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Why the Nazis and not the Communists?

Uploaded by Admin on Oct 03, 2000

Why, by 1934, had the Nazis benefited more than the Communists from the shortcomings of the Weimar Republic?


Adolf Hitler, head of the NSDAP, became Chancellor of Germany on the 30th January 1933. Following the ’legal revolution’ of the following months and President Hindenburg’s death on the 2nd August 1934, Hitler made himself Führer and Reichskanzler. The Nazi revolution was complete and Germany was subject to a dictatorship of the extreme political right.

As Ian Kershaw explains, the Weimar Republic was failing: "the survival chances of Weimar democracy might be regarded as fairly poor by the end of 1929, very low by the end of 1930, remote by the middle of 1931 and as good as zero by Spring 1932." In a period of Depression and when unity and firm government was essential, Müller’s Grand Coalition broke up in March 1930. Logically, there were several political alternatives other than Hitler and the Nazis.

There could have been a return to parliamentary Party politics. There were some signs to show that democracy may have been revived. During the continuous utilisation of Article 48 to govern, the Reichstag gave their vote of no confidence in challenging the executive use of it. Also, a section of the public appeared to still support the Republic; the Centre Party and SPD continued to have steady support until 1932. However, it seems that any chances of democracy were ruled out. The political Parties were still inclined to pursue their own political interests when a united, broad and moderate front was needed. Two moderate Parties even defected to Hitler after the offensive from the right and Hindenburg made little effort to restore the influence of the Reichstag.

Alternatively, Germany could have become a presidential dictatorship backed by the army as von Schleicher or von Papen would have preferred. In order to do this, the authoritarian regime would have had to adapt slightly from what it was in 1932. The long-term use of Article 48, the emergency decree, would have been impractical and impossible. Perhaps the conservative elites were looking to Hitler for a new identity as they couldn’t return to the days of the Second Reich as well as thinking they could control his power. A military regime would have meant that there was no dominance from the extreme right or left of politics. Judging by the situation of Germany at that time, it was quite possible that this may have...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   10/03/2000

Category:   European History

Length:   8 pages (1,815 words)

Views:   1239

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