The combination of financial instability and a lack of political agency in Germany, both resulting from the war and subsequent treaties by the allies, combined to form the beginnings of social tension in Germany which would lead to the rise of the Third Reich. For instance, the Treaty of Versailles included provisions for Germany to accept responsibility for the loss and damage caused by the First World War

In 1918, the Allies formed the Weimar Republic in Germany which would last for the next fifteen years. The founding of the Weimar Republic, according to Preparata, was a sort of pretense through which the reactionary right “spoke through the Nationalist press, and intimidated the Leftist opposition” to gradually pit an increasingly patronized class of unemployed Germans against their former government.[1]

Furthermore, heavy taxation on the wealthy and elite members of German society was implemented by Finance Minister Matthias Erzberger in an attempt to acquire the financial means to pay reparations to the Allies.[2] Sensing this threat, however, many wealthy Germans quickly redeemed any Treasury Bills and War Loan certificates they possessed and proceeded to export their wealth outside of Germany.[3] Resulting from such actions was the ‘so-called ‘external depreciation’ of the German currency [and] the Reichsmark lost value fast”.[4]

This financial crisis in Germany is one of the many important factors which paved the way for Nazism. In fact, the Reich’s inability to pay its creditors came to a critical threshold in 1923 marked what Preparata calls “the near disintegration of the German community”.[5]

It was during this tumultuous moment in history when the Nazi party made its first major appearance in German politics during the Beer Hall Putsch of November 1923.[6] Although this attempted coup was a general failure, it marks the moment where Nazism as a movement began to slowly take hold of Germany.[7]

 

Some key demographic figures from the Weimar Republic:

  1. 224,900 suicides
  2. 300 political assassinations
  3. 32 party failures
  4. 20 Cabinets and 9 elections

 

For more information on the rise of Nazism after the Beer Hall Putsch, see  The National Socialist Programme

 


[1] Guido Preparata, Conjuring Hitler : How Britain and America Made the Third
Reich
. (London: Pluto Press, 2005), 89.

[2] Ibid, 90.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

 

CoverPhoto Credit: https: //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb
/5/5a/Big_four.jpg/330px-Big_four.jpg

Advertisements