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Germany – The Weimar Republic, 1918-33

9. Did living standards improve in the Weimar period?

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about whether living standards improved in the Weimar period, focusing in particular on: (i) the growth of the German economy in this period; (ii) the extent to which economic growth correlates with rising living standards; (iii) the important difference between objective and subjective measures of rising living standards, i.e. do people feel as if they are better off than before?; (iv) the weakening in the 1920s of many the things that made the middle class feel middle class; (v) the transformation of the labour market in the 1920s – in both white- and blue-collar industries; (vi) the anxiety about the nouveaux-riche in this period, those who had managed to enrich themselves during the economic chaos of the early 1920s; (vii) the sense of nostalgia for pre-1914 Germany, especially among middle class families; (viii) the social, political and economic impact of having women outnumber men to such as a large extent; (ix) the extent to which the reputation of the United States’ economic model had been damaged by Wall Street Crash and subsequent recession; and (x) the extent to which West German government of the 1950s and 60s were intent on avoiding some of the socio-economic problems in this period.


In this course, Professor Matthew Stibbe (Sheffield Hallam University) explores Weimar Germany through twelve key questions: (1) Was Weimar Germany doomed to fail from the start?; (2) Why did Weimar fail in the early 1930s?; (3) How much of a problem was political extremism for the Weimar Republic?; (4) What kind of elections took place in Weimar Germany?; (5) How did the design of the West Germany constitution aim to avoid the problems faced by Weimar Germany?; (6) What was the impact of hyperinflation in Weimar Germany?; (7) How successful was the Weimar economy in the years 1924-29?; (8) What was the impact of the Wall Street Crash on the Weimar Republic?; (9) Did living standards improve in the Weimar period?; (10) What was Weimar culture?; (11) Did the lives of women improve in the Weimar period?; and (12) How did ethnic minorities fare in the Weimar period?


Matthew Stibbe is Professor of Modern European History at Sheffield Hallam University. He is a specialist in twentieth-century German and European history, and currently serves on the committee of the German History Society. His most recent publications include (as co-editor with Kevin McDermott) Eastern Europe in 1968: Responses to the Prague Spring and Warsaw Pact Invasion (2018) and (as co-editor with Ingrid Sharp) Women's International Activism During the Inter-War Period, 1919-39 (2018).

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APA style

Stibbe, M. (2021, January 29). Germany – The Weimar Republic, 1918-33 - Did living standards improve in the Weimar period? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Stibbe, M. "Germany – The Weimar Republic, 1918-33 – Did living standards improve in the Weimar period?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Jan 2021,

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