Japan’s Democracy at Risk : LDP’s Electoral Strategy – Emergency Clause

Shinzo Abe – President of the LDP
Abe wants to amend Constitution ‘while in office’
Nikkei Asian Review, March 2, 2016 8:19 pm JST
he is believed to be seeking inclusion of a so-called “emergency provision” in the Constitution that would, for example, extend the terms of office of Diet members and strengthen the authority of a prime minister in case of emergency such as an attack by a foreign power or major disaster. Some scholars have pointed out the constitutional amendment is not necessary to deal with emergencies because specific legislation has been enacted to that end. The provision is also feared to heavily restrict people’s rights during contingencies.

Liberal Democratic Party’s propaganda manga on constitutional change

LDP(Liberal Democratic Party of Japan) Jiyū-Minshutō(abbrev. Jimintō or Jimin)
Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe is the President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, LDP.

Hitler Election Strategy: A Bible for Certain Victory in Modern Elections
The book, written by Yoshio Ogai, a public relations official in the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP, 自由民主党, Jiyū-Minshutō)
『ヒトラー選挙戦略 現代選挙必勝のバイブル』
小粥義雄(著), ヒトラー政治戦略研究会(編集) (1994/4/20)

New Cabinet ministers’ pasts coming back to haunt Abe
The Japan Times, Sep 10, 2014

Japan: Adolf Hitler Book Haunts Interior Minister Sanae Takaichi
International Business Times UK , September 11, 2014 14:50 BST

Japan’s Nasty Nazi-ish Elections
2014/12/12, The Daily Beast

Hitler Book Withdrawn in Japan
NYTimes.com, published: June 15, 1994

Japanese Withdraws Controversial Book on Hitler
Los Angeles Times, June 16, 1994 | From Associated Press

Kazunari Yamada with LDP lawmakers Shoji Nishida, Tomomi Inada, Sanae Takaichi

“Dare mo shiranai nihon kyosanto no honne : sofuto rosen no kamen wo hagu”
Author: Yugo Ooiwa, Kazunari Yamada’s Raiin Publishing
『誰も知らない日本共産党のホンネ ソフト路線の仮面を剥ぐ』 大岩悠吾(著), 雷韻出版(2000/05)
Kazunari Yamada’s Raiin Publishing (雷韻出版)

Hakenkreuz, Takashi Shinohara, Hiroyuki Seto
篠原節 瀬戸弘幸 ヒトラー・ナチス研究会

author : Takashi Shinohara, Hiroyuki Seto
Hitorā shisō no susume : shizen to jinrui o kyūsaisuru Nachisu Hitorā sekaikan no 120% kōteiron
ヒトラー思想のススメ―自然と人類を救済するナチス・ヒトラー世界観の120%肯定論。 – 篠原節(著), 瀬戸弘幸(著), 展転社, 1990/12

Hakenkreuz, Daisuke Arikado, Joe Aramaki, performing Nazi salute, 2014, Tokyo, Japan
外国人マフィア組織の追放を目指す国民行動IN江戸川区 1/7

Taro Aso said “The German Weimar Constitution changed, without being noticed, to the Nazi German constitution. Why don’t we learn from their tactics?” at a symposium hosted by Yoshiko Sakurai’s JINF(the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals) on 29 July 2013. After Japan’s neighbors and Jewish groups expressed outrage at the remarks, Aso said, “My comment regarding the Nazi regime was misinterpreted. I would like to retract the remark about the Nazi regime.”

Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso’s Nazi remarks cause furor
CNN.com, Updated 1306 GMT (2006 HKT) August 2, 2013

The LDP’s comic appeal for constitutional change falls flat
The Japan Times, Jul 15, 2015

Japan’s Democracy at Risk
Japan’s Democracy at Risk – The LDP’s Ten Most Dangerous Proposals for Constitutional Change 10 | The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
Lawrence Repeta

8. Granting the prime minister new power to declare “states of emergency” when the government can suspend ordinary constitutional processes

What should be the powers of government in a national emergency? Under the present constitution, the Diet is “the highest organ of state power” and the “sole law-making organ of the State” (Article 41). In the exercise of executive authority, the prime minister and other officers are responsible to the Diet (Article 66). The LDP proposes to grant power to the Cabinet to put this limitation aside.

Under the LDP’s new Article 98, the Prime Minister would be empowered to declare a national emergency “In the event of armed attacks on the nation from abroad, disturbances of the social order due to internal strife, etc., large-scale natural catastrophes due to earthquakes, etc., or other emergency situations as designated by law…” This is an extremely broad and undefined range of potential circumstances.

What would be the effect of such a declaration? According to LDP proposed Article 99(1), “the Cabinet may enact Cabinet Orders having the same effect as laws…” (emphasis added) The constitution imposes various conditions on the lawmaking power of the Diet, including general requirements of public proceedings, recording of votes, and passage by majority vote in both Houses. (Chapter IV) Diet proceedings provide the most important venue for members of opposition parties to express opinion on all issues. There are televised broadcasts of Diet proceedings and news reporters inform the people on the issues and the arguments and counterarguments.

No such rules apply to Cabinet meetings. If a Cabinet Order had “the same effect as law,” the nation could be ruled by secret government for as long as the declaration remained in effect. The LDP proposal does say that emergency declarations must subsequently be approved by the Diet, but Diet majorities are ordinarily composed of members of the Prime Minister’s own party. Diet members who sought to overturn their leader’s declarations would need the courage of mutineers.

The LDP plan was finalized with fresh experience of a devastating natural and nuclear disaster. Government actions related to those events have been criticized on many fronts, especially related to the government’s failure to insist on adequate safety measures, its lack of advance preparations to manage and care for evacuees, and, above all, its failure to disclose critical information to affected persons in a timely manner. None of these problems would be solved by a new constitutional emergency power. To the contrary, if the Cabinet is operating in secret, these problems could be exacerbated.

What about protections for the right to free speech and other fundamental rights during a “state of emergency?” The next sentence in the LDP proposal appears to address this problem by mandating that constitutional provisions “relating to fundamental rights shall be respected to the greatest extent.” (emphasis added) These words may sound reassuring, but recall the LDP proposal for Article 12. As a general rule, individual rights would be respected only to the extent they do not conflict with “public interest and public order.” Unquestionably, the need to maintain public order would be felt most strongly during a national emergency. Anyone with the temerity to speak out against government policy at such a time could expect harsh treatment. Given the lax attitude of Japan’s Supreme Court in protecting individual rights under the existing constitution, which does not subordinate individual rights to the “public interest and public order,” there is little reason to expect the courts to step in if emergency powers were abused.

Japan 72 in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index.
Japan Ranking -11 (61 in 2015)
Japan | RSF http://rsf.org/en/japan

2016 World Press Freedom Index http://rsf.org/en/ranking
66 Malawi
67 Hungary
68 Bosnia-Herzegovina
69 Hong Kong
70 South Korea
71 Tanzania
72 Japan
73 Lesotho
74 Armenia
75 Nicaragua
76 Moldova
77 Italy
78 Benin

Without independent reporters, war would just be a nice show.
Support press freedom.

War Reporters / Reporters sans frontières

RSF concerned about declining media freedom in Japan
April 11, 2016, Reporters without borders

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has evaluated the current state of media freedom and freedom of information in Japan ahead of this week’s visit by David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

RSF draws Kaye’s attention to the decline in media freedom in Japan since Shinzo Abe became prime minister again in December 2012. The Abe administration’s threats to media independence, the turnover in media personnel in recent months and the increase in self-censorship within leading media outlets are endangering the underpinnings of democracy in Japan.

The latest disturbing sign of government pressure on the media is public TV broadcaster NHK’s dismissal of current affairs presenter Hiroko Kuniya, which has caused widespread dismay among journalists. She hosted “Close Up Gendai,” one of the few NHK programmes to contain investigative reporting and analysis. Her interview of chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga in July 2014 has been cited as one of the reasons for her contract’s termination last month.

Other journalists have been the subjects of presumably forced departures. They include Shigetada Kishii, a Mainichi News journalist and anchor of the “News 23” programme on the TBS channel, who criticized the proposed security legislation at the end of last year, and Ichiro Furutachi, a well-known government critic who presented TV Asahi’s “Hodo Station” programme.

“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government seems to be taking less and less account of media freedom and the public’s right to information,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.

“The special rapporteur must raise the issue of government meddling in the editorial policies of Japan’s public broadcasting service. We also urge him to examine the legislative framework governing the media, the law on state secrets and the constitution, whose revision could pose an additional threat to media freedom.”

The government has not hidden its hostility towards critical coverage. Addressing parliament on 8 February, communication minister Sanae Takaichi threatened to shut down broadcasters that continue to air “biased political reports.”

Questioned by journalists the next day, Takaichi reiterated her threat, citing article 4 of the TV broadcasting law, which prohibits distorting the facts, and article 76 of the law on radio broadcasting, which allows the communications minister to issue closure orders without reference to a judge.

Conservative businessman Katsuo Momii’s appointment as NHK’s president in 2014 was seen as a government attempt to control news coverage. Momii caused a controversy when he said NHK should not “deviate from the government’s position in its programming.” He also supported adoption of the law on the protection of state secrets.

In June 2015, members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party urged the government to punish critical media outlets by pressuring advertisers to withdraw business from them.

Finally, inclusion of the concept of “harming the public interest and public order” in a proposed constitutional amendment could provide a mechanism for curbing free speech and media freedom. Introduced with any further details, this notion could be exploited by officials to arbitrarily brand media reports and opinions as threats to the nation.

The special rapporteur was originally supposed to have visited Japan in December 2015 but the government asked him to postpone the visit. Many observers suggested that this was because the government wanted to avoid any discussion of the law on the “Protection of Specially Designated Secrets.”

This law provides for sentences of up to 10 years in prison for whistleblowers who leak “state secrets” and for journalists and bloggers who report information they obtained “illegally” or sought from whistleblowers.

Japan is ranked 61st out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

Press conference – 2016 World Press Freedom Index – Washington
Reporters sans frontières

Adolf Hitler

Hitler and the Japanese foreign minister, Yōsuke Matsuoka, at a meeting in Berlin in March 1941. In the background is Joachim von Ribbentrop.

Reichstag fire
reichstag fire
Firemen work on the burning Reichstag Building in February, 1933, after fire broke out simultaneously at 20 places. This enabled Hitler to seize power under the pretext of “protecting” the country from the menace to its security.

As a tactic to undermine political opponents,

Who started the Reichstag Fire? | OUP(Oxford University Press)blog
Burning the Reichstag: An Investigation into the Third Reich’s Enduring Mystery – 27 Feb 2014 by Benjamin Carter Hett (Author)

The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin on 27 February 1933. Marinus van der Lubbe, a young Dutch council communist, was caught at the scene of the fire and arrested for the crime. Van der Lubbe was an unemployed bricklayer who had recently arrived in Germany. He declared that he had started the fire and was tried and sentenced to death. The fire was used as evidence by the Nazi Party that communists were plotting against the German government. The event is seen as pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany.

The responsibility for the Reichstag fire remains an ongoing topic of debate and research. Historians disagree as to whether Van der Lubbe acted alone, as he said, to protest the condition of the German working class. The Nazis accused the Comintern of the act. Some historians endorse the theory, proposed by the Communist Party, that the arson was planned and ordered by the Nazis as a false flag operation. Whatever the truth, the Nazis used the fire to solidify their power and eliminate the communists as political rivals.

The Reichstag Fire Decree (German: Reichstagsbrandverordnung) is the common name of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State (German: Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat) issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg on the advice of Chancellor Adolf Hitler in direct response to the Reichstag fire of 27 February 1933. The decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German citizens. With Nazis in powerful positions in the German government, the decree was used as the legal basis for the imprisonment of anyone considered to be opponents of the Nazis, and to suppress publications not considered “friendly” to the Nazi cause. The decree is considered by historians to be one of the key steps in the establishment of a one-party Nazi state in Germany.

Text of the decree:
The preamble and Article 1 of the Reichstag Fire Decree show the methods by which the civil rights protections of the Weimar Republic’s democratic constitution were legally abolished by the Nazis:

Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State
On the basis of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich, the following is ordered in defense against Communist state-endangering acts of violence:
§ 1. Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of (opinion) expression, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

Das Andere Deutschland (German, “The Other Germany“)
The final 1933 issue announcing the paper’s shutdown, ordered by Nazi officials.
Scan of front (and only) page of Das Andere Deutschland, March 11, 1933, announcing the weekly newspaper’s ban by the provincial criminal police president in Berlin, on the grounds of “public security and order.” The ban took place under the authority of the Reichstag Fire Decree (Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutze von Volk und Staat) and, though the stated duration of the paper’s ban was three months, subsequent measures in the Nazis’ consolidation of power cast doubt as to whether it ever appeared again.




Berlin, Saturday, 11 March 1933

The Chief of Police
Criminal Police Berlin, 3 March 1933


On the basis of §1 of the Ordinance of the Reich President to the protection of people and country of [28 February, 1933], I forbid in the interest of public security and order the publication of the weekly newspaper

“The Other Germany”

for a period of 3 months.

Offenses are punishable under §4 of the Ordinance.


signed: [Rudolf] Diels

At the publishing house For correct copy:
“The Other Germany” signed, Dommitzsch
Berlin W 57 office employee

Of note is the signature of Rudolf Diels. Das Andere Deutschland was shut down roughly one month prior to Diels becoming chief of the Gestapo; at this time he was head of the Prussian political police in Berlin. Das Andere Deutschland (German, “The Other Germany”) was a weekly newspaper established in Germany in 1925 to advocate republican and pacifist causes until its forced closing by the Nazi-led government.

Rudolf Diels, first Commander of the Gestapo; 1933–1934
The Gestapo (German pronunciation: [ɡeˈstaːpo, ɡəˈʃtaːpo]), abbreviation of Geheime Staatspolizei, or the Secret State Police was the official secret police of Nazi Germany and German-occupied Europe.

Gestapo headquarters at 8 Prinz Albrecht Street in Berlin (1933)

Hitler’s Reichstag speech promoting the bill was delivered at the Kroll Opera House, following the Reichstag fire. Adolf Hitler addressing the Reichstag on 23 March 1933. Seeking assent to the Enabling Act, Hitler offered the possibility of friendly co-operation, promising not to threaten the Reichstag, the President, the States or the Churches if granted the emergency powers.

Just over three weeks after the passage of the Reichstag Fire Decree, Hitler’s National Socialists further tightened their grasp on Germany by the passage of the Enabling Act. This act gave Hitler’s cabinet the legal power to decree laws without being passed by the Reichstag — effectively making Hitler a dictator.

Leaving nothing to chance, the Nazis did not even count the arrested KPD deputies for the purposes of determining a quorum. They also used the provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree to detain several SPD deputies, ensuring that it would pass with two-thirds of those present and voting. As it turned out, the highly intimidating atmosphere of that Reichstag session resulted in the Enabling Act passing with enough support that it would have garnered the required supermajority even if all KPD and SPD deputies had been present.

After 1918 the SPD, The Social Democratic Party of Germany (German: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, SPD), played an important role in the political system of the Weimar Republic, although it took part in coalition governments only in few years (1918–1921, 1923, 1928–1930). Adolf Hitler prohibited the party in 1933 under the Enabling Act – party officials were imprisoned, killed or went into exile.

In theory, Article 48 gave the Reichstag the power to demand the cancellation of the measures taken to enforce the Reichstag Fire Decree. However, any realistic chance of it being cancelled ended in July; by this time the other parties had either been banned outright or intimidated into dissolving themselves, and the Nazi Party had been declared the only legal party in Germany.

The Reichstag Fire Decree remained in force for the duration of the Nazi era, allowing Hitler to rule under what amounted to martial law. Along with the Enabling Act, it formed the legal basis for Hitler’s dictatorship. Thousands of Hitler’s decrees, such as those which turned Germany into a one-party state, were explicitly based on its authority, and hence on Article 48. This was a major reason Hitler never formally abolished the Weimar Constitution, though it no longer had any substantive value after the passage of the Enabling Act. It was also a major reason why the framers of the postwar Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany opted to curb the president’s powers to a point almost entirely ceremonial.

Article 48 of the constitution of the Weimar Republic of Germany(1919–1933)

The Weimar Constitution in booklet form
Article 48 of the constitution of the Weimar Republic of Germany (1919–1933) allowed the President, under certain circumstances, to take emergency measures without the prior consent of the Reichstag. This power was understood to include the promulgation of “emergency decrees (Notverordnungen)”. After the February 27, 1933 Reichstag fire, an attack blamed on the communists, Adolf Hitler declared a state of emergency using Article 48, and then had President von Hindenburg sign the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended the Weimar Constitution for the whole duration of the Third Reich: the Weimar Constitution was never actually repealed by Nazi Germany, but “indefinitely suspended”. Adolf Hitler later used this Article to legally sweep away the civil liberties granted in the constitution and facilitate the establishment of a dictatorship.

Article 48 :

In the event of a State not fulfilling the duties imposed upon it by the Reich Constitution or by the laws of the Reich, the President of the Reich may make use of the armed forces to compel it to do so.

If public security and order are seriously disturbed or endangered within the German Reich, the President of the Reich may take measures necessary for their restoration, intervening if need be with the assistance of the armed forces. For this purpose he may suspend for a while, in whole or in part, the fundamental rights provided in Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153.

The President of the Reich must inform the Reichstag without delay of all measures taken in accordance with Paragraphs 1 or 2 of this Article. These measures are to be revoked on the demand of the Reichstag.

If danger is imminent, a State government may, for its own territory, take temporary measures as provided in Paragraph 2. These measures are to be revoked on the demand of the President of the Reich or of the Reichstag.

Details are to be determined by a law of the Reich.

Nazi Party (NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler saluting members of the Sturmabteilung in Brunswick, Lower Saxony, 1932.

Zu dem Verbot der S.A. der "Privat Armee" Adolf Hitlers! Adolf Hitler der oberste Führer der verbotenen S.A. bei der Abnahme eines Vorbeimarsches in Braunschweig.

Zu dem Verbot der S.A. der “Privat Armee” Adolf Hitlers! Adolf Hitler der oberste Führer der verbotenen S.A. bei der Abnahme eines Vorbeimarsches in Braunschweig.

Deutsche Wirtschaftspolitik 1918-1945 Taschenbuch – 1968
von Wolfram Fischer (Autor)
Deutsche -Wirtschaftspolitik_1918-1945
Prof. Dres. Dr. h. c. Wolfram Fischer, em. Universitätsprofessor

From Weimar to Nazism” Wolfram Fischer
ヴァイマルからナチズムへ : ドイツの経済と政治 1918-1945』 みすず書房, 1982.12
ヴォルフラム・フィッシャー [著] ; 加藤栄一[訳]

Nazi Germany NSDAP poster

Ten and eleven-year-old Berlin schoolchildren, 1934.
The salute was a regular gesture in German schools.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” – George Orwell
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” – George Orwell
George Orwell

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. – Sir Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill

Hermann Göring (left) stands in front of Hitler at a Nazi rally in Nuremberg (c. 1928)

Adolf Hitler with Göring on balcony of the Chancellery, Berlin, 16 March 1938

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
国民は、指導者たちの意のままになる。それは簡単なことで、自分たちが外国から攻撃されている、と説明するだけでいい。平和主義者に対しては、愛国心がなく国家を危険にさらす人々だと、批判すればいいだけのことだ。この方法は、どこの国でも、同じように通用する。 - ヘルマン・ゲーリング
Hermann Göring in 1932, wearing the Pour le Mérite

Hermann Göring at the Nuremberg Trials

Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

In an interview with Gilbert in Göring’s jail cell during the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (18 April 1946)

“Millions stand behind me” (John Heartfield photomontage)
Front page of the Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (AIZ) with a photomontage by John Heartfield showing Adolf Hitler taking money from an exemplary industrialist.
Title: “Der Sinn des Hitlergrusses: Kleiner Mann bittet um grosse Gaben.
Motto: Millonen Stehen Hinter Mir!” (The Meaning of the Hitler Salute: Little man asks for big gifts. Motto: Millions Stand Behind Me!)

The Weimar Republic 1918-1933
German conservatives and industrialists had transferred power to the Social Democrats to avert a possible Bolshevik-style takeover.

当時のドイツの政情は、左翼勢力右翼勢力の対立が激しくなって、各地で暴動や反乱が繰り返されていた。非常に不安定だった。 そんな中で、 ヒトラーの国家緊急権行使の後押しをしたのは、”保守陣営と、そして財界”でした〟– テレビ朝日【報道ステーション】2016.03.18「ワイマール憲法の”教訓” なぜ独裁が生まれたのか」

East Germany : a country study” Burant, Stephen R., 1954
Library of Congress. Federal Research Division.
Washington, D.C. : Federal Research Division, Library of Congress : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., 1988.

Weimar Republic
Weimar Constitution

The Weimar Republic, proclaimed on November 9, 1918, was born in the throes of military defeat and social revolution (see fig. 5). On November 3, mutiny had broken out among naval squadrons stationed at Kiel. Workers had joined the revolt, which had quickly spread to other ports and to cities in northern, central, and southern Germany, finally reaching Berlin on November 9. Largely as a result of the November Revolution, Prince Max von Baden, the German chancellor, announced the abdication of the emperor. Following the abdication, the Social Democrats in the Reichstag gained control of the government; they proclaimed the republic, formed a provisional cabinet, and organized the National Assembly.

Another revolt instigated in Berlin by the Spartacus League, a group of left-wing extremists, was crushed by the army in January 1919. In February the National Assembly elected Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert to the presidency and drafted a constitution. The Weimar constitution of 1919 established a federal republic consisting of nineteen states {Lander). The republic was headed by a president who was to be elected by popular direct ballot for a seven-year term and who could be re-elected. The president appointed the chancellor and, based on the chancellor’s nominations, also appointed the cabinet ministers. He retained authority to dismiss the cabinet, dissolve the Reichstag, and veto legislation. The legislative powers of the Reichstag were further weakened by the provision for presidential recourse to popular plebiscite. Article 48, the so-called emergency clause, accorded the president dictatorial rights to intervene in the territorial states for the purpose of enforcing constitutional and federal laws and/or to restore public order. The constitution provided for the Reichstag and the Reichsrat (council of German states’ representatives). The Reichstag, elected by popular suffrage, voted on legislation introduced by the chancellor.

By a vote of no confidence, it could call for the dismissal of both chancellor and cabinet ministers. The Reichsrat replaced the Bundesrat (see Political Consolidation, this ch.). stablished to guarantee state government supervision of national legislation, it was nevertheless subordinated to national control in that members of the Reichstag cabinet convened and presided over Reichsrat sessions. The Reichstag was empowered to override Reichsrat opposition with a two-thirds majority vote. The powers accorded to the president reflected the nineteenth century’s conservative and liberal predilection for monarchical rule. But democratization of suffrage strengthened the Reichstag, and in theory both the military and the bureaucracy were subordinated to cabinet control. Thus the constitution established a republic based on a combination of conservative and democratic elements. It guaranteed civil liberties, but provisions for social legislation, including land reform and limited nationalization, were never implemented. The constitution adopted the colors black, red, and gold—the colors of the Holy Roman Empire—to replace the black, white, and red of Imperial Germany. The colors adopted by the constitution symbolized the idea of a “greater Germany,” which was to include Austria; but the incorporation of Austria into the republic was opposed by the Allies, and Austria remained a separate state.

Problems of Parliamentary Politics

The Weimar Republic represented a compromise: German conservatives and industrialists had transferred power to the Social Democrats to avert a possible Bolshevik-style takeover; the Social Democrats, in turn, had allied with demobilized officers of the Imperial Army to suppress the revolution. The January 1919 National Assembly elections produced the Weimar coalition, which included the SPD, the German Democratic Party (Deutsche Demokratische Partei—DDP), and the Center Party. The percentage of the vote gained by the coalition (76.2 percent; 38 percent for the SPD) suggested broad popular support for the republic. The antirepublican, conservative German National People’s Party (Deutschnationale Volkspartei—DNVP) and the German People’s Party (Deutsche Volkspartei—DVP) combined received 10.3 percent of the vote. The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany, which had split from the SPD during the war, won 8 percent of the vote. But the lifespan of the Weimar coalition was brief, and the Weimar political system, which was achieving gains for both extreme left and extreme right, soon became radicalized.

The future of the Weimar Republic was shaped during the critical year separating the National Assembly elections and the June 1920 Reichstag elections. German public opinion was influenced by three major developments. First, the Treaty of Versailles shocked German nationalists and seriously damaged the republic’s prestige. The treaty’s provisions for Allied occupation of the Rhineland and reparations were considered unduly harsh. Second, German workers were disappointed by the failure to achieve social reform. Third, the Kapp Putsch of March 1920, an attempted coup staged by disaffected right-wing army officers, provided impetus for the political radicalization of rightist and leftist elements. In the June 1920 elections, the Weimar coalition lost its majority. An increase in votes (28.9 percent) for the DNVP and the DVP reflected German middle-class disillusionment with democracy. SPD strength fell to 21.7 percent as the German working class defected to the extreme left. The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany split as most members joined the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands—KPD), formed in December 1918, and the remainder reunited with the SPD. The Weimar coalition never regained its majority. After 1920 the era of unpopular minority cabinets began. Postwar inflation and Allied demands for reparations contributed to political instability.

In January 1923, French and Belgian troops occupied the highly industrialized Ruhr district as a protest against German defaults in reparations payment. The Weimar government responded by calling upon the Ruhr population to stop all industrial activity. In the summer of 1923, President Ebert asked Gustav Stresemann, the DVP chairman, to form a new cabinet coalition to resolve the crisis. Stresemann Era Stresemann typified the Weimar Vernunftrepublikaner (commonsense republican); a former National Liberal and annexationist, he supported the republic for pragmatic reasons. During his brief chancellorship (August-November 1923), he headed the “great coalition,” an alliance that included the SPD, Center Party, DDP, and DVP. After his chancellorship ended because of combined opposition from the right and left, Stresemann served as German foreign minister until his death in 1929. The Stresemann era (1923-29) was a period of rapprochement with the West during which passive resistance in the Ruhr was ended. As foreign minister, Stresemann pursued negotiation rather than confrontation with the Allies. His policy, however, was strongly opposed by members of both the DNVP and the KPD.

In 1924 the German government adopted a plan for German economic recovery prepared by the American financier Charles G. Dawes. The Dawes Plan attempted to coordinate German reparations payments with a program of economic recovery whereby Germany was required to make only limited payments until 1929. To assist with the recovery, the Reichsbank was founded, and foreign credit, mainly from the United States, was filtered into Germany. As a result, between 1924 and 1929 German industry and commerce made unprecedented progress, and both the standard of living and real wages rose steadily. The Dawes Plan also provided for the withdrawal of French and Belgian troops from the Ruhr district. In 1925 President Ebert died, and the German people elected their national hero, Paul von Hindenburg, who supported the policies inaugurated by Stresemann until 1929, the year of Stresemann’s death.

The Locarno treaties, signed in 1925 by Germany and the Allies, were part of Stresemann’s attempt at rapprochement with the West. A prerequisite for Germany’s admission to the League of Nations in 1926, the treaties accepted the demilitarization of the Rhineland and guaranteed the western frontier as defined by the Treaty of Versailles. Both Britain and Germany preferred to leave the question of the eastern frontier open. In 1925-26 the Allies withdrew their troops from the right bank of the Rhine. In 1926 the German and Soviet governments signed the Treaty of Berlin, which pledged Germany and the Soviet Union to neutrality in the event of an attack on either country by foreign powers. The Locarno treaties, the Treaty of Berlin, and Germany’s membership in the League of Nations were the successes that earned Stresemann world renown. The Young Plan of 1929, which was also introduced during the Stresemann era, formulated the final reparations settlement. Germany agreed to a 59-year schedule of payments averaging approximately 2 billion Deutsche marks annually. The Bank of International Settlement was established to facilitate transactions. The Allies, in turn, promised to complete the evacuation of the Rhineland.

Weimar Culture

The Weimar Republic was the first attempt to establish constitutional liberal democratic government in Germany. The republic’s name symbolically evoked memories of the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who had spent a number of years at the court of Weimar, and of the nation’s humanistic cultural traditions. Goethe’s Weimar was contrasted with the Prussian Germany of authoritarianism, military swagger, and imperialism.

Many Germans, however, remained attached to the old order and lacked a genuine commitment to republican ideals. Both the Social Democrats and those who harkened back to the Prussian past were opposed by the radical opposition, whose program included revolutionary tactics. German culture under the republic reflected the ideological diversity of a politically fragmented society. The Warburg Library, the Psychoanalytic Institute, the German Academy for Politics, and the Marxist Institute for Social Research, founded soon after World War I, were dedicated to the critical analysis of political and social values. These institutions reflected the desire of Weimar intellectuals to reconsider the German past. Eckart Kehr’s Schlachtflottenbau und Parteipolitik (Battleship Construction and Party Politics), published in 1930, pursued the same critical objective, revealing the domestic socioeconomic basis for Imperial Germany’s naval policy.

The cult of the hero survived in the poet Stefan George’s literary society, known as the George Circle, which, in addition to publishing “elevated” poetry and translating the classics, displayed its aristocratic mentality in biographies about great historical figures. Ernst Kantorowicz’s Emperor Frederick II, a biography of the thirteenth-century Hohenstaufen ruler, received widespread public acclaim. Kantorowicz, a former Prussian army officer, describes the Weimar Republic as the triumph of mediocrity, and in his preface he speaks of Germany’s secret longing for its emperors and heroes. In his biography, he mythically portrays Frederick II as a superman who defies all authority and is voraciously eager to taste all of life. Many German artists during this period were part of the expressionist movement. Both literary and visual expressionism were primarily concerned with representing the immediate present.

In contrast to the strict form in the writings of the George Circle, literary expressionism consciously simplified, abbreviated, and distorted sentence structures to give expression to passionate inner feeling. A reaction to inhuman social conditions and the horrors of World War I, expressionist writing called for a new man and a new world that would be united in brotherly love. The outsider, as a victim of society, became the hero. Writers whose works represent this kind of reaction include Georg Heym and Fritz von Unruh. Although some writers, for example, Kurt Hiller and Heinrich Mann, became politically active extremists, expressionists were, for the most part, solely literary revolutionaries. Inner experience is also emphasized in the bold and symbolic colors and distorted forms found in the drawings and paintings of expressionist artists such as Franz Marc and Emil Nolde. In his grotesque figures and

suggestive juxtapositions, the postwar artist George Grosz satirized the materialistic pseudoculture of the bourgeoisie. The dilemma of the Weimar intellectual, who had to choose between the conservative past and the liberal present, can be approached through the novelist Thomas Mann. A monarchist before World War I, a commonsense republican after the war, Mann finally made a genuine commitment to the republic in the mid- 1920s. In 1924 he published Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain), a novel that describes Hans Castorp’s education through life. While visiting a tubercular cousin in a Swiss sanatorium, the protagonist contracts the disease himself and stays for seven years. The sanatorium is a cross section of European civilization in which Castorp is exposed to a variety of political ideologies, including enlightened liberalism. Significantly Castorp (and the conservative Mann) cannot choose liberalism. Love, not reason, the novel concludes, will provide the basis for social reconciliation. After 1929 national socialism offered a different social and political solution. The Nazi party took full advantage of political instability and economic depression, launched a large-scale propaganda campaign, and won a mass following. Nazi ideology, authoritarian but promising social revolution, appealed particularly to German youth, who longed for the restoration of order.

Hitler and the Rise of National Socialism Adolf Hitler was born in the Austrian border town of Braunau am Inn in 1889. At the age of seventeen, Hitler was refused admission to the Vienna Art Academy because of his lack of talent. He remained in Vienna, where he led a Bohemian existence, acquiring an ideology based on belief in the Germanic master race and a form of anti-Semitism that blamed social and political crises on Jewish subversive activities. Hitler remained in Vienna until 1913, when he moved to Munich to avoid the draft. After serving in the German army during World War I, he joined the right-wing Bavarian German Workers’ Party in 1919. The following year, the party changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (National-Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei—NSDAP); the members were known as Nazis, a term derived from the German pronunciation of “National. ” In 1921 Hitler assumed leadership of the NSDAP. As fuhrer (leader) of the NSDAP, Hitler reorganized the party on a monolithic basis and encouraged the assimilation of other radical right-wing groups. He was assisted by Ernst Rohm, Dietrich Eckart, and Alfred Rosenberg. Rohm’s Stormtroopers (Sturmabteilung—SA) constituted Hitler’s private army. Eckart published the Volkischer Beobachter, the official party newspaper. Rosenberg, the party ideologist, developed slogans and symbols and conceived the use of the swastika, the future emblem of the Third Reich. Under Hitler’s leadership, the NSDAP denounced the republic and the “November criminals” who had signed the Treaty of Versailles.

The postwar economic slump won the party a following among unemployed ex-soldiers, the lower middle class, and small farmers; in 1923 membership totaled 55,000. General Ludendorff upported the former corporal in his beer hall putsch of November 1923, an attempt to overthrow the Bavarian government. The putsch failed, and Hitler was imprisoned until December 1924. In prison he wrote Mein Kampf, the Nazi ideological tract. After the failure of the putsch, Hitler chose “legal revolution” as the road to power and then pursued a double goal. First, the NSDAP employed propaganda to create a national mass party capable of seizing power through electoral successes. Second, the party developed a bureaucratic structure and prepared to assume the functions of state.

Beginning in 1924, numerous Nazi cells sprang up in parts of northern Germany; the northern groups were consolidated with the Munich-Bavarian party core. The NSDAP bureaucracy was established in 1926. The SA, which was subordinated to centralized political control, functioned primarily to train party members and to supervise the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend—HJ). Postwar youth and university students increasingly formed the core of the NSDAP membership. In 1927 the NSDAP organized the first Nuremberg party congress, a mass political rally.

By 1928 party membership exceeded 100,000; the Nazis, however, polled only 2.6 percent of the vote in the May Reichstag elections. The NSDAP, a mere splinter party in 1928, began its rise to power the following year. The original breakthrough was the July 1929 alliance with the DNVP. Alfred Hugenberg, a DNVP leader, arranged the alliance for the purpose of launching a plebiscite against the Young Plan on the issue of reparations. Hugenberg, owner of a large chain of news media enterprises, considered the spellbinding Hitler to be a useful drummer who would attract the masses. The DNVP-NSDAP union brought the NSDAP within the framework of a socially influential coalition of the antirepublican right. As a result, Hitler’s party acquired respectability and access to financial resources from a number of industrialists. Had it not been for the economic depression of 1929, however, Hitler might have faded out of Germany’s history. The depression greatly augmented political and social instability.

By 1932 German unemployment figures had reached more than 6 million out of a population of 65 million. The situation caused the middle class, which had not fully recovered from the inflation of 1923, to lose faith in the economic system and in its future. The NSDAP exploited the situation, making an intensified appeal to the unemployed middle-class urban and rural masses and blaming the Treaty of Versailles and reparations for the developing crisis. Nazi propaganda attacked the Weimar political “system,” the “November criminals,” Marxists, internationalists, and Jews. In addition to promising a solution to the economic crisis, the NSDAP offered the German people a sense of national pride, the acquisition of lebensraum (living space), and the restoration of order. The racist concept of the “superior” Aryan requiring defense against foreign intrusion, i.e., Jews, was also proclaimed.

Frequent elections had to be held because no workable majority was possible in the Reichstag; the economic depression was causing an increase in votes only for the extremist parties. The cabinet crises of the depression years led to increased experimentation with authoritarian methods of rule. The most important consequence of this experimentation was President Hindenburg’s appointment of chancellors whose politics favored the right. In the spring of 1930, Hindenburg appointed Heinrich Briining as chancellor. The NSDAP won 18.3 percent of the vote that year and emerged as the second strongest Reichstag party (following the SPD, which had 38.2 percent). The KPD polled 13.1 percent of the vote. In 1931 the DNVP, which was devastatingly defeated in the elections, joined with the NSDAP to form the Harzburg Front coalition against Briining’ s government. Under orders from Moscow, the KPD cooperated with the NSDAP in an attempt to destroy the Weimar Republic. Under attack from both sides, the Briining government survived only until June 1932. In July 1932, the NSDAP more than doubled its 1930 Reichstag representation and became the strongest German party. In the November 1932 election, however, NSDAP popularity declined as the economic depression began to abate. The KPD increased its representation in this election. In the same year, a group of conservative and antirepublican aristocrats and industrialists, thinking they could use to their advantage the wave of discontent that had contributed to Hitler’s rise in popularity, supported the NSDAP with funds. Meanwhile, Briining’s successor, Franz von Papen, a strong authoritarian who wished to establish a corporate state under aristocratic leadership and thus circumvent the problems of parliamentary politics, sought NSDAP-DNVP support in May 1932. He, however, met with Hitler’s refusal. After the electoral success of the NSDAP in the July 1932 elections, Hitler also refused Papen’ s offer to join the cabinet as vice chancellor.

General Kurt von Schleicher, having forced Papen’s resignation, was appointed chancellor in December 1932. Unable to form a coalition in the Reichstag, Schleicher also offered Hitler the vice chancellorship, but the fuhrer was determined to hold out for the highest government post. When Schleicher was dismissed, he and Papen, intriguing separately, prevailed upon President Hindenburg to appoint Hitler chancellor of a coalition government. On January 30, 1933, by entirely legal means, Adolf Hitler became chancellor of the republic.

Third Reich
Consolidation of Power

Hitler proceeded to transform the Weimar Republic into a totalitarian dictatorship. The National Socialist “revolution” was accomplished in gradual steps by using legal and semilegal methods as well as terror. The NSDAP endeavored initially to establish National Socialist hegemony within the state. In this process, the old conservative-nationalist elite, while partially preserved, was subordinated to Nazi control. The state bureaucratic apparatus and the army, however, were retained, and the country’s economic and social structure remained largely unchanged. Because the government did not have a parliamentary majority, Hindenburg called for the dissolution of the Reichstag and set March 5 as the date for new elections. A week before election day, the Reichstag building was destroyed by fire. The Nazis, who presumably had set fire to the building themselves, blamed the fire on the communists, and on February 28 the president, invoking Article 48 of the constitution, signed a decree that enabled the Nazis to quash the political opposition. Authorized by the decree, the SA arrested socialist and liberal leaders as well as a large number of ommunists. State governments lacking a National Socialist majority were dissolved and subordinated to control by the central government. In March Hitler presented the Enabling Act to the Reichstag. The Reichstag, purged and intimidated, passed the act by a vote of 441 to 84, thereby according Hitler’s cabinet dictatorial powers for a period of 4 years.

Hitler used the Enabling Act to implement Gleichschaltung (forced political coordination), the policy of subordinating all independent institutions and organizations to Nazi control. The state bureaucracy and the judiciary were purged of “non-Aryans, ‘ ‘ and all members were obliged to swear an oath of personal loyalty to the fuhrer. The Secret State Police (Geheime Staatspolizei—Gestapo) was created, and the People’s Tribunal was established to deal with cases of treason. State governments were dismissed and replaced by Reich governors directly responsible to Hitler. Trade unions were dissolved, political parties other than NSDAP were disbanded, and the NSDAP was purged of its social-revolutionary wing. In July Germany was legally declared a National Socialist one-party state. After Hindenburg’s death in August 1934, Hitler promulgated a law that combined the offices of the president and the chancellor. The law violated the Enabling Act, but it was subsequently sanctioned by national plebiscite. Thus, in the pseudolegal fashion characteristic of Nazi tactics, Hitler established himself as German fiihrer. The army swore an oath of allegiance pledging unconditional obedience to him, and Heinrich Himmler’s Guard Detachment (Schutzstaffel—SS) replaced the SA as Hitler’s private army. Nazi leadership was drawn from the lower-middle class and, according to some estimates, came from non-Prussian regions such as Bavaria. Joseph Goebbels, the minister of propaganda, consolidated the National Socialist power and elite structure. Goebbels formulated the concept of “total propaganda” and established the Reich Cultural Chamber. The chamber extended Gleichschaltung to include the educational system, the media, and all cultural institutions. Germanic customs were revived, the worship of Germanic gods was encouraged, and ambiguous and exaggerated vocabulary was introduced into the language to promote Nazi ideology. Hitler’s Mein Kampf and other racist-imperialist literature were also widely distributed. In its propaganda campaign, the NSDAP focused primarily on “gathering in” the German youth.

Mobilization for War

National socialism added to authoritarianism the politically charismatic idea of the “movement,” i.e., the Third Reich’s mobilization for war. To that end, Nazi economic policy emphasized accelerated rearmament and autarchy, and the German chemical industry developed artificial rubber, plastics, synthetic textiles, and other substitute products to make the Third Reich independent of imported raw materials. Because the NSDAP had won the support of German industrialists, private ownership, although subordinated to party control, was left intact. The government also began an extensive public works program and expanded and improved the transportation system. The Four-Year Plan, adopted in 1936, resulted in a conflict between Hermann Goring’ s nationalist approach, which aimed at removing Germany from the international economy through industrial self-sufficiency, and the internationalist approach to industry advocated by Hjalmar Schacht, minister of economic affairs. Goring, at the time a minister without portfolio, prevailed with his “guns versus butter” slogan. The Four-Year Plan Office assumed responsibility for developing production quotas and market guidelines. Major industrial enterprises, particularly war materiel producers such as Krupp (steel and armaments), I. G. Farben (chemicals), and Siemens (shipbuilding), were expanded. The enlarged war materiel industry significantly reduced unemployment. Owing to the preferential wage scales offered by war materiel producers, large numbers of Germans abandoned agriculture to seek jobs in industry.

During World War II, the Nazi regime instituted a labor draft and also used disenfranchised foreign and slave labor to supply the growing needs of the war economy. A most significant feature of the Third Reich was the formal institutionalization of a system of terror made possible by the SS. In the mid- 1930s, Himmler’s SS assumed control over both the Gestapo and the Nazi concentration camp system, thereby solidifying Hitler’s totalitarian control (see Holocaust, this ch.). Gestapo arrests, which had focused originally on communists and socialists, were extended to other social groups, most particularly to Jews. The concentration camps, which were filled with the Third Reich’s undesirable elements during mobilization, were to supply forced labor for SS-run projects and industries during World War II. Meanwhile, the attention of the German masses, for whom there had been no real social revolution, was diverted ideologically toward the goal of lebensraum, which was to be achieved by coercion and military conquest. By the late 1930s, mesmerized Germans, roaring their approval in mass demonstrations, were ready to follow their fuhrer to war.

Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler Speech