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The German Presidential Election: Hindenburg’s Re-election Confidently Expected: Fear That Defeated

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The Pro-Hindenburg bloc, consisting of the Social Democrats, the Democratic and the Catholic Parties, are quietly confident that President Hindenburg will be at the head of the poll to-morrow, and that he will be re-elected as President at the second vote on April 10th.

The authorities have taken elaborate precautions to prevent any disturbances occurring to-morrow, and are giving assurances that no trouble is likely.

There are disturbing rumours, nevertheless, that the Hitlerists, if they are defeated, will attempt an armed rising, to seize power, in spite of the verdict of the elections being against them. To cope with this danger, the police have been reinforced under the special emergency law. All police leave has been cancelled, and every policeman, mounted and foot, will be on duty to-morrow. Berlin looks like an armed camp, with the police armed with rifles and machine guns, and armoured cars in the streets. The police have orders to act ruthlessly against all persons attempting to create disturbances.

The London press, with the exception of the “Sunday Express”, is agreed that President Hindenburg seems most likely to head the poll. The Berlin correspondent of the “Sunday Express”, however, writes in to-day’s issue of the paper: I believe that Hitler will head the poll. If he does, the moral effect will practically guarantee his election in the final round.

It should not be forgotten, the “Times” says, that the Nazis have once, already, in 1930, obtained an election result which surprised even themselves, and it is not inconceivable that Herr Hitler might rally the 15 million supporters of which he and his party have boasted. But many of these must be under voting age, the “Times” adds, and it seems not unreasonable to suppose that he will not obtain more than about 12,000,000, or double the Nazi poll in 1930. Many of the 6,500,000 who voted for the Nazis two years ago were disgruntled elderly bourgeois. Although they were prepared to vote then for any party which promised them a change, even though a vaguely defined one, it is another thing to vote against Field-Marshal von Hindenburg in a more or less personal contest.

From all accounts, it proceeds, there is a certain majority for President von. Hindenburg noy only in Bavaria but throughout South Germany, and strong support at least in the Rhineland, a stronghold of the Roman Catholic Centre. East and north of the Elbe, however, the prospects are far from clear. The eastern agricultural districts are particularly sensitive to Nazi agitation, and the constant corrections issued by the Hindenburg Committee of false reports and misrepresentations are unlikely to penetrate easily to the villages and farms.

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