Westarp, Kuno Graf von

(1864-1945)
   politician; chairman of the DNVP during 1926-1928. Born in Ludom in Posen (now in Poland), the scion of Junker* aristocrats, he studied law before launching a civil-service* career. He was a Landrat in 1893-1902 and was police commissioner in Schoneberg and Wilmersdorf (Berlin* suburbs) during 1902-1908. From 1908, when he entered the Reichstag,* he was a senior judicial official in Berlin. As leader of the Conservative Party's parliamentary faction during the war, he demanded extreme annexations and was a vehement defender of Prussia's* three-class elec-toral system.
   Westarp helped found the DNVP in November 1918. He was elected to the National Assembly* and remained in the Reichstag until July 1932. A diehard conservative, he deeply regretted the passing of the monarchy. Although he was embroiled in the March 1920 Kapp* Putsch, he salvaged his career after the coup collapsed. In articles written for the monarchist Kreuzzeitung he needled the army's leadership for its "slavish subservience" to the Republic; late in 1923 he was among those who urged Hans von Seeckt* to make himself dic-tator. When Seeckt, to his credit, laid aside dictatorial powers granted him in November 1923, Westarp was outraged. The Westarp-Seeckt relationship re-mained one in which the general was more reasonable and politically astute than the politician.
   Although Westarp never warmed to parliamentary democracy, he increasingly cooperated with the Republic for economic reasons. Elected DNVP faction leader in February 1925 and Party chairman in March 1926, he led the DNVP into coalition cabinets in January 1925 (Hans Luther's* first cabinet) and Jan-uary 1927 (Wilhelm Marx's* fourth cabinet), gestures that linked him with Gus-tav Stresemann's* foreign policy. Such pragmatism alienated him from Party radicals, led by Alfred Hugenberg.* Hugenberg exploited the DNVP's poor showing in the May 1928 elections to launch an offensive against the old Con-servatives. Westarp retired as Party chairman in October 1928 and then resigned as faction leader in December 1929 (Hugenberg succeeded him in both posts). Although he contested the Young Plan* during 1929, he resigned from the DNVP in July 1930 over Hugenberg's radical opposition to Chancellor Heinrich Brüning*; with Gottfried Treviranus,* he thereupon founded the KVP. He was one of four KVP members elected to the Reichstag in September 1930 and retained his seat until July 1932. Failing to gain election in April 1932 to the Prussian Landtag, he ended his political career and retired to Berlin as a writer. In June 1945, weeks before his death, he was arrested by the Red Army.
   Westarp was not a Vernunftrepublikaner.* He was friendly with Paul von Hindenburg* (although he accused him of culpability in the Kaiser's abdication), and his cooperation with the Republic coincided with the Feldmarschall's elec-tion as President. His compromises with the Republic were based on the hope that Hindenburg would institute an authoritarian system. Briining's Presidential Cabinet* appealed to him largely because it subverted the Reichstag.
   REFERENCES:Bracher, Auflösung; Chanady, "Disintegration"; Dorpalen, Hindenburg; Grathwol, Stresemann and the DNVP.

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

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