Free State of Brunswick
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Free State of Brunswick
|State of the Weimar Republic|
|-||1919–1920 (first)||Heinrich Jasper|
|-||1946 (last)||Alfred Kubel|
|Historical era||Interwar period|
|-||Established||10 November 1918|
|-||Abolition de facto||14 October 1933|
|-||Disestablished||23 November 1946|
The Free State of Brunswick (German: Freistaat Braunschweig) was the republic formed after the abolition of the Duchy of Brunswick in the course of the German Revolution of 1918–19. It was a state of the German Reich in the time of the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany.
On 8 November 1918, the last Welf duke, Ernest Augustus of Brunswick, was forced to resign and went into exile. Two days later, acitivists of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) proclaimed the "Socialist Republic of Brunswick". However, in the first parliamentary elections on 6 December 1919 they were outnumbered by the Social Democrats (SPD), who reached 27.7% of the votes cast. Both parties formed a coalition government that shifted the state's constitution towards a parliamentary republic. A subsequent uprising in Braunschweig led by the Communist Spartacus League was crushed with the aid of Freikorps troops under Georg Ludwig Rudolf Maercker.
In 1922, the SPD/USPD government lost its majority, wherafter the Social Democrats had to form a coalition with the liberal German Democratic Party (DDP) and the German People's Party (DVP). At the 1924 elections, the DVP led a coalition government of several national liberal and right-wing parties, among them the National Socialist Freedom Movement, a substitute of the outlawed Nazi Party (NSDAP). In the 1930 elections, the NSDAP reached 22.9% of the votes cast, whereafter the Nazi politician Anton Franzen became Minister of the Interior, succeeded by his party fellow Dietrich Klagges in 1931.
Klagges was instrumental in organizing the anti-democratic Harzburg Front in October 1931 and especially in naturalizing the former Austrian citizen Adolf Hitler, who had now been stateless for seven years aimed to run for the 1932 German presidential election. After a first attempt to obtain a tenure at the Braunschweig University of Technology had shamefully failed, Klagges in 1932 finally reached the appointment of Hitler as a public functionary at the Brunswick delegation to the Reichsrat in Berlin, which earned him to be a citizen of Brunswick, thus automatically of Germany. After the Nazi Machtergreifung, Klagges became Minister president of Brunswick on 6 May 1933, he nevertheless had to accept the superior power of Reichsstatthalter Wilhelm Friedrich Loeper, whose office was established in the course of the Nazi Gleichschaltung process.
On 12 April 1945, US forces took the city of Brunswick and deposed the Nazi government. In 1946, the Brunswick territory within the British occupation zone merged with the former Prussian Province of Hanover, the Free States of Oldenburg and Schaumburg-Lippe into the newly founded state (Land) of Lower Saxony, while some eastern exclaves (mainly around Blankenburg and Calvörde) became part of Soviet-administered Saxony-Anhalt.
Chairmen of the Council of People's Commissioners of the Republic of Brunswick, 1918–1919
Ministers-President of the Republic of Brunswick, 1919–1946
- 1919–1920: Heinrich Jasper (SPD)
- 1920–1921: Sepp Oerter (USPD)
- 1921–1922: August Junke (SPD)
- 1922: Otto Antrick (SPD)
- 1922: Heinrich Jasper (SPD)
- 1924–1927: Gerhard Marquordt (DVP)
- 1927–1930: Heinrich Jasper (SPD)
- 1930–1933: Werner Küchenthal (DNVP)
- 1933–1945: Dietrich Klagges (NSDAP)
- 1945–1946: Hubert Schlebusch (SPD)
- 1946: Alfred Kubel (SPD)