Fritz Wiedemann

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Fritz Wiedemann (16 August 1891 in Augsburg – 17 January 1970 in Postmünster) was a German soldier and Nazi Party activist. He was for a time the personal adjutant to Adolf Hitler, having served with him in World War I.[1][2][3]

War service[edit]

Wiedemann and Hitler first came into contact during the First World War when Hauptmann Wiedemann, as regimental adjutant, was Corporal Hitler's superior.[4][5] Along with Max Amann he was one of Hitler's strongest supporters in the regiment, nominating him for the Iron Cross, First Class on a number of occasions before the medal was given in 1918.[6] Whilst giving evidence at the Nuremberg Trials, Wiedemann suggested that Hitler had failed to gain promotion in the regiment due to commanding officers viewing him as a 'Bohemian'.[7][8]

Hitler's adjutant[edit]

After the war Wiedemann left the army and became a farmer, initially refusing an offer from Hitler at the regimental reunion in 1922 to help organise the Sturmabteilung (SA).[9] However, when Hitler came to power in 1933 Wiedemann accepted a new offer, initially in the offices of Rudolf Hess before taking up his post at Hitler's side, as well as Nazi Party membership, on 2 February 1934.[10] From then on Wiedemann remained at Hitler's side, accompanying him on state visits, facilitating meetings and dealing with Hitler's correspondence.[11][12] He also attended a meeting with Lord Halifax in July 1938 in which Wiedemann made it clear that Hitler intended to deal with the problem of the Sudetenland by force.[13][14]

Diplomatic service[edit]

Not long after this Wiedemann fell out of favour[15] with Hitler as his rival Julius Schaub became the more important adjutant.[16] After trysting with Stephanie von Hohenlohe,[17] he was "exiled", in January 1939, to San Francisco as a Consul General to the United States.[18][19] In public, Wiedemann continued to support Nazism[4] and apparently led a playboy[20] lifestyle which included attendance at society parties, membership of the exclusive Olympic Club and regular appearances[21][22] in the columns of Herb Caen.[23][4]

Allegations leveled in a case[24][25][26][27] filed at the city's Federal District Court in 1941 also suggested that he worked on pro-Nazi initiatives with Henry Ford.[28] In private, however, Wiedemann broke entirely with Nazism. He met with the British agent Sir William Wiseman, warning him of Hitler's unstable personality and urging Britain to attack Germany.[29][30][31] He also offered to publicly denounce the German regime, but the White House at that time had no interest in such an offer.[32][33][34]

Thomas Weber[35] has found the records of Wiedemann's talks with him in 1940 in which Wiedemann openly warned against Hitler and claimed Hitler had a "split personality and numbered among the most cruel people in the world, saw himself better than Napoleon and that peace with him was impossible." He told Wiseman of Hitler's plans to attack and conquer the UK and "recommended strongly" that the British themselves strike as quickly and as "hard as possible" against him.

He told Wiseman that the morale of the German population and the support of Hitler were lower than generally believed. Thomas Weber[35] said if Hitler had known about Wiedemann's "treason," he would have given him the death penalty.[36][37][38][39][40][41]

China[edit]

Wiedemann was subsequently[32][27] sent[42] to Tientsin where he was a central figure in German espionage in China,[43] apparently this time without betraying Hitler.[44][45][46]

Post-War[edit]

After the Second World War, Wiedemann was arrested in Tientsin, China, in September 1945, and flown to the United States.[47] He gave evidence at Nuremberg[48][49][50] although charges made against him were dropped in 1948 and he subsequently returned to farming, disappearing from public life.[51][37]

Some 7,000 personal and semiofficial papers of Fritz Wiedemann, one-time company commander in the infantry regiment in which Adolf Hitler served as corporal and later personal adjutant to Hitler, have been acquired by the Library.
Library of Congress, 1949[52]

In 2012 it was claimed that Wiedemann helped to save Hitler's Jewish commanding officer, Ernst Hess. Hess's daughter Ursula, by then 86 and still living in Germany, stated in an interview with the Jewish Voice that her father had met Wiedemann, with whom he served in the First World War, by chance and that when he later became Hitler's adjutant he had been able to secure concessions for Hess that were not otherwise open to Jews.[53][54][55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harold Charles Deutsch, Hitler and his Generals: The Hidden Crisis, January–June 1938, U of Minnesota Press, 1974, p. 41
  2. ^ "Fritz Wiedemann 30/1947". DER SPIEGEL. 25 July 1947. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Current History". New York Times Company. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b c Inc, Time (26 June 1939). "LIFE". Time Inc. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Thomas Weber, Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War, Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 96
  6. ^ Thomas Weber, Hitler's First War, p. 215
  7. ^ Otis C. Mitchell, Hitler's Stormtroopers and the Attack on the German Republic, 1919–1933, McFarland, 2008, p. 36
  8. ^ Fischer, Klaus P. (29 August 1995). Nazi Germany: A New History. Continuum. ISBN 978-0-8264-0797-9. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Thomas Weber, Hitler's First War, pp. 260–1
  10. ^ Thomas Weber, Hitler's First War, p. 293
  11. ^ Macklin, Graham (29 August 2017). Chamberlain. Haus Publishing. ISBN 978-1-904950-62-2. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ Thomas Weber, Hitler's First War, pp. 293-4
  13. ^ Criminality, United States Office of Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis (29 August 2017). "Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression". U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ "The United States News". U.S. News Publishing Corporation. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Billington, David P. (1 January 2006). Lothian: Philip Kerr and the Quest for World Order. Praeger Security International. ISBN 978-0-313-32179-5. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Fabrice d'. Almeida, High Society in the Third Reich, Polity, 2008, p. 69
  17. ^ "October 28, 1941 Memorandum on Stephanie von Hohenlohe for U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt" from ?, Safe files, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, hosted at Marist University, accessed 18 May 2013
  18. ^ W G Krivitsky, In Stalin's Secret Service, READ BOOKS, 2007, p. 20
  19. ^ "HD Stock Video Footage – German diplomats, Captain Fritz Wiedemann and Doctor Johannes Bacher arrive at La Guardia Airport in New York City". www.criticalpast.com. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  20. ^ "SFlashback: The Nazi Princess of Pacific Heights – SFLUXE". sfluxe.net. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  21. ^ "76 years ago, a Nazi flag flew in SF – and locals cheered the man who tore it down". sfgate.com. 27 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  22. ^ "Nazi Consulate once called the Whittier Mansion in San Francisco home". sfgate.com. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  23. ^ Starr, Kevin (23 May 2002). Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, 1940–1950. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-512437-8. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ Zacharias, Ellis (15 March 2014). Secret Missions: The Story of an Intelligence Officer. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-61251-769-8. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  25. ^ "200: An unexpected error has occurred".
  26. ^ "Madera Tribune 20 February 1941 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". cdnc.ucr.edu. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  27. ^ a b "Political Affairs". New Century Publishers. 29 August 1968. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  28. ^ David L. Lewis, The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company, Wayne State University Press, 1976, p. 152
  29. ^ Thomas Weber, "Hitlers erster Krieg", List Taschenbuch, 2012
  30. ^ oupblog (2 February 2011). "Thomas Weber – Hitler's First War". Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via YouTube.
  31. ^ "Intelligence papers reveal Hitler's close ally sought help from British to conspire against him – News – The College of Arts and Social Sciences – The University of Aberdeen". webcache.googleusercontent.com. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  32. ^ a b "FRITZ WIEDEMANN QUITS ARGENTINE FOR JAPAN TODAY (September 17, 1941)". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  33. ^ Hadden, Briton (29 August 2017). "Time". Time Incorporated. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  34. ^ Lewis, David Lanier (29 August 1976). The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8143-1553-8. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  35. ^ a b "Professor THOMAS WEBER – Staff Profile – The School of Divinity, History and Philosophy – The University of Aberdeen". www.abdn.ac.uk. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  36. ^ "Hitler's chief aide urged British to topple him or peace would be impossible". yahoo.com. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  37. ^ a b "Hitler's chief aide urged British to topple him or peace would be impossible – Indian Express". webcache.googleusercontent.com. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  38. ^ "Nazi aide warned Britain about "mad" Hitler". The Hindu. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  39. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg (17 August 2012). "Dokumentenfund: Hitlers Front-Vorgesetzter konspirierte mit Briten – SPIEGEL ONLINE – Panorama". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  40. ^ "Intelligence papers reveal how Hitler's close ally sought the help of the British to conspire against – News – The University of Aberdeen". www.abdn.ac.uk. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  41. ^ "Hitler aide urged allies to help". PressReader : The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition). 2012-08-18. Archived from the original on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  42. ^ "The China Monthly Review". J.W. Powell. 1 September 1941. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  43. ^ Ellis M. Zacharias, Secret Missions: The Story of an Intelligence Officer, Naval Institute Press, 2003, p. 193>
  44. ^ Williams, Wythe; Narvig, William Van (29 August 2017). "Secret Sources: The Story Behind Some Famous Scoops". Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  45. ^ Teng, Ssu-yü; Zhou, Nianci (September 11, 1943). "Translations of text selections and exercises in Newspaper Chinese by the inductive method". The University of Chicago Press – via Google Books.
  46. ^ Dunlop, Charles (January 11, 1941). "The South American Journal". Latin American Trade – via Google Books.
  47. ^ United Press, "Fritz Wiedemann Rates Plane as Sailors Barred", The San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Friday 28 September 1945, Volume 52, page 1.
  48. ^ "Memorandum for Justice Jackson / Subject: Captain Fritz Wiedemann, German Consul General". lawcollections.library.cornell.edu. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  49. ^ "The Testimony of Fritz Wiedemann / Headquarters / Office of Strategic Services / China Theater / TOP SECRET". lawcollections.library.cornell.edu. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  50. ^ "The Testimony of Fritz Wiedemann / Headquarters / Office of Strategic Services / China Theater / TOP SECRET". lawcollections.library.cornell.edu. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  51. ^ Ernst Klee, Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich. Wer war was vor und nach 1945, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Zweite aktualisierte Auflage, Frankfurt am Main 2005, p. 675.
  52. ^ Congress, Library of (29 August 2017). "Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions". Retrieved 29 August 2017 – via Google Books.
  53. ^ "Hitler protected Jewish World War One veteran: letter". Reuters. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  54. ^ "Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek". portal.dnb.de. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  55. ^ "Verhandlungen des Deutschen Reichstags". www.reichstag-abgeordnetendatenbank.de. Retrieved 29 August 2017.

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