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Franz von Papen

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Franz von Papen

Order: 22nd Chancellor of Germany
Term of Office: June 1, 1932 - November 17, 1932
Predecessor: Heinrich Brning
Successor: Kurt von Schleicher
Date of Birth: October 29, 1879
Date of Death: May 2, 1969
Profession: officer and diplomat

Franz von Papen (October 29, 1879May 2, 1969) was a German politician and diplomat associated with the Centre Party.

Born to a wealthy Catholic family in Westphalia, Papen served as a soldier on the Turkish front in World War I. Returning to Germany, he entered politics, joining the Centre Party, in which the monarchist Papen formed part of the far right wing.

In the 1925 presidential elections, he surprised his party by supporting the right-wing candidate Paul von Hindenburg over the Centre Party's Wilhelm Marx.

In June 1, 1932, he moved from relative obscurity to supreme importance when President Hindenburg appointed him Chancellor, even though this meant replacing his own party's Heinrich Brning. The day before, he had promised to to party chairman Ludwig Kaas not to accept any appointment, and Kaas accordingly branded him the "Ephialtes of the Centre Party". Papen forestalled being expelled by leaving the party on June 3, 1932.

Except from the conservative German National People's Party (DNVP), he had practically no support in the Reichstag, of which he was never a member. Papen ruled in an authoritarian manner, launching a coup against the Social Democratic led government of Prussia, and repealing his predecessor's ban on the SA as a way to appease the Nazis, whom he hoped to lure into supporting his government. Ultimately, after two Reichstag elections only increased the Nazis' strength in the Reichstag without substantially increasing Papen's own parliamentary support, he was forced to resign as Chancellor, and was replaced on December 4, 1932 by Kurt von Schleicher, who hoped to establish a broad coalition government by gaining the support of both Nazi and Social Democratic trade unionists.

Missing image
Papentiergarten.jpg
Chancellor Franz von Papen and state secretary Otto Meiner in Tiergarten, 1932

As it became increasingly obvious that Schleicher's maneuvering to find a Reichstag majority would be unsuccessful, Papen and DNVP leader Alfred Hugenberg came to an agreement with Hitler to allow him to become Chancellor of a coalition government with the Nationalists, and with Papen serving as Vice-Chancellor. Papen used his personal ties with the aged Von Hindenburg to persuade the President, who had previously vowed never to allow Hitler to become Chancellor, to fire Schleicher and appoint Hitler to the post on January 30, 1933.

Once Hitler was in power, von Papen and his allies were quickly marginalized, and he retired from the Vice-Chancellorship in 1934, following the Night of the Long Knives, when many of Hitler's enemies inside and outside the party (including Schleicher) were murdered. Von Papen was arrested and put under house arrest for three days but his secretary, Herbert von Bose, and his speech writer, Edgar Julius Jung, were murdered. Later, Papen served the Nazi government as Ambassador to Austria from 1934 to 1938 and Ambassador to Turkey from 1939 to 1944. There he survived an assassination attempt by Stalin's agents.

During the war, the German government considered appointing Papen ambassador to the Holy See, but Pope Pius XII, after consulting Konrad von Preysing, Bishop of Berlin, rejected this proposal.

Papen was captured by the allies after the war and was one of the defendants at the main Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, but was acquitted.

He tried unsuccessfully to re-start his political career in the 1950s.

In 1923 Papen had received the honorary dignity of a Papal chamberlain. After Pope Pius XI had died in 1939, his successor Pius XI did not this appointment, probably in the light of Papen's political role. John XXIII however, who was aquainted with Papen from his years as nuntius to Greece and Turkey, revived this honour on July 24, 1959 - an act criticized both inside and outside the Church and by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.


Papen's Government, June - November 1932

Changes

Preceded by:
Heinrich Brning
Chancellor of Germany
1932
Succeeded by:
Kurt von Schleicher
Preceded by: (first term)
Otto Braun
Prime Minister of Prussia
1932, 1933
Succeeded by: (first term)
Kurt von Schleicher
Preceded by: (second term)
Kurt von Schleicher
Succeeded by: (second term)
Hermann Gring
Preceded by:
Hermann R. Dietrich
Vice Chancellor of Germany
1933–1934
Succeeded by:
Franz Blcher

External links

es:Franz von Papen he:פרנץ פון פאפן it:Franz von Papen nl:Franz von Papen ja:フランツ・フォン・パーペン no:Franz von Papen fi:Franz von Papen sv:Franz von Papen pl:Franz von Papen

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