Wm. Shirer’s 3rd Reich – Hitler & Suicide

Page 177:

[regarding opposing Schleicher regime and Strasser ]

he letter, which reached Hitler on the eighth, fell, as Goebbels’ diary says, “like a bombshell.” The atmosphere in the Kaiserhof was that of a graveyard. “We are all dejected and depressed,” Goebbels noted. It was the greatest blow Hitler had suffered since he rebuilt the party in 1925. Now, on the threshold of power, his principal follower had deserted him and threatened to smash all he had built up in seven years.

In the evening [Goebbels wrote], the Fuehrer comes to our home. It is difficult to be cheerful. We are all depressed, above all because of the danger of the whole party falling apart, and all our work having been in vain . . . Telephone call from Dr. Ley. The situation in the party worsens from hour to hour. The Fuehrer must return immediately to the Kaiserhof.

Goebbels was called to join him there at two o’clock in the morning, Strasser had given his story to the morning newspapers, which were just then appearing on the streets. Hitler’s reaction was described by Goebbels:

TREASON! TREASON! TREASON!

For hours the Fuehrer paces up and down in the hotel room. He is embittered and deeply wounded by this treachery. Finally he stops and says: If the party once falls to pieces I’ll but an end to it all in three minutes with a pistol shot.

The party did not fall apart and Hitler did not shoot himself. Strasser might have achieved both these ends, which would have radically altered the course of history, but at the crucial moment he himself gave up. Frick, with Hitler’s permission, had been searching all Berlin for him, it having been agreed that the quarrel must somehow be patched over to rescue the party from disaster. But Strasser, fed up with it all, had taken a train south for a vacation in sunny Italy. Hitler, always at his best when he detected weakness in an opponent, struck swiftly and hard. The Political Organization which Strasser had built up was taken over by the Fuehrer himself, with Dr. Ley, the Gauleiter from Cologne, as his staff chief. Strasser’s friends were purged and all party leaders convoked to Berlin to sign a new declaration of loyalty to Adolf Hitler, which they did.

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One Response to “Wm. Shirer’s 3rd Reich – Hitler & Suicide”

  1. William Ney Says:

    Michael Burleigh’s recent THE THIRD REICH – A NEW HISTORY is very much worth reading.

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