Alfred Hugenberg

Alfred Hugenberg

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Alfred Ernst Christian Alexander Hugenberg (19 June 1865 - 12 March 1951) was an influential German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 businessman and politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

. Hugenberg, a leading figure within nationalist
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 politics in Germany for the first few decades of the twentieth century, became the country's leading media proprietor
Media proprietor
A media proprietor is a person who controls, either through personal ownership or a dominant position in any media enterprise. Those with significant control of a public company in the mass media may also be called "media moguls", "tycoons", "barons", or "bosses".The figure of the media proprietor...

 within the inter-war period. As leader of the German National People's Party
German National People's Party
The German National People's Party was a national conservative party in Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic. Before the rise of the NSDAP it was the main nationalist party in Weimar Germany composed of nationalists, reactionary monarchists, völkisch, and antisemitic elements, and...

 Hugenberg was instrumental in helping Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 become Chancellor of Germany
Chancellor of Germany
The Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...

 and served in his first cabinet in 1933. Hugenberg had hoped to control Hitler and use him as his "tool" but ultimately he had little to no influence in the Third Reich.

Early years


Born in Hanover
Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

 to Carl Hugenberg, a royal Hanoverian
Kingdom of Hanover
The Kingdom of Hanover was established in October 1814 by the Congress of Vienna, with the restoration of George III to his Hanoverian territories after the Napoleonic era. It succeeded the former Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg , and joined with 38 other sovereign states in the German...

 official who in 1867 entered the Prussian Landtag
Preußischer Landtag
Preußischer Landtag or Prussian Landtag was the Landtag of the Kingdom of Prussia, which was implemented in 1849 after the dissolution of the Prussian National Assembly, building on the tradition of the Prussian estates that had existed from the 14th century in various forms and states in Teutonic...

 as a member of the National Liberal Party
National Liberal Party (Germany)
The National Liberal Party was a German political party which flourished between 1867 and 1918. It was formed by Prussian liberals who put aside their differences with Bismarck over domestic policy due to their support for his highly successful foreign policy, which resulted in the unification of...

, he studied law in Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin
The Humboldt University of Berlin is Berlin's oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities...

, as well as economics in Strassburg
University of Strasbourg
The University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, Alsace, France, is the largest university in France, with about 43,000 students and over 4,000 researchers....

. In 1891, Hugenberg co-founded, along with Karl Peters
Karl Peters
Karl Peters , was a German colonial ruler, explorer, politician and author, the prime mover behind the foundation of the German colony of East Africa...

, the ultra-nationalist General German League and in 1894 its successor movement the Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband). In 1900 Hugenberg married his second cousin, Gertrud Adickes. At the same time he was also involved in a scheme in the Province of Posen
Province of Posen
The Province of Posen was a province of Prussia from 1848–1918 and as such part of the German Empire from 1871 to 1918. The area was about 29,000 km2....

 where a board of nationalists bought up land from Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 in order to settle ethnic Germans there.

Hugenberg initially took a role organising agricultural societies before entering the civil service in the Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n Ministry of Finance in 1903. He left the public sector to pursue a career in business and in 1909 he was appointed chairman of the supervisory board of Krupp
Krupp
The Krupp family , a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, have become famous for their steel production and for their manufacture of ammunition and armaments. The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG Hoesch-Krupp, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th...

 Steel and built up a close personal and political relationship with Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach
Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach
Gustav Georg Friedrich Maria Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, "Taffi", ran the German Friedrich Krupp AG heavy industry conglomerate from 1909 until 1941...

. As well as administering Krupps finance (with considerable success) Hugenberg also set about developing personal business interests from 1916 onwards. He remained at Krupp until 1918 when he set out on his own and during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 he was able to buy up dozens of local newspapers. These became the basis of his publishing firm Scherl House and, after he added controlling interests in Universum Film AG
Universum Film AG
Universum Film AG, better known as UFA or Ufa, is a film company that was the principal film studio in Germany, home of the German film industry during the Weimar Republic and through World War II, and a major force in world cinema from 1917 to 1945...

, Ala-Anzeiger AG, Vera Verlag and the Telegraphen Union, he had a near monopoly on the media which he used to agitate against the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

 amongst Germany's middle classes.

Nationalist leader



Hugenberg was one of a number of Pan Germans to become involved in the National Liberal Party
National Liberal Party (Germany)
The National Liberal Party was a German political party which flourished between 1867 and 1918. It was formed by Prussian liberals who put aside their differences with Bismarck over domestic policy due to their support for his highly successful foreign policy, which resulted in the unification of...

 in the run up to the First World War. During the war he switched his allegiance to the Fatherland Party
Fatherland Party (Germany)
German Fatherland Party was a pro-war party in the German Empire.The party was founded close to the end of 1917 and represented political circles supporting the war. Among founding members were Wolfgang Kapp and Alfred von Tirpitz . Walter Nicolai, head of the military secret service, was also...

 and became one of its leading members, emphasising territorial expansion and anti-Semitism
Anti-Semitism
Antisemitism is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. According to a 2005 U.S...

 as his two main political issues. In 1919 Hugenberg joined the Deutschnationale Volkspartei or DNVP
German National People's Party
The German National People's Party was a national conservative party in Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic. Before the rise of the NSDAP it was the main nationalist party in Weimar Germany composed of nationalists, reactionary monarchists, völkisch, and antisemitic elements, and...

 (German National People's Party), which he represented in the National Assembly (that produced the 1919 constitution of the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

). He was elected to the Reichstag
Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

in the 1920 elections to the new body. The DNVP suffered heavy losses in the 1928 election, leading to the appointment of Hugenberg as sole chairman on the 21 October that same year.

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. Up to this point right-wing politics outside of the far right
Far right
Far-right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far-right politics may involve anti-immigration and anti-integration stances towards groups that are...

 was going through a process of reconciliation to the Weimar Republic but this ended under Hugenberg, who renewed earlier DNVP calls for its immediate destruction. Under his direction a new DNVP manifesto appeared in 1931, demonstrating the shift to the right. Amongst its demands were immediate restoration of the Hohenzollern monarchy, a reversal of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

, compulsory military conscription, repossession of the German colonial empire
German colonial empire
The German colonial empire was an overseas domain formed in the late 19th century as part of the German Empire. Short-lived colonial efforts by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but Imperial Germany's colonial efforts began in 1884...

, a concerted effort to build up closer links with German people outside Germany (especially in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

), a dilution of the role of the Reichstag to that of supervisory body to a newly established professional house of appointees reminiscent of Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

's corporative state and reduction in the perceived over-representation of Jews in German public life.

Hugenberg also sought to eliminate internal party democracy and instill a führerprinzip
Führerprinzip
The Führerprinzip , German for "leader principle", prescribes the fundamental basis of political authority in the governmental structures of the Third Reich...

within the DNVP, leading to some members breaking away to establish the Conservative People's Party
Conservative People's Party (Germany)
The Conservative People's Party was a short-lived German political party of the moderate right. Breaking away from the German National People's Party in the late 1920s as a result of that party's increasing radicalization under the leadership of Alfred Hugenberg...

 (KVP) in late 1929. More were to follow in June 1930, appaled by Hugenberg's extreme opposition to the cabinet of Heinrich Brüning
Heinrich Brüning
Heinrich Brüning was Chancellor of Germany from 1930 to 1932, during the Weimar Republic. He was the longest serving Chancellor of the Weimar Republic, and remains a controversial figure in German politics....

, a moderate whom some within the DNVP wanted to support.

Under Hugenberg's leadership, the DNVP toned down and later abandoned the monarchism which had characterized the party in its earlier years. Despite Hugenberg's background in industry that constituency gradually deserted the DNVP under his leadership, largely due to a general feeling amongst industrialists that Hugenberg was too inflexible, and soon the party became the main voice of agrarian interest in the Reichstag.

Relationship with Hitler



Hugenberg was vehemently opposed to the Young Plan
Young Plan
The Young Plan was a program for settlement of German reparations debts after World War I written in 1929 and formally adopted in 1930. It was presented by the committee headed by American Owen D. Young. After the Dawes Plan was put into operation , it became apparent that Germany could not meet...

 and he set up a "Reich Committee for the German People's Petition" to oppose it, featuring the likes of Franz Seldte
Franz Seldte
Franz Seldte was cofounder of the German Stahlhelm paramilitary organization, a Nazi politician, and Minister for Labour of the German Reich from 1933 to 1945.-Life:...

, Heinrich Class
Heinrich Class
Heinrich Claß was a German right-wing politician and president of the Pan-German League from 1908 to 1939. He is commonly known for his books about far-right policy, written under the pseudonym Daniel Frymann or Einhart...

, Theodor Duesterberg
Theodor Duesterberg
Theodor Duesterberg was a leader of the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten, in Germany prior to the Nazi seizure of power.-Background:Born the son of an army surgeon in Darmstadt, Duesterberg entered the Prussian Army in 1893 after training in the cadet corps. In 1900, Duesterberg was part of the...

 and Fritz Thyssen
Fritz Thyssen
Friedrich "Fritz" Thyssen was a German businessman born into one of Germany's leading industrial families.-Youth:Thyssen was born in Mülheim in the Ruhr area...

. However he recognised that the DNVP and their elite band of allies did not have enough popular support to carry any rejection of the scheme through. As such Hugenberg felt that he needed a nationalist with support amongst the working classes whom he could use to whip up popular sentiment against the Plan. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 was the only realistic candidate and Hugenberg decided that he would use the Nazi Party leader to get his way. As a result the Nazi Party soon became benefactors of Hugenberg's largesse, both in terms of monetary donations and of favourable coverage from the Hugenberg-owned press, which had previously been largely ignored Hitler or denounced him as a socialist. Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

, who had a deep hatred of Hugenberg, initially spoke privately of breaking from Hitler over the alliance but he changed his mind when Hugenberg agreed that Goebbels should handle the propaganda for the campaign, giving the Nazi Party access to Hugenberg's media empire. Hitler was able to use Hugenberg to push himself into the political mainstream and once the Young Plan was passed by referendum Hitler promptly ended his links with Hugenberg. Hitler publicly blamed Hugenberg for the failure of the campaign but he retained the links with big business that the Committee had allowed him to cultivate and this began a process of the magnates deserting the DNVP for the Nazis. Hitler's handling of the affair was marred only by one thing and that was premature announcement in the Nazi press of his repudiation of the alliance by the Strasser brothers
Strasser brothers
Strasserism refers to the strand of Nazism that called for, and the neo-Nazism that currently calls for, a more radical, mass-action and worker-based form of National Socialism, particularly hostile to finance capitalism from an antisemitic basis, to be initiated alongside nationalism...

, whose left-wing economics were incompatible with Hugenberg's arch-capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

.

Despite this episode in February 1931 Hugenberg joined the Nazi Party in leading the DNVP out of the Reichstag altogether as a protest against the Brüning government. By then the two parties were in a very loose federation known as the 'National Opposition'. This was followed in July of the same year by the release of a joint statement with Hitler guaranteeing that the pair would co-operate for the overthrow of the Weimar 'system'. The two presented a united front at Bad Harzburg
Bad Harzburg
Bad Harzburg is a town in central Germany, in the Goslar district of Lower Saxony. It lies on the northern edge of the Harz mountains and is a recognised saltwater spa and climatic health resort.- Location :...

 on 21 October 1931 as part of a wider right-wing rally leading to suggestions that a Harzburg Front
Harzburg Front
The Harzburg Front was a short-lived right-wing political alliance in Weimar Germany, formed in 1931 as an attempt to present a unified opposition to the government of Chancellor Heinrich Brüning...

 involving the two parties and the veterans movement Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten
Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten
The Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten also known in short form as Der Stahlhelm was one of the many paramilitary organizations that arose after the defeat of World War I in the Weimar Republic...

 had emerged. The two leaders soon clashed however and Hugenberg's refusal to endorse Hitler in the German presidential election, 1932
German presidential election, 1932
The presidential election of 1932 was the second and final direct election to the office of President of the Reich , Germany's head of state during the 1919-1934 Weimar Republic. The incumbent President, Paul von Hindenburg, had been elected in 1925 but his seven year term expired in May...

 widened the gap. Indeed rift between the two opened further when Hugenberg, fearing that Hitler might win the Presidency, persuaded Theodor Duesterberg
Theodor Duesterberg
Theodor Duesterberg was a leader of the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten, in Germany prior to the Nazi seizure of power.-Background:Born the son of an army surgeon in Darmstadt, Duesterberg entered the Prussian Army in 1893 after training in the cadet corps. In 1900, Duesterberg was part of the...

 to run as a junker
Junker
A Junker was a member of the landed nobility of Prussia and eastern Germany. These families were mostly part of the German Uradel and carried on the colonization and Christianization of the northeastern European territories during the medieval Ostsiedlung. The abbreviation of Junker is Jkr...

 candidate. Although he was eliminated on the first vote, due largely to Nazi allegations regarding his Jewish parentage, Hitler nonetheless failed to secure the Presidency.

Hugenberg's party had experienced a growth in support at the November 1932 election at the expense of the Nazis leading to a secret meeting between the two in which a reconciliation of sorts was agreed. Hugenberg hoped to harness the Nazis for his own ends once again and as such he dropped his attacks on them for the campaign for the March 1933 election.

Hitler's rise to power


In early January 1933 Chancellor
Chancellor of Germany
The Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...

 Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany during the era of the Weimar Republic. Seventeen months after his resignation, he was assassinated by order of his successor, Adolf Hitler, in the Night of the Long Knives....

 had developed plans for an expanded coalition government to include not only Hugenberg but also dissident Nazi Gregor Strasser
Gregor Strasser
Gregor Strasser was a politician of the National Socialist German Workers Party...

 and Centre Party
Centre Party (Germany)
The German Centre Party was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church...

 politician Adam Stegerwald
Adam Stegerwald
Adam Stegerwald was a German Catholic politician and a leader of the left wing of the Centre Party. He served as Prime Minister of Prussia in 1921, and later as a minister in the national governments of Hermann Müller and Heinrich Brüning...

. Although Hugenberg had designs on a return to government his hatred of trade union activity meant that he had no intention of working with Stegerwald, the head of the Catholic Trade Union movement. When von Schleicher refused to exclude Stegerwald from his plans Hugenberg broke off negotiations.

Hugenberg's main confidante Reinhold Quaatz
Reinhold Quaatz
Reinhold Quaatz was a German conservative politician active during the Weimar Republic...

 had, despite being half-Jewish, pushed for Hugenberg to follow a more völkisch path and work with the Nazi Party and after the collapse of the von Schleicher talks this was the path he followed. Hugenberg and Hitler met on January 17, 1933 and Hugenberg suggested that they both enter the cabinet of Kurt von Schleicher, a proposal rejected by Hitler who would not move from his demands for the Chancellorship. Hitler did agree in principle to allow von Schleicher to serve under him as Defence Minister, although Hugenberg warned the Nazi leader that as long as Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....

 was President Hitler would never be Chancellor. A further meeting between the two threatened to derail any alliance after Hugenberg rejected Hitler's demands for Nazi control over the interior ministries of Germany and Prussia but by this time Franz von Papen
Franz von Papen
Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen zu Köningen was a German nobleman, Roman Catholic monarchist politician, General Staff officer, and diplomat, who served as Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and as Vice-Chancellor under Adolf Hitler in 1933–1934...

 had come round to the idea of Hitler as Chancellor and he worked hard to persuade the two leaders to come together.

During the negotiations between Franz von Papen
Franz von Papen
Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen zu Köningen was a German nobleman, Roman Catholic monarchist politician, General Staff officer, and diplomat, who served as Chancellor of Germany in 1932 and as Vice-Chancellor under Adolf Hitler in 1933–1934...

 and President Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....

, Hindenburg had insisted that Hugenberg be given the ministires of Economics
Federal Minister for Economics and Labour (Germany)
The Federal Minister for Economics and Labour is the member of the German cabinet in charge of the Federal Ministry for Economics and Labour....

 and Agriculture both at national level and in Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 as a condition of Hitler becoming Chancellor, something of a surprise given the President's well publicised dislike of Hugenberg. Hugenberg, eager for a share of power, agreed to the plan and continued to believe that he could use Hitler for his own ends, telling the Stahlhelm leader Theodor Duesterberg
Theodor Duesterberg
Theodor Duesterberg was a leader of the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten, in Germany prior to the Nazi seizure of power.-Background:Born the son of an army surgeon in Darmstadt, Duesterberg entered the Prussian Army in 1893 after training in the cadet corps. In 1900, Duesterberg was part of the...

 that "we'll box Hitler in". He initially rejected HItler's plans to immediately call a fresh election, fearing that damage such a vote might inflict on his own party but, after being informed by Otto Meißner
Otto Meißner
Otto Meißner was head of the Office of the President of Germany during the entire period of the Weimar Republic under Friedrich Ebert and Paul von Hindenburg and, finally, at the beginning of the Nazi era under Adolf Hitler.-Life:The son of a postal official, Meißner studied law in Strasbourg from...

 that the plan had Hindenburg's endorsement and by von Papen that von Schleicher was preparing to launch a military coup, he conceded to Hitler's wishes. Hugenberg vigorously campaigned for the NSDAP-DNVP alliance, although other leading members within his party expressed fears over socialist elements to Nazi rhetoric and instead appealed for a nonparty dictatorship
Dictatorship
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

, pleas ignored by Hitler.

Removal from politics


In the elections Hugenberg's DNVP captured 52 seats in the Reichstag, although any hope that these seats could ensure influence for the party evaporated with the passing of the Enabling Act of 1933 soon after the vote. Nevertheless Hugenberg was Minister of Economy in the new government and was also appointed Minister of Agriculture in the Nazi cabinet, largely due to the support his party enjoyed amongst the north German landowners. As Minister Hugenberg declared a temporary moratorium on foreclosures, cancelled some debts and placed tarrifs on some widely produced agricultural goods in order to stimulate the sector. As a move to protect dairy farming
Dairy farming
Dairy farming is a class of agricultural, or an animal husbandry, enterprise, for long-term production of milk, usually from dairy cows but also from goats and sheep, which may be either processed on-site or transported to a dairy factory for processing and eventual retail sale.Most dairy farms...

 he also placed limits on margarine production, although this move saw a rapid increase in the price of butter and margarine and made Hugenberg an unpopular figure outside of the farming community, hastening the inevitable departure of this non-Nazi from the cabinet. Meanwhile In June 1933, Hitler was forced to disavow Hugenberg who while attending the London World Economic Conference
London Economic Conference
The London Economic Conference was a meeting of representatives of 66 nations from June 12 to July 27, 1933, at the Geological Museum in London. Its purpose was to win agreement on measures to fight global depression, revive international trade, and stabilize currency exchange rates.The Conference...

 put forth a programme of German colonial expansion in both Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 as the best way of ending the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, which created a major storm abroad. Hugenberg's fate was sealed when State Secretary Fritz Reinhardt
Fritz Reinhardt
Fritz Reinhardt was a state secretary in the German Finance Ministry in the time of the Third Reich.- Career :...

, ostensibly a subordinate to Hugenberg as Minister of Economy, presented a work-creation plan to the cabinet. The policy was supported by every member except Hugenberg, who was strongly opposed to the levels of government intervention in the economy that the scheme required.

An increasingly isolated figure, Hugenberg was finally forced to resign from the cabinet after a campaign of harassment and arrest was launched by Hitler against his DNVP coalition partners. The Sturmabteilung
Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

 were also turned against the DNVP, with youth movements loyal to Hugenberg becoming the focus of attacks. He announced his formal resignation on 29 June 1933 and he was replaced by Kurt Schmitt
Kurt Schmitt
Kurt Paul Schmitt was a German economic leader and the Reich Economy Minister....

 in the Economy Ministry and Richard Walther Darré in the Agriculture Ministry. A 'Friendship Agreement' was signed between the Nazis and the DNVP immediately afterwards, the terms of which effectively dissolved the Nationalists with a few members whose loyalty could be guaranteed absorbed into the Nazi Party. Indeed the German National Front, as the DNVP had officially been called since May 1933, had officially dissolved on 27 June.

Although driven from his cabinet post Hugenberg was, along with von Papen and other former DNVP and Zentrum members, included on the list of candidates for the November 1933 election as a concession to middle class voters. However his stock with the Nazis had fallen so much that in December 1933 the Telegraph Union, the news agency
News agency
A news agency is an organization of journalists established to supply news reports to news organizations: newspapers, magazines, and radio and television broadcasters. Such an agency may also be referred to as a wire service, newswire or news service.-History:The oldest news agency is Agence...

 owned by Hugenberg, was taken over by the Propaganda Ministry
Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda was Nazi Germany's ministry that enforced Nazi Party ideology in Germany and regulated its culture and society. Founded on March 13, 1933, by Adolf Hitler's new National Socialist government, the Ministry was headed by Dr...

 and merged into a new German News Office. Hugenberg was allowed to remain in the Reichstag until 1945 as one of 22 so-called "guests" members, who were officially designated as non-party representatives. Given that they shared the assembly with 639 Nazi deputies they had no influence.

Later years


Although Hugenberg had lost the Telegraph Union early on he was allowed to retain most of his media interests until 1943 when the Nazi controlled Eher Verlag took control of his Scherl House. Hugenberg did not let them go cheaply however as he negotiated a large portfolio of shares in the Rhenish
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

-Westphalia
Westphalia
Westphalia is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Minden and Münster.Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia"...

n industries in return for his co-operation.

Hugenberg was initially detained after the war but in 1949 a Denazification
Denazification
Denazification was an Allied initiative to rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary, and politics of any remnants of the National Socialist ideology. It was carried out specifically by removing those involved from positions of influence and by disbanding or rendering...

 court at Detmold
Detmold
Detmold is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, with a population of about 74,000. It was the capital of the small Principality of Lippe from 1468 until 1918 and then of the Free State of Lippe until 1947...

 adjudged him a "fellow traveller
Fellow traveller
Fellow traveler or fellow traveller is a term referring to a person who sympathizes with the beliefs of an organization or cooperates in its activities without maintaining formal membership in that particular group...

" rather than a Nazi, meaning that he was allowed to keep his property and business interests. He died on 12 March 1951 in Kükenbruch (present-day Extertal
Extertal
Extertal is a municipality in the Lippe district of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, with c. 12,600 inhabitants.Extertal is located on the northern edge of the circle in the Teutoburg Nature Reserve, directly adjacent to Lower Saxony. The Exter and Humme rivers flow through the region. The...

) near Detmold
Detmold
Detmold is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, with a population of about 74,000. It was the capital of the small Principality of Lippe from 1468 until 1918 and then of the Free State of Lippe until 1947...

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