The Black and Red Cabinet Meets — Herr von Papen Goes Hunting
Brotherhood between the Ruling Class and the SPD?
(Wire dispatch from our Berlin office) [The situation discussed in this article was rather complicated. Hindenburg, as president, had dissolved the socialist-led government of Prussia in July 1932, appointing Chancellor von Papen Reich Commissioner for Prussia. This was brought before the German supreme court in Leipzig, which basically affirmed the “Prussian coup.”]
Berlin, 27 October. The excitement over the Leipzig decision has not subsided. One can even say that it will intensify.
Each of the two parties declared itself the winner, following the lovely motto “Sometimes he’s ahead, sometimes I’m behind.” That is the most interesting aspect of the Leipzig decision. The old black & red Prussian government lost, as did the Papen-Bracht government.
Both sides seen to be agreed that they do not want to fight about it. If appearances do not deceive, things will continue as they have been going. The von Papen-Bracht government’s move to the left can become public. The black and red cabinet met yesterday in the Prussian welfare ministry. At the same time, the Reich Chancellor and Reich Commissioner was trying to shoot a buck on the property of his wife’s relatives near Bitterfeld. One has to admire Herr von Papen’s calmness. His friends do not share it.
It is rather surprising when a newspaper like Ullstein’s B.Z. am Mittag writes: “The situation the von Papen government finds itself in is more difficult than ever, which gives the elections of 6 November greater importance than one first thought.”
The paper further confirms our view that the von Papen-Bracht system and the Braun-Severing system [the deposed leaders of Prussia] are reaching an understanding. It writes: “Neither side can always give a cold shoulder to the other. Both sides will have to respect the decision of the high court and come to terms. As difficult as that will be, working against and at cross purposes to each other would be even worse…
One has the impression that, all coolness aside, the von Papen camp does not want to deny that those in the “commissioner’s camp” are being very cautious about giving up anything by taking the first step toward agreement. One is apparently afraid that an agreement could cost one too much power.”
Since the Ullstein paper has relatively good connections with both the “old” and the “new” systems, this comment is most valuable.
One must ask, however, if these plans have any chance of success.
Neither of the battling parties has any claim to power any longer. Both have no support with the people, both are building governments in the air.
The battle can become a farce if the Prussian parliament does form a government. Both groups will have to vanish, returning to the coffin from which they rose, without any mandate from the people.
Even at the risk of an official denial — denials do not frighten us any longer — that the Leipzig decision has thrown the Reich President into the deepest distress. This distress will be directed entirely against the man who told the Reich President that the court in Leipzig would decide entirely in von Papen’s favor. Once before, Hindenburg had the feeling that he had not been presented with things as they actually were. He changed chancellors as a result. Given what we hear from the presidential palace, this time his feeling of having been mislead is a few degrees higher than it was then!
The ghosts of the past may be trying to pretend that they are still alive, but the Norne [the Nordic goddess of fate] is ready to cut the thread of their lives. What belongs to the past should not be exhumed from the grave.
Victory belongs to life and the future!