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4. Was the Weimar Republic Undermined by Inflation?
About this Lecture
In this module, we explore whether the Weimar Republic was undermined by inflation. Inflation began 1914 as the German government printed money to pay for the war in the expectation that this could be offset with territorial gains. However, Germany lost that war and so was unable to fix inflationary pressures. These pressures were increased by wartime reparations and the new German government's reluctance to raise taxes to pay them. Instead the government used the resulting inflation to try and persuade the international community to reschedule reparations payments (which they achieved). Inflation was somewhat beneficial up until 1922 but after this it became hyperinflation causing a collapse in production in industrial regions. The inflation did not destroy the middle classes. The actual effect was to shatter middle-class unity, fragmenting the middle-class parties and driving their voters, via fringe groups, into the Nazi Party in 1929-32. The psychological effects of the inflation were more important. Inflation undermined the bourgeois sense of order, financial solidity, honesty and dependability. Crucially, the most important effect was through the stabilisation. Firstly, the new currency was tied to gold. Secondly, deflation and government cutbacks caused permanent unemployment. Thirdly, the recovery was based on short-term loans from the USA, which could be withdrawn at any time.
In this course, Professor Sir Richard J. Evans (University of Cambridge) discusses the rise of the Nazi Party from 1918-33. In the the first module, we'll set out the entire period with a timeline of crucial events. In the following modules, we'll then go on to answer some key questions: (i) did proportional representation cause political instability? (ii) did the power and personality of the President undermine the Republic? (iii) was the Weimar Republic undermined by inflation? (iv) was the Republic destroyed by the Depression? (v) did Hitler come to power legally?
Sir Richard J. Evans is Regius Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Cambridge and is Provost of Gresham College. He specialises in European history with a focus on Germany. He is the author of eighteen books, including a three-volume series called The Third Reich Trilogy.
Cite this Lecture
Evans, R. (2021, December 01). Germany – The Rise of the Nazi Party, 1918-33 - Was the Weimar Republic Undermined by Inflation? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/germany-the-rise-of-the-nazi-party-1918-33/was-the-weimar-republic-undermined-by-inflation
Evans, Richard. "Germany – The Rise of the Nazi Party, 1918-33 – Was the Weimar Republic Undermined by Inflation?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 01 Dec 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/germany-the-rise-of-the-nazi-party-1918-33/was-the-weimar-republic-undermined-by-inflation