Franz von Papen

Franz von Papen

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Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen zu Köningen (29 October 1879 2 May 1969) was a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 nobleman, Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 monarchist
Monarchism
Monarchism is the advocacy of the establishment, preservation, or restoration of a monarchy as a form of government in a nation. A monarchist is an individual who supports this form of government out of principle, independent from the person, the Monarch.In this system, the Monarch may be the...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

, General Staff
General Staff
A military staff, often referred to as General Staff, Army Staff, Navy Staff or Air Staff within the individual services, is a group of officers and enlisted personnel that provides a bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units...

 officer, and diplomat
Diplomat
A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization. The main functions of diplomats revolve around the representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state, as well as the promotion of information and...

, who served as Chancellor of Germany
Chancellor of Germany
The Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...

 in 1932 and as Vice-Chancellor
Vice-Chancellor of Germany
The Vice-Chancellor of Germany is, according to protocol, the second highest position in the Cabinet of GermanyIn case of the Chancellor's absence, the vice-chancellor acts in his or her place, for instance by heading cabinet meetings...

 under Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 in 1933–1934. A member of the Catholic Centre Party until 1932, he was one of the most influential members of the group of close advisers to President Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....

 in the late Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

. It was largely Papen, believing that Hitler could be controlled once he was in the government, who persuaded Hindenburg to put aside his scruples and approve Hitler as Chancellor in a cabinet not under Nazi Party domination. However, Papen and his allies were quickly marginalized by Hitler and he left the government after the Night of the Long Knives
Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives , sometimes called "Operation Hummingbird " or in Germany the "Röhm-Putsch," was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders...

, during which some of his confidants were killed by the Nazis.

Background


Born to a wealthy and noble Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 family in Werl
Werl
Werl is a town located in the district of Soest in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.-Geography:Werl is easily accessible because it is located between the Sauerland, Münsterland, and the Ruhr Area...

, Province of Westphalia
Province of Westphalia
The Province of Westphalia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Free State of Prussia from 1815 to 1946.-History:Napoleon Bonaparte founded the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was a client state of the First French Empire from 1807 to 1813...

, son of Friedrich von Papen zu Köningen (1839 1906) and wife Anna Laura von Steffens (1852 1939), Papen was educated as an officer, including a period as a military attendant in the Kaiser's Palace, before joining the German General Staff
German General Staff
The German General Staff was an institution whose rise and development gave the German armed forces a decided advantage over its adversaries. The Staff amounted to its best "weapon" for nearly a century and a half....

 in March 1913. He entered diplomatic service in December 1913 as a military attaché to the German ambassador in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. He travelled to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 (to which he was also accredited) in early 1914 and observed the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

, returning to Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 on the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 in August 1914. He married Martha von Boch-Galhau (1880 1961) on 3 May 1905.

World War I


Papen was expelled from the United States during World War I for alleged complicity in the planning of sabotage such as blowing up U.S. rail lines. On 28 December 1915, he was declared persona non grata
Persona non grata
Persona non grata , literally meaning "an unwelcome person", is a legal term used in diplomacy that indicates a proscription against a person entering the country...

 after his exposure and recalled to Germany. En route, his luggage was confiscated, and 126 check stubs were found showing payments to his agents. Papen went on to report on American attitudes, to both General Erich von Falkenhayn
Erich von Falkenhayn
Erich von Falkenhayn was a German soldier and Chief of the General Staff during World War I. He became a military writer after World War I.-Early life:...

 and Wilhelm II, German Emperor.

In April 1916, a United States federal grand jury issued an indictment against Papen for a plot to blow up Canada's Welland Canal
Welland Canal
The Welland Canal is a ship canal in Canada that extends from Port Weller, Ontario, on Lake Ontario, to Port Colborne, Ontario, on Lake Erie. As a part of the St...

, which connects Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the north and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south by the American state of New York. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. In the Wyandot language, ontarío means...

 to Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

, but Papen was then safely home; he remained under indictment until he became Chancellor of Germany, at which time the charges were dropped. Later in World War I, Papen served as an officer first on the Western Front, from 1917 as an officer on the General Staff in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, and as a major in the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 army in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

.

Papen also served as intermediary between the Irish Volunteers
Irish Volunteers
The Irish Volunteers was a military organisation established in 1913 by Irish nationalists. It was ostensibly formed in response to the formation of the Ulster Volunteers in 1912, and its declared primary aim was "to secure and maintain the rights and liberties common to the whole people of Ireland"...

 and the German government regarding the purchase and delivery of arms to be used against the British during the Easter Rising
Easter Rising
The Easter Rising was an insurrection staged in Ireland during Easter Week, 1916. The Rising was mounted by Irish republicans with the aims of ending British rule in Ireland and establishing the Irish Republic at a time when the British Empire was heavily engaged in the First World War...

 of 1916, as well as serving as an intermediary with the Indian nationalists
Ghadar Party
The Ghadar Party was an organization founded by Punjabi Indians, in the United States and Canada with the aim to liberate India from British rule...

 in the Hindu German Conspiracy. Promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, he returned to Germany and left the army at the war's end in 1918.

The inter-war years


He entered politics and joined the Catholic Centre Party
Centre Party (Germany)
The German Centre Party was a Catholic political party in Germany during the Kaiserreich and the Weimar Republic. Formed in 1870, it battled the Kulturkampf which the Prussian government launched to reduce the power of the Catholic Church...

 (Zentrum), in which the monarchist Papen formed part of the conservative wing. He was a member of the parliament of Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 from 1921 to 1932.

In the 1925 presidential elections, he surprised his party by supporting the right-wing candidate Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....

 over the Centre Party's Wilhelm Marx
Wilhelm Marx
Wilhelm Marx was a German lawyer, Catholic politician and a member of the Centre Party. He was Chancellor of the German Reich twice, from 1923 to 1925 and again from 1926 to 1928, and also served briefly as minister president of Prussia in 1925, during the Weimar Republic.-Life:Born in Cologne to...

.

He was a member of the "Deutscher Herrenklub" (German Gentlemen's Club) of Arthur Moeller van den Bruck
Arthur Moeller van den Bruck
Arthur Moeller van den Bruck was a German cultural historian and writer, best known for his controversial book Das Dritte Reich...

.

Chancellorship



On 1 June 1932 he moved from relative obscurity to supreme importance when President Paul von Hindenburg
Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....

 appointed him Chancellor
Chancellor of Germany
The Chancellor of Germany is, under the German 1949 constitution, the head of government of Germany...

, even though this meant replacing his own party's Heinrich Brüning
Heinrich Brüning
Heinrich Brüning was Chancellor of Germany from 1930 to 1932, during the Weimar Republic. He was the longest serving Chancellor of the Weimar Republic, and remains a controversial figure in German politics....

.

The day before, he had promised party chairman Ludwig Kaas
Ludwig Kaas
Ludwig Kaas was a German Roman Catholic priest and politician during the Weimar Republic.-Early career:Born in Trier, Kaas was ordained a priest in 1906 and studied history and Canon law in Trier and Rome. 1906 he completed a doctorate in theology and in 1909 he obtained a second doctorate in...

 not to accept any appointment. After he broke his pledge, Kaas branded him the "Ephialtes of the Centre Party"; Papen forestalled being expelled by leaving the party on 3 June 1932.

The French ambassador in Berlin, André François-Poncet
André François-Poncet
André François-Poncet was a French politician and diplomat whose post as ambassador to Germany allowed him to witness first-hand the rise to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, and the Nazi regime's preparations for war.François-Poncet was the son of a counselor of the Court of Appeals in...

, wrote at the time that Papen's selection by Hindenburg as chancellor "met with incredulity." Papen, the ambassador continued, "enjoyed the peculiarity of being taken seriously by neither his friends nor his enemies. He was reputed to be superficial, blundering, untrue, ambitious, vain, crafty and an intriguer."

The cabinet which Papen formed, with the assistance of General Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher
Kurt von Schleicher was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany during the era of the Weimar Republic. Seventeen months after his resignation, he was assassinated by order of his successor, Adolf Hitler, in the Night of the Long Knives....

, was known as the "cabinet of barons" or as the "cabinet of monocles" and was widely regarded with ridicule by Germans. Except from the conservative German National People's Party
German National People's Party
The German National People's Party was a national conservative party in Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic. Before the rise of the NSDAP it was the main nationalist party in Weimar Germany composed of nationalists, reactionary monarchists, völkisch, and antisemitic elements, and...

 (DNVP), Papen had practically no support in the Reichstag
Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

.

Papen ruled in an authoritarian manner by launching a coup against the center-left coalition government of Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 (the so-called Preußenschlag
Preußenschlag
In 1932, the Preußenschlag, or "Prussian coup", was one of the major steps towards the end of the German inter-war democracy, which would later greatly facilitate the "Gleichschaltung" of Germany after Adolf Hitler's rise to power...

) and repealing his predecessor's ban on the SA
Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

 as a way to appease the Nazis
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

, whom he hoped to lure into supporting his government. Riots resulted on the streets of Berlin, as 461 battles between Communists and the SA took place, leading to the deaths of 82 lives on both sides. Berlin was put on military shutdown and von Papen sent men to arrest the Prussian authorities, whom he suspected of being in league with the Communists. Hereafter, von Papen declared himself commander of the Prussian region, further weakening the democracy of the Weimar Republic.

Soon afterward, Papen called an election for July 1932
German election, July 1932
The German parliamentary election of 31 July 1932, held after the premature dissolution of the Reichstag, saw great gains by the Nazi Party, which for the first time became the largest party in parliament, though without winning a majority...

 in hopes of getting a majority in the Reichstag. However, he didn't even come close—in fact, the Nazis gained 123 seats to become the largest party. When this Reichstag first assembled, Papen obtained in advance from Hindenburg a decree to dissolve it. He initially did not bring it along, having received a promise that there would be an immediate objection to an expected Communist
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

 motion of censure. However, when no one objected, Papen ordered one of his messengers to get the order. When he demanded the floor in order to read it, newly elected Reichstag president Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 pretended not to see him; his Nazis had decided to support the Communist motion. The censure vote passed overwhelmingly, forcing another election.

Papen's cabinet


June to November 1932
  • Franz von Papen - Chancellor
  • Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath
    Konstantin von Neurath
    Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath was a German diplomat remembered mostly for having served as Foreign minister of Germany between 1932 and 1938...

     - Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Foreign Minister of Germany
    The Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs is the head of the Federal Foreign Office and a member of the Cabinet of Germany. The current office holder is Guido Westerwelle...

  • Wilhelm Freiherr von Gayl
    Wilhelm von Gayl
    Wilhelm Moritz Egon Freiherr von Gayl was a German jurist and politician of the German National People's Party .-Biography:...

     (DNVP) - Minister of the Interior
  • Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk - Minister of Finance
  • Hermann Warmbold - Minister of Economics
  • Hugo Schäffer - Minister of Labour
  • Franz Gürtner
    Franz Gürtner
    Franz Gürtner was a German Minister of Justice in Adolf Hitler's cabinet, responsible for coordinating jurisprudence in the Third Reich. Detesting the cruel ways of the Gestapo and SA in dealing with prisoners of war, he protested unsuccessfully to Hitler, nevertheless staying on in the cabinet,...

     (DNVP) - Minister of Justice
  • Kurt von Schleicher
    Kurt von Schleicher
    Kurt von Schleicher was a German general and the last Chancellor of Germany during the era of the Weimar Republic. Seventeen months after his resignation, he was assassinated by order of his successor, Adolf Hitler, in the Night of the Long Knives....

     - Minister of Defence
  • Paul Freiherr Eltz von Rübenach - Minister of Posts and Transport
  • Magnus Freiherr von Braun
    Magnus von Braun (senior)
    Magnus Alexander Maximilian Freiherr von Braun was a German jurist and politician.-Biography:Braun was born at his family's manor of Neucken, an estate the von Brauns had owned since 1803, near Pr...

     - Minister of Agriculture


29 October 1932 changes
  • Franz Bracht
    Franz Bracht
    Clemens Emil Franz Bracht was a German jurist and politician.Born in Berlin, he studied law at the University of Würzburg and the University of Berlin. He joined the Centre Party and on 18 December 1924 became Supreme Burgomaster of Essen...

     and Johannes Popitz
    Johannes Popitz
    Johannes Popitz was a Prussian finance minister and a member of the German Resistance against Nazi Germany.- Life :...

     enter the Cabinet as Ministers without Portfolio.

Forced to resign


In the November 1932 election
German election, November 1932
The German parliamentary election of 6 November 1932 saw a significant drop for the Nazi Party and increases for the Communists and the national conservative DNVP...

 the Nazis lost seats, but Papen was still unable to get a majority. Papen then decided to try to negotiate with Hitler, but Hitler's reply contained so many conditions that Papen gave up all hope of reaching agreement. Soon afterward, under pressure from Schleicher, Papen resigned on November 17.

Papen held out hope of being reappointed by Hindenburg, fully expecting that the aging President would find Hitler's demands unacceptable. Indeed, when Schleicher suggested on 1 December that he might be able to get support from the Nazis, Hindenburg blanched and told Papen to try to form another government. However, at a cabinet meeting the next day, Papen was informed that there was no way to maintain order against the Nazis and Communists. Realizing that Schleicher was deliberately trying to undercut him, Papen asked Hindenburg to fire Schleicher as defence minister. Instead, Hindenburg told Papen that he was appointing Schleicher as chancellor. Schleicher hoped to establish a broad coalition government by gaining the support of both Nazi and Social Democratic trade unionists.

As it became increasingly obvious that Schleicher would be unsuccessful in his maneuvering to maintain his chancellorship under a parliamentary majority, Papen worked to undermine Schleicher. Along with DNVP leader Alfred Hugenberg
Alfred Hugenberg
Alfred Ernst Christian Alexander Hugenberg was an influential German businessman and politician. Hugenberg, a leading figure within nationalist politics in Germany for the first few decades of the twentieth century, became the country's leading media proprietor within the inter-war period...

, Papen formed an agreement with Hitler under which the Nazi leader would become Chancellor of a coalition government
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

 with the Nationalists, and with Papen serving as Vice Chancellor of the Reich and prime minister of Prussia.

On 23 January 1933 Schleicher admitted to President Hindenburg that he had been unable to obtain a majority of the Reichstag, and asked the president to declare a state of emergency. By this time, the elderly Hindenburg had become irritated by the Schleicher cabinet's policies affecting wealthy landowners and industrialists.

Simultaneously, Papen had been working behind the scenes and used his personal friendship with Hindenburg to assure the President that he, Papen, could control Hitler and could thus finally form a government based on the support of the majority of the Reichstag.

Hindenburg refused to grant Schleicher the emergency powers he sought, and Schleicher resigned on 28 January. Papen toyed with the idea of betraying Hitler by ousting him from the cabinet, and becoming chancellor himself. In the end the President, who had previously vowed never to allow Hitler to become chancellor ('that Austrian corporal', he derisively referred to him as) appointed Hitler to the post on 30 January 1933, with von Papen as Vice-Chancellor. The remaining members of the cabinet were conservatives, with the exception of two Nazis.

Vice Chancellorship



At the formation of Hitler's cabinet on 30 January, the Nazis had three cabinet posts (including Hitler) to the conservatives' eight. Additionally, as part of the deal that allowed Hitler to become chancellor, Papen was granted the right to sit in on every meeting between Hitler and Hindenburg. Counting on their majority in the Cabinet and on the closeness between himself and Hindenburg, Papen had anticipated "boxing Hitler in." Papen boasted to intimates that "Within two months we will have pushed Hitler so far in the corner that he'll squeak." To the warning that he was placing himself in Hitler's hands, Papen replied, "You are mistaken. We've hired him."

However, Hitler and his allies instead quickly marginalized Papen and the rest of the cabinet. For example, Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 had been appointed deputy interior minister of Prussia, but frequently acted without consulting his nominal superior, Papen. Neither Papen nor his conservative allies waged a fight against the Reichstag Fire Decree
Reichstag Fire Decree
The Reichstag Fire Decree is the common name of the Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg in direct response to the Reichstag fire of 27 February 1933. The decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German...

 in late February or the Enabling Act in March.

On 8 April Papen travelled to the Vatican
Vatican City
Vatican City , or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano , which translates literally as State of the City of the Vatican, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of...

 to offer a Reichskonkordat
Reichskonkordat
The Reichskonkordat is a treaty that was agreed between the Holy See and Nazi government, that guarantees the rights of the Catholic Church in Germany. It was signed on July 20, 1933 by Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli and Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen on behalf of Pope Pius XI and President...

 that defined the German state's relationship with the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. During Papen's absence, the Nazified
Gleichschaltung
Gleichschaltung , meaning "coordination", "making the same", "bringing into line", is a Nazi term for the process by which the Nazi regime successively established a system of totalitarian control and tight coordination over all aspects of society. The historian Richard J...

 Landtag
Landtag
A Landtag is a representative assembly or parliament in German-speaking countries with some legislative authority.- Name :...

 of Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 elected Göring as prime minister on 10 April.

Conscious of his own increasing marginalization, Papen began covert talks with other conservative forces with the aim of convincing Hindenburg to dismiss Hitler. Of special importance in these talks was the growing conflict between the German military
Reichswehr
The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was renamed the Wehrmacht ....

 and the paramilitary Sturmabteilung
Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

 (SA), led by Ernst Röhm
Ernst Röhm
Ernst Julius Röhm, was a German officer in the Bavarian Army and later an early Nazi leader. He was a co-founder of the Sturmabteilung , the Nazi Party militia, and later was its commander...

.

In early 1934 Röhm continued to demand that the storm troopers become the core of a new German army. Many conservatives, including Hindenburg, felt uneasy with the storm troopers' demands, their lack of discipline and their revolutionary tendencies.

Marburg Speech and downfall


With the Army command recently having hinted at the need for Hitler to control the SA, Papen delivered an address at the University of Marburg on 17 June 1934 where he called for the restoration of some freedoms, demanded an end to the calls for a "second revolution" and advocated the cessation of SA terror in the streets.

In this "Marburg speech
Marburg speech
The Marburg speech was an address given by German vice chancellor Franz von Papen at the University of Marburg on June 17, 1934. It is said to be the last speech made publicly, and on a high level, in Germany against Nazism....

" Papen said that "The government [must be] mindful of the old maxim 'only weaklings suffer no criticism'" and that "No organization, no propaganda, however excellent, can alone maintain confidence in the long run." The speech was crafted by Papen's speech writer, Edgar Julius Jung
Edgar Julius Jung
Edgar Julius Jung was a German lawyer born in Ludwigshafen, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. He was a leader of the Conservative Revolutionary movement in Germany, which stood not only in opposition to the Weimar Republic, whose parliamentarian system he considered decadent and foreign-imposed,...

, with the assistance of Papen's secretary Herbert von Bose
Herbert von Bose
Herbert von Bose was head of the press division of the Vice Chancellery in Germany under Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen.- Imperial Germany and Weimar Republic :...

 and Catholic leader Erich Klausener
Erich Klausener
Erich Klausener was a German Catholic politician who was murdered in the Night of the Long Knives as the Nazis purged their opponents.- Biography :...

.

The vice chancellor's bold speech incensed Hitler, and its publication was suppressed by the Propaganda Ministry. Angered by this reaction and stating that he had spoken on behalf of Hindenburg, Papen told Hitler that he was resigning and would inform Hindenburg at once. Hitler knew that accepting the resignation of Hindenburg's long-time confidant, especially during a time of tumult, would anger the ailing president. He guessed right; not long afterward Hindenburg gave Hitler an ultimatum — unless he acted to end the state of tension in Germany, Hindenburg would throw him out of office and turn over control of the government to the army.

Two weeks after the Marburg speech
Marburg speech
The Marburg speech was an address given by German vice chancellor Franz von Papen at the University of Marburg on June 17, 1934. It is said to be the last speech made publicly, and on a high level, in Germany against Nazism....

, Hitler responded to the armed forces' demands to suppress the ambitions of Röhm and the SA by purging the SA leadership. The purge, known as the Night of the Long Knives
Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives , sometimes called "Operation Hummingbird " or in Germany the "Röhm-Putsch," was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders...

, took place between 30 June and 2 July 1934. In the purge, Röhm and much of the SA leadership were murdered. General von Schleicher, who as Chancellor had been scheming with some of Hitler's rivals within the party to separate them from their leader, was gunned down along with his wife. Also Gustav von Kahr, the conservative who had thwarted the Putsch more than ten years earlier, was shot and thrown into a swamp.

Though Papen's bold speech against some of the excesses committed by the Nazis had angered Hitler, Hitler was aware that he could not act directly against the Vice Chancellor without offending Hindenburg. Instead, in the Night of the Long Knives, the Vice Chancellery, Papen's office, was ransacked by the SS
Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

, where his associate Herbert von Bose
Herbert von Bose
Herbert von Bose was head of the press division of the Vice Chancellery in Germany under Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen.- Imperial Germany and Weimar Republic :...

 was shot dead at his desk. Another associate, Erich Klausener
Erich Klausener
Erich Klausener was a German Catholic politician who was murdered in the Night of the Long Knives as the Nazis purged their opponents.- Biography :...

, was shot dead at his desk at the Ministry of Transportation. Many more were arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps where Jung, amongst others, was shot a few days later. Papen himself was placed under house arrest at his villa with his telephone line cut, though some accounts indicate that this "protective custody" was ordered by Göring, who felt the ex-diplomat could be useful in the future. Other sources suggest that Papen had shared a place with Schleicher on an SS "death list", and that Göring had in fact saved him from the purge by ordering his confinement, possibly unwittingly after personal disputes.

Reportedly Papen arrived at the Chancellery, exhausted from days in house arrest without sleep to find the Chancellor seated with other Nazi ministers around a round table, with no place for him but a hole in the middle, he insisted on a private audience with Hitler and announced his resignation, stating; My service to the Fatherland is over! The following day, Papen's resignation as Vice Chancellor was formally accepted and publicized, with no successor appointed. With Hindenburg's death weeks later, the last conservative obstacle to complete Nazi rule was gone.

Ambassador to Austria


Despite the events of the Night of the Long Knives
Night of the Long Knives
The Night of the Long Knives , sometimes called "Operation Hummingbird " or in Germany the "Röhm-Putsch," was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders...

, Papen accepted within a month the assignment from Hitler as German ambassador in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, where Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss
Engelbert Dollfuss
Engelbert Dollfuss was an Austrian Christian Social and Patriotic Front statesman. Serving previously as Minister for Forest and Agriculture, he ascended to Federal Chancellor in 1932 in the midst of a crisis for the conservative government...

 had just been murdered in a failed Nazi coup, which was brutally suppressed.

In Hitler's words, Papen's duty was to restore "normal and friendly relations" between Germany and Austria. Papen also contributed to achieving Hitler's goal of undermining Austrian sovereignty and bringing about the Nazis' long-dreamed-of Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

(unification with Germany). Winston Churchill reports in his book The Gathering Storm
The Second World War (Churchill)
The Second World War is a history, originally published in six volumes, of the period from the end of the First World War to July 1945, written by Winston Churchill. It was largely responsible for his being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953...

(1948) that Hitler appointed Papen for "the undermining or winning over of leading personalities in Austrian politics". Churchill also quotes the U.S. minister in Vienna as saying of Papen "In the boldest and most cynical manner...Papen proceeded to tell me that... he intended to use his reputation as a good Catholic to gain influence with Austrians like Cardinal Innitzer."

Ironically, one of the plots called for Papen's murder by Austrian Nazi sympathizers as a pretext for a retaliatory invasion by Germany.

Though Papen was dismissed from his mission in Austria on 4 February 1938, Hitler drafted Papen to arrange a meeting between the German dictator and Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg at Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden is a municipality in the German Bavarian Alps. It is located in the south district of Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border with Austria, some 30 km south of Salzburg and 180 km southeast of Munich...

. The ultimatum that Hitler presented Schuschnigg, at the meeting on 12 February 1938, led to the Austrian government's capitulation to German threats and pressure, and paved the way for the Anschluss, which was proclaimed on 13 March 1938.

World War II


Papen later served the German government as Ambassador to Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 from 1939 to 1944. There, he survived a Soviet assassination
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 attempt on 24 February 1942 by agents from the NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

—a bomb prematurely exploded, killing the bomber and no one else, although Papen was slightly injured.

However, some Soviet sources say that the assassination attempt was in fact the work of one of Nazi Germany's own secret services. Its goal was apparently to disrupt Soviet-Turkish relations and even to push Turkey into declaring war on the Soviet Union and joining Germany.

After Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI , born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was Pope from 6 February 1922, and sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929 until his death on 10 February 1939...

 died in 1939, his successor Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

 did not renew his honorary title of Papal Chamberlain
Papal chamberlain
Papal chamberlain was one of the highest honours that could be bestowed on a Catholic layman by the Pope, and was often given to members of noble families. It was mostly an honorary position, but a chamberlain served the Pope for one week per year during official ceremonies...

. As nuncio
Nuncio
Nuncio is an ecclesiastical diplomatic title, derived from the ancient Latin word, Nuntius, meaning "envoy." This article addresses this title as well as derived similar titles, all within the structure of the Roman Catholic Church...

, the future Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

, Angelo Roncalli, was acquainted with Papen in Greece and Turkey during World War II. The German government considered appointing Papen ambassador to the Holy See
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, but Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

, after consulting Konrad von Preysing
Konrad von Preysing
Johann Konrad Maria Augustin Felix Graf von Preysing Lichtenegg-Moos was a German prelate of the Roman Catholic Church...

, Bishop of Berlin, rejected this proposal.

In August 1944, Papen had his last meeting with Hitler after arriving back in Germany from Turkey. Here, Hitler awarded Papen the Knight's Cross of the Military Merit Order.

Post-war years


Papen was captured along with his son Franz Jr. by U.S. Army Lt. James E. Watson and members of the 550th Airborne battalion near the end of the war at his home. According to Watson, as he was put into the jeep for his ride into a POW camp, Papen was heard to remark (in English), "I wish this terrible war were over." At that one of his sergeants responded, "So do 11 million other guys!"

Papen was one of the defendants at the main Nuremberg War Crimes Trial
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

. The court acquitted him, stating while he had committed a number of "political immoralities," these actions were not punishable under the "conspiracy to commit crimes against peace" charged in Papen's indictment. He was later sentenced to eight years hard labour by a West German denazification
Denazification
Denazification was an Allied initiative to rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary, and politics of any remnants of the National Socialist ideology. It was carried out specifically by removing those involved from positions of influence and by disbanding or rendering...

 court, but was released on appeal in 1949.

Papen tried unsuccessfully to re-start his political career in the 1950s, and lived at the Castle of Benzenhofen in Upper Swabia
Upper Swabia
Upper Swabia is a region in Germany in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. The name refers to the area between the Swabian Alb, Lake Constance and the Lech...

.

Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

 restored his title of Papal Chamberlain
Papal chamberlain
Papal chamberlain was one of the highest honours that could be bestowed on a Catholic layman by the Pope, and was often given to members of noble families. It was mostly an honorary position, but a chamberlain served the Pope for one week per year during official ceremonies...

on 24 July 1959. Papen was also a Knight of Malta, and was awarded the Grand Cross of the Pontifical Order of Pius IX
Order of Pius IX
The Order of Pius IX , also referred as the Pian Order , is a Papal order of knighthood founded on 17 June 1847 by Pope Pius IX.-Classes:The Order comprises five classes:...

.

Papen published a number of books and memoirs, in which he defended his policies and dealt with the years 1930 to 1933 as well as early western Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 politics. Papen praised the Schuman Plan
Schuman Declaration
The Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 was a governmental proposal by then-French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman to create a new form of organization of States in Europe called a supranational Community. Following the experiences of two world wars, France recognized that certain values such as...

 as "wise and statesmanlike" and believed in the economic and military unification and integration of Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

.

Franz von Papen died in Obersasbach
Sasbach (Ortenau)
Sasbach is a town in the district of Ortenau in Western Baden-Württemberg, Germany.-Information:Obersasbach belongs to Sasbach...

, West Germany, on 2 May 1969 at the age of 89.

Publications

  • Appell an das deutsche Gewissen. Reden zur nationalen Revolution, Stalling, Oldenburg, 1933
  • Franz von Papen Memoirs, Translated by Brian Connell, Andre Deutsch, London, 1952
  • Der Wahrheit eine Gasse, Paul List Verlag, München 1952
  • Europa, was nun? Betrachtungen zur Politik der Westmächte, Göttinger Verlags-Anstalt, Göttingen 1954
  • Vom Scheitern einer Demokratie. 1930 - 1933, Hase und Koehler, Mainz 1968
  • In The Garden Of Beasts, Erik Larson, Crown, New York 2011

In popular culture


Franz von Papen has been portrayed by the following actors in film, television and theater productions;
  • Paul Everton in the 1918 U.S. film The Eagle's Eye
  • Curt Furburg in the 1943 U.S. film Background to Danger
    Background to Danger
    Background to Danger is a 1943 film starring George Raft and featuring Brenda Marshall, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre. Based on the novel of the same title by Eric Ambler and set in Turkey , the screenplay was credited to W.R. Burnett, although William Faulkner also contributed, and the movie...

  • Walter Kingsford
    Walter Kingsford
    Walter Kingsford was a British stage, film and television actor born in Redhill, Surrey, England. He was born Walter Pearce and had several sisters...

     in the 1944 U.S. film The Hitler Gang
  • John Wengraf
    John Wengraf
    John Wengraf was an Austrian actor.Wengraf emigrated to England in 1933 as the Nazis began their rise to power. Wengraf appeared unbilled in a couple of films, as well as in some of the first BBC live-television shows ever presented...

     in the 1952 U.S. film 5 Fingers
    5 Fingers
    5 Fingers, known also as Five Fingers, is a 1952 American 20th Century Fox spy film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Otto Lang. The screenplay by Michael Wilson and Mankiewicz was based on Operation Cicero by L.C...

  • Peter von Zerneck in the 1973 U.S. T.V. production Portrait: A Man Whose Name Was John
  • Dennis St John in the 2000 Canadian/U.S. T.V. production Nuremberg
  • Erland Josephson
    Erland Josephson
    Erland Josephson is a Swedish actor and author. He is best known to international audiences for his work in films directed by Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Theodoros Angelopoulos.-Biography:...

     in the 2003 Italian/British T.V. production The Good Pope: Pope John XXIII
  • Robert Russell
    Robert Russell (actor)
    Robert Russell is an actor. He played Dr. Wellington Yueh in the Sci Fi Channel's 2000 miniseries Frank Herbert's Dune.-Selected filmography:*Doom - Dr. Carmack*Anne Frank: The Whole Story - Mr. Keesing...

     in the 2003 Canadian/U.S. T.V. production Hitler: The Rise of Evil
    Hitler: The Rise of Evil
    Hitler: The Rise of Evil is a Canadian TV miniseries in two parts, directed by Christian Duguay and produced by Alliance Atlantis. It explores Adolf Hitler's rise and his early consolidation of power during the years after World War I and focuses on how the embittered, politically fragmented and...

  • Georgi Novakov in the 2006 British television docudrama Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial
    Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial
    Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial, is a BBC documentary film series consisting of three one-hour films that re-enact the Nuremberg War Trials of Albert Speer, Hermann Göring and Rudolf Hess...


External links



  • http://www.dhm.de/lemo/html/biografien/PapenFranz/