Chapter Twenty:
Kampfzeit V

1932 June 26 Hitler addresses an assembly of SA leaders near Berchtesgaden, in the village of Schoenau. They do not like what they hear. Hitler tells them to forget about taking the place of the Reichswehr when the NSDAP takes power. The German Reichswehr is patriotic, competent, headed by professionals, and deserves their support. The mission of the SA is as an arm of the political leadership, and he is not prepared to sanction any other role. The SA men are unenthusiastic. Röhm thanked "the Führer for his explanation, and assured him of the loyalty that was a matter of course in view of the military training of the SA." 1

1932 July 1 SS-Oberführer Kurt Daluege is promoted to SS-Gruppenführer (group leader). 2

1932 July 1 Goebbels whines to his diary about the difficulties of campaigning:

. The travelling starts again. Work has to be done standing, walking, driving, flying. The most urgent conferences are held on the stairs, in the hall, at the door, or on the way to the station. You hardly have time to think. You are carried by train, motor car and aeroplane this way and that through Germany. You arrive at a town half an hour before the beginning of a meeting, or sometimes even later, go up to the platform, and speak.

The audience generally has no idea of what the speaker has already gone through during the day before he delivers his address in the evening. Many of them, surely, imagine that he has nothing to do but make speeches! They misjudge him if he is tired and not quite in form. They regret that his oration leaves something to be desired, that he is not particularly witty, and that his choice of words is not happy. And in the mean time, he is struggling with the heat, with finding the right word, with the sequence of a thought, with a voice that grows hoarser and hoarser, with the cussedness of poor acoustics, and with the bad air from 10,000 tightly-packed people . . . . When the speech is over, you feel as though you've just been hauled fully-clothed out of a hot bath. Then you get back in the car and drive another two hours over bad roads. 3

An eye-witness to a Goebbels speech recorded:

I believe there is nothing that the fellow can't twist to mean its opposite. Physically a dwarf, intellectually a giant. But a giant only in the art of pulling down, of destruction. A Mephistopheles! Such cripples should not be given power, otherwise they plunge the whole world into ruin, simply to appease their accursed and suppressed complexes. They hate, and must hate, all that is sound and natural, simply because it has been denied them by fate. Herr Goebbels is a model example of this variety of man. 4

1932 July 9 The Lausanne Conference ends, resulting in an agreement to suspend World War I reparations payments, imposed on the defeated countries by the Treaty of Versailles. However, the elimination altogether of Germany's war reparations, as well as her acquired debt, are effectively contingent on coming to an agreement with the US, whereby the outstanding war debts of Britain, France, and Belgium (among others) would be forgiven as well. When the US Congress, in December 1932, refused to ratify the plan, the terms of the previous agreement, the Young Plan, remained in force. In the event, Germany would make no more payments as the entire structure of the post-war reparations regime is, and remains, in tatters. Germany will, all told, pay only one-fifth of the total owed under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. 5

Chancellor von Papen:

At the conclusion of the Lausanne Conference, I told Macdonald and Herriot, "You must provide me with a foreign political success, for my Government is the last bourgeois government in Germany. After me there will be only extremists of the Right and the Left." But they did not believe me, and I returned from Lausanne with only partial success . . . .

In the first place, I had to sign it, because otherwise the conference would have ended in a complete failure, and Germany would have been confronted with an economic vacuum. We were faced also with the Reichstag election and I had to try to make the best of the situation. 6

Hjalmar Schacht:

From the very first moment, after the reparations were determined in 1921 or so, I fought against this nonsense with the argument that the carrying out of those reparations would throw the entire world into economic chaos. I fought against it and, as time went by, I did succeed in convincing the people of almost all the countries that this was sheer nonsense. Therefore, in July of 1932, if I am not mistaken, the then Reich Chancellor Papen was in a position to affix his signature to an agreement at Lausanne, which reduced reparations, de jure, to a pending sum of 3,000,000,000, and which, de facto, canceled reparations altogether. 7

1932 July 10 In the German state of Silesia, 34 are injured and 4 lose their lives in a street battle between Nazis and Communists in Ohlau. 8

1932 July 12 Reich Chancellor von Papen on the Lausanne Conference, as quoted in the Trierische Landeszeitung:

But just as little as we are unable to erase, by a one-sided act, the signatures given since 1918 by former governments, just as little was this possible with regard to the solemn obligations which were undertaken by the then governing parties in the name of the German people. The present Government simply had to liquidate a situation which had been created by all the former governments since the signing of the Versailles Treaty. The question as to whether this situation can be liquidated by Germany's denying the validity of her signature and thus, at the same time, placing herself outside the conception of cultural and other standards, must be answered with an emphatic "no." 9

1932 July From a recorded Hitler speech:

Destiny has given Germany's present rulers more than thirteen years to prove themselves and to show what they can do. They themselves pronounce the most damning judgment on themselves, for by the very nature of their propaganda today, they acknowledge the failure of their efforts. Once they wanted to govern Germany better than it had been governed in the past, and all they can say about their art of governing is that Germany and the German People are not yet dead . . . .

The Almighty who has allowed our numbers to grow from seven to thirteen million in thirteen years, will also permit the thirteen million to form the nucleus from which will grow a new German nation. We believe in a nation. It is for this German nation that we are fighting, and, like thousands of fellow Germans before us, it is to this German nation that we are ready—if called upon—to dedicate ourselves with body and soul. If the nation does its duty, the day must come when once again we shall have a Reich with honor and freedom—work and bread! 10

1932 July 12 Goebbels embarks on a speaking tour of the extensive coal and iron districts in the western regions of Germany. This is hostile territory for the NSDAP, and Goebbels' diary entries, though often exaggerated, tell their own tale:

We force our way, through the howling mob in Dusseldorf and Elberfeld. A wild trip. We had no idea that things would get so serious. In all our innocence, we drive into Hagen in an open car and wearing our uniforms. The streets are black with people. All of them mob and Communist rabble. They close off the road, so that we can go neither forward nor back . . . .

We cut our way through the middle of the pack. Each of us has his pistol in his hand and is determined, if the worst comes to the worst, to sell his life as dearly as possible . . . . The meeting place is on a hill, framed by a forest of beeches in the background. The Communists have ingeniously set fire to this forest, so that it is almost impossible to carry on the meeting. Nevertheless, we make our speeches . . . .

On our departure we are followed by a bombardment of stones. We manage to leave the city by detours. 11

1932 July 13 Goebbels continues his speaking tour through hostile territory:

The experience in Hagen has made us more circumspect. Now we travel in disguise. Constantly we pass lurking groups of Communists. We can hardly get into Dortmund. We have to take a side-street to keep from falling into the hands of the Communists who have occupied all the other entrances. 12

1932 July 14 Goebbels' diary:

A trip to the Ruhr involves mortal peril. We take a strange car, because our own, with its Berlin number, is known, and people have descriptions of it everywhere. In Elberfeld the Red press has called the mob into the streets. The approaches to the stadium are blocked off completely. It is only because they take us for a harmless passenger car that we get through. After a speech, we change into a new car. Again the mob has occupied the streets. But it is dark and so we get through. 13

1932 July 15 Goebbels tells his diary of the cross he bears: "I must leave my own native city like a criminal, pursued by curses, abuse, vilification, stoned, and spat upon." 14

1932 July 17 The Altona Bloody Sunday (Altonaer Blutsonntag) occurs in the independent city of Altona, (now the westernmost urban borough [Bezirk] of Hamburg). Seventeen people die, and sixty-four are injured—most by stray police bullets—when 7,000 Nazi SA and SS units march through the workers' quarter of Prussian Altona, and are attacked by Altona's Communist residents. 15

1932 July 17 In response to the surge in political violence, Chancellor von Papen bans public parades by all parties until after the July 31 election. 16

1932 July 20 Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen issues an emergency decree, declaring martial law, and dismissing the cabinet of the Free State of Prussia under Otto Braun and Carl Severing. General Gerd von Rundstedt, the Reichswehr commander in Berlin, arrests Police Commissioner Grzesinski and his deputy, Bernhard 'Isidor' Weiss, whom Goebbels has made his arch-enemy. Altogether, Weiss had filed seventeen defamation suits against him, none of which will ever come to court. 17

Papen takes personal control of the Prussian government, and appoints himself Reich Commissioner. Burgomaster Bracht of Essen becomes his Deputy, and Prussian Minister of the Interior. Prussian Communists respond by calling for a general strike. No other party answers the call, and no effective strike materializes. So-called "Red Prussia" is defeated without a shot. Hitler, observing the manner in which the two largest working-class institutions in Germany—the trade unions and the Social Democratic Party—had allowed, with barely a protest, the unconstitutional take-over of Prussia by von Papen's government, draws certain conclusions. 18

1932 July 23 The two-year Geneva "Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments," which has been in session since February 2, adjourns. No agreement has been reached concerning the demand by Germany to be granted equality of armaments with the other powers. Though the Conference had begun while Brüning was in power, and the aim of equality had originally been his, von Papen had endorsed and adopted this policy. The failure to positively address Germany's aims by the Conference is seen as yet another defeat of von Papen's ineffectual "cabinet of barons" government. 19

1932 July 26 Five days before the Reichstag election, Reich Minister of Defense von Schleicher proclaims:

I am no friend of military dictatorship. I regard the dictatorial government of the armed forces in Germany as absolutely impossible . . . . The government must be supported by a strong popular sentiment . . . . [As to the question of the Junkers], the Reichswehr is not a force to protect any classes or interested persons, and no more does it want to protect any obsolete economic forms or untenable property relations. 20

1932 July 27 Albert Speer is unusual among young Nazis of the day, in that he owns a working automobile. He is thus a member of the Motorists Association of the NSDAP (NSKK) in his home district of Mannheim. While visiting Berlin, he offers his services to the local Berlin NSKK. It is while he is running errands for the local party that he, by chance, encounters party leader Adolf Hitler, an event which he described in his memoirs:

The three-motored plane rolled to a stop. Hitler and several of his associates and adjutants got out. Aside from myself and the courier, there was scarcely anyone at the airport. I kept at a respectful distance, but I saw Hitler reproving one of his companions because the cars had not yet arrived. He paced back and forth angrily, slashing at the tops of his high boots with a dog whip and giving the general impression of a cross, uncontrolled man who treats his associates contemptuously.

This Hitler was very different from the man of calm and civilized manner who had so impressed me at the student meeting. Although I did not give much thought to it, what I was seeing was an example of Hitler's remarkable duplicity—indeed, "multiplicity" would be a better word. With enormous histrionic intuition he could shape his behavior to changing situations in public while letting himself go with his intimates, servants, or adjutants.

The cars came. I took my passenger into my rattling roadster and drove at top speed a few minutes ahead of Hitler's motorcade. In Brandenburg the sidewalks close to the stadium were occupied by Social Democrats and Communists. With my passenger wearing the party uniform, the temper of the crowd grew ugly. When Hitler with his entourage arrived a few minutes later, the demonstrators overflowed into the street. Hitler's car had to force its way through at a snail's pace. Hitler stood erect beside the driver. At that time I felt respect for his courage, and still do. The negative impression that his behavior at the airport had made upon me was wiped out by this scene.

I waited outside the stadium with my car. Consequently I did not hear the speech, only the storms of applause that interrupted Hitler for minutes at a time. When the party anthem indicated the end, we started out again. For that day Hitler was speaking at still a third meeting in the Berlin Stadium. Here, too, the stands were jammed. Thousands who had not been able to obtain admission stood outside in the streets. For hours the crowd waited patiently; once more Hitler was very late. My report to Hanke that Hitler was on his way was promptly announced over the loudspeaker. A roar of applause burst out—incidentally the first and only applause that I myself was ever the cause of. 21

1932 July 27 Adolf Hitler speaks in Brandenburg to a crowd of 60,000, then on to Potsdam before yet another huge audience, and ending the day at Berlin's Grunewald Stadium before 120,000 souls. 22

From Goebbels' diary: "The Führer, late at night, addresses 120,000 people at the Gruenewalder Stadium. The largest open-air rally the movement has ever organized. His words are greeted with indescribable ovations." 23

1932 July 28 Albert Speer receives his first architectural commission from the Nazi Party; renovating the new Nazi District Headquarters in Berlin. Speer:

Our flatboats were packed—we, my wife and I, were preparing to leave for a boating vacation—and we were to take the train to East Prussia that same night, but when I went to take my leave from Nagel [Speer's assistant] he told me that Hanke—who by now [had] become organizational chief [under Goebbels as Gauleiter] of the Gau Berlin—wanted to see me. And when I hurried over there, he immediately said, "I've been looking for you everywhere. Wouldn't you like to build our new district HQ"? "I said, "Yes, certainly, if you want to entrust it to me."

"I'll propose it to 'the Doctor' [Goebbels] today, Hanke said. A few hours more, and I would have been out of reach in the isolation of the Prussian lakes. For years after that, I considered it the luckiest coincidence of my life. And now? Well, anyway, it shows us how dizzyingly one's whole life can be affected by a few hours more or less . . . .

I worked day and night, easy enough for a 27-year-old with good nerves. A valuable support for me then was a young secretary [Annemarie Kemp] of Goebbels', who took on working overtime to type my tenders at night . . . . I didn't see much of Goebbels. They were preparing for the November election and he only came around a few times, hoarse and worn out, and didn't pretend much interest when we showed him around. 24

Annemarie Kemp:

Karl Hanke introduced me to him [Speer] in the summer of 1932. Speer had just been given his first architectural commission and a desk in a kind of reception area in his office. Hanke asked me whether I could help him [Speer] a bit in whatever time I had left over after working—yes, unpaid—at the Gau office. I had of course already heard about him when he painted Hanke's office red. So I said, yes sure, and I started giving him a hand. That's also when they began to give me a bit of money.

If I had to say what my first memory is of Speer, t would be of a big table, topsy-turvy full of drawings, designs and color patterns and him reaching out and always finding whatever he wanted, without even looking. The order of his mind even then simply cut through—simply ignored—chaos . . . . He seemed very poised for someone so young. 25

1932 July Hjalmar Schacht assists Nazi activist Wilhelm Keppler to organize a petition of industrial leaders, requesting that President Hindenburg nominate Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany. Among those who will sign are the general manager of Vereinigte Stahlwerke (United Steel), Albert Voegler, and banker Kurt von Schroder. 26

1932 July 30 German Chancellor von Papen vents in public:

The world does not realize that Germany is confronted with a civil war. The world did not help us to overcome our difficulties at Lausanne, and it is unbearable that, 14 years after the end of the war, there is no equality of rights for us. 27

Franz von Papen later testified:

When I was Chancellor of Germany, in 1932, Schacht came to see me in July or August while I was at home. He said, "Here’s a very intelligent man." It was in the presence of my wife, and I have never forgotten it. He said, "Give him your position. Give it to Hitler. He is the only man who can save Germany." 28

1932 July 31 Hitler's party wins big in the 7th Reichstag election of the Weimar Republic. 13,745,680 Germans vote for the Nazis, making the NSDAP Germany’s largest political party, with 230 seats. But they still fall far short of a majority in the 608-member body. Walter Funk is elected a Reichstag deputy. Göring, with backing from the Catholic Center Party, assumes the Presidency of the Reichstag. But with no party possessing a majority, no coalition can be formed, to create a governing majority. Papen's minority government thus continues by default, which will lead to yet another election—the fourth in five months—in November. 29

Franz von Papen:

The conclusions to be drawn from the results of this election were that no majority could be formed, from the extreme right to the Social Democrats, without the NSDAP. With that, the Party had achieved a parliamentary key position. The real reason for the increase in the Nazi votes was the desperate economic situation of Germany and the fact of the general disappointment about the lack of foreign political successes at Lausanne. 30

1932 August 1, 2 Goebbels' diary:

Now we must come to power and exterminate Marxism. One way or another! Something must be done. The time of opposition is ended. Now we go into action. Hitler thinks the same. Events have to sort themselves out, then we must take the decision. We shall not obtain an absolute majority this way. So we shall have to take another path. We face a hard conclusion . . . . We will have a short breathing space, to consolidate our position, but then it will be power and what we can make of it! We must not be modest in our demands. Either sharpest opposition, or power. The middle way is death. That is Hitler's opinion, too . . . . 31

We have won a tiny bit . . . . Result: now we must come to power and exterminate [ausrotten] Marxism. One way or another! Something must happen. The time for opposition is over. Now deeds! Hitler is of the same opinion. Now events have to sort themselves out and then decisions have to be taken. We won't get to an absolute majority this way. 32

1932 August 2 After an uneventful conference of party leaders at Tegernsee, in Bavaria, Hitler takes a little time off. He attends a production of Tristan und Isolde in Munich, then departs for Berchtesgaden. Goebbels—together with Magda, who is in an advanced stage of pregnancy—joins Hitler there for strategy sessions, telling his diary: "The Führer is deliberating with us, but he has come to no final conclusion. The situation must first ripen. At any rate, the party must not shrink back from grave decisions. Something must happen." 33

1932 August 6 Hitler meets with Defense Minister von Schleicher in Furstenberg, fifty miles north of Berlin. Hitler lays out his demands. He must be made chancellor, with Wilhelm Frick in the Interior Ministry, Gregor Strasser in the Labor Ministry, Hermann Göring in the Air Ministry, and a new Ministry for the People's Education (Volkserziehung) must be created for Josef Goebbels. An Enabling Bill will then be presented to the Reichstag. If they fail to pass it, the Reichstag will be dissolved. Hitler seems to be so certain that this meeting will lead to his chancellorship, that he suggests to von Schleicher that a historical marker will have to be erected there. 34

1932 August 7 Goebbels confidently predicts that they will soon be in power:

Within a week the matter will burst open. Chief will become Reich Chancellor and Prussian Minister President, Strasser Reich and Prussian Interior, Goebbels Prussian and Reich Education, Darré Agriculture in both, Frick state secretary in the Reich Chancellery, Göring Air Ministry. Justice [Ministry] stays with us. Warmbold Economy. Crosigk [i.e. Schwerin von Krosigk] Finance. Schacht Reichsbank. A cabinet of men. If the Reichstag rejects the enabling act, it will be sent packing [nach Hause geschickt]. Hindenburg wants to die with a national cabinet. We will never give up power again. They'll have to carry us out as corpses . . . . I still can't believe it. At the gates of power. 35

1932 August 8-11 Just as Hitler's party is gaining real electoral success, the unrest in the SA becomes more worrisome, as Goebbels tells his diary:

The air is full of presage . . . . Telephone call from Berlin. It is full of rumors. The whole party is ready to take over power. The SA down everyday tools to prepare for this. If things go well, everything is all right. If they do not, it will be an awful setback . . . . The SA is in readiness for an alarm and is standing to . . . . The SA are closely concentrated round Berlin; the maneuver is carried out with imposing precision and discipline . . . . The Wilhelmstrasse is very nervous about it. But that is the point of our mobilization. 36

1931 August (Exact Day Unknown) In East Prussia, at Hindenburg's estate at Neudeck, Defense Minister von Schleicher urges the Reich President to accept Hitler's terms and appoint the Nazi leader chancellor. Hindenburg will have none of it, declaring that it is 'his "irrevocable" will' to keep Hitler from gaining the chancellorship. 37

1932 August 9 Chancellor von Papen issues an emergency decree setting up special courts to try cases of premeditated political murder, a crime calling for death penalty by order of the decree. 38

1932 August 10 The Potempa Murder: In the early hours, Konrad Pietrzuch, an unemployed communist laborer living in the Silesian village of Potempa, is brutally murdered by nine members of the SA. The SA men invade Pietrzuch's home, drag him from his bed, and brutally beat him to death in front of his brother and mother. The savage murder is performed without any attempt on behalf of the perpetrators to hide their identities, and seven of them are soon arrested. 39

1931 August 10 In order to allow the Berlin SA to blow off some steam, and to provide a demonstration of his party's raw power, Hitler allows the SA to march through the streets in parade. 40

1931 August 10 Hindenburg arrives in Berlin and meets with Chancellor von Papen, who suggests that Hitler be made chancellor in a "brown-black" parliamentary majority, made up of the Zentrum and the NSDAP. Hindenburg is adamant in his refusal to consider such a thing. He will not, under any circumstance, make that "Bohemian corporal" chancellor of the Reich. 41

1932 August One of the Nazi leaders in the Danzig Senate, Hermann Rauschning, visits with Hitler at Haus Wachenfeld, and later makes a record of the meeting:

The place of artillery preparation for frontal attack will in future be taken by revolutionary propaganda, to break down the enemy psychologically before the armies begin to function at all . . . . How to achieve the moral break-down of the enemy before the war has started—that is the problem that interests me . . . . We shall provoke a revolution in France as certainly as we shall not have one in Germany. The French will hail me as their deliverer. The little man of the middle class will acclaim us as the bearers of a just social order and eternal peace. None of these people any longer want war or greatness. 42

1932 August 11 On the thirteenth anniversary of the ratification of the Weimar Constitution, Papen's interior minister, Baron Wilhelm von Gayl, proclaims the cabinet's intention to alter the document by limiting the size of the voter franchise, ending proportional representation, and creating of an upper chamber in order to diminish the power of the Reichstag. 43

1932 August 11 The Völkischer Beobachter promises the incarceration, in concentration camps, of the enemies of National Socialism—Communists, Social Democrats, etc.—when the Nazis inevitably take power in Germany. 44

1932 August 11 Hitler attends a party conference at Prien, eighty miles east of Munich, near the border with Austria. He spends the night in his apartment in Munich, and leaves very early in the morning to travel by car to Berlin, so as not to be noticed at the train station. 45

1932 August 12 A popular periodical read by business executives, The Deutsche Führerbriefe, calls for a cabinet, headed by Hitler, to rule by presidential emergency decree. 46

1932 August 12 Hitler arrives in Berlin by car, continuing on to Caputh to spend the night with the Goebbels family. Hitler, who is quite aware that the meetings scheduled for the next day are crucial ones, stays up quite late, listening to music. Early the next morning, Hitler will set up his Berlin headquarters, from which he will negotiate with the government, in the Hotel Kaiserhof. 47

Hitler will later recall:

When I visited Berlin before we came to power, I used to stay at the Kaiserhof; and as I was always accompanied by a complete general staff, I generally had to book a whole floor, and our bill for food and lodging usually came to about 10,000 marks a week. I earned enough to defray these costs, mostly by means of interviews and articles for the foreign press. Towards the end of the Kampfzeit, I was being paid as much as two or three thousand dollars a time for such work. 48

1932 August 13 A very contentious noon meeting between von Schleicher, Hitler, Röhm, and Frick breaks out into violent argument, which continues in the presence of Chancellor von Papen, who later recalled only that he had a long discussion with Hitler, impressing upon him "the necessity of his participation, and my own readiness to resign as chancellor in a few months, if the co-operation should prove successful, and after von Hindenburg had gained confidence in Hitler . . . . I made an offer to Hitler that he should enter my Cabinet as Vice-Chancellor. Hitler declined." 49

1932 August 13 At 4:15 P.M., Hitler, Röhm, and Frick, meet with Hindenburg, who is attended by the Chief of the Presidential Chancellery, Otto Meissner, Chancellor von Papen, and Defense Minister von Schleicher. The eighty-five year old Reich President stands, leaning on his cane, throughout the interview, forcing the others to stand as well. Hindenburg is in a no-nonsense mood, taking control of the meeting from the outset. "Herr Hitler, I have only one question to address to you," he begins, "Are you prepared to offer me your collaboration in the Papen cabinet?" 50

From minutes of the meeting kept by Otto Meissner:

Herr Hitler declared that, for reasons which he had explained in detail to the Reich President that morning, his taking any part in cooperation with the existing government was out of the question. Considering the importance of the National Socialist movement, he must demand the leadership of the state to its full extent [die Staatsfuehrung in vollem Umfange] for himself and his party. The Reich President in reply said firmly that he must answer this demand with a clear, unyielding No. He could not justify before God, before his conscience, or before the Fatherland the transfer of the whole authority of government to a single party, especially to a party that was biased against people who had different views from their own. There were a number of other reasons against it, upon which he did not wish to enlarge in detail, such as fear of increased unrest, the effect on foreign countries, etc. Herr Hitler repeated that any other solution was unacceptable to him. To this the Reich President replied: "So you will go into opposition?" Hitler: "I have now no alternative."

At this point Hindenburg, with a certain show of excitement, referred to several recent occurrences—clashes between the Nazis and the police, acts of violence committed by Hitler's followers against those of different opinions, excesses against Jews, and other illegal acts. All these incidents had strengthened him in his conviction that there were numerous wild elements in the Party, beyond effective control. Conflicts with other states had also to be avoided under all circumstances.

Hindenburg proposed to Hitler that he should cooperate with the other parties, in particular with the Right and the Centre, and that he should give up the one-sided idea that he must have complete power. In cooperating with other parties he would be able to show what he could achieve and improve upon. If he could show positive results, he would acquire increasing influence even in a coalition government. This would also be the best way to eliminate the widespread fear that a National Socialist government would make ill use of its power. Hindenburg added that he was ready to accept Hitler and his movement in a coalition government, the precise composition of which could be a subject of negotiation, but that he could not take the responsibility of giving exclusive power to Hitler alone . . . . Hitler, however, was adamant in his refusal to put himself in the position of bargaining with the leaders of the other parties, and of facing a coalition government. 51

Hindenburg is polite and correct as he dismisses Hitler's bid, which does little to diminish Hitler's barely-controlled rage over the result. As Hitler and his party are leaving the Presidential Chancellery, Chancellor von Papen calls after them: "If you had been prepared to enter the government, you would in any case have been, within three weeks, where you wanted to be today." In the evening, Goebbels tells his diary: "The notion of the Führer as Vice-Chancellor of a bourgeois cabinet is too grotesque to be taken seriously." 52

1932 August 13 Immediately following the meeting with Hindenburg, the Chief of the Presidential Chancellery, Otto Meissner, issues a press release setting forth the government spin on what had occurred. Taking the Nazi Führer to task for going back on his pledge to support the von Papen government, in return for the lifting of the SA ban, Hindenburg had "gravely exhorted Herr Hitler to conduct the opposition on the part of the N.S. Party in a chivalrous manner, and to bear in mind his responsibility to the Fatherland and to the German people." Unless and until the Reich President could be convinced that Hitler's "demand for entire and complete control of the State" would not result in giving power to "a movement which had the intention of using it in a one-sided manner," Hindenburg would continue to deny Hitler the chancellorship. Not surprisingly, Hitler is furious over this press release, as it puts him in a very bad light. With a straight face, he accuses the government of not acting in good faith by releasing its version of the meeting. His whining is taken seriously by hardly anyone. Hitler has lost much face in this exchange, prompting him to vow that a repeat performance will never again occur. 53

German racial comrades! Anyone amongst you who possesses any feeling for the struggle for the nation's honor and freedom will understand why I am refusing to enter this government. Herr von Papen's justice will in the end condemn perhaps thousands of National Socialists to death. Did anyone think they could put my name as well to this blindly aggressive action, this challenge to the entire people? The gentlemen are mistaken! Herr von Papen, now I know what your bloodstained 'objectivity' is! I want victory for a nationalistic Germany, and annihilation for its Marxist destroyers and corrupters. I am not suited to be the hangman of nationalist freedom fighters of the German people! 54

1932 August 13 Hitler calls an urgent meeting with Röhm and the top available SA leadership. The SA men have been quite restless. For a very long time, they have been expecting the great day when they can bust open the heads of their enemies with impunity. Hitler warns that this current setback could have dangerous consequences among the ranks, and urges them to keep control of their men. We can still take power legally, he assures them, but it will require patience all around. Hitler then orders all units to take a two-week furlough. Goebbels tells his diary: "'Their task is the most difficult. Who knows if their units will be able to hold together. Nothing is more difficult than to tell victory-flushed troops that victory has been snatched out of their hand . . . . The SA Chief of Staff (Röhm) stays with us for a long time. He is extremely worried about the SA." 55

1932 August 13 Formal talks begin between the NSDAP, Brüning, and the Catholic Center Party. Gregor Strasser is enthusiastic, but Hitler, never one for coalitions, refuses to assist Strasser in the endeavor, furthering the split between the two. The meetings will drag on for weeks, to no useful conclusion. 56

In his diary, Goebbels later lays out the possible options that the talks present:

We have got into touch with the Centre Party, if merely by way of bringing pressure to bear upon our adversaries . . . . There are three possibilities. Firstly: Presidential Cabinet. Secondly: Coalition. Thirdly: Opposition . . . . In Berlin, I ascertain that Schleicher already knows of our feelers in the direction of the Centre. That is a way of bringing pressure to bear on him. I endorse and further it. Perhaps we shall succeed thus in expediting the first of these solutions. 57

1932 August 15 At Obersalzberg, party member Joachim Ribbentrop meets Hitler face-to-face for the first time. 58


Since about 1930 or 1931 I had known Count Helldorf in Berlin, whose name as a National Socialist is known. He was a regimental comrade of mine in my squadron, and we went through 4 years of war together. Through him I became acquainted with National Socialism in Berlin for the first time. I had asked him at that time to arrange a meeting with Hitler for me. He did so that time, as far as I remember, through the mediation of Herr Roehm. I visited Adolf Hitler and had a long discussion with him at that time, that is to say, Adolf Hitler explained his ideas on the situation in the summer of 1932 to me . . . .

Adolf Hitler made a considerable impression on me even then. I noticed particularly his blue eyes in his generally dark appearance, and then, perhaps as outstanding, his detached, I should say reserved—not unapproachable, but reserved—nature, and the manner in which he expressed his thoughts. These thoughts and statements always had something final and definite about them, and they appeared to come from his innermost self. I had the impression that I was facing a man who knew what he wanted and who had an unshakable will and who was a very strong personality. I can summarize by saying that I left that meeting with Hitler convinced that this man, if anyone, could save Germany from these great difficulties and that distress which existed at the time. 59

In the evening, Hitler departs from the Obersalzberg for a party meeting in Munich. 60

1932 August 17 Back in Obersalzberg, Hitler, who dislikes both reporters and foreigners, grants a rare interview to three distinguished foreign correspondents, Americans Karl von Wiegand, H. V. Kaltenborn, and Louis Lochner. Kaltenborn asks the first question, which involves Hitler's views on the status of Jews entering Germany from the East. Hitler is furious at the question, shouting:

You have a Monroe Doctrine for America! We believe in a Monroe Doctrine for Germany. You exclude any would-be immigrants you do not care to admit. You regulate their number. You demand that they come up to a certain physical standard. You insist that they bring in a certain amount of money. You examine them as to their political opinions. We demand the same right. We have no concern with the Jews of other lands. But we are concerned about any anti-German elements in our own country. And we demand the right to deal with them as we see fit. Jews have been the proponents of subversive anti-German movements and as such, must be dealt with.

When Kaltenborn changes the subject to electoral politics in Germany, Hitler conducts a class in Nazi mathematics:

Under the rules of democracy a majority of 51 per cent governs. I have 37 per cent of the total vote, which means that I have 75 per cent of the power that is necessary to govern. That means that I am entitled to three fourths of the power and my opponents to one-fourth.

I have my safe position. I can wait. I now have 13.7 million voters. Next time I will have 14 to 15 million, and so it will go on. In the run-off elections for President, I stood alone, yet there were 13 million voters for me. That is my hard-earned capital, which no one can take from me. I slaved for it and risked my life for it. Without my party, no one can govern Germany today. We bring into the business of government 75 per cent of the capital investment. Whoever furnishes the rest, whether it be the President or the parties, contributes only 25 per cent.

And this takes no account of the plain truth that every unit of my investment is worth twice that of the others. My 15 million voters are in reality worth 30 million. I have the bravest, the most energetic, and in every way the best German material in Germany—and the best disciplined, too. I don't have to march on Berlin as they say I propose to do. I am already there. The question is who will march out of Berlin. My capital represents no mean investment. It can be put to work in the business of government forthwith, without any majority votes, commissions, or committees. It can be put to work on the say-so of one man [meaning Hindenburg].

Hitler is asked, if the electoral path to power should prove impossible to travel, would he consider a march on Berlin as Mussolini had marched on Rome, and replies: "The question is not whether I shall march on Berlin but rather who will have to march out of Berlin. My Storm Troops are the best disciplined body and will not attempt an illegal march. Why should I march on Berlin when I am here already?"

Lochner asked Hitler about speculation that a sort of fascist league was in the offing, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean:

I have no formal bloc in mind, but you must remember that Europe is accustomed to being governed by systems which extend over many centuries. Governmental systems have often crossed frontiers, acquired local color, and continued to flourish. Mussolini has said that Fascism is not an article of export. I can say the same of National Socialism. Yet people are coming to me from every country in Europe to ask me for my recipe for government. They want my advice on how to launch movements in their own country. I tell them I have no general recipe.

Yet there are certain ideas of government that have general application, with allowances made for local differences. Europe cannot maintain itself in the uncertain currents of democracy. Europe needs some kind of authoritarian government. Formerly it was the monarch who provided this authority. Or an institution like the Catholic Church. The Holy Roman Empire is an example. The authority can assume different forms.

But parliamentarism is not native to us and does not belong to our tradition. The parliamentary system has never functioned in Europe. Yet we cannot substitute brute force. No government can maintain itself for any length of time by sitting on bayonets. It must have the support of the masses. You cannot establish a dictatorship in a vacuum.

A government that does not derive its strength from the people will fail in a foreign crisis. The soldier and the policeman do not constitute a state. Yet dictatorship is justified if the people declare their confidence in one man and ask him to lead. 61

1932 August 19-22 The trial of the seven SA men charged in the Potempa Murder takes place in Beuthen, Silesia. It is the lead story in all the newspapers, and concludes with 5 of the 7 SA men sentenced to death by hanging. Nazis everywhere raise a fuss. 62

1932 August 22 Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany's largest political party, sends off a telegram to the five convicted murderers of Konrad Pietrzuch: "My comrades! In view of this most monstrous verdict in blood (Bluturteil), I feel tied to you in unbounded loyalty. Your freedom is from this moment on a question of our honor. The struggle against a government under which this was possible is our duty!" Hitler's picture is said to be displayed on the walls of their prison cells. 63

1932 August 26 Goebbels meets with von Schleicher in Berlin:

Although he [von Schleicher] outwardly betrays nothing, he is, in reality, in deadly fear of a possible union of the Führer with the Centre . . . . He will accept a coalition, but not join it himself. His idea is a Presidential Cabinet; if it comes to nothing, he will resign . . . . I don't know if what he says is true or false. Either way, I have the impression that they want to lure us into a trap again. They are trying in a devious way to obtain the result they failed to achieve on 13 August. They believe they can scare us with the dissolution of the Reichstag—a little nationalist plan that we shall soon frustrate. I report by phone to the Führer; he agrees with everything. 64

1932 August 28 German Chancellor von Papen, who is speaking in Munster on his plans to rule by presidential emergency decree should the next Reichstag prove obstructionist, criticizes Hitler for his August 22 telegram of unity with the Potempa Murderers:

The licentiousness emanating from the appeal of the leader of the National Socialist movement does not comply very well with his claims to governmental power . . . . I do not concede him the right to regard only the minority following his banner as the German nation—and to treat all other fellow countrymen as free game . . . . I shall, if necessary, force recognition of the equal justice that is the right of all German citizens. I am firmly resolved to stamp out the smouldering flame of civil war. 65

1932 August 28 Goebbels warns his diary: "If the opposite side breaks the constitution, then all compulsion to legality stops for us; then come tax strikes, sabotage, and uprising." 66

1932 August 29 Hitler responds to the Reich Chancellor:

Those of you who possess a feel for the struggle for the honor and freedom of the nation will understand why I refused to enter this bourgeois government. With this deed [the death sentences for the Potempa Murderers], our attitude towards this national cabinet is prescribed once and for all . . . . Herr von Papen, I understand your bloody "objectivity" now. I wish that victory may come to nationalist Germany and destruction upon its Marxist destroyers and spoilers, but I am certainly not fitted to be the executioner of nationalist fighters for the liberty of the German people. 67

1932 August 29 Schacht writes to Hitler:

But what you could perhaps do with in these days, is a kind word. Your movement is carried internally by so strong a truth and necessity that victory in one form or another cannot elude you for long . . . . Wherever my work may take me in the near future, even if you should see me one day behind stone walls, you can always count on me as your reliable assistant . . . . With a vigorous Heil. 68

1932 August 30 Reich President Hindenburg tells von Papen that perhaps it would be best to commute the death sentences of the Potempa Murderers to life imprisonment. After all, Hindenburg reasons, since the emergency decree that forms the basis for the sentences was issued mere hours before the murder, the perpetrators could hardly be expected to have been aware of it. Chancellor von Papen, using this shaky logic to save face, commutes the sentences, as Hindenburg suggests. Note: The Potempa Murderers will be pardoned when Hitler gains power in 1933. 69

1932 August 30 At the first sitting of the new Reichstag, Hermann Göring—with backing from the Catholic Center Party, but over the opposition of the Social Democrats and Communists—becomes Reichstag President. Anticipating trouble, Chancellor von Papen convinces Reich President Hindenburg to draw up a dissolution order to be used, should the proceedings threaten his government. Von Papen believes that he has prepared for all contingencies. 70

1932 August 31 Goebbels tells his diary: "For the first time, [Hitler] speaks openly about the doings of the Strasser clique in the party. Here, too, he has kept his eyes open; and if he has said nothing, then that's not because he had seen nothing." A few days later he adds: "I spoke for a long time with the Führer. He distrusts Strasser very strongly." 71

1932 September 1 All SA men are ordered to smoke only "Sturm," the official cigarette of the SA, which is produced by a Dresden manufacturer. SA men who purchase packs of "Sturm" earn coupons they can redeem for SA gear and uniform accessories. The commander of the SA orders not only that his SA smoke only "Sturms," but that they "show a little energy" while puffing away. Local SA units earn cash rebates based on local sales figures for "Sturm," and tobacco shops are strong-armed into selling only the SA-approved brand. The Stahlhelm's "Ostfront" products, and those of other political opponents, such as "Staffel," "Kameradschaft," and "Kommando," are verboten for an SA man. Even choosing a brand of cigarette is a political statement in the Weimar Republic. 72

1932 September 1 Magda Goebbels gives birth to the first of the couple's six children, a daughter, Helga Susanne. 73

1932 September 2 Chancellor von Papen pens an article, published this day in the Frankfurter Zeitung:

The hope in the hearts of millions of national socialists can be fulfilled only by an authoritarian government. The problem of forming a cabinet on the basis of a parliamentary coalition has again been brought into the field of public political discussion. If such negotiations, in the face of growing distress, are conducted with the [motive] of destroying the political opponent by the failure of his governmental activity, this is a dangerous game against which one cannot warn enough. In the last analysis, such plans can mean nothing else but a tactic [that] counts on the possibility that matters will get worse for the people and that the faith of millions will turn into the bitterest disappointment, if these tactics only result in the destruction of the political adversary.

It is within the nature of such party-tactical maneuvers that they are veiled and will be disclaimed in public. That, however, cannot prevent me from warning publicly against such plans, about which it may be undecided who is the betrayer and who the betrayed one; plans, though, which will certainly cheat the German people out of their hope for improvement of their situation. Nothing can prove more urgently the necessity for an authoritarian government than such a prospect of maneuvers of a tactical game by the parties. 74

1932 September 4 To revitalize the failing economy, Chancellor von Papen issues an emergency decree "involving [an economic stimulus package of] 2,200 million Reichsmarks, with the aim of creating work for many workers." 280,000 unemployed will participate in this program—"voluntary labor service"—working under difficult conditions for little remuneration. They are organized in military formations to provide labor for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects. Hitler will use much the same methods during the Third Reich, to build the autobahns and to operate other public works projects, and to help reduce the unemployment rate. 75

1932 September 4 Goebbels writes in his diary: "I am writing an editorial with sharp attacks on the upper crust. If we want to keep the party intact, we must again appeal to the primitive mass instincts [of the] stupid, lazy, cowardly." 76

1932 September 8 At a meeting of party leaders, Hitler dismisses a suggestion, made by Gregor Strasser, that the NSDAP should join a coalition cabinet led by von Schleicher. Hitler will not join a government as a junior partner, he declares, but will hold out for the chancellorship, at all costs. Nothing short of this will suffice. 77

1932 September 12 At the first working session of the current Reichstag, a series of parliamentary moves of the most cynical sort set in motion a no-confidence vote against the government of Chancellor von Papen. To forestall this move, von Papen enters the Reichstag carrying a red dispatch box, which everyone knows holds a dissolution order signed by Hindenburg. The Reich Chancellor, unless the chamber is actually voting, has, at all times, the privilege of addressing the Reichstag, but Göring, the President of the Reichstag, ignores him and initiates the vote. Out of frustration, von Papen angrily slams the dissolution order on Göring's desk and storms out of the chamber, followed by jeers and catcalls from the legislators. 78

Von Papen later recalled:

The new Reichstag met according to the Constitution. My Government . . . could not obtain a majority; but the formation of any other government without Hitler was quite impossible. Therefore, I was justified in the hope that this Reichstag would give my Government time to test itself, especially as I had submitted to it a comprehensive and decisive economic program. But just then, something unexpected and unheard-of happened. The thing that happened was, so to speak, the prostitution of the German Parliament. Herr Göring, the President of the German Reichstag, gave to the Communist delegate, Clara Zetkin, the floor for a vehement attack on my Government. When I, the responsible Chancellor of this Government, asked for the floor in order to give an account of what I wanted to do, I was refused permission to speak, and the Reichstag President asked for a vote on a motion of no confidence brought in by the Communists, the Socialists, and the National Socialists.

The fact of this concerted motion on the part of the three parties should really show what would have taken place in Germany if these three parties were to have ruled in Germany together, and should also show how imperative it was for me to try not to crowd National Socialism into the leftist wing, but to bring it into my Government instead. I was forced to put the order for the dissolution of the Reichstag on the table, and to leave. 79

The Reichstag goes on to uphold the no-confidence vote against the government by a margin of 512 votes to 42. Göring now pretends to notice von Papen's dissolution order for the first time, reads it out loud, and proclaims that it is superfluous; the government is already dissolved by the just-concluded vote in the Reichstag. However, the move is clearly illegal. The government continues in power, as the no-confidence vote had been rendered by a dissolved Reichstag, Göring's parliamentary maneuvers notwithstanding. New Reichstag elections, the 8th such election in the Weimar Republic, are scheduled for November 6. These are the fifth nationwide elections of the year, and very few in Germany are prepared for yet another campaign, Hitler's party in particular. 80

Goebbels, aware that the party is experiencing a "financial calamity," soon moves his propaganda offices from Munich to the new Nazi District Headquarters in Berlin. Even so, he manages to up the publication of Der Angriff to twice-daily for the duration of the campaign. Over the next month, he will moan to his diary:

Now we are in for elections again! One sometimes feels this sort of thing is going on for ever . . . . Our adversaries count on our losing morale, and getting fagged out. But we know this and will not oblige them. We would be lost and all our work would have been in vain if we gave in now . . . . even if the struggle should seem hopeless . . . . The organization has naturally become a bit on edge through these everlasting elections. It is as jaded as a battalion [that] has been too long in the trenches, and just as nervy. The numerous difficulties are wearing me out . . . . Money is extraordinarily difficult to obtain. All gentlemen of "Property and Education" are standing by the Government. 81

1932 September 14 Germany notifies the President of the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments of its decision to withdraw from the Conference.

Konstantin von Neurath:

The Disarmament Conference had been created by the League of Nations for the purpose of bringing about the disarmament of all nations, which was provided for in Article 8 as an equivalent for the German disarmament which had already been carried out by 1927. The negotiations during this Disarmament Conference were, however, suspended after a short time, despite the objections of the German representatives. The preceding negotiations and this adjournment made it quite clear, even at that time, that those states which had not disarmed were not prepared to carry through their own disarmament in accordance with the standards and methods applied to Germany's previous disarmament. This fact made it impossible for Germany to accept a resolution which had been proposed to the Disarmament Conference at this time, and the German representative therefore received instructions to declare that Germany would not participate in the work of the Disarmament Conference as long as Germany's equal right to equal participation in the results of the conference was not recognized. 82

1932 September The number of unemployed in Germany stands at 5,102,000. 83

1932 October 1 Albert Speer completes his renovation of the Nazi District Headquarters in Berlin, as Goebbels informs his diary:

What a long way we have come in six years. From the basement in Potsdamer Strasse to the new district house in the Vosstrasse! Now we shall probably also succeed in crossing the last four hundred yards to the Wilhelmstrasse. The house is in perfect order. Dignified quarters for the work of a great movement. 84

Albert Speer:

A few days after the dedication Hitler inspected the district headquarters, which was named after him. I heard that he liked what he saw, which filled me with pride, although I was not sure whether he had praised the architectural simplicity I had striven for, or the ornateness of the original Wilhelmine structure. Soon afterward I returned to my Mannheim office. Nothing had changed; the economic situation and therefore the prospect of commissions had grown worse, if anything. Political conditions were becoming even more confused. One crisis followed on the heels of another, and we paid no attention. For us, things went on as before. 85

1932 October 2-3 110,000 Hitler Youth attend a rally at Potsdam. Kurt Lüdecke described the scene:

Tens of thousands of boys and girls stood in formation on the field. When Hitler stood alone at the front of the platform, a fantastic cry went up into the night, a sound of matchless jubilation. Then he raised his arms and dead silence fell. He burst into a flaming address which lasted scarcely fifteen minutes. Again he was the old Hitler, spontaneous, fiery, full of appeal. 86

Baldur von Schirach attends as the NSDAP's Reichsleiter (Reich Leader) for the Education of Youth, and later recalled. The boys and girls paid membership fees. A part of these membership fees was kept at the so-called district leadership offices, which corresponded to the Gauleitung in the Party, or to the SA Gruppenführung in the SA. Another part went to the Reich Youth Leader. The Hitler Youth financed its organization with its own means.

Before the seizure of power, in 1932, the Hitler Youth was already the largest youth movement of Germany. The individual National Socialist youth organizations which I found when I took over my office as Reich Youth Leader were merged by me into one large unified youth movement. This youth movement was the strongest youth movement of Germany, long before we came to power.

On 2 October 1932, the Hitler Youth held a meeting at Potsdam. At that meeting more than 100,000 youth from all over the Reich met without the Party's providing a single pfennig. The means were contributed by the young people themselves. Solely from the number of the participants, it can be seen that that was the largest youth movement. 87

After the rally, Hitler has dinner with Nazi Party member Prince August "Auwi" Wilhelm, the fourth son of the exiled Kaiser, and visits the Goebbels home, before boarding the overnight train to Munich. 88

1932 October 6 At a meeting of Nazi Party propagandists in Munich, Hitler predicts electoral victory in the upcoming November 6 Reichstag election: "I look forward to the struggle with absolute confidence. The battle can begin. In four weeks we will emerge from it as the victor." 89

1932 October 11 - November 5 Hitler embarks on his fourth "Germany Flight" (Deutschlandflug), traveling the length of Germany in a chartered plane, and speaking at 49 to 50 stops. 90

1932 October 13 The Völkischer Beobachter loudly proclaims: "The Führer begins his new struggle for Germany." But election fatigue has set in across Germany, and Nuremberg's Festhalle, in Luitpoldhain, is filled at only half-capacity to hear Hitler's official opening speech of the campaign. 91

1932 October 13 Embattled Reich Chancellor von Papen, speaking in Munich, attacks Hitler and his party:

The essence of conservative ideology is its being anchored in the divine order of things. That, too, is its fundamental difference compared with the doctrine advocated by the NSDAP. The principle of 'exclusiveness' of a political 'everything or nothing' which the latter adheres to, its mythical Messiah-belief in the bombastic Führer who alone is destined to direct fate, gives it the character of a political sect. And therein I see the unbridgeable cleavage between a conservative policy born of faith and a national-socialist creed as a matter of politics. It seems to me that today, names and individuals are unimportant when Germany's final fate is at stake. What the nation demands is this: it expects of a movement which has written upon its banner the internal and external national freedom that it will act, at all times and under all circumstances, as if it were the spiritual, social and political conscience of the nation. If it does not act that way; if this movement follows merely tactical points of view, democratic-parliamentarian points of view, if it engages in the soliciting of mass support using demagogic agitation as a means of proletarian class struggle then it is not a movement any more, it has become a political party. And, indeed, the Reich was almost destroyed by the political parties. One simply cannot, on one side, despise mercilessly masses and majorities, as Herr Hitler is doing, and on the other hand surrender to parliamentarian democracy; surrender to the extent of adopting resolutions against one's own government together with Bolshevists. 92

1932 October 19 Twenty-one representatives of German industry meet, in a national political conclave, at the Club of Berlin. They agree to immediately raise a political fund of two million marks, as von Papen had requested, to strengthen his hand. 93

1932 October 29 Goebbels celebrates his thirty-fifth birthday by delivering a series of four campaign speeches. 94

1932 October 31 Goebbels updates his diary on the election battle: "The mood is excellent everywhere. We are making mighty inroads . . . . If it goes on like this, 6 November won't be all that bad." 95

1932 November 1 Since Hitler had been introduced to 17-year old Eva Braun in October of 1929, the two have been dating, off and on. Lately, the frequency of their time together has decidedly been on the off side of the scale. This prompts Eva—after composing a suicide note—to shoot herself in the chest with her school-teacher father's pistol. While she claimed to have been aiming for her heart, she nonetheless manages to phone a surgeon, Dr. Plate—who is Heinrich Hoffmann's brother-in-law—immediately after firing the shot. Upon receiving word of her attempt, Hitler leaves the campaign trail, for a few hours, to be by her side, bearing flowers.

Hitler takes Dr. Plate aside to discuss his patient: "Do you think that Fraulein Braun shot herself simply with the object of becoming an interesting patient and of drawing my attention to herself?" The doctor assures him that the suicide attempt was legitimate, and opines that the cause was that she felt neglected by him. Hitler tells Hoffmann: "You hear, the girl did it for love of me. But I have given her no cause which could possibly justify such a deed . . . . Obviously I must now look after the girl." 96

1932 November 2 Hitler compares himself to von Papen before a huge crowd at the Sportpalast in Berlin: "There [referring to von Papen] the head of a government which depends on a small circle of reactionaries, a government on which the German people with 512 to 42 votes has given its devastating verdict; here [referring to himself] a leader of his own strength, rooted in the people, who has worked and struggled to gain trust . . . . My opponents deceive themselves above all about my enormous determination. I've chosen my path and will follow it to its end." 97

1932 November 3-7 A strike of Berlin transport workers is organized by the Revolutionäre Gewerkschafts Opposition (Revolutionary Union Opposition), a communist union. Three workmen lose their lives, while eight are injured in street clashes during the four-day strike. Goebbels comes out strongly for the workers, making common-cause with the Communists. In the final days of a contentious election campaign, this has the unfortunate result of reminding right-leaning voters of the down-played Socialist wing of the NSDAP. 98

Goebbels explains his support for the strike:

'The entire Press is furious with us and calls it Bolshevism; but as a matter of fact, we had no option. If we had held ourselves aloof from this strike, our position among the working classes would have been shaken. Here, a great occasion offers once again of demonstrating to the public that the line we have taken up in politics is dictated by a true sympathy with the people, and for this reason the N.S. party purposely eschews the old bourgeois methods . . . . We are in a by no means envious position. Many bourgeois circles are frightened off by our participation in the strike. But that's not decisive. These circles can later be very easily won back. But if we'd have once lost the workers, they'd have been lost for ever. 99

1932 November 4 Papen addresses an open letter to Hitler:

It is the exclusiveness of your Movement, your demand for everything or nothing, which the Reich President could not recognize and which led to his decision of 13 August. What is at stake today is this: The question is not whether this or that party leader occupies the Chancellor's chair, whether his name is Brüning, Hitler, or von Papen, but rather that we meet on common ground so that the vital interests of the German people can be assured. 100

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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