Papen, Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von “Fränzchen”.

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Papen, Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von “Fränzchen”, born 29-10-1879 in Werl, Westfalen, into a wealthy and noble Roman Catholic family in Werl, Westphalia, the third child of Friedrich von Papen-Köningen (1839–1906) and his wife Anna Laura von Steffens (1852–1939). Young Franz Von Papen was sent to a cadet school in Bensberg of his own volition at the age of 11 in 1891. His four years there were followed by three years of training at Prussian Main Military academy in Lichterfelde. He was trained as a Herrenreiter (“gentleman rider”). He served for a period as a military attendant in the Kaiser’s Palace and as a second leutnant in his father’s old unit, the Westphalian Uhlan Regiment No. 5 in Düsseldorf.

Franz married Martha Oktavia Marie von Boch-Galhau (1880–1961) on 03-05-1905.   As the youngest daughter of the wealthy Saarland industrialist René Franz von Boch-Galhau whose dowry made him a very rich man. Boch came from an old merchant family from Audun-le-Tiche (Moselle department in Lorraine); his grandfather Jean-François Boch (1782–1858) founded the Villeroy & Boch Keramische Werke company seven years before René was born. René is the son of the Privy Commercial Councilor Eugen von Boch (1809–1898), then head of the family business and a member of parliament. His mother was Oktavie born Villeroy (1823–1899), a granddaughter of the co-founder Nicolas Villeroy, who died in the year he was born.

The dowry of the wealthy company heiress significantly expanded the potential of the aspiring career officer, who had just graduated from cadet school, to live a luxurious life befitting his status. For example, Papen was now able to pursue his passion for equestrian sports independently of wealthy racing team owners. Boch was fascinated by the imperial military and urged his son-in-law Papen to undergo training to become a general staff officer in Berlin. During his five-year training period, Papen served with the 1st Uhlan Guards Regiment in Potsdam and then entered the military-diplomatic service.

Due to the family ties to France, Martha preferred to speak French in private all her life. In contrast to her husband, Martha von Papen refused the NSDAP to participate in government at the turn of the year 1932/1933 and considered her husband’s efforts in this regard to be a mistake. She was known among foreign diplomats for despising and loathing Hitler and for categorically refusing to give the Hitler salute – even in the presence of the dictator. Martha von Papen was lady of the Knightly Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. It was invested on 08-20-1933 in Jerusalem by Filippo Cardinal Camassei in the order of knights of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. They had four children, four daughters and one son, Friedrich Franz von Papen Marie Antoinette von Papen; Antoinette von Papen; and Isabelle von Papen . An excellent horseman and a man of much charm, Papen cut a dashing figure and during this time, befriended Kurt von Schleicher.Papen was proud of his family’s having been granted hereditary rights since 1298 to mine brine salt at Werl. He always believed in the superiority of the aristocracy over commoners. Fluent in both French and English, he travelled widely all over Europe, the Middle East and North America.Von Papen was devoted to Kaiser Wilhelm II. Influenced by the books of General Friedrich von Bernhardi,  Papen was a militarist throughout his life.

He joined the German Army and was a General Staff officer on the outbreak of the First World War. In 1914 von Papen “Fränzchen” for his friends, was sent to Washington as a military attache. While in the United States he helped to arrange for a company in Bridgeport to produce armaments for Germany. However, in 1915 he was forced to leave the country after being accused of attempting to sabotage American armaments production for the Allies. On his return von Papen was sent to Palestine where he served as chief of staff of the 4th Turkish Army . He continued to carry out undercover work and was involved in planning rebellions in Ireland and India and sabotage in the United States. As a result of papers found in Nazareth, a number of Papen’s agents were arrested and either imprisoned or executed. After the First World War Papen joined the Catholic Centre Party  and in 1921 was elected to the Reichstag. Von Papen met Pope

  Pius XII, in 1939. Two years later he purchased a controlling stake in its leading paper, the Germania.  Von Papen immediately sacked the editor and over the next few years attempted to use the newspaper to impose his right-wing views on the party. This plan was unsuccessful and was considered as an outsider in the BVP. As von Papen had only a small political following it came as a great shock when Paul von Hindenburg

   decided to appoint von Papen as chancellor on 31-05-1932. Freiherr Magnus von Braun   a member of the Cabinets von Papen and Schleicher was  the father of Wernher von Braun    the V1 and V2 designer. Von Papen now decided to gain the support of the Nazi Party by lifting the ban on the Sturm Abteilung (SA)  that had been introduced by Heinrich Brüning.  This was followed by deposing the Social Democratic Party government in Prussia and aggressive statements about not keeping to the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Von Papen’s reactionary policies upset

   Kurt von Schleicher who favoured a coalition of the centre. When von Schleicher managed to persuade several government ministers to turn against von Papen he resigned from office. Von Papen now began to plot with Adolf Hitler  (see parents) in an effort to oust Schleicher who was now chancellor of Germany. Franz Von Papen. With the support of industrial leaders such as Hjalmar Schacht Gustav Krupp  ,  he died age 79, on 16-01-1950, in Austria, Alfred Krupp    Fritz Thyssen,   he died age 77, on 08-02-1951, Albert Voegler,  he committed suicide age 68, on 14-04-1945 and Emile Kirdorf,  he died age 91, on 13-07-1938, von Papen persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to appoint Adolf Hitler as chancellor. von Papen, who became vice-chancellor, told Hindenburg that he would be able to prevent Hitler from introducing his more extremist policies. After the Night of the Long Knives, Ernst Julius Röhm   which included the murder of Kurt von Schleicher, Papen sent a letter to Hitler praising him for “crushing the intended second revolution.” Soon afterwards von Papen resigned as vice-chancellor and was sent as ambassador to Austria (1934-39) where he plotting successfully for the achievement of Anschluss. This was followed by the post of ambassador to Turkey (1939-44). Von Papen retired to Westphalia where he was arrested by Allied forces on 10-04-1945.

Death and burial ground of Papen, Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von “Fränzchen”.

Von Papen was captured along with his son Franz Jr

. at his own home by First Lieutenant Thomas McKinley  and members of the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment, under commander Colonel James Robinson.Pierce  a part of the 17th Airborne Division  commanded by Major General William Maynadier Miley  in April 1945. McKinley rushed into the lodge to find Franz von Papen having dinner with his family. McKinley pulled out a photograph and identified von Papen. McKinley then told von Papen that he was his prisoner;

  Von Papen stated in reply, “I don’t know what the Americans would want with an old man of 65 like me!” Nonetheless, McKinley sat down and ate dinner with von Papen before taking him captive. Von Papen was heard to remark (in English), “I wish this terrible war were over.” Sergeant Fredericks responded, “So do 11 million other guys!” Also present during the capture was a small band from the 550th Airborne glider Infantry  He was charged with conspiring to start the World War II at Nuremberg.

Von Papen was found not guilty but the German government had him re-arrested and charged him with other offences committed while in Hitler’s government. On 01-05-1947 von Papen was judged to be a “major offender” and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. However, like other wealthy supporters of the Nazi regime he was soon forgiven for his crimes and was released in January, 1949. von Papen had his wealth and property returned to him but he did lose his state pension and was deprived of his driving license. In his retirement von Papen wrote and published his Memoirs (1952). Papen published his memoirs in two volumes in Switzerland. Right up until his death in 1969, Papen gave speeches and wrote articles in the newspapers, defending himself against the charge that he had played a crucial role in having Hitler appointed chancellor and that he had served a criminal regime; these led to vitriolic exchanges with West German historians, journalists and political scientists.

Franz von Papen died in his villa in the town of Obersasbach on 02-05-1969, old age 89. Von Papen is buried on the local cemetery of Wallerfangen, the grave is really neglected and on the country seat of von Papen, his granddaughter is growing mushrooms.



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