Kurt von Schleicher the soldier and politics in the run-up to national socialism: a case study of civil-military relations
Bitter, Alexander B.
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This thesis analyzes the political role of the German General Staff as well as civil-military relations in Germany from the late 19th century until 1933. Specifically, it examines the rise and fall of Kurt von Schleicher. Together with Generals Paul von Hindenburg, Erich Ludendorff, and Wilhelm Groener, Schleicher shaped the politics of the Weimar Republic, right up to the end that heunintentionallyhastened when his intrigues paved the way for Adolf Hitlers dictatorship. During World War I, the German army completed its control over the civilian administration and bureaucracy. In the Republic of Weimar 19191933, the military remained a powerful governmental playeras the self-anointed protector of the nation against external and internal threats, including democracy. Thus, Germanys political situation in the winter of 19321933 and the activities of the key players stemmed from a long-term anti-democratic socialization process amid an entrenched civil-military imbalance. As the present thesis demonstrates, Schleichers lifefrom his military background to his experience as a member of Prussias noble Junker classcoincided with Germanys tumultuous modernization. The fateful lessons that he drew from this experience ultimately spelled the end of Germanys first democracy and ushered in the calamity of the Third Reich.
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