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   Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume Two, Chapter XIV


(1) When von Papen began these efforts he was well aware of
the Nazi program and Nazi methods. The official NSDAP
program was open and notorious. For many years it had been
published and republished in the Yearbook of the NSDAP and
elsewhere. The Nazis made no secret of their intention to
make it the fundamental law of the State. The first three
points of this program forecast a foreign policy predicated
upon the absorption of "Germanic" populations outside the
boundaries of the Reich, the abrogation of Versailles treaty
limitations, and the acquisition of "Lebensraum." Points 4
to 8 foretold the ruthless elimination of the Jews, and the
25th point demanded "unlimited authority" of the central
regime over the entire Reich as a means "for the execution
of all this" (1708-PS).

Hitler and the other leaders of the Party repeatedly
reiterated these views before 1933. Hitler himself
subsequently pointed out that there was no excuse for
misinterpreting Nazi intentions:

     "When I came to power in 1933, our path lay
     unmistakably before us. Our internal policy had been
     exactly defined by our fifteen-year-old struggle. Our
     program, repeated a thousand times, obligated us to the
     German people. I should be a man without honor, worthy
     of being stoned, had I retracted a single step of the
     program I then enunciated
     "My foreign policy had identical aims. My program was
     to abolish the Treaty of Versailles. It is futile
     nonsense for the rest of the world to pretend today
     that I did not reveal this program until 1933 or 1935
     or 1937. Instead of listen-
                                                  [Page 917]
     ing to the foolish chatter of emigres, these gentlemen
     would have been wiser to read what I have written
     thousands of times." (2541-PS)

Hitler and other Nazi leaders repeatedly made clear their
willingness to use force if necessary to achieve their
purposes. They glorified war. Mein Kampf is replete with
early evidence of such intentions, which subsequently were
reaffirmed from time to time in the years preceding 1933 (D-
660; 2771-PS; 2512-PS).

The Nazi leaders prior to 1933 had openly declared their
intentions to subvert democratic processes as a means to
achieve their purposes, and to this end to harass and
embarrass democratic forces at every turn. Thus Hitler
himself had declared that.

     "We shall become members of all constitutional bodies,
     and in this manner make the Party the decisive factor.
     Of course, when we possess all constitutional rights we
     shall then mould the State into the form we consider to
     be the right one." (2512-PS)

Frick, writing in the National Socialist Yearbook, declared:

     "Our participation in the parliament does not indicate
     a support, but rather an undermining of the
     parliamentarian system. It does not indicate that we
     renounce our anti-parliamentarian attitude, but that we
     are fighting the enemy with his own weapons and that we
     are fighting for our National Socialist goal from the
     parliamentary platform." (2742-PS)

The practical application of these purposes was thus
subsequently described by a leading Nazi constitutional
authority, Ernst Rudolf Huber:

     "It was necessary above all to make formal use of the
     possibilities of the party-state system but to refuse
     real cooperation and thereby to render the
     parliamentary system, which is by nature dependent upon
     the responsibility cooperation of the opposition,
     incapable of action." (2633-PS).

This practical application of Nazi purposes and methods was
manifest at the time von Papen was a member of the Reichstag
and Vice Chancellor. By this time the Nazi members of the
Reichstag were engaging in tactics of disturbance which
finally culminated in physical attacks upon members of the
Reichstag and upon visitors, and were using terroristic
measures to assure their election (L-83).

Von Papen not only had the opportunity to observe early
manifestations of Nazi violence and irresponsibility. He
fully under-

                                                  [Page 918]
stood the true character of the Nazi menace before 1933 and
publicly condemned

At the time of the German elections in the summer of 1932,
von Papen, President Hindenburg, and certain other German
leaders were hoping that the rising Nazi menace would be
dissipated by providing for National Socialist participation
in a rightist-centrist government. Hitler refused all
overtures inviting such participation, even when suggested
by President Hindenburg himself, insisting upon assuming the
chancellorship without obligation to other parties. Hitler's
refusal at this time to collaborate with Hindenburg and
Papen marked the beginning of a series of public
declarations in which von Papen revealed a clear
understanding of Nazi methods and objections. Thus, on the
occasion of his Munster speech of 28 August 1932 von Papen

     "The licentiousness emanating from the appeal of the
     leader of the National Socialist Movement does not
     comply very well with his claims to governmental
     "I do not concede him the right to regard the mere
     minority following his banner solely as the German
     nation, and to treat all our fellow countrymen as 'free
     "I am advocating the constitutional state, the
     community of the people, law and order in government.
     In doing so, it is I, and not he, who is carrying on
     the struggle against the domination of parties, against
     arbitrarianism and injustice, a struggle which millions
     of his supporters had been wholeheartedly longing for
     years to fight."

     "I am firmly determined to stamp out the smouldering
     flame of civil war, to put an end to political unrest
     and political violence, which today is still such a
     great obstacle to the positive work representing the
     sole task of the State." (3314-PS)

Writing in the September 1932 issue of the periodical "Volk
und Reich," von Papen declared:

     "The present situation clearly shows that party
     domination and State leadership are concepts
     incompatible with one another. It is conceivable
     theoretically that a party might gain the majority in
     parliament and claims the government (State leadership)
     for itself. The NSDAP has proclaimed this theoretical
     possibility as its practical goal and has come very
     close to attaining it. It is to be hoped that the
                                                  [Page 919]
     of this movement will place the nation above the party
     and will thus lend a visible expression to the faith of
     millions looking for a way out of the spiritual and-
     material distress of the nation provided also by the
     leadership of the State."
     "*** 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 motif 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 tactics which counts on the
     possibility that matters 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."

(Papen article quoted in "Frankfurter Zeitung", 2 September
1932, p.

In his Munich speech on 13 October 1932 von Papen was
especially clear:

     "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 Fuehrer 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
                                                  [Page 920]
     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 an
     mean. 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."
     "In the interest of the entire nation we decline the
     claim to power by parties which want to own their
     followers body and soul, and which want to put
     themselves, as a party or a movement, over and above
     the whole nation." (3817-PS)

In a series of interviews and speeches in the fall of 1932
von Papen castigated the Nazi party for its ambitions to
achieve a total and centralized control of Germany. He
contrasted its objectives and methods to his own
"conservatism" and emphasized its incompatibility with the
preservation of the "federalistic" type of government to
which he was committed. His public pronouncements in this
connection were clearly reflected in the contemporary press:

     "Von Papen claimed that it had been his aim from the
     very beginning of his tenure in office to build a new
     Reich for and with the various states [Laender]. The
     Reich government is taking a definite federalist
     attitude. Its slogan is not a dreary centralism or
     "Wherever one did hear von Papen express himself in
     public, one did hear a chancellor who took special care
     to be regarded as an unconditional federalist." (3318-

The Vice Chancellor's campaign against the Nazis culminated
finally in a radio speech to the German public on 4 November
1932, in which he severely criticized Nazi political
methods. He damned the Nazis' "pure party egoism" which
resulted in methods described by him as "sabotage" and as "a
crime against the nation." He accused the Nazis of wanting
complete and permanent power in Germany (Deutsche
Reichsgeshichte in Dokumenten IV, p. 523 (Rundfunkrede des
Reichkanzlers von Papen)).

                                                  [Page 921]

Nor was von Papen content merely to make speeches against
the Nazis. As late as November 1932, Papen was prepared to
use all the forces at the command of the state in a supreme
effort to suppress the rising Nazi menace. He was deterred
from this purpose only by a failure to secure the support of
his cabinet. The inner struggles of the German cabinet at
this time are recounted by Otto Meissner (in a statement
made at Nurnberg, 28 November 1945), Chief of the Chancery
of Reichspresident Hindenburg.

     "Papen's reappointment as Chancellor by President
     Hindenburg would have been probable if he had been
     prepared to take up an open fight against the National
     Socialists, which would have involved the threat or use
     of force. Almost up to the time of his resignation,
     Papen and some of the other ministers agreed on the
     necessity for pressing the fight against the Nazis by
     employing all the resources of the State and relying on
     Article 48 of the Constitution, even if this might lead
     to armed conflict. Other ministers, however, believed
     that such a course would lead to civil war.

     "The decision was provided by Schleicher, who in
     earlier times had recommended energetic action against
     the National Socialists -- even if this meant the use
     of police and army. Now, in the decisive cabinet
     meeting, he abandoned this idea and declared himself
     for an understanding with Hitler.
     "The gist of Schleicher's report -- which was given
     partly by himself, partly by Major Ott, who adduced
     detailed statistical material -- was that the weakened
     Reichswehr, which was dispersed over the whole Reich,
     even if supported by civilian volunteer formations,
     would not be equal to military operations on a large
     scale, and was not suited and trained for civil war.
     The police, in particular the Prussian police, had been
     undermined by propaganda and could not be considered as
     absolutely reliable. If the Nazis began an armed
     revolt, one must anticipate a revolt of the Communists
     and a general strike at the same time. The forces of
     these two adversaries were very strong. If such a 'war
     against two fronts' should take place, the forces of
     the State would undoubtedly be disrupted. The outcome
     of a civil war would be at the least most uncertain.
     "In his, Schleicher's view, it was impossible to take
     the risks implied in such a policy. In case of failure,
     which he believed likely, the consequences for Germany
     would be terrible. All present in the cabinet meeting
     were deeply impressed by
                                                  [Page 922]
     Schleicher's statement, and even those who had been in
     favor of energetic action against the National
     Socialists now changed their mind, so that Papen was
     isolated and felt himself to be isolated.

     "In the interview which Papen had with Hindenburg after
     this meeting, on 17 November 1932 Papen did not conceal
     his deep disappointment over Schleicher's altered
     position. Although Hindenburg asked him to make a new
     attempt to form a government, Papen stood on his
     decision to resign and Hindenburg gave in."

(2) Despite his appreciation of the Nazi menace, von Papen
rigorously proceeded to conduct negotiations which resulted
in placing Hitler and the Nazi regime in power. Following
his resignation as Chancellor on 17 November 1932 von Papen
continued as Chancellor pro-tem until 2 December 1932, when
General Schleicher was appointed to replace him (2902-PS).

Almost as soon as he vacated the Chancery, von Papen began
plotting to unseat his arch-rival Schleicher. On about 10
December 1932 -- less than a month after he was willing to
use force to suppress the Nazis -- von Papen requested Kurt
von Schroeder, the Cologne banker, to arrange a meeting
between Hitler and von Papen (according to the statement of
Schroeder, made at Nurnberg, 5 December 1945). Schroeder was
one of a group of rightist industrial and financial leaders
who had previously been organized by Hitler's man, Wilhelm
Keppler, to provide means of bolstering Nazi economic power.

Hitler himself at this time understood von Papen. He knew
that Papen's ideas were not too different from his own to
preclude agreement. He knew that Papen's personal rivalry
with Schleicher would make Papen amenable to some agreement
whereby Schleicher might be unhorsed and Papen restored to a
position of public prominence. He accordingly asked Keppler
to arrange for a meeting with Papen (reported in an
affidavit of Wilhelm Keppler, executed at Nurnberg, 26
November 1945).

The result of these maneuvers was the now-famous meeting
between Hitler and Papen at banker Schroeder's Cologne home
in January 1933. It was at this meeting that Hitler and
Papen reached an understanding, subject only to the ironing
out of minor details. It was at this meeting that Papen
completely committed himself to go along with Nazi policy.

The events of this day have been described by Kurt von
Schroeder (in a statement referred to above):

     "On 4 January 1933,Hitler, von Papen, Hess, Himmler and
                                                  [Page 923]
     Keppler came to my house in Cologne. Hitler, von Papen
     and I went to my den where we were closeted in a
     discussion lasting about two hours. Hess, Himmler and
     Keppler did not participate in this discussion but were
     in the next room. Keppler, who had helped arrange this
     meeting, came from Berlin; von Papen came alone from
     his home in the Saar; and Hitler brought Hess and
     Himmler with him, as they were traveling with him to
     Lippe in connection with the election campaign. The
     discussion was only between Hitler and Papen; I
     personally had nothing to say in the discussion. The
     meeting started about 11:30 A. M. and the first
     question was raised by Hitler as to why it was
     necessary to punish the two Nazis who had killed the
     Communist in Silesia. Von Papen explained to Hitler
     that it had been necessary to punish these two Nazis,
     although they had not been put to death, because the
     law was on the books and all political offenders under
     the law must have some punishment. He further explained
     to Hitler that it might be possible to get a pardon
     from President Hindenburg to give serious consideration
     to making Hitler the Chancellor at the time that
     Hindenburg met with Hitler and von Papen and that he
     had understood that Hindenburg was perfectly willing to
     discuss this matter with Hitler at that time. He said
     that it came as a great surprise and shock to him when
     Hindenburg was unwilling to do so and he felt that
     someone, probably von Schleicher, was responsible for
     the change in Hindenburg's point of view. Next, von
     Papen told Hitler that it seemed to him the best thing
     to have the conservatives and nationalists who had
     supported him join with the Nazis to form a government.
     He proposed that this new government should, if
     possible, be headed by Hitler and von Papen on the same
     level. Then Hitler made a long speech in which he said
     if he were made Chancellor, it would be necessary for
     him to be head of the government but that supporters of
     Papen could go into his (Hitler's) government as
     ministers when they were willing to go along with him
     in his policy of changing many things. These changes he
     outlined at this time included elimination of Social
     Democrats, Communists and Jews from leading positions
     in Germany and the restoration of order in public life.
     Von Papen and Hitler reached an agreement in principle
     so that many of the points which had brought them in
     conflict could be eliminated and they could find a way
     to get together. They agreed that further details would
     have to be
                                                  [Page 924]
     worked out and that this could be done in Berlin or
     some other convenient place.
     "I understand they met later with von Ribbentrop and
     worked out further details.
     "The meeting broke up about 1:30 and the three of us
     joined Hess, Himmler and Keppler at lunch, during which
     there was general conversation which lasted until about
     four o'clock when they, all the guests, departed."

Having reached an understanding with Hitler, von Papen
directed his energy toward convincing President Hindenburg
to allow Hitler to form a new government. In this task he
had to overcome Hindenburg's fears that this appointment
would lead to domestic oppressions and risk of war
(according to a statement of Otto Meissner, Nurnberg, 28
November 1945).

Von Papen himself subsequently admitted the important role
he played in bringing Hitler to power. At Berchtesgaden on
12 February 1938, immediately after Hitler had forced
Schuschnigg to sign the document which led to the Austrian
Anschluss, Hitler turned to Papen and remarked:

     "Herr von Papen, through your assistance I was
     appointed Chancellor of Germany and thus the Reich was
     saved from the abyss of communism. I will never forget

Papen replied: "Ja, wohl, Mein Fuehrer." (2995-PS)

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