Collapse of the Weimar Republic - nazis and the politics of intrigue

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Collapse of the Weimar Republic

The Nazis and the politics of intrigue

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

The Nazi path to power was helped by the so-called politics of intrigue. In simple terms, this means plots and secret deals aided the Nazis, deliberately or inadvertently.There were numerous individuals and groups that were involved in these actions.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Heinrich BruningChancellor Bruning persuaded Hindenburg to force through laws by decree, undermining German democracy.In addition he convinced the President to call early elections in September 1930, which in fact saw a huge surge in Nazi support and influence.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Franz von PapenPapen was friends with Schleicher having known him since they both attended the Prussian Military Academy.It was Schleicher that in May 1932 had persuaded Hindenburg to appoint Papen as German Chancellor.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

In September 1932, Papen had persuaded Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag but not call new elections.Schleicher opposed this, believing that without elections the country would fall into civil war. Schleicher eventually persuaded the President to remove Papen.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Papen blamed Schleicher for his problems and removal as Chancellor and sought revenge.In January 1933, Papen met with Hitler and agreed to be his Vice-Chancellor (believing that he would control Hitler).Papen persuaded Hindenburg not to back Schleicher and instead make Hitler Chancellor.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Kurt von SchleicherSchleicher played a role in changing various governments and Chancellors in Germany. These changes helped undermine public confidence in democracy.Schleicher also believed that he was the strong leader which Germany needed.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Schleicher had a good relationship with Hindenburg not least because of his friendship with the Presidents son, Oskar.Schleicher originally persuaded Hindenburg to appoint Bruning as Chancellor. Schleicher also eventually turned against Bruning, asking the President to remove him.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Schleicher also played a role in convincing Hindenburg that Papen should be appointed Chancellor.This included plans to select the government from the countrys elite and not the Reichstag which hurt the idea of parliamentary government and democracy.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Papens problems governing led Schleicher to push Hindenburg to remove him from power.Schleicher had also started manoeuvring to become the Chancellor. He built links with trade unions and some Nazi members, including Gregor Strasser (who later left the National Socialists).

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Once he was appointed as Chancellor, Schleicher found governing difficult, failing to win support from the Left or the Right.After Schleicher had fallen out with Oskar Hindenburg, Papen persuaded the President to remove Schleicher and appoint Hitler as Chancellor.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Schleicher had recognised that he was likely to be removed as Chancellor and blamed Papen for this.He believed that Papen and not Hitler would be made Chancellor and so devoted all of his energy to arguing against Papen, doing nothing to stop the Hitler challenge.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Paul von HindenburgAs President, Hindenburg was responsible for appointing the countrys Chancellor, and dissolving the Reichstag. As such, Hindenburg was at the centre of all political intrigue, whether being influenced or ultimately making the key decisions.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Each time a Chancellor was appointed and removed whether Bruning, Papen or Schleicher it was Hindenburgs decision.He was heavily influenced by a small group of men - often called a camarilla - which included his son, Oskar, and for a long time, Schleicher.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Hindenburgs decision to regularly change Chancellors was partly a result of the Reichstags divisions. However it also undermined confidence in democracy.The fact that he was persuaded to make these changes, and also call early elections or use Article 48 powers, hurt Weimar too.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

German elitesMembers of Germanys elite including industrialists and Junkers also influenced Hindenburg, and plotted against those they opposed.Bruning was removed partly because of elite Germans opposition to his land reform proposals.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Under Papens government the political divisions in Germany led industrialists and bankers led by Hjalmar Schacht to ask Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor.At this point, Hitler ultimately failed to meet the condition that this would only happen if he gained Reichstag support.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

During Schleichers reign, members of the elite were alarmed by his resurrection of Bruning's land plans.This led to further demands from this group for Hitler to be appointed Chancellor. Most members of the elite believed that this was the only way to stabilise Germany, and stop any Communist advance.

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Historians views

Ian Kershaw: Hitler needed the elite to gain power but they needed him to be able to impose an authoritarian government.Conan Fischer: The elites miscalculated that they could put Hitler into power and then control.Mary Fulbrook: By 1933 the elites wanted to see authoritarian government and so persuaded Hindenburg to appoint Hitler.Eugene Anderson: An elite group of Germans put the Nazis into power, wrongly believing that they could control them.