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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.

Sources: Spartacus