Tuesday, April 11, 2017

16. Maneuvering Toward Power

Previous posts are at the bottom.

1. I have read two more chapters of Konrad Heiden's 1944 book, Der Fuehrer, chapters seventeen and eighteen. Rather than shape prose, let me give bullets. (Previous posts are at the bottom)

Chapter Seventeen:
  • Hitler shifted away from war speeches because he wanted to be democratically elected. He began a peace propaganda. 1931
  • Hitler: "Foreign policy is only a means to an end" (415). "The programmatical principle of our party is its position on the racial problem."
  • Hitler wanted peace among Fascists. An authoritarian tide was sweeping over Europe.
  • Herbert Hoover called for a moratorium on war repayments. Hitler predicted it would never resume.
  • Hitler met with President Hindenberg because some in the government felt that the National Socialists had to be brought on board to preserve the current state. Hindenberg thought Hitler was "no real German" and rejected him (425).
  • Still, some in the government saw Hitler as a way to stabilize the masses. "He will keep it [his oath to respect the Constitution]. He is a man of legality." (427). They wanted a "democratic dictatorship."
  • When the Chancellor, Brüning, invited Hitler to come to Berlin and reach an understanding with the government, Hitler believed "Now I have them in my pocket!" (433).
2. Chapter Eighteen
  • Hindenberg's seven year presidential term was coming to a close. Brüning did not want to have an election because he feared it would rip Germany apart. He wanted simply to unconstitutionally lengthen Hindenberg's term. Hitler wanted an election, knowing the Nazis would get more seats in Parliament.
  • Hindenberg wanted an election, and Hitler and Hindenberg entered each other's orbit. Goebbels wanted Hitler to run for president too. He couldn't make up his mind. He procrastinated a decision for a month. 
  • Finally, after Hindenberg declared, Hitler declared.
  • Hindenberg was a "junker," something like old landholders with property in Eastern Germany. It was fairly worthless land and these old aristocracy were only propped up by the government.
  • Hitler had a huge following among the masses. "Many people were puzzled by the fact that millions followed him, although almost the whole big press was grimly against him" (445).
  • Hitler lost, but he got 11.3 million votes to Hindenberg's 18.6 million. There had to be a revote. Hitler lost again, but increased. He got 13.4 million to Hindenberg's 19.3 million. In the second vote, he shifted from a negative to a positive nationalist message.
  • "The large majority of Germans were opposed to National Socialism" (450).
  • "Röhm was convinced that Germany was approaching a period of pure military rule" (450).
3. Previously on Hitler:

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