No. 577 NAI DFA 34/125

Confidential Report from Daniel A. Binchy to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Berlin, 12 October 1931

The resignation of the Reich Cabinet is generally attributed here to the personal intervention of President von Hindenburg. The President himself is supposed to have little liking for or interest in politics, and I have heard it stated that in these matters he generally follows the advice of his son, Major von Hindenburg. The latter, while personally very agreeable and friendly, is supposed to stand very much to the Right in politics, and represents the only connection which the President retains with his former friends.

Undoubtedly the President was seeking to secure stability by forcing a reconstitution of the Government with increased representation for the Right. In this way it was hoped both to diminish the hostility of the so-called 'national opposition' to Dr. Brüning and to secure for the latter's new Cabinet the support of Big Business by including some of their representatives in it. This second ambition has been already frustrated. Although the new Minister for Economic Affairs, Professor Warmbold, is associated with the Dye Trust (I G Farben Industrie) and has other connections also with industry, the leaders of German industry have not rallied to the Government in any force. They still remain convinced that the hour is propitious for a national campaign for the reduction of wages and social services, and the continued presence of Herr Stegewaldt of the Centrum, who represents the powerful Christian Trade Unions, is a formidable obstacle to these ambitions.

Nor is the first objective likely to be realised. The conference of leaders of the National Opposition which has just been held at Bad Harzburg, has reaffirmed its unrelenting hostility to the Brüning administration and indeed to any 'middle' Government, even one with a leaning towards the Right. Further the Volkspartei, the movements of which since Stresemann's death can only be compared with those of a rudderless boat, has just declared its lack of confidence in the new Government. But the tactics of this party have shown such a bewildering lack of consistency in recent times that it is safer to await the result of the no confidence motion which will shortly be taken in the re-assembled Reichstag before committing oneself to any opinion as to its action.

Dr. Brüning's second Cabinet accordingly can only hold office at the pleasure of the Socialists. Should they support the vote of no confidence, or even abstain from voting, the Government will be heavily defeated. The Socialists dislike and distrust many of the tendencies of the Brüning policy, at least in internal matters. As a result of their policy of toleration in order to avoid greater evils, they are losing votes steadily to the Communists, and within the last week there has been a small secession of some of their Reichstag and Landtag members, which may become more serious in the future. It is therefore very doubtful whether they will be able to continue their support of Dr. Brüning, who (as everyone realises) is governing by dictatorial methods. It remains to be seen whether he can still command their toleration by holding the threat of a general election over their heads, at which they must lose heavily to the Communists, and which would result in a very formidable increase of the parties of disorder, both Right and Left.

From all this you will see that the new Cabinet's expectation of life is anything but cheerful. Indeed Germany seems to be facing still more difficult days, both politically and economically. The coming winter can hardly pass over without some serious disorder. One can only hope that the authorities will have sufficient force at their disposal to crush any such disorders at the very outset. In this connection the fact that General Groener, who has been Minister for Defence in all Cabinets for the past three years, has now taken over the Ministry for Home Affairs in addition is not without its significance.

[signed] D.A. Binchy

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