Description

    Franz von Papen writes to G. S. Viereck in 1915 as he is about to leave for Germany after being ordered to leave the USA for spying, with 1933 document signed by Paul von Hindenburg and Franz Gürtner. Comprises: (1) Franz von Papen.Autograph Letter Signed: "F von Papen" in English, 2p, 5.75" by 6.75", front and verso. New York, December 16, 1915. To George Sylvester Viereck. In full: "Very many thanks for your kind invitation to tea, which I will follow with great pleasure. Your last article was excellent and I thank you very much for the proper way you handled my case. I expect to leave the 21st for the trenches, where soldiers are better needed than over here, and I will take with me as a splendid recollection the remembrance of these times where we stood and fought together in many a good battle for our invincible cause. The promised article follows. Kind regards." In a postscript, von Papen adds: "There is no reception - Gott sie Dank! [Thank God!]"

    Franz von Papen was German Military Attache in Washington from the outbreak of World War I until early December, 1915, when he was declared personne non gratae for unwarranted military and naval activities and ordered to leave the country. Five days before he left, he wrote this letter to German-American writer George Sylvester Viereck who, through his publications, "The International" and "The Fatherland," argued the German cause during World War I. During World War II, Viereck defended Nazism, was indicted for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, and was imprisoned from 1942-1947.

    When Franz von Papen returned to Germany in 1915, he first served as an officer on the western front and then, from 1917, as an officer at the general staff in the Middle East and as a major in the Turkish army in Palestine. After the war, he entered politics and was a member of the parliament of Prussia from 1921-1932. In the 1925 presidential elections, he supported Paul von Hindenburg who, in 1932, chose him as Chancellor to replace Heinrich Brüning, the leader of von Papen's own party. This was largely due to the influence of General Kurt von Schleicher, at the time Hindenburg's closest advisor. After two Reichstag elections increased the Nazis' strength in the Reichstag without substantially increasing von Papen's own parliamentary support, he was forced to resign as Chancellor, and was replaced on December 4, 1932, by Schleicher, who hoped to establish a broad coalition government by gaining the support of both Nazi and Social Democratic trade unionists but failed. An agreement was reached whereby Adolf Hitler would become Chancellor of a coalition government, with von Papen serving as Vice-Chancellor. Von Papen used his personal ties with 85-year-old Von Hindenburg to persuade him to dismiss Schleicher and appoint Hitler to the post on January 30, 1933. Under pressure from Hitler, von Papen resigned as Vice Chancellor in July, 1934, a month before von Hindenburg's death.

    (2) Paul von Hindenburg. Typewritten Document Signed: "von Hindenburg" as President of Germany, countersigned: "Dr Gürtner" by Franz Gürtner as Minister of Justice, 1p, 8.25" by 11.75". Neudeck, August 17, 1933. Ink blot on upper loop of "d" in signature. Embossed with the German seal at lower left. In German, with English translation. Von Hindenburg appoints Supreme Court Justice Vogt of Leipzig to be a judicial member and Supreme Court Justice Dr. Schultze to be a substitute judicial member of the Supreme Disciplinary Court at Leipzig. Franz Gürtner had served as Bavarian Minister of Justice from 1922-1932. In this post in 1924, he saw to it that the judiciary was lenient to Adolf Hitler during his trial following the Beer Hall Putsch, giving him a light sentence and ob From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection.taining Hitler's early release from Landsberg prison. Gürtner later persuaded the Bavarian government to legalize the banned Nazi party and allow Hitler to speak again in public.

    Franz Gürtner was appointed Germany's Minister of Justice by Chancellor von Papen in 1932 and continued in office under Hitler, serving until his death in 1941.

    Two important German documents linking three men who played important roles in the rise to power of Adolf Hitler. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
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