The Nazi Menace

  • Michael Balfour
  • Julian Frisby


The failure of the Deichmann bank was only one example of the economic disaster which overwhelmed Germany in these years and brought about the collapse of the Weimar Republic. In March 1930 the last Socialist Chancellor (prior to Willy Brandt) resigned. He was succeeded by Brüning who, lacking a firm parliamentary majority, took to governing by presidential decree — indeed President Hindenburg had appointed him on the understanding that he would do so. When in July a majority of M.P.s challenged this course, Brüning dissolved the Reichstag; the elections of September sensationally strengthened the National Socialists and Communists but weakened the Socialist and middle-class parties. Thereafter the majority (composed of Socialists, Democrats and Catholics) tolerated Brüning’s method of government by decree, which enabled him to weather the economic storms of 1931. What undermined him was his need to get the President’s signature for the decrees; in May 1932 the old gentleman was persuaded to refuse this and Brüning saw no alternative to resignation. He was replaced by von Papen, who had virtually no backing in the Reichstag at all and could not gain one in spite of holding two elections. In November 1932 Papen was ousted in favour of General von Schleicher and retaliated by conspiring with the National Socialists who were worried by a recent loss of ground.


World Affair Presidential Decree Weimar Republic Theoretical Training Liberal Standpoint 
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  1. 2.
    E. Mowrer, Triumph and Turmoil (1970), p. 226.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael Balfour and Julian Frisby 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Balfour
    • 1
  • Julian Frisby
  1. 1.University of East AngliaUK

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