Cabinet Brüning II

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Brüning II cabinet was in office from October 10, 1931 to June 1, 1932. This government was the second presidential cabinet of the Weimar Republic , led by the central politician Heinrich Brüning . The Brüning II cabinet ruled during the 5th period of the German Reichstag .

Crisis of the Brüning I cabinet

One of the triggers of the crisis in the Brüning I cabinet was the failure of the plan for a German-Austrian customs union . Foreign Minister Julius Curtius was thus in distress. Both from the political right, but also from parts of the center journalism as well as from his own party, the DVP , there was public criticism and even calls for resignation. On October 3, Curtius asked Brüning to request that Reich President Paul von Hindenburg be released.

The resignation alone was not significant enough to cause a government crisis. More importantly, various forces in the background, including Kurt von Schleicher , were pushing for a far more right-wing policy. Briining himself was not averse to this. However, in talks with Alfred Hugenberg and Adolf Hitler, he made participation of the right in the government dependent on the condition that they would support Hindenburg in the upcoming presidential election, which the right-wing parties were not prepared to do. It was mainly Hindenburg who insisted on reshuffling the cabinet. His aim was to get rid of ministers who appeared to him to be too Catholic or too left-wing. After a conversation with Brüning, Hindenburg insisted that the members of the cabinet should not be bound by party politics and should be significantly more conservative than before. Heinrich Brüning promised to observe these goals; then Hindenburg accepted the resignation of the government. At the same time he asked Brüning to set up a new cabinet.

Cabinet reshuffle

The formation of the new government was completed on October 9th. This was less right-wing than Hindenburg wanted. Brüning did not succeed in persuading a leading representative of heavy industry to participate, instead Hermann Warmbold , who previously sat on the Board of Management of BASF , took over the office of Minister of Economics. The Ministry of the Interior, which was previously headed by the left-wing center man Joseph Wirth , was temporarily taken over by Reich Defense Minister Wilhelm Groener . The former State Secretary Curt Joël took over the Ministry of Justice . This was conservative and was close to the DNVP . Gottfried Treviranus ( Conservative People's Party ) replaced Theodor von Guérard (center) as Minister of Transport. Briining took over the office of foreign minister himself. At first nothing changed in the rest of the ministerial ranks. On November 7th, Hans Schlange-Schöningen ( Christian National Peasant and Rural People's Party ) was appointed Reich Commissioner for Eastern Aid and Minister without portfolio.

The DVP was no longer represented in the government. She expressed her distrust of the government and turned to the right, but without participating in the Harzburg Front . Its founding led to the SPD supporting the new cabinet as a lesser evil. With the help of the Social Democrats, among others, the government survived various motions of no confidence on October 16. On the same day the Reichstag adjourned until February 1932.


Cabinet Brüning II
October 10, 1931 to May 30, 1932
Federal Archives Image 183-1989-0630-504, Heinrich Brüning.jpg
Heinrich Brüning center
Vice Chancellor
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-10015, Robert Hermann Dietrich.jpg
Hermann Dietrich DStP
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Federal Archives Image 183-1989-0630-504, Heinrich Brüning.jpg
Heinrich Brüning center
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-01049, Wilhelm Groener.jpg
Wilhelm Groener Responsible for running the business
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-10015, Robert Hermann Dietrich.jpg
Hermann Dietrich DStP
economy Hermann Warmbold until May 5, 1932
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-13987, Ernst Trendelenburg.jpg
State Secretary Ernst Trendelenburg charged with running the business
Adam Stegerwald JS2.jpg
Adam Stegerwald center
Judiciary Curt Joël independent
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-01049, Wilhelm Groener.jpg
Wilhelm Groener independent
post Office Georg Schätzel BVP
Gottfried Treviranus CIP
Food and Agriculture
Martin Schiele CNBL
Without business area
Hans Schlange
from November 5, 1931

Government action

The Brüning government acted rather leniently towards the National Socialists . The Boxheim documents were downplayed in terms of their importance before a high treason trial was initiated. The background was the hope to get Adolf Hitler and his party to give up the radical opposition role in favor of participation in the government, for example. This rapprochement with the NSDAP aroused incomprehension among both the Social Democrats and representatives of the governing parties. In a radio address on December 8, 1931, Brüning then distanced himself from the NSDAP.

On the same day, the “Fourth Emergency Ordinance to Secure the Economy and Finances and to Protect Internal Peace” was issued. It was preceded by difficult negotiations in the cabinet. For reasons of foreign policy, the government stuck to its deflationary course . There was neither an active economic policy nor credit-financed job creation measures. Wages were lowered as well as prices. In this way the government hoped that on the one hand mass purchasing power would not decrease significantly and on the other hand that German products could be better sold abroad. The interest rate was only lowered cautiously. At the same time, sales tax was increased. Both had a rather negative impact on the economy. The emergency ordinance also tried to counteract internal radicalization. A general ban on uniforms was issued for political organizations.

The central project of the Brüning government was the end of reparation payments. In Basel, the advisory special committee at the Bank for International Settlements, at the request of the Reich Government, discussed the question of whether Germany could still meet its obligations to pay reparations under the Young Plan . The committee proposed far-reaching steps towards a total revision of the reparation payments and an international conference in Lausanne . On January 6, 1932, Brüning declared that even after the Hoover moratorium had expired, Germany would not be able to resume reparation payments. The Lausanne conference did not take place until after the end of the cabinet and resulted in a de facto end of reparations payments.

In February 1932, the disarmament conference began in Geneva . On this Brüning calls for the repeal of the disarmament provisions of the Versailles Treaty concerning Germany .

On February 26th, a vote of no confidence by the NSDAP, DVP and DNVP against the economic policy of the Brüning government failed. On March 29th, the Reich President issued an emergency ordinance that allowed the government to make budgetary decisions without the participation of the Reichstag.

During the reign of the second Brüning cabinet, the election campaign and the presidential election , in which Hindenburg was re-elected against Hitler and Ernst Thälmann in the second ballot by the SPD and the center , took place.

End of the Brüning government

The government subordinated the fight against mass unemployment to the goal of ending reparation payments. There was no real government job creation program. As a result, the Brüning government increasingly lost confidence among the population.

More problematic for the government was that Brüning gradually lost Hindenburg's trust. One factor, of all things, was the successful re-election of Hindenburg. This resented the fact that he owed his re-election to the center and the SPD. He blamed Brüning for this personally.

On April 13, the Brüning cabinet issued a ban on the SA and SS on the basis of an emergency ordinance issued by the Reich President . In doing so, the government bowed to pressure from various state governments, especially the Prussian one, which demanded a vigorous state defense against the violence of the NSDAP. During house searches, the police also came across specific plans for a political overthrow. Hindenburg had been reluctant to approve this step. He was annoyed that the Reichsbanner black, red and gold was not also banned. This use Kurt von Schleicher made to work against Bruening and especially Wilhelm Groener. He had to resign on May 12th. Schleicher was already negotiating behind the scenes about a new government including the NSDAP. Hitler made the overthrow of Brüning, the lifting of the SA / SS ban and new elections a condition of possible (and ultimately not realized) government participation.

The last factor was the dispute over aid to the East. The government planned to buy over indebted goods, divide them up and give the land to settlers. They met with resistance from the landowners who protested against the alleged "Agrarbolshevism" to the Reich President. Even under the influence of the surrounding area ( camarilla ), Hindenburg decided to dismiss Brüning.

Brüning reports that he was received by Hindenburg on May 30, 1932. The Reich President had put on his glasses, “picked up a sheet of paper lying ready and read it out […]: Since it was unpopular, he no longer gave the government permission to issue new emergency ordinances; The Reich President would also no longer approve personnel changes. When the Chancellor then declared that he would convene the Cabinet and have its general resignation decided, the Reich President urged him to hurry. The following day the Brüning government resigned. ”On June 1, 1932, at the instigation of his old friend Kurt von Schleicher , Franz von Papen was appointed Chancellor by Reich President Paul von Hindenburg as the successor of Brüning.

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ For a summary of the scientific discussion about the cabinet, see: Dieter Gessner: Das Ende der Weimarer Republik. Questions, methods and results of interdisciplinary research . Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1978 (income from research, Volume 97), pp. 12–15
  2. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933. The history of the first German democracy. Beck, Munich 1993 p. 429f.
  3. Compare this: Heinrich Brüning: Memoirs 1918-1934. Volume 2 . Munich: dtv, 1972, pp. 449–453
  4. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933. The history of the first German democracy. Beck, Munich 1993 p. 431f.
  5. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933. The history of the first German democracy. Beck, Munich 1993 p. 433f.
  6. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933. The history of the first German democracy. Beck, Munich 1993 p. 436 f.
  7. ^ Ludger Grevelhörster: Brief history of the Weimar Republic 1918-1933. An overview of the problem history. Münster 2000, p. 169
  8. ^ Ludger Grevelhörster: Brief history of the Weimar Republic 1918-1933. An overview of the problem history. Münster 2000. p. 171
  9. See Brüning's account of the events in: Heinrich Brüning: Memoirs 1918-1932. Vol. 2 . Munich: dtv, 1972, pp. 569-577
  10. a b Ludger Grevelhörster: Brief history of the Weimar Republic 1918-1933. An overview of the problem history. Münster 2000. p. 172
  11. a b Ralf Georg Reuth, Hitler. A Political Biography, paperback January 2005, Piper Verlag, page 265
  12. Description of the conversation in: Heinrich Brüning: Memoirs 1918-1932. Vol. 2 . Munich: dtv, 1972, pp. 632-635


  • The Cabinets Brüning I and II (1930–1932) , 3rd vol., Boppard am Rhein 1982/90 (=  files of the Reich Chancellery. Weimar Republic ). Edited by Timan Koops, ed. for the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences by Karl Dietrich Erdmann and for the Federal Archives by Wolfgang Mommsen (until 1972) with the participation of Walter Vogel (until 1978), Hans Booms ( online ).
  • Negotiations of the Reichstag - Volume 453 - Changes in the Reich Government


  • Herbert Hömig: Brüning. Chancellor in the crisis of the republic. Schöningh, Paderborn 2000, ISBN 3-506-73949-2 .
  • Gerhard Schulz : From Brüning to Hitler. The change of the political system in Germany 1930-1933 (= between democracy and dictatorship. Constitutional politics and imperial reform in the Weimar Republic, vol. 3); Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York 1992 ISBN 3-11-013525-6 .
  • Peer Oliver Volkmann: Heinrich Brüning (1885-1970). Nationalist without a home , Düsseldorf: Droste 2007.