3.3) Germany: Hitler becoming Chancellor

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Appointing Hitler:

  • 30th January 1933, Hindenburg called Hitler to join a 'government of national concentration'.
  • This = colaition were Nazis would share power with DNVP and others with Franz Von Papen.
  • Hitler was appointed Chancellor as he had a leading party in the Reichstag, but Hindenburg thought it'd be easy to use him via more experienced politicians in the cabinet.
  • Nazis = most votes, no majority.
  • Many Germans voted for other parties and Hitler wasn't appointed as a result of a Nazi uprising.
  • His appointment involved deals with political figures like Hindenburg and his advisers.
  • Some say Hitler came into power via a deal with an old gang.
  • Hitler didn't strive into power but was helped into office by a backstairs intrigue (secret meetings).
  • This resulted as a result of political and economic crises in 1932 and 1933.
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Political and economic crises:

FALL OF BRUNING'S GOVERNMENT, MAY 1932:

  • In power from March 1930 - May 1932 even without majority support in Reichstag.
  • Hindenburg and Schleichar allowed him to remain in office/pass new laws with support.
  • Sleicher was authoritarian and tried to restore this style in Bruning's gov which mainly rule via presidential decree.
  • Bruning's Economic policy was reduce expenditure, cut welfare, wages and civil servants .
  • Far from improving the economic crises he made it worser.
  • February 1932, unemployment increased to 6m, so did support for KDP and Nazis.
  • Middle and upper class were alarmed by Germany's chaos and a possibility of a communist revolt.
  • April 1932, Bruning had banned the SA to stop street violence.
  • Sleicher withdrew his support as he thought a ban on SA would lead to a Nazi revolt.
  • Came to conlusion after presidential election, no Gov could rule without Nazi support.
  • Talks with Hitler, he refused to join the coalition if he wasn't appointed chancellor.
  • Bruning had no choice to resign, replaced by Von Papen.with Scheicher as defense minister.
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Political and economic crises:

Papen's Government (Cabinet of Barons)  May-December 1932:

  • Government = made on a non-political party basis.
  • DNVP only supported this coalition.
  • Cabinet positions were filled bu landowners and industrial elite.
  • With limited support in Reichstag Papen ruled by decree which he prefered as he was authoritarian.
  • Believed biggest threat to Germany was a communist revolt which Weimar ignored.
  • He related to Nazi ideas and saw them as useful allies due to their electorate support.
  • June 1932, Tried to make a national concentration government.
  • As a result lifted ban on the SA, caused more street violence during July 1932 Reichstag election. 
  • Allowed him to be more Authoritarian in Germanys largest state Prussia.
  • He got rid of the democratic government SPD in Prussia. 
  • In Hamburg, major politicial conflict between KPD fought the SA. 
  • Police panicked and fired at KPD.
  • Papen dismissed state led Gov SPD, used army to impose order in Berlin and declared a state emergency. 
  • This was Papen going beyond his constitutional powers.
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Political and economic crises:

July 1932 election:

  • Hitler and Scleicher agreed there should be a new election.
  • Moderate parties except Centre lost out as political life got worser than in September 1930. 
  • DDP and DVP lost out majorly. 
  • DNVP lost out as Nazi now = main right wing party. 
  • Nazi gained Middle class support as well as unemployment.
  • Never gained SPD, KPD or Catholic votes.
  • Hitler was now in a stronger position to deal with Papen and Schleicher.
  • Offered to join Papen's gov, Hitler refused again until he = chancellor.
  • Broke agreement and attacked Papen's government, voted 'no confidence' which had 500+ majority. Led to Papen becoming weaker forcing Hindenburg to call a new election. 

November 1932 election:

  • Nazis lost support but still most votes.
  • lost 2m votes, looked like July was their peak.
  • Reason for this is M/C felt alienated by Hitler attacking Papen and refusing to join a coalition if he couldn't lead.
  • Nazis supported KPD Berlin transport strike, M/C feared a KPD revolt.
  • Also 3 elections in 8 months exausted Nazi funds.
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Political and economic crises:

The End of Von Papen's Government:

  • Biggest loser in 1932 = Papen.
  • His Government faced unfriendly reichstag majoriity and army found him less credible.
  • Planned to ban Nazis and Communists and using the army to restore an authoritarian governent.
  • Scleicher then told him the army wouldn't support him.
  • Eventually forced to resign.
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Political and economic crises:

The End of Von Papen's Government:

  • Biggest loser in 1932 = Papen.
  • His Government faced unfriendly reichstag majoriity and army found him less credible.
  • Planned to ban Nazis and Communists and using the army to restore an authoritarian governent.
  • Scleicher then told him the army wouldn't support him.
  • Eventually forced to resign.
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The Role of Backstairs intrigue:

Hindenberg's inner circle:

  • Hitler becoming chancellor wasn't just because of the political and economic crises.
  • Hindenbergs inner cirlce made key decisions during the political situation in 1932. 
  • They advised him on appointing chancellors and presidential decree making.
  • Cheif of these men was Kurt Von Scheicher.
  • Key in telling Hindenburg to dismiss Bruning and appoint Papen.
  • He was key for downfall of Papen too, who = too independent minded.
  • Was a Conservative, liked behind the scene curioustiy and wanted an authoritarian style Germany back.
  • Wanted to team with Nazi who would bring back authoritarianism but ran by old conservatives.
  • Hindenburg's son, Oskar was another army officer close with Schleicher who's opinions = valued.
  • Dr Otto Meissner, a civil servant was key for the negotiations between Hindenburg and Hitler 
  • Hindenburg didn't like the noisy Nazis, was reluctant to make Hitler chancellor but after Papen's government collapsed, he was running out of other options.
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The Role of Backstairs intrigue:

Schleicher's Government, December 1932 - January 1933:

  • After fall of Van Papen, Schleicher told Hindenburg to make him Chancellor.
  • Although Schleicher only liked working behind the scenes.
  • He lost Hindenburgs trust after the way he dealt with Papen.
  • Only way Schleicher could succeed if he got the Nazis in the coalition led by him.
  • This was possible as Nazis lost out in November and were bankcrupt.
  • Many were fed up of Hitler refusing to join 7 times and he overplayed his part.
  • Caused divisions which Schleicher use as a pressure on Hitler to join him.
  • He tried talking to Nazi Organisation leader Gregor Strasser to join him, so Hitler removed Strasser to take control.
  • Schleicher changed his tactics, planned to win trade unionists for support in the Reichstag.
  • Planned better social policy, no cuts to welfare, wages and benefits.
  • Would create a large job creation scheme to reduce unemployment and break up large estates to give small farmers land.
  • This was too much for landowners and industrialists, so he failed again.
  • 3rd attempt was to tell Hindenburg to give him dictatorial powers, dissolve the Reichstag, but he refused so Schleicher resigned.
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The Role of Backstairs intrigue:

  • Papen was involved in negotiations with Hitler over a new coalition.
  • Alfred Hugenberg, DNVP said he support a Nazi-led coalition.
  • Hitler would now consider after talks with Papen and Hindenburg's inner circle.
  • Hitler agreed and so he was now chancellor.
  • Hindenburg didn't want him to govern freely so he placed Papen as vice-chancellor and Hugenburg incharge of economic and food ministries.
  • Apart from Hitler there would also be 2 other Nazis in the coalition.
  • Everyone thought, Hitler was uneducated, inexperienced and therefore easy to control.
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