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Bruning's Failure to Cope with Unemployment

AQA, Edexcel, OCR

Last updated 20 Jan 2019

As Chancellor, Heinrich Brüning's failure to deal with rising unemployment and the problems of paying unemployment benefit was a key cause of increasing support for extremist parties.

Heinrich Brüning was Chancellor of Germany after the Crash and then throughout subsequent economic problems in Germany. He governed Germany from 1930-1932.

As unemployment rose sharply, voters wanted the government to take action.

Brüning’s first solution was to increase taxes to pay for rising unemployment benefits. However, as more people became unemployed tax income fell, defeating his original idea.

Brüning realised that the payment of unemployment benefit was increasingly unpopular with those still in work, so he placed restrictions on who could claim benefits. However, this policy was deeply unpopular across the political spectrum. Left-wingers argued that restricting benefits was against their fundamental beliefs in equality. Right-wingers were equally opposed as they deplored the payment of benefits to those who were unemployed.

The end for Brüning’s policy came when the moderate Social Democrats refused to support the payment of unemployment benefit. The lack of support in the Reichstag meant that government was ineffective at dealing with the problem.

Brüning increasingly relied on the emergency powers given to the President to govern; Brüning would submit laws to Hindenberg who would pass them as emergency decrees.


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