Heinrich Claß

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Heinrich Claß

Heinrich Claß (February 29, 1868, Alzey – April 16, 1953, Jena) was a German right-wing politician and president of the Pan-German League from 1908 to 1939. He is commonly known for his books about far-right policy, written under the pseudonym Daniel Frymann or Einhart. The most famous of these was his 1912 book Wenn ich der Kaiser wär' (If I were the emperor), in which he agitates for imperialism, Pan-Germanism and Antisemitism.

Claß studied law at the Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Freiburg and the University of Giessen up to 1891. In 1894, he settled in Mainz as a lawyer. In 1897, he became a member of the Pan-German League, where he was elected to the directorate in 1901. After becoming the president in 1908, he began to change the direction of the League to more radical positions. Thus, he came into sharp conflict with Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, especially in the Agadir Crisis in 1911, where the League showed its radical positions. In the same year, he was one of the founding members of the German Army Society, trying to push the armament of Germany.

During World War I, Claß clamoured for the annexion of Belgium. In 1917, he founded the German Fatherland Party together with Alfred von Tirpitz and Wolfgang Kapp.

After 1918, Claß met Adolf Hitler and supported his putsch in 1923. In 1931, he was one of the founding members of the Harzburg Front. From 1933 to 1939, Claß was a member of the NSDAP in the Reichstag. It's noteworthy that Claß's radical imperialism and Pan-Germanism as well as his Antisemitism had a significant influence on the Nazis.


  • Bilanz eines neuen Kurses. – Berlin : Alldt. Verl., 1903
  • (as Einhart): Deutsche Geschichte. – Leipzig : Diederich, 1909
  • (as Daniel Frymann): Wenn ich Kaiser wär ... : politische Wahrheiten und Notwendigkeiten. – Leipzig : Dieterich, 1912 (from 1925 known as Das Kaiserbuch)
  • West-Marokko deutsch!. – Munich : Lehmann, 1911
  • Wider den Strom : vom Werden und Wachsen der nationalen Opposition im alten Reich. – Leipzig : Köhler, 1932
  • Zum deutschen Kriegsziel : eine Flugschrift. – Munich : Lehmann, 1917

Further reading[edit]

  • Chickering, Roger (1984). We Men Who Feel Most German: Cultural Study of the Pan-German League, 1886-1914. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-0049430303.
  • Leicht, Johannes (2012). Heinrich Claß 1868–1953. Die politische Biographie eines Alldeutschen (in German). Paderborn: Schöningh. ISBN 978-3-506-77379-1.

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