War in Germany (17): The High Point of German Militarism, the death of the Weimar Republic and the Making of the Third Reich

Franz von Papen and Kurt von Schleicher conspiring.

In this long series of slides I trace the role of German soldiers from the stabilization of the Weimar Republic in 1923 to the Nazi seizure of power and rearmament. 1918 was in large part a revolution against the Imperial army. By 1923 a precarious balance was restored, based ultimately on the international frame provided by the US-centered world economy. This appeared to offer the basis for a democratic stabilization, or at least the stabilization of a dualistic power structure in the Weimar Republic. That stability was blown apart by the advent of the Great Depression and a mobilization by the German military anchored politically on Hindenburg. The result by 1932 was the peak moment of militarism in the full sense of the word in modern German history. Hindenburg as President anchored the power of a cohort of soldiers whose careers were defined by the campaigns of WWI and the aftermath. But it was politically untenable, the soldiers were divided as to the way forward – Groener v. Schleicher v. Blomberg. Given the political impasse, what won out was an alliance with Hitler’s movement which ultimately pushed back the political influence of the soldiers, whose central preoccupation became rearmament.

Slides for download Tooze WinG2018 Lecture 17 The soldiers and the Third Reich [Autosaved].

related posts