Is Hitler Racist Enough? Völkisch Competition in Northwest Germany

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Is Hitler Racist Enough? Völkisch Competition in Northwest Germany.”
Most scholars agree on a model whereby the Nazi electoral progression to power proceeded in stages, first absorbing the shattered, small parties of the bourgeois middle, then displacing the German National Peoples’ Party as the majority party on the Right, and finally mobilizing millions of youth and non-voters (mainly women) to their cause. What is frequently forgotten in this progression is that Hitler and his followers had to first assert their hegemony over a disparate landscape of competing anti-Semitic groups.1

The most important of the anti-Semitic competitor parties was the German Racist Freedom Party (Deutsch-völkische Freiheitspartie), which campaigned in successive elections under the names Völkisch-Sozial Bloc (VSB), the Nationalsozialistische Freiheitspartei (NSFP), and Völkisch-National Bloc (VNB).2 The DVFP was founded in December 1922 after radical anti-Semites were ejected from the German Nationalist People’s Party. The party was formally banned, its offices seized, and its leaders detained in November 1923 after Hitler’s unsuccessful putsch attempt in Munich. The party’s three members of parliament used their immunity to continue their political activities and in February 1924, in the run-up to the May national elections formed an electoral alliance with the banned NSDAP - the Völkisch-Sozial Bloc. This electoral alliance enjoyed a very successful campaign, especially in northwest Germany, a process I have outlined in a previous paper delivered to this group.3

After the May 1924 election, cooperation between the German Racists and the Nazis broke down, with the DVFP attempting to assert its dominance over the racist movement, while Hitler’s followers struggled to maintain their independence and viability.4 Conflict between the two groups was most intense in Bremen, where they disrupted each other’s rallies and competed against each other in municipal elections.5 In the run-up to the May 1928 national parliamentary election, the German Racists tried to maximize their clout through an alliance with the smaller Landvolk- und Mittlestandspartei that they called the Völkisch-National Bloc or VNB.6

In this paper, I will use GIS to explore German Racist electoral competition with the NSDAP at the village level in the election of 1928, test the standard hypothesis concerning the electoral appeal of the two groups, and suggest how the Nazis were able to emerge as the leading anti-Semitic party in the region. My study focuses on the northern section of the Weimar-era Reichstag constituencies of Weser-Ems and Hannover-Ost. At the core of the work is a historical GIS of 582 villages and polling places in Lower Saxony stretching along the North Sea coast from the Elbe to the Ems.7 In this GIS, I have linked the results of the 14 national elections between 1893 and 1933 (nearly 120,000 independent variables) to data on the population and size of each place, soil and landscape type, land tax, livestock holdings, settlement type, religion, and transportation connectivity (nearly 200 dependent variables).8

Although the Nazis had a reputation as a “southern” party, they did very well in my study area, winning over 30,000 votes, nearly 8% of all votes cast in May 1928. The “northern” VBN received only half as many votes. When one calculates the number of votes cast for the two anti-Semitic parties, the Nazis took just shy of 70%. This support was concentrated in fewer places. A glance at the second table shows that the German Racists were the leading party in 301 of the 548 places for which I have statistics.9

The received wisdom on the competition between the NSDAP and the VNB is that well-to-do peasants in the fertile March areas were concerned about Point 21 in the Nazi Party program that called for the expropriation of private property and tended to vote for the VNB. Poor farmers on the less fertile Geest and least fertile Moor were less concerned with the socialist element in the National Socialist program and tended to vote for the NSDAP. I have labeled this the “Noakes” Thesis after the scholar Jeremy Noakes, whose 1972 opus The Nazi Party in Lower Saxony remains the standard English-language text.10 This is a bit of a straw man in that Noakes did not originate the Point 21 controversy, he had not collected the local electoral data to test it, and he does not rely upon it as the sole issue dividing the two groups.

It is easy to see, however, where contemporaries and historians came up with the notion. The German Racists did do well in many of the region’s most prosperous communities (see GIS below). And the Racists did make a point of attacking the Nazis as Marxist.11 While running down Noakes sources at the Hoover Institution, I came across this leaflet, which sees to encapsulate the conflict. It leads with a clear reference to Point 21:12

Racists as a matter of course recognize

private property as the essential basis

of any culture. Is it völkisch when the

program of the NSDAP demands a law

for the uncompensated nationalization

of land? Or is that Marxism?
I can’t help but highlight a second point:
To be völkisch is to fight all three super-

national powers: the Free Masons, the Jesuits,

and the Jews. Hitler does not

fight against Rome and the Jesuits. …

He is only interested in the Jews.
I don’t find this a very well crafted propaganda tool. It strikes me as something that would appeal only to anti-Semites, but that perhaps was the audience.13

I myself was surprised when I ran a correlation of land tax per hectare to the percentage of votes cast for the VNB and the NSDAP. The P-value for the VNB indicates NO correlation, while that for the NSDAP suggests at best a very mild correlation. The population density of a place proved much more significant, as did the pre-War status of the place as Agrarian or Liberal.14 Here are the results of a regression analysis.15

GIS offers us an alternative explanation. In this map, I have displayed the party that lead in each polling place. When I project the areas where the NSDAP was the leading party over a map displaying land tax per capita, it is clear that the “Noakes” Thesis doesn’t work. In this map, red is the least fertile area where farmers paid the least land tax, while the green areas were the most fertile where farmers were assessed the highest tax. Clearly factors other than a simple rich/poor division would suggest.

Richard Hamilton, in his extensive statistical analysis of Weimar voting patterns based on county-level data, argued that within majority Protestant areas, the major factors determining the growing support for National Socialism were innovative, energetic local activists and support from the “establishment” press.16 Establishment press support for the Nazi Party was non-existent in the northwest before 1932, and there was only one Nazi newspaper in study area.17 Hamilton’s “strong-man” thesis, however, is one that the evidence collected by Noakes strongly supports. Can we find a basis for it using GIS? I would argue yes.

In this slide, I have displayed again a map of völkisch block leaders by polling place. We can see that support for the Nazi was concentrated in the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg and the counties of Norden, Wittmund, and Aurich, while German Racist support was concentrated in Stade, Hadeln, Geestemünde and Emden. Competition between the two groups was most intense in the Rheiderland, Leer, Blumenthal, and Bremervörde.

Looking first at the area of National Socialist dominance, one can see that the National Socialists enjoyed support in every landscape type: the fertile Marsch, the less fertile Geest, and the abysmally poor Moor. Lacking an infrastructure in these areas – the only substantial local chapter was in the capital Oldenburg – the campaign was carried on by two individuals: Ludwig Münchmeyer and Jan Blankemeyer.

Münchmeyer, a defrocked Lutheran pastor, had made his name before the War through his attempts to make the resort island of Borkum “Judenfrei”.18 He was an early proponent of the DVFP and in early 1928 joined the NSDAP. A carnival-like figure, he had amassed a large following in the villages along the North Sea coast.19

Jan Blankemeyer was a young war veteran, member of the DVSTB, and the most dynamic member of the NSDAP in western Oldenburg.20 Blankemeyer organized incessantly, roaming the cut-off villages of the Ammerland on his motorcycle, distributing leaflets that he had prepared himself and delivering short anti-Semitic talks in the local dialect.21

The German Racist campaign similarly relied upon a handful of local activists. The major Racist figure on the Stade Geest was Georg Weidenhöfer.22 A pre-War Agrarian activist, Weidenhöfer was chair of the Stade regional Landbund and widely influential throughout the countryside.23 Two further pre-War anti-Semitic propagandists, Paul Voß24 (pastor of the parish church in Padingbüttel) and August Fetz25 (rector of the gymnasium in Bremerhaven), continued to rouse voters in the small towns they had been propagandizing for years. If you turn your attention across the Weser, you can see German Racist enclaves in Amt Friedenburg, where an anti-Semitic shoemaker, Heinrich Bohnens, distributed party propaganda, and Carolinensiel.26

If we bore down to the village level of Carolinensiel, we can see how one local activist could drive turn out. Carolinensiel was a Sielhafen, an inland harbor and small market town characteristic of the North Sea coast.27 It was founded in 1729 and quickly developed into an important harbor with 40 captains, 59 ships, two shipyards, and four breweries, until its trade was taken over by steam ships and rail.28 By the 1920, it was a backwater fishing town, serving a wealthy agricultural hinterland with services and struggling to develop the island tourist trade.29 According to the 1925 Prussian census, it had 1530 inhabitants.30

Theodor Heinrich van Dieken was the third son of an East Friesian schoolteacher and grew up near Leer.31 He received is teaching degree shortly before the War broke out, and after service on the Western Front, accepted a teaching position in a small village neighboring Carolinensiel.32 He came to Carolinensiel in 1919, where he became active in all aspects of village life, even writing a play to commemorate the Christmas Flood of 1725. A founding member of the DVSTB,33 he was early active in anti-Semitic politics and in May 1924 was the third candidate on the VSB list for Weser-Ems in May 1924 (Blankemeyer was #6).34 Dieken’s political activities did not sit well with the Prussian authorities, which he wrote, “persecuted him because of his Racist views.”35

In the May 1924 election, the VSB won 283 votes or 49.9% of all votes cast. In 1928, 204 (39.8%) votes were cast for the German Racists and 44 (8.6%) were cast for the Nazis.36

What then can we conclude from all of this? The “Noakes” Thesis does not stand up to statistical or spatial analysis, but GIS points us in the direction of other factors that might be more important. Clearly, as I have explored in other fora, existing political patterns played an important role in determining a village’s susceptibility to National Socialism. The research presented here – and demonstrated spatially - suggests that Richard Hamilton’s thesis that the Nazis advanced earliest and farthest where they benefitted from the support of a relative handful of strong personalities is correct.37 Since I have unfairly used him as a straw man in this piece, let me give Jeremy Noakes the final word:

By developing a political style whose dominant feature was feverish propaganda activity combined with ruthlessness towards political opponents, the [NSDAP] alone, apart from the Communists, offered the type of personal commitment in politics [Racist activists] were seeking. The other völkisch groups failed because what they were offering was anachronistic, a style of politics which was totally alien to the déraciné elements of a society formed by war, revolution and inflation, elements which provided most of the support for the radical Right.

1 For the purposes of this essay, I will use the term “racist” for the German word “völkisch”. “Völkisch” carries with it a whole set of assumptions of which the usual translation “anti-Semitic” is but a sub-set.

2 On the German Racists see Jan Striesnow, Die Deutschnationale Freiheitspartei und die Völkisch-Radikalen 1918-1922 (Frankfurt, 1981) and Reimer Wulff, Die Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei 1922-1928 (Marburg, 1968). Primary documents on the DVFP can be found at the Hoover Institution, Hauptarchiv der NSDAP (hereafter Hauptarchiv), Reel 42, Folder 843, DVFB.

3 My “Triumph on the Periphery: Political Anti-Semitism in Rural Northern Germany,” is forthcoming in Central European History. The relevant literature starts with Inge Lüpke-Müller, “Der Landkreis Wittmund zwischen Monarchie und Diktatur,” in Ostfriesland zwischen Republik und Diktatur, ed. Herbert Reyer (Aurich, 1998). Ingo Kerkau, Werbung, Auseinandersetzung und Ergebnisse bei den Reichstagwahlen im Landkreis Wittmund während der Weimarer Republik (Münster, 1975) 33, ascribes Racist success primarily to economic and secondarily to psychological factors.

4 Hoover Institution, Hauptarchiv, Reel 44, Folder 893, Auseinandersetzung mit NSDAP-DVFP.

5 I am not able to go into detail on the events in Bremen in this oral presentation, but in the published piece I will site the police files (Lagebericht) the Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv Oldenburg, Bestand 136, Nr 2796-2799.

6 Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv Stade, Rep. 180 P, Nr. 317, Minster of the Interior to the Regierungspräsidenten, “Die politische Entwicklung in Preußen im Jahr 1927,” 15.10.1928, p. 450-452. “The Völkische Kampfblock (Völkisch-nationaler Bloc) was founded 22.1.1928 in Berlin. Reinhard Wulle was the driving force. It consists of 45 different völkisch organizations: DVFP + Deutschen Reformpartie + a minority part of Kunze’s Deutschsozialen Partei + some pre-War Conservatives. Chair is Major a.D. von Schönermark, secretary is MdLT Karl Fahrenhorst. The Berichter doubted whether it would have much impact in the three Hanoverian constituencies in the upcoming elections, where it had concluded a Listenverbindung with the newly founded Landvolks- und Mittelstandspartei. The spitzenkandidat of the LMP for the Reichstag was Weidenhöfer and for the Landtag Hofbesitzer Freigen. The party put out a few leaflets, but held few rallies.”

7 In this footnote, I will cite the latest literature on historical GIS. I am currently looking at Mohammed Kalkhan, Spatial Statistics. Among other things, I would like to use GWR and OLS.

8 In my study, I have relied upon county newspapers (checked against scattered archival reports) for my polling place data.

9 There were 126 places were the vote range was 33-66% and 37 places where the vote range was 45-55%. When I mapped them in the GIS, no pattern jumped out at me. In the published version of this paper, I will need to see if I have good local stories on any of these places.

10 Jeremy Noakes, The Nazi Party in Lower Saxony 1921-1933 (Oxford, 1971).

11 Hoover Institution, Hauptarchiv, Reel 42, Folder 842, DVFB, Undated leaflet. “Private property is the basis of every culture. To give it up would be to return to nomadism. In this regard, the Communists and Marxists are the true reactionaries.” The Freedom party, its program maintained, protected the value of productive capital, but opposed the internationalization of German industry and capital.

12 “Ist Hitler noch völkisch?” Hauptarchiv, Reel 42, Folder 843, DVFB. Other leaflets in Folder 842 included the following titles: “Genf – bindendes Völkerrecht?” “Massenmord an dem Werktätigen! Die bankerotte Wirtschaft” “Der Deutsche und die Politik” “Jüdischer Völkerbund und deutsche Kultur” “Die Abdrosselung des Mittelstandes” “Das Krachen im Parteibälk”. Of particular interest to the topic at hand were includes topics: “Die Bauern brechen aus” and “Landvolk gegen München.”

13 Hoover Institution, Hauptarchiv, Reel 42, Folder 842, DVFB, Undated leaflet labeled “Zeile”, goals. “Domestic policy: against black, red, and gold internationals. Emancipation from unfruchtbaren, Verantwortungslosen Parlamentarismus. Ausbau der deutschen Selbstverwaltung auf stammesartiger und berufstandischer Grundlage. Economic policy: liberation from the international capitalism of Alljuda (Vascik: pan-Judaism?). End of the Dawes Plan. Restoration of an independent German economy. Creation of a secure currency based on a strong domestic economy. Social policy: liberation of Christian workers from unsozial exploitation. Cultural: freeing the German soul from jüdische Zersetzung und jesuitischer Knechtung. Demands: a Racist monarchy. Every Republic always ends in the triumph of money (Geldherrschaft). A racist monarchy means an independent executive independent of parties and economic forces.”

14 This was reflected in the paper that I presented to the SSHA in 2009, “Guardians of Tradition or Agents of Modernity: Sources of National Socialist Appeal in Rural Northwest Germany.”

15 I am still thinking through my stats. It seems to me in retrospect that I need to run the numbers on village occupational data. I have that for Oldenburg, but I only have county-level data for Hanover.

16 Richard F. Hamilton, Who voted for Hitler? (Princeton, 1982).

17 Otto Telschow, a pre-War anti-Semite who converted early to the Nazi cause, founded a newspaper Niedersachsen Stürmer, which was the only Nazi owned newspaper in the study area until 1932. A Nazi newspaper for Weser-Ems, the Ostfriesische Tageszeitung only began publication in 1932 and was not used in this essay. I would like to thank Rolf Uphoff and the staff of the Stadtarchiv Emden for making this paper available to me. The establishment Stader Tageblatt became friendly when it was acquired by a new owner in 1932. The Bremervörder Zeitung opposed the Nazis in 1928 and favored the Straßer wing in 1932.

18 Münchmeyer go his start as the anti-Semitic pastor of the parish church on the island of Borkum. In this regard, see Frank Bajohr, “Unser Hotel is judenfrie.” Bäder-Antisemitismus im 19. Und 20. Jahrhundert, (Frankfurt: Fischer, 2003). On Münchmeyer see Udo Beer, “Der falsche Priester,” in Emder Jahrbuch 66(1968): 152-163. It is interesting that early Nazi activist Ludolph Haase Aufstand in Niedersachsen. Der Kampf der NSDAP 1921/1924 (Göttingen, 1942) completely ignores Münchmeyer’s existence. One finds no mention of him the Aufstand. See the Social Democratic Volksbote, 18 April 1928, for a scathing assessment of Münchmeyer’s activities.

19 Noakes, The Nazi Party, p. 122..

20 Ludolf Haase, Aufstand, p. 95, was very impressed by Blankemeyer’s activities – “one could write a whole book about him.”. Haase, Aufstand, 96 calculated that Blankemeyer spoke at more than 2000 meetings between 1924 and 1930.Also see Reichstagshandbuch, Band 1932. In the Kartei of the Berlin Document Center, Blankemeyer is listed as a Schulungsleiter. (Berlin Document Center, NSDAP Ortsgruppen Kartei, A3340, MFOK BO49.)

21 Police report to Minister of the Interior, 28 January 1928, Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv Oldenburg, Bestand 136, Nr. 2798. The Oldenburg Minister of the Interior received a report that Blankemeyer held a school for the purpose of training Nazi peasant activists at a guesthouse in Steinkimmen. The Gendarmerie Ganderkesee prepared a follow-up report (Gendarmerie Ganderkesee to Oldenburg Minister of the Interior, 16 February 1928, Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv Oldenburg, Bestand 136, Nr. 2798), claiming that the school never met and that it was not known who would have participated. I have found only one full-text record of a Blankemeyer speech, Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv Oldenburg, Bestand 136, Nr. 2799, Lageberichte, 5.5.1928, p. 11. Blanckemeyer gave a talk on 27.4 to 100 people on “Retten uns Wahlen?” [VNB had a rally two days previously in the same hall and drew only 42 people.] After Blankemeyer finished his discussion of his main theme, he turned to Börsenwesen and directed “the usual hatred” towards “jüdische Börsenkapital.” He claimed that while Germans complained of their economic distress, the Jewish exchanges in the past few years had enjoyed RM12B profit. He further alleged that Gustav Stresemann sat on the board of directors of 30 “Jewish” firms, and gave “examples” of how the press was entirely in Jewish hands. Responding to cat-calls about “white” Jews, Blakemeyer replied that large German enterprises like Krupp and Stinnes were thoroughly penetrated by Jewish capital. He continued for a long time on Nazi racial theory. Said that the NSDAP was neither Right nor Left but opponent of the entire party system. Behind all the parties were the wire-pullers of the exchanges. The National Socialist dictatorship would be the first step towards the freeing of the German people. A Communist and a member of the International Socialist Kampfbund spoke in the discussion.

22 A short biography can be found in Reichstagshandbuch, Band 1924. A typical Weidenhöfer stump speech can be found at Deutsche Tageblatt, 01.014.1928, “Der Kampf des Landvolkes um die Scholle.”

23 On Weidenhöfer and Landbund, see my paper, “The Landarbeiterbewegung and Reaction in Northwest Germany, 1918-1924” presented at the ESSHA meeting in Ghent, 2010. Weidenhöfer was personally recruited to the NSDAP recruited by Hitler in 1929. A collection of newspaper articles related to his “conversion” can be found in Bundesarchiv Berlin, R 8034/III, Nr. 494.

24 One can find a brief biography of Voß in Kreisarchiv Rothenburg-Wümme, Landratsamt Bremervörde, 400-5, Akten Betreffend der Reichstagswahl 1912. One can find a typical Voß speech in Stader Tageblatt, 25.4.1928.

25 Wiener Library, London, 55/14/499, Report Julius Charig to Central-Verein, 27.04.1925. Charig’s local reporters blamed the activities of Rector August Fetz from Bremerhaven for the Racist success in May 1924. “For years before he had conducted an anti-Semitic hate campaign that had sunk deep roots in the district. Neither the political parties nor ‘our faith comrades’ bestirred themselves to confront him.”August Fetz was a prolific author. His pre-War works include: Die Elementer-Methode im Schreibunterricht: für den Schul- und Selbstunterricht, (Lehe: Brüning, 1910); Ibid. Schulschrift, Verkehrsschrift, Individualschrift und Schriftverlotterung. Eine kritische Beleuchtigung der heutgen Forderungen, (Leipzig: Koehler, 1913); and a piece of fantasy fiction, Ein Blick in die Zukunft 2407. After the war, his publications took a decidedly political turn: Der große Volks- und Weltbetrug durch die “Ernsten Bibleforscher, (Hamburg: Dt.-Völkische Verl.-Anst., 1921); Ibid, Was jeder Deutsche wissen muss über die Schuld Frankreichs, Rußlands, Englands, Italiens, Belgiens, der Freimaurerei, des Judentums, des Kaisers, des Bürgertums, der Alldeutschen, der Sozialdemokratie am Weltkriege, (Bremerhaven: Self-published, 1922); Ibid. Ziviloffiziere, heraus! An die deutschen Jegend- und Volkserzeiher aller Unterrichtsanstalten und Kirchen des deutschen Landes, (Hamburg: A. Götting, 1922); Ibid, Raubmenschen und Friedmenschen, (Bremerhaven: Self-published, 1923); Ibid, Frauenkräfte in Deutschlands Not und Hoffung, Bremerhaven: self-published, 1924); Ibid. Weltvernichtung durch Bibelforscher und Juden, (Munich: E,Boepple, 1925); Ibid, Der neue Weg ur Gewinnung des Charakterbildes und die Erzeihung zu deutshcne Charakter, (Langensalza, 1926). His work on Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses was wildly successful and went through 9 printings.

26 Bohnens Reichstagshandbuch, Band 1932. Inge Lüpke-Müller, “Heinrich Bohnens.” Biographisches Lexikon für Ostfriesland, ed. Martin Tielke, volume 3, pp 54-56. Biographisches Lexikon – Ostfriesische Landschaft. Bohnens joined the DVFP in 1923, and was recruited to the NSDAP after the 1928 election. Like Georg Weidenhöfer mentioned earlier – and Jaques Groeneveld, the leadeing German Racist in the Rheiderland – Bohnens was personally recruited by Adolf Hitler. He established the local party chapter and SA in 1930, and was elected to the Reichstag in 1932.

27 We have numerous non-scholarly sources on Carolinensiel: M. Ulfers, “Carolinensiel einst und jetzt,” Harlinger Heimatkalender, 1954; Ehnt Ulfers Janssen, Cliner Wind: Carolinensiel einst und jetzt, (Jever: Lüers, 2003); Ibid., Carolinensiel das Buch, (Wittmund:Mettcker, 2005); G. Keuneke, Siel-Orte Greetsiel, Nessmersiel, Dornumersiel, Bensersiel, Neuharlingersiel, Carolinensiel, Harlesiel, Horumersiel, Hooksiel, (Dortmund: Cramers, 1992).

28 See the article on Carolinensiel in Wikipedia and the Deutsche Verwaltungsgeschikchte web site maintained by Michael Redmacher.

29 It also became something of a bedroom community for workers commuting to the naval base and port of Wilhelmshaven.

30 Gemeindelexikon für den Freistaat Preußen, volume 10, p. 232.

31 Heinrich van Dieken, Zwei Hundert Jahre Carolinensiel handwritten manscript in 4 volumes, the original in the Besitz des Förderkreises Sielhaenmuseum Carolinensiel e.V. Volume 2, pp, 255-6. In this work, van Dieken recounts how he came to the school. Began in Alt-Hargingersiel on April 1, 1919. In January 1921 he passed his second prufung. [He remarks here that he is the writer of the volume and wrote it all out himself, as well as drew all the maps.]

32 Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv Aurich, Schulchonik Alt Harlingersiel, pp. 95-97.

33 Just as Wilhelmshaven was an important center of revolution, it was also a center of counter-revolution. The city was home to one of the earliest chapters of the proto-Nazi German Racial League for Defense and Defiance (Deutsch-völkisch Schutz- und Trutzbund) to be founded in northern Germany. (See Uwe Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus; die Geschichte des Deutschvölkischen Schutz- und Trutz-Bundes, 1919-1923, Hamburg: Leibnitz, 1970). One founding member, Paul Opitz, recalls in a diary fragment preserved in the NSDAP Hauptarchiv files (Hoover Institution, Hauptarchiv der NSDAP, Reel 6, Folder 163, Weser-Ems, Opitz diary, pp. 1-13) that already in 1919 he had put on the swastika and was canvassing for converts. Theodor Fritsch’s Hammerverlag ran a bookstore in the city and the Deutsch-Völkische Blätter was regularly distributed in the city and the surrounding countryside. Many of the individuals who were to serve as the standard bearers of völkisch nationalism – such as Jann Blankemeyer and Heinrich van Dieken, affiliated with the DVSTB. And spread its message into the countryside. See Uwe Lohlam, Völkischer Radikalismus; die Geschichte des Deutschvölkischen Schutz- und Trutz-Bundes, 1919-1923 (Hamburg, 1970) and Stefan Breuer, Die Völkischen in Deutschland (Darmstadt, 2008)

34 Jeversches Wochenblatt, 10.4.1924, p. 2. Lüpke-Müller, “Der Landkreis Wittmund,” 21, suggests that van Dieken’s inclusion on the VSB’s candidate list was one of the reasons for its success. Haase, Aufstand, 93, noted the many schoolteachers in Oldenburg who supported the NSDAP. Prior to 1914, village teachers had consistently supported the progressives. On this transformation see Günther-Arndt Hilke, Volkschullehrer und Nationalsozialismus: Oldenburgischer Landeslehrerverein und Nationalsozialistischer Lehrerbund in den Jahren der politischen und wirtschaftlichen Krise 1930-1933 (Oldenburg, 1983).

35 Heinrich van Dieken, Zwei Hundert Jahre Carolinensiel, p. 259. “ Herr van Dieken - formerly a member of the Prussian Landtag and a member of the provincial assembly - belonged to the German Racist Freedom Party. Er wurde von der Nationalsozialistischen Deutschen Arbeiter Partie hineingesticht.”

36 I need to fill in local detail on Carolinensiel. This is somewhat difficult as the county newspaper, the Anzeiger für Harlingerland has been placed off-limits to researchers by the publisher’s archivist, who claims that back issues of the newspaper suffered water damage in a basement flood. Since the publication of Lüpke-Müller’s work, the Wittmund Kreisblatt, the Anzeiger für Harlingerland, has been unavailable for scholarly use, Inga Henning of the Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv Aurich photocopied these volumes for me and assisted in my correspondence with the archivist of the Anzeiger. The Jeversches Wochenblatt has also proved useful for events in Amt Wittmund. My own suspicion is that the ownership was angered by several articles that appeared in the late 1980s critical of the role the newspaper played in the spread of anti-Semitism. In any case, I need to choose several additional towns to highlight in the published version of this paper; I will strive to choose those with a strong newspaper presence. I also have exciting material about German Racist/Nazi clashes during the campaign (especially in Bremen) that I will want to work in.(

37 In the published version of this paper, I will reflect upon the results of the election. The American perspective is offered by the chargé in the Berlin embassy, Jacob Gould Schurmann, in National Archives, Department of State, Record Group 59, Records of the Department of State Relating to the Internal Affairs of Germany, 1910-1929 (862.00/1396-1535), M 366, Roll 27, Despatch Jacob Gould Schurmann to Secretary of State, May 25, 1928. (p. 4) “The Nationalist losses are much larger than careful observers had predicted. … (p. 6) Having failed to obtain in any one district the 60,000 votes required for the election of a deputy, the Voelkische, while polling some 250,000 votes, will have no representation in the new Reichstag. … On the other hand, the Hitler group of extreme Nationalists, the National Socialists, will have twelve representatives.” … Since it is necessary to have 15 deputies to be recognized as a party, “the National Socialists will have to combine with some other small group.” Subsequent to the election, the DVFB fell into a deep crisis, a head of the political police in East Friesland reported, Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv Stade, Rep. 180 P, Nr. 317, Lagebericht 15.10.1928, p. 352: In October 1928, the party in Stade was riven with splits. Many local chapters had defected to the völkish-soziale Arbeitsgemeinschaft [the group that Kube founded when he left the DVFP in March 1928], while competition sharpened with the DNVP and especially the NSDAP. The number of party members had fallen dramatically and it was very poorly funded. There is a certain connection between the party and the Tannenberg-Bund, with much support for Ludendorff’s campaign against Free Masonry. Lately, the party has adopted a more radically anti-Semitic posture and distributed an anti-Semitc leaflet. The party has held few meetings and those that it has staged are poorly attended. A bi-monthly report from the county administrator in Aurich confirmed this disintegration in Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv Aurich, Rep. 16/1, Halbmonatsberichte, p. 280, 30.6.192: The local chapter of the DVFP invited its members and friends to a public meeting on June 26. “Only 40 people showed up. Gaugeschäftsführer said in his speech “am Ende der Wahlniederlage unsere Partei 1928 steht das Wort: Die Wahlniederlage, bedingt durch eine unmögliche Wahlordnung, muss in einem geistigem Sieg verwandelt werden. Dad unglück der nachrevolutionären Zeit besteht nicht in dem Besiegstsein an sich, sondern vielmehr darin, dass dem deutschen Volke jeder Aufbaugedanke fehlt. Dieser Gedanke ist totgebrüllt im Zeitalter des Marxismus, d.h. des Materialismus, dem all politischen Parteien dienen. Dem marxistischen Zukunftstaat “setzen wir entgegen den völkischen Zukunftstaat. Jeder Völkische muss mit der Arbeit bei sich beginnen, er muss für dad Deutschtum und sein Vaterland so streben, als handele es sich um das eigene Wohl. Er schloss mit den Worten: Deutschland muss leben, wenn der Mann auch fällt.” In effect, the German Racists abandoned the political battlefield to the Nazis, and individual Racists activists either abandoned their old home or were lured into the NSDAP through the personal intervention of Adolf Hitler.

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