Although there is an element of self-justification, Conservative von Papen lays bare the machinations of the German politicians that led to Hitler to supreme power in Germany. Born into a wealthy, but not aristocratic, The memoirs of Franz von Papen offer a fascinating view of the German Hierarchy from the reign of the last Kaiser to the reign of terror of Adolf Hitler. Born into a wealthy, but not aristocratic, family in von Papen he started his career in the Imperial German Army rising to the General Staff and a diplomatic posting in America by He was involved in some very murky dealings as an intriguer behind the scenes in America, Canada before he was sent back to Germany, setting a precedent for later backroom dealings.
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Meyers Franz von Papen indicates that he is still a conservative monarchist at the time his Memoirs are written. He was from a well-off, but not aristocratic, family who owned a salt mine in Werl, Westphalia. His older brother would receive the estate, so he started a military career, becoming a cadet at the age of 11 in He also became an excellent horseman. After rigorous trials he was promoted to membership in the General Staff.
Then he was surprised to be sent as military attache to the German embassy to the United States, where he became friends with Franklin D. Roosevelt, among others. He also was simultaneously attache to Mexico, where he observed the civil war, then the U. He was still in Mexico when World War I broke out. In particular he recounts the taking of Morocco by France and Libya by Italy, as well as Russian aggression in the Balkans. He admits the invasion of Belgium made Germany look bad, but claims that Belgium was not really neutral because it had a joint war plan with France to invade Germany through Belgium.
He did organize an unsuccessful attempt to destroy railroad bridges in Canada which was not neutral , and also unsuccessful attempts to arm Indian nationalists and Irish nationalists to rebel against the British empire.
He also arranged to buy and store war materials so they could not be shipped to England and France. He believes Woodrow Wilson and the Democratic Party were pro-British from the start, and engaged in a propaganda campaign to turn American citizens away from neutrality. He advised against U-boat warfare, argues that it was not a war crime and points out that U.
Admiral Nimitz admitted at the Nuremberg trials that the U. Navy in WWII used identical tactics. He lists the armaments carried by the Lusitania. Papen then sent to the Western front, date not given. Enver Pasha had become the de-facto leader of Turkey still the Ottoman Empire. Allenby attacked at the end of October, His artillery tore the Turks to pieces, and cavalry took Beersheba.
Ataturk fell out with the Germans and was replaced. The Turks were no match for the British and Canadians. Falkenhayn formed new defensive lines, then took advantage of the British failure to follow up on Beersheba. The 7th outflanked the Brits, brining their advance to a halt. Papen complemented the "fierce steadiness of the individual Turkish soldier.
He observes that the Allies had made several treaties dividing up the spoils notably the Ottoman Empire long before convening at Versailles. He believes the peace treaty just set the stage for World War II by creating political instability in Germany and in eastern Europe. Sees Catholicism as supreme over government, favors monarchy but says Marxists over-emphasize the role of government.
Claims to be progressive enough to deal with modernization of technology. He criticizes the application of the idea of national self-determination in Europe. Instead they settled back in Westphalia, at Haus Merfeld. He believes setting up a multi-party system based on the "list system of voting," resulted in politicians being slaves of their party apparatus and not representing their geographic constituents.
He did not have a problem with their original alliance with the Social Democrats to restore order, given the threat from communists, but he recounts several situations where he later tried to push them to the right and out of that alliance. This coincided with the new economic crisis. He lumps the Nazis among the right-wing parties. He claims he told concerned Zentrum leaders he "would allow all shades of opinion to be expressed. It was able to stay independent until October General Schleicher became the prototype of a political general under these circumstances.
He was also in the Franco-German Study Group. The depression forms the background. The Social Democrats SDP had ruled by emergency decree, and Bruning had to do the same since the SDP would not join his coalition and Bruning refused to creating a right wing coalition. He imposed austerity measures that were unpopular. It became necessary to call elections for September 14, , and because of public anger over the economy and treatment by France, the Nazis expanded their seats in the Reichstag from 12 to The communists gained 23 seats.
The Nationalist Party saw its delegation halved, and the Democracy Party practically disappeared. With no one really in charge, no help from abroad, and austerity, the economy continued to fall apart. Credits the manipulations to General Schleicher. Says he refused the post, until essentially Hindenburg ordered him to take it. He believed it would alienate his own party, and it did, though some right-wing Zentrum politicians supported him. Part of the deal was to repeal the prior ban on Nazi paramilitary groups, notably the SA.
Says this was also prearranged by Schleicher as necessary to de-radicalize the Nazis. He was in the Prussian parliament, was not really even a national level politician, had never had that high of a rank in the Army, and was not rich. He was probably chosen by Schleicher because he was acceptable to the military and the Vatican, and would serve as a puppet of Schleicher and Hindenburg.
They started June 15, The final agreement reduced German reparation payments to France to three milliard billion marks, with provisions that delayed that payment indefinitely. However, this was used by Hitler and leaders of other parties including Zentrum to claim that Papen sold out Germany again to the French.
He says this did not destroy the Weimar Republic, instead that was done by the voters in the election on July 31, , after Papen had been Chancellor 8 weeks. The Nazis received This meant that no majority government could be formed without the Nazis. Results in the Prussian State election were similar. Then he met with Hitler, who again demanded the Chancellorship or nothing. Papen had offered him the Vice-Chancellorship, or to have some Nazis appointed to ministerial posts.
Hindenburg backed Papen up. Papen argues he had ordered the Reichstag dissolved before the vote, so it was invalid. But Papen continued in control. An economic recovery program was initiated in early October. The Nazis declined to seats, but still had enough that no majority could be formed without them assuming the Right and Left would not combine. The State Party formerly Democrats had 2. Schleicher insisted that the entire cabinet resign. He believed he could split the Nazi Party and work with its left wing led by Gregor Strasser.
There was a struggle between Papen and Schleicher; Hindenburg vacillated, then backed Schleicher, who claimed the Army was not capable of stopping a Communist revolution.
Local elections in the Principality of Lippe were supposed to show the Nazis weakening, but instead they showed gains, mainly at a cost to the right-wing parties. The German Nationalist Party decided it was not interested in joining the Schleicher government. After negotiations Hitler agreed. Von Blomberg became War Minister. Discusses the role of the Stahlhelm, which he thought would support the government and army, but instead later went over to the Nazis.
He characterizes the change as just part of a progression that started with the Bruning government deciding to rule by decree in But industrial circles on the whole were cool in their attitude. Hitler "demanded that the worker should be regarded as an equal member of society and that everyone should work for the common good Over time he was influenced by anti-church Nazis, notably Goebbels and Rosenberg.
But at first Hitler "backed up with enthusiasm my efforts to support the rights of the Churches by special treaties.
Believes it was an honest election, and the vote was still by secret ballot. The Nazis were still short of a majority. Hitler gave firm guarantees that his Enabling law was to deal with the economic emergency and would not be abused in his March 21, speech. Hitler declared Catholicism and Lutheranism "the most essential factors upholding the life of the nation. Pope Pius XI "welcomed my wife and myself most graciously, and remarked how pleased he was that the German Government now had at its head a man [Adolph Hitler] uncompromisingly opposed to Communism and Russian nihilism.
But "a conciliatory attitude in Church problems would earn him invaluable support. All these aspects of the situation had been freely discussed in Rome, and whatever doubts Cardinal Pacelli and Dr.
Kaas may have had, the opportunity to strengthen Christian influences in Germany was too good to be missed. Hitler, pressured by Papen, agreed to stop the campaign. The final Concordat was drafted on July 8, and signed on the 20th. Papen describes the dissolution of political parties by Hitler as part of the "social teachings of the Church. He then gives a detailed personal account of the Night of the Long Knives June 30, , or Roehm Putsch, including the murders of his friends and aides von Bose and Edgar Jung, and his own temporary confinement by one Nazi faction that probably prevented his murder by another faction.
I enjoyed the full confidence of the Chancellor. The Allied Powers in the Treaty of St. Germain determined that Austria would be independent unless given permission by the League of Nations. The Vatican believed the unification of Austria and Germany "might strengthen the Christian front in a Greater Germany.
Franz von Papen
His four years there were followed by three years of training at Prussian Main Military academy in Lichterfelde. He was trained as a Herrenreiter "gentleman rider". Papen joined the German General Staff as a captain in March He married Martha von Boch-Galhau — on 3 May He always believed in the superiority of the aristocracy over commoners. In early he travelled to Mexico to which he was also accredited and observed the Mexican Revolution. On 11 April , Papen fought at Vimy Ridge , where his battalion was defeated with heavy losses by the Canadian Corps.
Memoirs of Franz von Papen
Franz Von Papen Memoirs Part.1-5