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The Rise of Nazism 1929 1932
The Decline of Weimar
Stresemann died in the same month as the Wall Street Crash. The Great Depression that followed unleashed a political
and economic crisis in Germany that led to the Nazi takeover.
But ... Fundamental Weaknesses before 1929,
The balance of trade was already in debt. Unemployment in 1929 was already 1.8 million. Many farmers were already
in debt with falling incomes before 1927. Government finances from 1925 already in deficit. Recovery was based on
foreign loans which were withdrawn.
Fear of long-term unemployment amongst manual industrial workers, both skilled and unskilled. How to look after the
family with limited benefits.
Middle classes, "Mittelstand":
From small shopkeepers to well qualified in Law and Medicine. People struggled on even where there was little
demand for their services. Loss of status also affected them as well as the prospect of decline in living standards if
there was no political change.
As the world wide demand fell, the agricultural depression deepened. Widespread rural poverty. Some tenant
farmers were evicted even from farms they had rented for generations.
Loss of Confidence in Weimar,
Many people lost faith in the Weimar republic, which seemed to offer no end to the misery and began to see salvation
in the solutions offered by political extremists. This was why the economic Crisis in Germany quickly degenerated into
a more obvious political crisis. This increased polarisation in Politics.
Breakdown of Parliamentary Government,
Collapse of Muller's Grand Coalition:
This had been formed to push the Young Plan through the Reichstag. Muller SPD had tried to hold it together, but
financial problems caused the collapse in March 1930. The sharp increase in unemployment had caused a deficit in the
new national insurance scheme and the four major parties in the coalition could not agree on how to tackle it.
The Appointment of Bruning,
Presidential, not Parliamentary Government. President Hindenburg made Bruning Chancellor. Initially seemed right as
he was leader of the Centre Party, the second largest party in the Reichstag. But, this marked the end of democratic
Bruning's Government Increased use of ARTCLE 48,
Two major reasons why his chancellorship was the beginning of the end:
1. He was manoeuvred into office by political intrigue of those surrounding the aged Hindenburg:
Otto Meissner, the president's State Secretary. Oskar von Hindenburg, the president's son. Major General Kurt von
Schleicher, a leading general.
All were conservative- nationalists with no faith in democracy. The wanted to use the emergency powers of Article 48
to create more authoritarian government.
2. His response to economic crisis led to political crisis. In July 1930 his proposed reduction in government expenditure
was rejected by the Reichstag by 236 votes to 193. He used emergency decree (Article 48). When the Reichstag
objected, Bruning asked Hindenburg to dissolve them and call for a new election in September 1930
1930 ELECTORAL BREAKTHROUGH,
Bruning hoped for electoral support from the centre-right in order to form a coalition. However, the Nazis were the
real winners. The Nazis became the largest party after the SPD who had 143 seats. The DNVP lost votes as did the
middle class democratic parties. The SPD vote had also declined from 29.8% to 24.5%. The KDP increased their share
of votes from 10.8% to 13.1%.
Why were the Nazis successful?
Skilful targeting of propaganda to the rural and middle/lower middle classes. They were able to capture the "new"
voters. There were 1.8 million new voters. They were skilful in targeting the young first time voters. They also
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There was an increased turnout at the election from 75.6% to
Impact on Bruning's Government,
The Left and Right wing extremes gained. This made it difficult for proper democratic government to function. With
success at the election, the Nazis gained another 100,000 members. Bruning therefore HAD to rely on the tacit support
of the SPD and the increasing use of Article 48.
Economic Crisis End of Bruning,
Bruning's failure to tackle the economic problems also helped the Nazis to gain power.…read more
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Reichstag Election: July 1932,
A brutal election campaign marked by street violence in which 86 died in July alone due to political fighting.
This gave Papen and Schleicher the excuse to abolish the powerful regional government of Prussia. This had been a
coalition of the SPD and the ZP and was a focus of right wing resentment since 1919. On 20th July 1932 it was
"removed" by Papen who declared a state of emergency, and appointed himself as Reich Chancellor of Prussia.…read more