Alternate History Challenge: Paul von Hindenburg never appoints Hitler:

Underlankers

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Feb 2013
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In 1933, Paul von Hindenburg, after prolonged pressure from his son, from von Sleicher, from von Papen, and the other leaders of the conservative German movements finally appointed Hitler as Chancellor. But at the time the Nazi Party was very close to a complete breakup and the collapse of its bloated size from the Depression. Suppose that Hindenburg essentially decides to be a stubborn old fart and never goes along to appoint 'That Bohemian Corporal.' The result is that Hindenburg retains leadership of a Presidential regime that has destroyed Weimar Democracy, the KPD is still a powerful, belligerent force, but the NSDAP has self-destructed due to Hitler's legalite approach failing and his unwillingness to sanction the more direct Rohm-style takeover (realizing it was doomed to fail regardless).

What happens to *this* Germany? IMHO whatever happens, it's hard for it to be worse than the shattered, gutted Germany of OTL 1945 which had spent the last four years attempting to slaughter the Slavs and Jews of Europe and wound up the cat's paw of the Cold War superpowers for its pains. Weimar Democracy is still dead, Hindenburg's on the verge of death, German conservatism of the not-Brown variety has no popular support whatsoever, and the KPD is too beholden to Moscow to do much on its own. So......who, if anyone, is the fool who rushes in where angels fear to tread?
 

Sam-Nary

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Jun 2012
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Hindenburg would hold things together until his death but would face continued instability of his governments. The strongest individual party in Germany were the Social Democrats, but they were not strong enough to control the government, and because they had the potential to partner with the German Communists, they irritated those on the conservative end of politics that had lead to the initial rise of the Nazis in the first place.

The key would be what would happen in 1934 when Hindenburg finally dies? More than likely, what I think would happen would be that a new right wing coalition, with the Nazis as a minor member would ultimately be elected into power. While potentially unstable, it would provide the German people with an alternative to the prospect of armed revolution that they feared would happen under the Social Democrats and the Communists...

The ultimate end result would not be to unlike what actually happened with Hitler's rise in history. Germany would rearm and challenge its neighbors for the Rhineland and the Saar, Austria, the Sudetenland, and the Polish Corridor and Danzig. It may not happen as quickly as under the Nazis, but these attempts would probably come eventually, and given that the only change is not having Hitler and the Nazis dominate the German government, the new government would still be emboldened to push the boundries of France and Britain's willingness to go to war.

Whether or not WW2 would happen and the the Holocaust would happen is up for grabs. With events going on longer, these things might only be postponed rather then excellerated under the Nazis. German antisemitism did not magically appear when Hitler became Chancellor. German antisemitism, and European antisemitism, predated Hitler. As such, while the new Germany without Hitler at its head might not push Europe into war in 1939, there is no garuantee that things wouldn't become tense and that mistreatment of German Jews wouldn't happen...

And who knows... maybe in this scenario, Heydrich surpasses Hitler as the Nazi leader through rhetoric, image, and covert violence and manages to establish the Third Reich in 1940 and accelrates the push toward war and the Holocaust. Simply removing Hitler in 1933 does not guarantee anything that is good.
 

Underlankers

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Feb 2013
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If Hitler wasn't appointed, the NSDAP was going to disintegrate into the mess of rival factions and internal debt it had made for itself. Its share of the German vote was in decline when Hindenburg finally made the decision, so if he does not do so that decline is likely to lead to the movement imploding. In that case quite a few of the SA are likely to do what happened IOTL and switch to the Red Front, which gains a large number of new cadres. The Reichswehr indisputably will take out the Long Knives in favor of the conservatives, however.

What's left the hard core of the NSDAP will rally to itself, the KPD, however, will try a Popular Front which the SPD is unlikely to along with. That means the SPD is going to look to the Catholic Centre Party, the KPD in turn is going to become Uncle Joe's Bully Boys.

So this leads to at least four factions: the KPD-USSR, the Stalhelm-Reichswehr-Traditional Conservatives, the SPD-Reichsbanner-Center, and the NSDAP. In a political climate of paramilitaries, the odds that these people negotiate peacefully are rather slim.
 

Belloc

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Mar 2010
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I think a right-wing strong man would still come to power in wake of Hindenburg's death, building an authoritarian regime on a coalition rather than the dominance of one faction. A regime resembling Engelbert Dollfuss's regime in Austria rather than the Nazi regime. This regime might not be as aggressive as Hitler in asserting Germany's power in Europe. If anything WWII might be the Western Allies and Germany vs the Soviet Union.
 
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Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,851
At present SD, USA
I think a right-wing strong man would still come to power in wake of Hindenburg's death, building an authoritarian regime on a coalition rather than the dominance of one faction. A regime resembling Engelbert Dollfuss's regime in Austria rather than the Nazi regime. This regime might not be as aggressive as Hitler in asserting Germany's power in Europe. If anything WWII might be the Western Allies and Germany vs the Soviet Union.
Which might be possible so long as the new German government doesn't push things to the points that Hitler did... The problem, though, is that any such strong man would need a functioning coalition and would face considerable opposition from the Social Democrats and the Communists... as such, if the strong man doesn't have the political skill to keep the coalition from fracturing, his tenure would be brief.
 

pugsville

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Oct 2010
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The Social Democrats where in no way revolutionary and were not even faintly possible for some sort of armed coup.

The Naxi vote was decking, and if the economics continued to improve there vote would have quickly dropped.
 

Sam-Nary

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Jun 2012
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What's left the hard core of the NSDAP will rally to itself, the KPD, however, will try a Popular Front which the SPD is unlikely to along with. That means the SPD is going to look to the Catholic Centre Party, the KPD in turn is going to become Uncle Joe's Bully Boys.

So this leads to at least four factions: the KPD-USSR, the Stalhelm-Reichswehr-Traditional Conservatives, the SPD-Reichsbanner-Center, and the NSDAP. In a political climate of paramilitaries, the odds that these people negotiate peacefully are rather slim.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the "popular front" movement a counter to the rise of the Nazis in Germany? A Germany without Hitler leading it wouldn't be as powerful or at least not as openly aggressive, and thus wouldn't give the implication that a popular front was needed...
 

Belloc

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Mar 2010
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Which might be possible so long as the new German government doesn't push things to the points that Hitler did... The problem, though, is that any such strong man would need a functioning coalition and would face considerable opposition from the Social Democrats and the Communists... as such, if the strong man doesn't have the political skill to keep the coalition from fracturing, his tenure would be brief.
If the Communists become more militant, then that can provoke a harsher response from the government, causing a strong man to invoke the emergency powers granted to him by the Weimar constitution. The Social Democrats and Communists were divided between themselves, so how much of an effective opposition they can put it up is questionable. Certainly the Social Democrats could block certain measures and even abuses, but I don't think they would put up that much effective of a resistance.
 
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Sam-Nary

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Jun 2012
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The Social Democrats where in no way revolutionary and were not even faintly possible for some sort of armed coup.
But they are still a Socialist party, and to those on the extremely conservative side of politics, just the same as the Communists.

Remember that in history the Nazis banned both the German Communists and the Social Democratic Party immediately. They would ultimately expell all the others, but these two were among the first because the Nazis saw them as their ideological enemies that HAD to dissappear.