ABSTRACT

The First World War heralded the end of the Wilhelmine Second Reich and ushered in a period of instability punctuated by a series of interrelated international, economic, and political crises. The crises themselves are well known: the defeat in World War I and the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles; the revolutionary fervour of 1918 to 1920; the hyperinflation of 1923; the Great Depression beginning in 1929; and the general political instability of the Weimar years (1919 to 1932). The crises of the inter-war period were interpreted as signifying intense competition among socio-economic groups and as highlighting societal fragmentation, particularly between Germans and Jews.