Chapter Twenty-one:
'Seizure of Power'

1932 November 5 One day before the election, Goebbels tells his diary:

Last attack. Desperate drive of the Party against defeat. We succeed in obtaining ten thousand marks at the very last moment. These are to be thrown into the campaign on Saturday afternoon. We have done all possible. Now let Fate decide. 1

1932 November 6 The 8th Reichstag election of the Weimar Republic fails to break the parliamentary deadlock. A very low turnout at the polls, combined with marginal gains by the Communists and the DNVP, cause the NSDAP to lose 2 million voters and 34 seats, retaining 186 seats. 11,737,021 Germans vote Nazi, which is 33.09% of the total. The electoral results are no cause for victory, as Goebbels tells his diary: "A somber mood prevails in the Gau of Berlin. There is widespread despair among the voters."

Again, the formation of a majority in the Reichstag is possible only with Hitler. Without him, no majority can be formed. (Not even the most prescient could have reason to suspect that this is the last free and fair election that will be held in a unified Germany until December of 1990.) 2

1932 November 8 Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected President of the United States.

1932 November 10 In the House of Commons, the British Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Sir John Simon, declares that Britain recognizes, in principle, the German claim to equal military rights. 3

1932 November 12 Hindenburg's office receives a petition asking him to appoint Hitler as his new Chancellor "zur Bekampfung des Bolschewismus" (to combat Bolshevism). Thirty-nine prominent German industrialists and businessmen signed the document, but, since it was destroyed during the war, it is not known who they were. 4

Schacht writes to Hitler: "I have no doubt that the present development of things can only lead to your becoming Chancellor. It seems as if our attempt to collect a number of signatures from business circles for this purpose is not altogether in vain."

1932 November 13 Chancellor von Papen, in his official capacity, writes to Hitler: 5

A new situation has arisen through the elections of November the 6th, and at the same time a new opportunity for a consolidation of all nationalist elements. The Reich President has instructed me to find out, by conversations with the leaders of the individual parties concerned, whether and how far they are ready to support the carrying out of the political and economic program on which the Reich Government has embarked. Although the National Socialist press has been writing that it is a naive attempt for Reich Chancellor von Papen to try to confer with personalities representing the nationalist concentration, and that there can only be one answer, "No negotiations with Papen," I would consider it neglecting my duties, and I would be unable to justify it to my own conscience, if I did not approach you in the spirit of the order given to me.

I am quite aware from the papers that you are maintaining your demands to be entrusted with the Chancellor's Office, and I am equally aware of the continued existence of the reasons for the decision of August the 13th. I need not assure you again that I myself do not claim any personal consideration at all. All the same, I am of the opinion that the leader of so great a national movement, whose merits for people and country I have always recognized in spite of necessary criticism, should not refuse to enter into discussions on the situation and the decisions required with the presently leading and responsible German statesman. We must attempt to forget the bitterness of the elections and to place the cause of the country which we are mutually serving above all other considerations. 6

1932 November 14 A French plan, as a basis of the negotiations, is offered at the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments.

Konstantin von Neurath:

This plan, surprisingly enough, provided for the transformation of professional armies into armies with a short period of service, for according to the opinion presented by the French representative at that time only armies with a short period of service could be considered defensive armies, while standing armies consisting of professional soldiers would have an offensive character. This point of view on the part of France was completely new, and was not only exactly the opposite of France's previous point of view, but it was also a change from the provisions laid down in the Versailles Treaty for the disarmament of Germany. This meant for Germany—at whom it was obviously aimed—the elimination of its standing army of 100,000 men. In addition, by this new plan, France let it be seen that she herself did not want to disarm. 7

1932 November 17 Chancellor von Papen, after admitting to Hindenburg that he has been unable to build a ruling coalition, resigns. 8

1932 November 17 Göring, Rosenberg, and Hjalmar Schacht are in Italy, ostensibly attending a "European Congress" sponsored by the Roman Academy of Sciences. In fact, they were engaged in trying to talk Mussolini into giving the party a loan. Göring is seated next to Mussolini—a seat of honor—at a state banquet, when word reaches him that the von Papen government had fallen. 9

1932 November 18 Early in the morning, Göring asks Mussolini, for the sake of German Fascism, to help expedite his return to Berlin. His Führer needs him to assist with Hindenburg. Göring is flown to Venice on an Italian government plane, to catch a flight to Germany, arriving in Berlin six hours later. 10

1932 November 18 During a meeting with the Reich President, Alfred Hugenberg gives his opinion of the Nazi leader: "His entire manner of handling political affairs makes it very difficult, in my opinion, to give him leadership. At any rate, I have grave doubts." Hindenburg replies: "My dear young friend, you have spoken out of my own heart! . . . . One can't put a house painter in Bismarck's chair." 11

1932 November 19 In the first of a series of face-to-face meetings, Hindenburg allows Hitler a chair, and allows him to speak for nearly an hour before personally appealing to him to participate with the other parties to form a workable majority government. Hitler replies that he has no interest in forming any other government but one headed by himself as Reich Chancellor. Hitler promises that, once he is in power, he will be in the best position of any recent chancellor to obtain a mandate from the Reichstag in the form of an enabling act. In this manner, Hitler vows, the problem of frequent elections will be resolved. Trust me. 12

1932 November 21 Suspecting that von Schleicher is thinking of making Hjalmar Schacht the next chancellor, Hitler has Schacht write a declaration that he will not serve as chancellor, because that job should go to the Nazi Führer. "If Hitler does not become Chancellor today," von Papen wrote, "he will in four months. He can wait." 13

From Goebbels’ Diary: "In a conversation with Dr. Schacht, I assured myself that he absolutely shares our point of view. He is one of the few who stand immovable behind the Führer. 14

1932 November 21 During a 10-minute meeting with Hitler, Hindenburg cuts to the chaff:

You have declared that you will only place your movement at the disposal of a government, of which you, the leader of the Party, are the head. If I consider your proposal, I must demand that such a Cabinet should have a majority in the Reichstag. Accordingly, I ask you, as the leader of the largest party, to ascertain, if and on what conditions, you could obtain a secure workable majority in the Reichstag on a definite program. 15

1932 November 24 During the course of yet another Hitler-Hindenburg meeting, Hitler, who has not come forward with a plan for a majority government, is offered the office of Vice-Chancellor. Hitler remains adamant that he is entitled to nothing less than the chancellorship. Hindenburg refuses: "You know that I favor the idea of a presidential cabinet. By a presidential cabinet I mean a cabinet that is not led by a party leader, but by a man standing above parties, and that this man is a person enjoying my special confidence." Later, he will defend his refusal to give in to Hitler's demands by explaining that "a presidential cabinet led by Hitler would necessarily develop into a party dictatorship with all its consequences for an extreme aggravation of the conflicts within the German people." 1

1932 November 24 Reich President Hindenburg meets with Monsignor Kaas, the leader of the Center Party, and declares that Hitler has not attempted, in good faith, to form a majority government, and it is impossible to form a majority government without Hitler. Hindenburg is certainly correct: Hitler is spending little time looking for a governing majority. Instead, he spends his time at the high-end Hotel Kaiserhof, in strategy meetings with Göring, Strasser, Frick, Röhm, and Goebbels. Monsignor Kaas promises Hindenburg to try once more to form a majority government. 17

1932 November 29 Giving up on any further negotiations with the powers-that-be at the Wilhelmstrasse (shorthand for 'the government'), Hitler leaves Berlin by train for a conference of party leaders in Weimar. 18

1932 November 30 Hitler sends word that he declines to participate in yet another fruitless meeting with Reich President von Hindenburg. 19

1932 Late November Former Reichsbank president Hjalmar Schacht, former Reich Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno, industrialists Gustav Krupp, Fritz Thyssen, Carl Friedrich von Siemens, Robert Bosch, Albert Vögler, and thirty-two other business leaders, petition Hindenburg to grant Hitler the chancellorship. 20

1932 December 1 Hitler attends a conference of party leaders in Weimar. Supported by Frick, Strasser comes out in support of joining in a government with von Schleicher. Hitler, supported by Goebbels and Göring, refuses to consider the notion. 21

1932 December 1 Von Schleicher sends Lieutenant-Colonel Eugen Ott, his key aide, to meet with Hitler in Weimar. Hitler holds to his demands. General von Schleicher now shifts his personal attention to yet another Nazi, with perhaps more potential to advance his schemes. Note: Eugen Ott will one day be Hitler's ambassador to Tokyo. 22

1932 December 1 In the evening, Defense Minister von Schleicher and Chancellor von Papen meet with Reich President Hindenburg. The meeting does not go well for the Reich Chancellor, who later testified as to the meetings details:

The attempt to include the Nazi movement into the Presidential Cabinet of Hindenburg had twice failed. Hitler equally refuses to form a majority government. On the other hand, he is exercising a tremendous amount of opposition and is trying to have all my decrees rescinded by the Reichstag. If therefore, there is no possibility to form a parliamentary government or to include Hitler in our Government without making him Chancellor, then a state of emergency has arisen which requires extraordinary measures.

Therefore, I proposed a recess of Parliament for several months and immediate preparation of a constitutional reform bill later to be presented to the Reichstag or to a national assembly. This proposal involved a violation of the Constitution. I emphasized that I knew how the great soldier and statesman cherished the sacredness of his oath, but my conscience led me to believe that a violation of the Constitution seemed to be justified in view of the extraordinary situation, for which the German Constitution provided no remedy.

Then Herr von Schleicher spoke. He said: "Field Marshal, I have a plan which will make it unnecessary for you to break your oath to the Constitution, if you are willing to put the Government into my hands. I hope that I will be able to obtain a parliamentary majority in the Reichstag by splitting the National Socialist Party."

During the discussion of this plan, I said that it was doubtful to me whether a splitting of the Party which had sworn loyalty to Hitler could be achieved. I reminded the Field Marshal of the fact that he should free himself of weak parliamentary majorities through a basic reform. However, the proposals were thrown overboard through the solution offered by Schleicher. 23

Defense Minister von Schleicher has Gregor Strasser in mind, as the tool he can use to split the ranks of the Nazi Party. He intends to offer Strasser, and a few of his followers, cabinet positions. Von Schleicher supposes that, in this manner, he can split off an estimated sixty NSDAP Reichstag deputies, and fatally weaken Hitler's party. 24

1932 December 3 In state elections in Thuringia, the NSDAP's share of the vote comes in 40% less than the previous election. Such a poor showing at this moment of government instability makes the party look weak at a time when the opposite effect is desired. 25

1932 December 3 Chancellor von Papen, who is rapidly losing support in the Reichstag, requests a declaration of martial law from the cabinet in order to rule by decree. In response, Defense Minister von Schleicher produces a report detailing the results of a recent war game. The report concludes by saying that if martial law were declared, the Reichswehr would prove unable to defeat the united strength of the paramilitary groups. Von Papen is forced to resign. "My dear Papen," Hindenburg explains, "you'll consider me a cad if I change my mind now. But I am now too old, at the end of my life, to take the responsibility for a civil war. We'll have to let Herr von Schleicher try his luck in God's name." Further, Hindenburg is convinced, by von Schleicher—who will later claim, improbably, that he had resisted the idea—to appoint von Schleicher chancellor. General Kurt von Schleicher thus becomes the fourteenth—and, for all practical purposes, last—Chancellor of the Weimar Republic. The power behind the throne is now in power. 26

1932 December 3 During a meeting in Berlin, Chancellor von Schleicher puts his plan to split the ranks of the Nazis in motion by offering Gregor Strasser the posts of Vice-Chancellor, and Minister President of Prussia. 27

1932 December 5 At a secret meeting of the NSDAP leaders, at Berlin's Kaiserhof, Gregor Strasser, again with the support of Frick, urges his colleagues to give up the demand that Hitler must become chancellor, and urges that they support von Schleicher, in exchange for some cabinet appointments. Hitler reacts with outrage, declaring that it is the chancellorship or nothing. 28

1932 December 6 The Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments reconvenes in Geneva. 29

1932 December 7 Hitler and Gregor Strasser meet at the Kaiserhof, in order to engage in yet another round of mutual recriminations. Later, back in his room in the Hotel Excelsior, Strasser writes a long letter to Hitler, resigning from all of his party offices. 30

According to Hitler's lawyer, Hans Frank, an often unreliable source, Strasser blames the fact that the NSDAP does not yet hold power in Germany solely on Hitler: "Along comes Hindenburg," Frank claims Strasser said to him, "a man of honor, who honestly and decently offers him a place in the government, and there stands the 'wahnfriedische' Lohengrin-Hitler with his darkly menacing boys. Frank, I see black: Göring is a brutal egotist who cares nothing for Germany, as long as he becomes something. Goebbels is a limping devil and basically two-faced, Röhm is a pig. This is the Old Guard of the Führer. It is terrible!" 31

1932 December 8 At a morning meeting of six senior party Gauleiter, the Regional Inspectors (Landesinspekteure), Gregor Strasser resigns his party posts in person. He delivers a blistering critique of Hitler's leadership and his policy of opposition to every Reich government, then immediately leaves Germany, traveling to Italy for an extended vacation. Gregor Strasser will never recover from this political surrender, and henceforth ceases to be a player of any consequence. 32

1932 December 8 Hitler calls together the same group of Gauleiter that had met with Strasser in the morning: Frick, Göring, Goebbels, Hess, Ley (Gauleiter of Cologne), and Wilhelm Kube (deputy in the Prussian Diet). He counters every one of Strasser's arguments with his own. The Nazi Führer speaks with passion for two full hours, before eventually becoming "quieter and more human, more friendly and appealing in his comments," according to an account of the meeting.

[He had found] that comradely tone, which those assembled knew, and which completely convinced them. Now he was their friend, their comrade, their leader who had visibly for each one again freed the way out of the completely muddled situation [that] Strasser had presented, convincing them emotionally and intellectually. As he spoke, Strasser sank with his dark prophecy ever more into a shadowy distance, although those present in consideration and under the impact of what he had said had come with considerable reservations . . . . Increasingly persuasive to his audience and inexorably drawing them under his spell, he [Hitler] triumphed and proved to his wavering, but upright and indispensable fighters in this toughest test of the movement, that he was the master, and Strasser the journeyman  . . . . So he had remained the outright victor also in this last and most serious attack, directed at the substance of the movement from within its own ranks . . . . The old bond with him was again sealed by those present, with a handshake. 33

1932 December 9 During a 2 a.m.-to-dawn strategy session at the Kaiserhof: Hitler, Goebbels, Röhm, and Himmler decide on a plan to completely eradicate any memory of Gregor Strasser still remaining in the party's organization. Rudolf Hess will be put at the head of a new Political Central Commission, replacing Strasser's two Reich Inspectorates. Hitler himself will take control of the political organization, with Robert Ley as chief of staff. Prominent Strasser supporters are to be purged from their party posts. And in seven party meetings in the next nine days—a "loyalty tour"—Hitler will be soliciting oaths of loyalty from party leaders throughout Germany. Göring, Ley, and Goebbels make similar tours on Hitler's behalf. 34

1932 December 9 At a meeting of high-ranking Nazi leaders in Goring's official residence as president of the Reichstag, Hitler insists on loyalty pledges all around, stating that any who waver in their support now will be responsible for the death of the movement. Goebbels records how this first of a series of unity speeches climaxed:

The Gauleiters and Deputies burst into a spontaneous ovation for the Leader. All shake hands with him, promising to carry on until the very end and not to renounce the great Idea, come what may. Strasser now is completely isolated, a dead man. A small circle of us remain with the Leader, who is quite cheerful and elated again. The feeling that the whole Party is standing by him with a loyalty never hitherto displayed has raised his spirits and invigorated him. 35

1932 December 11 At the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments, agreement is reached between Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the US on the question of Equality of Rights and Security. A joint declaration of principles states "that one of the principles that should guide the conference on disarmament should be to grant Germany and the other powers, disarmed by treaty, equality of rights in a system that would provide security for all nations, and that the principle should itself be embodied in a convention containing the conclusions of the Disarmament Conference." 36

Konstantin von Neurath:

At first the Disarmament Conference accomplished nothing; but later there resulted the so-called Five-Power Declaration in December 1932, which had been suggested by England. This declaration recognized Germany's claim to equal rights and to the elimination of those provisions of the Versailles Treaty which discriminated against Germany. After this declaration, which was made by the war powers and later by the Disarmament Conference or the Council of the League of Nations itself, Germany's equal rights were recognized for all time. Therefore, Germany could assert her right to renounce Part V of the Versailles Treaty by referring to the obligation of general disarmament undertaken by the signatory powers. This Five-Power Declaration provided the necessary condition for Germany's taking part in the deliberations of the Disarmament Conference once more. 37

1932 December 14 The chairman of the Reich Association of German Industry, Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, addressing a group of industry leaders, said: "The world economic situation, in the money market and above all the raw-material market, shows signs of an improvement; the low point seems definitely past." 38

1932 December 15 During a radio address, Chancellor von Schleicher proclaims: "My heretical view is that I am a supporter neither of capitalism nor of socialism. For me, concepts like private economy or planned economy have lost their terrors." To demonstrate his new-found tolerance of government intervention in the economy, he sets forth a program intended to gain the support of the working classes. In the process, he manages to offend practically every segment of the electorate. Promising to tackle unemployment, von Schleicher announces a freeze on the tax increases and wage cuts instituted by von Papen. In the area of agriculture, he eliminates von Papen's crop quotas, and proposes confiscating, without compensation, 800,000 acres of land from the Junkers' estates in East Prussia, granting the land freely to 25,000 peasant families. 39

1932 December 15 A Central Party Commission is set up under Rudolf Hess to strengthen party unity. Perhaps to set the tone, Hitler issues a party memorandum "on the inner reasons for the instructions to produce a heightened fighting power (Schlagkraft) of the Movement." Its purpose is to clearly establish the post-Strasser political emphasis of the Party:

The basis of the political organization is loyalty. In it is revealed as the most noble expression of emotion (Gefuhlsausdruck), the recognition of the necessity of obedience as the premise for the construction of every human community. Loyalty in obedience can never be replaced by formal technical measures and institutions, of whatever sort. The aim of the political organization is the enabling of the widest possible dissemination of the knowledge seen as necessary for the maintenance of the life of the nation, as well as the will that serves it. The final aim is thereby the mobilization (Erfassung) of the nation for this idea. The victory of the National Socialist idea is the goal of our struggle, the organization of our party, a means to attaining this goal. 40

1932 December 16 Former Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen speaks at the Berlin Herrenklub before a crowd of 300. After defending the actions of his own recently-fallen government, he soundly criticizes the cabinet of his successor, Chancellor von Schleicher. Further, he suggests that Hitler's NSDAP should be brought into the government.

After his speech, von Papen has a private talk with Cologne banker and Hitler supporter Baron Kurt von Schröder. Papen requests that the financier arrange to meet secretly with Hitler. Papen will later claim—in his memoirs—that it was von Schröder who had suggested the move, and it may well have been. 41

1932 December 17 As he winds down his "loyalty tour," Hitler speaks before party members in Halle: Perhaps our enemies did give us a numerical setback in the last Reichstag elections, but next year we shall pay them back with interest and compound interest . . . . I think that in March we shall again face these gentry in open battle. By then we shall have created the necessary conditions and the guaranty that our blade will be sharp. 42

1932 December 23 Just after returning home from a Gau Christmas party, Magda Goebbels collapses and is taken to the University Women's Hospital. Magda has a heart condition, and will spend weeks recovering. Her husband will spend these weeks working. He will not come to see her in the hospital until January 1. 43

1932 December 24 On Christmas eve, Goebbels tells his diary: "I sit here all alone and worry about many things. The past is difficult and the future is cloudy and dark. The terrible loneliness overwhelms me with hopelessness. All possibilities and hopes have disappeared." 44

1932 December 25 Hermann Göring spend this Christmas with a member of the National Theatre company, Emmy Sonnemann. A beautiful thirty-nine year old buxom blonde actress type-cast in romantic leads, she knows nothing about politics. When she first met Göring, she thought that he might be Goebbels. The two get on splendidly. 45

Göring will spend the New Year's holiday in Sweden, at Rockelstad castle, the estate of the parents of his late wife, Carin. On New Year's Eve he will write Emmy: "For hours every day, I go for long walks in the most beautiful forest you've ever seen. I'm sleeping eight or ten hours a day; I just hope I can stay on a bit longer . . . . Your radio is just now playing music from the Swedish radio station . . . . I really enjoy your gift . . . people here have the nicest things to say about you, and now, my love, let me express my deepest gratitude to you for your love, your sacrifices and everything you have done for me. May the next year be another good year for us." 46

1932 December 25 From a letter from Hitler to Frau Wagner, thanking her for a Christmas present: "I have given up all hope. Nothing will ever come of my dreams. As soon as I am sure that everything is lost you know what I'll do. I was always determined to do it. I cannot accept defeat. I will stick to my word and end my life with a bullet." 47

1932 December 28 Goebbels and his Führer work together on Hitler's New Year message, and make tentative strategic plans for 1933. 48

1932 From an eleven-page report written by William Bullitt for President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "Hitler is finished—not as an agitator or as a leader of an aggressive minority, but as a possible dictator. Hitler's influence is waning so fast that the Government is no longer afraid of the growth of the Nazi movement." 49

1932 At year's end, there are 5,772,984 unemployed in Germany. 5050

1933 January The chairman of the Rhenish Board of Industry and Commerce, Doctor Paul Silverberg, comments on the prospects for the ongoing economic revival in the Rhineland in 1933:

Indubitably a better mood and increased confidence have made their appearance. More and more voices in industry and economic life are speaking of increasing employment and a growing market . . . . The iron industry can register an improvement; the domestic market is reviving somewhat and the foreign market is also becoming steadier. The same is true of the machine and textile industries. 51

1933 January 1 Hypnotist Erik Hanussen predicts Hitler will come to power on January 30, 1933. His prediction is widely ridiculed in the German press.

The way to the goal is still blocked,
The right helpers not yet gathered,
But in three days—from three countries,
Through the bank everything will change!
And then on the day before the end of the month,
You [Hitler] stand at your goal and a turning point!
No eagle could carry you on your path,
The termites had to gnaw your way!
To the ground falls what was rotten and withered.
It already creaks in the beams! 52

1933 January 1 With Eva Braun, Hitler begins the new year by taking in a Munich performance of Die Meistersinger, conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch. Double-dating with Rudolf Hess and his wife, they stop off at the Hanfstaengls afterwards:

Hitler was in his most benign mood. It took us right back to the twenties when we had first met him. The conductor that evening had been Hans Knappertsbusch and Hitler had not liked his tempi and interpretation, and was expatiating on the subject. He could really do so with good sense, and would hum or whistle many of the passages, the words of which he knew by heart, in order to show what they meant.

Hitler, perhaps buoyed up by Hanussen's prediction, tells Hanfstaengl: "This year belongs to us. I will guarantee you that in writing." 53

1933 January 3 Gregor Strasser, back from his ill-timed vacation in Italy, meets with von Schleicher to inquire as to whether the chancellor's offer to bring him into the government is still operative. 54

1933 January 4 Gregor Strasser meets for two hours with Reich President Hindenburg, but with no remaining power base in the Nazi party, Strasser has little to offer. Still, he may prove to be useful in some way. 55

1933 January 4 Hitler attends a secret mid-day meeting with Franz von Papen in the home of Cologne banker, Baron Kurt von Schröder. Hitler arrives in the company of Rudolf Hess, Heinrich Himmler, and manufacturer Wilhelm Keppler, who has been acting as Hitler's advisor on economic matters. Von Papen is surprised when a photographer from the Tagliche Rundschau captures his arrival on film. Hitler begins the discussion by dressing down von Papen for what Hitler considers to be ill-treatment he had received at Papen's hands during the Potempa murderers kerfuffle. The deposed Chancellor proposes a "Government of National Concentration," to include German National Peoples Party leader Hugenberg, and Hitler's Nazis. Hitler, surprisingly, does not repeat his demand to be made chancellor, and states that he might possibly be prepared to accept some of Papen's supporters in the cabinet. However, he insists, no Jews, Communists, or Social Democrats are to be considered.

From Baron von Schröder's account:

Then Hitler made a long speech in which he said, if he were made Chancellor, it would be necessary for him to be the head of the Government, but that supporters of Papen's could go into his Government as ministers, if they were willing to go along with him in his policy of changing many things. The changes he outlined at this time included elimination of the Social Democrats, Communists, and Jews from leading positions in Germany, and the restoration of order in public life. Papen and Hitler reached agreement in principle, so that many of the points which had brought them in conflict could be eliminated, and they could find a way to get together. 56

Though no agreement is reached, both sides commit to a further meeting and break for lunch. When the story of this meeting appears in the Tagliche Rundschau newspaper, Hitler and von Papen claim that they were merely discussing "the possibility of a great national political unity front," nothing more. 57

1933 January 9 Franz von Papen meets with Chancellor von Schleicher and informs him of his talks with Hitler. "Wir haben Hitler engagiertl" (We've hired Hitler!) von Papen proclaims, and implies that perhaps the Nazi leader could be talked into joining von Schleicher's cabinet at no greater price than the Defense and Interior Ministries. Believing that a breakthrough had been accomplished, von Schleicher meets with Hindenburg later in the day, telling him that Hitler had expressed a possible willingness to participate in a coalition government. Hindenburg gives von Papen leave to continue the private talks aimed at the formation of a Papen-Hitler-Hugenberg triumvirate, but not a chancellorship for Hitler. 58

1933 January 9-10 At Bielefeld, during a lull in the Lippe-Detmold campaign, Goebbels meets with Hitler, who tells him of the talks with von Papen:

Papen fiercely against Schleicher. Determined to get rid of him. Has the ear of Hindenburg, in whose house he is still living. Arrangements with us prepared. Either the Chancellorship or the powerful ministries. Defence and the Interior. That's still to be heard about. Schleicher does not have the order for the dissolution. He's on the downward path. Very mistrustful. Now much depends on Lippe. 59

1933 January 10-11 During the late-night and early-morning hours, Hitler and von Papen meet in Ribbentrop's home in Dahlem, a suburb of Berlin. When von Papen admits that Hindenburg still will not consider a Hitler chancellorship, the Nazi Fuehrer abruptly ends the meeting, declaring that all further talks are suspended pending the results of the upcoming election in the tiny German state of Lippe. 60

1933 January 11 Reich President von Hindenburg, because he is a Junkers landholder, fancies himself a friend of the farmer. So when leaders of the Reich Agrarian League (Reichslandbund) attack von Schleicher, in Hindenburg's presence, on his agrarian policies, the old field-marshal takes it very seriously. Hindenburg summons von Schleicher and orders him to make peace with the Agrarian League leaders. The meeting takes place later in the day. Hindenburg backs the Agrarian League on all points, forcing von Schleicher to give in to all their demands. Note: Two of the four leaders of the Reichslandbund are Nazis; Vice-President Werner Willikens, and Director von Sybel. 61

1933 January 12 The Reich Agrarian League issues a public letter, addressed to Hindenburg, demanding that von Schleicher be dismissed from his post. The press release calls von Schleicher "the tool of the almighty money-bag interests of internationally oriented export industry and its satellites," and accuses him of displaying "an indifference to the impoverishment of agriculture beyond the capacity of even a purely Marxist regime." However, Hindenburg takes exception to the action of the Reichslandbund in making their attack on von Schleicher in a public letter, and does what he can to minimize this particular criticism. But support for the embattled chancellor continues to dwindle, as Junker supporters send hundreds of letters and telegrams, demanding that Hindenburg find a new chancellor. 62

1933 January 12 In a letter to Adolf Grimme, Minister of Education in Prussia, Thomas Mann predicts that the Nazis are merely a passing phase: "The social and democratic Germany, I am firmly convinced, can trust in the fact that the present constellation is a passing one and that, despite everything, the future is on its side. The raging of nationalist passions is nothing more than a late and final flickering of an already burnt-out fire, a dying flare mistaken for a new glow of life." 63

1933 January 13 Hitler has been busily campaigning in the small state of Lippe-Detmold; population 173,000, with 90,000 registered voters. An electoral success in the midst of the Berlin power negotiations would give him additional bargaining strength, and he lets out all the stops. For a campaign headquarters, Baron von Oeynhausen, a supporter, has given him the use of an isolated castle in the middle of a lake, and Hitler travels back and forth in the tiny state, meeting the voters personally. On this evening, Hitler, Goebbels, and Hans Kerrl are at the castle when Göring brings news that Gregor Strasser is about to enter von Schleicher's cabinet. Goebbels tells his diary: "Only a great success in the Lippe campaign can save us from this dangerous situation." 64

1933 January 13 Media mogul Alfred Hugenberg, leader of the German Nationalist Party (DNVP), meets with Chancellor von Schleicher. He offers to join von Schleicher's cabinet as Minister of Economics and Agriculture. Hugenberg has a plan to revitalize Germany's depressed agriculture industry, and is willing to join von Schleicher's government in order to gain the power necessary to implement his plan. The chancellor, who realizes immediately that Hugenberg's participation in his government would strengthen his hand, promises to arrange a meeting with Reich President Hindenburg. 65

1933 January 14 Alfred Hugenberg meets with Reich President Hindenburg. Hugenberg again offers to join von Schleicher's cabinet, but stipulates that he must be guaranteed the post for a number of years, so that he can see his plan to fruition. Hugenberg advises them to either convince the Reichstag to adjourn for at least six months, or to dissolve it and delay scheduling new elections. 66

1933 January 15 In elections in the small state of Lippe-Detmold, the NSDAP gains 6,000 votes more than they had the preceding November, increasing their total vote from 34.7% to 39.5%. While it is still 3,000 votes short of its July number, this fact is ignored. Much is made of this small success, which, by skillful propaganda, is spun into a dramatic story of electoral triumph. 67

1933 January 15 Chancellor von Schleicher meets with the Austrian Minister of Justice, Kurt von Schuschnigg. Schuschnigg later wrote an account of the meeting:

General von Schleicher showed himself to be exceptionally optimistic with regard to the state of affairs in the Reich, of which he talked in very lively terms, particularly as regards its economic and political prospects. I remember clearly the words he used in this connection: He said he was engaged in building up a cross-connection through the trade-union movements and hoped in this way to find a new and practicable political platform which would provide a peaceful and healthy development; Hitler was no longer a problem, the question was solved, his movement presented no political danger, it was yesterday's concern. He added—I cannot vouch for the exact wording, but this is the sense—that an attempt at a possible collaboration (with Hitler) had come under discussion, but that the National Socialists had demanded the Reichswehr Ministry, apparently aware that he could not let them have it. 68

1933 January 16 Chancellor von Schleicher, just as had von Papen, presents his cabinet with a plan to convince Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag, but postpone elections, thereby enabling his government to retain power. Though the scheme is clearly unconstitutional, no one in the cabinet comes out against it. The plans biggest drawback is that when von Papen had proposed the very same idea to save his own chancellorship, von Schleicher, who had been the Defense Minister at the time, had objected that civil war would result, and that the Reichswehr would be unable to ensure public order. Now he must convince Reich President von Hindenburg to do for him what he had denied von Papen. This will not be easy. Of all his chancellors, von Papen had been Hindenburg's favorite, and he is still the Reich Presidents unofficial advisor. 69

1933 January 16 Hitler, in a three-hour long speech to his Gauleiters, attacks Gregor Strasser, to the sound of "delirious ovations" from the audience. Strasser is guilty of treason, Hitler proclaims, and pledges to "break the necks of all party defeatists." Strasser finally gets the message, resigns his Reichstag seat, and heads back to Munich. He doesn't know it yet, but Munich is not far enough away. 70

1932 January 17 Hitler and von Papen meet with DNVP (German National Peoples Party - Deutschnationale Volkspartei) president Alfred Hugenberg, to discuss the division of positions and direction of the future "Government of National Concentration." 71

1932 January 18 Hindenburg's son Oskar, Otto Meissner, and von Papen meet with Hitler, in company with Göring, Röhm, Ribbentrop, and Himmler. Emboldened by the perceived electoral success in Lippe, Hitler hardens his position; he must be given the chancellorship, nothing less. When von Papen concedes that Hindenburg remains unwilling to entrust the chancellorship to him, Hitler declares that further discussion is useless. 72

Frau von Ribbentrop wrote: "Hitler insists on being Chancellor. Papen again considers this impossible. His influence with Hindenburg was not strong enough to effect this. Hitler makes no further arrangements for talks. Joachim tentatively suggests a meeting between Hitler and Hindenburg's son." 73

Hitler later recalled:

After the electoral victory at Lippe—a success whose importance it is not possible to over-estimate—the advisers of the Old Gentleman approached me once more. A meeting was arranged at Ribbentrop's house with Hindenburg's son and Herr von Papen. At this meeting I gave an unequivocal description of my reading of the political situation, and declared without mincing words that every week of hesitation was a week irretrievably wasted. The situation, I said, could be saved only by an amalgamation of all parties, omitting, of course, those fragmentary bourgeois parties which were of no importance and which, in any case, would not join us. Such an amalgamation, I added, could be successfully assured only with myself as Reichs Chancellor. 74

1932 January 19 Hitler and von Papen meet with industrialist Fritz Thyssen to submit their proposal on the composition of the "Government of National Concentration." 75

1933 January 21 Alfred Hugenberg's DNVP joins the ranks of those calling for Hindenburg to find a new chancellor. 76

1933 January 22 A preoccupied Hitler delivers a lack-luster speech before party functionaries in the Sportpalast in Berlin. 77

1932 January 22 Both the NSDAP and the Communists of Red Berlin are spoiling for a fight, and today is the day that the showdown has been scheduled, in effect. The government of Chancellor von Schleicher, in a move that is too clever by half, bans the Communists from demonstrating in the streets this day, while assuring the SA leaders that their demonstrations would be protected from Communist provocations by the government. The reasoning—for lack of a better word—behind this move is that if both the Nazis and Communists were banned by the government, they both would then be mad at the government. By favoring one over the other, they cut the sheer number of those in opposition to the government in half. Or so the reasoning goes.

In the event, ten thousand SA storm troopers surround the Karl Liebknecht House, the Berlin headquarters of the German Communist Party. It is located in the same neighborhood as the Luisenstadt Cemetery, where Horst Wessel is buried. Goebbels, who is there organizing the spontaneous demonstration, tells his diary, in his exaggerated and melodramatic style:

Everywhere armored cars and machine guns. The police have occupied the windows and roofs across the street and are waiting to see what will happen. Outside, in front of the Karl Liebknecht House, stands the SA, and in the side streets the Commune is fuming in impotent rage. The SA is marching. It has victoriously conquered this Red domain. The Bülowplatz is ours. The Communist Party has suffered a terrible defeat . . . . This day is a proud, heroic victory for the SA.

Surrounded by a heavily armed police cordon, protected by armored cars and machine guns—that was their heroic victory. But when they became a government party, such victories would really begin; armed with the state power, they would frighten the 'Commune' back into its dark streets and win over large masses of workers. With this almost effortless victory of the Bülowplatz, they must have made an impression on the Reichswehr leadership. 78

1933 January 22 As Ribbentrop had suggested 5 days previously, Hitler, von Papen, Göring, Frick, the Reich President's State Secretary, Otto Meissner, and the Reich President's son, Oskar von Hindenburg (with whom Hitler will speak at length privately), hold Sunday evening discussions in Ribbentrop's Berlin home. It is soon apparent that discussions are stalled at the same impasse; Hitler will accept nothing less than the head spot, which Hindenburg still refuses to consider. Hitler's bottom-line position: the chancellorship for himself, the Reich Interior Ministry for Frick, and a cabinet post for Göring. Von Papen says that he considers this reasonable, and proposes himself as Vice-Chancellor. Hitler agrees, and von Papen pledges to work with all his might to convince Hindenburg to acquiesce. 79


I would like to tell about one episode which happened in my house in Dahlem when the question arose whether Hitler was to become Reich Chancellor or not. I know that at that time, I believe, he was offered the Vice Chancellorship and I heard with what enormous strength and conviction—if you like, also brutality and hardness—he could state his opinion when he believed that obstacles might appear which could lead to the rehabilitation and rescue of his people. 80

Göring later told his version of the "rather lengthy conversation" with Oskar von Hindenburg:

I declared to the son that he should tell his father that, one way or another, von Schleicher would lead to shipwreck. I explained to him the new basic conditions for forming a new government, and how I had heard of the Field Marshal's willingness to entrust Hitler with the Chancellorship, thereby regarding the Party as a main basis for a future government majority, if Adolf Hitler were also able to succeed on this occasion in drawing in the German Nationalists [DNVP], and the Stahlhelm—for he wanted to see a definite national basis . . . . I told von Hindenburg's son that he could tell his father that I would undoubtedly bring that about, and the Fuehrer gave me orders to undertake negotiations during the coming week with these parties on the one hand, and with the Reich President on the other. 81

Otto Meissner later recalled: "In the taxi on the way back, Oskar von Hindenburg was extremely silent, and the only remark which he made was that it could not be helped—the Nazis had to be taken into the government. My impression was that Hitler had succeeded in getting him under his spell." 82

1933 January 23 Chancellor von Schleicher demands that President Hindenburg declare the Reichstag dissolved and grant him full powers. Otherwise his government is likely to be defeated on a no-confidence vote, when the Reichstag reconvenes on January 31. Hindenburg promises only to think it over. Without emergency powers, von Schleicher tells his cabinet, he will have no choice but to resign as Chancellor. 83

1933 January 24 Goebbels tells his diary: "Schleicher will fall any moment, he who brought down so many others." 84

1933 January 25 With the active assistance of the NSDAP, the Reichstag issues a series of orders aimed at Junker landholders with over two hundred and fifty acres, who had received government "loans to relieve indebtedness": "The name of the recipient, his private fortune, the amount of his indebtedness and assets at different times, his private income, the amount of the loan to relieve indebtedness, and the amount transferred by the recipient to his creditors shall all be itemized." This has the intended effect of embarrassing von Schleicher, who had promised Reich President Hindenburg that he would be able to control the Reichstag. And now that very Reichstag was attacking an entire class of Germans, a class which included Hindenburg himself. 85

1933 January 26 Alfred Hugenberg discusses the possibility of another von Papen chancellorship with Goering and Frick. 86

1933 January 27 President Hindenburg, 84 years old and in poor health, continues to oppose the nomination of Hitler as chancellor, despite criticism from all sides. From Goebbels' diary: "There is still a possibility that Papen will again be made Chancellor." The stress of the continuing negotiations have Hitler in a frazzled state. He is ready to chuck it all and board a train for Munich to get away from the pressure. Göring and Ribbentrop manage to calm his nerves. 87

Ribbentrop later recalled:

I have never seen Hitler in such a state. I proposed to him and Göring that I should see Papen alone that evening and explain the whole situation to him. In the evening I saw Papen, and convinced him eventually that the only thing that made sense was Hitler's Chancellorship, and that he must do what he can to bring this about. Papen declared that the matter of Hugenberg was of secondary importance, and that he was now absolutely in favor of Hitler becoming Chancellor; this was the decisive change in Papen's attitude . . . . This recognition by Papen is, I believe, the turning-point. 88

Frau von Ribbentrop wrote: "Joachim proposes link-up with Hugenberg for a national front. Hitler declares that he has said all there is to say to the field marshal, and does not know what to add. Joachim persuades Hitler that this last attempt should be made, and that the situation is by no means hopeless." 89

1933 January 28 Reich President Hindenburg rejects further support of the von Schleicher presidential cabinet; particularly von Schleicher's proposal of a declaration of a state of emergency and the prorogation of the Reichstag, which is against the constitution. He rejects these proposals primarily because von Schleicher had told him the previous December that a violation of the constitution would mean civil war, and a civil war would mean chaos "because I am not in a position," he said then, "to maintain law and order with the Army and with the Police." "Whether what I am going to do now is right, my dear Schleicher, I don't know; but I shall know soon enough when I am up there, Hindenburg said, pointing upwards. "I already have one foot in the grave and I am not sure that I shall not regret this action in heaven later on." "After this breach of trust, sir," von Schleicher is said to have replied, "I am not sure that you will go to heaven." Von Schleicher has no choice but to resign the chancellorship. "I stayed in power only fifty-seven days," von Schleicher later recalled, "and on each and every one of them I was betrayed fifty-seven times. Don't ever speak to me of 'German loyalty'!" 90

At noon, the Reich President instructs von Papen to begin negotiations for the formation of a new government. From Papen's post-war testimony:

The instructions given me by von Hindenburg were as follows: Proposal for the formation of a government under the leadership of Hitler, with the utmost restriction of National Socialist influence and within the framework of the Constitution. I should like to add that it was quite unusual for the Reich President to ask any person to form a government which would not be headed by the person himself. In the normal course of events Hindenburg should, of course, have entrusted Hitler himself with the formation of a government; and he entrusted me with this task because he wished to minimize Hitler's influence in the government as far as possible . . . .

The safeguarding measures which I introduced at the request of the Reich President were the following:

1) A very small number of National Socialist ministers in the new cabinet; only 3 out of 11, including Hitler.

2) The decisive economic departments of the cabinet to be placed in the hands of non-National Socialists.

3) Experts to be put into the ministry posts as far as possible.

4) Joint reports of Reich Chancellor Hitler and Vice Chancellor von Papen to Hindenburg in order to minimize the personal influence of Hitler on Hindenburg.

5) I tried to form a parliamentary bloc as a counterbalance against the political effects of the National Socialist Party. 91

1933 January 29 Von Schleicher sends General von Hammerstein, the commander-in-chief of the Army, to warn Hitler that yet another von Papen chancellorship may be in the offing. Should this occur, von Schleicher proposes a joint chancellorship with himself, with backing from the Reichswehr and the SA. Hitler puts him off. He is holding out for the proposed Hitler-led triumvirate with von Papen and Hugenberg. 92

1933 January 29 Hitler and von Papen have been meeting, separately, with various party leaders, and the Hitler cabinet is beginning to take shape, on paper. Later in the day, Hitler, enjoying coffee and cakes with some of his aides at the Kaiserhof, is joined by Göring who announces triumphantly that Hitler will be named Chancellor on the morrow.

Goebbels, in the published version of his diary, gives a good measure of the credit for the turn of events to Goring:

This is surely Goering's finest hour. And rightly so. He has diplomatically and skillfully prepared the ground for the Führer in nerve-racking negotiations for months or even years. His prudence, strong nerves and above all his firmness of character and loyalty to the Führer have been genuine, strong and admirable. His face was turned to stone when, in the very thick of the fight, his beloved wife was torn from his side by cruel death. But he did not flinch for a second. Seriously and firmly he went on his way again, an unshakably devoted shieldbearer to the Führer . . . . This upright soldier with the heart of a child has always remained true to himself; and now he stands before his leader and brings him the greatest piece of news of his life. For a long time we say nothing; and then we rise and solemnly shake each other's hands. 93

Fresh nut cakes, made by Magda Goebbels, are consumed in the ensuing celebration, which is cut short when rumors of a last minute Reichswehr coup reach their ears. 94


My immediate counteraction to this planned [military] putsch was to send for the Commander of the Berlin S.A., Count von Helldorf, and through him to alert the whole SA of Berlin. At the same time I instructed Major Wecke of the Police, whom I knew I could trust, to prepare for a sudden seizure of the Wilhelmstrasse by six police battalions . . . . Finally, I instructed General von Blomberg to proceed at once, on arrival in Berlin at 8 a.m. on 30 January direct to the Old Gentleman to be sworn in, and thus to be in a position, as Commander-in-Chief of the Reichswehr [sic], to suppress any possible attempts at a coup d'état. 95

1933 January 29 Hindenburg gets wind of the false rumors of an impending Army coup in favor of von Schleicher, spread by von Papen and others. Werner von Blomberg, who had been serving on the German delegation of the World Disarmament Conference in Geneva, had received word from President Hindenburg directing him to make his way to Berlin, but without letting von Schleicher know he wass coming. As soon as von Blomberg arrives, on the morning of the next day, Hindenburg names him Reich Minister of Defense. 96

1933 January 30 Since the Reich President's Palace is undergoing renovations, Hitler is scheduled to meet with Hindenburg in the residence at the Reich Chancellery at 11:00 a.m. However, last minute negotiations between Hitler, Hugenberg, and von Papen keep the elderly Reich President waiting until after twelve. Franz von Papen later recalled:

At about half-past ten the members of the proposed Cabinet met in my house and walked across the garden to the Presidential palace, where we waited in Meissner's office. Hitler immediately renewed his complaints about not being appointed Commissioner for Prussia. He felt that this severely restricted his power. I told him . . . the Prussian appointment could be left until later. To this, Hitler replied that if his powers were to be thus limited, he must insist on new Reichstag elections.

This produced a completely new situation and the debate became heated. Hugenberg, in particular, objected to the idea, and Hitler tried to pacify him by stating that he would make no changes in the Cabinet, whatever the result might be . . . . By this time it was long past eleven o'clock, the time that had been appointed for our interview with the President, and Meissner asked me to end our discussion, as Hindenburg was not prepared to wait any longer. We had had such a sudden clash of opinions that I was afraid our new coalition would break up before it was born.

When the group finally appears before Hindenburg, von Papen makes the formal introductions and Hitler gives a pretty speech, promising to uphold the Weimar Constitution and work toward a stable government. This stability will be made a reality after the upcoming elections; the last elections, Hitler contends. Hitler officially becomes the 15th chancellor of the Weimar Republic when Hindenburg gives the new government his blessing with the words: "'And now, gentlemen, forward with God.'" 97

The First Hitler Cabinet:
Adolf Hitler (NSDAP) - Chancellor
Franz von Papen - Vice Chancellor
Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath - Minister of Foreign Affairs
Wilhelm Frick (NSDAP) - Minister of the Interior
Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk - Minister of Finance
Alfred Hugenberg (DNVP) - Minister of Economics and Food
Franz Seldte - Minister of Labor
Franz Gürtner (DNVP) - Minister of Justice
Werner von Blomberg - Minister of Defense
Paul Freiherr Eltz von Rübenach - Minister of Posts and Transport
Hermann Göring (NSDAP) - Minister without Portfolio 98

1933 January 30 Massive celebrations break out in Berlin, with unit after unit—twenty-five thousand storm troopers all told—of the SA marching through the Brandenburg Gate.

Hamburg schoolteacher Luise Solmitz is among those reveling in Hitler's rise to power:

Hitler is Reich Chancellor! And what a cabinet!!! One such as we did not dare to dream of in July. Hitler, Hugenberg, Seldte, Papen!!! A large part of my German hopes are attached to each. National Socialist drive, German National reason, the non-political Stahlhelm, and—not forgotten by us—Papen. It is so unimaginably wonderful . . . . What an achievement by Hindenburg!

Others are less enthusiastic, such as SPD Reichstag deputy Julius Leber, who is beaten up by a band of SA men during this long night's celebration. When the police are called, they ignore Leber's Reichstag immunity and throw him in a cell, where he writes:

What will this government do? We know their aims. Nobody knows what their next measures will be. The dangers are enormous. But the firmness of German workers is unshakeable. We don't fear these men. We are determined to take up the struggle. 99

One of the SA insurgents who had rebelled along with Stennes wrote: "Everyone felt the same—that things will get better. Although realistically there was no reason for them to believe things would improve, they believed it. They had hope again. It was remarkable. I don't think that Germany will ever again find another man who could inspire as much hope, trust and love as Hitler did at that moment."

Ambassador François-Poncet wrote: "The river of fire flowed past the French Embassy, whence, with heavy heart and filled with foreboding, I watched its luminous wake." 100

Yet another SPD Reichstag deputy, Kurt Schumacher, wrote:

The cabinet is called after Adolf Hitler. But the cabinet is really Alfred Hugenberg's. Adolf Hitler may speak; Alfred Hugenberg will act. With the construction of this government, the last veil has fallen. National Socialism has openly showed itself as that which we always took it for, the high-capitalist nationalist party of the Right. National Capitalism is the true firm!

The Communists issue a prescient proclamation: "Shameless wage robbery and boundless terror of the brown murderous plague smash the last pitiful rights of the working class. Unrestrained course towards imperialist war. All this lies directly ahead. 101

Hans Frank: "God knows our hearts were pure that day, and if anyone had told us of the events to come, no one would have believed it, least of all I. It was a day of glory and happiness." 102

Young Melita Maschmann had been at the parade with her parents:

Some of the uncanny feeling of that night remains with me even today. The crashing tread of the feet, the sombre pomp of the red and black flags, the flickering light from the torches on the faces and the songs with melodies that were at once aggressive and sentimental.

For hours the columns marched by. Again and again amongst them we saw groups of boys and girls scarcely older than ourselves . . . . At one point somebody suddenly leaped from the ranks of the marchers and struck a man who had been standing only a few paces away from us. Perhaps he had made a hostile remark.

I saw him fall to the ground with blood streaming down his face and I heard him cry out. Our parents hurriedly drew us away from the scuffle, but they had not been able to stop us seeing the man bleeding. The image of him haunted me for days.

The horror it inspired in me was almost imperceptibly spiced with an intoxicating joy. "We want to die for the flag," the torch-bearers had sung . . . . I was overcome with a burning desire to belong to these people for whom it was a matter of death and life . . . . I wanted to escape from my childish, narrow life and I wanted to attach myself to something that was great and fundamental. 103

1933 January 30 From a telegram to Hindenburg from Ludendorff:

By appointing Hitler Chancellor of the Reich you have handed over our sacred German Fatherland to one of the greatest demagogues of all time. I prophesy to you that this evil man will plunge our Reich into the abyss and will inflict immeasurable woe on our nation. Future generations will curse you in your grave for this action. 104

Written by Walther Johann von Löpp
Copyright © 2011-2013 All Rights Reserved
Edited by Levi Bookin — Copy Editor
European History and Jewish Studies

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