Franz von Papen Speech at University of Marburg Criticizes Radical Agenda of Hitler's SA Hot

Franz von Papen Speech at University of Marburg Criticizes Radical Agenda of Hitler's SA

Franz von Papen in Rome, 1933

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Franz von Papen, Vice-Chancellor under Adolf Hitler and instrumental in Hitler's destruction of the Weimar Republic, gives a speech at the University of Marburg in which he expresses the frustrations felt by by conservatives over the Hitler government.

A primary target is the radical agenda of Hitler's SA, a group which for years has fed on violent rhetoric about the social elites and the need for a revolutionary redistribution of power.

Papen is also very critical of the lack of deference being shown by the Nazis towards law, traditions, and religion in particular. Papen says:

"Deficient or primitive intellect are not in themselves justification for war against intellectualism. And if today we sometimes complain about 150 percent Nazis, then we mean those intellectuals without substance, people who would like to deny the right of existence to scientists of world fame just because they are not Party members…

The statesman is there to create standards; the state and the people are his only concerns. The state is the sole power and the last guarantor of something to which every citizen can lay claim: iron-clad justice.

Therefore the state also cannot endure any dualism in the longterm, and the success of the German Revolution and the future of our nation depend on whether a satisfactory solution can be found to the dualism between party and state."

Papen insists that Catholic clergy must be allowed a right to oppose the state when it intrudes into religious matters, and he calls for a restoration of some of the civil liberties taken away the previous year by Hitler:

"The government [must be] mindful of the old maxim 'only weaklings suffer no criticism.' No organization, no propaganda, however excellent, can alone maintain confidence in the long run."

This is much more than any Catholic Church leader has even hinted at and it outrages Hitler, but Papen is popular enough that he doesn't dare move against him.

The advisor who drafted the speech, Edgar Julius Jung, will be killed during the Night of the Long Knives at the end of this month.


Isabelle von Papen: Zunehmende Distanz zwischen von Papen und Hitler

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