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The German People's Empire, often called Nationalist Germany or Nat. Germany for short, was what Germany became after it was taken over by Alfred Hugenberg and the German National People's Party (DNVP). It lasted from its establishment in 1936 to 1951, when the Soviet Union established the German Socialist Republic in its place.
Following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, many Germans were deeply upset over the fall of the German Empire. The German National People's Party (DNVP) was founded before the treaty was even signed, but it never wielded much influence. It was, however, the leading nationalist party, far on the right wing.
Rise of the DNVP
Following the National Socialists' failed Münchener Putsch in late 1923, the so-called NSDAP was outlawed. When the ban was lifted, they had lost many of their members and lacked charismatic leaders to regain those members. Under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler, they never received major growth.
Meanwhile, many joined the DNVP, gaining over 100 seats in the Dec. 1924 elections. Surprisingly, a former National Socialist, Joseph Göbbels eventually joined the DNVP after getting fed up with Himmler's weak NSDAP. Göbbels was a brilliant orator and helped bring in many new members. The party became more radical in the following years, but growth continued.
The DNVP found itself making coalitions with other nationalist parties. The NSDAP was one of them. Still led by Himmler, the party has little more than 10,000 people still in it, most of the others joining the DNVP or Communist Party (KPD). The Nationalists and Communists were constantly at odds with each other, both trying to achieve dominance. However, in a surprise Reichstag election in November 1935, the DNVP-led coalition won a majority of seats, having grown after the start of the Great Depression. Alfred Hugenburg was appointed Chancellor the following year.
Following Hugenberg's appointment, the Reichstag building was set on fire. A young, mentally handicapped Dutch communist was later found guilty of the crime and eventually executed. This sparked a wave of anti-Communist policies. In turn, Communists turned more violent. Hugenberg cracked down hard on these protests, while Joseph Göbbels exploited their roles as villains in propaganda. The KPD was soon outlawed, ultimately leading to a single party state by 1940.