Scholars have long debated whether Heinrich Bruning, head of the German government from 1930 to 1932, was the 'last democratic chancellor'of the Weimar Republic or the trailblazer of the Nazi dictatorship. His memoirs (published in 1970) damaged his reputation badly by terming the restoration of monarchy the 'crux' of his policies. This 1998 book is the first scholarly biography of Bruning in any language and offers a systematic analysis of the economic, social, foreign, and military policies of his cabinet as it sought to cope with the Great Depression. With the help of newly available sources, it clarifies the peculiar distortions in the memoirs, showing that Chancellor Bruning intended to restore parliamentary democracy intact when the economic crisis passed. He was curbing the Nazi menace successfully when President Hindenburg, reactionary landowners, and army generals eager for massive rearmament made the disastrously misguided decision to topple him.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press