* Lew’s review of “Hitler and the Collapse of Weimar Germany” … research for CHOOSING HITLER, my novel-in-progress

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 8, 2013

Broszat-Hitler & Weimar

A clear, crisp and perhaps the most complete account of the last days of the Weimar Republic. Covers all of the intrigues between Hitler and the leaders of Weimar – Hindenburg, Bruning, Schleicher, and Papen. Shows clearly both the slippery slope that led to totalitarian dictatorship and the series of opportunities to prevent it, lost one by one due to a lack of imagination, an inability to compromise, and an absence of political energy. When opposed to Hitler’s relentless and, it must be admitted, brilliant political propaganda, organization, and maneuvering, the more moderate forces just gave up. Perhaps they under-estimated Hitler’s ability and his evil, or perhaps they just didn’t have it in them to keep fighting, or both.

There are other lessons for us today …

… Chancellor Bruning was convinced Germany’s public finances could only be put in order again if the country went through a long period of utmost parsimony and public expenditure cuts … these programs were not successful … There were demands heard from the German public to address the financial crisis with the help of public works programs and deficit spending policy … these demands were ignored by Weimar, but were later implemented by the Nazis.

LMW: sound familiar? The policies of austerity during economic downturn are just as futile and counter-productive today as they were in 1930s Germany.

… local elections in Thuringia on Dec 4 1932 were catastrophic for the Nazis … lost 15% from previous election … membership cards were being returned … intra-party criticism was mounting … party finances were in a precarious state … there was mounting tension within the Nazi movement.

LMW: the Nazi electoral support may well have peaked. Had Weimar hung on a little longer, it might have survived. But less than two months after that disastrous election loss, Hitler was Chancellor.



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