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The Collapse of the Weimar Republic

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The Collapse of the Weimar Republic. Week 10, December 2. The rise of unemployment. Reichstag and Landtag elections. Unemployment and radical votes. Bold line : unemployed White line : votes for the NSDAP and KPD ( Bundesarchiv ). Conservative politicians instrumental in the collapse. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of The Collapse of the Weimar Republic

Collapse of the Weimar Republic

The Collapse of the Weimar RepublicWeek 10, December 2The rise of unemployment

Unemployment and radical votes

Bold line: unemployedWhite line: votes for the NSDAP and KPD (Bundesarchiv)Reichstag and Landtag electionsConservative politicians instrumental in the collapse

Heinrich Brning, Chancellor 1930-32Paul von Hindenburg, president, 1925-1934Brning as chancellorfor many historians, his cabinet marks the end of the Weimar democracyBacked by Hindenburg, used article 48 to approve his budget and minority govtMajor cuts in welfareForeign policy priority, confrontational position with the Western powers, break with Stresemanns careful policy Instrumentalized the rising unemployment against the Western powersLead to further escalation of the domestic situation

Rise of the NSDAPEarly interwar Germany a fertile breeding ground for radical right-wing organizations.1919: Anton Drexler founds the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers Party, DAP).Adolf Hitler joined the DAP in Sept. 1919, quickly rising through the ranks to become the partys chief theorist and propaganda officer.Feb. 1920: Hitler heads a committee which draws up the Partys 25 Point Programme which remains the basis of Nazi ideology until 1945.April 1920: The DAP renamed the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party, NSDAP or Nazi for short). July 1921: Hitler ousts Drexler & is appointed Party Chairman.NSDAP, cont.1923 beer-hall coup; 23-24 Hitler in Landsberg prison1925: Nazi party re-founded with a new commitment to achieving power through legal means.1926: The Bamberg Conference Hitler re-established his supremacy in the Party, overcoming the challenge to his leadership from Gregor Strasser, but was forced to concede that the 25-Point Programme (with its socialist elements) remained inviolable. Establishment of new efficient Party structure and youth and womens organisations led to a growing membership: 27,000 in 1925 increased to 108,000 in 1928.But still had little popular support they won only 2.6% of the vote in the Reichstag elections of 1928.

Programmatic points of the NSDAPKey concepts:Race and antisemitismFhrerprinzip (one leader)Anti-CommunismNationalismVolksgemeinschaft (folk community)The 25 Points:Creation of a Greater Germany encompassing all ethnic GermansRevocation of Treaty of Versailles and back to old bordersDemand for space (Lebensraum) (vehemently anti-Slavic, anti-Soviet, anti-Polish)Only members of the Volk can be citizens: no Jew can be a citizens & all non-citizens to be deportedThe primary duty of the State is to provide a livelihood for its citizens: introduction of profit sharing & extension of welfare state

Election results in Weimar

Communists in the Weimar Republic

Communist youth organization,1925Ernst Thlmann, 1886-1944 (KPD leader)

Liebknecht house, Blowplatz, KPD headquartersPoliticians in the collapse II

Franz von Papen, chancellor 6-11/1932Kurt von Schleicher, chancellor 11/1932-1/33Preuenschlag (Prussian coup), July 1932

Papen ousted the minority govt of Otto Braun (SPD) in Prussia, the largest German state, continually governed by the social democrats, and named himself interim head of the stateFederal Elections July 1932

largest legal gains for the Nazi party (37,8%), negative majority together with the KPD (319 seats from 608 in the Reichstag)

The Iron Frontanti-Nazi and pro-democratic movement of SPD, labor unions, and the Reichsbanner (veterans association affiliated with the SPD)

Tchakhotins Three arrowsFederal election November 1932Last democratic elections of Weimar Germany

Reasons for failure of the Weimar democracy:

economic crisis and unemploymentdistrust in the system, no longer believablerise of fascismsplit of the LeftWeimar ran out of alternatives; only returning to monarchy or some kind of dictatorial leadershipSyndicate of elites now backing the Nazis, endowing them with legitimacy

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