Quotations: death of the republic

This page contains a number of Weimar Republic quotations pertaining to the Great Depression, the rise of Nazism and the death of the republic. These quotations have been researched, curated and compiled by Alpha History authors. If you would like to suggest a quotation for inclusion on this page, please contact us.

The Great Depression

“Rushes on the banks are beginning. Savers have been seized by panic. They are certain that their money, for which they have saved and slaved, is lost. They stand as early as midnight in endless lines to be first when the cash drawers open… The ordered life of the banks is being torn apart. All personnel must be mobilised to disburse payments. Nobody makes deposits. All credit is being called in… And then, the banks begin to crash because they cannot make the payments… The little banks crash first. The larger ones get by, by limiting banking hours first to two hours, then to one. Then the larger banks begin to crash.”
The White Rose, Berlin, 1929

“I would be happy if I could properly provide for my household and children, but of the 25 marks a week [I receive from work], one and a half marks goes for transport, six marks for childcare… I wonder what I live for and why everything is so unequal.”
A female textile worker, 1930

“An almost unbroken chain of homeless men extends the whole length of the great Hamburg-Berlin highway. It is the same scene for the entire 200 miles… They walked separately or in small groups with their eyes on the ground. And they had the queer stumbling gait of barefoot people, for their shoes were slung over their shoulders… This was the strongest impression that the year 1932 left with me.”
Heinrich Hauser, German writer

“They do not make it easy for you to get supper and a bed in a municipal lodging house… Long lines of men were leaning against wooden walls, waiting in silence and staring… The municipal lodging house means waiting, waiting, standing around… My impression is the helplessness of the men. Eight out of ten men are young fellows and about a third of these are just boys.”
Heinrich Hauser on Berlin’s shelters for unemployed men

“We are sitting at the sick bed of capitalism – not as doctors who want to cure the patient but also as cheerful heirs who cannot wait for the end and would like to hasten it with poison.
Fritz Tarnow, unionist and SPD member, 1931

The rise of the Nazis

“Instead of working to achieve power by an armed coup, we will have to hold our noses and enter the Reichstag against Catholic and Marxist members. It outvoting them takes longer than outshooting them, at least the result will be guaranteed by their own constitution. Sooner or later we shall have a majority…”
Adolf Hitler, writing in prison in late 1923

“He [Adolf Hitler] is the only man… who has any political sense. Go and listen to him one day.”
Attributed to Erich Ludendorff, German general

“There must be no majority decisions. The decisions will be made by one man, only he alone may possess the authority and right to command.”
Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, 1924

“We have recognised that the distress of agriculture is inseparably bound up with the political misery of the German people. Let us do away with this Marxist-capitalist extortion system that has made Germany, our homeland, powerless, without honour, defenceless… and has turned free German farmers into poor misused slaves of the world stock exchange.”
A rural Nazi Party resolution, January 1928

“Hindenburg told me he would serve another term as president, but the office must be laid in his hands as an accomplished fact, because he is not inclined or in a position to undertake a new election campaign.”
Heinrich Bruning, German chancellor in early 1932

“I must dismiss you, for the sake of my name and my honour.”
President Hindenburg to Heinrich Bruning, May 1932

“It is [Franz von Papen] who is the preferred one, the favourite of the Marshal [Hindenburg]. He diverts the old man through his vivacity, his playfulness. He flatters him by showing respect and devotion. He beguiles him with his daring. He is, in the Marshal’s eyes, the perfect gentleman.”
Andre Francois-Poncet, French diplomat, 1932

“A presidential cabinet led by Hitler would develop into a party dictatorship, with all its consequences for an extreme aggravation of the conflicts within the German people.”
President Paul von Hindenburg, November 1932

“Gentlemen, I hope you will not hold me capable of appointing this Austrian corporal to be Reich Chancellor.”
President Paul von Hindenburg, January 1933

“It was the greatest good fortune for us that the [1923 Munich] putsch failed… Cooperation with General Ludendorff would have been absolutely impossible. The sudden takeover of power in the whole of Germany would have led to the greatest of difficulties because the essential preparations had not been begun by the National Socialist party. [And] the events of November 9th 1923, with their blood sacrifice, have proven the most effective propaganda…”
Adolf Hitler, speaking in 1933

“Never in my life have I been so well disposed and inwardly contented as in these days. For hard reality has opened the eyes of millions of Germans to the unprecedented swindles, lies and betrayals of the Marxist deceivers of the people.”
Adolf Hitler, writing during the Great Depression