The German people in 1919 elected a national assembly. At Weimar it drew up a constitution for a democratic republic, and Friedrich Ebert was elected the first president. Unemployment and hunger mounted. In the Treaty of Rapallo Treaty of 1922, the new Soviet Union waived war reparations, but the following year France occupied the Ruhr when reparations lagged. Inflation soared until a thousand billion marks equaled one prewar mark.
In 1924 the Allies aided Germany with the Dawes Plan on reparations. The following year President Ebert died, and Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg succeeded him. Germany signed a nonaggression pact at Locarno, Switzerland, and in 1926 joined the League of Nations. The Young Plan in 1929 fixed the amount of reparations to less than one third of the original amount.
Germany’s prosperity remained unsound. It was based too much on foreign credit. The stock-market crash in 1929 plunged the whole world into a severe depression. It was only a one-year moratorium on debts in 1931 that saved Germany from bankruptcy.