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Hitler's pioneer - A. Hugenberg
Hugenberg Papen poster.

Alfred Wilhelm Franz Maria Hugenberg (19 June 1865 - 12 March 1951) was an influential German businessman and politician. He was a member of Adolf Hitler's first cabinet in 1933.

Born in Kükenbruch, near Rinteln, kingdom of Hanover to Karl Hugenberg, a member of the Prussian parliament, he studied law in Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Berlin, as well as economics in Strasbourg. In 1891, Hugenberg co-founded the ultra-nationalist Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband). In 1900 Hugenberg married his second cousin, Gertrud Adickes.

After holding various management positions in the banking and steel industries, from 1916 on Hugenberg began building the Hugenberg-Konzern, a conglomeration of publishing, film, advertising and newspaper companies. At the beginning of the 1920s, Hugenberg exerted substantial influence on the right-wing press in Germany with his publishing firm Scherl House.

A National Liberal in the Imperial period, in 1918, Hugenberg joined the Deutschnationale Volkspartei or DNVP (German National People's Party), which he represented in the National Assembly (that produced the 1919 constitution of the Weimar Republic) and later in the Reichstag. He became chairman of the DNVP after a disastrous defeat in the 1928 general elections. He remained a member of the Reichstag until 1945, even after the DNVP was dissolved along with all other parties in 1933, as a "guest" of the Nazi Party.

Hugenberg moved the party in a far more radical direction than it had taken under its previous leader, Kuno Graf von Westarp. He hoped to use radical nationalism to restore the party's fortunes, and eventually, to overthrow the Weimar constitution and install an authoritarian form of government. Under Hugenberg's leadership, the DNVP toned down and later abandoned the monarchism which had characterized the party in its earlier years. Controversy over Hugenberg's radicalism led many of the more conservative party deputies to leave and form the Conservative People's Party (KVP).

In the last years of the Weimar Republic, until the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Reichskanzler (Chancellor) in 1933, Hugenberg and the DNVP cooperated with the Nazis in their opposition to the cabinet of Heinrich Brüning and, to an extent, the Republic as a whole. However, in 1932 Hugenberg chose to support Franz von Papen. He became Minister for Economy, Agriculture and Food in Hitler's first cabinet in 1933, while hoping that Hitler would not remain long in power.

In June 1933, he was forced to resign from his ministerial posts. In June 1933, Hitler was forced to disavow Hugenberg who while attending the London World Economic Conference put forth a programme of German colonial expansion in both Africa and Eastern Europe as the best way of ending the Great Depression, which created a major storm abroad[1]. Starting in late 1933, he was forced to sell his media companies to the Nazis.

After the war, Hugenberg was detained by the British. He died on 12 March 1951, near Rinteln.

Political offices
Preceded by
Magnus Freiherr von Braun
Minister of Food
1933
Succeeded by
Richard Walther Darré

Notes

  1. ^ Hildebrand, Klaus The Foreign Policy of the Third Reich London: Batsford 1973 pages 31-32.

References

  1. ^ Hildebrand, Klaus The Foreign Policy of the Third Reich London: Batsford 1973 pages 31-32.

External links








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