Electing ‘the Saviour’
This chapter discusses the first presidential elections of the Weimar Republic, which saw Hindenburg beat his opponent Wilhelm Marx to succeed Friedrich Ebert as Germany's Reich President. It is argued that the Hindenburg myth played a crucial role in this fiercely modern and personalized election campaign. Nominated in the decisive second round of voting because his mythical reputation was considered an electoral asset, Hindenburg's campaign propaganda relied heavily on his image as a political ‘saviour’. The author maintains that the pro-republican parties failed to respond forcefully to being challenged openly by this national icon. It is argued that their own subscription to layers of the Hindenburg myth complicated their campaign efforts considerably. The author contends that Hindenburg owed his victory of April 1925 first and foremost to his mythical standing, which swayed right-wing Germans, but also held considerable allure amongst other groups, especially previous non-voters and Catholic Germans.
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