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German History in Documents and Images
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The Papen Cabinet (June 3, 1932)
Franz von Papen (1879-1969) was a member of the Center party [Zentrum] and a delegate of the Prussian state parliament [Landtag]. He belonged to the right, monarchist wing of his party. In June 1932, Reich President Hindenburg appointed him to succeed Heinrich Brüning as Reich Chancellor. He essentially owed his appointment to eminence grise Kurt von Schleicher. Papen formed a “cabinet of national concentration” made up of conservative civil servants mostly from the nobility who had no political mandate. Since the cabinet was not legitimized by a parliamentary majority, it relied on the Reich President’s support. On June 3, 1932, the day this photo was taken, Papen left the Center party in order to preempt his exclusion in disgrace. The following day, Hindenburg dissolved the Reichstag at Papen’s request, so that he could govern by means of the Reich President’s right to apply emergency laws and essentially render parliament powerless. The demise of parliamentary democracy in Germany had thus been prepared. This photo shows the members of the Papen cabinet. Sitting from left to right: Magnus von Braun (Food and Agriculture), Wilhelm von Gayl (Interior), Chancellor Franz von Papen, Konstantin von Neurath (Foreign). Standing from left to right: Franz Gürtner (Justice), Hermann Warmbold (Commerce), Kurt von Schleicher (Army)