Changes in Society: Weimar Republic (Cultural changes (Art (Before the…
Changes in Society: Weimar Republic
Standard of living
German workers benefited from increases in the value of real wages.
By 1928 there had been an increase in real wages of over 10% which meant Germany had some of the best paid workers in Europe
The middle class however did not share in this increased prosperity.
These changes in real wages were of little benefit to the middle classes as many had become bankrupted in the hyperinflation of 1923
They didn't experience a rise in wages and couldn't claim many of the benefits of the welfare state provided by the Weimar Republic
Unemployment fell generally however it remained high among those who worked in the professions such as lawyers, civil servants and teaches
In April 1928 almost 184,000 middle-class workers were seeking employment and almost half of them did not qualify for unemployment relief from the state.
There was a critical shortage of housing in many parts of Germany
They employed architects and planners to devise ways of reducing housing shortages
Government investment, tax breaks, land grants and low interest loans were used to stimulate the building of new houses and apartments
Between 1924 and 1931 more than two million new homes were built, while almost 200,000 more were renovated or expanded. By 1929 the state was spending 33 times more on housing than it had been in 1913.
By 1928, homelessness had been reduced by more than 60%. The effect of this was to considerably improve the quality of homes for many Germans
The German chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, had introduced a series of reforms which helped the ill and the old, including health, accident and illness insurance schemes
1927- The Weimar Republic extended the illness scheme with an unemployment insurance law, which required workers and employees to make contributions to a national scheme for unemployment welfare.
Other reforms provided benefits and assistance to war veterans, wives and dependents of the war dead, single mothers and the disabled.
The position of women
In 1919 women over 20 years old were given the vote and took an increasing interest in politics
The Weimar constitution also introduced equality in education for the sexes, equal opportunity in civil service appointments and equal pay in the professions.
By the end of this period, German women had some of the most advanced legal rights of any country in Europe.
In 1926 there were 32 women deputies in the Reichstag, which was a higher proportion than the number in Britain and the USA.
There was a growing number of women in new areas of employment especially in public employment. For example the civil service, teaching or social work in shops or on the assembly line.
Those who worked in the civil service earned the same as men. By 1933 there were 100,000 women teachers and 3,000 doctors.
Issue rasied of the type of women who was suitable for such work. Despite the women who took over 'mens jobs' during the war e.g heavy industry. After the war these heavily paid jobs were taken back by men
Married women who worked were often criticized for working and neglecting their homes.
More freedom socially than before the Wiemar republic
They went out unescorted, drank and smoked in public, were fashion conscious, often wearing relatively short skirts, had their hair cut short and wore makeup.
Before the war German art had been detached from everyday life. In contrast most Wiemar artists tried to show everyday life.
They wanted to be understood by ordinary people and they believed that art should comment on society of the time.
This new approach was called "
". Meaning new objectivity because artists tried to portray society in an objective way.
This new style of painting was associated with painters such as George Grosz and Otto Dix
Architecture also flourished, especially Bauhaus which means "School of Building". These were architects who designed such various things such as chairs, housing estates and cigarette kiosks. Their approach was very different from the elaborate and decorative style of pre war Germany
The founder of the Bauhaus movement was Walter Gropius, who believed in using only basic shapes and colours,
When Hitler and the Nazis came to power Gropius had to leave Germany and eventually settled in America.
Golden age for cinema with its best known director Fritz Lang who produced the film Metropolis, which is acclaimed as the most technically advanced of the decade.
One of the most popular film stars in the world often played strong, mysterious and glamorous women
Encourage literature from both left and right policies
On the political right- Highly critical of German democracy and glorified the experiences of the first world war.
On the political left- Very anti war.
New operas and plays were called Zeitoper and Zeittheater- of the time (Featured greater realism)
E.g In Erwin Piscator's the salesman of Berlin three street sweepers, sweep away the worst features of the years after 1918 including a pile of paper money (hyperinflation) and a steel helmet (Germany's defeated army)