Finding no legislative consensus for his policies, Chancellor Heinrich Brüning (1885-1970) invoked the presidential emergency decree powers (Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution) to enact his tax program and to dissolve the Reichstag on July 18, 1930. The framers of the Weimar Constitution envisioned Article 48 as a provision that would only be used in the rarest instance. Instead, it became a regular tool of governance. Brüning relied on President Hindenburg to periodically renew the declaration of an emergency situation, and Hindenburg did this willingly. In essence, Germany was being governed under a presidential dictatorship.
The caption to the image reads: “Chancellor Brüning. He’s on top of the situation? No, he’s hanging on it!”