In 1925 the German people made the mistake of electing Hindenburg as their nation's president. Hindenburg was a pompous fool. In 1918 he opposed negotiations and said that for honor's sake Germany should fight to the last man. With others he was responsible for the stab-in-the-back theory that poisoned German politics.
For many Germans, Hindenburg was a revered war hero. He was viewed as the victor at Tannenberg although his role there was more as a figurehead. Hindenburg was another privileged aristocrat who wasn't smart enough to be a great general.
Upon being elected, Hindenburg told the nation that he would devote all his strength to the well-being of the German people. Conservative patriots looked to him to support their values and to stand up for their brand of nationalism.
Hindenburg detested the Social Democrats, who with others on the Left had a majority in parliament. But rather than appoint a Social Democrat as chancellor (head of the government) Hindenburg appointed emergency governments without parliamentary majorities.
With the Great Depression, Adolf Hitler's National Socialists gained about a third of the seats in parliament. A right-of-center majority coalition was presented to Hindenburg headed by the Nazi party's leader, Adolf Hitler. Hindenburg wasn't obliged to accept a government led by Hitler, but he did so in his desire to block a left-of-center coalition.
Copyright © 2014 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.