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This essay will begin with a brief description of the problems faced by the Weimar Republic prior to 1924It will then outline and examine the arguments put forward by two historical schools of thought hereafter referred to as the optimists and the pessimists The Weimar Republic established in 1919 under the Treaty of Versailles came to power in a climate of social political and economic disarray From the outset the German people were deeply resentful and distrustful of a government who having signed the treaty and accepting the clauses contained within had apparently robbed Germany of its right to victory stripped it of its military prowess virtually given away its territories and plunged the country into serious debt by agreeing to pay reparations to the allies This together with the sheer cost of the war and the added problem of the millions of demobilised and disillusioned soldiers returning from the front to a country beset with high unemployment and inflation led to a wave of armed riots and political assassinations By January 1923 the crisis had come to a head Frustrated at Germanys inability to meet the demand for reparation payments France and Belgium ordered their troops to enter the industrial region of the Ruhr to forcibly take the coal deliveries they were owed Unable to resist the occupying forces the Republic responded by breaking off its diplomatic relations with France suspending reparation payments and giving official sanction to passive resistance Nevertheless the occupation of the Ruhr was the final straw for the German economy The value of the mark plummeted resulting in raging hyperinflation However according to the optimists the next seven years were a tuning point for the Republic so much so that they refer to them as the Golden Years of Weimar In their view success during this period was largely due to the leadership of Gustav Stresemann Despite strong opposition he abandoned the policy of
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