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Morgan Philips Price on German Fascism (January 1924)

Morgan Philips Price was the London Daily Herald correspondence in Germany between 1919 and 1923. While living in Berlin, he witnessed much of the violence during the early years of the Weimar Republic. In October 1923, shortly before returning to Britain, Price wrote about the rise of fascism in Germany and compared it to its Italian and Spanish counterparts. Though he left Germany before Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch in November, Price describes the creeping advance of political authoritarianism in Germany. Referring to the Ebert-Groener Pact, he notes how Reichstag authorities depended upon the German military and its general staff to uphold the Weimar constitution. Price concludes his entry by quoting the adage that “one should not put a goat in charge of the garden.”

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One thing is certain. Fascism in Germany is bound to assume a German form, not so spectacular as that which exists in Italy and Spain, but nonetheless a definite force to be reckoned with. The fact is that in Germany today the constitutional rights of the German people, set down with such care in Weimar in the summer of 1919, have almost imperceptibly disappeared. As in 1919, during the Noske dictatorship, the full executive and administrative power in the Reich has passed into the hands of the War Minister. The government is considering measures for “temporarily” restricting the rights of the Reichstag till 31 March of next year. No Labour newspaper can appear and no meeting of any nature can be held without the permission of the general commanding the Reichswehr in the locality. The excuse, of course, is plausible. The Bavarian government has threatened the sovereignty of the Reich by, in effect, putting the Weimar Constitution out of force in Bavaria. The government of the Reich has answered by setting up the generals to defend the Weimar Constitution, which reminds one of a German saying that it is not wise to appoint the goat as a gardener.

Source: Morgan Philips Price, Dispatches from the Weimar Republic, Versailles and German Fascism. London, Sterling, Virginia: Pluto Press, 1999, pp. 170-71. Published with the permission of Pluto Press.

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