Chapter Eighteen:
Kampfzeit III

1931 January 1 The Nazi Brown House officially opens in Munich. 1

Hitler has a "work-room" (Arbeitszimmer) in the Brown House, but never does any work there; it is all for show. Hitler's favorite spot at the Brown House is the refreshment room in the basement, where a "Fuehrer Table" under a portrait of Dietrich Eckart is set up. The official portrait of the Fuehrer is on display at the Brown House, with the caption: "Nothing happens in this movement, except that which I wish." A bust of Mussolini, pictures of Frederick the Great, Martin Luther, and Henry Ford—a famous anti-Semite much admired by the Nazis—and a monumental painting of the List Regiment's 1914 battle in Flanders are among the decorations in this tastelessly over-plush monstrosity. The SA "blood flags" are also displayed here. Various party business offices occupy the second and third floors. Hess, Goebbels, Strasser, and Himmler, among many other functionaries, have cubicle-offices on the second floor. 2

1931 January 4 Goebbels gossips to his diary: "Frau v. D. (Victoria von Dirksen) tells me that G. [Göring[ has again succumbed to morphine. This is terrible. One cannot even be angry with him anymore because his restlessness is just a result of his condition. I will look after him a bit." 3

1931 January 5 Introduced by Göring, whom he had first met just a few weeks earlier, Hjalmar Schacht meets Hitler for the first time, at a New Year party at Göring's home. Among the other guests are Fritz Thyssen, Goebbels, and Ernst Röhm. 4

From Schacht's IMT testimony:

At the beginning of January, my wife and I dined with Göring and his wife, one evening at their home and, on that occasion, Fritz Thyssen was also invited. It had been planned that Hitler should come also and talk with us. I say again now that Göring’s apartment was extremely modestly and simply styled. We had a plain pea soup, and bacon, and particularly Göring’s first wife made an excellent impression. After supper Hitler appeared, and the ensuing conversation was conducted in such a way that, let us say, 5 per cent of it was contributed by us, and 95 per cent by Hitler. What he said concerned national questions, in which he agreed absolutely with us. No extravagant demands were stated but, on the other hand, the national necessities of Germany were definitely emphasized.

In social questions, Hitler expressed a number of good ideas. He was especially intent on avoiding class struggle and, on eliminating strikes, lock-outs, and wage disputes, by decisive intervention of the State in labor relations, and the direction of economic affairs. There was no demand for abolishing private enterprise, but merely for influence in its conduct. It seemed to us, these ideas were quite reasonable and acceptable. Aside from that, he revealed practically no knowledge in the field of economy and financial policy, though on that evening, he did not claim to know anything about these subjects. He merely asked that we as representatives of economy should have understanding for his ideas and give him factual advice. That was the purpose of that evening . . . .

The National Socialist Party, at that time, was one of the strongest parties in the Reichstag, with 108 seats, and the National Socialist movement throughout the country was extremely lively. Consequently, I was more or less interested in making the acquaintance of the leading men of this movement, whom up to then, I did not know at all. Herr Göring wished me to meet Hitler, or Hitler to meet me. I was uninformed about the intentions of these two gentlemen at that time. However, I can imagine that it was just as much a matter of interest for these gentlemen to meet Herr Schacht, as it was for me to meet Herr Hitler and Herr Göring . . . . As far as I was concerned, I was only interested in seeing what kind of people they were. What motives these two gentlemen had are unknown to me . . . . Until July 1932 I saw Hitler and Göring, each of them, perhaps once, twice, or three times . . . . But in any case, there is no question of any frequent meetings.

1931 Fritz Thyssen joins the NSDAP. 5

1931 January 5 Ernst Röhm assumes the duties of Chief of Staff of the SA. General Kurt von Schleicher, the chief of the Reichswehr's Ministerial Office, gets along famously with Röhm, and the two soon arrive at a mutually beneficial gentleman's agreement. Von Schleicher promises to ease employment restrictions on party members, who will soon be allowed to work in the arsenals and powder factories of the Reichswehr. 6

Röhm's conception of the "Brown People's Army" is of an organic, grassroots organization with a bottom-up recruitment dynamic. An SA unit is born when a leader emerges who organizes between four to twelve of his compatriots into a squad (Schar), which is to "consist of comrades who join together from a common conviction and a common bond, based on childhood friendship, school camaraderie, or similar working conditions." Once the Squad is formed, the leader requests recognition from a higher SA leader. When official sanction is then granted, the squad is named—"for all time"—after the founding leader. Three to six squads are combined to form a troop; two to three troops combine to form a "storm," which consists of between seventy to one-hundred and twenty men all told. The storms are further combined into standards of around three-thousand men. The standards then combine to form a brigade, then a group, and, finally, a superior group (Obergruppe) of around one hundred thousand men. By the eve of Hitler's chancellorship, the SA will have eight-hundred-thousand men organized in eight Obergruppen. 7

1931 Early in the year, Walter Funk, editor-in-chief of Alfred Hugenberg's financial newspaper, the Berliner Borsenzeitung, meets Hitler for the first time. 8


Gregor Strasser . . . arranged my first meeting with Hitler . . . . My first conversation with Adolf Hitler was very reserved. That was not surprising as I came from a world that was entirely strange to him. I immediately received the impression of an exceptional personality. He grasped all problems with lightning speed and knew how to present them very impressively, with great fluency and highly expressive gestures. He had the habit of then becoming absorbed in the problems, in long monologues, so to speak, in this way lifting the problems to a higher sphere. At that time I explained to him my economic ideas and told him especially that I upheld the idea of private property, which for me was the fundamental tenet of my economic policy and which was inseparable from the concept of the varying potentialities of human beings.

He, himself, heartily concurred with me and said that his theory of economics was also based on selectivity, that is, the principle of individual productivity and the creative personality; and he was very glad that I wanted to work on those lines in the Party and to arrange contacts and support for him in the economic field—which I actually did. In the meantime, however, my relations with the Fuehrer became no closer then, because he said to me himself, "I cannot, at present, commit myself to an economic policy; and the views expressed by my economic theorists, such as Herr Gottfried Feder, are not necessarily my own." 9

1931 January 15 At the invitation of former Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hermann and Carin Göring visit him in exile, in Doorn, Holland. Thomas von Kantzow, Carin's son from a previous marriage, see the couple off at the train station: "We hope to profit by winning the Kaiser over to the party, the sort of thing Hermann is adept at," he wrote later. Even though three of Wilhelm's six sons are either Nazis, or sympathetic to the NSDAP, the two strong-willed men clash immediately. Carin wrote to her mother: "They flew at each other at once. They are both excitable and in many ways they are so like each other. The Kaiser has probably never heard anybody express an opinion different from his own, and it was a bit too much for him at times." After toasting "the coming Reich"—to which Göring responds with an unspecific and tactful "to the coming king"—Wilhelm invites the Göring's to visit him again the following year.

While the men discuss politics, Wilhelm's second wife, Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz, expresses much concern about Carin's fragile appearance, and continuing health issues. Hermine insists that Carin receive treatment at Bad Altheide, in Silesia, and offers her the necessary funds. 10

1931 February 10 For Josef Goebbels, who despises democratic institutions, his parliamentary immunity is essential in order to avoid both the courts and the prisons. Facing eight separate indictments and lawsuits for an assortment of offences, Goebbels is extremely displeased by pending legislation aimed at curbing the sort of abuses he employs so well to avoid justice. Organizing a mass walkout of the Reichstag by the NSDAP members, he meets with surprising opposition from a close quarter; Hermann Göring. This is not the first time the two rivals have been at odds, nor will it be the last. 11

1931 February 15 Goebbels brags to his diary: "In the evening, Magda Quandt came. And stayed a very long time. And blossomed in a bewitching blonde sweetness. How are you my queen? (1) A beautiful, beautiful woman! Whom I could well love. Today I am like in a dream. So full of satisfied bliss. It is truly wonderful to love a beautiful woman and to be loved by her." Note: The (1) in the diary entry indicates that Goebbels had his way with her; a month later he will be writing (8, 9) etc.. Goebbels—a successful and prolific philanderer—recorded all of his many conquests in this manner. 12

1931 February 20 As an aspect of the gentleman's agreement with General von Schleicher, Hitler issues an order to the SA, forbidding them from engaging in acts of political violence against the party's opponents: "I understand your distress and your rage," he says, "but you must not bear arms." This does not go over well with the average SA man, whose love of busting heads is his main motivation for SA membership. 13

1931 February 21 SA Gruppenführer (East) Walter Stennes, and Berlin Gauleiter Josef Goebbels, have had an up and down relationship. Lately, it has been on the up-side. Published in Goebbels' Der Angriff, Stennes has been authoring a series of radical articles calling for a revolution from the Right. While their Führer has been advocating legality, these two lieutenants are pushing for armed uprising. On this day, they form an alliance of sorts, as Goebbels tells his diary: "SA + me. That is power." 14

1931 February 26 SA Chief of Staff Ernst Röhm reiterates his Führer's ban on SA street violence, and further prohibits all SA leaders from speaking in public. Göring publicly supports the efforts of Röhm and Hitler to suppress the SA. Gauleiter Goebbels and Gruppenführer Stennes are furious, as is the rank-and-file SA man. 15

1931 Baldur von Schirach becomes the NSDAP youth leader (Reichsjugendführer).

1931 March 1 Albert Speer quits his position at the Technical University of Berlin. He moves to Mannheim as a free-lance architect, joins the SA, and joins the Nazi Party as member number 474,481. 16

1931 March 7 Hitler addresses an assemblage of SA men in Munich:

I am accused of being too cowardly to fight illegally. I am certainly not too cowardly for that. I am only too cowardly to lead the SA to face machine-gun fire. We need the SA for more important things, namely for the construction of the Third Reich. We'll keep to the constitution and will still come to our goal. The constitution prescribes the right to come to power. What means we use is our concern. 17

1931 March 19 Germany concludes a customs union with the republic of Austria. The protests against the move are strong and united. France, Czechoslovakia, and Italy immediately protest. The objections of Italy, whose foreign policy is hinged on the protection of Austria's sovereignty, are decisive, and she loudly declares that the customs union is an Anschluss by the back door, and Italy will have none of it. The matter is eventually brought up before the World Court at the Hague. 18

When Brüning's government inevitably backs down—on September 3, 1931—Hitler opines that "it is simply inconceivable to carry through a measure in foreign affairs if at home there are no forces to fight for it consistently and perseveringly or if they are left entirely unused . . . . It is not foreign policy which decides the course of a nation; it is first and foremost the nation itself, in its organization and education that prescribes its own course within the surrounding world." 19

1931 March 28 Reich Chancellor Brüning's authoritarian-minded government issues an emergency decree allowing the government wide-ranging powers to combat political "excesses," including closing down newspapers critical of the government. Hitler, with good reason, suspects that a ban on his party is being planned, and again orders that his SA strictly obey all government directives. 20

1931 March 29 Goebbels whines about the SA ban to his diary:

Long live legality! Makes you want to vomit! Now we'll have to come up with new methods. That will be very difficult. Added to which the crisis with the SA and socialism. We have reason to be unhappy. We've made many mistakes, above all, too much dealing with the enemy. Now they have swindled us. That goes on Göring's account. 21

1931 March 31-April 2 Upset with the limitations on SA street battles, the low pay of the SA-man, and Röhm's homosexuality, SA Gruppenführer (East) Walter Stennes again leads another SA invasion of the party offices in Berlin, as well as the headquarters of Goebbels' Der Angriff. Berlin SS-Oberführer Kurt Daluege leads his small SS contingent in a successful defense of the Berlin Party Offices, but the newspaper attack is successful. Stennes releases alternate versions of Der Angriff on April 1st and 2nd before the Berlin police toss them out.

Hitler decides to dismiss Stennes from the party and the SA. Goebbels backs the move, abandoning his recent ally—whom he agrees with ideologically—for his Führer, whom he has been undermining behind the scenes. The popular Stennes is expelled from the party. Goebbels will soon team up with Göring to purge the remaining pro-Stennes SA men. Both men rely heavily on Himmler's SS in this endeavor. SS-man Untersturmführer Friedrich-Wilhelm Kruger becomes the new Gruppenführer (East), replacing Stennes. In this manner, Himmler's SS again proves their worth to their Führer. In an open letter to SS-Oberführer Kurt Daluege, Hitler will proclaim: "SS Mann, deine Ehre heisst Treue!" ("SS man, your loyalty is your honor"—which will soon adorn the official SS belt buckle), and "Meine Ehre Heisst Treue" ("My honor is called loyalty"—which will become the SS motto).

Hitler spins the episode to his advantage, and the Press eats it up: The Nazi leader is valiantly purging the radicals from the party, thus demonstrating that he is indeed serious in his quest for legality. This is not the last time that Hitler will use the mass purging of members of the SA for political gain. 22

1931 April Admiral Erich Raeder dismisses Second Lieutenant Reinhard Heydrich from the Reichsmarine for sexual impropriety. 23

1931 April 18 Goebbels, whose parliamentary immunity has been unable to keep him out of the courtroom, moans to his diary:

I'm reeling from anxiety, lack of rest, irritation, fury and indignation. I'm nearly at the end with my nerves. These trials are killing me . . . . My desk is piled high with summonses. It makes you puke! But I won't lose my nerve. That's what the enemy wants. 24

1931 April 20 Goebbels, who has been fighting a high fever, is unable to deliver the feature address at a Führer birthday celebration at the Berlin Sportpalast. To make matters even worse, the honor goes to his arch-rival, Hermann Göring. Goebbels sulks to his diary: "All very nice. Göring treats me with honeyed kindness. I remain reserved. He is going to Munich and then to Rome. Hans Dampf! ["Johnnie Steam," a character who is always rushing about.] His departure will give the public a rest." 25

1931 Late April SA leader Ernst Röhm, from an interview with the Daily Express (London) at Berlin's Reichs Restaurant:

I know the SA people have been a rough and ready lot in the past . . . But from now on, you just watch! My men will be quiet and disciplined and orderly. My job is to prevent the millions of German unemployed from coming under Communist influence as they easily might. I want to turn them, instead, into an orderly citizen force for the defense of Germany against the internal and external Bolshevik enemy . . . . I am removing the rowdy undisciplined from the SA. A little cleansing is good for all such armies. 26

1931 May The Leipziger Neueste Nachrichten publishes an interview conducted by its editor-in-chief, Richard Breiting, with Adolf Hitler:

If a proletarian brutally tells me what he thinks, I can cherish the hope that some day this brutality can be turned inward the enemy. When a bourgeois indulges in daydreams of culture, civilization and aesthetic joys for the world, I say to him: "You are lost to the German nation! You belong in Berlin's West End! Go there, dance your nigger dances till you're worn out, and croak!" 27

1931 May 1 The Auslands-Organisation of the NSDAP is founded. It is initially headed by Strasser appointment Hans Nieland. Ernst Wilhelm Bohle will eventually take over. The purpose of the Auslands-Organisation is liaison with the approximately 3,300 Party members living outside the boundaries of Germany. 28

1931 May While Carin Göring—at the suggestion and largesse of Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz, the second wife of exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II—is receiving treatment at the sanatorium in Bad Altheide, her husband visits Rome. He meets with Mussolini, and the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII. 29

1931 May During the trial of four SA men accused of shooting at some Communists, Hitler is called to testify:

I have never left any doubt that I demanded from the SA men the strict observance of the path of legality, and, if this veto on illegality was anywhere violated, then the leaders concerned have always been brought to account . . . . Acts of violence have never been contemplated by our Party, nor has the individual SA man ever wished for them . . . . We stand absolutely as hard as granite on the ground of legality. 30

From an official Berlin SA marching song:

We are the hungry toilers, a strong courageous band.
We grip our rifles firmly, in sooty, callused hand.
The Storm Troops stand at ready, the racial light to lead.
Until the Jews are bleeding, we know we are not freed. 40

1931 May The Kreditanstalt, the biggest banking house in Austria, fails. 41

1931 June 4 Freiherr von Eberstein, a member of Himmler's staff, had recommended Reinhard Heydrich for a staff position. A godson of Eberstein's mother, Second Lieutenant Reinhard Heydrich had recently been dismissed from the Reichsmarine for sexual impropriety. Heydrich makes a good impression in his first meeting with Himmler, who tells him he has a specific task for him. He tells Heydrich that he wants to build a security service for the SS, and asks him to write out what a basic structure of such an organization would look like. Heydrich does as he is asked, Himmler approves the result, and Heydrich sets to work. 42

1931 June 5 Reich Chancellor Brüning's authoritarian-minded government issues the first of a series of severe austerity measures, restricting and then completely doing away with unemployment insurance. 43

1931 Summer Walter Funk, the editor of the Berliner Borsenzeitung, quits the paper and joins the Nazi Party under the sponsorship of Gregor Strasser, to whom he becomes financial advisor. Funk soon shows his worth by bringing together the party and various influential business leaders. On the basis of his past work, his personal relations to the German economic leaders are broad and far-reaching. He is now able to enlist some of them in the service of Hitler. 44


At that time the leadership of the party held completely contradictory and confused views on economic policy. I tried to accomplish my mission by personally impressing on the Führer and the party that private initiative, self-reliance of the businessman, the creative powers of free enterprise, et cetera, be recognized as the basic economic policy of the party. The Führer personally stressed time and again during talks with me and industrial leaders to whom I had introduced him, that he was an enemy of state economy and of so-called "planned economy" and that he considered free enterprise and competition as absolutely necessary in order to gain the highest possible production. 45

Otto Dietrich, the future Press chief of the NSDAP, will later write:

In the summer of 1931 our Führer suddenly decided to concentrate systematically on cultivating the influential economic magnates . . . . In the following months he traversed Germany from end to end, holding private interviews with prominent personalities. Any rendezvous was chosen, either in Berlin or in the provinces, in the Hotel Kaiserhof or in some lonely forest-glade. Privacy was absolutely imperative, the Press must have no chance of doing mischief. Success was the consequence. 46

1931 June An NSDAP training college for SA and SS leaders opens in Munich. 47

1931 July 9 Gerda Bormann gives birth to Ilse Bormann, named after her godmother, Ilse Hess. A twin sister, Ehrengard, dies shortly after being born. 48

1931 July 9 In Berlin, Hitler meets with Alfred Hugenberg, the media mogul who is the leader of the German National Party. After the meeting, they issue a joint statement expressing their willingness to work together against the "system" in the future. Contemplating other temporary strategic alliances, Hitler soon meets with Franz Seldte and Theodor Duesterberg, two leaders of the Stahlhelm, a paramilitary veteran association. 49

1931 July 13 The bank crisis hits the already unstable German economy as the largest bank in the Reich, the Darmstaedter und Nationalbank, discontinues payments. The Brüning government proves itself unable to control the crisis; it merely reacts ineffectually to events. When other banks go the way of the Darmstaedter in a countrywide bank run, draining some $300,000,000 marks, Brüning proclaims a bank holiday. 50

Writing in the Völkischer Beobachter, Hitler provides public confirmation of the adage 'what is bad for Germany is good for the Nazi Party':

Never in my life have I been as well disposed and inwardly contented as in these days. For in these days hard reality has opened the eyes of millions of Germans to the unprecedented swindles, lies, and betrayals of the Marxist deceivers of the people. In these days, great masses have seen, perhaps for the first time, who was right: the Young Plan swindlers, or the men of the Young Plan popular protest. In these days, therefore, I have righty felt happy and content, while conversely fear and consternation have crawled up the necks of the party and newspaper swindlers of the Young Front. 51

Gregor Strasser had said quite the same two years earlier, in an article in the Nationalsozialistische Briefe: Everything that is detrimental to the existing order has our support . . . . We are promoting catastrophic policies—for only catastrophe, that is, the collapse of the liberal system, will clear the way for the new order . . . . All that serves to precipitate the catastrophe of the ruling system—every strike, every governmental crisis, every disturbance of the State power, every weakening of the System—is good, very good for us and our German revolution. 52

1931 June 13-14 During a conference of SS leaders, Reichsführer-SS Himmler reflects on the recent unrest in the rival SA:

We were not loved everywhere. When we have done our duty we may be stood in the corner; we should expect no thanks. But our Führer knows the value of the SS. We are his favorite and most valuable organization because we have never let him down . . . . Perhaps it will be months or perhaps only days before the decision comes. We shall stand where our Führer stations us. 53

1931 June Himmler promulgates an SS order: "Our enemies' efforts to bolshevise Germany are increasing. Our information and intelligence service must aim to discover, and then to suppress, our Jewish and Freemason enemies; this is the most important task of the SS today." 54

1931 June 20 With Austria and Germany on the brink of financial collapse, US President Herbert Hoover proposes a one-year world moratorium on reparations and inter-governmental debt payments. Britain quickly accepts this proposal, but Premier André Tardieu of France puts up stiff resistance, with seventeen days of delay. During this delay, the situation in Germany deteriorates into a full-blown bank crisis. 55

1931 July 16 Edgar Vincent, 1st Viscount D'Abernon, the British Ambassador to Germany, writes of the mood in Berlin during the banking crises:

I was much struck by the emptiness of the streets and the unnatural silence hanging over the city, and particularly by an atmosphere of extreme tension similar in many respects to that which I observed in Berlin in the critical days immediately preceding the war. 56

1930 July 21 Goebbels' diary:

Off to Mumau. Lodging in Seehausen. Boss, Geli, Mrs. Raubal and I. First, a lot of people, then completely to ourselves. Walk during the quiet evening. Boss talks about the war. Early to bed. Up in the morning at six. Spent a beautiful morning going up the mountain roads to Oberammergau. The Passion plays begin at eight . . . I am most pleasantly [surprised], A natural stage. Colors, [the] magnificent voices of the people. Christ and Mary Magdalene great. St. John full of charm. Sometimes a bit kitschy . . . swarming with party comrades. Thunderstorm in Starnberg and return home." 57

1931 July Reich Chancellor Brüning meets with Hermann Göring. He asks Göring to lessen the Nazi attacks on his government, or surely Germany will perish. Göring is uncooperative. 58

1931 July-September 25 Hitler gives Göring a new Mercedes to replace the one confiscated in November, 1923. This is "proof of the care and kindness of the Führer," Carin writes her mother. The couple immediately set out on an impromptu vacation, motoring through Germany and Austria, and ending up in Sweden. Carin is so weak that she takes all her meals in the car. 59

1931 August The Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Pacelli—a future pope—receives Hermann Göring in Rome. Göring is here, at Hitler's behest, in an attempt to reverse the Vatican's poor opinion of the NSDAP, after a group of Catholic bishops in Germany had issued a harsh condemnation of the party. 60

1931 August 24 Hitler writes to Rosenberg:

My dear Mr. Rosenberg: I am just reading in the Völkischer Beobachter, edition 235/236, page 1, an article entitled Does Wirth intend to come over? The tendency of the article is to prevent on our part a crumbling away from the present form of government. I myself am travelling all over Germany to achieve exactly the opposite. May I therefore ask that my own paper will not stab me in the back with tactically unwise articles. Persons, who are known to seek connection or are even prepared to break from the present constellation, are to be spared under all circumstances. Our fight is to be directed in the first line against the stubborn defenders of the present course and against persons who reject us. I ask therefore the Völkischer Beobachter—as well as the Party Press Office—to pay punctilious attention to this in the interest of our work. 61

1931 September 18 The Mukden Incident—A small pile of dynamite is detonated by Lt. Kawamoto Suemori near a railroad owned by Japan's South Manchuria Railway, near Mukden, in northern China. The Imperial Japanese Army blames Chinese dissidents, cynically using the manufactured provocation to launch an invasion of Manchuria. 62

1931 September 18 Alone in her room, which is locked from the inside, twenty-three year old Geli Raubal commits suicide with Hitler's Walther 6.35 revolver. The suicide occurs many hours after a long and bitter argument with her uncle. It is unknown just what was at issue between them. The only portion of the argument clearly heard by witnesses occurred outside, as Hitler was climbing into his black Mercedes-Benz. Seeing Geli come out on the balcony across the street, he yelled up at her: "For the last time, no!" Hitler slammed the car door and his chauffer drove away. Hitler is far away when the suicide occurs, and there can be no question of his involvement in the act itself. He and his entourage had been traveling to Nuremberg, and were documented to have been much of the way there at the moment that the suicide allegedly occurred. Note: Since there was no proper investigation, the accepted, established facts in the death of Geli Raubal can hardly be considered necessarily reliable. 63

The following statements, from those who were in the house at the time of the death, are given to police captains Sauer and Forster during their perfunctory investigation:

Georg Winter:

I am employed in Hitler's household as housekeeper. This morning, at nine-thirty, my wife told me that something must have happened to Raubal, because the door to her room was locked and Hitler's pistol that was kept in the side room in an unlocked cabinet was no longer there. I knocked on her door repeatedly, but got no answer. I became suspicions and, at ten o'clock, I took a screwdriver and opened the closed two-winged door by force. It was locked from the inside, and the key was still in the keyhole. When I opened the door, my wife, Mrs. Reichert and Anna Kirmair were present. After I had opened the door, I entered the room and found Raubal there, lying dead on the floor. She had shot herself. I can give no reason why she shot herself.

Mrs. Maria Reichert:

On September 18, 1931, at around three in the afternoon, I heard Raubal's door being locked . . . . A short while later, I heard a small noise coming from Raubal's room, as if something had been knocked over. I paid no particular attention to it. At around ten in the evening, I wanted to prepare Raubal's bed, but found the door to her room still locked. Upon knocking, I received no answer, and I thought Raubal had gone out . . . for what reason she took her life, I cannot state. [Sigmund p. 138.] Anna Winter: At around three in the afternoon, on September 18, 1931, I saw Miss Raubal go into Hitler's room greatly upset, and then hurry back to her own room. I thought it strange. Now I think that she fetched the gun from Hitler's room . . . why Raubal took her own life, I do not know.

Anna Kirmair: "Why Raubal took her own life, I do not know."

From the police report:

The body lay in the room, which had only one entrance and a window looking down on Prinzregentenplatz, face down on the floor, in front of the sofa, upon which we found a 6.35-mm Walther pistol. Police doctor Müller determined that death had been caused by a punctured lung, and based on the stage of rigor mortis, had occurred a number of hours before [seventeen or eighteen]. It was a close shot, placed directly against the skin in the dress opening and penetrating the body above the heart, which was not damaged. The bullet had not left the body, but was to be felt under the skin on the left side of the back, somewhere above the hip level. 64

1931 September 19 In the morning, after leaving the Deutscher Hof Hotel in Nuremberg in company with Gregor Strasser, Hitler gets word of Geli's death and turns around, heading full speed for Munich. (Julius Schreck is Hitler's chauffeur for this trip as Hitler's longtime chauffeur, Emil Maurice, had been dismissed earlier in the year, after admitting that he and Geli were romantically involved.)

Rudolf Hess, Max Amann, Baldur von Schirach, and party treasurer Franz Xavier Schwarz are on the scene when Hitler arrives. Strasser joins Hess and Schwarz in some much needed political damage control since Hitler is in no shape to handle things. Anticipating the glee with which their enemies will approach the story, they reach the Bavarian Minister of Justice, Dr. Franz Guertner, by phone. Guertner does what he can to minimize the effects on Hitler by ruling out any investigation or inquest. It is obviously a suicide, Justice Minister Guertner publicly opines, and there is no sense is dragging out the tragedy. Hitler himself will submit to questioning by the police.

From Captain Sauer's report of his interview with Hitler:

[Hitler said that] his niece had been enrolled in medical school, but then had lost interest and began to study singing. She had been about to perform somewhere soon, but felt she was not quite ready and wanted to take additional lessons with a professor in Vienna. He [Hitler] had agreed to it, provided that her mother, who was living in Berchtesgaden, joined her in Vienna and when she did not want to do that, he had jettisoned the Vienna plan. She must have been angry at that, but did not appear particularly upset when he left on his trip Friday afternoon, and had quite calmly said goodbye to him. She once said, after participating in a seance that involved the levitation of a table, that she would probably not die a natural death. 65

As expected, Geli's death is the lead story in the German media, a scandal of the first order. Hitler's enemies pounce on the story. No spurious innuendo is ignored, nor is any conspiracy theory considered out-of-bounds. To escape the constant press coverage, Hitler retreats to the home of his friend, publisher Adolf Muller, on the shores of the Tegernsee. Hitler's lawyer, Hans Frank, accumulates many billing hours pushing back on the trial-by-press coverage. Geli is buried in Vienna's Central Cemetery, and Hitler is given special permission from the Austrian government to attend the funeral. A Catholic priest, Father Pant, blesses her remains, which is somewhat unusual in cases of suicide. Though the authorities had given him a twenty-four hour pass, Hitler spends three hours at the grave and heads straight back to Obersalzberg, which is near the Austrian border. He will next visit her grave seven years in the future, during his triumphal tour of his homeland during the Anschluss. 66

The marker over her grave reads:

Here Sleeps Our Beloved Child
She was Our Ray of Sunshine
Born 4 June 1908—died 18 September 1931
The Raubal Family

By all accounts, Hitler is devastated by Geli's death, falling into an immediate, inconsolable depression. Gregor Strasser later claimed that he had confiscated Hitler's pistol so that his Führer could not follow his niece's example. Strasser further claimed that he had stuck close to Hitler's side, ensuring that the deeply depressed fellow would not harm himself. (If true, Strasser would no doubt one day curse his own humanity for compelling him to do so.) Oddly, unlike Hitler's earlier depressions, this one plays out within a matter of weeks. Hitler goes from near-suicide to situation-normal just like that, to the amazement of many who are close to him. However quickly Hitler managed to recover from this tragedy, he never forgot his beloved niece. Her room in the Prinzregentenplatz was left as it was the night Geli shot herself. Only Hitler, and a housekeeper who daily brought fresh-cut flowers into the room, were allowed inside. Hitler also hired an obscure portrait artist, Adolf Ziegler, to render her full-size likeness on canvas, working from a photograph. During the Third Reich, Ziegler will be appointed the president of the Academy of German Art, and his portrait of Geli will occupy a place of honor in the reception room at the Obersalzberg, adorned with flowers. And Hitler's favorite sculptor, Professor Josef Thorak, will create a bust of Geli that will one day be placed on a pedestal in Hitler's Berlin Chancellery. 67

1931 September 18 Carin Göring's mother, Huldine von Fock, dies unexpectedly. Carin, against doctors' orders, travels to Stockholm with her husband to attend the funeral. On the 19th Carin has a serious heart attack, and is not expected to live through the night. Hermann remains by her bedside as his wife fights for her life. 68

1931 September 21 The Münchner Neueste Nachrichten reports:

A 23-year-old female private student committed suicide in an apartment in Bogenhausen—the unfortunate young woman—Angela Raubal—was the daughter of Adolf Hitler's stepsister . . . there is no information as to her motive. One interpretation is that Miss Raubal met a singer in Vienna, but her uncle prohibited her from returning there. Other sources claim that the unhappy young woman killed herself because she was scheduled to appear soon in public as a singer, but did not yet feel ready. 69

1931 September 23 A Social Democratic newspaper, The Münchner Post, runs the story "Mysterious Affair: Suicide of Hitler's Niece."

On Friday, September 18, Mr. Hitler and his niece had another very heated argument. What was the reason? The vivacious 23-year-old music student Geli wanted to go to Vienna. She wanted to get engaged. Hitler was strongly against it. The two had repeated arguments over that. After a violent scene, Hitler left his apartment . . . On Saturday, it was reported that Miss Geli had been found shot in the apartment. She had Hitler's pistol in her hand . . . The deceased's nose was broken . . . and the body also showed other injuries . . . gentlemen from the Brown House [headquarters of the NSDAP Barlow Palace] were deliberating [after the body had been found] as to what should be published about the motive for the deed. They agreed that Geli's death should be attributed to her frustrated artistic aspirations. 70

1931 September 23 Hitler takes issue with The Münchner Post for its coverage of his niece's death, and demands a retraction in accordance with Section 11 of the Press Act:

1. It is incorrect to say that I "constantly quarreled" with my niece Angela Raubal or had a heated argument on Friday, September 18, 1931 or earlier. The truth is that I had no kind of quarrel or dispute with my niece.

2. It is incorrect to say that I was "against" my niece's traveling to Vienna. The truth is that I was never opposed to my niece's planned trip to Vienna.

3. It is untrue that my niece was planning to get engaged in Vienna or that I had any objection to the engagement of my niece. It is true that my niece, agonizing over not being talented enough for a public performance, wanted to go to Vienna to have a leading speech therapist test her voice more thoroughly.

4. It is untrue to say that I left my apartment on September 18, 1931, "following a heated argument." There had been no scene and no disturbance when I left my apartment that day. 71

In an appendix to the police report, Dr. Müller wrote: On the face, especially on the nose, no injuries linked with pronounced dark-livid death spots were found, nor were any signs of bleeding ascertainable. Raubal died face down and she remained lying in that position for seventeen to eighteen hours. The fact that the tip of her nose was slightly flattened is simply a result of her being face down on the ground for hours. The intense discoloration of the death spots on the face is likely due to the fact that death was caused by suffocation, as a result of a punctured lung. 72

1931 September 26 The Assembly of the League of Nations adopts a General Convention to improve the Means of Preventing War.

1931 September The number of unemployed in Germany stands at 4,350,000. 73

1931 September Röhm arranges a meeting between Hitler and General von Schleicher, who subsequently arranges a meeting with Chancellor Brüning. Brüning pleads with Hitler to support his government long enough to see the reparations issue settled and Hindenburg safely re-elected. Brüning pledges that he will then step down, leaving the field open to a consensus candidate. Hitler does not answer directly, but launches into a tirade proclaiming that once he has gained power, he will stop making payments altogether, will rearm Germany, form an alliance with Italy and Britain, and force the issue to a just conclusion with France. Brüning is unimpressed, but nevertheless states that he will arrange a meeting with the Reich President. Perhaps Hindenburg can convince this stubborn Austrian to support the government. 74

1931 October 4 Hermann Göring is in Sweden, at the death-bed of his wife, Carin, when Hitler contacts him, asking for his help. The Nazi Führer must meet Reich President Hindenburg for the first time. In this regard he needs someone with whom the old man is comfortable, someone with a distinguished military background and the right contacts. Röhm will not do. He has the contacts, but the conservative Hindenburg cannot abide Röhm's homosexuality. Only Göring, a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, or Blue Max (Blauer Max), the Kingdom of Prussia's highest order of merit, has the clout and charm to pull off gaining Hitler the desired audience. Though Carin is in very critical shape and could go at any moment, Carin, herself an avid Nazi, urges him to go. Göring reluctantly leaves her side to attend to his Führer's business. It is the last time he will see her alive. 75

1931 October 10 Himmler reports to his Führer:

In certain towns the Communist Party has been expelling some of its [Communist activists] in order to infiltrate them as spies into SS formations . . . . Captain Ehrhardt, Commander of the officially disbanded Viking Corps, has recently become very active once more. In close cooperation with Government circles and under nationalist cover, he is preparing to form a Free Corps; to judge from the manner in which it is being recruited and in view of Captain Ehrhardt's former attitude, its object must be to destroy the NSDAP. 76

1931 October 10 Göring and Hitler go together to meet with Hindenburg. It is not entirely certain just what is said at the meeting as no one bothers to take notes. Hitler is said to have tried too hard to impress the old gentleman; the party orator talked too much. Instead of being impressed by the young firebrands rhetoric, the old field marshal develops an instant aversion toward the famous Putschist, remarking to General von Schleicher that he would never, under any circumstances, make this "Bohemian corporal" chancellor: "at the most, General Postmaster." 77

General von Schleicher's opinion of the Nazi Führer differs from that of Hindenburg: "An interesting man with exceptional speaking abilities. In his plans he soars in the clouds. You then have to hold him by the coattails in order to keep him on the ground."

1931 October 11 The Harzburg Front is formed in Bad Harzburg. The Front is a coalition of the Stahlhelm (Steel Helmets), Hitler’s NSDAP, and Alfred Hugenberg’s DNVP (Deutschnationale Volkspartei). Its mission is to present a unified opposition to the government of Heinrich Brüning, Chancellor of the Weimar Republic. Hitler, never enthusiastic about coalition politics, behaves boorishly, declining to eat at the same table with Hugenberg and the Stahlhelm leaders, Franz Seldte, and Theodor Duesterberg.

In his speech, Hitler attacks the Brüning government, demanding "that the power and responsibility be put into the hands of the national opposition" and rejecting "governments which are formed without us or against us . . . . From now on, a system which persecutes us cannot count on our help or protection in times of need, or even of mortal peril." He takes the march-by salute of his assembled SA units, and then, pointedly, leaves before the Stahlhelm begin their march-by. Hjalmar Schacht speaks against the Brüning government, and proclaims that only a government of national unity has any hope of curing Germany's ills. Ultimately the Front will fail to produce an effective opposition. 78

1931 October 13 In an attempt to strengthen his government, Reich Chancellor Heinrich Brüning presents a reconstituted cabinet to the Reichstag, with Minister of Defense General Groener doubling as Minister of the Interior, replacing Christian Wirth, and Brüning himself taking over as Reich Foreign Minister. Brüning addresses the Reichstag and, with support from the SPD and the Center, wins a vote-of-confidence by a 25-vote margin. 79

1931 October 14 Hitler publishes an open letter to Reich Chancellor Brüning:

The most regrettable feature of all is that the last instrument which is still sound in its general outlook—the instrument on which you alone can still today rely for support—the Army—is now involved through its representatives in the Government directly and indirectly in these struggles . . . . For us the Army is the expression of the strength of the nation for the defence of its national interests abroad. For you, Herr Chancellor Brüning, it is in the last resort an institution for the defence of the Government at home. The triumph of our ideas will give the entire nation a political and philosophical outlook which will bring the Army in spirit into a truly close relationship to the whole people and will thus free it from the painful circumstance of being an alien body within its own people. The consequence of your view, Herr Chancellor, will be an obligation on the part of the Army to uphold a political system which in its traditions and inmost views is the deadly opponent of the spirit of an army. And so finally, whether deliberately or not, the Army will be stamped with the character of a police-troop designed more or less for internal purposes. 80

1931 October 17 Carin Göring dies of heart failure at the age of 42. After lying in state at the Edelweiss Chapel, near the home of her parents, Carin is laid to rest next to her mother in the family vault near Drottningholm. Göring soon returns to his Badensche Strasse apartment in Berlin, but the place reminds him of Carin, so he takes up rooms at the Kaiserhof Hotel. To cope with his grief, he redoubles his efforts on behalf of the Party. His residence at the Kaiserhof puts him in handy reach of his Führer, and he makes himself useful. 81

Hermann Göring:

The Führer said to me that he would very much like to have a direct representative who was independent of a party office and who could carry out political negotiations. This person was not to be tied to any particular party office. He asked me whether I would take over this function, especially as I was living in the capital of the Reich anyway. I took over this commission—it was not an office, but rather a commission of a general nature. In a few sentences he gave me the liberty to negotiate with all parties from the Communists to the extreme rightists, in order, let us say, to undertake specific joint action in the Reichstag, or other suitable political steps. Naturally, also I was given in this connection the task of effecting the dissemination and the penetration of our ideals in all circles. To these circles belonged, as has already been mentioned, the industrial and intellectual groups. Since I had connections with and access to all these circles, it was quite natural that the Führer considered me specially suited for this task, as he could depend upon me absolutely in this respect and knew that I would use all my powers to advance our ideas. 82

1931 October 17-18 In the largest demonstration of Nazi paramilitary might yet seen in Germany, Hitler salutes a six-hour review of storm troopers at a party rally. Thirty-eight trains and five thousand buses have concentrated one hundred thousand SA and SS in Brunswick (Braunschweig), to witness Hitler consecrating twenty-four new troop standards. Airplanes towing huge swastika-adorned banners circle in the sky. 83

1931 October 21 Hjalmar Schacht, the former President of the Reichsbank, joins the Harzburg Front. 84

1931 October 30 Baldur von Schirach is appointed Reich Youth leader of the NSDAP. 85

Baldur von Schirach:

After the student meeting at Graz in 1931, the success of which was very surprising to Hitler, I had a conference with him. In the course of that meeting, Hitler mentioned a conversation we had had previously. At that time he had asked me how it came about that the National Socialist University Movement was developing so quickly, whereas the other National Socialist organizations lagged behind in their development.

I told him at that time that one cannot lead youth organizations as an appendix of a political party; youth has to be led by youth, and I developed for him the idea of a youth state, that idea which had come to me from experiencing the school community, the school state. And thereupon in 1931 Hitler asked me whether I would like to assume the leadership of the National Socialist Youth Organization. This included youth cells, then the Hitler Youth and the National Socialist Students Organization, which also was in existence at that time. Several men had already tried their hand at the leadership of these organizations: the former Oberstfuehrer SA Leader Pfeffer, the Reichsleiter Buch, actually without much result.

I agreed and became then Reich Youth Leader of the NSDAP, temporarily a member of the staff of the Oberst SA Leader Röhm. In that position, as Reich Youth Leader of the NSDAP in the staff of Röhm, I had the rank of an SA Gruppenführer and kept that rank also when, half a year later, I became independent in my position. 86

1931 November Police officials in Frankfurt announce the discovery of a cache of documents, generated by Nazi party functionaries in Hesse, that will come to be known as the Boxheim Papers. The documents detail contingency plans in the case of a Communist putsch. The NSDAP's opponents in the various states immediately demand that Reich Defense Minister Wilhelm Groener ban the SA. 87

1931 November 4 Colonel Chapouilly, the French Military Attaché in Berlin, reports to his superior:

In Schleicher's view, Hitler knows very well how to distinguish between the demagogy suitable to a young Party, and the needs of national and international life. He has already moderated the actions of his troops on more than one occasion, and one can secure more from him. Faced with the forces he controls, there is only one policy to adopt—to use him and win him over, foreseeing with some reason the loss of the revolutionary wing of his party . . . . It is the Jugendbewegung (youth movement), it can't be stopped. 88

1931 November 15 The NSDAP gains a huge victory in state elections in Hessen, receiving 37.1% of the vote, more than the Socialists and Communists combined. In a Landtag where they have always lacked representation, the Nazis now occupy 27 seats. 89

1931 December 6 Reich Chancellor Brüning issues his fourth, and last, economic decree; an ill-received emergency austerity measure that increases taxes while reducing both wages and prices. Interest rates on mortgages and other long-term loans are lowered by 25%, and wages are to be reduced to their 1927 level. Not only are the measures unpopular, but they will fail to have any positive effect. Brüning thus earns the popular nickname "the hunger chancellor." 90

Wait a while and just you'll see,
Brüning will come up to you
With the ninth emergency decree
And make mincemeat out of you. 91

1931 December 8 The day after issuing a decree banning the wearing of political uniforms in public, Reich Chancellor Brüning makes an obvious dig at the Nazi Führer in a radio broadcast: "When a man declares that once he has achieved power by legal means he will break through the barriers, he is not really adhering to legality." The uniform ban will have no effect. The SA simply take to marching in white dress shirts. 92

1931 December 13 Hitler publishes an open letter in response to Chancellor Brüning's December 8 radio broadcast:

You yourself, Herr Chancellor, jealously see to it that only the Government is permitted liberty of action in Germany; and thus there arises of necessity the limitation of the opposition to the sphere of criticism, of speech . . . . The Government, Herr Chancellor, can act. It can prove the Tightness of its views by deeds. And it takes jealous care that no one else shall enjoy such possibilities. What then, Herr Chancellor, remains for us but speech, to bring to the knowledge of the German nation our views on the ruinous character of your plans, or the errors which underlie them, and the disasters which must ensue? . . . .

You refuse, as a "statesman", to admit that if we come to power legally we could then break through legality. Herr Chancellor, the fundamental thesis of democracy runs: "All power issues from the People." The constitution lays down the way by which a conception, an idea, and therefore an organization, must gain from the people the legitimation for the realization of its aims. But in the last resort it is the People itself which determines its Constitution.

Herr Chancellor, if the German nation once empowers the National Socialist Movement to introduce a Constitution other than that which we have today, then you cannot stop it . . . . When a Constitution proves itself to be useless for its life, the nation does not die—the Constitution is altered. 93

1931 December 16 The Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Catholic Center Party (Zentrum), and some other smaller parties, form the Iron Front (Eiserne Front) as a response—and in opposition to—the Harzburg Front, which is a combination of the Stahlhelm, the NSDAP, and the DNVP.

1931 December 19 Magda Quandt weds Josef Goebbels at Günther Quandt's farm in Goldenbow, Mecklenburg. Hitler stands as best man, and General von Epp serves as a witness. Ten-year-old Harald Quandt, Magda's son from her previous marriage, wears the uniform of his local Nazi Party Youth Organisation at the reception at the Quandt manor house. 94

1931 December During a visit to London, Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi editor-in-chief of the Völkischer Beobachter, makes a big splash when a British newspaper names him "one of the best-dressed Germans." He gives an interview that is published in a London paper:

I admire the calm and assurance with which the English nation is combating its difficulties. This nation has no nerves and in this it is setting the world an example . . . . England herself is beginning to feel the pressure of the present situation . . . . The economic and political pressure from Paris is becoming intolerable . . . . now [is the] time for England as well as the rest of us, to offer resistance. 95

1931 December Wilhelm Rudolf Mann, a thirty-eight-year-old IG Farben executive, joins the NSDAP. 96

1931 December Hitler receives a delegation of supporters from the Sudetenland, members of the German minority in the Czechoslovak state. Hitler assures them that things are looking up, and once he has gained power, the Sudetenland will be reunited with the Reich.

In England at present a significant shift in public opinion is taking place. France with her military and financial policy is making herself responsible for all the world's wrongs. In America and Italy, as well, the anti-French tendency is growing from day to day, yes, we might even say from hour to hour. The untenable position of the world market literally forces the other states into a defensive front against the former beneficiary of the present state of affairs, and that is France.

Hitler cautions, however, that a war is out of the question, as "a war of European states among themselves would be as good as opening the door to Bolshevism." 97

1931 December 31 The Marriage Law of the SS is propagated:

Every S.S. man who aims to get married must procure for this purpose the marriage certificate of the Reichsführer S.S. S.S. members who though denied marriage certificates marry in spite of it, will be stricken from the S.S.; they will be given the choice of withdrawing. The working-out of the details of marriage petitions is the task of the Race Office of the S.S. The Race Office of the S.S. directs the Clan Book of the S.S., in which the families of S.S. members will be entered after the marriage certificate is issued. The Reichsführer S.S., the manager of the Race Office, and the specialists of this office are duty bound on their word of honour to secrecy . . . . It is clear to the S.S. that with this command it has taken a step of great significance. Derision, scorn, and failure to understand do not move us; the future belongs to us! (Signed) Heinrich Himmler. 98

1931 December Hitler announces that fifty SA and SS men had been killed, and around 4,000 wounded, during 1931. 99

1931 December The number of unemployed in Germany stands at five million. 100

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

Click to join 3rdReichStudies

Click to join 3rdReichStudies

Disclaimer:The Propagander!™ includes diverse and controversial materials--such as excerpts from the writings of racists and anti-Semites--so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and anti-Semitic discourse. It is our sincere belief that only the informed citizen can prevail over the ignorance of Racialist "thought." Far from approving these writings, The Propagander!™ condemns racism in all of its forms and manifestations.

Fair Use Notice: This site--The Propagander!™--may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of historical, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, environmental, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.