Explore content through sources: The Economic challenges faced by Weimar government
a) Study all sources and select a source which is interesting to you and your partner to work on. After selection, you and your partner will work on the purpose of the author.
b) "The Weimar government was responsible for worsening the economic crisis in 1923." How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer.
A British cartoon published in 1920s.
The Weimar government inherited war debts of 150 billion marks. These were the Kaiser's debts but the Weimar government had to deal with them. Added to that, the Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to pay reparations of six billion marks.
German president Frederich Ebert was the president who inherited the problems.
A British cartoon from 1920s.
In 1923, Ebert's government refused to pay reparations. French troops moved in to take what was owed. Ebert called for Passive resistance (To ask the workers to refused to work). The workers went on strike and refused to cooperate with the French. As a result, over one hundred German workers were killed in demonstrations.
A German cartoon published in 1920s.
Gutenberg (The founder of modern printing press) and the Billions-Press, “I never intended this!” From the German satirical magazine Simplicissimus, 1923.
To solve more problems, Ebert's government printed more money. It paid off billions of war debts but it also caused hyperinflation.
A photograph taken by a German photographer in 1920s.
As a result, hyperinflation caused the prices of everything went sky high. The Middle class who had savings, found their savings worthless.
Gustav Stresseman became the new chancellor and persuaded Ebert to use his emergency powers. Ebert and Stresseman scrapped the worthless mark and introduced Rentenmark. At this point, USA came to Germany's rescue with money to pay its debts and to get its industry going.
*Stresseman signed a Dawes plan (USA financial aid), which gave Germany a huge loans (800 million marks). USA also reorganised Germany's reparations payment.
*Stresseman also agreed with the Young Plan with USA. This reduced Germany's reparation repayments and spread out the payments to make them easier to afford.