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German Studies Association

Nationalists, Nazis, and the Assault against Weimar: Revisiting the Harzburg Rally of
October 1931
Author(s): Larry Eugene Jones
Source: German Studies Review, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Oct., 2006), pp. 483-494
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press on behalf of the German Studies
Association
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Nationalists, Nazis, and the Assault against
Weimar: Revisiting the
Harzburg Rally of October 1931

Larry Eugene Jones


Canisius College
Abstract: Germany's right-wing organizations gathered in Bad Harzburg in October 1931
to celebrate the unity of the "national opposition" and to lay the foundation for the transfer
of power from the government of Heinrich Br?ning to the radical Right. But unity proved
ephemeral, for before, during, and after the rally serious divisions surfaced within the so
called national front, most notably between the National Socialists and the conservative
members of the "national opposition" as embodied by Alfred Hugenberg's German National
People's Party and the Stahlhelm. The rally thus failed to fulfill its promise and, in the end,
only hardened the divisions within the radical Right.

October 2006 marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Harzburg Rally.


On 11 October 1931 the most important organizations on the German
Right?the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische
Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP), the German National People's Party
(Deutschnationale Volkspartei or DNVP), the Stahlhelm, the National Rural
League (Reichs-Landbund or RLB), the Pan-German League (Alldeutscher
Verband or ADV), the United Patriotic Associations of Germany (Vereinigte
Vaterl?ndische Verb?nde Deutschlands VWD)?descended upon the small
resort town of Bad Harzburg to issue a stinging denunciation of the cabinet of
Centrist Heinrich Br?ning and to lay the foundation for the transfer of power
to the radical Right. In the final analysis, however, all of this came to naught.
For not only did the Br?ning government survive the challenge from the radi
cal Right in the decisive Reichstag vote in the second week of October, but the
Harzburg Front was soon to collapse in a storm of acrimony between the Nazi
and non-Nazi members of the alliance. Right-wing unity proved ephemeral, if
not illusory.
The Harzburg Rally of October 1931 and the subsequent formation of
the so-called Harzburg Front have long occupied a prominent place in the
secondary literature on the overthrow of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi
bid for power. The purpose of this essay will be to reexamine the assumptions
that informed the actions of the various organizations that were represented at
Harzburg and the reasons why right-wing unity proved so difficult to achieve.
In this respect, it will not only seek to determine what Alfred Hugenberg as
DNVP national chairman and Franz Seldte and Theodor Duesterberg from
the Stahlhelm hoped to achieve at Harzburg, but will also explore the tensions

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484 German Studies Review 29/3 (2006)

that existed both within these organizations and between these organizations
and the Nazi party leadership. Such a reexamination of the Harzburg rally is
long overdue in light of the fact that much new material has surfaced since Karl
Dietrich Bracher first dealt with the rally in his classic study on the dissolution
of the Weimar Republic.1

Let us begin by summarizing the general outlines of what we already know


about the Harzburg rally. First, the initiative for the rally seems to have come
from Alfred Hugenberg, chairman of the German National People's Party,
and to a lesser extent from certain elements within the leadership of the Stahl
helm, a right-wing veteran's organization with an estimated 300,000 members.
Second, Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler was extremely skittish about allowing
his movement to ally itself with the DNVP, Stahlhelm, and the other non
Nazi organizations that made up the so-called "national opposition." Third, the
rally itself was almost torpedoed by friction between the NSDAP and the more
conservative participants at Harzburg and never succeeded in generating the
degree of unity for which Hugenberg and his associates in the Stahlhelm had
hoped. Fourth, whatever unity the rally did generate quickly dissolved once the
Br?ning cabinet survived the challenge of the radical Right in the parliamen
tary deliberations of the second week of October 1931. Finally, the last vestiges
of right-wing unity were erased in the campaign for the 1932 presidential elec
tions when the NSDAP and the non-Nazi organizations of the Harzburg Front
each nominated their own candidates for the office of the Reich President and
failed to follow a coherent course of action in either the preliminary or run-off
elections.2 If anything, this sequence of events merely revealed how empty the
facade of right-wing unity had become.
The first attempt at uniting the German Right in an extra-parliamentary
Sammlungsbewegung?namely, the 1929 crusade against the Young Plan under
the auspices of the National Committee for the German Referendum?had
also ended in failure when in early April 1930 the NSDAP withdrew from the
National Referendum Committee after Hugenberg had agreed, under heavy
pressure from his own party's agrarian wing, to support the newly-formed
Br?ning cabinet in its first parliamentary test of strength.3 Despite Hugenberg's
efforts to repair relations with the Nazi party leader in the immediate after
math of the NSDAP's withdrawal from the National Referendum Committee,4
the two parties remained profoundly estranged from each other through the
campaign for the September 1930 Reichstag elections, and it was not until the
following December that Hitler and Hugenberg were able to reach a general
agreement to work more closely with each other in the future.5 In the mean
time, the leaders of the Stahlhelm had already taken steps to restore the unity of
the German Right by inviting the DNVP and a number of smaller right-wing
parties to participate in negotiations aimed at the introduction of a referendum
for the dissolution of the Prussian Landtag.6 Hugenberg and Hitler were both

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Larry Eugene Jones 485

skeptical about both the scope and the prospects of the proposed referendum
and hesitated to commit their parties to its implementation.7 At the heart of
their reluctance lay a profound difference of opinion between the two party
leaders and the Stahlhelm over the ultimate shape the struggle against the exist
ing system of government was to take. For whereas the DNVP and NSDAP
both sought to polarize the nation through the annihilation of the various par
ties that stood between them and the socialist Left, the leaders of the Stahlhelm
hoped to create a broad national front that included not only the DNVP and
NSDAP, but also the very parties that Hugenberg and Hitler had slated for
annihilation.8
As the DNVP and particularly the NSDAP continued to equivocate about
affiliating themselves with the proposed referendum, the leaders of the Stahl
helm decided that they could no longer afford to wait and unilaterally filed
their petition for a referendum on the dissolution of the Prussian Landtag
with Prussian authorities on 4 February 1931.9 Although the leaders of the
two right-wing parties found themselves left with no alternative but to sup
port the referendum, they immediately tried to sabotage the undertaking by
walking out of the Reichstag on 10 February in an ostensible protest against
Briining's alleged violation of Article 54 of the Weimar Constitution.10 In point
of fact, this was nothing more than an elaborate ploy by which the leaders of the
two right-wing parties hoped not only to force the crusade for the dissolution
of the Prussian Landtag into a more radical direction than the leaders of the
Stahlhelm had planned to take, but also to exacerbate the tensions that existed
within those parties in the middle and on the moderate Right that supported
both the referendum and the Br?ning cabinet.11 Even with the support of the
two right-wing parties, the referendum received the support of only about 36
percent of the Prussian electorate and fell far short of what was needed to force
the dissolution of the Prussian Landtag.12 This, in turn, prompted the leaders
of the Stahlhelm to reevaluate their strategy for bringing about a change in the
existing political system. For if beforehand the Stahlhelm had hoped to over
come the political fragmentation of the German bourgeoisie through popular
mobilization from below, its leaders had now come to realize that popular refer
enda were of limited effectiveness and that only the consolidation of the various
bourgeois parties that stood to the right of the Center into a united national
bloc offered any real prospect of success.13
The leaders of the Stahlhelm had already taken an important step in this
direction when in early April 1931 they resolved their differences with the
NSDAP by agreeing not only to cooperate in the second phase of the ref
erendum for the dissolution of the Prussian Landtag, but also to organize a
demonstration for the entire "national opposition" that would coincide with
the reopening of the Reichstag later that fall.14 In the meantime, Hugenberg's
efforts to reach a similar understanding with Hitler were hampered by the ten
sion that existed between their respective parties and by the DNVP's antipathy

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486 German Studies Review 29/3 (2006)

towards the increasingly radical methods the NSDAP had begun to employ in
its struggle against Br?ning and Hindenburg.15 As a result, it was not until the
middle of the summer that Hugenberg was able to meet with Hitler and resolve
some of the difficulties that stood in the way of the NSDAP's cooperation with
the other organizations in the "national opposition."16
The Stahlhelm's efforts to establish closer ties between the various parties,
interest groups, and patriotic associations that constituted the "national op
position" received strong encouragement from conservative industrialists who
had hoped that the Stahlhelm might emerge as the crystallization point around
which a united German Right could form.17 To be sure, the Stahlhelm's plans
for a united German Right ran counter to what both Hugenberg and certainly
Hitler had in mind, for all the two party leaders had agreed upon at the time of
their rapprochement in the summer of 1931 was a joint meeting of the DNVP
and NSDAP Reichstag delegations that fall. But under the guiding hand of
Otto Schmidt-Hannover, a Hugenberg confidante with close ties to the Stahl
helm, and his personal adjutant Herbert von Bose, what had originally been
conceived of as simply a joint session of the two Reichstag delegations was
gradually transformed into a major demonstration that was to take place in
the small resort town of Bad Harzburg on 11 October, the Sunday before the
Reichstag was scheduled to reconvene. Not only the parliamentary delegations
of the two right-wing parties, but also representatives from the Stahlhelm, the
Pan-German League, the United Patriotic Associations, and the National Rural
League as well as a number of prominent industrialists and young conservative
intellectuals like Edgar Jung and Franz Mariaux would be invited to take part
in the rally. Moreover, the Stahlhelm, the S.A., and other paramilitary organiza
tions would stage a military review designed to provide visual testimony to the
sense of unity that presumably existed on the German Right.18
As plans for the Harzburg demonstration became more and more elaborate,
Hitler and the Nazi party leadership became more and more nervous. Opposi
tion was particularly strong on the left wing of the Nazi Party, where any form
of collaboration with the more reactionary elements on the German Right?
and particularly with the capitalistic interests epitomized by Hugenberg?was
immediately suspect.19 Moreover, Hitler was infuriated by the way in which
the more conservative elements within the "national opposition" had monopo
lized planning for the Harzburg rally, thereby making it appear as if he and
the NSDAP were actually in the tow of Hugenberg, the Stahlhelm, and their
associates. In an effort to allay Hitler's concerns, Hugenberg met with the Nazi
party leader in Upper Bavarian resort town of Bad Kreuth on 30 August to dis
cuss, among other things, their choice of candidates for the upcoming presiden
tial elections that would take place in the spring of 1932.20 At the same time,
Heinrich von Mahnken, a high-ranking Stahlhelm official from the Rhineland,
appealed directly to Gregor Strasser, the Reich organization leader of the
NSDAP and the second most important person in the Nazi party organization,

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Larry Eugene Jones 487

in an attempt to overcome his objections to an alliance with the more conserva


tive elements in the so-called national front.21 But just as it seemed as if Hu
genberg had managed to overcome Hitler's reservations about participating in
the Harzburg rally,22 the Nazi party leader began to waver, citing recent devel
opments in Thuringia and Brunswick as signs of disloyalty on the part of the
non-Nazi members of the "national opposition" to the NSDAP23 Once again
Hugenberg was obliged to appeal to Hitler's sense of personal loyalty to keep
the Nazi party leader from breaking ranks with the "national opposition" and
its efforts to effect a transfer of power from Br?ning to the German Right.24
In the meantime, similar difficulties had surfaced with the Stahlhelm's
second-in-command, Theodor Duesterberg, who was profoundly distrustful
of the Nazi party leader and made no secret of his opposition to the alliance
with the NSDAP.25 But the combination of Hugenberg's reassurances about
Hitler's political reliability26 and persistent pressure from his own colleagues in
the Stahlhelm overcame whatever reservations Duesterberg may have had, and
by the beginning of October he too was expressing public support for the up
coming rally in Harzburg.27 The DNVP national party congress in Stettin on
18-20 September 1931 served as an excellent backdrop for the Harzburg rally
and afforded Hugenberg a forum from which he could issue his appeal for the
fusion of the national opposition into a powerful and united bloc capable of car
rying the struggle against the hated Weimar system to its inevitable and logical
conclusion.28 In the meantime, the future of the Br?ning cabinet had become
increasingly uncertain with the collapse of the Austrian customs union project
in early September and the subsequent reorganization of the national cabinet.
Br?ning could no longer count on the support of either the German People's
Party (Deutsche Volkspartei or DVP) or the Business Party (Wirtschaftspartei/
Reichspartei des deutschen Mittelstandes or WP), and it was not at all clear
that he had the votes to survive a new test of strength when the Reichstag re
convened in the second week of October.29 Under these circumstances, the lead
ers of the "national opposition" had every reason to be optimistic about their
prospects of forcing Briining's removal from office, though it was by no means
clear who might take his place or what role the radical Right might play in the
formation of a new cabinet.
Buoyed by the belief that they would soon be asked to take the lead in
forming a new national government, the leaders of the "national opposition"
put the finishing touches on the plans for the Harzburg rally without, how
ever, ever clarifying the precise role that they or their respective organizations
were to play in the formation of the new cabinet. Responsibility for finalizing
arrangements and sending out invitations lay in the hands of a three-man com
mittee consisting of the NSDAP's Wilhelm Frick, the DNVP's Otto Schmidt
Hannover, and the Stahlhelm's Siegfried Wagner.30 Against the background of
these developments, high-ranking government officials made one last effort to
drive a wedge between Hitler and Hugenberg. The key figure in this regard

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488 German Studies Review 29/3 (2006)

was Major General Kurt von Schleicher, the Reichswehr 's "cardinal in politics"
who arranged a last-minute meeting between Hitler and Reich President Paul
von Hindenburg on the afternoon of 10 October only a few hours before the
Nazi party leader was scheduled to appear in Harzburg for a conference with
Hugenberg and the other leaders of the "national opposition." The meeting it
self was completely innocuous. Hitler opened the discussion with an hour-long
monologue to which Hindenburg listened attentively. When the Nazi party
leader was through, Hindenburg proceeded to lecture Hitler on the sacrifices
he had made for the sake of the German people. The only time the two touched
upon the current political situation was when the Reich President asked Hitler
to name the parties that he would include in his cabinet if he were called upon
to form one. Hitler carefully evaded the question by responding that he was
more interested in the individuals who would serve in his cabinet than in the
parties they represented.31
Although the meeting between Hindenburg and Hitler on the afternoon of
10 October 1931, amounted to very little, it nevertheless had the affect of in
flating Hitler's sense of self-importance to the point where the outcome of the
Harzburg rally was in serious doubt. For not only was Hitler late for the lead
ership conference of the "national opposition" that had been scheduled to take
place in Harzburg later that evening, but on the following morning he was con
spicuously absent from the joint meeting of the DNVP and NSDAP Reichstag
delegations. To compound the insult, Hitler appeared at a separate meeting
of the NSDAP Reichstag delegation, which proceeded to issue a special proc
lamation of its own in clear violation of the guidelines to which all of the par
ticipating organizations had agreed beforehand.32 Then, in the military review
that afternoon Hitler deeply offended the leaders of the Stahlhelm by leaving
the podium just as the Stahlhelm detachments were marching by.33 This bit of
impudence was followed by a bitter exchange between Hitler and the Stahlhelm
leadership, and it was only through Hugenberg's vigorous intervention that the
Nazi party leader could be dissuaded from leaving the rally before the final cer
emonies on the afternoon of 11 October, at which time Hitler, Hugenberg, and
the other leaders of the "national opposition" were scheduled to address the
assembled throngs.34 If the collapse of the Harzburg demonstration had been
avoided, the unity of the "national opposition" was nevertheless in complete
shambles.
Aside from Hitler's absence from the podium as the Stahlhelm detachments
were being reviewed, there was little outward sign of the disunity at Harzburg.
The remainder of the rally went more or less according to plan.35 Hugenberg
opened the demonstration with a general broadside against the catastrophic poli
cies of the Br?ning cabinet and the chaos that had descended upon Germany
as a result. The German people, Hugenberg continued, found itself in a two
front war against the forces of international Marxism on the one hand and the
forces of international capitalism on the other. Only a fundamental change in

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Larry Eugene Jones 489

the existing system of government through the transfer of power to the forces
of the "national opposition," Hugenberg concluded, could possibly rescue the
German people from the unemployment, hunger, and ruin that had become its
lot under Br?ning and the system for which he stood.36 Hugenberg was then
followed by Hitler, who echoed much of what the DNVP party chairman had
said and underscored the determination of the "national opposition" to carry
the battle for German, Western, and Christian culture against Bolshevism with
all the means at its disposal to a final conclusion. Then, in fairly rapid suc
cession, Franz Seldte and Theodor Duesterberg from the Stahlhelm, Count
Eberhard von Kalckreuth as president of the National Rural League, former
Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht, the Pan-German League's Heinrich
Cla?, and Count R?diger von der Goltz from the United Patriotic Associations
all took the podium to assail the policies of the Br?ning cabinet, to condemn
the political system they held ultimately responsible for Germany's national
weakness, and to reaffirm their commitment to bringing about the fundamental
changes in Germany's governmental system that held the key to Germany's
economic recovery and political regeneration.37
Little, if any, of this was new. The only real novelty of the rally was the
appearance of Schacht, a former official of the Weimar state who had broken
with the government during the campaign against the Young Plan and since
the end of 1930 had gravitated more and more into the orbit of Hitler and
the National Socialists.38 Given Schacht's close ties to finance and industry,
his presence at Harzburg might have helped compensate for the fact that aside
from Fritz Thyssen none of Germany's industrial elite had attended the demon
stration despite the fact that they had become progressively disillusioned with
the policies of the Br?ning cabinet and had already begun to defect to the
anti-government camp39. The reluctance of Germany's industrial leadership to
identify itself publicly with the goals of the "national opposition" did not es
cape the attention of the rally's organizers, who were annoyed by the absence
of prominent industrialists at the Harzburg rally and privately questioned the
sincerity of their commitment to the cause of the "national opposition."40 The
disappointment the organizers of the Harzburg rally felt about the timidity of
Germany's industrial elite, however, was compensated in part by the fact that
the list of those who attended the demonstration included the names of several
prominent parliamentarians from the middle parties that had heretofore sup
ported the Br?ning cabinet, namely, former army commander-in-chief Hans
von Seeckt and retired admiral Ernst Hintzmann from the DVP Reichstag
delegation,41 Gotthard Sachsenberg from the Business Party,42 and a renegade
faction from the Christian-National Peasants and Farmers' Party headed by Al
brecht Wendhausen and the RLB's Heinrich Sybel.43 Also in attendance were
politically unaffiliated Catholic conservatives like the two von L?ninck broth
ers Hermann and Ferdinand from the Rhineland and Westphalia.44 All of this
lent a measure of credence to the claim of those who had organized the rally

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490 German Studies Review 29/3 (2006)

that at Harzburg the German Right had at long last broken out of its isolation
and was now beginning to stretch its nimbus over the German middle parties
and those who had formerly supported the Weimar state.
For their own part, Hugenberg and the leaders of the Stahlhelm did their
best to conceal their disappointment over Hitler's admittedly bizarre behavior at
Harzburg.45 The uncertainty surrounding the fate of the Br?ning government
and the expectation that either Hugenberg or Hitler would be called upon to
form a new national government after the "Harzburg Front" had engineered
Briining's fall from power continued to fuel the distrust that the two party lead
ers and their supporters felt toward each other after their return to Berlin.
For while Hitler and Hugenberg each expected that they would be the one to
whom Hindenburg would turn when it came to the task of forming a new gov
ernment, Hitler was supremely confident that Hugenberg would immediately
contact him as soon as he had received the summons from Hindenburg; where
as Hugenberg, on the other hand, had no such confidence in Hitler and feared
that the Nazi party leader would leave him out in the cold if and when the
Reich President designated him as Bruning's successor.46 Nor did this uncer
tainty abate when the new cabinet that Br?ning presented to the Reichstag on
13 October survived the motion of no-confidence that the forces of the "na
tional opposition" introduced in the Reichstag three days later.47 A meeting be
tween Hitler and the Stahlhelm leadership on 17 October failed to resolve the
difficulties that had developed between their respective organizations,48 while
Hugenberg's efforts to repair relations with Hitler and other members of the
Nazi elite were to little avail.49 Relations between the NSDAP and the more
conservative elements of the "national opposition" continued to deteriorate
throughout the remainder of 1931.50 Throughout all of this, Hugenberg contin
ued to foster the illusion that the Harzburg demonstration contained the seeds
of a viable political alliance,51 but in reality the spirit of right-wing unity to
which he had hoped to give birth had been stillborn.

In retrospect, the Harzburg rally of October 1931 revealed just how disunited
the forces of the German Right were at the precise moment that their chances
of seizing the reins of power were best. Given Hitler's bizarre and erratic be
havior at the time of the rally, it is hard to understand how just a few months
later Hugenberg could delude himself into thinking that he and the Nazi par
ty leader could cooperate in the election of a new Reich President or how in
January 1933 he would agree to join a cabinet with Hitler as its chancellor.52
Aside from that, however, the real significance of the Harzburg rally lies in the
way in which it revealed just how deeply divided the German Right was in the
last fateful years before Hitler's installation as chancellor. Not only was there a
deep and ultimately irreconcilable antagonism between those on the moderate
Right who hoped to bring about a conservative regeneration of the German
state on the basis of the existing system of government and the elements around

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Larry Eugene Jones 491

Hugenberg and Hitler that were opposed to any form of collaboration with
the hated "Weimar system," but even within the ranks of those who sought the
overthrow of Germany's republican government there was virtually no agree
ment whatsoever as to what should take its place once that had been accom
plished. The events at Harzburg revealed a bitter split within the ranks of the
German Right that was to resurface in an even more virulent form at the time
of the 1932 presidential elections and that was to persist right up to and after
the establishment of the Third Reich.

1 Karl Dietrich Bracher, Die Aufl?sung der Weimarer Republik. Eine Studie zum Problem
des Machtverfalls in der Demokratie, 3d ed. (Villingen/Schwarzwald: Ring-Verlag, 1960),
407-15. See also John A. Leopold, Alfred Hugenberg: The Radical Nationalist Campaign
against the Weimar Republic (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1977), 97-106,
and Volker R. Berghahn, Der Stahlhelm. Bund der Frontsoldaten 1918-1935 (D?sseldorf:
Droste, 1966), 179-86. The most recent studies of Hitler and the Nazi rise to power
devote scant attention to the Harzburg Rally and fail to provide an adequate account of
Nazi motives and actions at Harzburg. For example, see Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 1889-1936:
Hubris (London: Allen Lane, 1998), 356-57, and Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third
Reich (New York, 2004), 244-45
2 For further details, see Volker R. Berghahn, "Die Harzburger Front und die Kandidatur
Hindenburgs f?r die Reichspr?sidentenwahlen 1932," Vierteljahrshefte f?r Zeitgeschichte
13 (1965): 64-82.
3 Hitler to Hugenberg, 3 April 1930, in the unpublished Nachlass of Otto Schmidt-Han
nover (hereafter cited as BA Koblenz, NL Schmidt-Hannover), 30.
4 Hugenberg to Hitler, 3 and 11 April 1930, BA Koblenz, NL Schmidt-Hannover, 30.
5 Undated memorandum from December 1930, in the records of the Bavarian Stahlhelm,
Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Abteilung IV, Munich (hereafter cited as BHStA Munich,
Abt. IV, Stahlhelm), 77.
6 For further details, see Kempkes' memorandum of a meeting between representatives
from the Stahlhelm, DNVP, DVP, Business Party of the German Middle Class (Reichs
partei des deutschen Mittelstandes/Wirtschaftspartei), and Christian-National Peasants
and Farmers' Party (Christlich-Nationale Bauern- und Landvolkpartei), 12 November
1930, in the records of the Deutsche Volkspartei, Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, Bestand R 45
11 (hereafter cited as BA Koblenz, R 45 II), 22/13-17, as well as Brosius to Hugenberg,
12 November 1930, in the unpublished Nachlass of Alfred Hugenberg, Bundesarchiv
Koblenz (hereafter cited as BA Koblenz, NL Hugenberg), 189/220-22.
7 Hugenberg to Hitler, 5 February 1931, BA Koblenz, NL Schmidt-Hannover, 30.
8 Gilsa to Reusch, 17 January 1931, in the unpublished Nachlass of Paul Reusch in the
Rheinisch-Westf?lisches Wirtschaftsarchiv, Cologne (hereafter cited as RWWA Cologne,
NL Reusch), 400101293/4b.
9 Schmidt-Hannover to Wegener, 7 February 1931, BA Koblenz, NL Schmidt-Hannover, 75.
10 For a defense of the walkout, see Oberfohren, "Warum Ausmarsch?" Unsere Partei 9,
no. 5(1 March 1931): 65-66.
11 The ulterior motives that lay behind the exodus of the "national opposition" can be
inferred from DNVP, Mitteilungen Nr. 4 der Parteizentrale, 17 February 1931, in the
records of the Deutschnationale Volkspartei, Landesverband Osnabr?ck, Bestand Cl,

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492 German Studies Review 29/3 (2006)

22/57-59. For the Stahlhelm's concerns, see Brauweiler to Seldte, 11 February 1931, in
the unpublished Nachlass of Heinz Brauweiler, S tad tarchiv M?nchen-Gladbach (hereafter
cited as StAM?nchen-Gladbach, NL Brauweiler), 111. For the difficulties this created for
the more moderate bourgeois parties, see Gereke to Dingeldey, 2 April 1931, BA Koblenz,
R 45 11/22/137, and Dingeldey to Wagener, 11 July 1931, in the unpublished Nachlass of
Eduard Dingeldey, Bundesarchiv Koblenz, NL Dingeldey), 40/20-21.
12 Memorandum [by Heinrichsbauer], n.d., attached to a letter from Blank to Reusch, 11
August 1931, RWWA Cologne, NL Reusch, 4001012024/9.
13 Blank to Reusch, 11 August 1931, RWWA Cologne, NL Reusch, 4001012024/9.
14 Memorandum signed by Hugenberg and Schmidt-Hannover, n.d. [April 1931], BA
Koblenz, NL Hugenberg, 32/284-85. See also Hugenberg to Wegener, 18 April 1931,
in the unpublished Nachlass of Leo Wegener, Bundesarchiv Koblenz (hereafter cited as
BA Koblenz, NL Wegener), 66/21-22.
15 Blank to Reusch, 22 April 1931, RWWA Cologne, NL Reusch, 4001012924/8a. See
also Hess to Schmidt-Hannover, 20 April 1931, BA Koblenz, NL Schmidt-Hannover, 30.
16 In this respect, see the entry in the diary of Reinhold Quaatz, 15 July 1931, in Quaatz's
unpublished Nachlass, Bundesarchiv Koblenz (hereafter cited as BA Koblenz, NL
Quaatz), 17, and reprinted in Die Deutschnationalen und die Zerst?rung der Weimarer
Republik. Aus dem Tagebuch von Reinhold Quaatz 1928-1933, ed. by Hermann Wei? and
Paul Hoser (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1989), 139, as well as Hugenberg to Hitler, 1
August 1931, BA Koblenz, NL Wegener, 73/183. See also Hugenberg's remarks be
fore the DNVP executive committee in Stettin, 18 September 1931, in the records of
the Deutschnationale Volkspartei, Bundesarchiv Berlin-Lichterfelde, Bestand R 8005,
57/33-34.
17 In this respect, see Blank to Reusch, 11 August 1931, RWWA Cologne, NL Reusch,
4001012024/9, reprinted in Politik und Wirtschaft in der Krise 1930-1932. Quellen zur
Ara Br?ning, ed. Gerhard Schulz, 2 vols. (D?sseldorf: Droste, 1980), 2:881-83. See also
Springorum to Traub, 19 June 1931, BA Koblenz, NL Hugenberg, 92/311-12.
18 On the preparations for the Harzburg rally, see Blank to Reusch, 5 Oct. 1931, RWWA
Cologne, NL Reusch, 4001012024/9, reprinted in Politik und Wirtschaft, ed. Schulz,
2:1017-18. On the role of Schmidt-Hannover and B?se, see Otto Schmidt-Hannover,
Umdenken oder Anarchie. M?nner?Schicks?le?Lehren (G?ttingen: G?ttinger Verlagsanstalt,
1959), 268-80, and Edmund Forschbach, Edgar J. Jung. Ein konservativer Revolution?r 30.
Juni 1934 (Pfillingen: Neske, 1984), 35-36.
19 In this respect, see the article entitled "Sozialreaktion?" that the NSDAP's Reich
Organization Leader Gregor Strasser wrote after the Harzburg rally in Gregor Stras
ser, Kampf um Deutschland. Reden und Aufs?tze eines Nationalsozialisten (Munich: F. Eher
Nachfolger, 1932), 305-11.
20 Schmidt-Hannover, Umdenken oder Anarchie, 273-74.
21 Mahnken to Strasser, n.d., appended to Mahnken to Wagner, 28 August 1931, in the
unpublished Nachlass of Ferdinand Freiherr von L?ninck, Vereinigte Westf?lische Adels
archive, M?nster (hereafter cited as VWA M?nster, NL L?ninck), 785.
22 In this respect, see Cla?'s remarks before the managing committee of the Pan-German
League, 5 September 1931, in the records of the Alldeutscher Verband, Bundesarchiv
Berlin-Lichterfelde, Bestand R 8048, 167/8-9.
23 Hitler to Hugenberg, 7 September 1931, BA Koblenz, NL Schmidt-Hannover, 30.
24 Hugenberg to Hitler, 9 and 11 September 1931, BA Koblenz, NL Schmidt
Hannover, 30. For an indication of Hitler's loyalty toward Hugenberg, see Levetzow to

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Larry Eugene Jones 493

Donnersmark, 28 August 1931, in the unpublished Nachlass of Magnus von Levetzow,


Bundesarchiv Milit?rabteilung, Freiburg, Bestand N239 (hereafter cited as BA-MA
Freiburg, NL Levetzow), 83/64-71. This document has been reprinted in Gerhard
Granier, Magnus von Levetzow. Seeoffizier, Monarchist und Wegbereiter Hitlers. Lebensweg
und ausgew?hlte Dokumente (Boppard am Rhein: H. Boldt, 1982), 297-307.
25 Manuscript of Duesterberg's unpublished memoirs in the Nachlass of Theodor
Duesterberg, Bundesarchiv Koblenz (hereafter cited as BA Koblenz, NL Duesterberg),
46/161.
26 Hugenberg to Duesterberg, 17 September 1931, in the records of the Stahlhelm,
Bundesarchiv Berlin-Lichterfelde, Bestand R 72, 282/204.
27 See Duesterberg's endorsement of the Stahlhelm's cooperation with the NSDAP in
Theodor Duesterberg, Stahlhelm-Politik. Ansprache am 2. Oktober 1931, Nationalklub von
1919, e.V., Hamburg (Hamburg, 1931), 12-15.
28 Alfred Hugenberg, Hugenbergs innenpolitisches Programm. Rede, gehalten auf dem 10.
Reichsparteitag der Deutschnationalen Volkspartei am 20. September 1931 in der Messehalle
Stettin, Deutschnationale Flugschrift, no. 353 (Berlin, n.d. [1931]), 18-19.
29 On the situation in which the Br?ning cabinet found itself in the fall of 1931, see
William L. Patch, Jr., Heinrich Br?ning and the Dissolution of the Weimar Republic
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 184-200.
30 Schmidt-Hannover, Umdenken oder Anarchie, 274-75.
31 For an account of this meeting, see Levetzow to Donnersmarck, 14 October 1931,
BA-MA Freiburg, NL Levetzow, 83/124-32, reprinted in Granier, Levetzow, 307-11.
32 Blank to Reusch, 12 October 1931, RWWA Cologne, NL Reusch, 4001012024/9,
reprinted in Politik und Wirtschaft, ed. Schulz, 2:1039-43.
33 Ibid. See also the report by Heine, "Die Harzburger Tagung," 12 October 1931, and
the correspondence between Heine and Wagener, 14-22 October 1931, all in StAMon
chen-Gladbach, NL Brauweiler, 109.
34 On Hugenberg's intervention with Hitler, see the memorandum by Werdemann,
"Weitere Notizen ?ber Harzburg," 18 December 1953, BA Koblenz, NL Schmidt
Hannover, 78. For the Nazi perspective on these developments, see Levetzow to
Donnersmarck, 14 October 1931, BA-MA Freiburg, NL Levetzow, N239/83/124-32.
35 Blank to Reusch, 12 October 1931, RWWA Cologne, NL Reusch, 4001012024/9.
36 For the complete text of Hugenberg's speech, see Unsere Partei 9, no. 20 (17 October
1931): 246-47.
37 On the subsequent course of the demonstration, ibid., 247-51, as well as the report in
the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 13 October 1931, nos. 469-70, See also the account in
Schmidt-Hannover, Umdenken oder Anarchie, 280-87.
38 On Schacht's move to the Right in the late Weimar Republic, see Albert Fischer, Hjal
mar Schacht und Deutschlands ?Judenfrageu. Der ?Wirtschaftsdiktatoru und die Vertreibung
der Juden aus der deutschen Wirtschaft (Cologne: B?hlau, 1995), 62-11. For the text of
Schacht's remarks at Weimar, see Hjalmar Schacht, Nationale Kreditwirtschaft (Berlin: P.
Steegemann, 1934), 5-11.
39 For example, see Reusch to Kastl, 6 September 1931, RWWA Cologne, NL Reusch,
400101220/1 lb, reprinted in Politik und Wirtschaft, ed. Schulz, 2:944-45. For further
information on industry's disenchantment with Br?ning from the summer of 1931 on,
see Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., German Big Business and the Rise of Hitler (New York and
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), 158-66.

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494 German Studies Review 29/3 (2006)

40 Gilsa to Reusch, 13 October 1931, RWWA Cologne, NL Reusch, 400101293/4b,


reprinted in Politik und Wirtschaft, ed. Schulz, 2:1043-44. See also Schacht to Reusch, 20
October 1931, RWWA Cologne, NL Reusch, 400101290/3 3. For further information on
industry's reaction to the Harzburg rally, see Turner, German Big Business, 167-68.
41 Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 13 October 1931, nos. 469-70. See also Ludwig Richter,
Die Deutsche Volkspartei 1918-1933 (D?sseldorf: Droste, 2002), 722-23. On Seeckt's in
volvement, see his remarks before the DVP Reichstag delegation, 13 October 1931, BA
Koblenz, R 45 11/67/341-42.
42 On Sachsenberg and the situation within the WP, see Martin Schumacher, Mittelstands
front und Republik 1919-1933. Die Wirtschaftspartei?Reichspartei des deutschen Mittelstandes
(D?sseldorf: Droste, 1972), 171-80.
43 Bracher, Aufl?sung der Weimarer Republik, 409. For further details, see Markus M?ller,
Die Christlich-nationale Bauern- und Landvolkpartei 1928-1933 (D?sseldorf: Droste, 2001),
258-60. For Sybel's position in particular, see his letter to Darr?, 20 October 1931, in the
unpublished Nachlass of R. Walther Darre, Bundesarchiv Koblenz, 87a/218.
44 In this respect, see the letter from Ferdinand to Hermann von L?ninck, 13 October
1931, VWA M?nster, NL L?ninck, 785. For further information on the politics of the
Rhenish-Westphalian aristocracy, see Larry Eugene Jones, "Catholic Conservatives in
the Weimar Republic: The Politics of the Rhenish-Westphalian Aristocracy, 1919-1933,"
German History 18 (2000): 61-85.
45 For an indication of the bitterness that the circle around Hugenberg felt about Hitler's
behavior, see Wegener to Donnersmarck, 26 December 1931, BA-MA Freiburg, NL
Levetzow, 83/218-20.
46 For the best source of information on the negotiations that took place in Berlin fol
lowing the conclusion of the Harzburg rally, see Levetzow to Donnersmarck, 14 October
1931, BA-MA Freiburg, NL Levetzow, 83/124-32.
47 For further details, see Patch, Br?ning, 197'.
48 Manuscript of Duesterberg's unpublished memoirs, BA Koblenz, NL Duesterberg,
46/163-65. The meeting can be dated from Wagner, Rundschreiben Nr. 247,19 October
1931, BHStA Munich, Abt. IV, Stahlhelm, 78/1.
49 Entry in Quaatz's diary, 20 October 1931, BA Koblenz, NL Quaatz, 17, reprinted in Die
Deutschnationalen und die Zerst?rung der Weimarer Republik, ed. Wei? and Hoser, 157-59.
50 Gilsa to Reusch, 3 December 1931, RWWA Cologne, NL Reusch, 400101293/4b.
51 For example, see Hugenberg's speech, "Der Sinn von Harzburg," Darmstadt, 8
November 1931, in Unsere Partei 9, no. 23 (1 December 1931): 275-76, as well as his
letter to Hitler, 28 January 1932, BA Koblenz, NL Wegener, 73/146. See also Brauweiler
to Duesterberg and Seldte, 22 November 1931, StA M?nchen-Gladbach, NL Brauwei
ler, 109, as well as the lengthy correspondence between the Stahlhelm and Nazi par
ty leadership from 13 October-11 December. 1931, in the Stahlhelm F?hrerbrief, 31
December 1931, BHStA Munich, Abt. IV, Stahlhelm, 78/1. This correspondence has
been reproduced in Theodor Duesterberg, Der Stahlhelm und Hitler (Wolfenb?ttel:
Wolfenb?tteler Verlagsanstalt, 1949), 13-33.
52 For further information on the latter episode, see Larry Eugene Jones, '"The Greatest
Stupidity of My Life': Alfred Hugenberg and the Formation of the Hitler Cabinet,
January 1933." Journal of 'Co?itempora?y History 27 (1992): 63-87.

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