Quotations: life in the republic

This page contains a number of Weimar Republic quotations pertaining to life and society for ordinary Germans in the Republic. These quotations have been researched, curated and compiled by Alpha History authors. If you would like to suggest a quotation for inclusion on this page, please contact us.

The Golden Age of Weimar

“[Our] task would be hopeless if the present situation in Germany accurately reflected her potential capacity. In that case, the proceeds from Germany’s national production could not enable her to meet her national needs and ensure the payment of her foreign debts. But Germany’s growing and industrious population, her great technical skills, the wealth of her material resources, the development of her agriculture on progressive lines, her eminence in industrial science… all these factors enable us to be hopeful with regard to her future production.”
Report of the Dawes Committee, 1924

“The virtuous circle established by the Dawes Plan worked very well… but it could stop at any moment and would then appear to have been vicious. The French were eager to receive reparations payments so they had to be grateful for the Dawes Plan, but on the other hand, they wanted to use the reparations as a political handle to keep Germany on their leash.”
Dietmar Rothermund, historian

“Didn’t we have something called Revolution? Another trickery and illusion… But why shouldn’t we pretend to be brothers, united not by democracy but by the galvanising rhythm of jazz. Let’s make our descent into hell accompanied by the syncopated yelling of a Negro band. Until that day, we want narcotics and kisses to forget our wretchedness. Let’s go to bed with each other. Or fool around in parks if there are no beds… Let’s dance!”
Klaus Mann, German writer

“There are three great tasks that confront German foreign policy… The solution of the reparations problem in a way that is tolerable for Germany. The protection of those 10 to 12 million Germans who now live under foreign control in foreign lands. [And] the readjustment of our eastern frontiers: the recovery of Danzig, the Polish corridor and… the frontier in Upper Silesia.”
Gustav Stresemann, September 1925

“Our representatives are little men who are no match for British diplomacy and its kind condescension. Like the chancellor and ambitious busy-bodies who must have their fingers in every pie. Like Stresemann, the man of general distrust, but it seems impossible to get rid of him… My opposition to our foreign policy is generally known.”
General Hans von Seeckt, April 1926

“The foreign policy which the government has pursued since the end of the war rejects the idea of revenge. Its purpose is rather the achievement of a mutual understanding.”
Chancellor Wilhelm Marx, February 1927

“Berlin transformed itself into the Babel of the world… Germans brought to perversion all their vehemence and love of system. Made-up boys with artificial waistlines promenaded along the Kurfustendamm… Even [ancient Rome] had not known orgies like the Berlin transvestite balls, where hundreds of men in women’s clothes, and women in men’s clothes, danced under the benevolent eyes of the police.”
Stefan Zweig, Austrian writer

“Amid the general collapse of values, a kind of insanity took hold of precisely those middle-class circles which had been unshakeable in their order. Young ladies proudly boasted that they were perverted: to be suspected of virginity at 16 would have been a disgrace in every school in Berlin. Every girl wanted to be able to tell of her adventures and the more exotic, the better.”
Stefan Zweig, Austrian writer