Paul von Hindenburg
|Paul von Hindenburg|
12 May 1925 – 2 August 1934
(Führer and Chancellor)
|Chief of the German General Staff|
|Preceded by||Erich von Falkenhayn|
|Succeeded by||Wilhelm Groener|
|Died||August 2, 1934 (aged 86)|
Neudeck, East Prussia,
Hindenburg retired again in 1919, but returned to public life one more time in 1925 to be elected as the second
He was 84 years old and in poor health, but had to run for re-election in 1932 as the only candidate who could defeat
In 1925, Hindenburg had no interest in running for public office. After the first round Admiral
Alfred von Tirpitz, one of the leaders of the
Hindenburg eventually agreed to run in the second round of the elections as a non-party independent, although he was a
He was helped when the
Bavarian People's Party (BVP), switched its support from Marx, the
Hindenburg tried to stay out of day-to-politics, and be a ceremonial president. He liked the monarchy, but took his oath to the
Hindenburg often complained that he missed the quiet of his retirement and, that politics was full of ideas like
His advisers included his son,
Oskar, his old army aide
General Wilhelm Groener, and
Schleicher came up with the idea of Presidential government, and the "25/48/53 formula".
Under a "Presidential" government the
Schleicher's wanted to have Hindenburg appoint a chancellor that Schleicher chose. If that chancellor needed any laws he could use article 48. If the
The first try at "presidential government" in 1926–1927 failed for lack of political support. During the winter of 1929–1930, Schleicher had a series of secret meetings with
Schleicher then set about splitting the "Grand Coalition" government of the
Brüning's first act was to introduce a budget calling for steep spending cuts and sharp tax increases. When the budget was defeated in July, Brüning had Hindenburg sign the budget as an emergency law under Article 48. When the Reichstag voted to cancel the budget, Brüning had Hindenburg dissolve Reichstag only two years into its mandate, and had the budget passed again by Article 48. The
Brüning ruled through Article 48; the Social Democrats never voted not to cancel his Article 48 bills in order not to have another election that could only benefit the Nazis and the Communists.
In the first round of the election held in March 1932, Hindenburg was the frontrunner, but did not have an absolute majority. In the runoff election of April 1932, Hindenburg beat Hitler for the Presidency.
After the presidential elections had ended, Schleicher held a series of secret meetings with Hitler in May 1932, and thought that Hitler had agreed to support the new "presidential government" Schleicher was building.
In May 1932 Schleicher had Hindenburg sack Groener as Defence Minister to humiliate both Groener and Brüning. On 31 May 1932, Hindenburg sacked Brüning as Chancellor and replaced him with Schleicher's suggestion,
von Papen's government openly wanted to destroy German democracy. Like Brüning's government, von Papen's government was a "presidential government" that governed through the use of Article 48.
As Schleicher wanted, Hindenburg dissolved the Reichstag and set new elections for July 1932. Schleicher and von Papen both believed that the Nazis would win the majority of the seats and would support von Papen's government.
The minutes of the meeting were kept by
|“||Herr Hitler declared that, for reasons which he had explained in detail to the Reich President that morning, his taking any part in cooperation with the existing government was out of the question. Considering the importance of the National Socialist movement, he must demand the full and complete leadership of the government and state for himself and his party.
The Reich President in reply said firmly that he must answer this demand with a clear, unyielding No. He could not justify before God, before his conscience, or before the Fatherland the transfer of the whole authority of government to a single party, especially to a party that was biased against people who had different views from their own. There were a number of other reasons against it, upon which he did not wish to enlarge in detail, such as fear of increased unrest, the effect on foreign countries, etc.
Herr Hitler repeated that any other solution was unacceptable to him.
To this the Reich President replied: "So you will go into opposition?"
Hitler: "I have now no alternative".
Hindenburg issued a
When the Reichstag met in September 1932, its first and only act was to pass a massive vote of no-confidence in von Papen’s government. In response, von Papen had Hindenburg dissolve the Reichstag for elections in November 1932. In the
In the second Reichstag elections of 1932 the Nazis lost some support, but stayed the largest party in the Reichstag. There ensued another round of talks between Hindenburg, von Papen, von Schleicher on the one hand and Hitler and the other Nazi leaders on the other.
Hitler still demanded that Hindenburg give him the Chancellorship. Hindenburg could not accept this, so von Papen suggested Hindenburg declare
Von Papen got Oscar Hindenburg to support the plan, and they persuaded the president to ignore his oath to the Constitution and go along with this plan. Schleicher saw von Papen as a threat so he blocked the martial law plan by saying it would make the Nazi
Hindenburg hated the idea of Hitler as Chancellor, but under pressure from Meißner, von Papen and Oskar Hindenburg the President decided to appoint Hitler Chancellor. On the morning of 30 January 1933, Hindenburg swore Hitler in as Chancellor at the Presidential Palace.