Papen (1879-1969), Franz von
Von Papen was the next to last Chancellor under the Weimar Republic and was surnamed “Hitler’s step”. In 1932 he was excluded from his party, the Zentrum (catholic party), because he was accused of having caused the fall of Brüning’s government and having so indirectly facilitated Hitler’s drive to power. From June 1932 to December 1932, von Papen was Chancellor and governed with a so-called “Cabinet of barons”. Von Papen governed with decrees signed by Hindenburg. His government was unpopular because he was anti-social and reactionary. On July 20, 1932, he took profit of the troubles that followed the Altona incident (Berlin) to depose the chief of the Police, the Minister of Interior of Prussia and the whole Social-democratic government and administration. He assumed control himself as Reich Commissioner for Prussia (the act is known as “Preussenschlag”). His political career was from now on declining because of all political intrigues and social conflicts. He went into dispute with von Schleicher and lost his support, which precipitated his political end. Hindenburg also refused to support von Papen and appointed von Schleicher in replacement. This did not prevent von Papen from intriguing against von Schleicher. First opposed to Hitler’s nomination as Chancellor, von Papen changed his mind and eventually proposed Hindenburg that Hitler becomes Chancellor. Hindenburg was also reluctant but he finally accepted because he was confronted to the pressure exerted by the “barons”. Von Papen became Vice-Chancellor up to August 7, 1934. He was then appointed ambassador in Vienna (July 26, 1934 to February 4, 1938) then in Ankara (1939 to 1944). The Nuremberg Trial acquitted him but he was condemned by a denazification trial as guilty only in a second degree after he appealed the first decision that condemned him to 8 months imprisonment.
Freie Presse Bielefeld (Ed.), 1947, Wegbereiter des Nationalsozialismus. Franz von Papen: Eine Portraitskizze. Bielefeld: Freie Presse.