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(C) The Disintegration and Destruction of the Republic, 1930-3

The short phase of the relative stabilization of the Weimar Republic came to an abrupt end in 1929-30. Two fatal developments coincided in time and reinforced each other. In the first place, the transformation of the political system which began with the appointment of the first presidential Cabinet in March 1930 led in a short time to an overt political crisis. Secondly, soon after the world depression set in the German economy went into a steep decline, and conflicts over the distribution of wealth were dramatically intensified. The fragility of the political system and the increased potential for social conflict combined to produce fertile conditions for radicalism of the left and right. In particular, the nationalist and anti-democratic forces gathered for an assault on the republic in 1929-30. Their spearhead was the NSDAP, which succeeded in becoming a mass movement in the very months in which the political and economic crisis began to loom, and thus became an essential factor in the political contest.