Chapter 6 1922

  1. Rathenau...agitation against begun in freikorps. [99] Assassins had all participated in Freikorps and now engaged in guerrilla activities against the Republic. Task of assasssins: not to rule but to attack. [100] R noted for observation that "300 men, all acquainted with one another, control the economic destiny of the Continent". [101] Tho a capitalist, he had doubts about private enterprise based on the profit motive -hence many considered him a Bolshevik. [102] As a liberal and a Jew, politics not easy even before WW1. [102] He had then to be appointed, but it came at a time of nationalist agitation of the principle officials of the republic. [104]"We must make an end to the Versailles Treaty and cooperating with the West" .a sense of rage and shame about the outcome of the war. Why was he killed?
    1. His natural superiority and culture? His left wing politics? His "fulfillment" politics?
    2. [105] Treaty of Rapallo and the arrangements made with Russia, gave Germany again so position in world order. 106. Rathenau perceived as Bolshevik who wanted to bring Germany under domination of Jews, and supporter of policy of cooperation with the Western Allies. Policy of Fulfillment of terms of Versailles treaty.
  2. [107-8]. Roots of anti-semiticism. Jews harassed all over Europe. Note Rathenau's attitude[112] [109] Bismarck's attitude [on this page] more positive. [110] Only after WW1 did Jews attain full equality that had been promised them earlier. But they tended to congregate in Berlin. Tho 5% of population, they managed to acquire very visible positions of power and prestige. Active in commerece, dominating the banks, department stores, newpaper groups and culture (theater, science, music). [111] but the structure of religious life kept them separate (tax structure). Emergence of Jews in public life appeared to be sinister. Jews prominent in leftist politics. Given these elements, how would you characterize German - Jewish relations?
  3. 117-8. The murder of Rathenau was not by any means unique. If the Weimar Republic failed through the lack of leadership, it was partly because assassins cut down so many of the men/women who might have provided leadership. Most (tho not all) were liberals, many (tho not all were Jews), but many were intimidated. [118]Most importantly, the judiciary not ready to punish the assassins. Note data: 354 political murders; 22 committed by left and 17 had heavy sentences; whereas 326 right wing murders went unpunished. Explain??

Ch 7 Read Christopher Isherwood, Goodby to Berlin. Basis of hit Broadway play in the 1950s, I am a Camera, which in turn became the hit musical and movie, "Caberet". Also, John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

  1. Inflation: The roots of
    1. [120-1] Middle class hoard gold, which was the borrowed against paper notes. Keynes "governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens"
    2. [121] Raparations fixed at considerably more that the total of German national wealthy.
    3. [122] Inflation moving very fast after 1922 (4.25 /$ in 1918; 400/$ in summer 1922; 7000/$ in Jan 1923. Reaches 1 million/$ by August, then 1.3trillion by November.
    4. [123] French occupy Ruhr (with 80%of industrial capacity); by July 1923, mark at 160,000/$, but more banknotes printed.
    5. [124] Foreigners lived well.
  2. 126. The consequences of inflation for everyone
    1. Inflation made everyone poor; it made some people poorer than others.
    2. But women were liberated.
    3. [129] Pervert ball under the "benevolent eyes of the police". A collapse of all values.
    4. [130] The most immoral city in Europe .
  3. Coping with inflation
    1. [133] What caused the inflation? Allied demands for reparations? Gov't encouraged it to escape debts? Demand for more cash, led to printing more banknotes? Some businesses financed their business by large-scale borrowing
    2. [136] Streseman: despite humble origins, a panGerman and monarchist, but in favor of fulfillment.
    3. [137]"army stands behind me" says Seeckt = private army. Faces major agitation/uprisings from left and right. But army basically ready only to suppress left wing.
    4. [142] Rentenmark introduced. Credit to speculators cut off, printing press stopped. But Streseman damaged among traditional supporters for suppressing popular fronts in Saxony and Thuringia .
    5. [144] Foreign investors step in, and industrialist combined into cartels.
  4. Consider the role of cartharsis as a liberating influence.