My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT
The Harzburg Front

MY wife suffered occasionally from heart trouble which was why we spent the late summer of 1931 at Kudowa in Silesia, a hydro specializing in heart complaints. There one day I received a telegram from Schmidt-Hannover, Chairman of the German National Party, inviting me to attend a session of all nationally-minded Parties and associations at Bad Harzburg with the object of taking a definite attitude vis-à-vis the Government's policy. He asked me to report on the economic situation and I saw no reason to refuse the invitation.

I had learnt from the newspapers that Hugenberg and Hitler had agreed to hold a joint demonstration, and that one or two other groups from the German People's Party, the Business Party, the Steel-Helmets and some agricultural organizations also wished to take part.

I arrived in Harzburg on the morning of 11th October and ascertained that representatives of all the above-mentioned groups were actually present, united in opposition to the existing Government but otherwise quite distinctly separate from each other. It was already apparent that Hitler did not appreciate the fact that the initiative had originated with Hugenberg, the leader of the German National Party. Hitler would spare no pains to avoid giving the impression that his adherents were marching under the German National banner. So it came about that during the march past of the non-National-Socialist groups, Hitler was ostentatiously absent, which in turn meant that there was no competition when the National-Socialist march took place. There was much talk, later, of the "Harzburg Front", but in reality this Front never existed. It was a "get-together" in appearance only. If this apparent "get-together" is to be labelled the "Harzburg Front" it must be understood that it was born on the morning of the 11th October and died that same evening.

The speech-making session was opened by Hugenberg. Then followed Hitler's address and one by Field-Marshal von der Goltz, the liberator of Finland during the First World War. My own remarks were brief, but to the point.

"The fact," I began, "that a business-man with no party affiliation

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