Ferdinand von Bredow

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Ferdinand von Bredow
FBredow.jpg
Ferdinand von Bredow
Born (1884-05-16)16 May 1884
Neuruppin
Died 30 June 1934(1934-06-30) (aged 50)
Berlin
Allegiance Flag of the German Empire.svg German Empire
Flag of Germany (3-2 aspect ratio).svg Weimar Republic
Service/branch War Ensign of Germany (1921-1933).svg Reichswehr
Rank Generalmajor
Commands held Abwehr

Ferdinand von Bredow (16 May 1884, in Neuruppin – 30 June 1934, in Berlin) was a German Generalmajor and former head of the Abwehr (the military intelligence service) in the Reich Defence Ministry (Reichswehrministerium) and deputy defence minister in Kurt von Schleicher's cabinet (December 1932 - January 1933). He became captain in November 1918 and took part in the first World War. Bredow was of Schleicher's closest associates, being described by the British historian Sir John Wheeler-Bennett as a man "blindly devoted" to Schleicher.[1] Wheeler-Bennett lived in Berlin between 1927-1934 and as a man well connected to German elites, knew Schleicher and his followers well. Schleicher appointed Bredow as his successor as the chief of the Ministerial Office at the Defence Ministry, which was the Reichswehr's favorite instrument for meddling in politics.[2]

Bredow, along with Schleicher, was involved in attempting to enlist Adolf Hitler's support during Schleicher's time as Chancellor in December 1932-January 1933. Towards the end of this régime, Bredow, as the leader of Schleicher's personal "information service" was head of a number of coexisting secret service organizations, among them even the SS's Sicherheitsdienst, which was under Reinhard Heydrich's leadership. As a member of the Schleicher faction, Bredow was sacked by the new Defence Minister, General Werner von Blomberg who replaced him with General Walter von Reichenau.[3] In the spring of 1934, Bredow was very much involved in Schleicher's attempt at a political comeback, displaying what Wheeler-Bennett called a "lack of discretion that was terrifying" as he went about casually showing anyone who was interested a proposed new cabinet list.[4] In Bredow's cabinet list, Hitler was to remain Chancellor, Schleicher was to serve as Vice-Chancellor, Ernst Röhm was to become Defence Minister, Gregor Strasser the Economics Minister and Heinrich Brüning the Foreign Minister.[5] In the overheated atmosphere in the spring of 1934, when it was a open secret that a rift had emerged between the SA and the Reichswehr, it was easy to misconstrue Bredow's scheming to change the cabinet as a plot to overthrow the Hitler government, and both Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler who were plotting against Röhm transformed Bredow's "irresponsible" intriguing into a gigantic plot to overthrow Hitler with the additional twist that the alleged conspiracy of Schleicher and Röhm had been organized by the French ambassador André François-Poncet.[6]

Bredow, along with Schleicher, was murdered in Berlin-Lichterfelde by SS men from the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler in the Night of the Long Knives. Bredow was drinking tea on the afternoon of 30 June 1934 at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin, when he heard about the murder of Schleicher that morning on the radio.[7] A foreign military attaché present offered Bredow the safety of his embassy, but Bredow refused, saying "I am going home. They have killed my Chief. What is there left for me?"[8] Later the day, Bredow answered his door at his house and was shot in the face at point-blank range and as Wheeler-Bennet noted "...in a moment he had joined his Chief".[9]

Awards and decorations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power The German Army in Politics 1918-1945, London: Macmillan, 1967 page 265.
  2. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power The German Army in Politics 1918-1945, London: Macmillan, 1967 page 266.
  3. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power The German Army in Politics 1918-1945, London: Macmillan, 1967 page 298.
  4. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power The German Army in Politics 1918-1945, London: Macmillan, 1967 pages 316.
  5. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power The German Army in Politics 1918-1945, London: Macmillan, 1967 pages 315-316.
  6. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power The German Army in Politics 1918-1945, London: Macmillan, 1967 pages 315-316.
  7. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power The German Army in Politics 1918-1945, London: Macmillan, 1967 page 324.
  8. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power The German Army in Politics 1918-1945, London: Macmillan, 1967 page 324.
  9. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power The German Army in Politics 1918-1945, London: Macmillan, 1967 page 324.