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§789 The Weimar Republic; Hitler in power (1919-1939): III-76.

III-76 (§789):

In Germany shall be born diverse sects,
Approaching much to the happy paganism,
The captive heart and small revenues,
shall return to the payment of the true tithe.

(En Germanie naistront diverses sectes,
S'approchans fort de l'heureux paganisme,
Le cueur captif & petites receptes,
Feront retour à payer le vray disme.)

NOTES: The first hemistich of the quatrain deals with the Weimar Republic with proportional representation in failure in Germany and the second concerns Hitler’s totalitarian policies with success.

Paganism: = « PAGANIISME. n.m. Nom donné par les chrétiens de la fin de l’empire romain aux cultes polythéistes (Paganism. A name given by the Christians of the end of the Roman Empire to the polytheistic cults).» (Petit Robert).

Happy: = Irresponsible; « happy a. (as suf.) irresponsible about (
TRIGGER-happy).» (Sykes).

In Germany shall be born diverse sects, Approaching much to the happy paganism: « The parliamentary system laid down in the new Weimar constitution had weakness, the most serious of which was that it was organised on a system of proportional representation so that all political groups would have a fair representation. Unfortunately there were so many different groups that no party could ever win an overall majority. For example in 1928 the Reichstag (lower house of parliament) contained at least eight groups of which the largest were the Social Democrats (153), conservatives or nationalists (78), and the Catholic Centre Party (62). The communists had 54 seats, while the smallest groups were the Bavarian People’s Party (16) and the National Socialists (12). A succession of coalition governments was inevitable, with the Socialist Democrats having to rely on co-operation from left-wing liberals and Catholic Centre; no party was able to carry out its programme.» (Lowe, 1988, p.127).

« The Weimar Republic was constantly plagued by economic problems, which the government failed to solve permanently: (i) In 1919 Germany was close to bankruptcy because of the enormous expense of the war which had lasted for longer than most people had expected. (ii) Her attempts to pay reparations instalments made matters worse. In August 1921, after paying the £50 million due, she requested permission to suspend payments until her economy recovered. France refused and in 1922 Germany could not manage the full annual payment. (iii) In January 1923 French troops occupied the Ruhr (an important German industrial area) in an attempt to seize goods from factories and mines. The German government ordered the workers to follow a policy of passive resistance, and German industry in the Ruhr was paralysed. The French had failed in their aim, but the effect on the German economy was catastrophic and the mark collapsed. The normal rate of exchange was 4 marks to the dollar, but even before the Ruhr occupation reparations difficulties had caused the mark to fall in value so that by 1922 a dollar would buy 191.8 marks. By July 1923, with the Ruhr at a standstill, a dollar would buy 160,000 marks, and at the end of November 1923 the mark was completely worthless at 4,200,000 million to the dollar. It was only when the new Chancellor, Gustav Stresemann, introduced a new currency known as the Rentenmark, in 1924, that the financial situation finally stabilised. The economic situation improved dramatically in the years after 1924, largely thanks to the Dawes Plan of that year which provided an immediate loan from the USA equivalent to £40 million, relaxed the fixed reparations payments and in effect allowed Germany to pay what she could afford; French troops withdrew from the Ruhr. The currency was stabilised, there was a boom in such industries as iron, steel, coal, chemicals and electricals, and wealthy landowners and industrialists were quite happy with the republic. But behind this success there was a fatal weakness. (iv) The prosperity was much more dependent than most people realised on American loans. (v) Following the Wall Street Crash (October 1929 the world economic crisis was developed. The USA stopped ant further loans and began to call in money of the short-term loans already made to Germany. This shook the currency and caused a run on the banks, many of which had to close. The industrial boom had led to world-wide over-production, and German exports, along with those of other countries, were severely reduced. Factories had to close, and by the middle of 1931 unemployment was approaching four million. Sadly for Germany, Gustav Stresemann, the politician best equipped to deal with the situation, died of a heart attack in October 1929 at the early age of 51. (vi) The government of Chancellor Brüning (Catholic Centre Party) reduced social services, unemployment benefit, and salaries and pensions of government officials, and stopped reparations payments. High tariffs were introduced to keep out foreign foodstuffs and thus help German farmers, while the government bought shares in factories hit by the slump. However, these measures did not produce quick results: unemployment continued to grow and by the spring of 1932 it stood at over six million. The government came under criticism from almost all groups in society, especially industrialists and the working class who demanded more decisive action. The loss of working-class support because of increasing unemployment and the reduction of unemployment benefit was a serious blow to the republic. By the end of 1932 the Weimar Republic had thus been brought to the verge of collapse. Even so it might have survived if there had been no other options.» (Lowe, id., p.129-133).

The captive heart and small revenues, shall return to the payment of the true tithe: The Germans by their support to the attractive Nazi policies recovered economic strength so as to be able to pay their ordinary tithe, which they could not afford under the Republic government because of small income or mass unemployment: « Hitler and the Nazi party offered what seemed to be an attractive alternative just when the republic was at its most incapable. The fortunes of the Nazi party were linked closely to the economic situation: the more unstable the economy, the more seats the Nazis won in the Reichstag: March 1924 – 32 seats (economy still unstable after 1923 inflation); December 1924 – 14 seats (economy recovering after Dawes Plan); 1928 – 12 seats (comparative prosperity); 1930 – 107 seats (unemployment mounting – Nazis second largest party); July 1932 – 230 seats (massive unemployment – Nazis largest single party). There is no doubt that the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, fostered by the economic crisis, was one of the most important factors in the downfall of the republic.» (Lowe, id, p.133).

« What was it about the Nazis that made them so popular? (i) They offered national unity, prosperity and full employment by ridding Germany of what they claimed were the real causes of the troubles – Marxists, the ‘November criminals’ (those who had agreed to the armistice in November 1918 and later the Versailles Treaty), Jesuites, Freemasons and, above all, Jews. Great play was made in Nazi propaganda with the ‘stab in the back’ myth (In 1919, the view was widespread that the army had not been defeated: it had been betrayed – ‘stabbed in the back’ – by the democrats who had needlessly agreed to the Versailles Treaty. What most Germans did not realise was that it was Ludendorff who had asked for an armistice while the Kaiser was still in power. However, the ‘stab in the back’ legend was eagerly fostered by all enemies of the republic [id., p.127].). (ii) They promised to overthrow the Versailles settlement, so unpopular with most Germans, and to build Germany into a great power again. This would include bringing all Germans (in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland) back into the Reich. (iii) The Nazi private army, the SA (Sturmabteilung – Storm Troopers), was attractive to young people out of work [The captive heart]; it gave them a small wage [small revenues] and a uniform. (iv) Wealthy landowners and industrialists encouraged the Nazis because they feared a communist revolution and they approved of the Nazi policy of hostility to communists. (v) Hitler himself had extraordinary political abilities. He possessed tremendous energy and will power and a remarkable gift for public speaking which enabled him to put forward his ideas with great emotional force. (vi) The striking contrast between the governments of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi party impressed people: the former were cautious, respectable, dull and unable to maintain order, the latter promised strong, decisive government and the restoration of national pride – an irresistible combination. (vii) Without the economic crisis though, it is doubtful whether Hitler would have had much chance of attaining power; it was the widespread unemployment and social misery which gained the Nazis mass support, not only among the working classes but also among the lower-middle classes – office workers, shopkeepers, civil servants, teachers and small-scale farmers.» (Lowe, id, p.133-134).

« A small clique of right-wing politicians with support from the Reichswehr decided to bring Hitler into a coalition government with the conservatives and nationalists. The main conspirators were Franz von Papen and Kurt von Schleicher. Their reasons for this momentous decision were: (i) They were afraid of the Nazis attempting to seize power by a Putsch. (ii) They believed they could control Hitler better inside the government than if he remained outside it. (iii) The Nazi votes in the Reichstag would give them a majority, which might make possible a restoration of the monarchy, and a return to the system which had existed under Bismarck (Chancellor 1870-90), in which the Reichstag had much less power. Though this would destroy the Weimar Republic, they were prepared to go ahead because it would give them a better chance of controlling the communists.» (Lowe, id, p.134-135).

« There was some complicated manoeuvring involving Papen and Schleicher who persuaded President Hindenburg, now completely senile, to dismiss Chancellor Brüning and appoint Papen himself as Chancellor. They hoped to bring Hitler in as Vice-Chancellor, but he would settle for nothing less than himself as Chancellor. In January 1933, therefore, they persuaded Hindenburg to invite Hitler to become Chancellor with Papen as Vice-Chancellor, even though the Nazis had by then lost ground in the elections of November 1932. Papen still believed Hitler could be controlled and remarked to a friend: ‘In two months we’ll have pushed Hitler into a corner so hard that he’ll be squeaking.’ In fact, therefore, Hitler was able to come to power legally because all the other parties including the Reichswehr failed to recognise the danger from the Nazis and therefore failed to unite in opposition.» (Lowe, id, p.135).

« The legal basis of his power was the Enabling Law which was forced through the Reichstag on 23 March 1933. This stated that the government could introduce laws without the approval of the Reichstag for the next four years, ignore the constitution and sign agreements with foreign countries. All laws would be drafted by the Chancellor and come into operation the day they were published... How was it achieved? The method was typical of the Nazis. The Kroll Opera House (where the Reichstag had been meeting since the fire [on the night of 27 February 1933]) was surrounded by the black-shirted SS troops, and MPs had to push their way through solid ranks to get into the building. The 81 communist MPs were simply not allowed to pass (many were in jail already). Inside the building rows of brown-shirted SA troops lined the walls. It took courage to vote against the bill in such surroundings with the SS outside chanting ‘We want the bill, or fire and murder’. When the Catholic Centre Parry decided to vote in favour, the result was a foregone conclusion: it passed by 441 votes to 94 (all Social Democrats).» (Lowe, id, p.137).

« Hitler’s policies were popular with many sections of the German people. Hitler was successful in eliminating unemployment. This was probably the most important reason for his popularity with the masses. When he came to power the unemployment figure still stood at over six million but as early as July 1935 it had dropped to under two million and by 1939 it had disappeared completely. How was this achieved? The public works schemes provided thousands of extra jobs. A large party bureaucracy was set up now that the Nazi party was expanding so rapidly, providing thousands of extra office and administrative posts. There were purges of Jews and anti-Nazis from the civil service and many other jobs connected with law, teaching, journalism, broadcasting, the theatre and music, leaving large numbers of vacancies. Conscription was reintroduced in 1935. Rearmament was begun in 1934 and gradually speeded up. Thus Hitler had provided what the unemployed had been demanding in their 1932 marches: work and bread (Arbeit und Brot).» (Lowe, id, p.140-141).
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© Koji Nihei Daijyo, 2018. All rights reserved.
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Author:Koji Nihei Daijyo
We have covered 143 quatrains (§588-§730) concerning the World Events in the 19th century after Napoleonic ages [1821-1900] in the Prophecies of Nostradamus, and 218 in the 20th [1901-2000] (§731-§948).

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