Richard Kunze

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Richard Kunze (born 5 February 1872 in Sagan - died May 1945) was a German right-wing politician notorious for his anti-Semitism.

Early years[edit]

Kunze's political career began around 1914 when he was employed by the German Conservative Party along with fellow rightist Wilhelm Kube.[1] Serving the party as general secretary he earned 12,000 marks per month for a role that largely involved travelling Germany drumming up support.[2] Near the end of the war he became involved with the Fatherland Party where he gained the nickname Knüpple Kunze (Cudgel Kunze) because of strong attacks on the Jews.[3]

Post-war activity[edit]

After the war Kunze was associated with the Deutschvölkischer Schutz und Trutzbund and in 1920 he joined with Reinhold Wulle and Arnold Ruge to form the Deutschvölkischen Arbeitsring Berlin, a short-lived successor group.[4] The group was absorbed by the joined German National People's Party (DNVP) in June 1920 and Kunze joined the DNVP and became the party's chief publicist.[3] However Kunze split from the party in 1921, feeling that it did not match his own hardline stance on the Jews.[5]

German Social Party[edit]

In the early 1920s Kunze led his own anti-Semitic party in north Germany known as the Deutschsoziale Partei, an early rival to the Nazi Party on the far right.[6] The new party rejected the monarchism of the DNVP, arguing that Jewish influence had been just as pronounced in the German empire as in the new Weimar Republic.[5] The party became noted for provocative street activities, with Kunze himself becoming a well-known demagogue.[7] However support was lost as Kunze also gained a reputation for using the party as a way to make money for himself, diverting funds into his own pockets and after a number of defections he wound the party up in 1929.[8]

Nazism[edit]

In 1930 Kunze joined his old rivals as a member of the Nazi Party.[9] Kunze was elected to the Preußischer Landtag as a Nazi delegate in 1932 and in the November 1933 he was elected to the Reichstag, serving in what by then had become a perfunctory institution until 1945.[8]

Kunze was arrested after the Battle of Berlin but went missing in May 1945 and was presumed dead.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alastair P. Thompson, Left Liberals, The State, and Popular Politics in Wilhelmine Germany, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 9
  2. ^ Thompson, Left Liberals, The State, and Popular Politics in Wilhelmine Germany, p. 64
  3. ^ a b Paul Bookbinder, Weimar Germany: The Republic of the Reasonable, Manchester University Press, 1996, p. 45
  4. ^ Uwe Lohalm, Völkischer Radikalismus: Die Geschichte des Deutschvölkischen Schutz- und Trutz-Bundes. 1919 - 1923 Leibniz-Verlag, Hamburg 1970, p. 258
  5. ^ a b Donald L. Niewyk, The Jews in Weimar Germany, Transaction Publishers, 2001, p. 50
  6. ^ Konrad Heiden, A History of National Socialism, Taylor & Francis, 1971, p. 23
  7. ^ Manfred Weißbecker: "Deutschsoziale Partei 1921−1928", in: Dieter Fricke (ed.): Lexikon zur Parteiengeschichte. Die bürgerlichen und kleinbürgerlichen Parteien und Verbände in Deutschland (1789−1945). Band 2, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1984, p. 539
  8. ^ a b Bernd Kruppa: Rechtsradikalismus in Berlin 1918−1928. Overall-Verlag, Berlin 1988, pp. 300; 327ff; 362
  9. ^ Niewyk, The Jews in Weimar Germany, p. 52
  10. ^ Ernst Rudolf Huber: Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte seit 1789. Band 6, Die Weimarer Reichsverfassung. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1984, p. 282.