September saw our members treated to Tony Hickey’s display on German Propaganda, A collection of postage stamps, postcards and ephemera from the period of the signing of the armistice on the 11th November 1918, to the ascension of Hitler and the National Socialists to power on the 30th January 1933.
The armistice, based on President Wilson’s 14-point plan, was signed at 5 am in Marshal Petain’s personal train in the Forest of Compiegne on the 11th November 1918. The German Army was not happy with the terms imposed.
The Treaty of Versailles was signed in the Versailles Hall of Mirrors on the 28th June 1919. Wilson’s 14-points had expanded out of recognition with so many more clauses to humiliate Germany for causing the War; the War Guilt Clause.
Reparations to be paid to the Allies were horrendous, the loss of German territory harsh and all overseas possessions confiscated. The army was reduced to 100,000 men, a navy of 36 small ships and no air force.
During November 1923 Hitler staged a coup to overturn the government and then march on Berlin. The coup ended in failure with Hitler being sentenced to 5 years in prison for treason.
In 1929, the Government fell which called for election after election with no party gaining a clear majority. In late 1932 President Hindenburg was pushed by ex-Chancellor von Papen to consider Hitler as Chancellor as he had gained 33.1% of the vote.
Field Marshal Hindenburg disliked Corporal Hitler but succumbed to von Papen’s pressure who assured him that Hitler was a fervent anti-communist, (the dreaded Bolshevik threat) and would unite Germany and end the cycle of seemingly never-ending elections. Hitler was appointed Chancellor on the 30th January 1933 with von Papen, who had promised Hindenburg to keep him under control, as vice chancellor.