Explain why there were economic problems in the Weimar Republic from 1919 to 1923.(12 marks)
The most important cause for the economic crisis in the Weimar Republic from 1919 to1923 was hyperinflation. When money was printed,the government tied currency to the fixed value of gold. Although Weimar Germany did not have enough gold to match the amount of money it was printing. This meant the value of the German mark fell and the price of goods rapidly increased. As prices rose every hour, people bought goods as soon as they were paid. This meant that they carried money round in wheelbarrows. To get around the problem of hyperinflation people used a barter system instead of money. The Ruhr crisis led to hyperinflation as the Germans printed more money to pay France and Belgium quicker.
An important reason but less important than hyperinflation was the invasion of the Ruhr. In 1922 the Weimar Republic stopped paying their reparations and in 1923 France and Belgium retaliated by seizing the Ruhr to take what they believed Germany owned in the form of Coal and other goods.The Ruhr was the main industrial region in Germany and the French and Belgians took control of all the factories, mines and railways in the area. The actions of the French and Belgians were legal in the eyes of the international community because of the treaty of Versailles. In response to the seizing of the Ruhr Ebert told German workers to go on strike but France and Belgium brought their own workers in to take their place. After telling miners not to work and to pay them, Germany printed more money which led to hyperinflation.
The least important reason for the economic crisis but a significant one was food shortages. In 1918 a loaf of bread cost 0.6 German marks. By November 1923 it cost 201 billion German marks. This is a significant increase and as prices rose every hour, people bought goods as soon as they were paid, leading to food shortages. Although a few people benefitted from the hyperinflation crisis such as farmers. Farmers benefited because more people paid for food.