|Minister President of Prussia|
6 April 1925 –20 July 1932
|Preceded by||Wilhelm Marx|
|Succeeded by||Franz von Papen|
5 November 1921 –18 February 1925
|Preceded by||Adam Stegerwald|
|Succeeded by||Wilhelm Marx|
27 March 1920 –21 April 1921
|Preceded by||Paul Hirsch|
|Succeeded by||Adam Stegerwald|
|Born||28 January 1872|
Königsberg, East Prussia
|Died||15 December 1955 83) (aged|
Otto Braun (28 January 1872 – 15 December 1955) was a German Social Democratic politician who served as Prime Minister of Prussia for most of the time from 1920 to 1932. After the Nazis seized power in 1933, Braun went into exile in Switzerland.
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.
The Social Democratic Party of Germany, is a social-democratic political party in Germany.
Born in Königsberg, East Prussia, as the son of a railway employee, Braun attended Volksschule and then completed an apprenticeship in lithography. In 1888, he joined the Social Democratic Party, illegal at the time. He advanced in the typical manner for a local functionary: chairman of the local Arbeiter-Wahlvereins (the legal front of the party) and later publisher, editor and printer of the party newspaper Volkstribüne (later Königsberger Volkszeitung). In 1904, he was one of several social democrats charged with high treason for smuggling pamphlets calling for the toppling of the Tsar into Russia but was not found guilty, due to inconclusive evidence. Braun was active in supporting the rights of farm labourers in East Prussia, dominated by large landowners. From 1909-20, he was a member of the board of the Deutscher Landarbeiter-Verband, a farmworker association, which he had co-founded. He also became an expert on agricultural issues within his party. Braun rose to chairman of the East Prussian Social Democratic Party, in 1911 became a member of the board of the national SPD and in 1913 was elected to the Prussian House of Representatives.
Königsberg is the name for the historic German city that is now Kaliningrad, Russia. Originally a Sambian or Old Prussian settlement, it then belonged to the State of the Teutonic Order, the Duchy of Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, and Nazi Germany. After being largely destroyed in World War II by Allied bombing and the Red Army, it was annexed by the Soviet Union and its surviving inhabitants forcibly expelled. Thereafter, the city was renamed Kaliningrad. Few traces of the former Königsberg remain today.
East Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 ; following World War I it formed part of the Weimar Republic's Free State of Prussia, until 1945. Its capital city was Königsberg. East Prussia was the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast.
Lithography is a method of printing originally based on the immiscibility of oil and water. The printing is from a stone or a metal plate with a smooth surface. It was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder as a cheap method of publishing theatrical works. Lithography can be used to print text or artwork onto paper or other suitable material.
During World War I he supported the Burgfriedenspolitik policy of the majority SPD. His only child died in the war: his son had volunteered for service and died of diphteria in 1915.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
Burgfriedenspolitik —literally "castle peace politics" but more accurately a political policy of "party truce" — is a German term used for the political truce the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the other political parties agreed to during World War I. The trade unions refrained from striking, the SPD voted for war credits in the Reichstag and the parties agreed not to criticize the government and its war. There were several reasons for the Burgfrieden politics: the Social Democrats believed it was their patriotic duty to support the government in war; they were afraid of government repression should they protest against the war; they feared living under an autocratic Russian Czar more than the German constitutional monarchy and its Kaiser; and they hoped to achieve political reforms after the war, including the abrogation of the inequitable three-class voting system, by cooperating with the government.
After the German Revolution Braun became Prussian Minister for Agriculture. In 1919, he was elected to the Weimar National Assembly. Following the abortive Kapp-Lüttwitz Putsch in March 1920, Braun became Minister President of Prussia, a position in which he served from 1920 and 1932, except for brief periods in 1921 and 1925. He also held a seat in the Prussian Landtag (1913–33) and in the Reichstag (1920–33). He was the Social Democratic presidential candidate in the first round of presidential elections in 1925, coming second. He then withdrew his candidacy during the run-off in order to help the Centre Party's Wilhelm Marx defeat Paul von Hindenburg, who had not stood in the first round. Marx was eventually defeated by Hindenburg.
The Weimar National Assembly was the constitutional convention and de facto parliament of Germany from 6 February 1919 to 6 June 1920. The assembly drew up the new constitution which was in force from 1919 to 1933, technically remaining in effect even until the end of Nazi rule in 1945. It convened in Weimar, Thuringia and is the reason for this period in German history becoming known as the Weimar Republic.
The Kapp Putsch, also known as the Kapp–Lüttwitz Putsch after its leaders Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von Lüttwitz, was an attempted coup on 13 March 1920 which aimed to undo the German Revolution of 1918–1919, overthrow the Weimar Republic and establish an autocratic government in its place. It was supported by parts of the Reichswehr (Military) and nationalist and monarchist factions.
The office of Minister President, or Prime Minister, of Prussia existed from 1848, when it was formed by the King Frederick William IV during the 1848–49 Revolution, until the abolition of Prussia in 1947 by the Allied Control Council.
Braun's coalition government was based on the SPD, the Centre Party and the DDP (until 1924 also the DVP.) It was one of the strongest democratic bastions of the Weimar Republic, as Braun worked closely with his Ministers of the Interior, Carl Severing and Albert Grzesinski. During his tenure, the Prussian government enacted a partial land reform as well as a school reform. Prussia became a modern Free State, based on civil servants and security forces who felt loyal to the new republican state. Braun managed to introduce a temporary Reichs-wide ban on the Nazi-Sturmabteilung. However, these policies resulted in the enmity not just of the far-right but also of the communists.He was not a social revolutionary, says Holborn, but was "a determined democratic reformer" and a shrewd coalition builder.
The German Democratic Party was founded in November 1918 by leaders of the former Progressive People's Party, left-wing members of the National Liberal Party and a new group calling themselves the Democrats.
The German People's Party was a national liberal party in Weimar Germany and a successor to the National Liberal Party of the German Empire. A right-wing liberal or conservative-liberal party, its most famous member was Chancellor and Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann, a 1926 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
Carl Wilhelm Severing was a German Social Democrat politician during the Weimar era.
In the April 1932 Prussian elections, Braun's government lost its majority. Under the Prussian constitution, a government already in office could be removed only with a constructive vote of no confidence: a prospective successor required the active support of a "positive majority". While neither of the other major parties – the Communists (KPD) and Nazis (NSDAP) – would support the governing coalition, neither could muster sufficient support to form government in their own right and neither would the KPD and NSDAP cooperate with each other. Hence Braun's coalition remained in office as a caretaker minority government.
The constructive vote of no confidence is a variation on the motion of no confidence that allows a parliament to withdraw confidence from a head of government only if there is a positive majority for a prospective successor. The principle is intended to ensure that a replacement head of government has enough parliamentary support to govern.
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956.
The National Socialist German Workers' Party, commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party, was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism. Its precursor, the German Workers' Party, existed from 1919 to 1920.
Braun's government was deposed in the Preußenschlag of July 1932, when Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen, himself governing without a parliamentary majority, assumed direct control of Prussia's administration as Reichskommissar (commissioner).Braun, however, remained de jure Prime Minister and continued to represent the state of Prussia in the Reichsrat until January 1933, when Papen became Prime Minister for two months. Hermann Göring then held the office for the next twelve years until 1945.
As an opponent of the Nazi regime, Braun decided to leave Germany and emigrated to Switzerland after Adolf Hitler attained the office of Chancellor in January 1933. Braun's wife Emilie was terminally ill and he followed her to Ascona on 4 April 1933, after being warned of his imminent arrest.
At the end of the Second World War, Braun approached the Allies to reinstate the previous democratic Prussian government, but they were not receptive to his proposition due to their earlier decision to abolish the state of Prussia and divide East Prussia between Poland and the Soviet Union. Braun died in exile in Locarno in 1955.
The Weimar Republic is an unofficial historical designation for the German state from 1918 to 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the republic remained Deutsches Reich unchanged from 1871, because of the German tradition of substates. Although commonly translated as "German Empire", the word Reich here better translates as "realm", in that the term does not have monarchical connotations in itself. The Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was usually known simply as Germany.
The Reichstag Fire Decree is the common name of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg on the advice of Chancellor Adolf Hitler on 28 February 1933 in immediate response to the Reichstag fire. The decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German citizens. With Nazis in powerful positions in the German government, the decree was used as the legal basis for the imprisonment of anyone considered to be opponents of the Nazis, and to suppress publications not considered "friendly" to the Nazi cause. The decree is considered by historians as one of the key steps in the establishment of a one-party Nazi state in Germany.
The Enabling Act of 1933, formally titled Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich, was an amendment passed on 23 March 1933 to the Weimar Constitution that gave the German Cabinet — in effect, Chancellor Adolf Hitler — the power to enact laws without the involvement of the Reichstag. The Enabling Act gave Hitler plenary powers and followed on the heels of the Reichstag Fire Decree, which had abolished most civil liberties and transferred state powers to the Reich government. The combined effect of the two laws was to transform Hitler's government into a legal dictatorship.
Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen, Erbsälzer zu Werl und Neuwerk generally known as Franz von Papen, was a German conservative politician, diplomat, nobleman and General Staff officer. He served as Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and as Vice-Chancellor under Adolf Hitler in 1933–34.
Kurt Ferdinand Friedrich Hermann von Schleicher was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany during the Weimar Republic. A rival for power with Adolf Hitler, Schleicher was murdered by Hitler's SS during the Night of the Long Knives in 1934.
The German Centre Party is a lay Catholic political party in Germany, primarily influential during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. In English it is often called the Catholic Centre Party. Formed in 1870, it successfully battled the Kulturkampf which Chancellor Otto von Bismarck launched in Prussia to reduce the power of the Catholic Church. It soon won a quarter of the seats in the Reichstag, and its middle position on most issues allowed it to play a decisive role in the formation of majorities.
The German National People's Party was a national-conservative party in Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic. Before the rise of the Nazi Party, it was the major conservative and nationalist party in Weimar Germany. It was an alliance of nationalists, reactionary monarchists, völkisch and antisemitic elements supported by the Pan-German League.
Otto Wels was the chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) from 1919 and a member of parliament from 1920 to 1933.
Presidential elections were held in Germany on 29 March 1925, with a second round run-off on 26 April. They were the first direct elections to the office of President of the Reich, Germany's head of state during the 1919–33 Weimar Republic. The first President, Friedrich Ebert, who had died on 28 February 1925, had been elected indirectly, by the National Assembly, but the Weimar Constitution required that his successor be elected by the "whole German people". Paul von Hindenburg was elected as the second president of Germany in the second round of voting.
The 1932 German presidential elections were held on 13 March and 10 April. They were the second and final direct elections to the office of President of the Reich (Reichspräsident), Germany's head of state under the Weimar Republic. The incumbent President, Paul von Hindenburg, first elected in 1925, was re-elected to a second seven-year term of office. His major opponent in the election was Adolf Hitler of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP).
The Preußenschlag of 1932, also known in English as the coup in Prussia or the putsch in Prussia, was the takeover of the Free State of Prussia, the largest German state, by Chancellor Franz von Papen, using an emergency decree issued by President Paul von Hindenburg under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution on July 20, 1932.
Federal elections were held in Germany on 5 March 1933, after the Nazi seizure of power on 30 January and just six days after the Reichstag fire. Nazi stormtroopers had unleashed a widespread campaign of violence against the Communist Party (KPD), left-wingers, trade unionists, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, and the Centre Party. They were the last multi-party elections in a unified Germany until 1990.
Federal elections were held in Germany on 6 November 1932. They saw a four percent drop in votes for the Nazi Party and slight increases for the Communists and the national conservative DNVP. It was the last free and fair all-German election before the Nazi seizure of power on 30 January 1933, as the following elections of March 1933 were already accompanied by massive suppression, especially against Communist and Social Democratic politicians.
Federal elections were held in Germany on 31 July 1932, following the premature dissolution of the Reichstag. They saw great gains by the Nazi Party, which for the first time became the largest party in parliament but without winning a majority.
The Harzburg Front was a short-lived radical right-wing, anti-democratic political alliance in Weimar Germany, formed in 1931 as an attempt to present a unified opposition to the government of Chancellor Heinrich Brüning. It was a coalition of the national conservative German National People's Party (DNVP) under millionaire press-baron Alfred Hugenberg with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party (NSDAP), the leadership of the Stahlhelm paramilitary veterans' association, the Agricultural League and the Pan-German League organizations.
Adolf Hitler's rise to power began in Germany in September 1919 when Hitler joined the political party then known as the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – DAP. The name was changed in 1920 to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – NSDAP. It was anti-Marxist and opposed to the democratic post-war government of the Weimar Republic and the Treaty of Versailles, advocating extreme nationalism and Pan-Germanism as well as virulent anti-Semitism. Hitler's "rise" can be considered to have ended in March 1933, after the Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act of 1933 in that month. President Paul von Hindenburg had already appointed Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933 after a series of parliamentary elections and associated backroom intrigues. The Enabling Act—when used ruthlessly and with authority—virtually assured that Hitler could thereafter constitutionally exercise dictatorial power without legal objection.
The Free State of Prussia was a state of Germany from 1918 to 1947.
The Free State of Brunswick was a state of the German Reich in the time of the Weimar Republic. It was formed after the abolition of the Duchy of Brunswick in the course of the German Revolution of 1918–19. Its capital was Braunschweig (Brunswick).
Wilhelm Moritz Egon Freiherr von Gayl was a German jurist and politician of the German National People's Party (DNVP).
The Von Schleicher Cabinetde jure formed the government of Weimar Germany between 3 December 1932 and 28 January 1933 upon the resignation of Franz von Papen. The cabinet was made up of holdovers from Papen's which featured many right-wing independents or German National People's Party (DNVP). The government was followed by the Hitler Cabinet after Schleicher's own resignation. This was to be the last Weimar government before the rise of Nazi Germany.
| Prime Minister of Prussia |
| Prime Minister of Prussia |
| Prime Minister of Prussia |
Franz von Papen