GERMANY SOCIAL PROBLEMS

(1919 - 1923)
Germans were unsure about the democratic system as Germany had been a monarchy under the Kaiser. Furthermore, the Germans viewed the new Socialist Democratic party of the Weimar Constitution as the 'November Criminals' because they signed the armistice; many Germans felt 'stabbed in the back.'

- High unemployment, therefore people looked towards extremist parties to solve their problems.
- Inflation meant that people lost their savings and many could barely afford the basic necessities.
- Many Germans felt that investing in the German industry was not worth it because of hyperinflation.

Wall Street Crash 1929 - impact on society
Street violence - people lost faith in the government because Bruning's policies were not improving lives. This is how the Nazi party gained a lot of support and in 1932 became the biggest political party - they promised to tackle unemployment through job creation schemes, which had a broader appeal than Bruning's cautious ways.

1932 - peak of unemployment (almost 6 million)

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The German people had been loyal to their Kaiser and the monarchy, and had trouble adjusting to the new democracy and constitution. After being confidently guaranteed victory in the First World War, the defeat was humiliating. There was a sense of betrayal among the civilian population, and eventually a feeling of hopelessness and unrest spread across the country. The civilian politicians at the time were blamed, not the German Army, and became referred to as the ‘November Criminals’. Right-wing circles encouraged people to think that they had been ‘stabbed in the back’.

The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to take responsibility for the war, pay for reparations, hand over 13% of its land, limit the army and remove its air force and submarines. This led to huge economic issues and massive unemployment. The treaty was a formal conclusion to the war, despite the armistice in November, 1918. The reparation requirements made it difficult to restore their own economy after the war. With no colonies and their key industrial area (The Ruhr) taken away, Germany struggled financially. The government was weak, with little citizen support and pressure from both left and right wing groups. There was an increase in the printing of money, until hyperinflation hit and the mark was worthless.

Germany began living off loans from other countries to stimulate an industrial boom, restructure the German industry, improve public transport and finance Social Welfare policies. However the Great Depression had a severe impact on Germany. The German Government adopted a deflationary policy to solve the problems of mass unemployment and political instability. Taxes were increased and there was cuts welfare spending.

The Nazis took advantage of the social instability that came from the Great Depression, which was ultimately a major factor that carried them to power.