Dietrich, Hermann

(1879-1954)
   politician; leader of the German State Party* (DStP). Born in Oberprechtal bei Emmendingen, Baden, he studied law before serving as a legal advisor in Karlsruhe. He was Kehl's Burgermeister during 1908-1914 and Oberburgermeister of Konstanz throughout World War I. In 1911 he was elected to Baden's Landtag as a National Liberal. A founding member of the DDP, he joined the National Assembly* in January 1919. Al-though Baden retained him until 1920 as Minister for Reich and Foreign Affairs, he was simultaneously in the Reichstag,* maintaining his mandate until all par-ties but the NSDAP were dissolved in 1933. The apogee of his career came in June 1928 when he became Agriculture Minister in Hermann Muller's* second cabinet. Heinrich Brüning* retained him, initially as Economics Minister and then, from June 1930, as Finance Minister; he served concurrently as Vice Chan-cellor. The collapse of Bruning's cabinet (May 1932) ended Dietrich's minis-terial activity. An opponent of both Franz von Papen* and Hitler,* he resumed a private legal practice in 1933, living on his farm in the Black Forest.
   Within the context of the Republic, Dietrich's role was important in the de-pression* years that marked the regime's end. An advocate for the peasantry and rural middle classes, he aimed at a balanced economic climate, joined the campaign for agricultural tariffs in 1925, and was a steady sponsor of Osthilfe* for financially pressed Junkers.* Nationalistic and among the more conservative Democrats, he was cool to the 1929 Young Plan.* His ministerial activity during 1930-1932, which consumed his time and energy, placed him at the center of disastrous efforts to use emergency decrees in preventing the Republic's collapse (after World War II he disparaged these efforts). Despite his ineffectual lead-ership of the DStP from October 1930, his personal opposition to Hitler's March 1933 Enabling Act* was noteworthy (to maintain Party unity, however, he voted for the act). In 1945 he became a founding member of the Free Democratic Party.
   REFERENCES:Frye, Liberal Democrats; Larry Jones, German Liberalism; NDB, vol. 3.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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