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Letter: Hitler's victory

Sir: The letter from David Glew (20 August) adds very helpful points to those made in Richard Bazillion's lecture (Podium, 17 August) but it is still necessary to indicate why those around President von Hindenburg conceded power to Hitler in 1933.

The Nazi electoral campaigns had consistently denounced the "Criminals of Versailles" as incapable of serving the interests of the German people. By 1932 the circle of leading figures around the President started to weaken and believe that there was some truth in the Nazi claims.

Von Papen was perceived as having returned from the conference at Lausanne in 1932 with nothing gained: in this the role of the Prime Ministers of Britain and France, Ramsey MacDonald and Edouard Herriot, had been crucial, but they were not yet able to grasp the Nazi threat as described to them by Von Papen.

The weakening of the "Von Hindenburg Circle" was made the more likely by the combination of their growing tired under the pressures of office and constantly failing to gain concessions from the Western allies, plus the fact that the harvest of 1932 had been a failure and the winter of 1932-3 was particularly severe.


South Croydon, Surrey