.8 million votes).

The election of a convinced monarchist and representative of the empire showed the distance of large sections of the population from the democratic republic, but also a temporary rapprochement between conservatism and the republic. Prussia developed under the Prime Minister O. Braun (SPD) to the »bulwark of democracy«. The “Weimar Coalition” ruled here from 1919–32, which had already lost a majority at the national level in the June 1920 elections. The relationship between the Reichswehr and the state remained critical. It evaded effective parliamentary control. In terms of social policy, the Weimar Republic introduced unemployment insurance (July 16, 1927) as the third pillar of the modern welfare state, alongside health and pension insurance. In 1927/28 the attempt at a Reich School Act, in which the center wanted to secure the denominational school, failed. Political Catholicism was thereby permanently alienated from the republic. The center that had previously affirmed the republic moved with the election of Prelate L. Kaas to the party chairman (December 5th, 1928) clearly to the right, just like shortly before the DNVP with the election of A. Hugenberg (October 20th).

The post-war decade (“Golden Twenties”) was characterized by the tension between political crisis and cultural creativity. The Weimar Republic became artistically v. a. identified with the architecture and style of the Bauhaus.

In terms of foreign policy, the reparations question and the German striving for a renewed position as a great power were in the foreground. Foreign Minister Stresemann’s (1923–29) “Understanding Policy” combined the peaceful revision of the Versailles Treaty with a striving for supremacy in Eastern Europe. It led to the Locarno Treaty (October 5–16, 1925), in which Germany recognized the western borders, but kept a free hand with Poland. On September 8, 1926, Germany joined the League of Nations. Despite efforts to reach an understanding between Stresemann and the French Foreign Minister A. Briand , the opposition to France persisted.

The Young Plan (1929) lowered the annual reparation payments and enabled the early evacuation of the Rhineland by France (June 30, 1930). After the SPD’s election victory on May 20, 1928, Hermann Müller (SPD) formed a government of the “Grand Coalition”. The world economic crisis since the end of October 1929 was a credit and agricultural crisis in Germany, caused foreign trade to drop sharply and unemployment to rise; domestic political tensions intensified considerably. The Müller government was led by a presidential cabinet under H. Brüning (Z, March 29, 1930), which was based on the emergency ordinance law of the Reich President (Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution) and no longer on the Reichstag. Since the spring of 1930, parliament and democracy have lost their importance in the political process. Learn more about Germany and Europe, please click

Dissolution of the Republic (1930-33)

Since 1930 the Weimar Republic found itself in a state and economic crisis. Until July 1930, Chancellor Brüning ruled with a covert, then with an open presidential cabinet. In the meantime, the number of NSDAP mandates increased from 12 to 107 (18.3%) following successes in state elections through the Reichstag elections on September 14, 1930. The SPD was then forced to tolerate the Brüning Presidential Cabinet in the defensive battle against A. Hitler . In return, the center was supported by the SPD-led Braun government in Prussia with the Social Democrat C. Severing as Minister of the Interior and Chief of the Prussian Police. Unemployment rose to 6.128 million in February 1932. The government’s anti-cyclical labor market policy failed because of the continuing fear of inflation from 1923; The Brüning cabinet reacted to the economic contraction by lowering prices and wages; Trade unions and the NSDAP, on the other hand, formulated job creation programs. Brüning’s deflationary policy was pursued by v. a. the foreign policy goal of providing evidence of Germany’s insolvency and thus achieving the end of reparations.

After Brüning’s dismissal as Chancellor (May 30, 1932), his successor F. von Papen (June 1 – November 17, 1932) sought to tame Hitler by involving him and to rebuild the political system in an authoritarian manner. Since the deposition of the Prussian government (“Preussenschlag”) on July 20, 1932, there was no functioning federalism in the Reich until 1945. At the same time, the NSDAP made itself the advocate of national participation in politics, which was bypassed under the presidential cabinets. In the Reichstag elections on July 31, 1932, it became the strongest party with 37.3% of the vote and 230 members, but suffered a heavy defeat (33.1%) in the elections of November 6, 1932 after Hitler the imminent expectation of a system change that he had fomented had not been able to meet (especially the re-election of Hindenburg against Hitler as Reich President on April 10, 1932). The KPD benefited from this. became the strongest party in Berlin.

The “cross-front concept” Reich Chancellor K. von Schleichers (December 2, 1932– January 28, 1933) relied on the split in the NSDAP. It failed with the resignation of G. Strasser (December 8th, 1932) from all NSDAP party offices.

November Revolution (1918) and Weimar Republic (1919–1933) 2