My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FORTY-TWO
A Stronghold of Justice

I TOOK over the Ministry of Economic Affairs barely four weeks after the Röhm rebellion. At that time I was far too deeply immersed in my duties to pay particular attention to revolutionary tendencies in any special section of the Party. In this way I remained unaware of all the details concerning the preparation of the plot: in fact the press reports of the actual coup took me by surprise.

On the previous evening I had expected Dr. Goebbels and his wife to dine with us. My secretary had repeatedly telephoned Goebbels' home to ask what had happened but had received no reply.

The little doctor who, through his Ministry of Propaganda, exercised such a baleful influence not only on the German people but also on Adolf Hitler, was my enemy by instinct. He hated me. In his opinion economics were a necessary evil. He was certainly in no mind to allow his position as "first intellectual" to be filched from him by the Government's economist.

Since I don't like being involved in unnecessary intrigues and enmities I had invited him to dinner, but, as already mentioned, he did not come and the next morning I learnt the reason for his discourtesy. In Munich and its neighbourhood, under Hitler's direction, a Putsch on the part of S.A. "high-ups" had been suppressed and many people shot, among them several who had nothing to do with the S.A. such as Edgar Jung, a colleague of von Papen, Klausner, Permanent Secretary, Gregor Strasser, General Schleicher and his wife, and others.

Looking back, we know now that at that time an action was undertaken in the course of which one group of interests within the Party, headed by Hitler and including Goering, Heydrich, Himmler and Goebbels, rendered the other group harmless. The fact that individual satraps took advantage of the event to settle their private feuds and add them to the general account, puts a very black complexion on the whole affair.

When I learned of the first details I shuddered. During periods of consolidation following a latent civil war such happenings may be unavoidable. What frightened me was the mendacity and slipperiness with which the facts were distorted or hushed up.

11*

-321-

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