Great Depression in Germany

Keaton Hundle

How Political Developments were Affected

The economic situation in Germany briefly improved between 1924-1929. However, Germany in the 1920's remained politically and economically unstable. The Wiemar democracy could not withstand the disastrous Great Depression of 1929.

Economic Measures Taken

As production levels fell, German workers were laid off. Along with this, banks failed throughout Germany. Savings accounts, the result of years of hard work, were instantly wiped out. Inflation soon followed making it hard for families to purchase expensive necessities with devalued money.

How Individual Lives Were Changed

This unemployment had a withering impact on German society. There were few shortages of food but millions found themselves without the means to obtain it. Germany’s children suffered worst: thousands died from malnutrition and hunger related diseases. Millions of industrial laborers, the same men who in 1928 had been the best paid blue collar workers in Europe, spent a year or more in idleness. But the Depression affected all classes in Germany, not just factory workers.

How People Made Ends Meet

People would do hard manual labor or worked in areas that were known for their dangerous conditions such as foundries. Some also worked for railroads, steel mills, and coal mines. Still others became street vendors or peddlers.

The Great Depression in other Countries

The Great Depression was a global phenomenon, unlike previous economic downturns which generally were confined to a handful of nations or specific regions. Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America all suffered from the economic collapse. International trade fell 30 percent as nations tried to protect their industries by raising tariffs on imported goods. "Beggar-thy-neighbor" trade policies were a major reason why the Depression persisted as long as it did. By 1932, an estimated 30 million people were unemployed around the world.