Schiele, Martin

(1870-1939)
   politician; an agrarian leader who served as Interior and Agriculture Minister. Born in the borough of Gross-Schwarzlosen in the district of Stendal in Prussian Saxony,* he earned a doctorate in estate management as preparation for an agrarian career. In 1897 he entered politics with the Conservative Party, serving several years on Stendal's district council. He was elected to the Reichstag* in 1914, was a founder of the DNVP in 1918, entered the National Assembly* in 1919, and retained a Reichstag seat during 1920-1930. Interior Minister under Hans Luther* in 1925 (he resigned with DNVP colleagues in October 1925 as a protest to the Locarno Treaties*), he held the Agriculture portfolio for Wilhelm Marx* (January 1927-June 1928) and Heinrich Brüning* (March 1930-May 1932).
   As both cabinet member and Reichslandbund* president (August 1928-Oc-tober 1930), Schiele attacked the foreign policy of Gustav Stresemann* and aligned himself with the Junker* landowners (he championed Osthilfe*). In May 1927, in an address favoring high duties on agricultural imports, he embarrassed the Foreign Office, which, concurrently, was proposing tariff reductions at the World Economic Conference. In March 1929 he drew attention to Germany's depressed agricultural situation by helping found the GruÜne Front (Green Front); a Spitzenverband for four rural-interest groups, the GruÜne Front was ultimately dominated by the Reichslandbund.
   Late in 1929, disenchanted with the economic dictates and intransigence of Alfred Hugenberg,* Schiele resigned from the DNVP and joined the fledgling Christlichnationale Bauernpartei (Christian-National Peasants' Party). Because
   Schiele's views were esteemed by President Hindenburg,* Brüning asked him to return to the Agriculture Ministry in March 1930, whereupon he resigned his Reichstag mandate. He was the first cabinet official to urge appointing Nazis to the government. To the distress of industrialists, he persuaded Brüning to found the office of Osthilfe Commissioner and broaden agricultural protectionism, but he was unable to satisfy Junker demands and came under increasing attack from the Reichslandbund. Forced to resign in May 1932, he retired to his estate in Mecklenburg.
   REFERENCES:David Abraham, Collapse ofthe Weimar Republic; Benz and Graml, Bio-graphisches Lexikon; Gessner, Agrarverbande; Larry Jones, "Crisis and Realignment"; Stachura, Political Leaders.

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

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