A Missed Destiny – Part 3 of 9

The reversal took place under the government of Brüning. There was already a semi-fascist chancellor. At the beginning, he did not truly have the intention of detaching from Weimar and France. The turn that events took imposed on him this detachment. He opposed the first resistance to France and “active” German foreign policy. France inflicted on him grave defeats, but these ones definitely ridiculed the politics of Franco-German rapprochement. Thus Germany was pushed into the arms of Italy. Stresemann had already avoided Mussolini, but Brüning was keen to have amicable relations with the Italian leader. The fact that, in parallel, Brüning put in work the dismantlement of the democratic-parliamentary system of Weimar, corresponded to the internal logic of this foreign policy. His “authoritarian government” was a precarious transition to this dictatorship that Hitler would instate later, by resting on a large democratic base. Brüning established the bridges that thus permitted the Zentrum to pass, in good and due form, from the social democratic front to the National Socialist front.

The cabinet of Papen was a strange interlude. He intended to pursue the politics of Franco-German entente in more favorable conditions, because the rapprochement between Germany and Italy had given a lesson to France that should have served as a warning. The Papen cabinet did not truly aspire to a direct collaboration with Italy but wanted rather to bring back France by the reason of using the threat of a German-Italian entente. However, Herriot proved intractable. And thereby, the Papen cabinet received a sudden stop.

The Schleicher cabinet followed the same route. Nevertheless, he understood more clearly that in the case where it disappointed him, he would be ready to march to the side of Italy. However, Schleicher waited too long to take this decision. He lost precious time weighing for and against. When the men decided to risk something, that was the fall of Schleicher.


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