CITIES AND DISTRIBUTIONAL CONFLICT
F ar more than an internal matter for debate by city councilors and mayors during the Weimar Republic, municipal policies of recovery became the subject of controversy at the national and even international level during the Weimar period of stabilization. Contemporary belief in the importance of the municipal role in recovery, for good or for ill, can be detected, not only in the promises of mayors or in the titles of books and magazines commemorating civic deeds, but also in the vociferous attacks of powerful critics against municipal policy. Well before the economic collapse of the 1930s or the National Socialist political breakthrough, municipal authorities served as chief targets of early reaction against policies of recovery. After taking up ambitious recovery programs, mayors and city councilors found themselves accused of both having damaged municipal finances and of having hampered overall German recovery.
The product of local pressure for recovery, the expansion of municipal activity, encountered fierce resistance at the national level. As city governments sought revenue to cover the costs of recovery, so too did other levels of government and the private economy. The ensuing competition for resources between sectors of the private economy and city governments provoked intense criticism of cities in many economic circles. Gerhard Schulz, noting the conjunction of the growth of social policy with limited resources, suggests that "the controversy between the free economy and public finance was unavoidable."1 Municipal authorities, for their part, paid a high political price for their entrance into national distributional conflicts.
Distributional conflict of the Weimar period of stabilization set off a multi-sided struggle between several major public and private