Group H: Martina Mendiondo, Miranda Correa Perkins and Gitika Manwani.
In the following essay we will analyze how far Stresemann is responsible for the German recovery in the 1920s.
To start with, we would like to focus on economy as Stresemann had a big influence on it. Firstly, Stresemann was a right winger so he has a wider support, plus he was helped by the fact that through the 1920s the rest of Europe was gradually coming out of the post-war depression. Moreover he built up Germany’s prosperity and under the Dawes Plan he took a loan from the U.S. What is more, by 1927 German industry seemed to recover and in 1928 they produced as much as before the war, even better, reparations were being paid and exports were on the increase. However, the loans from the U.S could be called in at short time and though there were many economic winners as well as losers. People who didn’t benefit began to feel that the Weimar government offered them little.
Secondly, there was a cultural revival in Germany. Many writers and poets flourished and painters painted wonderful powerful paintings, some, criticized old German leaders. The Bauhaus style of architecture came into fashion, this style rejected traditional styles and created new and exciting, plus people were quite curious about it and liked it pretty much. Furthermore, the 1920s were a golden age for German cinema, many famous actors and producers became famous. Berlin started to be characterized by its daring and liberated night life, it had lots of night bands and going to clubs became a general pass time. In the 1920s there were cabaret artists performing songs criticizing political leaders or even about sex that would have surely been banned during the Kaiser’s day. Anyways, though this resulted quite exciting to many, in many of Germany’s villages and country towns this “new” culture seemed to them a moral decline. Because of this, organizations like the Wandergovel organization took place, this organization aimed to return to simple values to see more help in the country side and less decadence in the towns.
Thirdly, politics became more stable, an opponent of Ebert even ended up supporting the republic little by little in 1923. Yet, there were almost 30 per cent of the votes that went to parties opposing the Republic. Additionally, German people elected Hindenburg as president in 1926 despite him being opposed to democracy and writing to the Kaiser in exile for approval before taking up the post! Politics were not all; Stresemann seemed to have his greatest triumphs in foreign policy. Stresemann agreed signing the Locarno Treaties guaranteeing not to try to change Germany’s western borders with France and Belgium in 1925 and by 1926 Germany was accepted into the League of Nations. Besides, he started to work on reversing some of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, especially the ones concerning reparations and Germany’s eastern frontiers, as a result by the time he died (1929) he had negotiated the Young Plan that lightened up the reparations burden on Germany and he was able to work out the final removal of British, French and Belgium troops from the Rhineland. Despite his success, nationalists attacked Stresemann for joining the League of Nations and for signing the Locarno Treaties, seeing it as an acceptance of the Treaty of Versailles; communists also attacked the Locarno Treaties thinking it was a plot against the communist government in the USSR.
In conclusion, Stresemann was fully responsible for the German recovery in spite of some dangerous decisions and opposition.
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