Guide Germans on Welfare: From Weimar to Hitler

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Weimar Republic - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Plagued early on by a wave of high-profile political assassinations and a period of devastating hyper-inflation, its later years were dominated by the onset of the Great Depression. And yet, for a period from the mids it looked as if the Weimar system would not only survive but even flourish, with the return of economic stability and the gradual reintegration of the country into the international community. With contributions from an international team of ten experts, this volume in the Short Oxford History of Germany series offers an ideal introduction to Weimar Germany, challenging the reader to rethink preconceived ideas of the republic and throwing new light on important areas, such as military ideas for reshaping society after the First World War, constitutional and social reform, Jewish life, gender, and culture.

Readership: All students of German history in the first half of the twentieth century and all those interested in Germany after the First World War and the rise of the Nazis.

The Weimar Republic Additional Resources

News View all news. Events View all events. Limerick History Research Seminars Can't find what you're looking for? Under agreements concluded with 12 European countries, Germany has paid compensation to the nationals of those countries who were victims of Nazi oppression or to their families and successors. Claims for property confiscated during the Third Reich have been honoured, and Jewish refugees and expellees from that era, the vast majority of whom reside abroad, have been paid indemnifications and pensions.

The Weimar Republic 1918-1929

Massive reparations have been paid to Israel in the name of the Jewish people at large. In the German government, more than 3, German companies, the Evangelical Church in Germany, and a number of other institutions and governments established a multibillion dollar fund to compensate those forced to perform labour during Nazi internment. These roughly one million rapidly aging people, living primarily in central and eastern Europe , were among the last large groups of victims of the Nazi era who had received no previous payments or support from Germany.

The fund was intended both to provide some restitution to the forced labourers and to shield German companies from potential individual lawsuits. The distribution of wealth compares favourably with that of other advanced countries. Powerful incentives to save are offered by the state not only in the form of housing subsidies and tax concessions but also through bonus saving schemes. For those whose income does not exceed a certain level, savings of up to a fixed amount kept in a bank or savings institution for seven years are granted a generous bonus by the government.

Earning power for both workers and employers assures an adequate income to meet the cost of living. There is no exaggerated difference between the compensation for blue-collar workers and white-collar employees, although upper levels of management earn generous incomes and benefits.

Because a major portion of tax revenue is derived from excise levies and the value-added tax—as in most EU countries—low- and medium-income workers collectively bear a greater relative tax burden. The absorption of the eastern German population and economy had no more than a marginal effect on living standards in the regions of the western sector despite a rise in unemployment, a housing shortage, and tax increases. Even the exorbitant costs of unification, which brought about a tax increase, seemed to cause few changes in western Germany.

The deutsche mark held its strength and grew even stronger. The eastern population with its much lower earning power suddenly had to pay Western prices for food and other commodities. The wholesale shutdown of former state factories and enterprises caused vast unemployment in industrial cities in Thuringia , Saxony-Anhalt , and Saxony and resulted in much hardship and discontent that persisted long after unification.

During its 40 years, the East German government produced a society in which employment was guaranteed and in which most of the requirements of life were often provided free or at low cost.

Weimar Republic: The Freikorps

The demands of work were different than in West Germany and were relatively lax; competitiveness, initiative , and individuality were not qualities highly prized or rewarded. The working population was even more ill-suited than workers in Poland , Czechoslovakia , or Hungary for the plunge into a free market economy—largely because eastern German workers needed to learn new technologies, were under new management, had to accommodate the rules and culture of West German labour unions, and were forced to compete with their western German counterparts.

But, unlike other former Soviet bloc countries, East Germany had a prosperous neighbour that bailed it out. As a result, in the two decades that followed reunification, the standard of living in the east rose dramatically. Household incomes almost doubled over this period, although unemployment remained significantly higher in the east than in the west, and a wave of migration resulted in a brain drain, as tens of thousands of people left the east for destinations in the west and abroad.


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