Kurt von Schleicher
(1882 - 1934)
Kurt von Schleicher, the son of a Prussian army officer,
was born in Brandenburg, Germany, on July 4, 1882. He joined the German
Army in 1900 and during the First World War was a general on the staff
of Paul von Hindenburg.
After the war Schleicher helped organize the Freikorps.
He remained close to Paul von Hindenburg and after he was elected as
president in 1925 Schleicher worked as his political adviser.
Schleicher was instrumental in helping Heinrich Brüning
become chancellor of Germany in March 1930. Later he switched his support
to Franz von Papen. Papen's
reactionary policies upset Kurt von Schleicher who favoured a coalition
of the center. When Schleicher managed to persuade several government
ministers to turn against Papen, Papen was forced from office in December, 1932.
Schleicher now became chancellor. In an attempt to
get the support of the center parties he tried to control the activities
of the Nazi Party. Adolf Hitler responded
to this by joining with Franz von Papen to oust Schleicher from power.
With the support of industrial leaders such as Hjalmar
Schacht, Gustav Krupp,
Alfried Krupp, Fritz Thyssen, Albert Voegler and Emile Kirdorf, Papen
persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Adolf Hitler as chancellor.
Papen, who became vice-chancellor, told Hindenburg that he would be
able to prevent Hitler from introducing his more extremist policies.
Hitler was determined to gain revenge on Schleicher
and during the Night of
the Long Knives, the Schutz
Staffeinel (SS) were sent to murder him. Kurt von Schleicher was
killed in his Berlin flat on June 30, 1934.