Preußenschlag

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An emergency decree as declared by Paul von Hindenburg on an advertising column in Berlin. Prussian government officials, including Carl Severing, Albert Grzesinski, Bernhard Weiss and Magnus Heimannsberg, were all arrested during the coup by military authorities. Bundesarchiv Bild 102-13680, Berlin, Verordnung uber Ausnahmezustand.jpg
An emergency decree as declared by Paul von Hindenburg on an advertising column in Berlin. Prussian government officials, including Carl Severing, Albert Grzesinski, Bernhard Weiss and Magnus Heimannsberg, were all arrested during the coup by military authorities.
In July 1931 British politicians visited Prussia. In the photograph, from left to right: German Foreign Minister Julius Curtius, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Henderson, German Chancellor Heinrich Bruning, British Prime Minister James Ramsay MacDonald and (later dismissed) Ministerprasident of Prussia Otto Braun. The photo was taken during a ship excursion on the Wannsee, Berlin. Bundesarchiv Bild 102-12081, Berlin, Ausflug deutscher und englischer Politiker.jpg
In July 1931 British politicians visited Prussia. In the photograph, from left to right: German Foreign Minister Julius Curtius, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Henderson, German Chancellor Heinrich Brüning, British Prime Minister James Ramsay MacDonald and (later dismissed) Ministerpräsident of Prussia Otto Braun. The photo was taken during a ship excursion on the Wannsee, Berlin.

The Preußenschlag of 1932 (German pronunciation: [ˈpʁɔʏsənˌʃlaːk] , Prussian coup ), 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.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

Free State of Prussia former federated state of Germany between 1918 and 1947

The Free State of Prussia was a state of Germany from 1918 to 1947.

States of Germany First-level administrative subdivisions of the Federal Republic of Germany

Germany is a federal republic consisting of sixteen states. Since today's Germany was formed from an earlier collection of several states, it has a federal constitution, and the constituent states retain a measure of sovereignty. With an emphasis on geographical conditions, Berlin and Hamburg are frequently called Stadtstaaten (city-states), as is the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, which in fact includes the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. The remaining 13 states are called Flächenländer.

It was a major step towards the end of the Weimar Republic, as it later facilitated the Nazification ( Gleichschaltung ) of Germany (then Deutsches Reich) after Adolf Hitler's rise to power on 30 January 1933.

Weimar Republic Germany state in the years 1918/1919–1933

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.

<i>Gleichschaltung</i> Process of Nazification

Gleichschaltung, or in English co-ordination, was in Nazi terminology the process of Nazification by which Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party successively established a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of German society, "from the economy and trade associations to the media, culture and education".

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

The pretext for this measure was violent unrest in some areas of Prussia and the alleged inability of the Prussian government to handle the matter. The main trigger was the "Altonaer Blutsonntag" ("Altona Bloody Sunday"), a row between the SA and Communists in Altona on 17 July 1932. 18 people died, 16 of them by police bullets. [1]

Altona Bloody Sunday was the name given to a violent confrontation between the Sturmabteilung (SA) and Schutzstaffel (SS), the police, and Communist Party (KPD) supporters on 17 July 1932 in Altona, now in Hamburg but then part of Schleswig-Holstein, a province of Prussia. The riots left 18 people dead.

<i lang="de" title="German language text">Sturmabteilung</i> original Nazi paramilitary

The Sturmabteilung, literally Storm Detachment, was the Nazi Party's original paramilitary. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Its primary purposes were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties, especially the Red Front Fighters League of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), and intimidating Romani, trade unionists, and, especially, Jews – for instance, during the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.

Altona, Hamburg Borough of Hamburg in Germany

Altona is the westernmost urban borough (Bezirk) of the German city state of Hamburg, on the right bank of the Elbe river. From 1640 to 1864 Altona was under the administration of the Danish monarchy and Denmark's only real harbour directly to the North Sea. Altona was an independent city until 1937. In 2016 the population was 270,263.

It is more likely however that the Prussian government headed by Minister-President Otto Braun, with authority over the powerful Prussian police force, was simply one of the last major forces standing in the way of Papen's plans for nationalist rule. [2]

Otto Braun German politician

Otto Braun 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.

The move was facilitated by the unstable situation of the Prussian government. The centre-left coalition of the Social Democrats, Centre Party and liberal German Democratic Party had ruled Prussia without interruption since 1918, but had lost its majority in the Landtag (state parliament) in the election on 24 April 1932. However, under the Prussian constitution, a government could be removed from office only if there was a positive majority for a prospective successor. This provision, known as a "constructive vote of no confidence," was intended to ensure that a government had sufficient support to govern.

Social Democratic Party of Germany Social-democratic political party in Germany

The Social Democratic Party of Germany, is a social-democratic political party in Germany.

Centre Party (Germany) Catholic political party in Germany

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.

German Democratic Party former German political party on the left wing of the political spectrum

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 Communists and National Socialists held over half the seats between them, but would not cooperate with each other or with other parties. Thus, no politically realistic alternative government was possible, and the Braun-led coalition remained in office.

However, Papen also lacked majority support in the Reichstag. His only means to govern was through the emergency provisions of Article 48, and hence via decrees issued by the Reichspräsident Hindenburg, over whom Papen had great influence. The emergency decree of July 20 dismissed the Braun government and declared Papen Reichskommissar (Reich Commissioner) for Prussia, vested in him all the competences of the Prussian ministries, and gave him direct control over the Prussian government. [3]

The decree was declared partially unconstitutional on October 25, 1932, by the German Constitutional Court  [ de ], but only in so far as the formal existence of the Prussian cabinet was concerned. The transfer of power to Papen was upheld, while the Braun cabinet retained the right to represent Prussia in the Reichsrat.

Prussia remained under direct administration of the federal government until April 1933. The Enabling Act of 1933 gave Hitler the effective power to enact legislation (including extraconstitutional laws) without the consent of the Reichstag. One of Hitler's first legislative acts was to dissolve all of the state parliaments (except Prussia's) and replace them with legislatures that were constituted based on the results of the partly-free federal election held in March. Prussia was excluded from this measure because it had held state elections at the same time, with a similar result (a Nazi plurality). With the banning of the Communist and Social Democratic parties, the Nazis now had a majority in the Prussian parliament, which elected Hermann Göring as Minister-President. However, under Hitler's rule, German states were effectively replaced by Nazi Gaue, so Göring's post was largely ceremonial.

The state of Prussia was finally dissolved by the Allies after the end of World War II.

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References

  1. Heinrich Breloer, Horst Königstein: Blutgeld. Materialien zu einer deutschen Geschichte, 1982, ISBN   3-922009-46-8, p. 22.
  2. 20. Juli 1932: Die preußische Regierung wird von der rechtskonservativen Regierung abgesetzt [20 July 1932: The Prussian government is deposed by the right-wing conservative government] (in German), archived from the original on 7 October 2001, retrieved 4 May 2013:
    Immer wieder haben Konservative, Monarchisten und zuletzt sogar offen der Hohenzollern-Kronprinz eine Beseitigung der „republikanischen Festung Preußen“, dieses „marxistischen Spuks”, gefordert. [Again and again, conservatives, monarchists, and lately even the Hohenzollern crown prince have openly demanded the ousting of the "republican stronghold of Prussia", of this "Marxist spook".]
  3. Walter, Franz (2007-07-19), "Putsch am 20. Juli 1932: Wie der Mythos Preußen zerschlagen wurde" [The coup of 20 July 1932: How the myth of Prussia was smashed], Der Spiegel (in German), Hamburg, retrieved 4 May 2013:
    Ein Tag als Lehrstück: für die antidemokratische Skrupellosigkeit der Konservativen jener Jahre, für die Hilflosigkeit und Ermattung der stets nur rhetorisch kraftvoll auftretenden Sozialdemokratie, für die Erosion und den Zerfall der republiktreuen Mitte - schon Monate vor der Etablierung des NS-Regimes. [One day as an object lesson: in the antidemocratic unscrupulousness of the conservatives of those years, in the helplessness and fatigue of the Social Democrats, who only rhetorically ever seemed powerful, in the erosion and breakup of the republican center — months before the establishment of the Nazi regime.]

Sources