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dgavin
Posts: 20

Meet seven German citizens in the year 1921. All survived World War I.

  • Karl Schmidt Karl is an employed worker who lives in the rich steel-producing area of the Ruhr. Before the war, he worked in the steel mills. During the war, he was a soldier at the front. He plans to return to the steel mills now that the war is over. He has a wife and two children.
  • Eric von Ronheim Eric is the head of a Frankfurt textile factory. He was an officer in the war, but returned to his business after the war.
  • Gerda Munchen owns a small Munich grocery store started by her parents. She and her parents are saving money in the hope of enabling her to go to university in a few years.
  • Wilhelm Schultz works with his father on the family farm in East Prussia. His grandfather lives in Danzig; his uncle lives in the area only 5 miles away from the family farm, but now that the war has concluded, it’s part of Poland.
  • Hermann Struts Hermann, a lieutenant in the German army, fought bravely during the war. From a long line of army officers and as a graduate of a German military academy, he has taken pride in the army’s able defense of the nation and its strong leadership. He is a career military officer.
  • Elisabeth von Kohler Elisabeth is a prominent attorney who attended the University of Bonn. She has a strong sense of German tradition and believes passionately in her nation’s contributions to Western civilization.
  • Otto Hauptmann Otto works in a Berlin factory. He has joined a trade union and is an active member.

Select two of these seven. Be sure to identify who they are in bold in your post.

Now that you are well-informed about the Treaty of Versailles, the political parties of Weimar Germany, the effort to bring about democracy in the country, and the economic stresses of the 1920s-early 1930s in the country, how would your two “chosen” individuals have responded? What I’m asking here is that you try to imagine the world of post-World War I, post-Treaty of Versailles, and mid-Weimar Germany through each of these individuals’ eyes. How do you think each individual would react to the current events underway? What political parties would each have gravitated toward? What sort of change/action/worry would they have sought from their country and/or had for themselves and their families? Be certain that you use the documents/handouts you have:

  • the summary of the Treaty of Versailles,
  • the Weimar Constitution,
  • the Weimar political parties,

as well as reference the material we looked at in class related to the

  • Treaty of Versailles,
  • and Weimar politics, economics, and cultural life.

Please post on this and then look to see if anyone else posted on at least one of your individuals. Weigh in on whether you agree with your classmates’ assessment of this person’s views or whether you disagree. This may require checking back on the discussion thread a bit, after you’ve posted. You can add this comment as a second post in the thread.

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orangesaregood
Posts: 30

Gerda Munchen would have appreciated Article 153 of the Weimar Constitution, in which the right of private property was guaranteed by the Constitution. Being the daughter of grocery store owners, she would probably feel compelled to keep the family business alive. She would have felt panicked with the sudden inflation of German marks, which wrought havoc on her family business as customers pushed wheelbarrows of marks to the store. She would probably be part of the DAP/NSDAP, being terribly concerned for the declining state of the German economy.


Otto Hauptmann would have felt defeated after Germany’s defeat in World War II, seeing how Germany suffered great industrial losses after the war. appreciated Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution, in which everyone, male or female, poor or rich, would be seen as equal before the law. Being a factory worker, this would ensure that he would not be treated differently from the upper class in legal matters. Additionally, he would like Article 123, in which all Germans had the right to assemble peacefully, since he was in a trade union. He would probably be part of the SPD, drawing support from the like-minded working classes during his time as a factory worker.

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Otto von Bismarck
Posts: 32

From Their Eyes

Karl Schmidt: Karl firmly believes the narrative of the German Army being stabbed in the back by conspirators that exist in the nation during WWI, which is the reason why Germany ultimately lost the conflict. Already resentful of the loss, he is further embittered by the humiliating conditions of the Treaty of Versaille, especially the clauses that limit the German Army to only 100,000 men and the War Guilt clause. As a soldier, Karl saw firsthand the glorious Germany Army at its height, of millions of men and the best equipment in the world, along with its formidably navy and airforce. To see his beloved army beaten into the ground and forced to only have 100,000 serviceman is a humiliation Karl cannot forget. The admission of Germany that it bore full guilt for the war also piles on with Karl's sense of humiliation. He knows first-hand that his nation wasn't fully responsible, and the fact that it was forced to admit guilt is an insult.

All of this, along with the fact that he lives in the Ruhr, an area that we learned in class was handed over to the French temporarily to help with their industry, is the final straw for Karl. He becomes a member of the Nazi Party, whose message of nationalism, defying the Treaty of Versaille, and re-militarizing the country and taking back lost Germany territory, sounds like heaven to Karl. As Hitler was also a soldier during the war, Karl not only finds him inspiring and as a leader to follow, but also as a fellow serviceman whom he can relate to.


Eric von Ronheim: Eric is a proud man who loves his country that he fought and watched his brothers died for. As the head of a factory, he is more educated than the general man, and thus knows the current status of treaties and politics very well, and is well mindful of Germany's humiliating treatment at the hands of the Allies. As a business owner, he is also sensitive to the effects that inflation that it has on the economy and is more educated than most on why it is happening.

Eric finds himself attracted to the German National People's Party, as he himself longs for the Germany glory days, militarily as well as economically, during the days of the kaiser. The fellow members of the party he is able to relate to, given the general background of upper middle class and industrialists. While he agrees with certain elements of the up-and-coming rhetoric of the Nazis and their charismatic leader Adolf Hitler, as a more educated and business-savvy individual, he is hesitant to give his full backing to such an impulsive and radical group. He decides to continue backing his beloved DNVP.

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Anoreocookie
Posts: 30

Hermann Struts: As a lieutenant in the army, Struts is prideful about Germany’s abilities and military leadership. Struts probably harbors hatred for the Treaty of Versailles due to its attack on Germany’s pride and his own honor as a soldier. In the treaty, Germany’s military had been dramatically decreased by France. His bravery during the war might now seem a bit meaningless as his effort to support his country had not amounted to anything he had hoped for.

Struts would probably have gravitated toward the German National People’s Party. Not only is he very nationalistic, he probably wishes that the potential of the military will once again be restored. The Weimar Constitution, which had seemed to support the treaty’s policies was a direct hit to the nation and its soldiers.

Elisabeth von Kohler: Elisabeth is a well-educated individual, having graduated from the University of Bonn. As a proud German woman, she most likely felt indignant about the policies of the Treaty of Versailles, which emphasized how poorly Germany was treated after the war, especially by France. As a prominent attorney, she would probably hold a high sense of justice, further bringing her to conclude that the reparations stated in the treaty was ultimately unfair for her country.

Elisabeth might have potentially gravitated toward the German Democratic Party. Although she is upset about Germany’s situation after the war, she does not seem to harbor any direct ill feelings. She wants to improve Germany’s image and is very passionate about proving to the world the contributions to Western civilization that Germany has made. Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution might have been really appealing to her since she is a woman with a well-established occupation. Although a bit nationalistic and seemingly a great potential member of the German People's Party instead, she does not appear to go against the Weimar Republic as her greatest desire is to ultimately prove that Germany is a great nation.



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Milo2017
Posts: 31

Today I will be pondering the effects of the Treaty of Versailles on the German citizens Eric Von Ronheim and Herman Struts.

Eric fought in the war and is now head of a textile factory. I believe that he would be upset with the Treaty of Versailles because of all the sanctions on Germany such as the liquidation of almost all of the military. Also his business will eventually fail due to the insane inflation that was to come. He would we worried about jobs being lost within his factory and how he would be able to feed his family. I think that he would probably gravitate to the German Social Democratic Party because they were moderate and had a high level of support from lower middle classes. Most of the other parties were anti war and so I think being a former soldier would persuade him to be in a political party that didn’t mind war.

Herman’s entire family was in the army. I believe he would be livid at the Treaty of Versailles because he was a huge nationalist and had taken pride in Germany’s ability to defend itself. He would be angered at the sight of the military being disbanded and most of their arms being destroyed. I honestly think he would go to eventually join the Nazi party. But, as for the political parties of the 1920’s he would probably be apart of DNVP because they were not pleased with the republic after war and it was strongly backed by upper middle class which I assume he would be apart of because of his family’s prestigious military career

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what redbone would sound like if you were wearing sweatpants
Posts: 28

Gerda Munchen: As a young female with an optimistic view for her future, Gerda would be devastated when Germany went under so much debt and blame. Not only would her small family run grocery store in Munich be put under a lot more stress due to the quickly changing currency (especially in 1923), the political uprisings would cause unrest in her life in general. Article 109 on equality for men and women would only support her views since women were overlooked in many regards for so long and she is both a single female running a business and a female wanting to go to university. Although I do not know if she is catholic or not, I think she would have gravitated toward the catholic centre party (zentrum) because it was targeting working and middle class people which I assume both apply to Gerda. This would really resonate with her work ethic and other beliefs for people around the same status/income as her.


Hermann Struts: Being someone who fought in the army and having a family of people who strongly support the troops and war effort, he is definitely someone who strongly supports all German nationalist ideas and is very loyal to his country. He will be offended by the statements of the Treaty of Versailles because they basically attack Germany and say they are all to blame and they have to pay a lot in reparations for the war, and obviously drastically reduce the size of their army which is one of the biggest sources of Hermann’s previous pride. The article 48 from the Weimar constitution will resonate with him because he likes the idea that the armed forces (him lol) can help enforce duties, laws, etc. basically giving them more power. I think he would have gravitated toward the German national peoples party (deutschnationale volkspartei) or German peoples party (Deutsche volkspartei) because they are very nationalist.

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what redbone would sound like if you were wearing sweatpants
Posts: 28

Originally posted by orangesaregood on February 13, 2018 22:26

Gerda Munchen would have appreciated Article 153 of the Weimar Constitution, in which the right of private property was guaranteed by the Constitution. Being the daughter of grocery store owners, she would probably feel compelled to keep the family business alive. She would have felt panicked with the sudden inflation of German marks, which wrought havoc on her family business as customers pushed wheelbarrows of marks to the store. She would probably be part of the DAP/NSDAP, being terribly concerned for the declining state of the German economy.


Otto Hauptmann would have felt defeated after Germany’s defeat in World War II, seeing how Germany suffered great industrial losses after the war. appreciated Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution, in which everyone, male or female, poor or rich, would be seen as equal before the law. Being a factory worker, this would ensure that he would not be treated differently from the upper class in legal matters. Additionally, he would like Article 123, in which all Germans had the right to assemble peacefully, since he was in a trade union. He would probably be part of the SPD, drawing support from the like-minded working classes during his time as a factory worker.

I agree with your response on Gerda Munchens point of view because the inflation of German marks will definitely affect her largely because of her business and how it would fluctuate way too much. people having to push wheelbarrows of marks to pay for a simple loaf of bread definitely would be a very negative aspect during this time since it would take so long to do a simple transaction and count money since each one is virtually worthless .

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OceanEscape19
Posts: 32

Weimar Citizens

Elisabeth von Kohler would probably have been a member of the DVP (German People’s Party) after WWI. It says that she was a prominent attorney had a lot of pride in the Germany’s accomplishments. Her wealth and status would inclinate her toward the right. She was probably appalled and humiliated that some of their most productive land and people were internationalized or repatriated because of her sense of German accomplishment and belief in their contributions. The severe and demeaning cuts on the military and extreme financial reparations would have made her angry, but I think her biggest affront would have been with the guilt clause. Accepting the blame and forever tarnishing Germany’s reputation probably would have made her furious.

In the new Republic, Elisabeth probably would have been very involved in politics because of her interest in law. Being a university law graduate, she probably supported the creation of a democratic republic and acceptance of international laws. She may have been excited at first, but after the economic inflation began, probably blamed the lower and middle classes as well as the international community for ruining Germany. All of this fear, anger and nationalist rhetoric would have been accepted and appreciated in the DVP or German nationalist Party.

Gerda Muchen would have been destroyed by the economic instability of the Weimar Republic. After World War I, Munich was the site of a lot of upheaval and tried to become the Bavarian Soviet Republic, a socialist state. While it was unrecognized, it showed the popular opinion at the time. Gerda probably agreed with her peers and was upset about the economic instability of Germany and difficulty of getting a education. Her geographic location and aims for the future would have aligned her most with the USDP (German Independent Socialist Democratic Party. Gerda would have been strongly anti-war after seeing the reparations and responsibilities that Germany had after the war. Also the failed Bavarian uprising may have caused even more havoc in her home.

Gerda probably disliked parts of the Weimar Constitution because of its democratic and nationalist clauses, like declaring it a republic and the inviolable right of private property. However, she was probably in favor of some democratic elements, like declaring everyone equal. Due to her family’s small business, the economic inflation of the time would have completely destroyed her hope of an education and made her family struggle for basic amenities. Therefore she was probably angry at the government and its policies. I think that her hostility to the wealthy may have eventually made her susceptible to the ideology of the NSDAP because it wanted to end the pain that her family was experiencing. Hitler’s strong presence in the community adn love of Munich may have strengthened that idea.

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OceanEscape19
Posts: 32

Originally posted by Anoreocookie on February 14, 2018 00:39

Elisabeth von Kohler: Elisabeth is a well-educated individual, having graduated from the University of Bonn. As a proud German woman, she most likely felt indignant about the policies of the Treaty of Versailles, which emphasized how poorly Germany was treated after the war, especially by France. As a prominent attorney, she would probably hold a high sense of justice, further bringing her to conclude that the reparations stated in the treaty was ultimately unfair for her country.

Elisabeth might have potentially gravitated toward the German Democratic Party. Although she is upset about Germany’s situation after the war, she does not seem to harbor any direct ill feelings. She wants to improve Germany’s image and is very passionate about proving to the world the contributions to Western civilization that Germany has made. Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution might have been really appealing to her since she is a woman with a well-established occupation. Although a bit nationalistic and seemingly a great potential member of the German People's Party instead, she does not appear to go against the Weimar Republic as her greatest desire is to ultimately prove that Germany is a great nation.



I somewhat disagree. I think that Elisabeth's pride would have made her more angry at the Treaty of Versailles. Clauses about land being taken away, the military being basically destroyed, and the guilt clause would have made her furious at the international community. I think that it would have been seen as an injustice to her and she would have become even more hostile. For that reason i think she would have leaned right and been a part of the DVP. Weimar accepting this treaty and then continuing to ruin the economy would have given her more motive to be angry with the new government. However, I do agree that she wouldn't have been on either extreme of the spectrum because she is proud to be German and doesn't want a communist state or another political upheaval.

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BluePup
Posts: 29

Facing Weimar

My first post war German citizen is Gerda Munchen, a young woman who works at her parents convenience store and is hopefully saving up for college. I believe everyone’s initial response to the end of the war was relife. Finally people will stop going out to a pointless war to die! And since her nationalism doesn't seem exceptionally strong she doesn't care that Germany holds the blame. Less people will be out of the country meaning more people will be buying from the store right? Well with the end of the war Germany has lost all of its colonies meaning those goods which they got from Africa are now much more expensive or unavailable! And since Germany has to pay back so many reparations for the war everything is being taxed a lot, and on top of that the value of the deutsche mark is rapidly declining meaning the cheap food is selling out quickly so while business is good, it is also bad in a way as many poeple can not even afford food anymore due to a loss in a large portion of the job market (military and industrial work). In fact her family is spending 90% of their money on food and can't afford to save up anymore.She would most likely have been a part of the SPD as her family is in the working class and currently struggling to keep the business afloat. Mostly she needs more customers and more jobs to come so business can return to normal and she can continue to save up for college.

My second survivor is Hermann Struts who is a proud general. Of course he's very upset about the settlement as it heavily restricts his pride and joy, the german military. In fact he's basically jobless. The German army was restricted to only 100,000 men (so basically a joke) and all of their weapons were destroyed anyway and the Rhineland was left defenseless (another humiliating factor of the Treaty of Versailles). Humiliated and helpless the general wants to see change in the Treaty involving the military output and management of Germany. He would have most likely been in the DVP as he seems to have a lot of national pride and is a part of the more well-off upper to middle class. Mostly he just wants to see the German army returned to its former glory and be restored the rhinelands as he did not enjoy losing the pride of his life.

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BluePup
Posts: 29

Originally posted by Anoreocookie on February 14, 2018 00:39

Hermann Struts: As a lieutenant in the army, Struts is prideful about Germany’s abilities and military leadership. Struts probably harbors hatred for the Treaty of Versailles due to its attack on Germany’s pride and his own honor as a soldier. In the treaty, Germany’s military had been dramatically decreased by France. His bravery during the war might now seem a bit meaningless as his effort to support his country had not amounted to anything he had hoped for.

Struts would probably have gravitated toward the German National People’s Party. Not only is he very nationalistic, he probably wishes that the potential of the military will once again be restored. The Weimar Constitution, which had seemed to support the treaty’s policies was a direct hit to the nation and its soldiers.

Elisabeth von Kohler: Elisabeth is a well-educated individual, having graduated from the University of Bonn. As a proud German woman, she most likely felt indignant about the policies of the Treaty of Versailles, which emphasized how poorly Germany was treated after the war, especially by France. As a prominent attorney, she would probably hold a high sense of justice, further bringing her to conclude that the reparations stated in the treaty was ultimately unfair for her country.

Elisabeth might have potentially gravitated toward the German Democratic Party. Although she is upset about Germany’s situation after the war, she does not seem to harbor any direct ill feelings. She wants to improve Germany’s image and is very passionate about proving to the world the contributions to Western civilization that Germany has made. Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution might have been really appealing to her since she is a woman with a well-established occupation. Although a bit nationalistic and seemingly a great potential member of the German People's Party instead, she does not appear to go against the Weimar Republic as her greatest desire is to ultimately prove that Germany is a great nation.



I agree with everything this person is saying. Clearly Hermann's ties with the war make him biased in a way to many of laws in the Versailles treaty as many of them involve German military and I also am now reconsidering what I said earlier about Hermann's political party. Of course I believe he could have belonged to either the DNVP or the DVP as we dont know his exact class but based on his ranking we can assume its mostly upper class.

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orangesaregood
Posts: 30

Originally posted by BluePup on February 14, 2018 15:17

My first post war German citizen is Gerda Munchen, a young woman who works at her parents convenience store and is hopefully saving up for college. I believe everyone’s initial response to the end of the war was relife. Finally people will stop going out to a pointless war to die! And since her nationalism doesn't seem exceptionally strong she doesn't care that Germany holds the blame. Less people will be out of the country meaning more people will be buying from the store right? Well with the end of the war Germany has lost all of its colonies meaning those goods which they got from Africa are now much more expensive or unavailable! And since Germany has to pay back so many reparations for the war everything is being taxed a lot, and on top of that the value of the deutsche mark is rapidly declining meaning the cheap food is selling out quickly so while business is good, it is also bad in a way as many poeple can not even afford food anymore due to a loss in a large portion of the job market (military and industrial work). In fact her family is spending 90% of their money on food and can't afford to save up anymore.She would most likely have been a part of the SPD as her family is in the working class and currently struggling to keep the business afloat. Mostly she needs more customers and more jobs to come so business can return to normal and she can continue to save up for college.

I disagree with this because hadn’t most Germans grown tired of the rapid inflation and resorted to stealing instead of buying instead? I think she would be irked with the increase in theft due to the economy, and therefore part of the DAP/NSDAP in an effort for radical change.

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cubesquare25
Posts: 33

Weimar Germany

Karl Schmidt most definitely feels betrayed in every way possible. Being a soldier in the frontline and experiencing the traumas of war firsthand have not only left him with perhaps everlasting mental scars, but also feelings of anger and betrayal. On top of the trauma that comes with war, this country, that he so bravely fought for was now being fed a treaty with articles that would completely demolish the very little stability Germany had left. In addition to this, Schmidt lived in Ruhr which was a part of the German Rhineland. Article 180 of the Treaty of Versailles states, “All fortified works, fortresses and field works situated in German territory to the west of a line drawn fifty kilometres to the east of the Rhine shall be disarmed and dismantled.” The demilitarization of the Rhineland was a humiliation for Germany and I wouldn’t be surprised if it only heightened the anger and betrayal Schmidt feels. As a husband and a father of two children he must work to support his family. The crash of the economy that follows the war combined with the inflation of the German mark will only further push Schmidt to join a party that is extremist and calls for action. For these reasons I believe that he would join the National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. As a working man who has felt the effects of the war greatly, I believe that Hitler’s goals and ambitions for Germany would grab the attention of Schmidt immediately.

Otto Hauptman is without a doubt feeling the repercussions of the war and the fall of the economy. As a middle to lower class worker I believe that he would be attracted to the SPD (Sozialdemokratische Partie Deutschlands). I would imagine that through living in Berlin, Hauptmann has witnessed firsthand the chaos that is Germany with regard to all of the political parties. I feel like he would find his place in a democratic political party that advocates for the working class. As an active member of a trade union I believe that the recent chaos in Germany has only increased his desire for a stable democratic government that stands for the people.

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cubesquare25
Posts: 33

Originally posted by orangesaregood on February 13, 2018 22:26

Otto Hauptmann would have felt defeated after Germany’s defeat in World War II, seeing how Germany suffered great industrial losses after the war. appreciated Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution, in which everyone, male or female, poor or rich, would be seen as equal before the law. Being a factory worker, this would ensure that he would not be treated differently from the upper class in legal matters. Additionally, he would like Article 123, in which all Germans had the right to assemble peacefully, since he was in a trade union. He would probably be part of the SPD, drawing support from the like-minded working classes during his time as a factory worker.

I agree with this. The SPD seems to align with his views as a member of the working class.

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Anoreocookie
Posts: 30

Originally posted by OceanEscape19 on February 14, 2018 14:13

Originally posted by Anoreocookie on February 14, 2018 00:39

Elisabeth von Kohler: Elisabeth is a well-educated individual, having graduated from the University of Bonn. As a proud German woman, she most likely felt indignant about the policies of the Treaty of Versailles, which emphasized how poorly Germany was treated after the war, especially by France. As a prominent attorney, she would probably hold a high sense of justice, further bringing her to conclude that the reparations stated in the treaty was ultimately unfair for her country.

Elisabeth might have potentially gravitated toward the German Democratic Party. Although she is upset about Germany’s situation after the war, she does not seem to harbor any direct ill feelings. She wants to improve Germany’s image and is very passionate about proving to the world the contributions to Western civilization that Germany has made. Article 109 of the Weimar Constitution might have been really appealing to her since she is a woman with a well-established occupation. Although a bit nationalistic and seemingly a great potential member of the German People's Party instead, she does not appear to go against the Weimar Republic as her greatest desire is to ultimately prove that Germany is a great nation.



I somewhat disagree. I think that Elisabeth's pride would have made her more angry at the Treaty of Versailles. Clauses about land being taken away, the military being basically destroyed, and the guilt clause would have made her furious at the international community. I think that it would have been seen as an injustice to her and she would have become even more hostile. For that reason i think she would have leaned right and been a part of the DVP. Weimar accepting this treaty and then continuing to ruin the economy would have given her more motive to be angry with the new government. However, I do agree that she wouldn't have been on either extreme of the spectrum because she is proud to be German and doesn't want a communist state or another political upheaval.

I definitely do think what you said is very conceivable. I was very conflicted about her political party when I was writing about her, having initially thought she would be part of the DVP. I totally agree with the idea that she definitely wouldn't have been part of any extreme side of the spectrum. The reason I eventually chose the Democratic Party is probably because I wasn't sure whether she would necessary be anti-republican as the DVP description says, as well as one of the individuals who "switched to the DNVP in 1928."

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