This historical documentary argues that Germany’s first democracy didn’t have to fail. Gustav Stresemann became chancellor when the young Weimar Republic was plunged into chaos in the year of crises 1923.
Even though Germany was still suffering from the consequences of a lost war and the Treaty of Versailles, the republic experienced a period of relative stability until 1929.
After Germany had lost the First World War, France and Belgium occupied the Ruhr region to squeeze billions in reparations out of the country and gain control over crucial industries. Inflation reached its peak. Communist rebellions loomed and the radical right demanded a nationalist dictatorship. The old system collapsed when Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated in 1918. Becoming chancellor at a time like that was ‘political suicide’, Stresemann wrote to his wife. The Weimar Republic was Germany’s first attempt at parliamentary democracy. It failed in 1933 when Adolf Hitler was made chancellor.
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