Thus it was arranged that Hitler should meet Dr Alfred - PsyWar.Org

Thus it was arranged that Hitler should meet Dr Alfred - PsyWar.Org

Thus it was arranged that Hitler should meet Dr Alfred Hugenberg, the leader of the Nationalist Party. An alliance was concluded between the Nazis and...

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Thus it was arranged that Hitler should meet Dr Alfred Hugenberg, the leader of the Nationalist Party. An alliance was concluded between the Nazis and the Nationalists in which each party was to keep its separate individuality and each work for the cause of the Fatherland in its own way. The first objective of the new allies was to force a plebiscite against the Young Plan, an agreement arranged by the American financier Owen D. Young which, though it cut down the German reparations debt still further, did not totally abolish it as Hitler and Hugenberg demanded. The attempt to force a plebiscite failed, however, and the Young agreement was signed. Nevertheless, Hitler was well satisfied with the alliance. It brought him the assistance of a vast publicity machine, for Hugenberg, a former director of the Krupps armaments concern, had acquired during the inflation a string of national and local newspapers, one of the two main German news agencies, several illustrated magazines, and the big UF A film concern with its associated film theatres and newsreels. All of this was now put at the service of Hitler, boosting his fame throughout the Reich. Moreover, Hitler was now able to dip his hand into the Nationalist Party treasury-and he was not reluctant to help himselfl The coal and metal magnates of the Rhine and Ruhr were delighted with the ex-corporal who seemed to be just what they needed-a propagandist capable of rallying the German masses to the support of the national cause and of mobilising the new voters who would be coming on the scene in the next general election. So they began to subsidise his party generously. Dr Gustav Stresemann died on 3rd October 1929, too soon to witness the consummation of his policy: the Allied evacuation of the Rhineland in June 1930. Probably Stresemann would not have approved of the increasing boldness of Germany's hitherto clandestine rearmament which followed the evacuation. He would have warned-privately-that it might tip off the more perceptive sectors of Allied public opinion to the course events in Germany were now to follow. Several of the foreign Berlin newspaper correspondents did exactly that. But, just as in the case of the Control Commission's warning, no one took any notice. Kurt von Schleicher, now a full general and head ofthe political department of the Reichswehr Command, suggested to Hindenburg that the time had come to speed up rearmament and dismiss the Social Democrat Chancellor Hermann Muller who opposed it. As a replacement for Muller, Schleicher proposed Dr Heinrich Briining, an ex-officer member of the Centre Party who had commanded a machine-gun company at the front and was a 100

fervent supporter of rearmament. Hindenburg, who had no love for the colourless Muller or the Social Democrats, was delighted to make the change. But there was no majority in the Reichstag for Dr Bruning. On Schleicher's advice, Briining decided that with the general jubilation over the liberation of the Rhineland to help them, the parties backing him would win an outright majority if they went to the country. The general election that followed on 14th September 1930 produced the biggest poll in the Reichstag's history. Four and a half million voted who had never done so before. And among the major beneficiaries of these new votes were Hitler and his men: Goering, Goebbels, Strasser, Himmler, and the rest. On the morning of 15th September the world learned the astonishing news that the Nazi Party, which at the previous election two years earlier had scored only 800,000 votes, had polled 6,409,600 this time. With 107 seats it was the second largest party in the Reichstag. The three bourgeois parties, on whose victory Bruning had counted, had lost a million and a quarter of the votes they had won in 1928. Some commentators said the Nazi victory was a mere 'flash in the pan', a temporary aberration that would quickly be corrected. Others declared that it was due to the economic crisis asserting itself in Germany after the Wall Street crash and creating a heavy increase in un~ employment. No one told the truth: that it was due mainly to the removal of the Allied bayonets on which German democracy had rested so far, and secondly to the genius of 'miracle man' Hitler in conjuring up before the pyes of the Germans a world in which they would be the bully boys once more. Hitler's was an expensive victory-for the German economy. On the foreign stock-exchanges German shares dived sharply. Financiers who had loaned short term credits to German firms, municipalities, and state governments rushed to withdraw them. The Reichsbank had to payout considerable sums from its gold and foreign currency reserves. In one month alone, from the middle of September to the middle of October 1930, it lost 50 million pounds. The government did not mind too much about that. It would all help to convince the world that Germany could not pay reparations. The Versailles treaty was now almost as dead as German democracy. Left, top: Poster for Wilhelm Marx, candidate of the Centre in the 1925 presidential election , claims that the Weimar Republic satisfies ·the revolutionary hopes of 1848. Bottom: Social Democrat poster identifies the Communists, Nazis, and right-wing Stahlhelm as the common enemies of democracy