1932 January 1 From Hitler's New Year's message to his supporters: "After twelve months more, the road to German freedom will be open! . . . . Let us march into this new year as fighters, in order that we may leave it as victors!" 1
1932 Ernst Kaltenbrunner, a Doctor of Law and Political Science from Hitler's native district of Braunau, Austria, joins the NSDAP.
I became a member of the Party in 1932 after I had belonged for several years to the Non-Partisan Movement for the Protection of the Austrian Homeland . . . . I made speeches in my own home province, the Gau Upper Austria, at National Socialist but primarily—or rather exclusively—to promote the Anschluss movement. I was a legal adviser just as any other lawyer of any party who, at that period of economic emergency, was willing to give legal information and advice free of charge for some hours at the end of the day to the needy, who in this case were National Socialists. 21932 January 5 While meeting with Rudolf Hess, Alfred Rosenberg, and one of the paper's editors, Wilhelm Weiss, in the Völkischer Beobachter offices, a telegram arrives from the Brüning government. The telegram requests that Hitler appear in Berlin to confer with government leaders. "Now I have them in my pocket!, Hitler joyously exclaims. "They have recognized me as a partner in their negotiations." 3
Sympathetic impression, modest, decent fellow who wants the best. In his demeanor, type of the earnest autodidact . . . . The minister has clearly stated that he will support the legal effort of Hitler by all means, but that Nazi fomenters of unrest will be opposed as before . . . . Hitler's intentions and aims are good, but he is an enthusiast, fiery, many-sided. The minister fully agreed with him to further his intentions for the good of the Reich. The minister also instructs the [governments of the] states, in the sharpest form, to be fair toward the Nazis: Any excesses should be opposed, not the movement as such. 5Goebbels tells his diary:
The Presidency is not really in question. Brüning only wants to stabilize his own position and that of his cabinet for the foreseeable future. The Führer has asked for time to consider. The situation must be clarified on all sides . . . . The contest for power, the game of chess, has begun. It may last throughout the year. It will be a fast game, played with intelligence and skill. The main point is that we hold fast, and waive all compromise. 61932 January 8-10 Hitler meets with Otto Meissner, Hindenburg's State Secretary, and Groener on the 8th and 10th. Reich President Hindenburg's 7-year term will expire on May 5, 1932. With the dire economic situation in the Republic, these gentlemen tell Hitler, a long and bitter electoral contest at this time would be counter-productive. They propose that the Reichstag override the Weimar Constitution and extend Hindenburg's term in office without holding an election. The motion will not pass without a two-thirds majority in the Reichstag, and Hitler's cooperation is necessary for this to happen. Hitler puts them off, saying he will inform them when he has reached a decision. 7
Democracy espouses the view that all state power issues from the people and hence all the representatives of the state power are only mandates of popular will. No domestic and foreign arguments against new elections can ever be a license to infringe upon the constitution. 10Hitler, during a secret meeting at the Kaiserhof, soon makes a counter-offer: He will support Hindenburg in the upcoming election if Brüning is dismissed and the Reichstag is dissolved. And a round of elections should be held in Prussia as well. Hitler's 'offer' is dismissed with contempt. Reich President Hindenburg sends word to Hitler, informing him that dismissing Chancellor Brüning is out of the question. It is just as well. Hitler has a candidate of his own in mind for the office of Reich President. 11
The idea is to organize a Ministry for the Education of the People, comprising control of the cinema, broadcasting, new educational establishments, arts, culture, and propaganda generally. This is altogether a revolutionary office, to be directed in general from the center. Its object would be to set forth clearly the Idea of the Reich. It is a vast plan such as the world has not yet seen. I am already beginning to work out the basis of this ministry. It is designed for the intelligent support of the state, and to conquer not only the apparatus of government, but the people as a whole. 131932 January 25 Hitler appoints Himmler head of security in the Brown House:
Control of the security service throughout Party Headquarters (The Brown House and adjacent building) is hereby transferred to the Reichsführer-SS. The SA Oberführer of the Munich/Upper Bavaria Untergruppe [Sub-Group] and the SS Standartenführer of No. 1 SS-Standarte, Munich will forward to the Reichsführer-SS a list of the SA and SS men selected. 141932 January 25 From Hitler's open letter to Chancellor Brüning: "It would never have come to a Treaty of Versailles, if the parties which support you—the Center, the Social Democrats, and the Democrats—had not undermined, destroyed, and betrayed the old Reich, if they had not prepared and carried through the Revolution (of 1918) or at least accepted and defended it." 15
Fifty per cent of the people [the Communists and Socialists] wish only to smash the State in pieces and feel themselves to be the vanguard not only of an alien attitude towards the State . . . but of a will which is hostile to the State . . . when only fifty per cent of a people are ready to fight for the national colors, while fifty per cent have hoisted another flag which stands for a State which is to be found only outside the bounds of their own State. Unless Germany can master this internal division in Welltanschauungen no measures of the legislature can stop the decline of the German nation . . . .
Here [in the Nazi movement] is an organization which is filled with an indomitable, aggressive spirit, an organization which, when a political opponent says "Your behaviour we regard as a provocation," does not see fit immediately to retire from the scene, but brutally enforces its own will and hurls against the opponent the retort: "We fight today! We fight tomorrow! And if you regard our meeting today as a provocation we shall hold yet another next week—until you have learned that it is no provocation when German Germany also professes its belief . . . . "
And when people cast in our teeth our intolerance, we proudly acknowledge it—yes, we have formed the inexorable decision to destroy Marxism in Germany down to its very last root . . . . Today we stand at the turning-point of Germany's destiny . . . . Either we shall succeed in working out a body politic hard as iron from this conglomeration of parties, associations, unions, and Weltanschauungen, from this pride of rank and madness of class, or else, lacking this internal consolidation, Germany will fall in final ruin . . . .
Remember that it means sacrifice when today many hundreds of thousands of SA and SS men every day have to mount on their lorries, protect meetings, undertake marches, sacrifice themselves night after night and then come back in the grey dawn to workshop and factory, or as unemployed to take the pittance of the dole; it means sacrifice when from the little they possess they have to buy their uniforms, their shirts, their badges, yes, and even pay their own fares. But there is already in all this the force of an ideal—a great ideal! And if the whole German nation today had the same faith in its vocation as these hundred thousands, if the whole nation possessed this idealism, Germany would stand in the eyes of the world otherwise than she stands now! 17
I have personally given altogether one million marks to the Nazi Party . . . . It was during the last years preceding the Nazi seizure of power that the big industrial corporations began to make their contributions. But they did not give directly to Hitler; they gave them direct to Dr Alfred Hugenberg, the leader of the Nationalists, who placed at the disposal of the Nazi Party about one-fifth of the amounts given. All in all, the amounts given by heavy industry to the Nazis may be estimated at two million marks a year. 18Many of the business leaders and industrialists in the audience are seeing Hitler for the first time, and they like what they hear. Contributions to the party spike upward over the next month, giving the Nazis the necessary funds to participate in the upcoming presidential elections, should Hitler finally decide to run. "The effect [of Hitler's speech] upon the industrialists," Otto Dietrich later recorded, "was great, and very evident during the next hard months of struggle." 19
The arguments for the Führer's candidacy are so thoroughly persuasive that anything else is out of the question . . . . At noon had a long discussion with the Führer. He sets forth his view of the presidential election. He decides to run himself. But first the opposition must occupy fixed positions. The Social Democratic Party will be the decisive factor. Then our decision will be communicated to the public. It is a struggle of enormously embarrassing alternatives, but we must go through with it. The Führer makes his moves without the slightest haste and with a clear head. 211932 February 3 Goebbels' diary:
The Gauleiters are waiting for the announcement of the decision to run for the presidency. They wait in vain. This is a game of chess. You don't tell in advance what moves you are going to make . . . . The party is terribly nervous, tense, but nevertheless everybody is still keeping silent . . . . In his leisure hours the Führer is occupying himself with architectural plans for a new party headquarters as well as for a spectacular rebuilding of Berlin. He has the project all worked out, and I am constantly astonished anew at his expertise in so many fields. At night many loyal old party comrades come to see me. They are depressed because they have not yet heard of any decision. They are worried that the Führer will wait too long. 221932 February 15 Hindenburg officially announces that he is standing again for the office of Reich President. The old gentleman does not campaign for the office other than to record an hour-long radio speech to be broadcast on election eve. 23
Sportpalast jammed. General membership meeting of the West, East and North regions. Stormy ovations right at the start. After an hour of preamble I publicly announce the Führer's candidacy. A storm of enthusiasm rages for almost ten minutes. Wild demonstrations for the Führer. People stand up cheering and shouting. They raise the roof. An overwhelming sight. This is truly a Movement that must win. An indescribable excitement and rapture prevails . . . . Late at night the Führer telephones. I report to him, and then he comes to our house. He is glad that the proclamation of his candidacy has struck home so effectively. He is and remains our Führer after all. 24However, there is one little problem: Hitler is not a German citizen, and therefore cannot legally hold office. 25
The repeated declarations of the National Socialist leader and his profession of legality show that he is endeavoring to exclude illegal elements from his party. And the Reich Court has expressly established this fact. These facts have decided me no longer to deny the honorable right of national defense to the members of the NSDAP. 281932 February 26 Hitler, a former citizen of Austria, is appointed to a civil service position in the State Culture and Measurement Office (Landeskultur-und Vermessungsamt) in the state of Braunschweig for the period of a week. Ironically, Adolf Hitler of Austria now follows in his father's footsteps (in a manner of speaking) and becomes the one thing he swore he'd never be: a civil servant.
Fifty thousand gramophone records have been made, small enough to fit into an ordinary envelope. The supporters of the government will be astonished when they place these miniature records on the gramophone. A film (of me) is being made and I speak a few words in it for about ten minutes. It is to be shown in the evening in all public gardens and squares of the larger cities. 311932 February By the end of the month, the number of unemployed in Germany stands at over six million. 32
Election of a party man, representing one-sided extremist views, who would consequently have the majority of the people against him, would expose the Fatherland to serious disturbances whose outcome would be incalculable. Duty commanded me to prevent this . . . . If I am defeated, I shall at least not have incurred the reproach that of my own accord I deserted my post in an hour of crisis . . . . I ask for no votes from those who do not wish to vote for me. 331932 March 11 A majority of the men in Hitler's paramilitary organizations—the SA and SS—would prefer to be more military than para, and morale is low. Goebbels tells his diary: "Talked over instructions with the SA and SS commanders. Deep uneasiness is rife everywhere. The notion of an uprising haunts the air." 34
Halt! Before you leave your present party, convinced of the truth of the National Socialist idea, reflect if you cannot be more useful to the National Socialist Movement by remaining a member where you are and informing us about all the occurrences and intentions of your present party comrades! . . . . Your work will be valued as highly as the sacrifices of every party comrade and SA man who does his duty! 371932 March 14 In the Völkischer Beobachter, Hitler declares that he will run again for president in the run-off election: "The first election campaign is over, the second has begun today. I shall lead it." Hitler now embarks on yet another of his patented "Führer over Germany" campaign tours. He charters a Junkers plane and pilot to fly him to twenty different cities in one week, from East Prussia to Westphalia. The Nazi press pumps propaganda prolifically, and uses such innovations as vinyl records of Hitler campaign speeches sent by mail to garner votes. When his plane encounters storm conditions on a flight to Düsseldorf, Nazi newspapers declare Hitler the bravest man in Germany. It is that sort of campaign. 38
After the events of the last few days, I am really glad that there is a counterweight [to the Social Democrats] in the form of the Nazis, who are not very decent chaps either and must be stomached with the greatest caution. If they did not exist, we should virtually have to invent them. 391932 March 17 The Prussian police, in a raid on SA headquarters in Berlin, find orders and plans—including maps—issued by Ernst Röhm, making ready to launch a coup d'état, in the event that Hitler gains the presidency. Röhm immediately seeks out von Schleicher, and convinces him that they were just contingency plans, and the only actual order issued was to confine the SA to quarters during the election. Göring calls a press conference at the Kaiserhof:
It was most commendable of us to concentrate our 350, 000 storm-troopers in their own quarters on election day. By so doing, we prevented bloodshed. As for the allegation of the police that we Nazis were preparing to surround Berlin, the whole idea is absurd. We are surely entitled to take our own measures for the evacuation from the city of our women and children, so as to protect them from injury by government mobs, and that, in fact, is what we did. Why, heaven help us, we have so many former officers in our ranks that if we really wanted to stage a rising we could set about it in quite a different manner, I assure you, gentlemen. 401932 March 31 Baldur von Schirach weds 19-year-old Henriette 'Henny' Hoffmann—the daughter of Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler's official photographer—at the old Registrar's Office in Munich, the "Old Peter." Since the wedding takes place during the "Easter Break" of the election campaign, the reception is held in Hitler's apartment on the Prinzregentenplatz. Hitler consumes a plate of spaghetti, with tomato sauce, and an apple. Before leaving, Hitler gives Henny a note instructing her on the type of food she should serve him: "I eat everything that Nature yields of her own accord: fruit, vegetables, vegetable oil. Please, spare me everything that animals give up against their will: meat, milk and cheese. From animals [I eat] only eggs." 41
For 13 years I have fought against Jewry . . . . We know that the Jew, whether he is baptized as a Protestant or as a Catholic, remains a Jew. Why can you not realize this, you Protestant clergymen, you Catholic priests! You are blinded and serve the God of the Jews who is not the God of love but the God of hate. Why do you not listen to Christ, who said to the Jews, "You are the children of the Devil." 421932 April 2 Goebbels again mentions the discontent in the SA and SS in his diary: "The SA getting impatient. It is understandable enough that the soldiers begin to lose morale through these long-drawn-out political contests. It has to be stopped though, at all costs. A premature putsch would nullify our whole future." 43
We lose no time, but proceed at once to plan our campaign for Prussia. At dawn I am still writing a leading article and proclamation to the Berlin party. They have fought stoutly. Now Prussia must be vanquished. That will be the next fortress to be assaulted. The second election has enormously enhanced our chances. 461932 April 21 Contingency plans for a Nazi coup had been found in Nazi Party offices in November of 1931, and in other regional Nazi offices since. With this incriminating evidence at hand, Chancellor Brüning and Interior and Defence Minister Groener convince Hindenburg to ban the activities of "all military-like (militarahnliche) organizations" of the NSDAP. Goebbels' Berlin office is occupied by the police, and the SA offices are sealed. The SA and SS are banned in all of Germany. 47
The April sun shone as in summer, turning everything into a picture of happiest expectation . . . . No one [in the crowd] said "Hitler", always just "the Führer. "The Führer says," "the Führer" wants, and what he said and wanted, that seemed good and proper . . . . The hours passed, the sun shone, the expectation mounted . . . . It got to 3 o'clock. 'The Führer's coming!' A thrill goes through the masses. Around the platform hands could be seen raised in the Hitler greeting . . . . There stood Hitler in a simple black coat, looking expectantly over the crowd. A forest of swastika banners rustled upwards. The jubilation of the moment gave vent to a rousing cry of 'Heil'. Then Hitler spoke. Main idea: out of the parties a people (Volk) will emerge, the German people. He castigated the 'system' . . . .
For the rest, he refrained from personal attacks and also unspecific and specific promises. His voice was hoarse from speaking so much in previous days. When the speech was over, there were roars of jubilation and applause. Hitler saluted, gave his thanks, the 'Germany Anthem' sounded over the track. Hitler was helped into his coat. Then he went. How many look to him in touching faith as the helper, saviour, the redeemer from overgreat distress. To him, who rescues the Prussian prince, the scholar, the clergyman, the peasant, the worker, the unemployed out of the party into the people. 50
The understanding that the German nation, if it is not to perish in the truest sense of the word, needs ground and soil for itself and its future generations; and the second sober perception, that this soil can no more be conquered in Africa, but in Europe and first of all in the East, these organically determine the German foreign policy for centuries. 551932 May 1 Joachim Ribbentrop, a wine and champagne wholesaler, joins the NSDAP, Member Number 1,199,927. Ribbentrop later explained that: "It was precisely Hitler's opposition to Versailles that first brought me together with him and the National Socialist Party. 56
[We have reached] a decisive discussion with General Schleicher. Brüning is to go in the next days. The Reich President will withdraw his confidence. The plan is to install a presidential cabinet. The Reichstag will be dissolved; all coercive laws will be dropped. We will be given freedom of action, and will then deliver a masterpiece of propaganda. 58Chancellor Brüning does have one strong supporter in the cabinet: Wilhelm Groener, the Minister of Defense and the Interior. It was Groener who had worked with Hindenburg and Ludendorff to accept the Armistice and depose the Kaiser, and he had always had Hindenburg's ear. However, things had changed recently, and the old field marshal's affection for Groener had lessened. Groener, 62-years-old, had recently married, and his new wife had given birth to a baby boy only five months later. Even worse, Groener had posed with his son for a photograph that had been published in the newspapers. General von Schleicher keeps Hindenburg informed of all the details. Further, he called various high-ranking Reichswehr officers, ostensibly to ask them what they thought of the matter. In this manner, von Schleicher is able to marginalize the influence of Brüning's foremost ally. 59 1932 May 10 Gregor Strasser, the most socialist National Socialist, addresses the Reichstag:
The rise of National Socialism is the protest of a people against a State that denies the right to work and the revival of natural intercourse. If the machinery for distribution in the present economic system of the world is incapable of properly distributing the productive wealth of nations, then that system is false, and must be altered. The important part of the present development is the anti-capitalist sentiment that is permeating our people; it is the protest of the people against a degenerate economic system. It demands from the State that, in order to secure its own right to live, it shall break with the Demons Gold, World Economy, Materialism, and with the habit of thinking in export statistics and the bank rate, and shall be capable of restoring honest payment for honest labour. This anti-capitalist sentiment is a proof that we are on the eve of a great change—the conquest of Liberalism and the rise of new ways of economic thought, and of a new conception of the State. 601932 May 10 Hermann Göring assails the Minister of Defense and Interior, Wilhelm Groener, on the floor of the Reichstag:
Don't think that by removing his brown shirt you can take away the spirit of the SA man. While other parties change their policies like their shirts, for us spirit and policy remain the same, in spite of prohibition and terror. Faithfulness and comradeship, which to many of you have become a phantom, like your oath, for us are fundamental to the union of German men, who stand united for their country and their people . . . . A government that, internally, externally, and in political economy, has lost every battle, can no longer ask for confidence. It has always been so in history. When a general has lost a battle, he has to go. Troops are not there to bleed to death for a general, and a people does not exist to be ruined by a government which cannot master the situation. And so we declare today that the Cabinet no longer enjoys the trust of the people. The people are clamouring for new men! . . . The Brüning Cabinet must go. It must go, in order that Germany can live. 61When Groener, who is dealing with diabetes and other health issues on top of all his other difficulties, rises to respond to Göring's attack, the Nazis in the chamber shout him down. Surrendering to the relative safety of his seat, he is informed by General von Schleicher that he no longer enjoys the confidence of the Reichswehr, and should do the proper thing and resign from the government. 62
For Brüning alone, winter seems to have arrived. He is being secretly undermined and is already completely isolated. He is anxiously looking for collaborators—"My kingdom for a Cabinet Minister!" General Schleicher has declined the Ministry of Defense . . . . Our mice are busily at work gnawing through the last supports of Brüning's position. 671932 May 17 General Kurt von Schleicher again meets secretly with Hitler. 68
I went to see Herr von Schleicher again. I said to him: "I have decided not to accept." Herr von Schleicher said: "That won't do you any good, the President wants you under all circumstances." I answered Herr von Schleicher: "The President probably has a wrong conception of the political forces which I would bring to him for this government; he probably thinks that the Center would support me politically. But that is out of the question."
On the afternoon of this day, I went to see the head of the Center Party. I asked him, and he said: "Herr von Papen, do not accept the office; the party would immediately oppose you." I said: "Thank you, that is what I thought." I then went to see Hindenburg and presented the situation to him. Hindenburg stood up and said: "I did not call you because I wanted the support of any party through you; I called you because I want a cabinet of independent men." Then he reminded me of my duty toward the fatherland. When I continued to contradict him, he said: "You cannot leave me, an old soldier, in the lurch when I need you." I said: "No, under these circumstances I will not leave you in the lurch; I will accept." 76
Hitler's talk with the President went well . . . . The bomb has exploded! . . . . The system is collapsing . . . . The SA ban will be dropped. Uniforms are to be allowed again. The Reichstag will be dissolved. That's the most important of all. v. Papen is foreseen as Chancellor. But that is not so interesting. Voting, voting! Out to the people. We're all very happy. 801932 May 31 German President Paul von Hindenburg appoints von Schleicher's choice, Franz von Papen, as the lucky thirteenth chancellor of the Weimar Republic, replacing Heinrich Brüning, the leader of Papen's own party. Schleicher is rewarded with the post of Minister of Defense. Papen has practically no support in the Reichstag except from the DNVP (Conservative German National People's Party). So, he forms a "cabinet of barons" meant to be independent of parties. Two members of the cabinet are corporate CEO's, and five are members of the aristocracy. 81
The Reich President requests you, in view of your former promise, to take over the Foreign Ministry in the presidential cabinet now being formed, which will be made up of rightwing personalities free from political party allegiance, and will be supported not so much by the Reichstag, as by the authority of the Reich President. The Reich President addresses an urgent appeal to you not to refuse your services to the fatherland in this difficult hour. Should you not be able to give an affirmative answer immediately, I ask you to return at once. 841932 June 2 Konstantin von Neurath is appointed Chancellor von Papen's Reich Minister of Foreign Affairs. 85
Already in 1929, after Stresemann's death, Hindenburg had wanted to appoint me Foreign Minister. At that time I refused, because in view of the party conditions existing in the Reichstag in those days, I saw no possibility for a stable foreign policy. I was not a member of any of the 30 or so parties, so that I would not have been able to have found any kind of support in the Reichstag of those days. Hindenburg, however, obtained my promise that I would answer his call if the fatherland should find itself in an emergency . . . .
I was not the least bit keen on taking over the post of Foreign Minister at that time. I liked my post as Ambassador in London, enjoyed good relations there with the Government and the Royal Family, and I was hoping, therefore, that I could continue to be of service to both countries, Great Britain and Germany. I could not simply overlook Hindenburg's appeal, but even then I did not decide until after I had had a lengthy personal discussion with him, in which I stated my own aims and ideas regarding German foreign policy, and in which I assured myself of his support of a peaceful development, and the means of attaining equality for Germany, the strengthening of her position in the council of nations, and the regaining of sovereignty over German national territory. 86
The aim of the talk was to determine under what conditions Hitler would be willing to tolerate my Government. My program contained so many points in the social field that an approval of that program by the National Socialists was to be expected. Hitler's condition for such an approval of the Government program was the lifting of the ban on uniforms for the SS; that is, the political equalization of his party with the other parties. I agreed to that, at that time; all the more so, as the ban of the SS by the Brüning Government was an obvious injustice. The SS, or rather the SA, had been prohibited; but the uniformed formations of the Socialists and the Communists, that is, the Rotfront and the Reichsbanner, had not been prohibited. The result of my promise to Hitler was that Hitler obligated himself to tolerate my Government. 951932 June 14 In a clear attempt to provoke the Berlin police and make the papers, Goebbels leads forty to fifty fully outfitted SA leaders on an invasion of a stylish restaurant on the popular Potsdamer Platz. When this fails to gain them any arrests, the troop makes an excursion across the square to Potsdamer Strasse. The police ignore them, and they eventually disperse. 96
Written by Walther Johann von Löpp
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