Cabinet Müller II

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The Müller II cabinet was in office from June 28, 1928 to March 27, 1930 . This government was the second grand coalition of the Weimar Republic . Under the Social Democratic Chancellor Hermann Müller , this coalition of the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany), DDP (German Democratic Party), Zentrum (German Center Party), BVP (Bavarian People's Party) and DVP (German People's Party) came to the longest reign of this politically unstable republic. The coalition was able to achieve some foreign policy successes, but eventually broke due to domestic political differences. It was also the last government of the Weimar Republic that was based on parliamentary majorities. The following cabinets governed with the help of the emergency ordinance powers of the Reich President .


SPD poster for the 1928 Reichstag election
54 153 25th 61 17th 23 45 73 12 28 
A total of 491 seats

After the civic bloc government under Chancellor Wilhelm Marx failed due to different school policy ideas, parliamentary elections were scheduled for May 20, 1928 .

The left-wing parties SPD and KPD emerged victorious from these elections. The SPD gained 22 seats and thus had 153 of the 491 Reichstag seats. The KPD increased its number of seats from 45 to 54. The spectrum of the bourgeois party was in great flux. In particular, the middle-class middle parties and the DNVP were the losers. The DNVP no longer had 103, but only 73 seats. The DVP lost 6 seats and had 45 seats. The DDP slipped from 32 to 25 seats. The center also had to give up 7 seats and now had 62, the BVP provided 16 mandate holders (previously 19). The NSDAP lost 2 seats and now has 12 members of the Reichstag.

The election showed that the middle parties were less able to bind. A considerable part of their former voters turned away from the democratic-liberal parties and favored pure interest parties, such as the economic party or the Christian-National Peasant and Rural People's Party . In 1924, the pure interest parties were able to unite 4.9 percent of the votes cast. In 1928 this joint share of the vote grew to 8.6 percent. In the next Reichstag election on September 14, 1930, some of these voters were supposed to defer to the NSDAP. This development was retarded by the secessions in the DNVP; In 1932, almost all of the voters of the interest parties went over to the NSDAP. The considerable losses of the DNVP led to a strengthening of anti-democratic efforts in this party. In October 1928, Alfred Hugenberg , the leader of its nationalist wing, became party chairman, which led to the splits just mentioned.

Government formation

Hermann Müller 1928

As the strongest parliamentary group in the Reichstag , the SPD explored the possibilities of forming a government. As early as 1927 she had expressed her willingness to assume responsibility for government at the party congress in Kiel. There were not many alternatives when it came to forming a government. The mandates were not enough to form a Weimar coalition (an alliance of the SPD, the center and the DDP). A government of all bourgeois parties against the Social Democrats was also not possible, and the number of seats was not enough for that either. The solution was a grand coalition, i.e. the Weimar coalition expanded to include BVP and DVP. Mathematically, this constellation came to 301 mandates.

Cabinet Müller II
June 28, 1928 to March 27, 1930
Office Surname Political party
Chancellor Hermann Muller SPD
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gustav Stresemann
(† October 3, 1929)
Julius Curtius
(provisional from 4 to 11 October 1929,
then foreign minister)
Reich Ministry of the Interior Carl Severing SPD
Reich Ministry of Justice Erich Koch-Weser
(until April 13, 1929)
Theodor von Guérard
(from April 13, 1929)
Reich Ministry of Finance Rudolf Hilferding
(until December 21, 1929)
Paul Moldenhauer
(from December 23, 1929)
Reich Ministry of Economics Julius Curtius
(until November 11, 1929)
Paul Moldenhauer
(until December 23, 1929)
Robert Schmidt
(from December 23, 1929)
Reich Ministry of Food Hermann Dietrich DDP
Reich Ministry of Labor Rudolf Wissell SPD
Reichswehr Ministry Wilhelm Groener (independent)
Reich Ministry of Transport Theodor von Guérard
(until February 6, 1929)
Georg Schätzel
(provisional from February 7, 1929)
Adam Stegerwald
(from April 13, 1929)
Reich Ministry for
the Post Office
Georg Schätzel BVP
Reich Ministry for
the Occupied Territories
Theodor von Guérard
(acting until February 6, 1929)
Carl Severing
(provisional from February 7, 1929)
Joseph Wirth
(from April 13, 1929)

Within the SPD, Hermann Müller was favored for the office of Reich Chancellor. Initially competing considerations to propose the Prussian Prime Minister Otto Braun as Chancellor of the Reich as well, were quickly rejected. Reich President Paul von Hindenburg would have preferred to see the DVP chairman Ernst Scholz as chancellor, but was convinced by his camarilla , who hoped that a social democratic chancellorship would wear down the SPD in the medium term. On June 12, 1928, Hindenburg finally entrusted Müller with forming a government. Nevertheless, the Reich President continued to participate in the formation of the government. He put Wilhelm Groener through as Reichswehr Minister and rejected the appointment of Joseph Wirth from the left center wing as Vice Chancellor. The center finally sent Theodor von Guérard alone as "observer" to the cabinet, in which he took over the post of Minister of Transport. The center did not want to see full government participation connected with it. The DVP also resisted. At first she only wanted to join the Reich government if she would also participate in the government in Prussia . There she demanded that the Weimar coalition be expanded to include the DVP. Only the energetic intervention of Gustav Stresemann , who again became foreign minister under Müller, led the DVP to give in.

After the formation of a government had dragged on for weeks, Müller finally appeared before parliament on July 3, 1928 with his government declaration . However, he was unable to present a formal coalition government. Rather, the government saw itself as a “cabinet of personalities” - the parliamentary groups from which the ministers came reserved the opposition to parts of government policy. Many members of the Reichstag for the SPD, by far the largest ruling party, remained reserved about the new government. They wanted SPD ministers to act as vicarious agents for the parliamentary group and the party. Overall, it was not possible to speak of broadly secured government support from the governing parties. It was not until April 13, 1929 that the “Cabinet of Personalities” became a classic coalition government based on a coalition agreement. Previously, von Guérard had resigned to force a stronger ministerial participation of the center. This finally succeeded, since April 1929 the center was represented by three ministers.

Dispute over the armored cruiser A

At the beginning of his term in office, the new cabinet got into a serious crisis. The reason for this was the high-level political disputes surrounding the armored ship A in public and in the government itself. The Treaty of Versailles imposed considerable arms policy requirements on the German Reich. However, building new warships was not entirely prohibited. The Reichswehr urged still under the government Marx energetically on the construction of new battleships that were allegedly intended to replace obsolete units. While the Reichsrat , under the leadership of Prussia, had spoken out against the building in December 1927, the Reichstag voted in favor of the building with the majority of the civic bloc parties at the time. On the day of the dissolution of the Reichstag, on March 31, 1928, the Reichsrat responded by demanding that the now only executive cabinet approve the construction of the ship after September 1, 1928 at the earliest and after a renewed examination of the financial situation. In the Reichstag election campaign of 1928, the left-wing parties SPD and KPD sharply criticized this project and called for this armament project to be abandoned in favor of socio-political projects. Their campaign slogan was: “Child feeding instead of armored cruisers”. The DDP also considered the armaments project to be a poor prestige project for the Navy. During the coalition negotiations, however, the DVP pushed for the ship to be built and relied on the corresponding resolution of the previous Reichstag. She was supported by the center, but only half-heartedly. The DDP held back. In order not to endanger the formation of the coalition, a decision was initially postponed.

The question came back to the cabinet in August 1928, when Reichswehr Minister Groener applied to the cabinet to approve the first installment for the construction of the armored cruiser A. According to finance minister Rudolf Hilferding , there were no financial policy concerns. Groener threatened to resign if the new government prevented this. Rumors that the Reich President would then resign also increased the pressure on the Social Democratic cabinet members. Shortly after taking office, they did not want to provoke a government or even a constitutional crisis and finally agreed to the approval of funds.

This cabinet decision met with fierce criticism in the Reichstag group of the Social Democrats and in the party as a whole. The KPD used the situation to start a referendum against the construction of the armored cruiser. Under pressure in this way, the SPD parliamentary group decided to apply for an end to the warship construction project. In the Reichstag vote on this motion on November 15, 1928, there was strict parliamentary pressure , so that the three SPD ministers and the chancellor also had to vote against the government resolution that they had supported in the cabinet weeks earlier. This was tantamount to a vote of no confidence in yourself. This voting behavior was held against the social democrats in the bourgeois public as a lack of government ability. Joseph Wirth from the center spoke openly of a "creeping crisis in German parliamentarism" The voting behavior of the Social Democrats could not prevent the approval of funds for the construction of the armored cruiser, because the bourgeois parties achieved a majority against the SPD motion to stop the armaments project.

In mid-June 1929, the second installment for the armored cruiser A was up for discussion, but without causing similar public controversy. In the Reichstag, the parliamentary group of the KPD applied for this rate to be deleted. The SPD parliamentary group approved the communists' motion. This time, however, the social democratic cabinet members were not bound by a parliamentary group. They voted against the KPD proposal and thus belonged to the majority in the Reichstag.

Rubble dispute

The grand coalition had to cope with a first major social and economic crisis in the so-called Ruhreisenstreit , the “largest and longest lockout that Germany had experienced up to then”. This conflict took place from October to December 1928 in the iron and steel industry on the Rhine and Ruhr.

The first signs of a worsening economy prompted the regionally responsible metalworking employers' association to reject union demands for a wage increase and instead only offer an extension of the existing contract in the corresponding collective bargaining negotiations, with a simultaneous slight increase in wages for low-wage groups. The parties to the collective bargaining agreement could not come to an agreement, so that a state-appointed arbitrator , Higher Regional Court Judge Wilhelm Joetten, had to make the decision on October 26, 1928. The unions accepted his arbitration ruling, the employers rejected it. In a legal process that had become common since 1923, the Reich Labor Minister, in this specific case now the Social Democrat Rudolf Wissell , was able to declare the arbitral award to be generally binding in such a situation.

On October 13, 1928, employers had already given notice of their workforce on October 28, and the factories closed. In contrast to the past, they were no longer willing to accept declarations of general liability, so that on November 1, around 200,000 to 260,000 employees were actually locked out. The employers also took legal action against compulsory arbitration and the declaration of general liability. The content of the award was of less importance for the attitude of employers. The procedure itself was more important to them. Tricks (by one person) seemed inappropriate to them. Above all, however, they considered the declaration of general applicability to be an expression of state wage setting. The socio-political innovations of the republic, which included the eight-hour day , the collective bargaining autonomy and the unemployment insurance introduced with the Law on Employment Placement and Unemployment Insurance (AVAVG) in 1927, they considered - like general binding declarations to end collective bargaining disputes - as undesirable developments that should be pushed back. At a time when a social democratic government was re-established at the Reich level, employers used the labor dispute lockout to vigorously oppose the "state wage determination". The previous bourgeois governments had spared them in this regard.

The majority of the public reacted with rejection because the employers had not waited for the ongoing arbitration procedure, but instead issued nationwide layoffs, and because the subsequent lockout affected so many employees. Of those locked out, 160,000 were not unionized and therefore had no union support at all. Unemployment insurance benefits could not be granted. For example, the Frankfurter Zeitung warned on October 30, 1928: It must be said with absolute clarity that the sabotaging of a binding arbitration award by means of closure is not directed against the workers, but against a state institution, i.e. against the state and therefore one Representing kind of revolutionary act. The general public cannot submit to this under any circumstances .

With their approach, the entrepreneurs not only had large parts of the press against them. Bishops and professors also organized collections for those locked out. Some cities in the eastern district began to pay welfare benefits to the affected workers without first checking their individual needs and without combining these payments with a later repayment obligation. On November 17, 1928, the Reichstag also approved - with the votes of the DVP - special funds for unbureaucratic support for those locked out. The lockout was not lifted until December 4th.

This experience led in parts of the heavy industrial business camp to look for alternatives to parliamentary decision-making and to increasingly rely on authoritarian forms of government. Partial successes that they were able to achieve in the Ruhreisenstreit were no longer sufficient to bind them to the parliamentary system of government of the republic. One of these partial successes was that a special arbitrator, Interior Minister Carl Severing , overturned the decision of the Minister of Labor for the most part and, on December 21, 1928, made a special disagreement below that which his ministerial colleague Wissell had declared binding. The Reich Labor Court also issued a final judgment on January 22, 1929, which was favorable to the entrepreneurs: it declared casting decisions to be generally inadmissible. The specific arbitration procedure was also characterized by formal errors.

Radicalizations in the party landscape

During the months of the grand coalition, parts of the party landscape were radicalized. Those forces that affirmed parliamentarism and democracy were also affected by these tendencies, at least indirectly.

The SPD has been exposed to strong attacks from the left since the KPD adopted the social fascism thesis and made social democracy increasingly the “main enemy”. Even if the SPD was the main force behind the coalition, coalition fatigue increased more and more, especially on the left wing. In addition to the criticism of the battleship issue, for example, the fundamental skepticism against an alliance with right-wing parties also played a role. Her Reichstag deputy Max Seydewitz (later KPD and SED ) said that the coalition policy was “ a great danger for social democracy, for the working class and for the existence of the republic ”. Paul Levi , a co-founder of the KPD who had returned to the SPD, even described the coalition as a “ caricature of a government .” Incidentally, a section of the left was prepared to leave government responsibility to the bourgeois parties until a new revolutionary situation emerged the republic for secured. Even if the majority of the party continued to support the government, statements like this make it clear that even within the SPD there were considerable reservations about continued participation in the government.

At the other end of the party spectrum, the NSDAP had little success in elections at the Reich level. What was remarkable, however, was their performance in some rural crisis regions on the west coast of Holstein; in the circles of Dithmarschen it achieved a share of the vote of almost 29 and 37 percent respectively. The National Socialists also managed to be recognized by other right-wing parties as legitimate allies, for example in the campaign against the Young Plan (see below). It also gained more and more followers among students. Under the new chairman Alfred Hugenberg, who had a large publishing and newspaper empire and who, as a former Krupp director, received most of the heavy industrial donations, the DNVP decided on an uncompromising course against the republic.

With the election of Ludwig Kaas on December 29, 1928, the center also moved significantly to the right. Kaas leaned the party back more closely to the Catholic Church . He publicly approved of "leadership on a grand scale". He had also made several disparaging remarks on Stresemann's foreign policy, which he considered to be "finished". He wanted to make the center independent of the "unpredictable coincidences of parliamentary weather changes". All of this showed that the party was moving away from republican positions.

Young plan

In terms of foreign policy, the focus was on the final fixing of the reparations that Germany had to pay under the provisions of the Versailles Treaty . The Dawes Plan had been in force here since 1924, although it did not set a final total. The amount of payments that the German Reich had to raise in the meantime was a motive for the Reich government to push for changes in view of the deteriorating economic data.

The result of the negotiations was clear on June 7, 1929: the so-called Young Plan, named after Owen D. Young , the chairman of the international panel of experts meeting in Paris. This plan provided that Germany had to make reparations payments to the newly established Bank for International Settlements in Basel by 1988. The principal amount of the reparations was set at around 36 billion Reichsmarks. The annual rates should amount to 2 billion Reichsmarks in the first ten years, then rise and fall again after 37 years. The annual transfer payments were divided into two parts: Part of the annual rate was "unprotected" and had to be paid by Germany in any case. This part could be “mobilized” in bonds , whereby the creditors received money immediately and Germany had to take over interest and repayment with its annual payments. France was particularly interested in this. The second, “protected” part could be deferred for a maximum of two years if the financial framework was unfavorable. In this case, a special advisory committee should meet to investigate the German payment problems. Whether this committee was allowed to propose a revision of what would otherwise be considered “final” was controversial between German and French commentators. The Young Plan also provided that foreign control over German finances, in particular the Reichsbank, was eliminated. The agreement also contained a provision that would reduce the burden of German reparations if the United States were to waive war debts that the Allies had incurred on them during the World War.

In return for the German approval of the new reparations regulation, France accommodated Germany on the question of the occupation of the Rhineland . An international conference on the Young Plan meeting in The Hague set early eviction dates here in August 1929. The first of these dates was November 30, 1929; the second, and at the same time the last, fell on June 30, 1930. That was an advance of five years compared to the provisions of the Versailles Treaty.

Whether the Young Plan should be judged as a success of Gustav Stresemann's foreign policy is disputed in research. The reduction in annuities was just as much in line with German wishes as the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Rhineland by five years earlier. In return, Germany had to commit itself to reparation payments for the next 59 years that nobody could say was realistic. Raising the sum appeared to be less of a problem than transferring it: the reparations creditors only accepted the money in gold or foreign exchange . Since the German trade balance had been passive for years, these foreign currencies had been obtained through private borrowing abroad. The Young Plan was, as the Berlin historian Henning Köhler writes, "an economic good weather plan that foreign only upon further inflow loans and reasonably satisfactory economic situation could work." But even then it looked after the New York stock market crash of October 24, 1929 not out.

With more or less louder reservations, all parties in the grand coalition endorsed the Young Plan, which was finally ratified by the Reichstag in March 1930 . Partly parallel to the Young Plan, the German-Polish liquidation agreement was negotiated and decided. It regulated the mutual renunciation of financial claims by both states and created legal security for the German minority in Poland. It is one of the few concrete steps to normalize the relationship between the two countries.

Before that, however, a large-scale demagogic campaign against the Young Plan had begun on the political right. Above all, the planned duration of the reparation payments was exploited. The central journalistic role in the agitation took over Alfred Hugenberg, who committed his newspapers to the anti-Young campaign. Politically, an alliance against the Young Plan was forged on July 9, 1929, which included the DNVP, the Stahlhelm and the Pan-German Association, some interest parties as well as the NSDAP. Adolf Hitler was an equal partner alongside Hugenberg, Stahlhelm leader Franz Seldte and the Pan-German Heinrich Claß . This party alliance presented a so-called freedom law , which it also called the "law against the enslavement of the German people". The bill called for the repeal of the war guilt articles of the Versailles Treaty and the unconditional and immediate evacuation of the Rhineland. Furthermore, the Reich government should be forbidden from entering into new burdens and obligations towards the former enemies of the war; and members of the imperial government were threatened with treason if they signed the Young Plan.

The legislative initiative clearly failed in the referendum against the Young Plan on December 22, 1929. Instead of the necessary 21 million, only 5.8 million yes-votes were cast for the initiative. In the campaign against the Young Plan, however, the NSDAP was able to distinguish itself as radically nationalist. This gave her success in the state elections. In the elections to the Baden state parliament (October 27, 1929), the National Socialists received 7 percent of the vote, in Lübeck they came to 8.1 percent on November 10, 1929. In the state elections in Thuringia (December 8, 1929), the NSDAP accounted for 11.3 percent of all votes, which for the first time led to government participation at state level - Wilhelm Frick became Minister of the Interior and Public Education.

Financial problems, unemployment insurance and a break in the coalition

The government's financial problems remained unsolved. Since all parties in the grand coalition wanted the Young Plan to be accepted by a majority in the Reichstag, fundamental solutions in financial policy were only postponed. In particular, the wing parties of the grand coalition, i.e. the DVP and SPD, hardly found any viable compromises.

The first problem concerned the dramatic liquidity problems with which the Reich had been confronted at the end of every month and every change of quarter since mid-1929 at the latest. Several times it faced insolvency. The slowdown in the domestic economy overturned previous tax estimates. In addition, it ensured an increase in the number of unemployed, for which the unemployment insurance was not designed - the Reich had to constantly inject money here.

The parties were also divided on the second, more extensive set of issues. The ideas of how to consolidate the budget and reduce the accumulated national debt diverged widely. With reference to financial reforms, the DVP and the employers' associations behind it primarily demanded cuts in expenditure, especially in the field of social policy. They favored cuts in unemployment insurance benefits. If there had to be tax increases at all, then, in the opinion of the DVP, consumption taxes should be considered, such as the tobacco tax , the beer tax or the spirits tax . An increase in direct taxes (for example on assets or income) was rejected here.

Excise tax increases were largely rejected by the SPD, which saw this as an inadmissible burden on “the masses”, which they did not want to bear if “the haves” did not also do their special part in the budget consolidation. An increase in the beer tax was also consistently rejected by the Bavarian People's Party.

The paths to a financial reform were built on the same conflicting interests as those to an even more comprehensive tax reform. Who incriminates, who not incriminates and who should be exonerated was controversial to such an extent that common approaches relevant to action could not be found.

Rudolf Hilferding finally failed because of these issues and on December 20, 1929 asked for his release as finance minister. The President of the Reichsbank , Hjalmar Schacht , had previously publicly branded the government's financial policy as unsound and was then able to enforce that in 1930 an additional 450 million Reichsmarks had to be raised to serve to reduce debt. The lowering and abolition of certain types of taxes planned by Hilferding was therefore no longer applicable. Schacht was able to push through this debt reduction because the solution to the massive cash problem at the end of 1929 depended on the Reichsbank. Without a benevolent attitude from the Reichsbank President, the necessary credit to bridge the liquidity bottlenecks could not be obtained in December.

The third problem that ultimately broke the coalition was unemployment insurance. This branch of social security, introduced in 1927, was designed to support a maximum of 800,000 unemployed people. With the help of an emergency stick, another 600,000 unemployed could be taken care of. However, the beginning economic downturn quickly led to an increase in the number of unemployed well above these limits. As early as February 1929, 2.8 million unemployed were counted. The Reich was forced by law to make up the deficit in insurance with subsidies from the Reich budget.

In order to get out of the dead end of permanent and ever higher subsidies, there were basically two solutions. On the one hand, the contribution rate, which was 3 percent, could have been increased. Employees and companies contributed equally to this rate. This solution was proposed by the trade unions and the Social Democrats. On the other hand, benefits could have been reduced - that was the central request of the entrepreneurs and the DVP associated with them. The opposing positions remained hardened here. The trade unions feared a dismantling of welfare state achievements - they saw such a project shine through in the Ruhreisenstreit. The entrepreneurs, for their part, feared a loss of international competitiveness if the labor factor were to become more expensive due to higher contributions. Instead, they demanded constant contribution rates and tax relief, which companies should use to build up more equity . Despite numerous attempts at agreement, there was no fundamental solution. An amendment to the AVAVG of October 12, 1929 remained "just a torso" that did not solve the financing problem. It wasn't until December 21, 1929 that the contribution rate was raised to 3.5 percent. However, this contribution level did not provide any lasting relief. The number of unemployed in March 1930 was 3 million.

The Social Democrats called for a further increase in contributions. In addition, they proposed a solidarity contribution from the “permanent wage earners”: civil servants and employees in the public service should contribute 3 percent of their salary to the restructuring of the unemployment insurance. These ideas were strictly rejected by the DVP. There they called for "internal reforms", that is, cuts in benefits and tighter administration.

Heinrich Brüning , the chairman of the center parliamentary group, attempted a compromise on March 27, 1930, which postponed the open question of the reform of the unemployment insurance until autumn 1930. His compromise formula left open whether six months later benefits would be reduced, contributions increased or taxes raised to subsidize unemployment insurance. Brüning's proposal, however, provided for a fixed subsidy from the Reich limited in amount from the outset (i.e. no longer unlimited subsidies). This last attempt at compromise was ultimately rejected by the SPD parliamentary group. The Social Democrats also demanded an increase in contributions and the retention of clear legal obligations for the Reich to subsidize unemployment insurance adequately in emergencies. In the discussion of the SPD parliamentary group in the Reichstag, Reich Labor Minister Wissell, together with representatives of the free trade unions' board of directors, pleaded for a rejection of the Brüning compromise.

Hermann Müller, who had campaigned for acceptance of the compromise, submitted the resignation of the entire cabinet to the Reich President on the evening of March 27, 1930, following the rejection resolution of the SPD parliamentary group . Just three days later, Hindenburg appointed Heinrich Brüning as chancellor. The social democratic ministers were replaced in the new cabinet by conservatives and confidants of Hindenburg. Brüning was able to fall back on the power of the emergency ordinances, which the Reich President Hermann Müller had deliberately withheld. In his government statement, the new Chancellor immediately made it clear that, if necessary, he would enforce the decisions he considered necessary even without a parliament. He threatened to ask the Reich President to dissolve the Reichstag if the Reichstag would not follow his ideas.

For some time now, the influence group around Hindenburg, groups of people from the Reichswehr, parts of heavy industry and large-scale agrarians had been looking for ways to establish a government without and against social democracy. The ensuing weakening of parliament was not an obstacle for these interest groups, but a necessary and welcome act of the authoritarian-presidential turn.

Judgment of the Historians

Not the entire term of office of the Müller II cabinet is controversial, only its end. The question at issue here is who bears the main responsibility for the fact that the Reichstag lost so much political weight through the enthronement of the presidential cabinets, or for the fact that the grand coalition broke up in March 1930. This discussion about the end of the reign is at the same time a discussion about the starting conditions and the status of the Brüning I cabinet .

Two theses face each other. The first was mainly formulated by Werner Conze . He stressed that the crisis in the party system was the main reason for the failure of the parliamentary governments. Above all, the social democracy refused to compromise at the end of Hermann Müller's chancellorship. That's why the coalition broke up. After Conze, the grand coalition was not immediately followed by an attempt to systematically push back parliamentarism in Germany. Instead, Brüning tried to save the endangered democracy in Germany.

The second, contrary thesis is mainly based on the work of Karl Dietrich Bracher . She interprets Heinrich Brüning's chancellorship as the first stage in the dissolution of the Weimar Republic and assigns the responsibility for the failure of parliamentarism to the old power elites - Reich President, Reichswehr, large-scale agriculture and heavy industry. Even well before the end of the Müller II government, the parliamentary-critical positions of the old elites had a strong influence on the DVP, whose leadership has therefore purposefully contributed to the replacement of the government supported by social democracy until the end. According to this thesis, the rejection of the Briining compromise by the SPD on March 27, 1930 is occasionally criticized as a tactical error, but not seen as a reason for the failure of parliamentarism.

Research into the end of the grand coalition and the beginning of the presidential cabinets make it clear how much the domestic political compromise had been depleted in all the parties that had formed the grand coalition since autumn 1929. They have also shown that an anti-parliamentary alternative had been built up to this government in the spring of 1930, especially by opponents of social democracy in the vicinity of Reich President Hindenburg, which weakened the political position of the Reichstag as a whole. The first Presidential Cabinet in Brüning was therefore not only a consequence of the failure of the grand coalition, but also, as a planned alternative government, one of the causes of this failure.

Individual evidence

  1. Figures from Peter Longerich: Germany 1918–1933 , p. 402 f.
  2. Eberhard Kolb: Weimar Republic , pp. 84 f and 258 f.
  3. Gotthard Jasper: Große Koalition , p. 24. (The page numbers refer to the PDF document listed under "Weblinks".)
  4. Hans Mommsen: Verspielte Freiheit , p. 256 f.
  5. Eberhard Kolb: Weimar Republic , p. 85.
  6. ↑ On this Heinrich August Winkler, Weimar 1918–1933 , p. 137.
  7. Gotthard Jasper: Grand Coalition , p. 26.
  8. Hans Mommsen: Verspielte Freiheit , p. 259, Heinrich-August Winkler, Weimar , pp. 331 f, 338 f.
  9. Quoted from Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933 , p. 340.
  10. ^ Heinrich August Winkler: Schein der Normalität , p. 584.
  11. Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933 , p. 341.
  12. The numbers are given differently in the literature.
  13. Hans Mommsen: Verspielte Freiheit , p. 272.
  14. Quoted from Bernd Weisbrod: Schwerindustrie , p. 420.
  15. Bernd Weisbrod: Heavy Industry , p. 426.
  16. Hans Mommsen: Verspielte Freiheit , p. 273
  17. See on this Klaus Schönhoven: Reformismus und Radikalismus , p. 133 ff.
  18. Heinrich-August Winkler, Weimar , p. 361.
  19. Heinrich-August Winkler, Weimar , p. 361; Detlef Lehnert: Social democracy between protest movement and ruling party 1848-1983 , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1983. P. 143.
  20. Numbers in Heinrich August Winkler, Weg nach Westen , Vol. 1, p. 476.
  21. ↑ On this Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933 , p. 356 f.
  22. Hans Mommsen: Verspielte Freiheit , p. 262 f.
  23. Quotations from Hans Mommsen: Verspielte Freiheit , p. 268 f.
  24. ^ Franz Knipping, Germany, France and the end of the Locarno era 1928-1931. Studies on international politics in the initial phase of the global economic crisis , Oldenbourg, Munich 1987, speaks on p. B. from an "outstanding success" by Stresemann.
  25. ^ Henning Köhler: Germany on the way to itself. A history of the century , Hohenheim Verlag, Stuttgart and Leipzig 2002, p. 215; see. Martin Vogt too: Recent successes? Stresemann in the years 1928 and 1929. In: Marshall Lee and Wolfgang Michalka (eds.): Gustav Stresemann, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt 1982, pp. 441–465; Philipp Heyde: The end of the reparations. Germany, France and the Youngplan , Schöningh, Paderborn 1998, p. 51 et seq.
  26. ^ Wilfried Beutter: Liquidation Agreement. In: Gerhard Taddey (Hrsg.): Lexicon of German history . People, events, institutions. From the turn of the times to the end of the 2nd World War. 2nd, revised edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 1983, ISBN 3-520-81302-5 , p. 745.
  27. Hans Mommsen: Verspielte Freiheit , p. 284.
  28. Hans Mommsen: Verspielte Freiheit , p. 286.
  29. Figures based on Gotthard Jasper: Grand Coalition , p. 36.
  30. Ludwig Preller: Social Policy , p. 426.
  31. Hans Mommsen: Verspielte Freiheit , p. 293.
  32. See also Hans Mommsen: Verspielte Freiheit , pp. 287 f and p. 292 .; also Peter Longerich: Germany 1918–1933 , 259 f and 262 f; also Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933 , p. 362 ff, p. 366, p. 368 f.
  33. For the following see: Heinrich August Winkler: Schein der Normalität , pp. 815–823 and Eberhard Kolb, Weimarer Republik , pp. 147 f. There you will also find references to the individual research contributions to this discussion.

Sources and literature

  • Reich Chancellery files . The Müller II cabinet. June 28, 1928 - March 27, 1930 (2 volumes). Edited by Martin Vogt, Oldenbourg, Munich 1970 (see web links)
  • Eberhard Kolb : The Weimar Republic , 2nd, through. u. erg. ed., Oldenbourg, Munich 1988. ISBN 3-486-48912-7
  • Peter Longerich : Germany 1918–1933: The Weimar Republic. Handbuch zur Geschichte , Torchträger, Hannover 1995. ISBN 3-7716-2208-5
  • Hans Mommsen : The playful freedom. The path of the republic from Weimar to its downfall. 1918 to 1933 , Propylaeen, Berlin 1989. ISBN 3-549-05818-7
  • Ludwig Preller : Social Policy in the Weimar Republic. Unchangeable Reprint d. first published in 1949, with e. Nachw. Ue selection bibliography to the paperback edition. by Florian Tennstedt , Athenäum-Verlag, Droste, Kronberg / Ts. and Düsseldorf 1978. ISBN 3-7610-7210-4
  • Klaus Schönhoven: Reformism and Radicalism. Split labor movement in the Weimar welfare state , Dt. Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 1989. ISBN 3-423-04511-6
  • Helga Timm : German social policy and the break of the grand coalition in March 1930 (contributions to the history of parliamentarism and political parties, vol. 1), Droste Düsseldorf 1953.
  • Bernd Weisbrod: Heavy Industry in the Weimar Republic. Interest politics between stabilization and crisis , Hammer, Wuppertal 1978. ISBN 3-87294-123-2
  • Heinrich August Winkler : Workers and the labor movement in the Weimar Republic. The appearance of normality. 1924-1930 , Dietz, Berlin / Bonn 1985. ISBN 3-8012-0094-9
  • Heinrich August Winkler: Weimar 1918–1933. The history of the first German democracy , 2nd, durchges. Aufl., Beck, Munich 1994. ISBN 3-406-37646-0
  • Heinrich August Winkler: The long way to the west, Vol. 1: German history from the end of the Old Reich to the fall of the Weimar Republic , Beck, Munich 2000. ISBN 3-406-46001-1

Web links

This article was added to the list of excellent articles on January 27, 2007 in this version .