Kurt Hammerstein-Equord : Nazi Germany

Kurt Hammerstein-Equord : Nazi Germany



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Kurt Hammerstein-Equord was born in Hinrichshagen, Germany, on 26th September, 1878. He joined the German Army and was attached to the General Staff during the First World War.

A close friend of Kurt von Schleicher, Hammerstein-Equord was appointed Chief of the General Staff of the Reichswehr in 1930. He was extremely hostile to the Nazi Party and warned Paul von Hindenburg about the dangers of appointing Adolf Hitler as chancellor.

Hammerstein-Equord opposition to Hitler was well-known and in February, 1934, he was dismissed from office. During the Second World War he was involved in several plots to overthrow Hitler. Kurt Hammerstein-Equord died in Berlin on 25th April, 1943.


Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

Kurt Hammerstein-Equord was born in Hinrichshagen, Germany, on September 26, 1878. He joined the German Army and was attached to the General Staff during the First World War.

A close friend of Kurt von Schleicher, Hammerstein-Equord was appointed Chief of the General Staff of the Reichswehr in 1930. He was extremely hostile to the Nazi Party and warned Paul von Hindenburg about the dangers of appointing Adolf Hitler as chancellor. After his warning was ignored, Hammerstein tried to use the army to block Hitler's rise to power, but was prevented from doing so by Hindenberg.

Chancellor von Bruening called Hammerstein-Equord "the only man who could remove Hitler - a man without nerves." He also earned the nickname, "The Red General," for fraternizing with the trade unions.

Hammerstein-Equord's opposition to Hitler was well-known and, in February 1934, he was dismissed from office. During the Second World War he was involved in several plots to overthrow Hitler. In 1939, he tried repeatedly to lure Hitler into visiting a fortified base under his command along the Siegfried Line of the western front. He confided to retired former army chief of staff and leading conspirator Colonel-General Ludwig Beck that "a fatal accident will occur" when the fuehrer visits his base. But Hitler never accepted Hammerstein-Equord's invitation.

Later, Hammerstein-Equord was relieved of command by Hitler for his "negative attitude towards national socialism."

He died of cancer in Berlin on April 25, 1943.

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General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord

Post by Kingdom of Montenegro » 28 Jun 2008, 15:00

Kurt Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord (September 26, 1878 – April 25, 1943) was a German general who served for a period as Chief of Staff for the German Army. He is famous for being an ardent opponent of Hitler and the Nazi regime.
Born to an aristocratic family in Hinrichshagen, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Germany in 1878, Hammerstein-Equord joined the German Army on 15 March 1898. He was attached to the General Staff during World War I and participated in the Battle of Turtucaia. Hammerstein-Equord was loyal to the Weimar Republic, opposing the Kapp-Lüttwitz putsch in 1920. He served as Chief of Staff of the 3rd Division from 1924, as Chief of Staff of the I Group Command in 1929, and as Head of Troops in the Office Ministry of War from 1929. A close friend of Kurt von Schleicher, he was appointed Chief of the General Staff of the Reichswehr in 1930, replacing General Wilhelm Heye.

Hammerstein-Equord had a reputation for independence and indolence, favoring hunting and shooting over the labors of administration. He told his friends that the only thing that hampered his career was "a need for personal comfort". He was an aloof and sarcastic man, renowned for his cutting displays of disregard. Hammerstein-Equord regarded himself as a servant of the German state, not of its political parties. He was extremely hostile to the Nazi Party, referring to the Nazis as "that gang of criminals" and "those filthy pigs", the latter an allusion to the homosexual tendencies of some SA leaders. He earned the nickname, "The Red General," for fraternizing with the trade unions. Hammerstein-Equord personally warned Adolf Hitler in December 1932, against trying a coup by illegal means, promising that in that case he would give the order to shoot. He made reassurances to the same effect to the American Ambassador Frederic M. Sackett.

Hammerstein-Equord repeatedly warned President Paul von Hindenburg about the dangers of appointing Hitler as chancellor. In response, Hindenburg had assured Hammerstein-Equord, that "he would not even consider making that Austrian corporal the minister of defense or the chancellor". Scarcely four days later, on 30 January 1933, pursuant to a request by Hindenburg, Hitler formed a cabinet as the German Chancellor and Nazi leader, in coalition with the conservative German National People's Party. Owing to his opposition to Hitler, Hammerstein-Equord was forced to resign from his office on 31 January 1934. He was recalled to military service as General Officer Commanding Army Detachment A on 10 September 1939.

During World War II, Hammerstein-Equord was involved in several plots to overthrow Hitler. He tried repeatedly to lure Hitler into visiting a fortified base under his command along the Siegfried Line of the Western Front. He confided to retired former army chief of staff and leading conspirator Colonel-General Ludwig Beck that "a fatal accident will occur" when the Führer visits his base. But Hitler never accepted Hammerstein-Equord's invitation. He was transferred to command in Wehrkreis (Defense District) VIII in Silesia, then relieved of his command on personal orders by Hitler, for his "negative attitude towards Nazism". He became active in the German Resistance, working with Carl Friedrich Goerdeler. Hammerstein-Equord died of cancer in Berlin on April 25, 1943. His family refused an official funeral at Berlin Invalidenfriedhof Cemetery because this would have meant that his coffin would have been covered by the Reichskriegsflagge with the swastika. Thus, he was buried at the family's graveyard in Steinhorst/Lower Saxony. Hitler ordered to send a wreath with tie to condole, but unfortunately the wreath was not retrievable at the funeral because it had been "forgotten" in Berlin subway by Hammersteins family.

Heinrich Brüning, leader of the Catholic Center party, who served as German chancellor between 1930 and 1932, called Hammerstein-Equord "the only man who could remove Hitler — a man without nerves". According to the reminiscences of his son Kunrat von Hammerstein, Hammerstein-Equord resigned from the Club of Nobility when they threw out their non-Aryan members in 1934 or 1935, and spoke of "organized mass murder" of the Jews before the summer of 1942. He supplied his daughter Maria-Therese von Hammerstein-Paasche with the names of Jews who were scheduled for deportation or arrest, enabling her to warn or hide them. Two of his sons, Ludwig and Kunrat, took part in a failed plot to kill Hitler and replace the Nazi regime with a new government on 20 July 1944, fleeing Germany in its aftermath. His widow and two younger children were then deported to a concentration camp, and freed when the Allied Forces liberated the camps in 1945.


Nazi Germany

Night of the Long Knives

From 30 June 1934 Hitler implemented a program of large-scale arrests, murders, intimidation and elimination of suspected and known opponents, under the pretext of an imminent coup by SA-Chief Röhm. Some prominent opponents like Hammerstein and von Papen were not affected by the purge, possibly thanks to a personal request by Hindenburg, according to some historians. In a report conducted by communist agents, however, it is said that Hammerstein "is in these days, the center of Berlin officer circles". Comrades from the Ministry would have protected him, since they had feared at any moment his arrest". General von Witzleben demanded, together with the generals Wilhelm von Leeb, Gerd von Rundstedt and General Fritsch, now Chief Commander, a court-martial investigation of the murder of Schleicher and Bredow. Among those who protested the killing of their comrades were General Hans Oster.

Hammerstein and Field Marshal August von Mackensen first tried to reach Hindenburg personally to stop the purge. Failing that, they sent him a memorandum on 18 July 1934 in a blue file folder and therefore called Blue Book. According to others, it did not reach Hindenburg before his death. On 13 July 1934, Hitler tried to justify the purge in a Reichstag speech, notably accusing Schleicher and Bredow of subversive collaboration with Röhm and conspiracy with other countries for the purpose of a "national-Bolshevik coup". Blomberg doubted Hitler's claim and promised documentation. Hitler finally gave in: In a closed meeting of the peaks of government, party and Reichswehr to another topic Hitler said "studies" have shown that the generals Schleicher and von Bredow were shot "by mistake". However, all officers were forbidden to attend Schleicher's funeral. Defying this order, Hammerstein sought to attend the funeral and was enraged when the SS refused to allow him to attend the service and confiscated the wreaths that the mourners had brought.

Second World War

He was recalled to military service as the commander of Army Group A on 10 September 1939 but retired again on 21 September 1939. During World War II, Hammerstein-Equord was involved in several plots to overthrow Hitler, including in the run up of the failed plot of 20 July 1944. He tried repeatedly to lure Hitler into visiting a fortified base under his command along the Siegfried Line of the Western Front. He confided to retired former army chief of staff and leading conspirator Colonel-General Ludwig Beck that "a fatal accident will occur" when the Führer visited his base. Hitler never accepted Hammerstein-Equord's invitation. Instead, he was transferred to command in Wehrkreis (Defense District) VIII in Silesia, then relieved of his command on personal orders by Hitler for his "negative attitude towards National Socialism". He became active in the German Resistance.


‘Take a deep breath. It strengthens the lungs.’

Nestled against the side of a wooded slope, the camp at Belzec consisted of SS barracks, a small railway station and a series of compact buildings. As Gerstein watched, the latest transport of Europe’s Jews chugged to a stop. The camp commandant, Christian Wirth, a senior policeman who had put Hitler’s euthanasia program into such deadly practice, stood there to meet it.

Wirth was anxious, as he had a point to prove: He believed the fumes from the gasoline engine they had attached to the death chambers could kill more efficiently than Zyklon B, and he didn’t want to be shown to be wrong in front of the expert from Berlin.

The first part of the deadly ritual went according to Wirth’s plan: Hundreds of men, women and children were hurried out of the train and propelled by whips and shouts across the rough ground.

A loudspeaker told them that before they could be put to work they would have to take a shower.

The women and girls, taken first, were sent running through a channel between barbed wire to the Bade und Inhalationsräume, the bathing and inhalation rooms, where a fat SS man with a kindly face told them not to worry. 𠇊ll you have to do is take a deep breath. It strengthens the lungs𠅊 precaution against disease!”

As one woman of about 40 came up the steps, she turned to Gerstein and Wirth, and cursed her murderers. Wirth swung at her with his whip, and she was pushed inside.


Marriage and offspring

Kurt (Curt) Gebhard Adolf Philipp Freiherr von Hammerstein ("Hako", "Papus"), Protestant, married Maria (Luise) Freiin von Lüttwitz ("Ama", "Mietze") in Karlsruhe in 1907 , * March 11, 1886 in Schweidnitz † March 9, 1970 in Mutlangen , Catholic, daughter of General Walther von Lüttwitz and sister of the later General Smilo von Lüttwitz . This mixed denominational marriage had seven children:

  • Marie Luise (September 27, 1908–1999) ∞ I. Mogens von Harbou II. Ernst-Friedemann Freiherr von Münchhausen
  • Maria Therese (1909– January 21, 2000) ∞ Joachim Paasche
  • Helga (1913–2005) ∞ Walter Rossow
  • Kunrat (1918–2007) ∞ Ingrid Freiin von Lüttwitz
  • Ludwig (1919–1996) ∞ Dorothée Claessen
  • Franz (1921–2011) ∞ Verena Rordorf
  • Hildur (1923–2012) ∞ Ralph Zorn

Maria Paasche, Daughter Of German General Who Helped Jews Escape Nazis

2000-02-05 04:00:00 PDT San Francisco -- Maria Paasche, who helped Jews escape Nazi Germany and whose brothers and father tried unsuccessfully to keep Hitler from power, died January 21 in San Francisco of heart failure. She was 90. Mrs. Paasche, whose father was German Gen. Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, died at the Jewish Home for the Aged, where she lived for the last 2 1/2 years of her life. In the 129- year history of San Francisco's Jewish Home for the Aged, Mrs. Paasche was only the second gentile admitted -- a testimony to her family's history of helping Jews in Germany.

"We felt honored and privileged to take care of someone like Maria," said Sherie Koshover, the institution's director of community relations.

Mrs. Paasche was born outside of Berlin and raised in the city, where her father was chief of staff of the German Army from 1930 to 1933. An early opponent of Hitler, Hammerstein-Equord tried in January of 1933 to block Hitler's appointment as chancellor but was overruled by President Paul von Hindenburg. Historians have cited Hammerstein- Equord's effort as the last official resistance to Hitler's rise to power.

In 1939, Hammerstein-Equord repeatedly implored Hitler to visit the French front, where he planned to kill the German leader, but Hitler refused. Hammerstein-Equord, whose father-in-law was a German general, died in 1943 of cancer.

On July 20, 1944, two of Mrs. Paasche's younger brothers, Ludwig and Kunrat, participated in a plot to kill Hitler and form a new government. When the plot collapsed, the brothers went into hiding. Four members of Mrs. Paasche's family were arrested by the Gestapo in an attempt to make the brothers surface. Taken to concentration camps, the family members were freed by Allied forces at the end of World War II.

Before the war, Mrs. Paasche and her two sisters helped Jewish friends and others hide and leave Germany. They also passed along intelligence information that was useful in helping people escape arrest.

"She had Jewish friends, which was remarkable for the daughter of a German military family that lived in Berlin," said Gottfried Paasche, Mrs. Paasche's son. "They actually lived in military headquarters, which is now a Resistance museum."


How did Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord survive to die a natural death?

Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord died of cancer in 1943. Wikipedia describes him as an "undisguised" opponent of the Nazi regime. Several times during his career he openly antagonised the Nazi regime, once threatening Hitler not to execute a coup (in 1932) and being known by the German leadership to have a "negative attitude towards National Socialism" during WW2. His children variously worked for the German resistance, were members of the Communist party and actively worked to transport Jews out of Germany. I would assume, although I don't know, that German intelligence had some suspicion that his family weren't loyal supporters of the regime.

Yet he lived until he died of cancer in 1943, and was offered an official burial. Hitler even sent a wreath. His children, as far as I can tell, all survived the war. My question is how?

I understand there were political reasons he wasn't purged in 1934, but during the last 9 years of his life he seems to have given the Nazis multiple reasons to get rid of him. He was forced to resign his post a couple of times, but seems to have managed to regain enough trust to be placed in command at least twice and as far as I can tell his life was never threatened.


Should not Kurt von Hammerstein-Eqourd be the real leader of German Junta?

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HenricusRex

Sergeant

So after doing some reading I have realised that the one German general that had been of the right rank and the right ideological inclinations to lead a coup against the Nazis was Kurt von Hammerstein-Eqourd. Unlike Mackensen he was very vocal in his critique of Nazism and in the right age during the 1930s.

He was also known to be a skillfull general and oversaw alot of the reforms that ironically allowed the Nazis to expand the army in such a rapid pace.

If he had not been such an anti-nazi it is also possbile that he would have played an important role in the war.

So why is this man totally forgotten in the game? He is the guy that SHOULD lead the alt-historical anti-nazi rebellion.

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HenricusRex

Sergeant

Kapitalisti

Field Marshal

SeekTruthFromFx

Lt. General

How I have I never heard of this hero before?

And you're right, if we couldn't have an SPD-led Germany (very historically plausible), then this General von Hammerstein would have been a much better choice.

Xerberous

First Lieutenant

Content wise you're totally right, there are a bunch of people to lead the Junta, among them of course Hammerstein, but also for example Beck.

P.S.
There is a bunch of unplausible alt-historical BS which drives my blood pressure - but this is something for comrade Djatlow: Not great, not terrible. Yes, there are more plausible people, but the hat is actually cool.

Kimidf

Lt. General

Maybe they should have put in place a similar generic military junta to do in the Spanish case, not to focus on anyone in particular.

I think there would be another option to command the rebels, part of those commented that it was the most plausible option and that no one has thought that it would be Eric Ludendorff that was a name he came to hate Nazism in his last stage of his life and it was very well seen by both traditionalist military hierarchy as the conservative monarchical and nationalist German sectors


Notes

Translation of: Der Deutsche Generalstab.

"A Westview encore edition."

Reprint. Originally published: New York : Praeger, 1953.

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