Changing Cultural Life in Germany – Things You Should Know 
A combination of factors resulted in the changes that took place in German social and cultural life between 1923 and 1929. German society had been greatly affected by the First World War, which resulted in a breaking down of barriers between social classes and a shift in gender expectations. One result of this was increased liberalism, which allowed for the emergence of a climate in which artists and intellectuals – many of whom were Jews – could flourish in Germany. Another effect of increased liberalism was the establishment of a powerful underground culture that was largely based on sexual liberalism and involved the spread of prostitution and erotic nightclubs, many of which catered to sexual dissidents (homosexuals and transsexuals). The appointment of Gustav Stresemann to Chancellor in 1923 was a significant factor influencing social and cultural change in Germany. The resulting five years of increased political stability and economic prosperity resulted in improved living standards for the average German, and a decrease in social and political opposition to the Weimar government. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 and subsequent Depression was a significant factor influencing social change in Germany, and leading ultimately to the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazi party. With the Nazis coming into power came a period of repression and extreme control; Nazi policies emphasised state control of the individual and sought to reinstate old-world gender and social values in an extreme way, thus changing social and cultural life in Germany.
1. The Stresemann years: economic prosperity and resulting social change: Changing political and economic conditions in Germany further fuelled this rapid social change. The Weimar government had obtained a new level of respectability with the appointment of Gustav Stresemann to the position of Chancellor in 1923…
- Ending the workers strike in the Ruhr Valley
- Dealing effectively with hyperinflation
- Dawes plan (easing reparations pressure from Germany)
- The Stresemann years also involved improved international relations, as a result of which Germany was able to obtain foreign loans. This contributed to the economic boom that allowed the government to concentrate resources into modernising industry and financing a program of public works. This program in itself influenced social and cultural change, as it involved…
- How this resulted in increased prosperity and increased faith in the government; How the government spent extra money – public works program including
This led to a reduction in German anti-Weimar sentiments and an increase in faith in and acceptance of the democratic government, along with a general reduction in political extremism.
2. Cultural and social boom in Berlin – including Jewish intellectual life (Frankfurt School)
- Also discuss boom in cultural underground (e.g. erotic night life etc.) and how this arose out of increased liberalism and acceptance of difference
3. The Wall Street crash, The Great Depression and the Nazis – how the first two contributed to social change and the Nazis coming to power, and how the Nazis actively sought to change German society and culture (including crack down on underground culture. (This would probably be covered in two paragraphs – one on The Wall Street Crash and The Depression, and the other on cultural and social change under the Nazis)
 Think of this as a guide to research for the purposes of increasing content knowledge, rather than as an essay guide. This information (and even the structure) could be used as a basis for responding to some HSC-style questions, but always make sure that you are aware of the requirements of the question. It’s also a good idea to try to hand in drafts of essays to your teacher for feedback as often as you can. This is one of the best ways to improve your essay writing skills and your marks at school.
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