S urveying Weimar municipal policy raises the task of explaining the causes of the rapid growth of municipal activity in Germany after the end of hyperinflation. Widespread desire for recovery after war and inflation and concern over damage to public health provided clear motives for adopting new state tasks, yet such anxiety did not ensure state expansion. The complaints of housing reformers before the First World War did not, after all, lead to large-scale promotion of new housing construction in the absence of a political consensus in favor of government support for new housing settlements. What, then, were the political causes of the further growth of state activity on the local level during the Weimar Republic?
Since much of the growth of Weimar State activity occurred in social provision, histories of social policy might provide a useful approach for explaining the causes of Weimar State expansion; however, the vast field of inquiry into the history of social policy has yielded no single conclusive explanation of the origins and development of social states.1 In the absence of agreement on any one model for the emergence of social states, analysis has instead sought to categorize major different types of social states.2 Such variation in the causes for the growth of social welfare can also be noted in the history of social policy in an individual country. The German social state, for example, began its growth under very different political conditions from those found in the Weimar Republic or after the Second World War.3
In the case of the Weimar Republic, the influence of rapid democratization merits attention in analysis of the politics of social policy. The conjunction between democratization and the growth of state____________________