Franz von Papen

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Franz von Papen (1879-1969) was a German politician, during the Weimar Republic and under the Nazi Party, originally affiliated with the centrist Catholic Zentrum Party. He served in the World War I Army and the Reichswehr. He was Weimar Chancellor (1932-33) and briefly as Vice Chancellor in a coalition government under Adolf Hitler. Kurt von Schleicher, who selected him as Chancellor, succeeded him.[1]

He had been German Military Attache in Washington, DC during World War I, until his efforts to sponsor sabotage were discovered, when documents were misplaced or stolen. He was declared persona non grata in 1915. Returning to the Army, he joined the staff of General Erich von Falkenhayn in the Middle East, and commanded an infantry battalion in combat.

While he was a member of Zentrum, he had limited political experience. After the war, he had bought 47% of the stock of the party newspaper, but his only elected experience was as a member of the Prussian Provincial Authority. He failed to win the leadership of the party.[2]

During the Night of the Long Knives, he was under house arrest and thus protected. Hus secretaries, Herbert von Bose and Edgar Julius Jung, however, were killed.

Later, he was Ambassador to Austria before the 1938 Anschluss, and the last Protector of Bohemia and Moravia.

He was acquitted of war crimes in the Trial of the Major War Criminals. During the testimony of Alfred Jodl, he was "appalled" by the notion that the military could bypass the political leadership.[3]


  1. John Toland (1976), Adolf Hitler, Ballantine, p. 211
  2. Airey Neave (1978), On Trial at Nuremberg, Little, Brown, pp. 152-159
  3. G.M. Gilbert (1947), Nuremberg Diary, Farrar, Strauss, pp. 366-367