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Hitler's Inner Circle

Discussions on the personalities of the Wehrmacht and of the organizations not covered in the other sections.
Hosted by Dieter Zinke & Elwyn W.

Hitler's Inner Circle

Postby Ezboard on 29 Sep 2002 20:38

NormanKingsley
New Member
Posts: 6
(8/7/01 9:43:57 pm)
Reply Hitler's Inner Circle
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You do you believe consisted of Hitler's Inner Circle before and during the war? Goering lost much power during the war and seemed to be distant from Hitler after the Battle of Britian.
Of course men like Bormann and Kaltenbrunner gained much more power than they ever had during peacetime.

I think before the war Hitler's inner circle was made up of:
Hess
Goering
Himmler
Goebbels
Speer
Von Ribbentrop
Deitrich
Keitel
Bormann
Heydrich

What do you think?

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 458
(8/7/01 10:01:26 pm)
Reply Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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That is a rather good Nazi Germany pre-war rundown, previous to power you might wish to include Rosenberg and Streicher who slipped after the gov't was being formed and faded even more away during wartime. I'm not sure when Dr. Todt died, before 39? He was at least a Hitler companion if not part of the 'inner circle'. Another pre-power would be Hafenstangel and on a second tier of Hitler circle - those with intimate friendship but little to no real authority would include Hans Baur and Henirich Hoffman - and of course Eva Braun!

NormanKingsley
New Member
Posts: 7
(8/7/01 10:12:19 pm)
Reply Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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Totally forgot about Rosenberg and Streicher. Thanks. You could even argue Lutze to an extent. Do you have a list for war time inner circle members? BTW, Todt died in '43 when his plane crashed. Regards!

Scott Smith 01
Veteran Member
Posts: 239
(8/7/01 10:13:03 pm)
Reply
Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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Dr. Todt died in a plane crash on takeoff near Hitler's headquarters at Rastenburg on February 9, 1942, if memory serves. Speer was immediately summoned to take over as Armaments Minister.

NormanKingsley
New Member
Posts: 8
(8/7/01 10:21:32 pm)
Reply Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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Whoops, I apologize for that misinformation. Thanks for the correction Scott.

Scott Smith 01
Veteran Member
Posts: 241
(8/7/01 10:23:38 pm)
Reply
Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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Don't apologize. I'm always getting things mixed-up myself.
:-)

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 461
(8/7/01 10:28:55 pm)
Reply Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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I thought the guy was dead even before the war started....I'll look into some more names - Heydrich seems to be getting a lot of credit on these pages lately. Was he really that "close" to power or was he more feared like a third Riech J. Edgar Hoover. I doubt he had what it took to muscle aside a Goering - himself no milquetoast when it came to political intriuge - to become the Fuhrer. In the end Hitler didn't hand over the Reich to the SS but to the Navy of all things.

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 464
(8/7/01 11:01:16 pm)
Reply Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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Norman - this expands on your question somewhat but I think Hitler's 'inner circle' could perhaps be sub-divided or catagorized something like this...

Pals
*********
Hess
Striecher
Bauer
Hafenstangel
Hoffman
Rosenberg

Advisers
**********
Speer
Goering
Goebbles
Himmler
Todt

Yes Men
**********
Keitel
Jodl
Ribbentrop

Bureaucrats
***********
Seyss-Inquart
Dr. Funk

There is of course some overlap in the catagories, this is just a rough draft - more to come. Comments please!

NormanKingsley
New Member
Posts: 9
(8/8/01 4:15:40 am)
Reply Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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tovarich,
I like your list, I forgot all about Jodl and Rosenberg. I would put in Roehm and Ley under 'pals' though.
I do have to disagree with you about Heydrich as successor. While I do admit he had Goering and more importantly Himmler to get out of the way, I think Heydrich would have been more powerful than Hitler as Fuehrer. He was much more intellegent than the rest, and I could imagine him effectively ruling Germany more than someone like Bormann or Goebbels. Of course, Germany would become an even more totalitarian police state if he ever did take power.
But you're right, it would be doubtful he would ever get his hands on the title. Goering would have been a much better Fuehrer than Hitler, because he probably would have made several reforms to the German state. Actually, it'd be interesting to go through the highest members of the inner circle and imagine what they'd be like as Fuehrer. Tell me your thoughts. Regards!

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 474
(8/8/01 4:24:25 am)
Reply Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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Norman - thanks for the Comments on Robert Ley - I wasn't sure where to put him. Did I have Borman down as advisor? If not put him there.

As far as leaders and alternative Fuhrer's go I know Scott Smith would probably vote for either Goering or Goebbles. Imagine the top group in an American style primary - I see Goering as the winner - WWI flying ace, he is just German to the soles of his feet. Goebbles is a master at media manipulation but a real leader...? Hmmm...maybe. I read his diaries and he certainly had a capacity for hard work and long hours - probably would have been a good administrator. I doubt Speer would have been much of a vote getter - but again a good administrator and probably the best when it came to foreign diplomacy - the knowledge of the upper crust world without the supercilliousness of Goering. Himmler..? Too mixed up in mystic batsh*t and Pagan Germanic crap too be taken too seriously - too much Nancy Reagan astrology crap. Rommel probably the only person in the military with the personality or appeal to take power - the rest were dry military men and/or 'yes' men.

NormanKingsley
New Member
Posts: 10
(8/8/01 4:38:59 am)
Reply Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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tovarich,

I agree with you on all your major points, especially on Himmler. I doubt he could have functioned on a statesman level. Goebbels and Speer couldn't have filled Hitler's shoes. I still think it boils down to Goering or Heydrich as the only NSDAP members who could run Germany effectivley.
Do you think Doenitz could have handled the position of Fuehrer if he got it sooner? Actually, I always wondered if Strasser somehow became Chancellor? Do you think Strasser's Germany would have outlived Hitler's or ended before 1939?
BTW, are you going to do a wartime list of inner circle members? I'd like to see what you have to say. Regards!

Chris Goodall
New Member
Posts: 4
(8/8/01 5:45:36 am)
Reply Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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Good post Norman.

My only arguments for your 'before the war' list would be regarding Bormann and Ribbentrop.

I am assuming you do not mean immediately before Britain declared war on Germany.
That being the case, I wonder if Bormann actually held much sway before Hess' flight out of the III Reich's heirarchy?

Also, I think we need to consider Constantin von Neurath until he was replaced by Ribbentrop in 1938. Neurath must have been close (though he disagreed) as he attended the Hossbach Conference in 37.

Food for thought,

Chris.

NormanKingsley
Member
Posts: 11
(8/8/01 7:13:47 am)
Reply Re: Hitler's Inner Circle
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Chris, interesting thought on Von Nuerath. But I still don't think he held more sway than Von Ribbentrop ever did.
Like you said, Bormann didn't have much power until Hess left for the UK, but he was still trying to worm his way into the inner circle.

I have re-thought about the pre war inner circle and have updated my version. Tovarich, I hope you don't mind me using your sub section idea:

Friends and Old Fighters:
Hess
Roehm
Hoffman
Hafenstangel
Bauer
Ley
Streicher
Rosenberg
Deitrich (Sepp, not Otto)
Todt

Advisers:
Goering
Himmler
Bormann
Todt
Speer
Goebbels
Heydrich

Yes Men:
Keitel
Blomberg
Jodl
Von Ribbentrop

Bureaucrats:
Von Neurath
Frank
Seyss-Inquart

At least that's the latest pre war list. Let me know what you think. Regards!

Helly
Visitor
(8/8/01 1:16:16 pm)
Reply Inner circle.
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Hello,

Very interesting the theme and your post, Norman.

Hans Frank belong to the Old Fighters Circle. He was very near of Hitler.

Julius Streicher fall in disgrace with Hitler in 1935 by sexual scandals with childrens, he recovered his relations with Hitler in 1943 I think. He was loyal with Hitler in Nuremberg.

Rosenberg was considerated like a "Bad joke" or a "necessary trouble" within them.

Baldur Von Schirach, Magda Goebbels, Karin and after Emmy Goering, WINIFRED WAGNER, Hanna Reitsch and Leni Riefensthal.

Hitler like the women company but he dislike Henriette Hoffman von Schirach.

Geoff Walden
Member
Posts: 35
(8/8/01 1:20:00 pm)
Reply Add Julius Schaub
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Personal adjutant Julius Schaub was certainly in AH's inner circle, for several years. To judge Schaub's influence (either on AH or others) is difficult.

Of course, this opens up many of the other adjutant slots - people who were always hanging around in the background, like Otto Guensche - and then Hitler's drivers, like Emil Maurice, Julius Schreck, and Eric Kempka - more folks who were always around (if we list Hans Bauer, maybe we ought to list the drivers too).

I guess there needs to be some definition of "inner circle." That is, does it include support personnel like adjutants, drivers, cooks, secretaries, etc? Or would it just be Hitler's close companions, such as those folks who were invited to eat with him in the Chancellory, in the Berghof on the Obersalzberg, or on the daily walks to the Teehaus on the Obersalzberg.

Speer, in his "Inside the Third Reich," does a good job of breaking these different categories down, and listing different folks in the inner circles (as well as who was in favor when). Hoffmann's "Hitler Was My Friend" is also useful.

Geoff Walden

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 475
(8/8/01 9:15:13 pm)
Reply Altkampfer
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Norman - use my sub-sections at your pleasure. I thought of adding the 'old fighters' section myself - I'm glad you incorporated it. Your wartime list looks good to me, unsure of what I would change much at this point.

The Strasser question is excellent - will have to go back over the background of the brothers.

NormanKingsley
Member
Posts: 12
(8/8/01 9:22:25 pm)
Reply Re: Add Julius Schaub
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Helly,
Interesting what you have to say about Rosenberg. I always thought that they were always on friendly terms at least before the war. Also, I always heard the Frank and Hitler would hardly see eye to eye. He objected to the Night of the Long Knives. I was thinking about Riefenstahl, but she never joined the Party. But even those who weren't National Socialists were close to Hitler, like Geli.
Geoff,
I was thinking the 'inner circle' would consist mainly of National Socialists with some power and/or close personal friends of Hitler.
Again, I keep forgeting to put down important guys like Schaub, Schreck and Maurice. Do you know what year Kempka became Hitler's driver? I know Maurice was kicked out of the SS in '35 and Schreck died in '36. Regards!

NormanKingsley
Member
Posts: 14
(8/8/01 9:42:57 pm)
Reply Strasser
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tovarich,
Thanks for letting me use your list blueprint. Hope you have some more names to contribute. I'm waiting to hear what you have to say about the Strasser. Regards!

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 477
(8/8/01 10:19:52 pm)
Reply Rosenberg and Riefenstahl
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I think that Rosenberg still comes into the mix - he may have later been looked upon as some sort of gadfly but early on he and Hitler had a mutal admiration for each other that was genuiune from what I understand. W. Wagner is an important contribution to the friends catagory but I think the that the Riefenstahl relationship was slightly more of a one way street. She was certainly enthused about the Third Reich but I think more in a way the 'average' German was, and she benefited from Hitler's admiration of her. Hanna Reisch was much more of a fanatic Nazi - I don't see Reifenstahl going to the bunker in the last days of the war unless she thought she could shoot some great documentary footage and then get out. I don't see her fending off the Soviets with a machine gun or giving her life for Hitler - I think she had some naiviate - political and otherwise.

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 515
(8/10/01 1:15:19 am)
Reply Me and My Pal
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I still have to look into the Strasser Bros. in the meantime who would you say is Hitler's 'best friend'. Was he even capable of having one? And...Who was Hitler's favourite General? Perhaps the obvious answer to that one may be - anyone who wins! But I think there is more to it than that.

Shall we....?

NormanKingsley
Member
Posts: 15
(8/10/01 4:18:46 am)
Reply Re: Me and My Pal
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tovarich,
I would say Hitler's best friend was Hess. They simply had to long a history together for anyone else to compare. They used the 'du' form of speech around eachother and were almost always on good terms, even after he started slipping from power in the late thirties. Roehm comes in at a close second, he too used the 'du' form and called him 'Adolf' at times. If you're looking for a female best friend, it would have to be his one time lover, Geli.
His favorite general....hmmmm....Rommel? He let him have a hero's funeral instead of watching him be hung on a meat hook. Or maybe Kesselring? I take it you didn't mean desk generals, like Keital and Blomberg, right? Well, Regards!
Ezboard
International
 

Postby Ezboard on 29 Sep 2002 20:38

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 520
(8/10/01 3:33:07 pm)
Reply Hess and me
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Good point on Hess and the familiar 'Du'. We need to put Dietrich Eckart in the adviser column but he was dead before power (1924?)

NormanKingsley
Member
Posts: 16
(8/11/01 5:00:37 pm)
Reply Re: Hess and me
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Good point about Dietrich Eckart. I was contimplanting putting Anton Drexler and Gottfried Feder in there some where. What do you think?
Here's a question for you. Who do you think was Hitler's least favorite member of the inner circle, which I'm sure he had plenty of. BTW, eager to hear your views on the Strasser brothers, I think I have a decent idea in my head what would happen to Germany if Gregor became Chancellor but will wait until I hear your's. Regards!

Geoff Walden
Member
Posts: 39
(8/12/01 11:50:21 pm)
Reply Eckart - yes
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Ditto on Dietrich Eckart - I forgot him! That's not unusual these days, because he wasn't around during the Third Reich, but his early influence on Hitler (and influence on others in Hitler's behalf) was considerable.

Eckart died in Berchtesgaden on 23 Dec. 1923. (see
http://www.findagrave.com/pictures/11369.html )

Geoff


tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 539
(8/14/01 2:20:20 am)
Reply Strasser
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Norman - I have two good source books regarding Strasser and can find neither of them. But I will give you a thumbnail of my gut reaction to a Strasser led Germany.

If Hitler had been imprisoned longer, died, was murdered or some way or another pushed aside and Strasser took the helm I think the following is possible.

Goebbles would have probably continued as we know him. Speer would also be unaffected. The SA may also have never had to give way to the SS but would have eventually wound up a 'militia' or 'national guard' type reserve rather than a revolutionary army. Roehm? He is a pretty big fish in any pond - he might have made trouble but was more likely to be kept on. Roehm would have probably been a restless revolutionary ala Che Guevara and left a peaceful Nazi Germany out of boredom and tried to start a similar revolution in another part of Europe or on the other side of the Atlantic! A power struggle with Strasser and Himmler and Goering would have ensued. An uneasy peace may have been made or they would have been pushed aside. Strasser was a good organizer and speaker. Once he took power I think he would have oppressed political opponents especially the Communists. However I think anti-semitism would have taken somthing of a backseat. Hitler interlaced so much anti-semitism with National socialism that 'Nuremburg' type laws may still have resulted but their would be more 'Harrasment' then 'round-up'. Jews in Nazi Germany would probably have a similar, if worse, experience as Blacks in pre-Civil Rights USA.

Strasser would still want to tear the Versailles treaty to tatters, but would probably not persue, or at least not as avidly, a 'lebensraum' policy. I also don't think he would be quite as militarily adventerous as Herr Hitler. Strasser would also probably leave the military in the hands of the military - he admired the Generals and the German Military tradition. He would probably only 'keep them in check' rather than have them swear alligence to himself. More emphasis on getting Germany 'back to work' than 'back to war'. Strasser, while rebuilding and rearming Germany would probably still make the world nervous but would also be a better diplomat. War against the western powers? Much less likely. Although France is a tempting target for any German veteran of the trenches. War against the Soviet Union? Very Possible. The latter with the assistance of the Western Powers - possible.

NormanKingsley
Member
Posts: 18
(8/16/01 7:55:26 am)
Reply Chancellor Strasser
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tovarich,

Sorry for being late with my reply. I agree with mostly all your points on Chancellor Strasser, especially with the jews. (Here's a question. Was Roehm very anti-semtic? I've heard no evidence suggesting he was)
I don't think Goering liked kissing up to Hitler, so he of course wouldn't like doing it to Strasser as you said, but I'm not sure about Himmler. I would think Himmler would serve whoever came to power, and perhaps even attempt a Blood Putsch with Strasser. But if Strasser would have believed Roehm was plotting against him, is up in the air.
It was remarked on this forum that if Trotsky had won control of the USSR, it would have collapsed by 1933. I think if the little guy won in Germany, NS Germany would have lasted a bit longer than till 1945. His brother Otto favored an alliance with the USSR against the west, so I could see Germany and France getting into a minor clash. However, I couldn't see Strasser planning a Barbarossa, at least not in 1941.
But anyway, thanks alot for sharing your opinions on this. Hopefully, I'll have my final list on Hitler's wartime inner circle soon. Regards!

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 565
(8/16/01 3:12:32 pm)
Reply Trotsky-Strasser-and others
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Norman - Interesting that you bring up Trostsky. I came this close to saying that it is possible that if the more Nationalist Nazis gave way to the more socialist Nazis something like an 'Ultra-Left' government may have developed - perhaps Trostsky may have even found his way there. Upon closer examination I think that is just going too far. However, if they did go 'Ultra-Left', a kind of Fascism all its own (imagine the political spectrum as more of a circle - you go so far around the left you wind up on its right) then war with the Soviet Union would have been not only possible but probable.

You may be right about Himmler. As far as Roehm goes I don't think anyone, at least no one in leadership roles, could be in the Nazi Party without knowing a fair portion of it was dedicated to anti-Semitism. It may not have been a driving force for every member but you knew right where the Party stood. Even their earliest posters adverstising meetings banned Jews. Only a handful of the Nazis would have probably launched a extermination campaign with the zeal that Hitler did, but the Jews would have suffered in any case.

I read that when Strasser was first dabbling with political activity and gave the Communists a look he came to the conclusion they would set up a Moscow directed government and this infuriated him. This is how I see a combat with the Soviet Union on the horizon. However, as you indicate France was still the nation that made the average German willing to go to war and gave him the 'gut' feeling it takes to take action.

NormanKingsley
Member
Posts: 22
(8/18/01 3:58:37 am)
Reply Re: Trotsky-Strasser-and others
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tovarich,
I sense you are right when you concluded Trotsky wouldn't help an ultra leftist NS Germany. It still was the main enemy of communism in the world. As you said, Strasser disliked the USSR immensly, I wonder if Strasser would have the guts to pull a Barbarossa. If he did, I don't think it would be as sloppy as Hitler's. But anyway, I've thought long and hard, and here is a list of Hitler's inner circle, after Heydrich's death. Would love to hear your comments. Running a bit dry on the last two sections. Feel free to add whomever you want.

NS Advisors:

Bormann
Himmler
Goebbels
Goering
Speer
Kaltenbrunner
Von Ribbentrop (even though he didn't do much)
Streicher (after 1943)
Ley
Sepp Dietrich
Von Shirach

Military:

Keitel
Jodl
Doenitz
Sepp Dietrich (again)

Friends with little power:

Kempka
Eva Braun
Canaris (or so he thought)


NormanKingsley
Member
Posts: 23
(8/18/01 3:59:35 am)
Reply Re: Trotsky-Strasser-and others
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Damn it, didn't mean to have Canaris in the 'Friends' section. Regards!

Zapfenstreich
Visitor
(8/18/01 4:51:52 pm)
Reply Putzi
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Tovarich

"Putzi Hänfstängel was a real suck up to the Führer. I heard him in an interview on TV years ago. This would have been in the late fifties or early sixties. He told how, at a party he was throwing for Hitler, he sat down at the piano and played Harvard's Fight Song. After hearing it, Hitler jumped up and yelled enthusiastically, "Das brauchen wir, Hänfstängel! And, according to Putzi, from this incident the idea for the song, "Die Jugend Marschiert", was conceived. Hänfstängel went on to say that, after the war with Russia started, he incurred Hitler's displeasure to such a degree that Hitler played a very cruel joke on him. He had Putzi kidnapped by the Gestapo. A parachute was put on him and he was taken up in an aircraft and flown around for hours. After a long period of time had passed, Hänfstängel was told that they were now in the skies above the Soviet Union and he was thrown out of the plane. When he landed he found, to his very great relief, that he was actually still in Germany. He said he had been in absolute terror. Not just from the parachute jump but he had an even greater fear of what would happen to him when he fell into the hands of the Russians.

And they say Der Führer lacked a sense of humor.

Z

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 597
(8/20/01 10:01:39 pm)
Reply Re: Putzi
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Z - I'd be interested to hear if Putzi himself told that story on a televised interview. The version most often reported is that Putzi was put on a plane and flow for some time at night, as you say, and then was told he was going to be put out over Red Spain and used as a courier to the Fascist forces and he plead and plead with the pilot to turn back before it was revealed as a gag. After this Hafenstangel realized he was on the 'outs' with the Third Reich leadership and began making plans for his exit to the United States.

Zapfenstreich
Visitor
(8/21/01 4:40:49 pm)
Reply Putzi
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tovarich2

Yes, it was Putzi, in person, who told the story about the abduction flight and the "Jugend Marschiert" song origin. I believe it was on the old Jack Paar show or possibly a very early Tonight Show. I was really impressed that anyone would admit being a friend of Hitler's, at that time.

On a later program he had that woman test pilot. I think her name was Hanna Reisch. Not sure about the last name but Hanna was her first name. She was reputed to have flown a modified V-1 rocket. She told the story of how Eva Braun gave her some letters to carry out of Berlin to her family on Hanna's last visit to the Führer
Bunker. Hanna took it upon herself to read Eva's letters and decided they were saccharin silly that she destroyed them instead. It was obvious that Hanna was still in love with Hitler and was totally jealous of Eva Braun.

Z

tovarich2
Veteran Member
Posts: 612
(8/22/01 12:32:54 am)
Reply The Putzi Papers
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Thanks 'Z' for the info. I have seen Putzi interviewed just once I think and it was not the talk show or interview show variety it was more for a documentary film. His son Egon, is seen once in a while on 'History Channel' type documentaries. Putzi also wrote a book in the 50's, perhaps that was connected to the TV appearance, called, 'Hitler, the Missing Years.' This book was reprinted in the 80's and is excellent. I loaned my copy and never got it back. Putzi's connection with all sorts of well known American personalities is very interesting. It is an entertaining and sometimes insightful read. Putzi helped American intelligence create a Hitler 'profile' of sorts and became a kind of 'Hitler' expert during the war years - this saved his reputation and his neck.

-Tovarich.
Ezboard
International
 


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