Born in 1847 in the then state of Prussia, Hindenberg had served in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 as well as the Franco-Prussian war during 1870. Having retired in 1911, he was recalled to contribute during the First World War owing to his reputation as an effective military strategist. The war saw an immense rise in his popularity that eventually allowed him to shadow the reigning Kaiser Wilhelm II (John Wheeler Wheeler-Bennett, 1936).
Despite Germany’s defeat in the war, Hindenberg was highly regarded as a war hero, which helped him become the president of Germany. The great depression and the corresponding civil unrest fuelled by the Nazis led people to view him as a sort of protection against Nazi brutality. However, many within his inner circle are known to harbor support for the Nazis as a user group that could be accommodated. Despite the fall of two successive governments and constant pressure from Hitler to become chancellor, Hindenberg is known to have resisted it from occurring. This led Hitler to seek an alternative route to get him placed in the seats of power, which further allowed him to garner tremendous political power through manipulation and terror tactics. On the public aspect, Hitler was always respectful of Hindenberg and continued to be so until the latter passed away in August 1934.
However, despite the fact that Hitler was doing everything he could to seize power and the Reich, there have been several arguments over whether Hindenburg was passive towards Hitler’s advances and whether he did indeed remain unopposed to the thrust of the Nazi party. The discussions are often aligned against Hindenburg’s popularity, which continued to allow him to be remaining in power and thus prevent Hitler from overthrowing the constitutional government until Hindenburg’s death in 1934. As such, the coming section will discuss the opinions and observations of several historians, who have documented the events revolving around Hindenberg and the conditions that influenced him to make decisions that helped him remain popular with the public.