zondag 5 februari 2012

The leftwing of National-Socialism Part 4

The break between Dr. Goebbels and Kampfverlag

The tensions between Dr. Goebbels and the Strasser brothers escalated on 16 February 1927 after a violent altercation, which was about the anti-Semitism issue. From now on the Berlin gauleiter saw Otto Strasser as the evil genius that was incited by his brother - the devil of the movement. Quarrels, suspicions and intrigues from that time on became the normal course of events and according to the diary of Goebbels, these attacks mostly came from the fraction surrounding Kampfverlag. The suspicion arose that the VK group tried to arrange a change of power.

Attempts from Goebbels to expel Otto Strasser were shipwrecked because Hitler - who was also concerned about the situation - did not involve in the problems. In the Berliner Arbeiter-Zeitung on April 24, 1927 an infamous article written by Erich Koch appeared in which Goebbels was compared to the French diplomat (and opportunist) Talleyrand, who also limped. The article also very delicately pointed out the negative (both physical and mental) consequences of racial mixture. This attack was possibly the answer to the incitement by Goebbels during the chaotic conditions in the Ruhr gau. The issue degenerated during a fraud investigation into a wild brawl between Goebbels and both the Strasser brothers. The function of Goebbels as the gauleiter was further undermined by the prohibition of the Berlin NSDAP (May 5, 1927) due to a series of street fights and brawls. Doubt arose within the Gau Berlin about the tactics of Goebbels, Hitler too expressed his concerns.

"Kampfverlag" versus "Angriff"

As soon as at the end of 1925 Dr. Goebbels had the idea to publish his own magazine, which at that time wasn't realized because of the Kampfverlag project with the Strasser brothers. In the beginning of 1927 there were meetings between Dr. Goebbels and the Munich "Eher-Verlag" to publish the "NS-monathefte", which led to great opposition within Kampf Verlag. In the midst of May he left his position as editor of the "NS Briefe", which now became led by Gregor Strasser and Kaufmann. Immediately after the termination of this participation, preparations took place to launch a weekly journal in the Berlin shire. The Kampf Verlag group had the plan to use "Berliner Arbeiter-Zeitung" for the publications in the now disbanded shire Berlin. Dr. Goebbels certainly had the same plan. The position of his "Angriff" was now directed against "Kampf Verlag" which would cost Kampf Verlag circulation figures. The KV-group and also the NSDAP party in the Reichstag led by Dr. Frick, were "not amused". After Hitler launched stressful negotiations, a compromise was reached. The "Angriff" was labelled as an organ published on personal title, while the "Berliner Arbeiter-Zeitung" remained the official party organ in the Berlin district. With this Hitler backed up his Berlin gauleiter and thus consolidated his shaky position. Open attacks on party members in the Nazi press were henceforth to be omitted. The position of Dr. Goebbels was strengthened, however from that time on the leftwing of the movement was divided into two distinct camps. Although Angriff was meant as a competitor for the KV group, the publicity basis of the leftwing was widened as a whole. From July 4, 1927 gazette agitated in similar manner as the KV-radical group, moreover neither "Angriff" nor the KV group became marionettes for Munich.

The conflicts didn’t end there. After Hitler had intervened several times, the two fighting fractions came to a peace treaty. Dr. Goebbels, Gregor Strasser and Hitler kept speeches at a joint meeting convention in Munich (19 December 1927) through this they demonstrated their unity. Circulating rumours concerning imminent or deep divisions within the Party were vigorously denied by the National-Socialist press. Gregor Strasser didn’t have an interest in an open crisis within the party, because he would become Reichsleiter and de facto he would take on the role of second man after Hitler. In the subsequent period he step by step retreated back from "Kampf Verlag" and reached a compromise with Hitler. The latter of course retained the ideological leadership, but Gregor Strasser wanted to obtain control over the party organisation and thus over the practical politics of the NSDAP. After the first rupture of the Berliner leftwing, Strasserism was also falling apart into two separate groups: a moderate faction of Gregor Strasser on the one hand and a radical faction around his brother Otto Strasser on the other hand. This split clearly would come to light during the party crisis in the summer of 1930.

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