Weimar Germany, 1919-1933

When looking at society you need to consider the main factors that make up a society. Weimar Germany faced a number of issues in it’s brief tenure, fighting politically both domestically and internationally. Weimar Germany also faced dire economic challenges that undermined it’s position as a democratic power.


Weimar Germany aimed to be the most democratic society in the Western world, accomplishing this through extending the franchise and proportional representation. There were numerous political parties in Weimar Germany, each with their own franchise and ambitions. The issue with numerous parties is the lack of cohesion and various needs and demands which comes with representing many people. Due to the lack of majority which plagued Weimar Germany, it was challenging to pass and approve new legislation, and coalitions were common.

During Weimar Germany, the NSDAP (Nazi Party) was a party of many messages that succeeded in appealing to a large portion of the electorate, many frustrated with political chaos, concerned about the economy and fearful of the left. Most notably, they never gained more than 37% of the vote during Weimar’s democratic reign. There were other popular and extremist parties also, such as the Communists, who also saw some successes.


Weimar Germany faced the monumental challenge of re-building society after the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles conditions. In order to re-build society it required loans to be taken to combat economic turmoil in hyperinflation. Whereas most nations could use their natural resources as leverage such as coal, the Treaty impeded the ability of Germany to produce profitably.

The Dawes Plan aimed to combat Germanys wars reparations and hyperinflation by outlining a plan for Germany to pay more reasonable reparations. The newly elected Gustav Stresemann ordered Ruhr workers back to the factories and created a new currency, the American-backed Retenmark. These measures helped re-vitalise the economy in the 1920s.

In 1929 however, the Wall Street Crash undermined many Western economies, starting the Great Depression. Many people suffered during the depression and created distrust, causing many to turn to extremist ideology for a new way of governing.


Post-war Europe saw challenges to typical gender roles and stereotypes. The war exposed all to a different, primal society, with women occupying typically ‘masculine’ roles in factories, and men on the forefront of battle. The society after the war therefore aimed to re-build society and it’s occupants. The 1920s saw experimentation with roles and fashion, women came under scrutiny for the ‘flapper’ dresses and short hair.

As part of the roles changing and individual expression becoming more important than a collective identity, gender roles were challenged but not eradicated. Women were still expected to look after the family and domestic duties while men worked, and women were not always welcomed in the workplace.


After the First World War, there was lots of conflicting ideology around how people should be governed and what was deemed a healthy society. There was research and improving understanding of health and genetics, which helped cultivate pseudo-science theories such as social-Darwinism and eugenics.

Despite lots of ideology in the period, many governments remained Conservative in their outlook and aimed to protect themselves from Communism.

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