Gregor Strasser

Gregor Strasser (also German: Straßer, see ß; 31 May 1892 – 30 June 1934) was an early prominent German Nazi official and politician who was murdered during the Night of the Long Knives in 1934. Born in 1892 in Bavaria, Strasser served in World War I in an artillery regiment, rising to the rank of first lieutenant. He joined the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in 1920 and quickly became an influential and important figure. In 1923, he took part in the abortive Beer Hall Putsch in Munich and was imprisoned, but released early on for political reasons. Strasser joined a revived NSDAP in 1925 and once again established himself as a powerful and dominant member, hugely increasing the party's membership and reputation in northern Germany. Personal and political conflicts with Adolf Hitler led to his death in 1934 during the Night of the Long Knives.

Gregor Strasser
Bundesarchiv Bild 119-1721, Gregor Strasser
Gauleiter of Munich & Bayreuth
In office
26 February 1925 – 1 November 1929
LeaderAdolf Hitler
Succeeded byAdolf Wagner (Munich)
Hans Schemm (Bayreuth)
Member of the Reichstag
In office
7 December 1924 – 6 November 1932
ConstituencyUpper Bavaria
Member of the Bavarian Landtag
In office
4 May 1924 – 7 December 1924
Personal details
Born31 May 1892
Geisenfeld, Bavaria, German Empire
Died30 June 1934 (aged 42)
Berlin, Germany
Political partyVölkischer Block (1922–1925)
Nazi Party (1925–1932)
Military service
Allegiance German Empire
 Weimar Republic
Branch/service Bavarian Army
Years of service1914–1919
Battles/warsWorld War I
German Revolution
AwardsIron Cross

Early life

Gregor Strasser was born on 31 May 1892 into the family of a Catholic judicial officer who lived in the Upper Bavarian market town of Geisenfeld.[1][2] He grew up alongside his younger brother Otto, who was considered the more intellectual of the two.[3] He attended the local Gymnasium and after his final examinations, served an apprenticeship as a pharmacist in the Lower Bavarian village of Frontenhausen from 1910 until 1914.[2]

World War I

When war broke out in Europe in 1914, Strasser suspended his studies at Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich to enlist as a volunteer in the German Imperial Army. He served in the 1st Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment, rising to the rank of Oberleutnant and winning the Iron Cross of both classes for bravery.[2][4] In 1918, he resumed his studies at Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen-Nuremberg. He passed his state examination in 1919 and in 1920, he started work as a pharmacist in Landshut.[1]

Paramilitary career

In 1919, Strasser and his brother joined the right-wing Freikorps led by Franz Ritter von Epp.[5] The aim of the group was to suppress Communism in Bavaria. He established and commanded the Sturmbataillon Niederbayern ("Storm Battalion Lower Bavaria"), with the young Heinrich Himmler employed as his adjutant.[2] Strasser was well known for his enormous stature, commanding personality, and his boundless organizational energy.[6] By March 1920, Strasser's Freikorps was ready to participate in the failed Kapp Putsch, whereas his brother Otto had turned to the left of the political spectrum and helped combat this right-wing coup d'état.[2]

The Strasser brothers advocated an anti-capitalist social revolutionary course for the NSDAP, which at the same time was also strongly antisemitic and anti-communist.[7]

Political career

Hitler 1928 crop
Hitler and other top SA officials at a party rally, 1928

Nazi Party activities

By 1920, Strasser, and his paramilitary group had joined forces with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party (NSDAP), another far-right political party seated in Munich.[1][4] During the autumn of 1922, Strasser officially became a member of the NSDAP and the SA.[3] Strasser's leadership qualities were soon recognized and he was appointed as regional head of the Sturmabteilung ("Storm Detachment"; SA) in Lower Bavaria.[8] In November 1923, he took an active part in the unsuccessful Beer Hall Putsch, a coup attempt by Hitler and Ludendorff against the Weimar Republic. He was tried with other putschists shortly after Hitler's trial, convicted of aiding and abetting high treason—his actual arrest was for attempting to recruit soldiers for the NSDAP, which had been outlawed[6]—on 12 May and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and a small fine.[9]

After a few weeks Strasser was released because he had been elected a member of the Bavarian Landtag for the NSDAP-associated "Völkischer Block" on 6 April and 4 May (in the Palatinate) 1924, respectively.[10] In December 1924 Strasser won a seat for the "völkisch" National Socialist Freedom Movement in the Reichstag. He represented the constituency Westphalia North.[11]

Because Strasser led up to 2,000 men in Landshut and was overworked, he began looking for an assistant.[12] Heinrich Himmler, who obtained the job, was tasked with expanding the organization in Lower Bavaria.[13] After the refoundation of the NSDAP by Adolf Hitler on 26 February 1925, Strasser became the first Gauleiter of Lower Bavaria[14] and Upper Palatinate. After the partition of this Gau, he was Gauleiter of Lower Bavaria from October 1928 until 1929.[15] From September 1926 until the end of December 1927, he was the NSDAP's national leader for propaganda.[16]

Role in NSDAP's national organisation

After 1925, Strasser's organizational skills helped transform the NSDAP from a marginal south-German splinter party into a nationwide party with mass appeal.[15][7] Due to the public-speaking ban issued against Hitler, Strasser had been deputized (by Hitler) to represent the party in the north and speak.[17] Through much of 1925, Strasser took full advantage of his liberties as a member of the Reichstag; using his free railroad passes,[17] he traveled extensively throughout northern and western Germany appointing Gauleiters, setting up party branches, and delivering numerous public speeches.[18] Lacking Hitler's oratorical gifts to move the masses, Strasser's personality alone was nonetheless sufficient to influence an audience.[19] His concerted efforts helped the northern party so much that before the end of 1925, there were some 272 local NSDAP chapters compared to the 71 that existed prior to the failed putsch.[20] Strasser's brand of socialism is discernible from a speech he made to the Reichstag in November 1925:

We National Socialists want the economic revolution involving the nationalization of the economy...We want in place of an exploitative capitalist economic system a real socialism, maintained not by a soulless Jewish-materialist outlook but by the believing, sacrificial, and unselfish old German community sentiment, community purpose and economic feeling. We want the social revolution in order to bring about the national revolution.[21]

While the NSDAP only received 2.6 per cent of the national vote in the 1928 General Election, it eventually became the second largest party in the Reichstag, securing 18.3 per cent of the vote by September 1930.[22] Strasser established the NSDAP in northern and western Germany as a strong political association, one which attained a larger membership than Hitler's southern party section.[15][7] The party's own foreign organization was also formed on Strasser's initiative.[23] Together with his brother Otto, Strasser founded the Berlin Kampf-Verlag ("Combat Publishing") in March 1926, which went on to publish the left-leaning weekly newspaper the Berliner Arbeiterzeitung ("Berlin Workers Newspaper").[15][24] Strasser appointed the young university-educated political agitator from the Rhineland, Joseph Goebbels as the managing editor of the Kampfverlag, a man who was drawn to the NSDAP political message and to Strasser himself.[25] The two men drafted a revised version of the NSDAP political program during the winter of 1925–1926, one which leaned much further to the left and unfortunately, incensed Hitler.[21] To deal with these proposed changes head-on, Hitler called for a meeting in the northern Bavarian city of Bamberg. Goebbels and Strasser traveled there hoping to convince Hitler of the new message.[21] During the speech at Bamberg, Hitler lambasted the extreme leftist ideas in the new draft, ideas which he conflated more with Bolshevism, a development which profoundly shocked and disappointed Strasser and Goebbels. Strasser's follow-on speech was bumbled and ineffectual, the result of Hitler's powerful oration; Hitler's refutation of Strasser's policy suggestions at Bamberg demonstrated that the party had officially become Hitler's and the NSDAP centered around him.[26]

Placating the northern German NSDAP branches in the wake of Bamberg, Hitler assigned leadership of the SA, which was temporarily vacated by Ernst Roehm, to one of Strasser's own key members, Franz Pfeffer von Salomon.[27] More importantly perhaps, Hitler began a personal campaign to lure away Strasser's chief lieutenant, Goebbels, into his personal fold—a move which proved immediately successful.[28][29] The future Führer also struck a deal with Strasser to disband the Northern Working Group of the NSDAP and asked him to assume responsibility for the party propaganda department.[29] Strasser accepted this position, but a car accident March 1926 proved a setback: he was bedridden as a result. Upon recovery, he was welcomed back into this position.[30]

Between 1928–1930, Hitler turned over the NSDAP's national organisation to Strasser, whose skills were better suited to the task, as Hitler was uninterested in organisational matters and preferred to give his attention to ideological concerns.[31] During the course of the reorganisation, Strasser refashioned the NSDAP district boundaries to more closely align with those of the Reichstag and increased the authority of Gauleiters.[31] Strasser reorganised both the party's regional structure and its vertical management hierarchy.[32] The party became a centralized organization with extensive propaganda mechanisms.[7][15]

Conflicts with Hitler

The Great Depression greatly affected Germany and by 1930 there was a dramatic increase in unemployment. During this time, the Strasser brothers started publishing a new regional daily newspaper in Berlin, the Nationaler Sozialist.[33] Like their other publications, it conveyed the brothers' own brand of Nazism, including nationalism, anti-capitalism, social reform, and anti-Westernism.[34] Goebbels complained vehemently about the rival Strasser newspapers to Hitler, and admitted that their success was causing his own Berlin newspapers to be "pushed to the wall".[35] In late April 1930, Hitler publicly and firmly announced his opposition to Gregor Strasser's socialist ideas and appointed Goebbels as Reich leader of NSDAP propaganda. When Hitler visited Goebbels' on 2 May 1930, Goebbels banned the evening edition of the Nationaler Sozialist. Gregor Strasser distanced himself from his brother and relinquished his position as publisher of the Nationaler Sozialist by the end of June, while Otto left the Party at the beginning of July.[36]

In August 1932, Hitler was offered the job of Vice-Chancellor of Germany by then Chancellor Franz von Papen at the behest of President Paul von Hindenburg, but he refused. Strasser urged him to enter a coalition government, but Hitler saw the offer as placing him in a position of "playing second fiddle".[37][38] While many in his inner circle, like Goebbels, saw his resistance as heroic, Strasser was frustrated and believed Hitler was wrong to hold out for the Chancellorship. The ideological and personal rivalry with Hitler grew when the successor Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher had discussions with Strasser as to becoming Vice-Chancellor in December 1932.[39] Schleicher hoped to split the NSDAP with Strasser's help, pulling the left wing of the NSDAP to his "national conservative" side to stop Hitler.[15] Hitler was furious and demanded that Strasser refuse Schleicher's offer.[15] At a meeting of Nazi Reichstag members Hitler confronted the 30-40 that supported Strasser, forcing them to publicly support the former and denounce the latter.[38] Strasser resigned from his party offices on 8 December 1932, just seven weeks before the NSDAP obtained political legitimacy.[40] On 16 January 1933, Hitler "publicly repudiated Strasser" for his interactions with Schleicher.[41] In March 1933, Strasser officially exited politics by renouncing his Reichstag seat.[42]

Later life

Life after politics

Having renounced his seat in the Reichstag, Strasser sought to return to his pre-politics profession as a chemist. Through his own connections and with Hitler's consent he was provided with the opportunity to take up a directorship of Schering-Kahlbaum, a chemical-pharmaceutical company that was the Berlin subsidiary of IG Farben, so long as he promised to cease all political activity, which he did.[42] He detached himself from politics, refusing to meet former political associates and, contrary to some reports, had no contact with his brother Otto's Black Front organisation.[43]


Having achieved national power in January 1933, Hitler and the NSDAP began eliminating all forms of opposition in Germany. In what became known as the Night of the Long Knives, the entire SA leadership was purged, which took place from 30 June to 2 July 1934.[44] Hitler, along with other top Nazis such as Hermann Göring and Himmler, targeted Ernst Röhm and other SA leaders who, along with a number of Hitler's political adversaries were rounded up, arrested, and shot by members of the Schutzstaffel (SS) and Gestapo.[45] Among them was Strasser. Historian Richard Evans surmises that Strasser was most likely killed for having been allegedly offered a position by the predecessor conservative Weimar government, a tie which made him a potential political enemy, due to the personal enmity of Himmler and Hermann Göring, both of whom Strasser had been critical of during his role in the party's leadership.[46] Whether Strasser was killed on Hitler's personal orders is not known.[43] He was shot once in a main artery from behind in his cell, but did not die immediately. On the orders of SS general Reinhard Heydrich, Strasser was left to bleed to death, which took almost an hour.[47] His brother Otto had emigrated in 1933.[48][49]

See also



  1. ^ a b c Evans 2004, p. 202.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wistrich 2013, pp. 246–247.
  3. ^ a b Read 2005, p. 117.
  4. ^ a b Hamilton 1984, p. 347.
  5. ^ Childers 2017, p. 71.
  6. ^ a b Childers 2017, p. 72.
  7. ^ a b c d Fulbrook 2015, p. 45.
  8. ^ Kershaw 2000, p. 270.
  9. ^ Stachura 1983, p. 33.
  10. ^ Read 2005, p. 118.
  11. ^ Stachura 1983, p. 34.
  12. ^ Read 2005, p. 119.
  13. ^ Rosmus 2015, p. 36fn.
  14. ^ Read 2005, pp. 123–124.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Nicholls 2000, p. 253.
  16. ^ Stachura 1983, p. 62.
  17. ^ a b Childers 2017, p. 82.
  18. ^ Read 2005, p. 126.
  19. ^ Childers 2017, pp. 82–83.
  20. ^ Childers 2017, p. 83.
  21. ^ a b c Childers 2017, p. 84.
  22. ^ Fulbrook 2015, p. 44.
  23. ^ Newton 1992, p. 38.
  24. ^ Longerich 2015, pp. 100–101.
  25. ^ Childers 2017, pp. 84–85.
  26. ^ Childers 2017, pp. 86–87.
  27. ^ Childers 2017, p. 87.
  28. ^ Evans 2004, p. 206.
  29. ^ a b Childers 2017, p. 88.
  30. ^ Childers 2017, p. 89.
  31. ^ a b Childers 2017, p. 110.
  32. ^ Stachura 1983, pp. 64–65.
  33. ^ Longerich 2015, pp. 125, 126, 127.
  34. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 200.
  35. ^ Longerich 2015, pp. 125, 126.
  36. ^ Longerich 2015, pp. 128, 129.
  37. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 233, 234.
  38. ^ a b Gunther, John (1940). Inside Europe. New York: Harper & Brothers. pp. 14, 38–39.
  39. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 244, 245.
  40. ^ Kershaw 2008, p. 245.
  41. ^ Overy 2010, p. 59.
  42. ^ a b Stachura 1983, p. 121.
  43. ^ a b Stachura 1983, p. 123.
  44. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 31–41.
  45. ^ Kershaw 2008, pp. 309–314.
  46. ^ Evans 2005, pp. 34–35.
  47. ^ Read 2005, p. 372.
  48. ^ Nicholls 2000, pp. 253–254.
  49. ^ Longerich 2015, p. 130.


  • Childers, Thomas (2017). The Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-45165-113-3.
  • Evans, Richard (2004). The Coming of the Third Reich. New York: Penguin Publishing. ISBN 978-1594200045.
  • Evans, Richard (2005). The Third Reich in Power. New York: Penguin Publishing. ISBN 978-0-14303-790-3.
  • Fulbrook, Mary (2015). A History of Germany 1918–2014: The Divided Nation (4th ed.). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-11877-614-8.
  • Hamilton, Charles (1984). Leaders & Personalities of the Third Reich. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0-912138-27-0.
  • Kershaw, Ian (2000). Hitler: 1889–1936 Hubris. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0393320350.
  • Kershaw, Ian (2008). Hitler: A Biography. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-06757-6.
  • Longerich, Peter (2015). Goebbels: A Biography. Random House. ISBN 978-1400067510.
  • Newton, Ronald (1992). The "Nazi Menace" in Argentina, 1931–1947. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0804719292.
  • Nicholls, David (2000). Adolf Hitler: A Biographical Companion. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0874369656.
  • Overy, Richard (2010). The Third Reich: A Chronicle. New York: Quercus Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-1-62365-456-6.
  • Read, Anthony (2005). The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle. New York: Norton. ISBN 978-039332-697-0.
  • Rosmus, Anna (2015). Hitlers Nibelungen (in German). Grafenau: Samples Verlag. ISBN 978-3-93840-132-3.
  • Stachura, Peter D. (1983). Gregor Strasser and the Rise of Nazism. London: George Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-0-04943-027-3.
  • Wistrich, Robert (2013). Who's Who in Nazi Germany. Routledge Publishing. ISBN 978-1136413810.

External links

Achim Gercke

Achim Gercke (August 3, 1902 – October 27, 1997) was a German politician.

Born in Greifswald, Gercke became a department head of the NSDAP in Munich on January 1, 1932. In April 1933, he was appointed to the Ministry of the Interior, where he served as an expert on racial matters.Gercke devised the system of "racial prophylaxis", forbidding the intermarriage between Jews and Aryans. As a student, he had attempted to develop a card index listing all Jews in Germany. His articles outlined Nazi policy on what to do to the Jews during the early phase of the Third Reich, which included expulsion from Germany. He described the just-enacted Nuremberg Laws restricting Jews as provisional measures, which indicated the direction future measures would take. Gercke argued for defining "Jew" as including any person with one-sixteenth Jewish blood. Later in 1942, the Wannsee Conference ultimately defined "Jew" quite differently: Persons having one Jewish grandparent were mostly excluded and even certain persons with two Jewish grandparents might be excluded, if they followed the Christian faith.In 1932, Nazi Gauleiter Rudolf Jordan claimed that SS Security Chief Reinhard Heydrich was not a pure "Aryan". Within the Nazi organisation such innuendo could be damning, even for the head of the Reich's counterintelligence service. Gregor Strasser passed the allegations on to Achim Gercke who investigated Heydrich's genealogy. Gercke reported that Heydrich was "... of German origin and free from any coloured and Jewish blood". He insisted that the rumours were baseless. Even with this report, Heydrich privately engaged SD member Ernst Hoffman to further investigate and deny the rumours.In 1935, Gercke was dismissed following allegations of homosexuality. After the war, he worked as an archivist and town clerk.

Bamberg Conference

The Bamberg Conference (German: Bamberger Führertagung) included some sixty members of the leadership of the Nazi Party, and was specially convened by Adolf Hitler in Bamberg, in Upper Franconia, Germany on Sunday 14 February 1926 during the "wilderness years" of the party.Hitler's purposes in convening the ad hoc conference embraced at least the following:

to curtail dissent within the party that had arisen among members of its northern branches and to foster party unity based upon --and only upon--the "leadership principle" (Führerprinzip)

to establish without controversy his position as the sole, absolute and unquestioned ultimate authority within the party, whose decisions are final and non-appealable

to eliminate any notion that the party was in any way a democratic or consensus-based institution

to eradicate bickering between the northern and southern factions of the party over ideology and goals

to establish the Twenty-Five Point Programme as constituting the party's "immutable" programme

Black Front

The Combat League of Revolutionary National Socialists (German: Kampfgemeinschaft Revolutionärer Nationalsozialisten, KGRNS), more commonly known as the Black Front (German: Schwarze Front), was a political group formed by Otto Strasser after his expulsion from the Nazi Party (NSDAP) in 1930.Strasser believed the original anti-capitalist nature of the NSDAP had been betrayed by Adolf Hitler. The Black Front was composed of former radical members of the NSDAP, who intended to cause a split in the main party. Strasser's organisation published a newspaper, The German Revolution. The Black Front adopted the crossed hammer and sword symbol which is still used by several Strasserite groupings today.

The organisation was unable to oppose the NSDAP effectively and Hitler’s rise to power proved to be the final straw. Strasser spent the years of the Third Reich in exile, first in Czechoslovakia and later in Canada. The social fascist wing of the NSDAP itself was eradicated in 1934 during the Night of the Long Knives in which Gregor Strasser, Otto's elder brother, was killed.

Franz Stöhr

Franz Stöhr (born 19 November 1879 in Veliká Ves (Chomutov District) – died 13 November 1938 in Schneidemühl) was a German politician with the Nazi Party.

Stöhr was a Sudeten German who had been active in anti-semitic politics before the First World War.Stöhr was elected member of the Reichstag for Thuringia in May 1924 and retaining his seat until his death. Stöhr began as a member of the German Völkisch Freedom Party (DVFP) and was elected as part of the National Socialist Freedom Movement, an electoral pact between this group and the Nazis. However, in May 1927 Ernst Graf zu Reventlow split from the DVFP after becoming a strong admirer of Adolf Hitler and Stöhr joined the likes of Christian Mergenthaler and Wilhelm Kube in following Reventlow into the Nazi Party.He was also a leading figure in the Deutschnationaler Handlungsgehilfen-Verband, a völkisch and anti-Semitic trade union for white-collar workers, close links with which had been cultivated by Gregor Strasser in the early 1930s. He was a shop-assistant by profession and thus of the petit-bourgeois stock that made up the bulk of Nazi Party support in the 1920s.


Geisenfeld is a town in the district of Pfaffenhofen, in Bavaria, Germany. It is situated on the river Ilm, 16 km (9.94 mi) southeast of Ingolstadt. The town grew up around Geisenfeld Abbey, a convent founded in 1037.

Hitler (1962 film)

Hitler (1962) is a black and white American film that was later re-released with the title Women of Nazi Germany. The film stars Richard Basehart in the title role of Adolf Hitler; Cordula Trantow stars as Geli Raubal, Maria Emo as Eva Braun and John Banner as Gregor Strasser. The film depicts Hitler through the years, beginning with the Beer Hall Putsch of November 1923 and focuses mainly on his private life, in particular, his relationships with niece Geli and longtime companion/wife, Eva Braun. According to film critic and historian Leonard Maltin, Basehart "gives a cerebral interpretation" of Hitler during the timeframe he was the leader of Nazi Germany. For her performance, Cordula Trantow was nominated for a 1962 Golden Globe in the category: Most Promising Newcomer - Female. The film was produced by Three Crown Productions, Inc. and distributed by Allied Artists Pictures.

Joseph Goebbels

Paul Joseph Goebbels (German: [ˈpaʊ̯l ˈjoːzɛf ˈɡœbl̩s] (listen); 29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was one of Adolf Hitler's closest and most devoted associates, and was known for his skills in public speaking and his deeply virulent antisemitism, which was evident in his publicly voiced views. He advocated progressively harsher discrimination, including the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust.

Goebbels, who aspired to be an author, obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Heidelberg in 1921. He joined the Nazi Party in 1924, and worked with Gregor Strasser in their northern branch. He was appointed Gauleiter (district leader) for Berlin in 1926, where he began to take an interest in the use of propaganda to promote the party and its programme. After the Nazi's seizure of power in 1933, Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry quickly gained and exerted control over the news media, arts, and information in Germany. He was particularly adept at using the relatively new media of radio and film for propaganda purposes. Topics for party propaganda included antisemitism, attacks on the Christian churches, and (after the start of the Second World War) attempting to shape morale.

In 1943, Goebbels began to pressure Hitler to introduce measures that would produce total war, including closing businesses not essential to the war effort, conscripting women into the labour force, and enlisting men in previously exempt occupations into the Wehrmacht. Hitler finally appointed him as Reich Plenipotentiary for Total War on 23 July 1944, whereby Goebbels undertook largely unsuccessful measures to increase the number of people available for armaments manufacture and the Wehrmacht.

As the war drew to a close and Nazi Germany faced defeat, Magda Goebbels and the Goebbels children joined him in Berlin. They moved into the underground Vorbunker, part of Hitler's underground bunker complex, on 22 April 1945. Hitler committed suicide on 30 April. In accordance with Hitler's will, Goebbels succeeded him as Chancellor of Germany; he served one day in this post. The following day, Goebbels and his wife committed suicide, after poisoning their six children with cyanide.


The NSDAP/AO was the foreign organization branch of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). AO is the abbreviation of the German compound word Auslands-Organisation (English: Foreign Organization). Although it would be correctly written in one word, the Nazis chose an obsolete spelling with a hyphen.

The party members who lived outside the German Reich were pooled in this special NSDAP department. On May 1, 1931 the new organizational unit was founded on the initiative of Reich Organization Leader (German: Reichsorganisationsleiter) Gregor Strasser and its management was assigned to Hans Nieland. But Nieland resigned from office on May 8, 1933, because he had become head of the Hamburg police authority, and later, a member of the Hamburg provincial government, whereupon Ernst Wilhelm Bohle was appointed director of the "AO", which served as the 43rd and only non-territorial Gau of the NSDAP. Only actual citizens of the German Reich – (German: Reichsdeutsche) – with a German passport could become members of the AO. Persons of German descent, ethnic Germans (German: Volksdeutsche), who possessed the nationality of the country in which they lived, were refused entry to the National Socialist Party.

National Socialist Bloc

National Socialist Bloc (in Swedish: Nationalsocialistiska Blocket) was a Swedish national socialist political party formed in the end of 1933 by the merger of Nationalsocialistiska Samlingspartiet, Nationalsocialistiska Förbundet and local National Socialist units connected to the advocate Sven Hallström in Umeå. Later Svensk Nationalsocialistisk Samling merged into NSB.

The leader of the party was Colonel Martin Ekström. The party maintained several publications, Landet Fritt (Gothenburg), Vår Kamp (Gothenburg), Vår Front (Umeå), Nasisten (Malmö) and Riksposten.

NSB differentiated itself from other Swedish National Socialist groups due to its liaisons with the Swedish upper class. NSB was clearly smaller than the two main National Socialist parties in Sweden at the time, SNSP and NSAP. Gradually the party vanished.

National Socialist Flyers Corps

The National Socialist Flyers Corps (German: Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps; NSFK) was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party that was founded 15 April 1937 as a successor to the German Air Sports Association; the latter had been active during the years when a German air force was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles. The NSFK organization was based closely on the para-military organization of the Sturmabteilung (SA). A similar group was the National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK).

During the early years of its existence, the NSFK conducted military aviation training in gliders and private airplanes. Friedrich Christiansen, originally a Generalleutnant then later a Luftwaffe General der Flieger, was NSFK Korpsführer from 15 April 1937 until 26 June 1943, followed by Generaloberst Alfred Keller until 8 May 1945.

National Unity Party (Canada)

The Parti National Social Chrétien (English: National Social Christian Party) was a Canadian political party formed by Adrien Arcand in February 1934. The party identified with antisemitism, and German leader Adolf Hitler's Nazism. The party was later known, in English, as the Canadian National Socialist Unity Party or National Unity Party.

Night of the Long Knives

The Night of the Long Knives (German: Nacht der langen Messer ), or the Röhm Purge, also called Operation Hummingbird (German: Unternehmen Kolibri), was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from June 30 to July 2, 1934, when Adolf Hitler, urged on by Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, carried out a series of political extrajudicial executions intended to consolidate his hold on power in Germany, as well as to alleviate the concerns of the German military about the role of Ernst Röhm and the Sturmabteilung (SA), the Nazis' own mass paramilitary organization. Nazi propaganda presented the murders as a preventive measure against an alleged imminent coup by the SA under Röhm – the so-called Röhm putsch.

The primary instruments of Hitler's action, who carried out most of the killings, were the Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary force under Himmler and its Security Service (SD) under Reinhard Heydrich, and the Gestapo, the secret police, under Göring. Göring's personal police battalion also took part in the killings. Many of those killed in the purge were leaders of the SA, the best-known being Röhm himself, the SA's chief of staff and one of Hitler's longtime supporters and allies. Leading members of the leftist-leaning Strasserist faction of the Nazi Party, including its figurehead, Gregor Strasser, were also killed, as were establishment conservatives and anti-Nazis, such as former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Bavarian politician Gustav Ritter von Kahr, who had suppressed Hitler's Munich Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. The murders of SA leaders were also intended to improve the image of the Hitler government with a German public that was increasingly critical of thuggish SA tactics.

Hitler saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his newly gained political power. He also wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr, the German military, who feared and despised the SA as a potential rival, in particular because of Röhm's ambition to merge the army and the SA under his own leadership. Additionally, Hitler was uncomfortable with Röhm's outspoken support for a "second revolution" to redistribute wealth. In Röhm's view, President Hindenburg's appointment of Hitler as Chancellor on January 30, 1933 had brought the Nazi Party to power, but had left unfulfilled the party's larger goals. Finally, Hitler used the purge to attack or eliminate German critics of his new regime, especially those loyal to Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen, as well as to settle scores with old enemies.At least 85 people died during the purge, although the final death toll may have been in the hundreds, with high estimates running from 700 to 1,000. More than a thousand perceived opponents were arrested. The purge strengthened and consolidated the support of the Wehrmacht for Hitler. It also provided a legal grounding for the Nazi regime, as the German courts and cabinet quickly swept aside centuries of legal prohibition against extrajudicial killings to demonstrate their loyalty to the regime. The Night of the Long Knives was a turning point for the German government. It established Hitler as the supreme administrator of justice of the German people, as he put it in his July 13 speech to the Reichstag.

Before its execution, its planners sometimes referred to the purge as Hummingbird (German: Kolibri), the codeword used to send the execution squads into action on the day of the purge. The codename for the operation appears to have been chosen arbitrarily. The phrase "Night of the Long Knives" in the German language predates the killings and refers generally to acts of vengeance.

November 1932 German federal election

Federal elections were held in Germany on 6 November 1932. They saw a four percent drop in votes for the Nazi Party and slight increases for the Communists and the national conservative DNVP. It was the last free and fair all-German election before the Nazi seizure of power on 30 January 1933, as the following elections of March 1933 were already accompanied by massive suppression, especially against Communist and Social Democratic politicians.

The results of the November 1932 election were a great disappointment for the Nazis. Although they emerged once more as the largest party by far, they had fewer seats than before, and failed to form a government coalition in the Reichstag parliament.

Previously, Chancellor Franz von Papen, a former member of the Catholic Centre Party, had governed without parliamentary support relying on legislative decrees promulgated by Reich President Paul von Hindenburg according to Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. However, on 12 September 1932 Papen had to ask Hindenburg to dissolve the parliament in order to preempt a motion of no confidence tabled by the Communist Party, which was expected to pass (since the Nazis were expected to vote in favour, as they also desired new elections). Following this dissolution of parliament in September, the election of November 1932 was held. The DNVP, which had backed Papen, gained 15 seats as a result.

After the election, Chancellor Papen urged Hindenburg to continue to govern by emergency decrees. Nevertheless, on 3 December he was superseded by his Defence Minister Kurt von Schleicher who in talks with the left wing of the Nazi Party led by Gregor Strasser tried to build up a Third Position (Querfront) strategy. These plans failed when in turn Hitler disempowered Strasser and approached Papen for coalition talks. Papen obtained Hindenburg's consent to form the Hitler Cabinet on 30 January 1933.

The next free elections were not held until 1949 in West Germany and March 1990 in East Germany; by the time of the first postwar elections in East Germany in May 1949, a Communist regime was rapidly consolidating. The next free all-German elections took place in December 1990 after reunification.

Otto Strasser

Otto Johann Maximilian Strasser (also German: Straßer, see ß; 10 September 1897 – 27 August 1974) was a German politician and an early member of the Nazi Party. Otto Strasser, together with his brother Gregor Strasser, was a leading member of the party's left-wing faction, and broke from the party due to disputes with the dominant "Hitlerite" faction. He formed the Black Front, a group intended to split the Nazi Party and take it from the grasp of Hitler. This group also functioned during his exile and World War II as a secret opposition group.

His brand of National Socialism is now known as Strasserism.


Strasserism (German: Strasserismus or Straßerismus) is a strand of Nazism that calls for a more radical, mass-action and worker-based form of Nazism—hostile to Jews not from a racial, ethnic, cultural or religious perspective, but from an anti-capitalist basis—to achieve a national rebirth. It derives its name from Gregor and Otto Strasser, the two Nazi brothers initially associated with this position.

Otto Strasser, who opposed on strategic grounds the views of Adolf Hitler, was expelled from the Nazi Party in 1930 and went into exile in Czechoslovakia, while Gregor Strasser was murdered in Germany on 30 June 1934 during the Night of the Long Knives. Strasserism remains an active position within strands of neo-Nazism.

The Immortals (neo-Nazis)

The Immortals (German Die Unsterblichen) was a neo-Nazi organization based in Germany that uses flash mobs to coordinate, gather and demonstrate. The members wear black clothing with white facial masks and carry torches when they march.

Victims of the Night of the Long Knives

Victims of the Night of the Long Knives (German: Nacht der langen Messer) – the Nazi purge in which Hitler and the Nazi regime used the Schutzstaffel (SS) to deal with the problem of Ernst Röhm and his Sturmabteilung (SA) brownshirts (the original Nazi paramilitary organization), as well as past opponents of the party – numbered at least 85 people murdered. It took place in Germany between June 30 and July 2, 1934.

Although most of those killed in what came to be known as "The Night of the Long Knives" were members of the SA, other victims included close associates of Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen, several Wehrmacht (German Army) generals – one of whom, Kurt von Schleicher, was formerly the Chancellor of Germany – and their associates; Gregor Strasser, Hitler's former competitor for control of the Nazi Party; at least one person killed in a case of mistaken identity; and several innocent victims killed because they "knew too much."

The total number of victims is heavily disputed between historians; some estimates put the number in the hundreds.

Wilhelm Dreher

Wilhelm Dreher (10 January 1892 in Ay an der Iller, Neu-Ulm district – 19 November 1969 in Senden) was a German politician with the Nazi Party.

Dreher was a member of the Reichstag, first being elected in 1928 and retaining his seat until the fall of the Third Reich. In the early 1930s he was close to Gregor Strasser for a time. He was recognised within the Nazi Party as an economics specialist and he wrote on this topic for Völkischer Beobachter.

In 1933 he became the Polizeidirektor in Ulm, and an Oberführer in the SS.

Wilhelm Karpenstein

Wilhelm Karpenstein (born 24 May 1903 in Frankfurt am Main – died 2 May 1968 in Lauterbach, Hesse) was a German Nazi Party politician. He served as Gauleiter of Pomerania during the early days of the Third Reich.

Karpenstein was elected to the Reichstag in the 1930 election and served as a Nazi Party deputy until the end of the Second World War. He was appointed the party's Gauleiter in Pomerania in 1931.Immediately after the Nazis came to power a significant amount of autonomy lay with the gauleiters and their radicalism threatened to disrupt the relationship between Adolf Hitler and the middle classes that had helped to ensure his election. Karpenstein was one of the few who did not offer this problem as he was conservative and pro-middle class. Nevertheless, he did not miss the opportunity to increase his personal power in the early days of Nazism and sought to make all of the churches, government officials and media outlets in Pomerania answerable to him directly.Karpenstein however, despite not holding left-wing economic ideas, was too weak to control the dissident sentiments emerging from the Sturmabteilung in Pomerania, which was one of their power bases. As a result, Karpenstein was one of those to be purged during the Night of the Long Knives, although his lack of direct involvement with the SA meant that he was not killed but rather sacked in favour of Franz Schwede-Coburg. Ostensibly however Karpenstein was dismissed for his supposed links to Gregor Strasser and his failure to work with Hermann Göring.

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