Franz Guertner was born in Regensburg and studied
law at the University of Munich. He fought for Germany in World
War I and he received the Iron Cross for his bravery. He continued
his law career after the war.
In 1922, Guertner was made Bavarian Minister of Justice.
His career success continued and, in 1932, he was appointed Reich Minister
of Justice for the Nazi regime. Before the Nazi rise to power, Guertner made his support for
the party clear. He aided the Nazis in the courtroom, ensuring an easy
sentence for the defendants in the Beer-Hall
Putsch trial. Guertner actually allowed Hitler to have reign of the courtroom, where he gained an increasing amount
of popularity. After Hitler's sentencing, Guertner had his sentence
After Guertner's appointment as Reich Minister of Justice,
he created a constitution for the Nazi government. Guertner did not
support the violent behavior of Hitler's Secret Police, and he tried
to keep the courthouse unbiased so that SA members could be convicted of crimes. At the same time, however,
Guertner had already transformed the judicial system into a Nazi-ruled
branch of the government. Hitler was able to pardon all convicted members
of his SA.
By the beginning of World
War II, the entire Ministry
of Justice had lost its power. Guertner realized this, but remained
Reich Minister of Justice in hopes of having some control over the Nazis.
Of course, Guertner was unable the weaken the Nazi Party and, while
remaining in office, Guertner actually helped the Nazis to implement
the Final Solution by removing
any obstacles that remained in the way of their plan.
Guertner died in January 1941.