Hindenburg and the Causes of Mullers government collapse

This time period was a crucial one for Germany because it is the time when democracy ended and authorial rule became about once again. President Hindenburg played a major roll in this change in Germany mainly due to the fact that he was the one with all the power, in the position of president he could appoint and dismiss chancellors at will with also the power to decide legislation. However he wasn’t the only one at fault for the breakdown of politics, with several others who had a major part and even some contributing factors all the way back from the end of the First World War. Hindenburg had some weaknesses to him such as that he was growing old and senile which affected his judgement.

Causes of Muller’s government collapse

There is one main reason which comes from several factors of why Muller’s government collapsed. This is the problem of money which generates all the way back from the First World War, which is of money. These problems started with the reparations Germany had to pay to the allies which was enforced in the Treaty of Versailles. The next problem was the impact of the hyperinflation which further damaged the economy. The last impact was the Wall street crash of 1929 which brought on the great depression via the fact that the war loans had stopped being paid to Germany. This put Muller under great pressure and forced him to resign. This was the end of the last truly democratic government in Germany before the Second World War. This end of Muller’s government lead to this period where a series of chancellors entered and left the frame until it came to Hitler who became the Fuhrer.

Article 48

Article 48 is a legitimate way in which Germany can be ruled under a dictatorship. This guideline for the use of Article 48 is that if the country is in a crisis in the form of security or public disorder. It is in the constitution and the president can employ it whenever they fell necessary. Article was extremely important in the breakdown of politics because it undermines the whole system of democracy, where the country can be ruled by a dictator.

Bruining coming into power, use of Article 48

Bruining now formed a minority government. However his government didn’t have enough support in the Reichstag to pass his finance reforms, so he gets Hindenburg to use Article 48 to get it passed by emergency decree. This was a big move by Hindenburg because the way in which he had used Article 48 didn’t follow the guideline for which it was supposed to be used. At this time the use of Article 48 could have been seen as a good move because it gave Germany a better chance of getting out of the great depression by allowing someone to pass laws to try and achieve this. However this meant that Bruining knew that he could rely on the use of Article 48 and he didn’t even have to try in the elections.

Bruining in power and the firing of Bruining

Bruining made an attempt to control the Nazi party by placing a ban on the SA. Hindenburg then decided to get rid of Bruining by forcing him to resign after he refused to sign an emergency decree for the eastern Germany. This can be seen by some as a big mistake by Hindenburg because Bruining had absolutely no intention to bring the Nazi’s into the government. Also this can be seen as a major turning point in that it showed Hitler a path of which he could gain power.

Papen in power

Hindenburg then appointed Papen as the chancellor, this came as a big surprise because Papen had little political backing. This was another mistake by Hindenburg because Papen was willing to co-operate with the Nazi’s. This was shown in that Papen lifted the ban on the SA in return for Hitler’s promise that he would support the government. The elections of July 1932 the Nazi’s made good ground, however Hitler breaks his promise to Papen and Germany is once again ruled by emergency decree. Even a Reich stage vote of no confidence has absolutely no effect on Papen, given that he doesn’t need them to pass laws and he dissolve them at will. This again undermines the democracy by showing that what the people think has no bearing on the chancellor and laws passed

Scheilder in power and the Hitler gaining power

Schlieder upset by Papen’s reactionary policies turned against him and managed to persuade several ministers to turn against him from his cabinet, which forced him from office. Scheilder now chancellor decided to try and gain control of the Nazi party, Hitler now joined Papen in attempt to oust Scheilder. Schleicher faced a vote of no confidence after he couldn’t form a coalition and Hindenburg refused to bend the constitution for his needs then accepted his resignation. Hindenburg then appoints Hitler as the chancellor and Papen as vice-chancellor.

This is the biggest mistake Hindenburg makes because he knows that Hitler has extremist measures in mind which could can the face of the way the country is ran and allows him to gain power even though previously has been completely against this. There are several factors which explain why Hindenburg allowed Hitler to get into power, these are; Papen convinces him that in this new government Hitler can be controlled from his extreme measures. There coalition has the most support with the DNVP agreeing to join it. An old friends and his son are impressed by Hitler and convince him that they aren’t as bad as they seem. Also Hindenburg is growing old and senile so his judgement can’t be completely trusted so he is more likely to believe what others around him are saying. Also the belief that no appointing Hitler could bring a negative impact to politics, social side and moral in Germany. Hindenburg did also prefer a authorial rule to a democratic rule and Hitler was the perfect person to rule in an autocracy.

Factors which helped Hitler

The lack of a strong leader helped promote Hitler because he was a good strong leader which some thought that he could take Germany out of the great depression and back into a strong power in Germany. Also the autocracy past meant that the public longed for another Bismarck figure who could rule with an iron fist and take Germany back to the major European power that there once were.

Who was most to blame

There are several major events which lead to the breakdown of politics in Germany, however most of these events revolve around Hindenburg, which shows that he has to bear the some of the burden of responsibly.

The most important event is the appointment of Hitler because this was truly the end of democracy when Hitler came into power and eventually becoming the undisputed leader of Germany without any effective opposition.

Schieler betraying Papen and getting into power was probably the second most important factor because it led to the alliance of Papen and Hitler, without the support of Papen it is questionable whether Hitler would have got into power

The resignation of Scheiler was the next most important event in that he was the last chancellor before Hitler and Hindenburg wasn’t willing to bend the constitution to keep Hitler from power.

Another key event was the convincing of Hindenburg by his son and a close friend of that Hitler in power would be a good idea, this along with Hindenburg going senile managed to convince him that Hitler in power would be a good thing.

The use of Article 48 was the next important event in that the use of it showed Hitler a clear path to power. Also it started the road to undermining the democracy, so you could say that once the president started to use the Article 48 permanently that it was just a matter of time before the whole constitution was undermined and democracy was put on a permanent hold.

The firing of Bruning was again another key event in that he was the last person to want to rule by democracy and he had no intention of working with the Nazi’s where as all the other chancellors did.

Hindenburg made another big mistake by granting Hitler emergency powers for such acts as the Night of The Long Knives, even though Hitler didn’t really have a good enough reason for him to be granted these powers. This was towards the end of this period in time and allowed Hitler to take out his political opposition by legalised murders.

The consequences of this period of time

The main consequence of this period of time was the full dictatorship of Hitler with the power to do whatever he wanted with very little opposition to him. This in turn led the road to the Second World War. So the years 1930 to 1933 were extremely important in German history especially because of the aftermath and the road to war.

Hindenburg had a major role in the breakdown from politics between 1930 and 1933 because he was willing to use Article 48 and therefore allow the chancellor to rule by virtual dictatorship through him. Also Hindenburg was the one who appointed the chancellors, so appointing Hitler as chancellor even though he knew him to have extreme measures in mind was one of the biggest mistakes he could have made. Even though there were several other people who share some of the blame for the breakdown of politics in these years, Hindenburg has to shoulder the majority of the blame because he was the one with all the power in Germany.

“A pattern was established of right-wing politicians believing that they could use the Nazi to bring about the sort of authoritarian Germany they wanted, but actually played into Hitler’s hands” Finlay Mckichan