The appointment of Franz von Papen as chancellor (1932)


In his memoir, written in 1952, Franz von Papen recalls his appointment as German chancellor in mid-1932:

“On 26 May 1932 I received a telephone call from General von Schleicher who asked me to come to Berlin on an argent matter… He told me it was the President’s wish to form a cabinet of experts, independent of the political parties.

Bruning had insisted, so Schleicher told me. that he would never sit at the same table as the National Socialists… Hindenburg was also perturbed at the manner in which Bruning’s emergency financial decrees were depressing the standard of living of those dependent on pensions and investment income.

Schleicher left me in no doubt that he was acting as spokesman for the army, the only stable organisation in the State, preserved intact and free from party political strife by von Seeckt and his successors…” I have already suggested your name to the Old Gentleman”, Schleicher said, “and he is most insistent that you accept the post.”

Schleicher said, “I have already had a word with Hitler. I told him we would lift the ban on the Brown Shirts, providing they behaved themselves, and dissolve the Reichstag. He assured me that in return the Nazis would give the cabinet their tacit support.”