Adolf von Thadden

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Adolf von Thadden (1969)

Adolf von Thadden (July 7, 1921 – July 16, 1996) was a leading far right German politician. Born into a leading Pomeranian landowning family – he was born at the noble estate of Gut Trieglaff near Greifenberg in Pomerania – he was the half-brother of Elisabeth von Thadden, a prominent critic of the Nazis who was executed by the Nazi government in September 1944.[1]

Early life[edit]

Thadden was educated at the gymnasium in Greifenberg[2] and on 1 September 1939 he became a member of the NSDAP, commonly known as the Nazi Party.[3] He served as a lieutenant with the Wehrmacht in the Second World War, suffering a number of battle injuries during the conflict.[2]

Political career[edit]

After the war, Thadden entered politics as a member of the Deutsche Rechtspartei and its successor the Deutsche Reichspartei.[4] As a member of both, he served as a councilman in Göttingen from 1948 to 1958.[2] Elected to the Bundestag in 1949, he was the second youngest member and was thus addressed by an SPD member as 'Bubi', (a nickname that stuck with him).[2]

In the 1950s he was befriended by Winifred Wagner, whose grandson Gottfried Wagner later recalled that

My aunt Friedelind was outraged when my grandmother again slowly blossomed as the first lady of right-wing groups and received political friends such as Edda Goering, Ilse Hess, the former NPD chairman (sic) Adolf von Thadden, Gerdy Troost, the wife of the Nazi architect and friend of Hitler Paul Ludwig Troost, the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, the Nazi film director Karl Ritter and the racist author and former Senator of the Reich Hans Severus Ziegler."[5]

Thadden was in fact chairman of the Deutsche Reichspartei in 1961[2] and in this position was one of the signatories of the European Declaration at Venice which set up the National Party of Europe. Thadden was personally close to the British Union Movement leader Oswald Mosley, on whose initiative the NPE was founded, and was attracted to his concept of Europe a Nation.[6] He specifically denied any accusations of neo-Nazism levelled at him, arguing that he was a supporter of conservative nationalism.[2] However, he was frequently labelled a neo-Nazi due to his prominent opposition to the notion of any German guilt for the Second World War.[2]

Thadden played a leading role in formation of the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) by merging his party with a number of other rightist groups, including a revived German National People's Party in 1964.[2] Although initially overlooked as leader in favour of Friedrich Thielen of the German Party, he was eventually appointed chairman in 1967.[2] He remained leader until 1971, achieving strong showings in regional elections, although the party failed to gain representation in the Bundestag under his leadership (and have never managed to do so).[7] Although a loyal supporter of his successor, Martin Mussgnug, Thadden eventually left the NPD in 1975 after Gerhard Frey, who had previously been a harsh critic of von Thadden, was appointed Federal Administrator of the party.[8]


He died July 16, 1996 in Bad Oeynhausen at the age of 75. Since Thadden's death it has been claimed that he was a secret agent of the United Kingdom's external security agency, MI6.[9]


  1. ^ Echoes from an Unhappy Past, Time, 26 September 1969, retrieved 24 June 2009
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, Wordsworth, 1998, p. 344
  3. ^ Bergmann, W. (e.a.) (2009) Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, p. 822
  4. ^ R. Eatwell, Fascism: A History, London: Pimlico, 2003, p. 281
  5. ^ Gottfried Wagner, Wer nicht mit dem Wolf heult – Autobiographische Aufzeichnungen eines Wagner-Urenkels (Cologne, 1997), p. 69 (quotation translated from the German)
  6. ^ Graham Macklin, Very Deeply Dyed in Black, IB Tauris, 2007, p. 90
  7. ^ P. Ignazi, Extreme Right Parties in Western Europe, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 67
  8. ^ C.P. Blamires, World Fascism - A Historical Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2006, p. 658
  9. ^ Neo-Nazi leader 'was MI6 agent', John Hooper, The Guardian, 13 August 2002, retrieved 24 June 2009