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Gregor Strasser

(1892 - 1934)

Gregor Strasser was an early leader of the German National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP) or Nazi Party. Strasser was eventually murdered on Party Leader Adolf Hitler's orders, as part of Hitler's consolidation of power.

Born to a Catholic family in Geisenfeld, (Upper Bavaria), he was educated and employed as a pharmacist. When World War I broke out, he served his country as a First Lieutenant and won the Iron Cross for bravery, as did many who would after the war become members of the Nazi party.

Strasser was a member of the Freikorps, until he joined the NSDAP and became a leading member of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) (Stormtroopers). He took part in the Beer Hall Putsch of November 8 and 9, 1923, and was imprisoned. In May 1924, after one and one half years, he was released due to having been elected to the Reichstag. During Adolf Hitler's imprisonment, he briefly led the party. Strasser is considered among the discoverers and promoters of Heinrich Himmler.

In 1925, he was appointed the party leader in northern Germany where he created the Stormtroopers or SA. Together with his brother Otto Strasser he took control of the National Socialist Arbeiter Zeitung, of which Hitler was later known to have disapproved. Many contemporary German sources see Otto and Gregor Strasser as having been advocates of social democracy, and opponents of Nationalism within the party.

Strasser was a committed socialist and social radical as was Ernst Röhm. Strasser saw a need to redistribute wealth in Germany and like Röhm, opposed Hitler's policy of catering to the country's major industrialists such as Emil Kirdorf, although it should be noted that he received no small amount of personal financial assistance from industrial "contacts" and various "gentleman clubs." His outspoken views led Kirdorf and others to reject the party for a time, causing a deep rift with Hitler and other leaders of the party.

In 1932, he was placed in charge of party organization. In December 1932, Paul von Hindenburg invited Kurt von Schleicher to become chancellor and invited Strasser to be his deputy. Schleicher hoped that in bringing Strasser in he might pull with him the entire left wing of the NSDAP. Hitler and Hermann Göring challenged the move claiming it was an attempt to create a split in the NSDAP. A meeting of high-ranking Nazi officials was held at which all present repudiated Strasser and declared themselves "ready to continue the fight at the sides of Hitler." To maintain party unity, Strasser resigned all party positions and found work in a large chemical firm.

On June 30 1934, the date known as "The Night of the Long Knives," Strasser was attacked in his home while having lunch by Nazi Party elements loyal to Hitler, and was taken to prison, where he was later shot.

Sources: What-Means.Com. This article is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License