Monday, October 19, 2015

1932, the Nazis, and How an Election Changed a Nation

I sat through hundreds of hours of high school and college history classes.  Frankly, they did a mediocre and marginal job of explaining how a civilized society would come to accept and vote the Nationalist Socialists (Nazis) of Germany into power.

Over the years, I spent a fair amount of time reading through the period.....going way beyond the typical textbooks that the educational or intellectual crowd push along to be the basis of your knowledge level.

So, this is simplified and basic story of how people come to accept the political trend of Nationalist Socialists.

Germany never really recovered from WW I.  You can argue this from various standpoints....but the small and barely noticed upturn lasted just a couple of years and by 1929....things were falling apart.  Unemployment had slipped from a healthy (at least they perceived that) 8.5-percent roughly 30-percent.

The public was hostile and angry.  By summer of 1930....the faction (combined crew) of the Centre Party and the Social Democrats were arguing over the way to remedy the problems and could not function as a workable government.

You see....Germany has this odd rule.  You need to have a combined operation of fifty-percent of the Bundestag to run the government. one ever gets beyond 40-percent because of the multiple party situation.  So, this puts you into a delicate negotiation phase where you win enough but must partner with some second party.  If you come to disagree....the collation will fall apart and new elections must occur.

In 1930.....rather than have an entire new election....the President of Germany at the time decided to let the minority parties come to some long as they could put together 50-percent.  It might be argued....this was a stupid maneuver but it avoided having another round of elections which might go in a negative fashion against what people expected.

Because of the limited amount of power.....there was guaranteed to be a limited amount of success.

So by 1932....the national election came around and was to prove to be a major question for the public.

No one had done much to fix the economic the public wanted a change of significance.

Six parties came out of the election: Nationalist Socialists with 37-percent, the SPD with 21-percent, the Communist Party with 14-percent, the Centre Party with 12-percent, DNVP with 6-percent, and the BVP with 3-percent.

Here you have a weakened state from the peace treaty of WW I.....still suffering from the 1929 depression era.....promises made of state-funded projects by the Nazi Party.....and two years of marginal success from 1930-1932 of the Bundestag.

You can talk of various possible fixes that could have occurred after 1929, which would have stabilized the country and avoided looking for significant change.  But these never arrived....never were implemented....and the nation went looking for something radically different.

Germans almost never talk of the election of 1932.  There are over thirty different political parties in existence at the time.  Oddly, again one of those things which are never explained....there are around 279,000 votes which are invalid or unable to be counted or simply "blank".

How many people showed up to vote?  Thirty-seven million....out of a potential listed voter count of 44 million Germans eligible to vote.  Those seven million who didn't vote?  They would have been enough to push the SPD over the top and hinder the Nazis from taking power.

The ingredients that existed in 1932 to create this mess....existing in 2015?  You still have numerous political parties in existence today.  The national media of Germany will tell you that they are doing everything possible to hinder radicalization of German politics.  One might question if the public believes the slant on news by the state-run news media....but then you'd have to gauge just skeptical the public has become over the past decade or two.  I've yet to hear a German university professor examine skeptic nature and assign a measurement to such an idea.

The 1932 election laid out a path where it was impossible for the public to judge the total value of the Nazi political machine and its achievements.  In essence, the news media machine that existed at the time.....simply folded up and became part of the Nazi machine.

So, when you sit and ponder upon the 1932 really wasn't rocket science or evil lobbyists, or even deceitful news media people who helped to form the results of the election.  The political system itself.....carved out the only potential result.

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