Germany began their road to recovery with a series of improvements in its economy, foreign policies and politics. Stresemann negotiated the Dawes Plan / Loan, started to work with other countries and stabilized the government and politics. However, despite his success, there remained several problems, such as Germany were heavily dependent on the USA for money. In addition, although he worked with other countries, there remained a lot of mistrust. Finally, even though he stabilized the government, the Weimar Republic remained very unpopular with the German people.
Stresemann was a leading member of every government from 1923 to 1929. The fact that the rest of Europe was finally coming out of the post-war depression also gave him support. Under the Dawes Plan, reparation payments were spread over a more extended period, and 800 million marks in loans from the USA poured into German industry. The Dawes plan helped Europe recover from the economic crisis after the war, and because more money was available, the German industry was rebuilt. Because the industry was prospering again, this lead to increased employment and people’s lives seemed to be more stabilized.
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There also was an increase in international trade, which led to Germany being one of the world’s leading exporters of manufactured goods. The Germans were exporting goods to America, which helped them feel less guilty about taking a loan because they had a give-take relationship. In addition, reparations were being paid, and exports were on the increase. However, the German economy still had serious problems. The Germans were too dependant on American loans, which could be withdrawn at any time, which technically did happen because after the Wall Street stock market crashed, the American economy collapsed. They needed the money back from Germany. Also, unemployment was a serious problem because it created jobs fast enough for Germany’s rising population.
The main losers were the peasant farmers and the middle-class people. The peasant farmers had an increased population during the war. They had mortgages to pay but not enough demand for the food they produced. Many small business owners were disappointed during this period. Small shopkeepers saw their businesses threatened by the large department stores. A university lecturer in 1913 earned ten times as much as a coal miner. In the 1920’s he earned twice as much. These people began to feel that the Weimar government offered them little.
Stresemann’s greatest triumphs were in foreign policies. In 1925 he signed the Locarno treaties, which led to France and Germany agreeing to settle any future disputes through the League of Nations. Germany was accepted in the League of Nations in 1926, which was another triumph for Stresemann. By the time he died in 1929, Stresemann had negotiated the Young Plan, which further lightened the burden of the reparations on Germany and led to the final removal of British, French and Belgian troops from the Rhineland. Also, politics had become more stable.1919 to 1928 was a good time for Germany because the parties that supported the Weimar democracy did well in these years. Hitler’s Nazis gained less than 3% of the vote in the 1928 election.
However, there were some problems with the foreign policies. Nationalists attacked Stresemann for joining the League of Nations and signing the Locarno Pact because they thought Stresemann was accepting the Treaty Of Versailles, which Germany opposed greatly in the beginning. Also, there were some problems with the political side of Germany. Despite the stability of Weimar politics in this period, both the Nazis and the Communists were building up their party organizations. Even during these years, there were four different chancellors, and around 30% of the vote regularly went to parties that were opposite the Republic. There were 25 separate governments in 14 years. Some governments only lasted a few weeks. This led to the government being politically unstable and Stresemann had hoped that the successes in foreign policies would make it easier for the political parties in Germany to work together. However, this hope was not successful.
In conclusion, I believe that the Dawes Plan was the biggest achievement for Stresemann. I think this because the reparations that Germany had to pay were the biggest problem they couldn’t overcome. By receiving a large amount of money, they were able to pay off some of the reparations. The negotiation that Stresemann did with the USA, which led to the Americans having a better relationship and attitude towards the Germans. Even though the loans could’ve been withdrawn, the Germans could at least pay off some of the reparations. If the Wall Street crash didn’t happen, then I think there would’ve been a very strong possibility for the Germans and Americans to rebuild their chaotic relationship. However, due to the Dawes Plan, the Germans received some profits so steadily they could return the money back they borrowed.