The Black FridayBlack Friday is a term used to describe the financial crisis of 1929 marked the beginning of a global economic crisis. The collapse of the stock prices in the USA led to a chain reaction in the European economy. As the German economy had largely been financed by American loans the withdrawal of American funds had drastic consequences. The banks crashed, the production was drastically reduced and many workers lost their employment.
Meanwhile the Weimar coalition was increasingly distrusted within German society. With the approval by the American Young planThe Young Plan (1929) was an American initiative for settling German reparations debts after World War I they right-wing parties radicalised in the so called “Harzburg frontThe Harzburg Front was formed in 1931 as an attempt to present a unified opposition to the government in Germany. It was a radical coalition of Stahlhelm, Nazi Party and other right-wing organizations ”. The political terror strengthened once more1.
The Depression of 1929 marked the ending of the democratic republic. The Weimar coalition broke up as the Social Democratic Party and the German People’s party could not reach an agreement concerning the sum of the unemployment insurance. The high social contributions were hardly compensated with the rising unemployment rate. As the opposition had radicalised in the “Harzburg front” and the government was divided in itself, HindenburgPaul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal during World War I and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934, the President of the Reich, reformed the parliamentary democracy into a presidential systemA presidential system is a republican system of government where a head of government is also head of state and leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch. For this he used the right to emergency decreesArticle 48 of the constitution of the Weimar Republic of Germany allowed the President, under certain circumstances, to take emergency measures without the prior consent of the Reichstag as the parties were unable to form coalitions that were able to govern the country. This decree deprived the ReichstagThe Reichstag was a legislative body of Germany between 1919 and 1933 of all power; it passed all political decisions on to the presidential cabinets which governed without a parliament2.
Dissolution of the republic
Reich chancellor BrüningHeinrich Brüning was Chancellor of Germany from 1930 to 1932. He established a so-called presidential government, basing his administration's authority on presidential emergency decrees, elected in 1930, cut public expenses and raised taxes in order to demonstrate the other major powers that Germany was solvent and to thus disestablish the reparations. The presidential cabinets had been introduced by Hindenburg in 1930 and used ever since to install an authoritative government in the time of the economic depression. This predetermined the democratic constitution’s abrogation. 1932 the conservative Franz von PapenFranz von Papen served as Chancellor of Germany in 1932. He believed that Hitler could be controlled once he was in the government, who persuaded Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor in a cabinet not under Nazi Party domination became Reich chancellor, however he was superseded by SchleicherKurt von Schleicher was the Chancellor of Germany from 3 December 1932 to 28 January 1933. Even though Hindenburg was quite wary of the increasingly powerful National Socialist German Worker’s Party he decided to install Hitler as Reich chancellor on the 30th of January 1933. Initially the National Socialist German Worker’s Party was opposed by a majority of the conservative German People’s Party. However Hindenburg ultimately decided on Hitler as Reich chancellor as he saw the possibility to form a majority party for a new national, conservative, authoritarian power state with the National Socialist German Worker’s Party3.