Golden Dawn MPs in various still pictures. Characteristic is Mihaloliakos bowing as if he has met the Queen (Dora Bakoyiannis daughter of ex-Premier Mitsotakis the Bush clan in Greece)! The question of our attitude toward govt measures ostensibly against fascism is highly important. Since bourgeois democracy is basically bankrupt, it is no longer in a position to defend itself on its own ground against its enemies on the right and the left. That is in order to maintain itself the democratic regime must progressively liquidate itself through emergency laws and administrative arbitrariness. This self liquidation of democracy in the struggle against the right and left brings to the fore the Bonapartism of degeneration, which needs both the left and the right danger for its uncertain existence in order to play them off against one another and to progressively raise itself above society and its parliamentarism. The Colign regime has seemd to me for a long time to be a potentially Bonapartis regime. IN this highly critical period the main enemy of Bonapartism remains of course the revolutionary wing of the proletariat. Thus we can say with aboslute assurance that as the class struggle deepens all emergency laws extraordinary powers etc will be used against the proletariat. After the French Stalinist and Socialist voted for the administrative disbanding of paramilitary organizations, that old scoundrel Marcel Cahin wrote in l'Humanite approximately as follows "A great victory.... Naturally we know that in capitalist society all laws can be used against the proletariat. But we will strive to prevent this etc" The lie here is the word "can" What should have been said was " We know that as the social crisis deepens all these measures will be used against the proletariat with tenfold intensity" There is a simple conclusion to be drawn from this: We cannot help build up the Bonapartism of degeneration with our own hands and supply it with the chains it will inevitably use to bind the proletarian vanguard' January 13th 1936 Trotsky In the space of six months we have gone from the ban of strikes to the indefinite closure of the state broadcaster ERT, to the mass sackings of 25k state employees (which is a breach of the Greek constitution) and now the unnanounced banning of elected parties. The media oligarchs who have big interests in Greece like Bobolas who owns Ethnos newspaper and Aktor the company involved in the extraction on behalf of El Dorado Gold this week was instrumental in arresting 27 citizens on trumped up charges (they are languishing in gaol) were instrumental in ‘exposing’ GD. When mass strikes erupted lass time in February 2012 and conflict ensued in Sindagma Sq we had the then leader of the far right LAOS (like UKIP) party Karatzaferis join the Troika govt thus ensuing their departure from the political scene. The collapse of the Papadimos govt opened up the way for the meteoric rise of both Syriza and GD due to the collapse of the PASOK vote. Subsequently we had the rise of the Samaras govt backed by PASOK and the LAOS of the Left in the form of Kouvelis-DEM Left joining the coalition. Now faced by a collapse in the polls of Samaras ND, (disintigration of both PASOK and Dem Left) we have Syriza holding out and GD around 15-20%, thus hovering around becoming the 2nd biggest party. The bonapartist measures imposed by the Troika on the Greek ruling elite in banning parties opens the door to bans on the Left (who are the main target in times of severe economic and social meltdown) for the ‘anti-terrorist’ police enters centre stage and the lies of Samaras of a coup by Special Forces reservists was only made to conceal his own real coup. Heading towards a third bailout and a new round of wages and pension cuts the mythology of the current administration that it is weeding out ‘criminality’ at the same time as letting Tzohatzopoulos loose or allowing Papakonstantinou to walk free is not lost on the people. 30th September Banning parties (18 GD MP’s) means opening the way for either new elections (if the MP’s are removed as they were this morning from turning up into Parliament) or delaying elections till the end of the year due to alleged constitutional irregularities. The fact of the matter is that this Parliament is a rump, they make shit up as they go along, there are no rules of engagement anymore. The ideal solution of course would be no Parliament just administrators no electoral considerations etc. But the ideal to exist one has to erase history, tradition etc. For now Greeks are observers of the pantomime and the arrest of GD and this implies that no one can protest about anything anymore for the Troika state decides what is correct and what is wrong as evidenced in Halkidiki where the protestors were held on the same category as GD as being ‘criminal elements’ The murdered Fissas and his father worked in the KKE shipyard zone of Perama. The KKE just fired its most talented journalist and the Ethnos newspaper its most talented journalist Delastik (member of Antarsya) who wrote a piece which essentially argued who profits who gains from this event implying indirectly the govt. It has the most to lose and the most to gain. How they resolve the constitutional issues, the banning of GD without it being a formal ban, the collapse of their vote, the road towards a third catastrophic bailout etc is anyones guess. Just like with the closure of ERT they are making it up as they go along. If elections are allowed to be held (Troika dont want them) then the 18 seats up for grabs would ensure Syriza had a clear chance of wining as the difference in the last elections between them and ND was only around 1%… 5th October The whole thing seems to be a charade. The leader of GD is inside most others have been released. The mythology of 'nationalism' is being exposed as just mythology. In September GD went to commemorate the Quisling administration of Ioannis Rallis of WW2 at Meligalas when they founded the shock troops to stabilise the country once the Germans had left by crushing the Left. In other words a Quisling administration which one of their members had reminded Parliament of by criticising the present lot as Quislings. GD like the fake left is presenting an anti-Quisling approach to Parliament but in reality is pro-Quisling. A big hue and cry was made over the overturning of a couple of benches of illegal immigrant sellers in two market areas by the global media but little reported was that those selected were those that didn't have police permission. Hundreds others that had weren't touched. The aim behind the whole circus appears to lower GD's electoral numbers not to ...fight fascism. For to fight that one would first have to fight the 4th Reich and the Troika. That aint happening by the powers that be.
The rise of Adolf Hitler – Jack Gale
LABOUR REVIEW VOL II NO 11 April 1979
The rise of Adolf Hitler
The German Army played an indispensable part in building the Nazi Party
and in bringing Adolf Hitler to power.
An examination of this role shows that the claim by the founders of the
Anti-Nazi League that Hitler's rise could have been stopped if only lovers of
democracy had realised the danger early enough, is dangerously false. As the
British ruling class prepares for civil war against the working class, the
understanding of the way the State used every possible means to smash the
German labour movement is of vital importance today. The development of a mass
fascist party coup not have taken place without the conscious action of the
State, combined with the treachery of the leaderships in the German workers'
Hitler could have been stopped, even as late as 1933 — the year power was
handed to him by the representatives of capitalist democracy — but only if the
working class of Germany had been united behind a revolutionary party. The
Social Democratic leaders, who feared a revolutionary working class more than
they feared capitalism, could never lead a struggle against fascism. Neither
could the leaders of the Communist Party, because they were by that time
thoroughly dominated by Stalin's line. Their reactionary denunciation of
reformists as 'Social Fascists' kept the workers divided and allowed Hitler to
take power in accordance with the 'democratic' constitution.
Trotsky had fought for the Communists to propose a principled United
Front of the working class parties to halt Hitler, and it was the experience of
Hitler's victory which led the co-leader of the Russian Revolution to conclude
that the Third International had, under Stalin, ceased to be an instrument of
is not possible to grasp how to fight fascism without a close study of
Trotsky's writings during this period. (Trotsky's writings collected on Germany,
1931-1932 are available from New Park Publications, 2 Ib Old Town, London SW4
OJT, price £1.50).
article does not purport to be a full examination of the rise of German
fascism. It deals with one aspect of it — the role of the army, within the
'democratic' state, in building up fascism.
it does attempt is to trace Hitler's political career, in order to expose as a
myth the story of the "penniless ex-corporal' who joined a small
right-wing group, built it up by his own talents, was subsequently able to
persuade big business to back him, and gradually grew stronger and stronger
because loo-one recognised the danger and stopped him in time. This is die
version Hitler himself began to build up in Mein Kampf and which is swallowed
wholesale by the revisionists who formed the ANL.
truth is that Hitler was, from the very beginning of his political career, a
paid agent of the German Army. Before he ever joined the anti-Semitic German
Workers' Party he was a fully-paid member of the Political Department of the
Army's Munich Command. And his army bosses sent him into politics. This is how
revolution of 1918 broke out in Munich, the main
city of Bavaria, even before it did in Berlin, and the King of
Bavaria abdicated before the German Kaiser. Kurt Eisner, the man who led the
November revolution in Bavaria,
was murdered in February, 1919. A Social Democratic government staggered on
until April 6, when a SovietRepublic was proclaimed in Munich.
was drowned in blood at the beginning of May, by a combined force of regular
soldiers and Freikorps volunteers, and the Social Democrats placed back in
power. On the night of March 13, 1920, the District Commander of the Reichswehr
(that is, the German regular army), General Arnold von Moehl, presented the
Social Democratic premier, Johannes Hoffman, with an ultimatum and imposed in
his place a right-wing regime. This was nominally led by Gustav von Kahr, but
in fact was always controlled by the military.
these conditions, Munich became the centre for
all the most right-wing, nationalist, anti-Semitic and military elements in both
Bavaria and Germany. This is where Hitler got
first appearance was as a witness for the prosecution at the Commission of
Inquiry which tried and shot everyone it could findwho
had been active in the short-lived Soviet Republic of Bavaria. This inquiry was
set up and conducted by the Second Infantry Regiment of the German Army.
Naturally, the 'inquiry' was fixed from start to finish. Hitler's presence as a
'witness' means only one thing— he was in the pay of the army. The future
Fuhrer played his part well and was rewarded with the job of Instruction
Officer in the Press and News Bureau of the Political Department of the Army's
District Command. His task was to lecture soldiers on the dangers of communism,
pacifism and 'democracy'.
OF THE STORMTROOPERS
course, there was a lot of such human scum doing similar work. Why did Hitler's
career develop differently? Von Moehl had succeeded in Munich
when the Kapp putsch (an attempt to seize power by the far right) had failed in
rightists fled from Berlin to Munich. They included men
like the notorious Captain Erhardt, who made Munich the centre of his Erhardt Brigade, an
organisation for political murders. Also in the Seventh Munich Army District
were a number of key military political figures — such as Major-General Ritter
von Epp and his assistant—a man who was to play a big role in fascist history —
Major Ernst Roehm.
was the head of the Political Department of the Seventh Munich Army District
who gave Hitler his next assignment — to join the tiny organisation known as
the German Workers' Party. When Hitler joined this organisation, in September
1919, it had total funds of 7.50 marks and a membership of around 40. But one
of these members was Ernst Roehm. Another was Von Epp. Why were such high
officers interested in an obscure political group of minor cranks? Partly, of
course, because they shared their reactionary political outlook.
there was another reason. The Versailles Treaty at the end of World War I set
strict limits on the size of the German Army to a mere 100,000, on the
insistence of Germany's imperialist rivals. But the right-wing officers needed
to keep together hand-picked, trained men, not merely as a nucleus of a future
army, but also to carry out the political tasks they required. They therefore
built up the Freikorps, an association of ex-soldiers, and other 'defence
leagues', 'patriotic leagues' and so on. They also seized on small nationalist
organisations and pushed ex-soldiers into them. They then financed these groups
and built up their strong-arm squads. These were directly or indirectly under
the control of the top army brass.
REVIEW VOL II NO 11
German Workers' Party suited this strategy perfectly. Hitler was sent into it,
in order to look after the interests of the army, acting as a front man for the
army officers. It was Ernst Roehm who had the job of pushing ex-servicemen into
the party's ranks and organising its fighting squads — which actually became
the nucleus of the SA. In December 1920, Roehm and his superior, Ritter von
Epp, provided the sixty thousand marks needed to buy the party a weekly
newspaper, the Volkischer Beobachter.'
is no doubt whatever that Hitler was able to build up his anti-semitic
organisation, not because the German workers were indifferent, and not because
of his own talents, but because of his own talents, but because of the careful
direction and financial backing which he received from the army. Indeed, it is
possible he might never even have become leader of the tiny German Workers'
Party but for the fact that he was the man who could provide the money — army
money. With this backing, Hitler became president of the party in July, 1921.
He used this position to sweep away the old committee, and replace it with army
men — like Max Amann, an ex-sergeant-major in the List Regiment who was given
control of the party's business activities. Amann was in constant contact with
the army — and by February 1923, Hitler had enough funds to make the Volkischer
Beobachter a daily newspaper.
was also getting financial support from an emigre" group of. White Russian
generals, with whom he had been put in contact by German officers. One of these
Russians was the wealthy General Biskupski.
Another was General Skoropadski, who had been appointed governor of the
Ukraine by the Germans in 1918.)
was around this time that ex-officers like Rudolf Hess and Hermann Goering
joined Hitler. But Hitler could never explain where the money he was providing
was actually coming from. In July 1921, the disgruntled former leaders of the
party issued a leaflet denouncing Hitler, saying 'If any member asks him how he
lives and what was his former profession, he always becomes angry and excited,
Up to now no answer has been supplied to these questions.'2
took out a libel action to stop such questions being asked, but was unable to
explain in court how his activities were financed. Some money was coming in
from wealthy backers, but not enough to explain the expansion which Hitler was
able to carry through. Members of the Bechstein family (the piano
manufacturers) gave money, as did a factory owner in Augsburg called Grandel.
But money from capitalists of real size didn't start coming in until Hitler was
collaboration with General Ludendorff in 1923 — that was when steel magnate
Fritz Thyssen began to give money. But even then powerful backing from big
industry was still several years away.
support was still far more important for Hitler. In January 192^1of instance,
it was Roehm and General Otto von Lossow who reversed a ban by the Police
President of Munich on a march by Hitler's SA (Stormtroopers). And it was Roehm
again who engineered an alliance of right-wing organisations in Bavaria which
did much to extend Hitler's influence. The groups who united with the Nazis
were the Reich Banner led by Captain Heiss, the Lower Bavarian Fighting League
under Lieutenant Hofmann, Zeller's Patriotic Leagues of Munich, and Mulzer's
Oberland Defence League. Army officers were prominent in all these groups.
this time, Hitler was planning a march on Berlin, and came close to persuading
the ARMY GOC in Bavaria, General von Lossow, to join it. The fact is that the
army was undecided. On May 1, 1923, Hitler assembled 20,000 Stormtroopers on
the outskirts of Munich under the military command of Lieutenant-Colonel
Kriebel and Lieutenant Rossbach (an ex-Freikorps leader), but Roehm arrived
with a message from von Lossow that all arms had to be returned to military
barracks. Hitler capitulated. He was not prepared to march against the orders
of the army.
both Hitler and Roehm disappeared for some months after this debacle. Hitler
did not make a single public appearance between May 4 and August 1, while Roehm
left Munich in May and did not reappear until September 19. Hitler was never
brought to trial, for what were after all serious offences against the state.
Proceedings against him were in fact begun by the State Prosecutor's office.
Hitler replied saying he welcomed the opportunity to appear in court 'where I
can speak out openly'.3 After this vested threat, all charges-were dropped —
somebody, somewhere, didn't want the Nazi leader to 'speak out openly'. Whoever
that was, had contacts in high places—it was a personal intervention by Franz
Gunner, the Bavarian Minister of Justice, which got the charges dropped.
could reasonably assume that key people in the army and the state considered
him guilty of no more than a premature action. On September
2 — by which time inflation had reduced the German mark to more than one
million to one US dollar—he addressed a mass rally of 'Patriotic Associations'.
By his side stood General Erich Ludendorff, the man who had been the virtual
military ruler of Germany during the war.
at this time was working for a march on Berlin from Munich with the aim of
overthrowing the Reich Government. This was by no means a wild scheme. There
was a real possibility of persuading Gustav von Kahr, the State Commissioner of
Bavaria, and Lossow, commander of the army in Bavaria, to join him. At the same
time, the Berlin government could not rely on the army. At the time of the Kapp
Putsch in March 1920, part of the army under General von Luttwitz had openly
supported the coup attempt, and the Commander in Chief, General von Seeckt, had
refused to allow his troops to be used to defend the legal government.
October 1923, Berlin demanded the suppression of Hitler's paper, the
VolkischerBeobachter, and the arrest of some of his followers. Both Kahr and
Lossow refused to carry out this order. Berlin sacked Lossow, but Kahr—who had
dictatorial powers in Bavaria — kept him in his post, extracted an oath of
allegiance to Bavaria from the soldiers there, demanded the resignation of the
Berlin government, and put armed forces on the borders of Bavaria and
November, Hitler attempted to seize power in Bavaria and announced a march on
Berlin. On November 9, Hitler marched through Munich at the head of 3,000 men,
with General Ludendorff by his side. But a small group of police, vastly
outnumbered by Hitler's force, opened fire and the Nazi leaders — with the
exception of Ludendorff and his adjutant Major Streck — fled for their lives.
coup had failed. And the reason was that Hitler was convinced the army was with
him. As he said in Munich ten years later: 'We never thought to carry through a
revolt against the army. It was with it that we believed we should succeed.'
had considerable support from the army — but not yet as much as he needed. When
his trial took place, the State Prosecutor let slip a highly significant
statement: 'At first, Hitler kept himself free of personal ambition for power.
Later on, when he was being idolised by certain circles, he thoughtlessly
allowed himself to be carried beyond the position assigned to him,'4
Hitler made clear just what position had been assigned to him. 'I wanted to
become the destroyer of Marxism,' he told the court.
AND THE STATE
despite his own claims, was not leading a revolution. He was not seeking to
replace the rule of one class with the rule of another, but to substitute one
form of bourgeois rule with another form of rule by the same class. Therefore,
his new 'state* apparatus could be built up out of the existing one. As he
explained himself in 1936:
recognised that it is not enough to overthrow the old State, but that the new
State must previously have been built up and be practically ready to one's
hand... in 1933 it was no longer a question of overthrowing a state by an act
of violence; meanwhile the new State had been built up and all that there
remained to do was to destroy the last remnants of the old State — and that
took but a few hours.
knew where his State was to come from. He told the court:
believe that the hour will come when the masses, who today stand in the street
with our swastika banner, will unite with those who fired upon them. When I
learned that it was the police who fired, I was happy that it was not the
Rekhswehr which had stained its record. One day the hour will come when the
Rekhswehr, officers and men, will stand at our side.6
trial indicated that Hitler's confidence that the state forces were on his side
was not misplaced. Ludendorff was acquitted and Hitler was given the minimum
sentence of five years — and then released after serving less than nine months.
Moreover, Hitler's conditions in jail were luxurious. 40 other National
Socialists were with him in Landsberg Prison. They ate well, had as many
visitors as they liked, and spent most of their time in the gardens. Hitler was
allowed his own batman, and not all the fascists in the jail were prisoners. Rudolf
Hess, for example, chose voluntarily to stay there to be with his leader.
was given ample facilities—including a secretary—to write Mein Kampf. He was
permitted to conduct a wide-ranging correspondence, and was allowed as many
newspapers and books as he wished. The fascist leader's thirty-fifth birthday
fell while he was in jail, and he was allowed so many parcels and flowers that
several rooms of this remarkable 'prison' were filled to overflowing. Nor did
Hitler occupy a cell. He was given a large, sunny first floor room.
the years after Hitler's release from jail, German capitalism made a temporary
recovery largely due to massive foreign loans mainly from the United States.
This contained the seeds of future disaster, since by
the country owed something like 30,000 million gold marks in foreign debts.
Unemployment fell and the middle class began to recover.
the Reichstag elections of May 1928, the Nazi Party polled only 810,000 votes
compared with the Social Democrats' 9. IS million. The Communist Party got
3,265,000 votes. The Nazis weren't even the leading right wing organisation.
That dubious 'honour' fell to the German National Party which polled 4.3
million votes. In 1928, the leadership of the German National Party was taken
over by a former Krupps director Alfred Hugenberg, who had made a fortune out
of the inflation. Hugenberg had the backing of the largest of all the
ex-servicemen's organisations, the Stahlhelm, as well as the Pan-German League,
and capitalists like Dr Albert Voegler, General Director of United Steel and
Reichsbank President Dr Hjalmar Schacht.
came to Hitler's rescue was the Young Plan. A committee chaired by US banker
Owen D. Young decided in June 1929 that Germany should go on paying reparations
for World War I for a further 59 years. The Rightist organisations, including
the Nazis and the German National Party, came together in a joint campaign and
placed a 'Law Against the Enslavement of the German People' before the
Reichstag and a subsequent plebiscite. They were heavily defeated, but it was
during this campaign that the really big money began to come behind Hitler,
especially from the coal and iron magnates and the bankers.
came the world slump. Unemployment in Germany rose from 1,320,000 in September
1929 to 3 million in September 1930, 4,350,000 in September 1931 and 5,102,000
in September 1932. By 1933 over 6 million Germans were out of work. In
September 1930, Hitler's vote shot up to 6,409,600. But the Communist Party vote
also went up to 4,592,000. The votes of the Social Democrats and the centre
parties fell, but the Social Democrats still remained the largest party.
Britain, Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail welcomed Hitler's gains as 'a
reinforcement of the defences against Bolshevism'. Hitler still had a long way
to go; however, to achieve his stated aim of 'defeating democracy with the
weapons of democracy'.7
this was to be achieved was explained by him in a speech in Munich in March
1929. Referring to the fascist victory in Italy, Hitler declared:
is another state in which the Army had a different conception of (its) needs.
That was in the State where, in October 1922, a group made ready to take the
reins of the State out of the hands of the gangsters and the Italian Army did
not say 'Our only job is to protect peace and order'. Instead they said 'It is
our task to preserve the future for the Italian people'.
the future does not lie with the parties of destruction, but rather with the
parties who carry in themselves the strength of the people, who are prepared
and who wish to bind themselves to this Army, in order to aid the Army some day
in defending the interests of the people. In contrast we still see the officers
of Our Army belatedly tormenting themselves with the question as to how far one
can go along with Social Democracy. But, my dear sirs, do you really believe
that you have anything in common with an ideology which stipulates the
dissolution of all that which is the basis of the existence of an Army? The
victory of one course or the other lies partially in the hands of the Army—that
is, the victory of the Marxists or our side. Should the Leftists win out
through your wonderful unpolitical attitude, you may write over the German
Army: 'The encl of the German Army.' For then, gentlemen, you must become
political, then the red cap of the Jacobins will be drawn over your head.8
1931, money was pouring into Hitler's coffers — from men like Emil Kirdorf, the
biggest figure in the Ruhr coal industry; Fritz Thyssen and Albert Voegler of
the United Steel Works; Ernst Bus-kuhl and H.G. Knepper of the Gelsenkirchen
Mine Company; Stein and Schroeder of the Stein Bank in Cologne; E.G. von
Strauss of the Deutsche Bank; Eduard Hilgard of the Allainz Insurance Corporation
and many more.
reason was not that a racist group had managed to attract big business money,
but that Hitler was seen by these huge employers as the man who could give the
political lead around which the army could be rallied against the working
nevertheless, had to steer a careful course. He could not be certain that the
Army would not move against him if he repeated his 1923 adventure of a march on
Berlin. What he did know was that the army
would certainly support him if he could take power through the apparatus of
capitalist democracy. However, Hitler never'won a capitalist election. At the
height of their parliamentary success before Hitler was given the
Chancellorship, the most the Nazis got was 230 out of 600 Reichstag seats, in
July 1932. Even in the election after Hitler was in office, in March 1933, the
Nazis only got 288 out of 647 seats.
had to be brought to power another way. They key figure in this process was a
certain Major-General Kurt von Schleicher. In 1928, when General Wilhelm
Groener became Minister of Defence, Schleicher became head of a special
department, called the Minis-teramt. This department co-ordinated the affairs
of all the armed forces and dealt with their links with other ministries. It
became the key political post in the forces. Schleicher rapidly achieved
dominance over Groener, as Well as over the Army C-in-C, General von
Hammerstein. Moreover, one of Schlekher's close associates was Colonel Oskar
von Hindenburg, son of the aged President.
wanted a strong government, in place of weak coalitions, and he saw Hitler as
his man. In January 1931, he removed the ban on Nazi supporters being enrolled
in the forces or getting employment in arsenals and supply depots. Then he
entered lengthy talks with SA chief Ernst Roehm. Later he arranged discussions
for Hitler first with Bruening and then with Hindenburg.
this occurred while three successive parliamentary coalitions — headed by
Mueller, Bruening and Papen •>— failed to achieve a stable parliamentary
majority and Germany was ruled mainly by presidential decree. This meant mat,
in effect, real power was in the hands of a small group of men round the
President: that is, the Chancellor, General von Schleicher, Oskar von
Hindenburg and Otto Meissner, head of the Presidential Chancery.
course, the Army was never unanimous in its attitude to Hitler. Groener, for
instance, was always suspicious of the Nazi leader and in April 1932, used his
powers as Minister of Defence to ban the SA and SS and all their affiliated
organisations. He was violently attacked in the Reichstag and — under pressure
from Schleicher and the Army C-in-C, Hammerstein — Groener resigned. Next,
Schleicher got rid of Chancellor Bruening. He announced that the Army no longer
had confidence in the Chancellor — and the President dismissed Bruening.
new Chancellor, a Westphalian nobleman called Franz von Papen,
never had a chance of a parliamentary majority—he governed only through the
support of the President and the Army. Three of the four big parties — the
Communist, Social Democrat and Centre Parties — all opposed him, while the
Nazis remained 'neutral' in line with Hitler's deal with Schlekher.
parliamentary government was, therefore, virtually at an end in Germany even
before Hitler became Chancellor. The only way von Papen's government could get
any stability at all was if it won the support of the Nazi Party, along with
its army backing. However, it must be stressed that Schlekher and Hitler were
not conducting their manoeuvres in a vacuum. The working class was active and
only its leadership kept it from victory.
was. this failure of the workers' leadership which enabled the plans of
Schleicher and Hitler to proceed without interruption. In July 1932 the Nazis
polled 13,745,000 votes and became the biggest party in the Reichstag — but the
Social Democrats polled just under eight million votes and the Communist Party
got five and a quarter million. The working class vote combined just about
equalled that of the Nazis. The swing to the Nazis had come from those who had
earlier supported the middle-class parties like the People's Party, the
Democrats and the Economic Party.
claim of the Anti-Nazi League that the working class was apathetic in the face
of the Nazi threat is a slander. On July 17,1932, for instance, the Nazis
staged a provocative march through the working-class districts of 'Red'
Hamburg. They were met by a fusillade of shots from roof-tops and windows,
which they returned. An armed battle took place in which 19 people were killed
and 285 wounded. The Nazis did not march through Hamburg. In the same month
Goebbels attempted to make an election visit to the Ruhr. Another pitched
battle took place and 18 people were killed.
leadership, of course, was a different question. When von Papen dismissed the
Social Democrat and Centre coalition in Prussia because of the Hamburg riots,
the trade unions and the Social-Democratic Party discussed calling a general
strike. They decided against it. The Stalinists, as is well known, were
denouncing Social Democracy as a worse danger than fascism and thus splitting
the working class.
at that stage, with revolutionary leadership, Hitler and his army
backers could have been stopped. Hitler had swallowed up the centre and right
parties—but the working-class opposition to fascism was still solid. It was for
that reason—that the working class was not defeated and demoralised — that the
Army swallowed its last reservations and decided to back Hitler fully. Even
Schleicher up to that point had regarded Hitler as a strong pillar of support
for some capitalist politician whom he, Schleicher, would nominate on behalf of
still took time. Hitler demanded the Chancellorship, and Schleicher and Papen
offered only the vice-Chancellorship. Hitler refused to support the government
and it fell. In the ensuing election of November, 1932, the Nazi Party's vote
fell for the first time since 1930. They lost two million votes and 34
Reichstag seats. The Communist Party vote increased.
again, Papen offered Hitler the vice-Chancellorship. Hitler refused. It was
Schleicher — alarmed by die increased Communist vote and by a strong transport
strike in Berlin — who moved. Papen was,urged to resign and he did. Hindenburg
said he would consider Hitler as Chancellor only if he could command a Reichstag
majority — something Hitler could not do.
result was that Schleicher himself became Chancellor of Germany. President
Hindenburg, in fact, entrusted Papen with the task of forming a new government,
but Schleicher declared that the Army would not support him. Hindenburg
withdrew his proposal. Papen was finished. And Schleicher became the last
Chancellor of pre-Hitier Germany on December 2, 1932. He was to last less than
two months. One of his first acts was to broadcast to the nation, asking his
listeners to 'forget' that he was a soldier and think of him as 'the impartial
trustee of the interests of all in an emergency' and one who 'supported neither
capitalism nor socialism'.9
could get no support from the working class, nor from the Centre—and Hitler was
by now sure that he could hold out for his full demands, the Chancellorship or
nothing. It was, for him, a desperate gamble. The party had almost split, with
one section anxious to enter Schleicher's government. Funds were falling. And the
last election had been a disaster. But in crisis-ridden Germany, Schleicher
could find no support for any government. At the same time the Stalinist and
reformist leaders had paralysed the working
January 22,1933, negotiations began involving on die one side
Meissner and Oskar von Hindenburg, and on the other Hitler, Goering and Frick.
They lasted a week. On January 28 Schleicher asked the President for powers to
dissolve the Reichstag and to rule by decree. He was rejected.
is clear is that Hitler did not come to power triumphant and strong. German
capitalism and with it German capitalist politicians were in desperate crisis.
Manoeuvre after manoeuvre, solution after solution, political combination after
political combination, were tried.
knew where to turn. The already rejected Papen tried again to form a
government. Schleicher proposed to Hitler that they form a joint government
backed by the Army and the Nazi Party. At the same time, there were reports
that Schleicher was planning a military coup to impose himself as dictator of
Germany. Hitler warned Hindenburg of this and placed his own forces on the
alert. The whole political situation was one of complete chaos.
this situation, Hindenburg agreed to appoint Hitler as Chancellor. But once
again, the final decision lay with the army. General von Blomberg, who had been
army commander in East Prussia, was summoned to Berlin. Would he serve as
Minister of Defence under Hitler? Blomberg and his Chief of Staff Colonel von
Reichenau, had already been in contact with Hitler. He agreed to serve, and
Hitler was in.
January 30 1933, Adolf Hitler, by constitutional and legal means, became Reich
Chancellor of Germany. He knew who was responsible for that. In September 1933
this day, we would particularly remember the part played by our Army, for we
all know well that if, in the days of our revolution, the Army had not stood on
our side, then we should not be standing here today.10
Alan Bullock, Hitler. A Study in Tyranny, p. 61.