By H. W. Koch
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Additional resources for Aspects of the Third Reich
As mentioned above the Constitution did not contain a single article providing parties with a constitutional anchor. That was by no means novel. The US Constitution does not possess such a provision either - and nothing was more suspect to the Founding Fathers than political parties. They originated in Washington's second term as President, when conflicting opinions in his cabinet, particularly between Hamilton and Jefferson, polarised themselves to the extent that two political parties were the end product; the first party political elections in the history of the United States were those of 1796.
Hindenburg, always insistent on acting within the Constitution, would never have sanctioned a military coup d'etat. But the Reichstag was in no condition to offer advice. Schleicher's approaches to the left alarmed the conservatives, an alarm reinforced by the third factor, the increase in the Communist vote. This increase was considered even more alarming in view of the fact that a few days prior to the November election the NSDAP and KPD had joined hands in supporting the Berlin transport strike.
Indeed the initial negotiations centred on a Papen government in which the NSDAP was represented. Hitler would have none of it, but the loss of votes had not left him untouched. Although he demanded the chancellorship for himself, his other demands were extremely modest when compared with those of the summer of 1932. Papen realised that Hitler would not budge and was prepared to accept the vice-chancellorship but in the hope that he, and not Hitler, would dictate policies. If there was a deception, then Papen's failure to communicate the reality of the situation to Hindenburg from mid-January 1933 to 26 January was the only one.
Aspects of the Third Reich by H. W. Koch