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Weimar, 1929 - 1933

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Introduction

Weimar, 1929 - 1933 1) Economic Depression 2) The M�ller Government 3) The Br�ning Government 4) 1932 Presidential Election 5) Kurt von Schleicher 6) The von Papen Government 7) The von Schleicher Government 1. Economic Depression RJ Overy "[By 1932] economic conditions had now reached their lowest ebb, circumstances were ripe for some departure from the negative policies of the depression years." It is often argued that economic depression was vital in Hitler's acquisition of power. Indeed, two major aspects in the increase in popular support for the Nazis are the economic depression and the Nazis' proposals for recovery. Before considering how the depression helped Hitler and the Nazis, it is important to see the details of the depression. 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 GNP / bn RM 89.5 89.7 83.9 70.4 57.6 Nat. Income / bn RM 75.4 76.0 70.2 57.5 45.2 Ind. Prd. Index (base 1928) 100.0 100.1 87.0 70.1 58.0 Exports / bn RM 12.3 13.5 12.0 9.6 5.7 Imports / bn RM 14.0 13.5 10.4 6.7 4.7 Unemployment / millions 1.4 1.8 3.1 4.5 5.6 When considering the history of the German economy in the inter-war years, it is important to note that low growth and recession began before the Wall Street Crash. a. Weak Foundations By 1929, the American economy was 70% larger than in 1913; the French economy had grown by 38%; the German economy, however, had grown a mere 4%. The German economy, despite beginning to recover from the war and the other economic strains of the early 1920s, was still structurally weak. * It was still dependent on old, traditional heavy manufacturing industries whereas in America, Britain and France, new industries had begun to develop; * Agriculture was outdated and inefficient; * Reparations were still a major strain on the economy; * High interest rates brought money into the country but meant that investment and borrowing were too expensive for most German firms. ...read more.

Middle

This he did, Hindenburg accepted it on May 30th. In conclusion, then, Br�ning's government: * was always dependent on the support of the President due to a lack of support in the Reichstag. When Br�ning lost Hindenburg's support, he lost power. * achieved some economic success: trade deficit and budget deficit were turned into surpluses in 2 years. * had achieved some foreign policy success, most notably the move towards ending reparations. "The irony of Br�ning's dismissal was that circumstances were on the point of a sudden change. Even though reparations formed only a part of the problem, the outcome of the Lausanne Conference in June 1932 was a victory for the German government's painstaking efforts to reduce the burden of war debt." (RJ Overy) * failed to stop the flow of support away from the moderates towards the extremists. 4. Presidential Election, 1932 Hindenburg, first elected to replace Ebert in 1925, faced re-election for a second term of office in 1932. At 84 he wanted to retire, but Br�ning convinced him to stand for the country's best interests. Hitler hesitated, heeding the advice of some in the party, viz. Strasser, that Hindenburg was undefeatable. Lord Bullock "G�bbels urged Hitler to stand, well aware that an electoral contest would make him, as head of the propaganda directorate, the most important of Hitler's lieutenants - just as the tactics of negotiation and coalition would magnify Strasser's role as head of the Party Organisation." Hitler had to become a German citizen in order to stand, and did this by accepting the post of Regierungsrat (senior civil servant) in the insignificant Nazi-controlled state of Brunswick. KD Bracher "Hitler's decision to run for the presidency was his first venture into electoral politics ... and meant a further broadening of his strategy." The electoral landscape had changed markedly since 1925. Now, the 'republicans' (the SPD etc.) supported Hindenburg, whereas his former supporters voted for D�sterberg, second in command of the Stahlhelm. ...read more.

Conclusion

Von Schleicher talked to Gregor Strasser, who showed some willingness to split from Hitler and support the Cabinet along with his followers from the Nazi Party. Hitler heard of Strasser's plans, and forced him to resign all of his party offices on December 8th. After this failure, von Schleicher attempted to gain the support of the moderates and left-wing moderates. W Carr "Schleicher approached the left with a programme of public works, price fixing, restoration of wage- and relief-cuts, and land resettlement in East Prussia." He even tried to gain the support of the trade unions to put pressure on the SPD. The SPD refused to join a coalition, sure that support for the Nazis was on the decline. By 23rd January 1933, Schleicher had to admit defeat. Therefore, he asked Hindenburg for the right to rule by decree. While von Schleicher was attempting to gain support for his government, von Papen was intriguing behind his back. On January 4th, 1933, von Papen met Hitler in a secret meeting. Lord Bullock "There was no love lost between them, but both showed themselves willing to sink their differences if they could get the better of von Schleicher." Hitler still insisted upon being Chancellor, but was now willing to join a coalition with Hugenberg's Nationalists and Papen. Papen was convinced that Hitler was 'controllable' and suggested the possibility of Hitler as Chancellor to Hindenburg (whose confidence Papen had, despite von Schleicher's attempt to have him sent to Paris as German Ambassador). At the same time, Hitler was attempting to convince the army leaders that the SA was no threat to them. Importantly, he convinced Oskar von Hindenburg that this was the case, and Hindenburg the younger convinced Hindenburg the elder as well. On January 30th, 1933, Hitler was appointed Chancellor. There were only two other Nazis in the Cabinet, von Papen was Vice-Chancellor and Hugenberg's Nationalists and other independents were the majority in the cabinet. Nevertheless, the NSDAP was in power. * See Article 1) Election Statistics ...read more.

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