Hitler's Legal Path To Power, 1930-1933 Flashcards Preview

History - Germany 1918-45 > Hitler's Legal Path To Power, 1930-1933 > Flashcards

Flashcards in Hitler's Legal Path To Power, 1930-1933 Deck (25):

Why did parliamentary government break down in 1930?

-constitution makers expected Germany to be ruled by government in all but the most exceptional circumstances. Parties could stay in power between elections if they had majority support and could change/laws based on their majority. however several factors made this impossible in 1930

1) disagreement between the moderate parties
2) the 1930 reichstag elections


Disagreement between the moderate parties as a factor in parliamentary government breakdown (1930)

-Germany's coalition made up of four parties
-they either accepted or favoured the democratic system
- SDP/CE/Democratic Party and the peoples party. Headed by SDP's Hermann muller
- unemployment rise, non socialist parties called for cuts in government spending (unemployment benefit)
-SDP could not support this, coalition was deadlocked and broke up
-No new government coalition could create a majority, neither could act independently. Extremists on the left and right gloated at failure


The 1930 elections as a factor in the breakdown of parliamentary government (1930)

-Moderate parties lost ground (SPD/DDP/Centre/DVP) but DNVP/NDSAP/KPD made gains.
-SPD 24%, nazis 18%
-moderate parties accumulated vote could not make up majority


What happened as a result of the collapse of parliamentary government in 1930?

-Article 48 is used
- Presidential power to rule by decree in times of emergency
-constitution makers of 1919 odd not foresee that presidential decree would be used for more than a few weeks
-'presidential government' used Hindenburg. Old, frail, heavily advised by his peers, all anti democratic extreme right wingers
-conservative elites back in control. Kurtz Von Schleicher was influential
-not dictatorship yet, still run by chancellor/advisers but all their wishes had to be passed by decree, so chancellors were slaves to the president
-Chancellors were no longer accountable to the reichstag, only to the president


Kurt Von Schleicher

-Life: 1892-1934
-army general, army. Political spokesman
-military connections meant Schleicher was invaluable as an advisor to Hindenburg
-saw parliamentary crisis as a way to vanish the parliamentary system and further his own position


Bruning's appointment as chancellor in 1530

-Heinrich Bruining from the centre party
-served on the western front from 1915-18, so he was reliable in the eyes of hindenburgs advisors
-he had a conservative outlook, disapproved of the 1918-19 revolution and hoped for a return to monarchy
-financial expertise meant he was well armed to tackle the rising unemployment
-member of the reichstag since 1924, meant it was unlikely the reichstag would overturn presidential decrees. Correct ad SPD adopted policy of 'toleration'


Heinrich Bruning

-Life: 1885-1970
- conservative, trained economist, centre party
-reichstag from 1924-1933
-appointed as chancellor in 1930 when he was also chairman of the centre party's group in the reichstag


What were Bruning's policies as chancellor?

-orthodox economist, assumed that the economy would eventually recover of its own accord. Live win the economy's means and spend only what could be afforded. This meant deep cuts to government spending, reduced unemployment benefit, job cuts, wage reductions in public sector, even cuts to pensions of disabled war veterans

-spending to the army was not cut, no cuts to subsidies paid to farmers in eastern Germany (Junkers) as these cuts would be unacceptable to Hindenburg/his advisors

-believed that reparation payments weighed down German economy. Worked to reduce payments, suspended in 1931 and scrapped in 1932, but this did not have an affect on the economy


How successful were Bruning's policies as chancellor?

-unsuccessful as unemployment continued to rise and no end to economic depression was obvious
Unpopular, earned him nickname "the hunger chancellor"


Why did Bruning lose office?

-failure of his economic policies
-economy went down, so support for the communists grew, resulting in communist/nazi clashes. 61 killed in 1930
- middle class fears of communist fear intensified
-Kurt Von Schleicher, driven by these circumstances, began to work towards a Germany without Bruning
- relationship between Hindenburg/ Bruning. 1932 Bruning failed to get reichstag to extend hindenburgs presidential term when it expired in 1932. Meant he had to run against hitler and although he won 19 million to 13 million overall, hitler got the right wing vote and he won on the support of Catholics/Social democrats. Enrages hindenburg
-Bruning had feud with Junkers, wanting to buy up their estates to settle unemployed workers on them. Enraged they told Hindenburg
- Bruning dismissed


Franz Von papen as chancellor

-recommended to Hindenburg by Schleicher
- inexperienced, hard right winger
-part of Schleicher's plan to get nazis working with them. Given their large electorate it would appear there was large spread support for authoritarian rule
- plan to use extreme form of 'presidential government' and sideline the reichstag, Germany run by presidential decree and army - needed army support


Franz Von papen

-Life: 1879-1969
- junior army officer in ww1
-Prussian state parliament 1921-2


How did Schleicher attempt to attract the nazis to working with Hindenburg and his advisors?

-Right wing ministers appointed to work alongside Von papen, 'cabinet of barons'
-bruning's ban on the SA was lifted
- Von papers government called for new elections as they knew the basis would do well
- Von papen removed Social democrat government of Prussia from office, removes opponent of nazism, *violation of constitution*


What resulted from the elections called by Von Papen to attract the nazis?

-Nazis won 38% of the vote
-Talks began involving Hitler, Schleicher, von Papen and Hindenburg to discuss the terms of Hitler joining the government
-Hitler refused to negotiate and demanded the chancellorship, which Hindenburg refused on account of his lowly social origins
-August 1932, Hitler is sent away


What was the result of Hitlers refusal to accept a lesser position than the chancellor in August 1932

-Hitler dismissed
-Hitler, in anger, ordered Nazis to join other parties such as the Communists in passing a vote of no-confidence in von Papen's chancellorship
-Resulted in a further reichstag election in November 1932, Nazis suffered reversely as they lost 2000 000 voters from the July elections. Right wing voters were angered by Hitler's selfish attitude and refusal to work under von Papen
-Schleicher believed von Papen had served his purpose and should be dismissed, but Hindenburg was reluctant to dismiss him and only did so when Schleicher told him that the army wanted him out
-Schleicher resorts to taking over as chancellor


Kurt von Schleicher as chancellor on December 1932

-Forced to take over with Von Papen/Hitler gone
-Precarious position: short of political allies, no backing by country at large
-Wanted to win support by letting Socialists in NDSAP and the SPD unite in push to bring down unemployment
-Even offered Gregor Strasser (NDSAP) the chancellorship
-However they refused to unite. Nazis too violent, their differences too great


Hitler becomes chancellor December 1933

-January 1933: Hitler meets von Papen in secret 5 times
-Agreed that Hitler will be chancellor with von Papen as vice chancellor
-Hindenburg is persuaded
-Different circumstances from August 1932, now Hitler, Hindenburg and Von Papen were willing to cooperate


Why were Hitler, Hindenburg and Von Papen respectively able to cooperate to form a new government in January 1933?

-Under pressure from supporters to accept, as following 2 million drop in votes in November elections there were fears the nazis would not make it into office
-Wanted to punish Schleicher for offering the vice chancellorship to George Strasser. Hitler saw this as a purposeful attempt to split the NDSAP

-Wanted close friend Von Papen back alongside him in government
-He believed Von Papen's assurances that Hitler *COULD BE CONTROLLED*

Von Papen:
-Deeply ambitious, keen to return to government even to settle for the inferior position
-Sure he could control Hitler and was confident he could 'push him into a corner'
-Bitter over Schleicher's role in his dismissal in November 1932, wanted revenge


How powerful was Hitler in January 1933?

-Did not have absolute power
-Was the leader of a coalition, only 3/12 were Nazis
-Reliant on Hindenburg as he was an Article 48 chancellor

To achive absolute power Hitler would have to:

-End the presidential government to centralise power under him, but he could not act unconstitutionally
-Propose further reichstag election
-Majority would allow Nazis to bypass president Hindenburg and rule as they wished
-2/3 majority would allow them to amend the constitution


Run up to the elections of March 1933

Nazi influence on the election:
-Nazis did everything they could to win the election
-Disruption to opposition meetings
-SA tormented the opposition
-opposition newspapers banned

-Reichstag fire: Arson attack started on the reichstag building by Communist Marinus van der Lubbe (though nazi involvement was suspected)
-Nazis could play on fears of imminent communist uprising

Law for the protection of the people and the state:
-decree suspending basic rights like freedom of speech/assembly. Likened to martial law. Hindenburg was persuaded that it was necessary to pass decree in light of the reichstag fire
-Used to outlaw the communist party (kpd)


Election results - March 1933

- Nazis got 44% of the vote
-36 seats short of majority
-Nationalists gave hitler their 52 reichstag votes
-Communist 81 seats were not accounted for as they were banned under the Law for the Protection of the People and State
-Therefore nazis/their allies had a 60% majority


Hitler's final move for complete power - the enabling act

-March 1933
-Hitler must edit constitution togrant himself unlimited power
-Wants to pass enabling act with reichstag allowing him to edit constitution and pass laws without consulting the president or the reichstag
-Enabling act had to be passed by 2/3 of the reichstag as it was an amendment to the constitution
- Social democrats were completely against it, but Centre party would support it
-Centre party thought Catholics would earn Hitler's gratitude and would be able to influence him in the future/that he would uphold the position of the Catholic church
-passed 444-94, end of democracy in Germany


Key dates in the last year of the Weimar republic

March-April 1932-First/Second rounds of presidential election. Hindenburg wins with 19 mil
May 1932- Bruning is dismissed as chancellor
20th June 1932-Von Papen is appointed
July 1932-Unconstitutional seizure of power in Prussia by Von Papen to appease Hitler
31st July 1932- Reichstag elections
August 1932- Hindenburg/Hitler meet, Hitler refuses to be vice chancellor and is sent away
November 1932- reichstag elections
December 1932- Von Papen is replaced by Schleicher
January 1933- Hitler appointed as chancellor
February 1933- Reichstag fire
5 March- Reichstag elections
23 March-Enabling act


How did other parties aid Hitler's rise to power?

-He never got a majority, required their help either deliberately or inadvertently

Conservative elites: Very willing to help Hitler. Schleicher/Von Papen both tried to manipulate Hitler but only aided his advance. Hindenburg was responsible for Hitler's appointment. Industrial tycoons supported Nazis financially. Nationalist party gave them votes in March 1933 election.

Left Wing Parties: Hostility of SDP/KPD blinded them to the Nazi threat. Never thought to unite against the Nazis. SDP attached more weight to aiding their supporters than helping maintain a parliamentary government, creating conditions for Hitler to take power. For example refused to support cuts by 1930s coalition to unemployment benefit resulting in collapse/presidential rule.
- Communist lawlessness/links with soviet Russia drove middle class fears and created more Nazi votes.

Centre Party: Indicated in 1930s they were willing to work in coalition with the Nazis. They supported the passing of the enabling act which gave Hitler complete power (23rd March 1933)...however by this point it was probably too late to stop him.

Middle Class parties: People's party/democratic party were obliterated electorally by the Nazis and played no major role in the intrigues of 1930-33. However they did move far right in early 1930s and did not stand up for democratic principles.


Did Hitler come to power legally?

yes -Requirements of constitution met, technically, in passing enabling act, achieving chancellorship and dealing with reichstag fire

no-However used calculated street violence, may be implemented in reichstag fire. Hitler sought to work within the law to make his supremacy unquestionable, but he still manipulated it (ie banning communists, is that really working within a parliamentary democracy? can he pass on a technicality?)