Gregor Strasser

Gregor Strasser (also Straßer , see ß ) ( Geisenfeld , Bavaria , Germany , 31 May of 1892 – Berlin , 30 of June of 1934 ) was a German politician, president of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1923-1925 on the occasion of imprisonment of Hitler as a result of the failure of the coup of Bürgerbräukeller (brewery beer Hall Putsch ) in November 1923. he was assassinated in Berlin during the night of the long knives .


Early years

Gregor Strasser was born, along with his brother Otto , into a Catholic family in Geisenfeld , a town in Upper Bavaria . After finishing his basic education and final exams, he worked as an apprentice in a pharmacy in Frontenhausen , Lower Bavaria , between 1910 and 1914. In that year he began his studies of Pharmacy at the Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen , Nuremberg , which he would abandon The same year to volunteer in the Reichswehr , the Army of the German Empire . Strasser fought in the First World War with the 1st Artillery Regiment at the foot of Bavaria on the Western Front , ascending to the rank of first lieutenant . He was decorated with the first and second class iron crosses .

In 1918 , finished the war, it continues its studies and in 1919 enters the Freikorps of Franz Ritter von Epp along with its brother Otto. In that same year it passes its examination of degree, and in 1920 begins to work like pharmacist in Landshut . In turn, he founded and led a movement called Sturmbataillon Niederbayern , where Heinrich Himmler served as an assistant . In mid-March 1920 the Strasser movement was ready to take part in Kapp’s failed coup . At the same time, his brother Otto commanded one of the socialist organizations of the time called Rote Hundertschaft , which opposed the putsch considering it a right- wing coup d’ etat.

Career in the NSDAP

Heinrich Himmler , Rudolf Hess , Adolf Hitler and Strasser in one of the few photographs in which they appear together. 1927.

Soon Gregor Strasser led a movement called the völkischer Wehrverband (Union for the Defense of the People), one of several nationalist paramilitary groups formed in the years of the Weimar Republic . He joined the NSDAP in 1921 , which had been founded in Munich a year earlier. In November of 1923 took an active part in the Putsch of Munich . After the failure of the coup was sentenced to a year and a half of prison, but he left free after a few weeks because 4 of May of 1924 had been chosen member of the parliament of Bavaria by the “Völkischer Block”, a close organization To National Socialism . OnDecember 7 of the same year, he became a member of the Third Reichstag as a representative of the unified German right-wing list of the Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) and the Nationalsozialistische Freiheitsbewegung (NSFB) , which served as a replacement organization for the NSDAP , Which had been outlawed since the Munich putsch . Strasser maintained that parliamentary position until December of 1932.

His parliamentary activity confronts him with Adolf Hitler and his supporters, staunch detractors of democracy. However, Strasser’s organizational capacity, which manages to make the leap out of Bavaria , earns 32 seats in the 1924 elections. One of the creators of this triumph was one of the members of the NSDAP closest to Strasser. Celebrated Joseph Goebbels , member by those years also of the wing more wing of the NSDAP. 1 Years later, Goebbels would become a faithful disciple of Hitler.

Unlike the future Führer, Strasser’s political conception was quite close to socialism , for it placed much emphasis on improving the living conditions of the working classes and solidarity with the oppressed peoples of the world. 2 Strasser is the one who creates a Nazi syndicate and who also advocates the creation of a national pension system, similar to the solidarity box that the NSDAP already had and which had yielded such good results. Strasser advocated respect for private property, but maintained that property must be both social and subject to the needs of the nation. I used to illustrate this with the example of military service, because being private and free the citizen still had the obligation to serve the community and even to die for it in cases of extreme emergency.

After the official refoundation of the NSDAP by Hitler, Strasser became the first gauleiter of Lower Bavaria / Upper Palatinate and, after the partition of this region, of Lower Bavaria until 1929. From 30 June 1926 until At the beginning of 1928 he was the Reichspropagandaleiter (Leader of the Reich for Propaganda) of the NSDAP and from January 1928 until December 1932 he held the position of Reichsorganisationsleiter (Reich Organization Leader). Strasser reorganized the whole structure of the NSDAP, both in its regional formation and in its vertical administration. The NSDAP thus became a strictly centralized organization, with its own control mechanisms and a high level of propaganda.

The reforms of Strasser

After 1925, Strasser’s organizational skills helped the NSDAP make the leap from being a marginal party of provinces to a popular movement with a presence throughout Germany , appealing to the lower classes and their tendencies towards socialism 3 The number Of affiliates of the NSDAP grew from 27,000 in 1925 to more than 800,000 in 1931. Strasser positioned the NSDAP in northern and western Germany as a powerful political association that soon gained more supporters than the party section controlled by Hitler in The south of the country. Moreover, he participated in the founding of the SA in Berlin , under the direction of Kurt Daluege in March 1926. The foreign organization of the party (NSDAP / AO) was also formed at the initiative of Strasser, and Hans Nieland assumed it as First leader on May 1, 1931. Together with his brother Otto he founded the Kampf-Verlag (Combat Editorial) in Berlin in March 1926, which published, among other documents, the weekly newspaper Der Nationale Sozialist (El Socialista Nacional ), Active from 1926 to 1930.

The brothers Strasser controlled the organization of the NSDAP in Berlin and developed an independent ideological profile that had the Bavarian Nazis, controlled by Hitler [ citation needed ] . They advocated (in principle with allies like Joseph Goebbels ) approach for anti – capitalist and socialist [ citation needed ] for the NSDAP, together with ideas , antisemitic and anti – Marxist . Together with the north- west federation of gauleiters ( Arbeitsgemeinschaft Nordwest ) under his leadership, Gregor Strasser created an instrument of support for the social, political and economic ideas of the left wing of the NSDAP [citation needed ] . However, the 14 of February of 1926 , Joseph Goebbels would change of side and Hitler would, through him, with the total control of the party [ citation needed ] . The dissolution of the union created by Gregor Strasser was ordered by an officer of Munich on 1 of July of 1926 . However, Strasser’s men would continue to exert great influence on the NSDAP to the extent that, with Hitler in power, he would appoint Finance Minister Hjalmar Schacht , a well-known economist member of the German Democratic Party (one of the two parties Liberals, along with the German Popular Party ) and alien to the Nazi circles.

Conflict with Hitler and death

Programmatic and personal rivalry with Hitler worsened dramatically when Reich’s Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher offered Strasser the vice-Chancellery and the post of Prime Minister of Prussia in December 1932 . Von Schleicher hoped to divide the NSDAP and, with Strasser, to bring together his left wing. Subsequent estimates by Strasser’s contemporaries suggest that of the 196 Reichstag Nazi congressmen , between 60 and 100 of them could have followed Strasser should he have broken openly with Hitler. 4

Von Schleicher’s plan failed, on the one hand because Strasser was not convinced of the need to break with Hitler, and on the other, because of Hitler’s own intervention, who once again managed to secure himself as the leader of the NSDAP and obtain The loyalty of its members, at a meeting of the NSDAP directive held in December 1932. Strasser then lost all positions and resigned all his positions in the Nazi organization chart on December 8, 1932. His position as a parliamentarian kept him Some time, mainly because without the immunity that this assured him, would have had to face the consequences of several judicial resolutions that condemned him on the matter of quarrels by insults.

In the midst of this, Strasser went on holiday to Italy , which meant an even greater loss of his position in the party and which has been described by the historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler as a very overwhelming demonstration of his political mediocrity. 5 Nevertheless, even in January 1933, Strasser was presented confidentially by Von Schleicher to Hindenburg (then head of the German State) as a potential vice-chancellor, a presentation that favored his image before the head of state. However, after the elections of Lippe January 15, culminating in an electoral triumph for the NSDAP and seemed to confirm the orientation of Hitler, Strasser was definitely marginalized, and from 30 of January of 1933 he retired from politics: With the consent of Hitler, assumed the position of director of the firm Schering Kahlbaum in Berlin . He was also president of the business association of the pharmaceutical industry. 6 He continued to work as a publicist. From June 1931 until February 4, 1933, he published the weekly newspaper Die Schwarze Front (Front Black) [ citation needed ] .

After receiving the gold medal from the NSDAP on June 23, 1934, 7 just seven days later, Strasser was arrested and taken to the Gestapo headquarters in Berlin . His detention was part of the purge of the NSDAP, which was officially called “Röhm-Putsch” ( Night of the Long Knives ), a “cleansing” action in which Hitler and other Nazi leaders assassinated political rivals Real or supposed of their own ranks, as well as other unpleasant people for the new regime. For Strasser the arrest would have been a surprise: at first he would have thought that Hitler sent him to reinstate him to the direction of the NSDAP. Contrary to this theory, however, is the 1951 statement of his former colleague Paul Schulz , in which he states that, after the Nazi election victory, Strasser would have said prophetically and frequently: “Hitler will tell us to kill, we We not have a natural death ” 8

Fritz Günther von Tschirschky , a collaborator of Hitler’s deputy foreign minister, Franz von Papen , who was also imprisoned on Prinz-Albrecht Street , writes in his memoirs that he witnessed Strasser’s assassination. According to him, Strasser was led by several SS agents through a narrow corridor in the underground of the Gestapo headquarters, which bordered on the temporary massive cell in which he would have been locked up and transferred to an individual cell. In the execution of Strasser, according to the witness, intervened directly Reinhard Heydrich next to two subordinates of the Gestapo, that initially shot through the peephole of the cell slightly injuring to this one; Then they entered the cell and shot him. Referring to Fig.

There, through three shots in the temple and two in the nape of the neck, Strasser would have been executed. 10 Tschirschky points out that he did not see the execution itself because the officials had closed the door between the corridor and the cell. Instead, the SS guard would have told him a few minutes later, “the pig has been terminated,” and would have shown how the execution occurred by staging it vividly, “illustrating it with his fingers.” 11 A few minutes later, bloody sacks would have been carried in sight of the prisoners, and a pool of blood, as well as some bullet holes, could be seen in the corridor. Tschirschky concludes from this that the executed was immediately dismembered in that same place of the murder and its corpse was transported by parts in these bags. 12

Strasser’s death was initially declared suicide. 13

His brother Otto Strasser managed to flee and survive the war, exiling first in Czechoslovakia and later in Canada . However, he returned to Germany after World War II , where he continued political activism until his death in 1974 .

In fiction

He is an important personage of the novel “The crin of Damocles”, of Javier Pérez Fernández , Prize Azorín of Novel in 2006 , and in “Thorn of the poppy”, of the same author, works that are developed around the political theses Of Strasser and his activity and leadership as president of the NSDAP during the imprisonment of Adolf Hitler .

Notes and references

  1. Back to top↑ Socialists Abandon NSDAP, Gregor Strasser
  2. Back to top↑ Socialists Abandon NSDAP, Gregor Strasser
  3. Back to top↑ Bamberg Program October 1925.
  4. Back to top↑ Kissenkötter, Udo: Gregor Strasser. P. 174., citing the Memoirs of Otto Strasser: Exil. München 1958, p. 65 and Franz von Papen. Der Wahrheit eine Gasse. München 1952, p. 244. In addition, according to a communication from gauleiter Kaufmann to Kissenkötter, on December 7 and 8, 1932, most of the gauleiters were willing to sign a list in favor of Strasser in order to strengthen his position against Hitler.
  5. Back to top↑ Wehler, Hans-Ulrich. Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte. Volume 4: Vom Beginn des ersten Weltkrieges bis zur Gründung der beiden deutschen Staaten 1914-1949 CH Beck Verlag, München 2003, p. 534
  6. Back to top↑ Udo Kissenkoetter: Gregor Strasser. S. 193.
  7. Back to top↑ Der Spiegel 12/1993, S. 105.
  8. Back to top↑ Paul Schulz’s affidavit of July 21, 1951: “Hitler wird uns umwingen lassen, wir werden keines natürlichen Todes sterben.” In Kissenkötter, Udo. Gregor Strasser und die NSDAP. P. 204.
  9. Back to top↑ Himmler, The leader of the SS and the Gestapo; Peter Padfield-pag. 198.
  10. Back to top↑ Fritz Günther von Tschirschky. Erinnerungen eines Hochverräters. 1972, p. 195.
  11. Back to top↑ Ibid
  12. Back to top↑ Ibid
  13. Back to top↑ Hein Höhne: Order unter dem Totenkopf. In: Der Spiegel. 45/1966, p. 93.