Talk:Franz von Papen

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On the Reichsmordweche, the Nazi's killed his secretary and his speech writer. He then goes on to become the ambassodor for the Nazi regime. This man has something serious wrong with his upstairs. If someone killed the people working under me, I would work for their destruction and escape from them. There is something psycologically wrong with all these people that continued to help the regime when it went around killing others of their own kind. This is absolutely ludicrous. This is a sign of the times. This is unbelievable. To act as an ambassodor after these people killed your secretary and your speech writer, Von Papen needs a head examination. That man is not thinking right. It is a mark of inconsistencies. The mark that Socrates saw. The mystery of iniquity. I am beside myself in stupefication.WHEELER 16:17, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I conducted an unofficial survey of friends and co-workers about von Papen's attitude. They all practically said it was normal. Everyone is out for themselves. I find it strange and unreal. If I had some grants to research this---this could turn into a book. This characteristic of Von Papen is the character of all of Germany and the secret to understanding the Third Reich. Von Papen was a nihilist. There are several forms of nihilism, liberalism, realism, vitalism. It was a majority of teachers that joined the Nazi party. They were liberals, they taught the German people liberalism, nihilism. This is what this is all about.WHEELER 13:56, 16 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Some Additional Perspectives[edit]

One author who wrote in some detail about von Papen, the late British politician Airey Neave, was distinguished by having encountered this man (and the other principal indicted Nazi war criminals) by virtue of having served on the British Military War Crimes Executive. indeed, Neave was chosen to serve the indictment to von Papen and the other leading Nazis in their cells at Nuremberg. Neave's book, Nuremberg : A Personal Record of the Trial of the Major Nazi War Criminals (Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-18128-1) discusses von Papen in the chapter entitled A Tale of Two Gentlemen (pp. 145-159), beginning halfway down page 148. Neave describes von Papen (in a style that leaves no doubt as to how he regarded von Papen) with a range of tersely dismissive comments regarding both von Papen's competence and character. Typical quotes include:

  • "I felt a sense of genuine amusement at meeting him, since Franz von Papen was best known to me as a man who had frequent trouble with confidential documents. To many of the public he was known for little else. He was thought to be a dilettante, a joke figure in politics. The older generation remembered him for his incompetence as a spy-master in the United States during the First World War." (p.148)
  • " His efforts at sabotage were amateurish in the extreme. He gave 500 dollars to a man named Werner Horn to blow up Vanceborough Bridge in Canada but the man was arrested on the border." (p.148)
  • "Unreliable though his memoirs may be, they describe his worst gaffe in the United States, which also involved Dr Heinrich Albert, Finanacial Adviser to the German Embassy in Washington. Albert was using funds collected for the German Red Cross to help finance von Papen's interest in the Bridgeport Projectile Company (a dummy company set up specifically with the aim of swallowing up the output of American arms manufacturers to prevent said output falling into British hands - my addition). Albert fell asleep in a train in New York with a briefcase full of plans and letters involving von Papen. When he left the train at 50th Street, he forgot the briefcase. Suddenly remembering, he rushed back only to see a man racing off with it in a taxi." (p.149)
  • "Among his associates in America was the equally incompetent naval intelligence officer Captain von Rintelen, author of The Dark Invader. Rintelen was sent by the German Navy in 1915 to organise strikes among American longshoremen and the placing of bombs in ships. If von Papen was careless, Rintelen seems to have been slightly cracked." (p.151)
  • "Rintelen's fury against von Papen knew no bounds. In The Dark Invader he described him as a 'foolish and stupid intriguer'. A more serious accusation was that his capacity for losing xecret documents on plans for rebellion in Ireland and India and sabotage in the United States, led to the imprisonment or execution of German agents." (pp.151-152)
  • "From an early age he had no doubts about his own importance, The statement which he made to me that afternoon (during the serving of the indictment) was exquisite. "I cannot understand why I find myself in this postiion, Herr Major". (Neave replies) "Why not read the indictment and you will see" ... von Papen was slow to realise his true position at Nuremberg. He wrote to his wife after my visit saying that he expected the proceedings to last two or three days and that he would be with her by the end of November." (p.152)
  • (On the subject of von Papen's appointment as Chancellor - Neave quotes the French Ambassador) : "The appointment was at first greeted with incredulous amazement; when the news was confirmed, everyone smiled. There is something about Papen that prevents either his friends or his enemies from taking him seriously; he bears the stamp of frivolity; he is not a personality of the first rank. He is one of those people who are considered capable of plunging into a dangerous adventure; they pick up every gauntlet, accept every wager. If he succeeds in an undertaking he is very pleased; if he fails it doesn't bother him." (pp.153-154)
  • "Hindenburg's devious confidant, General Kurt von Schleicher, kept von Papen in power till his resignation on November 17th. It is said that when people portested that von Papen had no head for administration von Schleicher replied 'He doesn't need a head, his job is to be a hat'." (p.154)
  • He could not bear not to be in the game, even if he didn't like his fellow players." (p.156)
  • " ... his conscience was elastic ..." (p.157)
  • (Recalling the diagnosis of Dr Douglas M. Kelley, the Nuremberg prison psychiatrist) "Von Papen's attitude is perfectly rational ... except for his inability to abide by the accepted code of honesty and loyalty, either in word or in act." (p.159)

Von Papen wrote a book, entitled simply Memoirs, which was published in 1952 by André Deutsch. in a footnote on page 149, Neave makes the following observation:

  • Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, who knew von Papen, considered his memoirs "remarkable for for their mendacity than their historical value".

The view of both Neave and Wheeler-Bennett seems to be that von Papen inhabited a kind of magic circle within which he was insulated from the consequences of both his incompetence and his character defects. They also describe him as having a fundamentally complacent personality, citing his surprise at the chain of subsequent events following his being declared persona non grata by the American administration. Apparently even after this, and after the public scandal following the publication of the Albert papers outlining his plans for espionage in the United States (the Albert papers were the principal ammunition used by the Americans in their decision), von Papen travelled on a liner accompanied by a swathe of top secret documents relating to his and other German agents' activities, without even taking elementary security precautions, only for his luggage to be searched by the British Secret Service when the liner docked at Falmouth. These included cheque stubs for sums of money paid to assorted saboteurs, and a payment made to an agent called Hoegen, bearing the legend "Dum dum inquiry". As Neave said after describing this (p. 151), "It can be imagined what Allied propagandists were able to do with this information".

Neave encountered von Papen on a number of occasions during the Nuremberg trial, and makes a brief mention, for example, of the difference in perceptions between von Papen and most other observers at Nuremberg on the quality of von Papen's chosen defence counsel. von Papen regarded him highly, while most of the legally trained persons present at the Tribunal (including Neave himself) regarded von Papen's counsel as utterly dreadful. Anyone seeking clues as to why this man behaved as he did under Hitler will discover a rich seam to be mined in Neave's book. Calilasseia 23:55, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Header levels[edit]

Someone at changed the heading Vice Chancellor and Ambassador under Hitler from a second-level heading to a third-level header, thereby placing it under the Chancellorship second level heading. This is incorrect, as von Papen's chancellorship ended in December 1932, a month before Hitler was named as Germany's chancellor. Unless someone objects, I am going to revert the edit; von Papen's work under Hitler was not part of von Papen's chancellorship and therefore does not fit temporally into that section. — JonRoma 17:52, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

I have made the above change. — JonRoma 05:25, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Imperial Chancellor of Germany[edit]

In the third paragraph Hitler is described as the Imperial Chancellor of Germany. What empire? Was the title still going 15 years after Germany lost it's pre WWI empire? GrahamBould 07:48, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

It is a misleading translation of the title "Reichskanzler", which was the official title 1871 to 1945 - it has nothing to do with a colonial Empire (as Graham takes the word) but with the name of the German nation state "Deutsches Reich", which actually can mean a Königreich (King-dom) or a Kaiserreich (Empire) - since it was presided over by an Emperor the term Empire is used in English. Since the state only changed its form of government in 1918 and was not replaced by some other entity, the name Deutsches Reich stuck (it did not explicitly indicate monarchy) and hence so did the title Reichskanzler. Str1977 (smile back) 15:10, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Str1977. GrahamBould 16:27, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

The Survivor[edit]

Von Papen's life and career (or careers) represent the most awesome and unbelievable example of the true survivor in modern times. This man worked for the Kaiser, for the Weimar Republic, for the Nazis, and continued to thrive in the post-war era. This is the stuff of which movies are made. When one reflects on the fact that he was slated for execution on the Night of the Long Knives, but escaped out the back door of his house, then, instead of fleeing the country, goes back to Hitler and extracts an Ambassadorship to Vienna, one has to admire his pluck! Even William Shirer, in his "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" seemed to sense this. He describes the Nazis being brought in to the courtroom as being defeated, ruined men, with the vacant stare of the shattered men they were, except von Papen, still had "the look of the old fox about him." And he was acquitted! Amazing. He may have been foolish, misled, shallow, unreflective, or any other pejorative adjective one may concoct, but his ability to survive and thrive is second to none in recorded history. 01:15, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

How can you admire this nazicollaborator?! (talk) 15:56, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Saving Jews[edit]

The reader will wonder why von Papen was acquitted at Nuremberg (the explanation given is sparse) and why John XXIII restored his Catholic honors afterward. Some mention should be made that von Papen, working with Cardinal Roncalli (the future John XXIII) saved as many as 24,000 Jews during the Holocaust, and that this was attested to by Roncalli before the Nuremberg tribunal. (talk) 16:18, 10 August 2013 (UTC)captcrisis

  • Euh? Are you proofs of that? Von Papen was a nazicollaborator; but, a surplus, a cathollic and papist passionate; there is the cause of his aquittement! --Morenohijazo (talk) 18:45, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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The large box containing the names, positions, and tenures of members of von Papen's government serves no real purpose. Only two of them are mentioned in the text. I propose to remove it-- it may belong in an article on that government, but is an unnecessary distraction here. Kablammo (talk) 02:58, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

I removed the table. Kablammo (talk) 17:51, 16 November 2016 (UTC)