Fate of Nazism Without Hitler

So Hitler dying in the Beer Hall Putsch is a very common point of divergence in alternate history (as well as all the other opportunities for Hitler to die or vanish, such as in WWI, but I find the BHP one more interesting), and probably for understandable reasons. It is a very easy and obvious divergence, just making one of the bullets fired at the putschists in 1923 hit him instead of someone else, and it has immediate and enormous ramifications because of just how influential Hitler was to world history. There's a few timelines about the idea, and plenty of threads about it - but I personally feel like that the potential of the divergence is rather underused.

What I mean is that generally, as far as I've seen, timelines/proposals with this divergence follow one of two directions:
  1. Someone else from Hitler's entourage takes his mantle and leads the Nazi party to victory, sometimes even repeating the same method with which he took power in our timeline (which is particularly questionable, since so much about the 1929-1933 period was shaped by the kind of person Hitler was - a person who always rested his career, movement and later whole regime on massive live-or-die gambles and constantly tested his luck - which wouldn't necessarily be repeated by another person)
  2. The NSDAP disintegrates and completely vanishes, and is written off in favour of another outcome for Germany entirely, whether democratic or authoritarian. More often the latter, it seems, but that's beyond the scope of this topic.
In my opinion, both of these directions, while obviously still valid, go too far into each extreme and also miss the potential of the divergence. The truth, as it often is, is in the middle.

Hitler, obviously a horrible and disgusting individual, was, at least, uniquely gifted for the role he ended up playing in history, and achieved something that few of his accomplices could have achieved - keeping the German far right unified under a single leader and shaping into a vaguely common ideology which could then take power. At the same time, however, not everything in the rise of the NSDAP originated from Hitler's persona - Nazism did not reach the strength it did for no reason, it represented a niche. It represented the anxieties of the middle class radicalized by attempted socialist revolutions and the Great Depression that found the traditional liberal representatives of the middle class worthless and the DNVP too aristocratic - it was then joined by other radicalized demographics such as Protestant peasantry which found itself disappointed by the DNVP, nationalist working class voters, and upper class business or Junker elites who saw in Hitler a unifier of the political right and a gravedigger of the Weimar Republic... all of these demographics would still exist in similar shape and form. Hitler's death would not prevent the Great Depression, nor the downfall of the DNVP in 1924-1930 that arose from its internal infighting and inability to balance its sectional interests. The niche which was filled by the Nazis would still exist, and these voters - potentially millions of them - would not simply vanish after Hitler's death.

The middle ground that I am thinking of, and one that is somewhat missed out on, is Nazism as a pervasive, heterogeneous far-right current which threatens the Weimar Republic and contributes to its instability.

Ok, some explanations.

Nazism After Hitler

The Beer Hall Putsch was a watershed moment for the NSDAP (a weird thing to write now that I look back, but whatever.). It marked a complete turn in the party's strategy - Hitler, who had previously seen himself as an agitator for another strongman such as Ludendorff, was uplifted by the enormous press interest during his trial that he decided to make the gamble of going independent and trying to become that leader of the far right - which he succeeded at, but in 1925, it was an insane move to make. The NSDAP abandoned its previous goal of bringing forth a putsch in an alliance with conservative-reactionary forces and instead decided to subvert the Republic from within by participating in electoralism.

By 1923, Hitler had impressed the far right enough that he managed to unify them around himself after his release two years later in spite of being severed from politics during that time. In a timeline where he dies during the Beer Hall Putsch, he'd understandably be revered by the entire far right as its progenitor and martyr, but he would obviously be unable to shape Nazism in the direction he wants.

So, instead, Nazism would continue with the direction it went during the "Verbotzeit", the period between the Beer Hall Putsch and Hitler's release from Landsberg Prison. In this period, the NSDAP essentially divided itself into three directions:
  1. Those who continued the pre-putsch policy of cooperation with the conservative-nationalist right and opted to unify the disparate Nazi elements with the reactionaries, specifically the Deutschvolkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) led by Erich Ludendorff and Albrecht von Graefe. This was the direction which Gregor Strasser went towards, positioning himself as Hitler's deputy and trying to pull as much of the Bavarian NSDAP into a Volkisch-Social Block with the DVFP - this was where other future high-ranking Nazis like Hess and Frick went as well. The DVFP was an odd entity that encapsulates the difficult transition from pre-war old school far-right to the modern fascist far-right during the 1920s - it was a party led by old parliamentarians who were much more accustomed to personality-based politics of the Imperial era, yet their membership was staffed by violent activists who cared little for such "parties of dignitaries" or bloodlines and desired action. Ultimately, it floundered, but it gained some ground in the 1924-1925 timeframe, before Hitler's return.
  2. Those who abandoned electoral politics and cooperation with the conservative-reactionary right. This was the Großdeutsche Volksgemeinschaft (GVG) led by Julius Streicher and Hermann Esser, who loudly proclaimed loyalty to the ideas of Hitler and anti-parliamentarism, painted their agitation with a bit more red, and aimed to build a tight-knit national revolutionary movement which could serve as Hitler's loyal backing after his return. Streicher and Esser were not particularly liked, both rather toxic and unlikeable personalities even beyond being, well, Nazis, and so it wasn't particularly prominent. However, after his release, Hitler primarily relied on them to rebuild the Nazi Party - GVG leaders such as Franz Xaver Schwarz, Philipp Bouhler or Max Amann were awarded key positions in party management.
  3. Those who abandoned partisan politics entirely. Ernst Rohm went to this direction. The SA, refounded as the Frontbann, may have cooperated with Ludendorff's presidential campaign and with the DVFP (later the NSFP) in parliamentary elections, but it was essentially an independent Nazi organization and Rohm intended to keep it this way. Without Hitler to bow him into surrendering control over the paramilitary and thus subsequently push him to exile, nobody else would really be able to convince him to give up his control over the Frontbann or the idea of its operational independence, so it would stay as such.
This wasn't everyone, obviously. There was the North German Directory, led by Adalbert Volck, Reinhard Sunkel and Ludolf Haase - three former members of the DVFP/NSFP in North Germany who split over electoral participation and sought to chart a completely anti-electoral course; there was the Nationalsozialen Volksbund (NSVB) founded by Anton Drexler after the restoration of the NSDAP and included those members of the former cooperationists who did not wish to work with Hitler; and there were, of course, other far right parties and movements unrelated to Nazism who tried to pull some of the original membership.

Even with Hitler, the divergences between the two main groups, DVFP/NSFP and GVG, became effectively official in mid 1924, when the former decided to officially merge the Nazi Party with Graefe and Ludendorff's movement into the National Social Freedom Movement (NSFB) and the latter refused to follow. Without Hitler to return and restore the original Nazi Party, these two halves would permanently break off.

So, Nazism splits into three, each one with a different approach on how to achieve "Hitler's vision".

Nazi Leaders After Hitler

I've already basically hinted at who would be the likely main leaders of Nazism after Hitler's death, but I have a bit more to say here.

There is a trend I notice of assuming that Hitler, if he were to die in 1923, would be replaced by one of his famous lieutenants from his OTL regime - but this is putting the cart before the horse. It is true that most of them (Goebbels would be the major exception) were already involved with the Nazi Party before 1923 and had made a name for themselves in the party, but them rising to power during Hitler's leadership absolutely does not mean that they would be equally able to rise without him.

Take Göring, for example. Commander of the SA at time of the Putsch and with a charm of his own, who later became Hitler's second in command and, for a time, his designated successor. Most likely completely irrelevant in this scenario. Missed the party reformation period entirely and had few contacts among the post-Putsch parties, so he was only reinstated to influence after Hitler's return and takeover of the party. If he ever manages to return to Germany, he could still end up in the Reichstag somehow, but he isn't going to get very high, in my opinion.

The likely leading figures in the Nazi movement after Hitler are those figures who were more independent of Hitler's control and who had their own followings, separate from Hitler. It won't be the figures who entered the party because they were enamoured by Hitler specifically and became his blind followers - they would be those, such as Strasser or Rohm, who weren't completely sold by his allure and who retained their own agendas.

I've already mentioned a few. Gregor Strasser, Julius Streicher and Ernst Rohm might be, in my opinion, the most likely ones. Ironically, if you want to look at it from a weird character study perspective (though still keeping in mind that everyone here are, well, Nazis) Strasser and Streicher are almost foils of one another - a very capable and personally affable, if a bit dull and unintellectual administrator and manager who worked best as the organizer to a more capable agitator, whose ultimate downfall came because of his rather odd dedication to working with the reactionary right and thus severe miscalculation, versus a loud-mouthed, toxic agitator who used to hold a fanatical following much like Hitler had, yet was despised by almost everyone outside of his circle, and who had all of Hitler's taste for political gambles yet none of his acumen or senses.

Of course, that's not everyone. Fritz Sauckel and Artur Dinter, who built up their own fairly notable following in Thuringia independently of the Nazi boiler in Bavaria, might end up propelled to relevance, and the North German Directory, without being choked out by Hitler in early 1925, would probably also make some splash in the overall Nazi constellation.

Nazism After Disintegration

These different currents would fight amongst themselves, merge and splinter based on personalities and differing interpretations of National Socialism throughout the 1920s. Most notably, in my opinion, I feel Strasser's alliance with Ludendorff and Graefe would prove short lived even without Hitler - the rift between him and Ludendorff had already become very wide by 1925, and while he had become one of the most influential men in the NSFB, Ludendorff was completely incompetent in electoral politics and botched his 1925 election bid. It's fairly realistic that at that point, Strasser would choose to either take over the party, bolt, or unify with another far-right constellation, taking much of the former Nazi Party with him. He'd have several options - perhaps find a working relationship with Rohm, or work with the North German Directory (the gauleiters who came from there would end up a core part of his 1926 revolt against Hitler, so they could historically cooperate).

It wouldn't necessarily have to be him in charge. It's possible to imagine Wilhelm Frick, or even something weird like Fritz Sauckel or Adalbert Volck, to hold the leading position with Strasser as party administrator and power holder. Such a constellation, if it holds the activists which Strasser recruited OTL, like Himmler and Goebbels, would be fairly capable - not as much as Hitler's NSDAP, but it could pack a punch in the Reichstag.

Alternatively, the NSFB's defeat in the 1924 December elections and Ludendorff's crash in the 1925 presidentials could convince Rohm that electoralism is a doomed path and abandon previous cooperation with the electoralists, instead forming some sort of antiparliamentary front with Streicher and Esser. Pulling the Directory to their side, and maybe aligning other far-right paramilitaries like the Wehrwolf or Bund Wiking, would form a fairly strong extremist, revolutionary alliance (an unstable one, sure, but still).

Or neither of those things can happen.

Whatever the direction, the Great Depression would still be an enormous boon to the far right and the Nazi organizations as well. Without Hitler and without party unity, there's no chance for them to repeat the enormous 1930 election result - but that is not the point. Even an election result a bit under 10% of the vote between all Nazi parties (which is possible - a lot of radicalized voters who weren't interested in the KPD or DNVP to go around) would still be by far the most successful result for the Nazi movement in its history and bring thousands into their ranks.

What really matters here, keeping this in mind, is that Nazism would be much more revolutionary in this scenario. Not "socialist" revolutionary, but "seeking to violently overthrow the state" revolutionary. You would have at least a large fraction of the movement which rejects parliamentary politics and seeks to overthrow the state without a Hitler to force them into the path of legality, and you would have a fully independent Frontbann, which, much like Rohm imagined, would pursue the agenda of state overthrow.

And that would be bad news for the Weimar Republic. Now, to be clear, the rise of the Nazi Party was anything but peaceful in our timeline - street clashes, murders and assaults were a weekly occurrence, and actively destabilized the state. However, this would be heterogeneous, multipolar movement dedicated specifically to hastening state overthrow. I'm personally picturing something like the Years of Lead (which, granted, Weimar Germany did resemble), against a persistent far-right movement.

...

Jesus, this post was too long.

I suppose, what do you think? Do you have any ideas, thoughts, issues, or anything else to add?
 
What really matters here, keeping this in mind, is that Nazism would be much more revolutionary in this scenario. Not "socialist" revolutionary, but "seeking to violently overthrow the state" revolutionary. You would have at least a large fraction of the movement which rejects parliamentary politics and seeks to overthrow the state without a Hitler to force them into the path of legality, and you would have a fully independent Frontbann, which, much like Rohm imagined, would pursue the agenda of state overthrow.
The thing about this is that it just doesn't seem particularly workable as an actual way to gain power. The Hitlerian Route to power was a rather narrow one, which relied on a German establishment who thought they could manipulate him and a German public who both wanted radical change and order. Taking power by violence was not the way to go because you couldn't generate support among more than the most hard-core membership. The Military wont side with you because they have their own preferred military junta people and the public won't be particularly interested in charging out to help you.
 
Interesting. Well, let's go over the potential cast.

Goering would still go back to Germany because amnesty was granted to war heroes in 1927. However, he wouldn't have the ability to galvanize the divided remnants of the Nazi party, nor would he would to associate with them. More likely is that Goering would join ranks with the DNVP and use his aristocratic and military background to move up the ranks. Hell, he could very well revitalize the party and become Germany's new President in 1932, because Hindenburg wouldn't be pressured to run again this time. Now, a President Goering could accomplish a lot of what the Nazis intended to do, but there would be several major differences. While concentration camps could still created, anti-Semitism would by no means become state policy. Instead, communists and political opponents would be gradually rooted out by Goering. He would utilize diplomacy in order to undermine the Versailles treaty and expand German territory, but he wouldn't risk war in order to accomplish it.

Goebbels would still become a destructive firebrand, but he would be much more maligned without Hitler. While his oratory was beyond exceptional, he was held back by his narcissism and resentment for the political elite. Here, he wouldn't have his messiah and likely wouldn't even join the Nazi movement. He would still inspire riots and other forms of political violence, but it would be more of a Socialist movement with some nationalistic tendencies. But in the end, it wouldn't really matter, because it would be a matter of time before the German political establishment would get fed up with Goebbels' nonsense, especially under a Chancellor von Schleicher or a President Goering. Goebbels would likely meet the same fate as Hitler: shot and killed in the streets of Berlin.

Gregor Strasser could still cultivate a semi-strong Nazi movement, but it would be no means be the unifying force it was OTL. At best, he becomes a political pawn of von Papen or von Schleicher.

Same applies for Hermann Esser, who could be best described as a slimy, but useful idiot. He could fill the shoes of OTL Goebbels, but it wouldn't resemble the work of the firebrand.

Julius Streicher was far too disgusting of a man to ever achieve actual power in Germany. At best, Streicher would replace Hitler as the new agitator for the Nazi movement, but it wouldn't have the same appeal. Eventually, he too would get snuffed out if he started spewing personal nonsense about powerful politicians, particularly Goering.

Hess would become an irrelevant figure and a broken man without his messiah. And he was the one who influenced Hitler about Lebensraum, so that wouldn't become a goal for the new Nazis.

Himmler simply wasn't a politician and would remain an important, but quiet background figure in Germany's political landscape. It all depends on who achieves power and who needs him more.

Fritz Sauckel would be an interesting choice, but he would have to be propped up by someone like Strasser, Streicher or even Esser. But Sauckel would definitely be more of a corrupt and ruthless businessman than a political revolutionary.

As for Ernst Rohm, he could still be a threat to the German political establishment and attempt a second coup to achieve power. But he would ultimately be crushed by the better-armed and disciplined Reichswehr, and by the vast-majority of the veteran German officers. He too would join Hitler in a failed coup that led to death.

Overall, Nazism as we know it would simply not be a dominant force without Hitler. Now, it could still influence Germany's direction in the 1930's and beyond, but it would not truly resemble Hitler's vision.
 
Last edited:
In August 1932 Gregor Strasser (the Strasser who mattered) was literally arguing that the Nazi party should enter a coalition government with the conservative elites (Papen, Schleicher et al)...even if it meant temporarily foregoing the chancellorship and being content with the vice-chancellor position.

He also had ties to industrialists like Paul Silverberg and the lobbyist August Heinrichsbauer, and received donations from them. He was not the radical social revolutionary or 'Nazbol' he's often memed at. Nor were he and Röhm on the same page. In fact, Gregor seems to have detested him. Unlike people like Stennes, Gregor didn't reject using a 'legalistic' course to take power.

Gregor wrote a bunch of anti-capitalist stuff in the '20s, and used a lot of populist rhetoric because they needed to win over workers in the more urban northern and northwestern Germany, but if you read it you find there's little socialism as it is commonly understood in it, but a good deal of romanticism for medieval corporative guilds. The 1925 programme argues in favour of transforming large-scale enterprises in critical industries into joint stock corporations. The state would have a big stake in those, but not take over and the workers definitely would not. And naturally the creation of corporative guilds and such because that was in vogue in various far-right-wing and conservative movements at the time. Following the Bamberg conference, Gregor basically dumped most of the 'radical' aspects. Industrialists like Silverberg praised him for having been responsible for guiding the Nazi Party into a 'constructive' direction. Hell, there's an interview where he openly says he supports private property. His approach to policy was incredibly opportunistic.

Otto Strasser was just weird. As seen in the programme he wrote during the war, where demands that ownership of factories and agricultural land should be given to managers and farmers as a 'fief' and create a, I quote, functional aristocracy of managers. And that many workers should be sent to rural areas and be given farms so that they could be 'deproletarianised'. Otto was the Strasser who left the Nazi Party in a fit of pique for not matching his ideas (apparently he was pissed about their foreign policy) and became irrelevant.

Gregor was the Strasser who mattered and loyally served the Nazi Party. He basically built up their electoral machine and set up their propaganda apparatus and Party bureaucracy. He was never under the spell of the Hitler cult and detested the Munich clique, but never challenged Hitler because he recognised his importance for the movement. He was the very definition of an institutionalist, which might have been the cause for his downfall. The biggest threat to the Nazi party would be being absorbed by some fascist or conservative coalition and being diluted. Hitler was adamant in settling for nothing less than the chancellorship, Strasser seems to have imagined that the Nazi Party would enter a coalition then taking over via stealth...but that could backfire and just end with them being coopted.

Röhm's own politics are weird. At least in the 20s he seems to have viewed himself as being loyal to House Wittelsbach and Ludendorff. He detested the old officer corps, and advocated an incoherent 'second revolution' that would result in the SA being ascendant and the old elites being thrown out. But he wasn't a Nazbol. He believed in the primacy of the soldier...which was the root cause of his conflict with the Party establishment.

In regards to Goebbels, he's a follower, not a leader. Longerich characterises him as a narcissist who craved the public's adulation but, above all, Hitler's approval, which is something Hitler noticed early on. He could be the fanatical disciple of a leader, but not lead a movement himself.

In regards to lebensraum, that concept preceded the Nazis. You already find it in the programme of the Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband), for example, and Ludendorff pursued proto-lebensraum fantasies. Hess is not needed for it to enter the Nazi canon.

Streicher's an open creep who was disliked by many other Nazi leaders and kept embarrassing the Party. A Party court literally kicked him out shortly before the war, and he needed Hitler to step in so that he could keep his Gauleiter title (but without having any authority, he was literally forbidden from entering Nuremberg) and the income of Der Stürmer.
 
Last edited:
The thing about this is that it just doesn't seem particularly workable as an actual way to gain power. The Hitlerian Route to power was a rather narrow one, which relied on a German establishment who thought they could manipulate him and a German public who both wanted radical change and order. Taking power by violence was not the way to go because you couldn't generate support among more than the most hard-core membership. The Military wont side with you because they have their own preferred military junta people and the public won't be particularly interested in charging out to help you.
Well I personally don't see Nazism taking power without Hitler, but from the perspective of the anti-electoralist Nazis there was a logic behind it, in my opinion. It's supposed to be a "National Revolution" after all - they'd probably picture it as building up power and support behind the Frontbann/SA/Nazi parties that can then escalate into a mass uprising that either defeats the Reichswehr or forces them to bend over and surrender in the name of national unity.

Goering would still go back to Germany because amnesty was granted to war heroes in 1927. However, he wouldn't have the ability to galvanize the divided remnants of the Nazi party, nor would he would to associate with them. More likely is that Goering would join ranks with the DNVP and use his aristocratic and military background to move up the ranks. Hell, he could very well revitalize the party and become Germany's new President in 1932, because Hindenburg wouldn't be pressured to run again this time. Now, a President Goering could accomplish a lot of what the Nazis intended to do, but there would be several major differences. While concentration camps could still created, anti-Semitism would by no means become state policy. Instead, communists and political opponents would be gradually rooted out by Goering. He would utilize diplomacy in order to undermine the Versailles treaty and expand German territory, but he wouldn't risk war in order to accomplish it.
I personally don't find it likely that Goering would get that far by joining the DNVP - a lot of DNVP's weakness was very fundamental and hardcoded (if such a term makes sense) into how it was formed. If Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck ended up a dud and failed to accomplish much, if anything, as its member and Reichstag representative, then Goering, whose public image was even weaker, would hardly do any better. It would also mean Goering would have to work with Hugenberg, and Hugenberg was both completely unworkable and also tolerated no opposition within the party.

In August 1932 Gregor Strasser (the Strasser who mattered) was literally arguing that the Nazi party should enter a coalition government with the conservative elites (Papen, Schleicher et al)...even if it meant temporarily foregoing the chancellorship and being content with the vice-chancellor position.

He also had ties to industrialists like Paul Silverberg and the lobbyist August Heinrichsbauer, and received donations from them. He was not the radical social revolutionary or 'Nazbol' he's often memed at. Nor were he and Röhm on the same page. In fact, Gregor seems to have detested him. Unlike people like Stennes, Gregor didn't reject using a 'legalistic' course to take power.

Gregor wrote a bunch of anti-capitalist stuff in the '20s, and used a lot of populist rhetoric because they needed to win over workers in the more urban northern and northwestern Germany, but if you read it you find there's little socialism as it is commonly understood in it, but a good deal of romanticism for medieval corporative guilds. The 1925 programme argues in favour of transforming large-scale enterprises in critical industries into joint stock corporations. The state would have a big stake in those, but not take over and the workers definitely would not. And naturally the creation of corporative guilds and such because that was in vogue in various far-right-wing and conservative movements at the time. Following the Bamberg conference, Gregor basically dumped most of the 'radical' aspects. Industrialists like Silverberg praised him for having been responsible for guiding the Nazi Party into a 'constructive' direction. Hell, there's an interview where he openly says he supports private property. His approach to policy was incredibly opportunistic.

Otto Strasser was just weird. As seen in the programme he wrote during the war, where demands that ownership of factories and agricultural land should be given to managers and farmers as a 'fief' and create a, I quote, functional aristocracy of managers. And that many workers should be sent to rural areas and be given farms so that they could be 'deproletarianised'. Otto was the Strasser who left the Nazi Party in a fit of pique for not matching his ideas (apparently he was pissed about their foreign policy) and became irrelevant.

Gregor was the Strasser who mattered and loyally served the Nazi Party. He basically built up their electoral machine and set up their propaganda apparatus and Party bureaucracy. He was never under the spell of the Hitler cult and detested the Munich clique, but never challenged Hitler because he recognised his importance for the movement. He was the very definition of an institutionalist, which might have been the cause for his downfall. The biggest threat to the Nazi party would be being absorbed by some fascist or conservative coalition and being diluted. Hitler was adamant in settling for nothing less than the chancellorship, Strasser seems to have imagined that the Nazi Party would enter a coalition then taking over via stealth...but that could backfire and just end with them being coopted.
We're on the same page here. On enmity between Strasser and Röhm, though, from what I can tell it mostly arose after Hitler's return to the party and the subsequent competition between the leaders underneath him? 🤔 Strasser initially welcomed Röhm's return as commander of the SA in 1930, and it was the Stennes Putsch (whose aftermath was left to Strasser and Paul Schulz to clean up) and rumours of Röhm's homosexuality which created a rift between them.

Röhm did cooperate with the NSFB in 1924-1925, used the Frontbann to support their campaign and was elected as a part of their list.

Strasser was definitely the most pro-cooperation of the major Nazi leaders though, I emphasized as much and it'd probably play a role in his decision making. To be fair, to someone who is more risk-averse than Hitler, it's a sensible approach - nobody could have really predicted how strong Nazism would have become in such a short timeframe and without such strength a working relationship with the reactionary-conservative right was kind of necessary.

Though, to my knowledge, he was not all cooperation all the time. To my understanding, he opposed cooperating with the DNVP over the Young Plan, for ex.
 
Strasser was definitely the most pro-cooperation of the major Nazi leaders though, I emphasized as much and it'd probably play a role in his decision making. To be fair, to someone who is more risk-averse than Hitler, it's a sensible approach - nobody could have really predicted how strong Nazism would have become in such a short timeframe and without such strength a working relationship with the reactionary-conservative right was kind of necessary.

I think a key difference between Hitler and Gregor Strasser is that the former regarded himself as some kind of millenarian prophet on a 'providential mission', whereas the latter was, for the lack of a better word, more of a politician (though a Nazi one obviously). So in 1932 Strasser looked at the numbers and at how morale was dropping among the Party faithful because they were exhausted by constant campaigning, decided Hitler's all or nothing strategy wasn't working, and that they needed to compromise to avoid losing their chance at obtaining power. Hitler didn't because he saw it as diluting his mission and he wouldn't settle for anything except the chancellorship. Naturally it helped that certain bigshots in the Party wanted to cut Strasser down to size because he was in their way.

Basically, Strasser was an adaptive political operator (and very opportunistic, frankly). Sometimes he proposed expropriating princely estates and preached some weird guild corporatism, then he proposed an economic programme that by comparison was pretty moderate and received money from industrialists.

In regards to Röhm and Strasser, relations were bad by the time Strasser quit his job. It may not have always been the case. The Frontbann worked with the NSFB after all. I figure short-term cooperation is an option. After all, as surprising as that seems in hindsight, in the early '20 Röhm was working very closely with the Reichswehr during his 'machine gun king' arc. However, I think in the long-term their divergent strategies and personalities would lead to conflict. While Strasser did serve in the SA as one of their officers, he ultimately represents the Political Organisation, and Röhm thinks the 'political soldier' should not get bossed around by pen-pushers. If memory serves, Franz Pfeffer von Salomon got on with Strasser and was appointed OSAF to placate him, though his insistence on the SA being independent and militarised would probably lead to the same issues long-term.
 
Last edited:

thaddeus

Donor
Goering would still go back to Germany because amnesty was granted to war heroes in 1927. However, he wouldn't have the ability to galvanize the divided remnants of the Nazi party, nor would he would to associate with them. More likely is that Goering would join ranks with the DNVP and use his aristocratic and military background to move up the ranks. Hell, he could very well revitalize the party and become Germany's new President in 1932, because Hindenburg wouldn't be pressured to run again this time. Now, a President Goering could accomplish a lot of what the Nazis intended to do, but there would be several major differences. While concentration camps could still created, anti-Semitism would by no means become state policy. Instead, communists and political opponents would be gradually rooted out by Goering. He would utilize diplomacy in order to undermine the Versailles treaty and expand German territory, but he wouldn't risk war in order to accomplish it.

I personally don't find it likely that Goering would get that far by joining the DNVP - a lot of DNVP's weakness was very fundamental and hardcoded (if such a term makes sense) into how it was formed. If Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck ended up a dud and failed to accomplish much, if anything, as its member and Reichstag representative, then Goering, whose public image was even weaker, would hardly do any better. It would also mean Goering would have to work with Hugenberg, and Hugenberg was both completely unworkable and also tolerated no opposition within the party.

can imagine Goering as a wolf in sheep's clothing for a time, whereas von Lettow-Vorbeck could/would not suffer Hugenberg? the remnants of the Nazi party absorbed, Goebbels especially would be drawn to the Hugenberg media and film studio.
 
... a very capable and personally affable, if a bit dull and unintellectual administrator and manager who worked best as the organizer to a more capable agitator, ...
I wonder where from you've got this impression(s). All somewhat more elaborate writings on Gregor Strasser ("Gregor Strasser and the Organization of the Nazi Party, 1925-32", Joseph Murdock Dixon, Dissertation Stanford University 1966 ; "Gregor Straßer und die NSDAP", Udo Kissenkötter, Schriftenreihe der Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 1978 ; "Gregor Strassr and The Rise of Nazism", Peter D. Stachura , Routledge Library Editions: NaziGermany and the Holocaust 1983) are telling quite the opposite.
Until his heavy accident in Januray 1931 he was a rather keen sportman, hiking, cycling and (at last accidental) skiing. According to some minutes of his wife also not too uninterested in other women esp. when away from home foe days or weeks in service to the party.
His "intellectualism" was already risen by his father who had with the three brothers Paul (after taking the oath ad amonk Bernhard), Gregor and Otto almost regulary not only political debates at home but also on every thinkable cultural topics. Not too uninteresting in this regard might be his University degree "very good" in pharmazeutics he made after having served as officer in the rather "technical" heavy artilly ("Foot Artillery") branch during the Great War.
Organizer he was though rather a congenial one first organizing more or less out of nothing the DVFP from - as said - from an imperial times 'notables' club into a supra-regional party learning 'his stuff' and esp. what to do better what he eventually did after refounding of the NSDAP.
... and more capable agitator ... actually regarding 'agitation' and importance in campaigning he was only second to Hitler. Goebbels still had to learn a damn awfull lot from him. During the electorial campaigns of 1931 and 32 his speeches - wherever held - were printed na recorded on 'vinyls' as often as Hitlers with Goebbels not even reaching half the editions.

... whose ultimate downfall came because of his rather odd dedication to working with the reactionary right and thus severe miscalculation, ...
Again I would like to question the base for your assumption.
Due to the blackmailing within the party during his fight for a coalition or participation in the goverment by whatever means to save the party from its seeming downfall as the November election had shown he sacrificed himself for the same party and for Hitler.
 
Was Julius Streicher maybe a possible replacement. I know many thought so and Behind the Bastards did a podcast episode on him.
 
I wonder where from you've got this impression(s). All somewhat more elaborate writings on Gregor Strasser ("Gregor Strasser and the Organization of the Nazi Party, 1925-32", Joseph Murdock Dixon, Dissertation Stanford University 1966 ; "Gregor Straßer und die NSDAP", Udo Kissenkötter, Schriftenreihe der Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 1978 ; "Gregor Strassr and The Rise of Nazism", Peter D. Stachura , Routledge Library Editions: NaziGermany and the Holocaust 1983) are telling quite the opposite.
Until his heavy accident in Januray 1931 he was a rather keen sportman, hiking, cycling and (at last accidental) skiing. According to some minutes of his wife also not too uninterested in other women esp. when away from home foe days or weeks in service to the party.
His "intellectualism" was already risen by his father who had with the three brothers Paul (after taking the oath ad amonk Bernhard), Gregor and Otto almost regulary not only political debates at home but also on every thinkable cultural topics. Not too uninteresting in this regard might be his University degree "very good" in pharmazeutics he made after having served as officer in the rather "technical" heavy artilly ("Foot Artillery") branch during the Great War.
Organizer he was though rather a congenial one first organizing more or less out of nothing the DVFP from - as said - from an imperial times 'notables' club into a supra-regional party learning 'his stuff' and esp. what to do better what he eventually did after refounding of the NSDAP.
... and more capable agitator ... actually regarding 'agitation' and importance in campaigning he was only second to Hitler. Goebbels still had to learn a damn awfull lot from him. During the electorial campaigns of 1931 and 32 his speeches - wherever held - were printed na recorded on 'vinyls' as often as Hitlers with Goebbels not even reaching half the editions.
I was relying on Stachura's work, and it's very possible that I was confused on the details or simply misremembered things because I didn't go and reread the book for an AH.com post that I randomly decided to write down one evening. :noexpression: Dull was perhaps not the most correct choice of words, but Strasser was, as stated here before even, much more of a political operator, and far from the risk-driven ideologue that Hitler was.

Again I would like to question the base for your assumption.
Due to the blackmailing within the party during his fight for a coalition or participation in the goverment by whatever means to save the party from its seeming downfall as the November election had shown he sacrificed himself for the same party and for Hitler.
Well yes, that's literally what we just discussed before, his and Hitler's differing image of what was taking place in late 1932 - and I wouldn't go so far as to call it a selfless sacrifice on his part, even if Strasser certainly thought he was saving Nazism from collapse after it seemingly reached its electoral peak. In late 1932, offered to be Vice-Chancellor, he was perfectly willing to consider acting independently if Hitler refused - which, if we're dealing with sources, Stachura does confirm, as well as he confirms Strasser generally being rather naive.

Do you maybe have some ideas on this topic?
 
I don't know much about the Weimar Republic and it's inner machinations, but if you're the largest party and the guy who manages your campaign tells you that really you should just be the vice-chancellor(which isn't worth a bucket of piss as Garner so eloquently put any and all 'vice' positions as), you'd tell him to shove off forever.

Back to the message at hand, let's suppose a simple POD. Say the policeman's pistol is aimed a few inches to the right, and instead of Scheubner-Richter being shot in the lungs and killed, it's Hitler instead who is shot and drags Scheubner-Richter down with him(effectively a reverse of what happened). They were walking arm in arm together, so it's the most likely point of divergence for this scenario. Richter was also the only "Irreplaceable" loss as according to Hitler.

All I know about Scheubner-Richter is from Wikipedia, so that counts for little, but he seems like another potential major figure, especially with his litany of contacts with both exiled Russian Whites and Baltic Germans + Industrialists. With him still alive and well, perhaps he can widen his contacts and help keep a good line of money coming in with the most presentable successors like Strasser. However, he doesn't seem like a mass figure in any sense at all. The ramifications of his survival can only really be gamed out in a world where that's the only POD, and he can continue to play a major role along with the Aufbau Vereinigung (very Anti-Communist, very Anti-Semitic, but not very Anti-Slavic) in Hitler's rise to power.

I'm not really optimistic about the survival of the Weimar Republic in any case. Aside from the "Constructive Nationalism" of Von Rathenau(who can be claimed as a Fascist) and Stresemann, there was really no one on the right that was invested in supporting the Weimar Republic and at best saw it as something to endure whilst they slowly paved the way to get their Kaiser/Military Dictator/Fuhrer in power.

As for Hitler's place in history, It depends on what ultimately happens. Let's say Strasser is able to keep the whole gang together and crack 15ish %(very very very VERY optimistic) and gets all 6's so that the Nazi Party can be a commanding, but not dominant, player on the right forcing the transformation of Weimar into a 'authoritarian-conservative-but-in-someways-liberal-but-no-meaningful-ideology-really regime' as many were on the continent during the Interwar period. Would the deaths of November 9th be remembered? Probably, yes, but with much lower levels of pageantry. There'd be no marching through the streets of Munich every year on the "Day of Fate", there'd be no Ehretempels staffed with honor guards. The Blutfahne would not have the same resonance as it did in OTL. Probably a few memorializing postcards, but that'd be the extent of it.
 
Was Julius Streicher maybe a possible replacement. I know many thought so and Behind the Bastards did a podcast episode on him.

Too weird, plain unstable and very creepy. Also believed in a racial theory (telegony) so nutty that the Nazi Party's Office of Racial Policy declared it heretical.

I can't see him attaining more than a local following.

The Nazi Party Court literally kicked him out in 1938 because he'd pissed off too many bigshots with his behaviour and was making the Party look bad. It was only thanks to Hitler that he was allowed to keep the income derived from Der Stürmer and his title as Gauleiter (but he was forbidden from entering Nuremberg or exercising the authority that came with said title).
 
Last edited:
Too weird, plain unstable and very creepy. Also believed in a racial theory (telegony) so nutty that the Nazi Party's Office of Racial Policy declared it heretical.

I can't see him attaining more than a local following.

The Nazi Party Court literally kicked him out in 1938 because he'd pissed off too many bigshots with his behaviour and was making the Party look bad. It was only thanks to Hitler that he was allowed to keep the income derived from Der Stürmer and his title as Gauleiter (but he was forbidden from entering Nuremberg or exercising the authority that came with said title).
Very true. Does the same argument apply to Hermann Esser?
 
Very true. Does the same argument apply to Hermann Esser?

Esser's a nonentity, in my opinion.

In 1924 he was active in the Großdeutsche Volksgemeinschaft, one of the splinter groups that came into being after the NSDAP was banned. Naturally his first order of business was to polemicise against the NSFB, another splinter group, whose chairman was Ludendorff. Esser decided that it would be a splendid idea to accuse Ludendorff of having failed in both the World War and the putsch. Except he published these polemics in the Frankfurter Zeitung...which was seen as 'Jewish' by the far-right.

I think this faux pas tells us everything we need to know about his sense of judgement. From 1925 to 1926 he was the NSDAP's propaganda chief, but doesn't seem to have done anything of note. He was one of the sycophantic Munich clique members. Even Rosenberg and Streicher, who belonged to said clique, distanced themselves from him, so it wasn't just the 'North Germans' (Goebbels, the Strasser brothers etc.) who disliked him. He lost his job as propaganda chief to Gregor Strasser, though he was still allowed to give speeches.

He remained a nonentity following the seizure of power and was only noteworthy for corruption scandals, his affairs and being a vile creep who sexually assaulted a minor. He's one of those guys who need someone else to attach themselves too, but is unable to actually attain relevance. All he managed to attain in OTL was a sinecure and since he was one of the few people Hitler was on a first-name basis with (until 1936), that says a lot. I can buy Streicher running his own splinter group in Franconia, and making money with Der Stürmer until he pisses off enough people. I can't see Esser managing even that.
 
Last edited:
Who else falls into this category?

Ernst Röhm, Josef 'Sepp' Dietrich, Emil Maurice, Christian Weber, Siegfried Wagner, Winifred Wagner. And obviously August Kubizek, who was a friend of Hitler's during his youth in Vienna but played no political role.

Neither Speer nor Goebbels got that privilege, despite being personally close to Hitler. Nor did Göring, even though he'd been with him from practically the start, taken a bullet during the coup and been anointed as his heir. After Hitler decided that he wasn't just the drummer, but Germany's 'providential saviour' he could only accept acolytes and stopped letting people get personally close to him. He always had to be imbued with the aura of the Führer. That only intensified after he rose to power.
 
Assuming the Reich won the war do you think Hitler would have retired or stayed in power until he died or was otherwise incapacitated?

Every once in a while Hitler talked about retiring so that he could go back to Linz and focus on art. But I can't see him surrendering power.

What I could see him doing is handing over day-to-day affairs, but retaining control of the commanding heights, while he just chills in Linz, comes up with new grandiose and absurd ideas for architecture and rants to fawning lackeys at his dinner table. This wouldn't be that dissimilar from how he ran domestic affairs anyway. He stopped convening the cabinet in 1938. Lammers was basically responsible for coordinating the legislative work of the ministries and Hitler largely let Bormann handle party politics, unless there was a major issue or dispute at high level that required him to make a final call.

Following the 1934 referendum, the positions of head of state and head of government were fused into the combined title of Führer und Reichskanzler. The wording is a bit ambiguous, as it does imply the position of Chancellor could potentially be detached from the person holding the title of Führer, which seems to have subsumed the role of head of state (though in all decrees on the succession prior to April 1945 Hitler made it clear his successor would succeed him in all his posts).

So it's possible he might simply appoint a minion he considers loyal enough as say Vice-Chancellor to serve as political head. I can see the 'State' faction (that is to say Nazi bigshots like Speer and Goebbels, who largely derived their power from their position in government rather than from the Party) pushing for something like that since it would theoretically impose a check on partification. This might coincide with the much delayed Reichsreform. In classic Hitler fashion, what the Vice-Chancellor is actually able to do would probably be pretty vague and undefined. As his diaries for the 1943 to 1945 period show, Goebbels was basically aiming to become a de facto chancellor by taking charge of domestic and foreign policy to 'relieve the burden on the Führer'.
 
Last edited:
Top