~ Scheubner-Richter's Reich ~

Scheubner Richter Portrait.jpg

‘The rise of Germany and the German nation from today's shame and defenselessness can only take place if we remove ruthlessly and completely from Germany and the German lines all those that carry the guilt for the destruction of the German national body. All illusions on the solidarity of the international proletariat, all illusions that a nation is justly dealt with if itself it is righteous, all illusions that foreign nations will not permit the destruction of Germany – all these stupid dreams must die.’
- Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter, 1923

'The mob streams up to Satan's throne, I'd learn things there I've never known...'
- J.W. von Goethe, 1831​
Every month, until the day he died, my great-grandfather received a cheque from the Austrian government. £600 a month. Reparations payments for the slaughter they carried out, the sacrifice, the devouring, the holocaust. £600 for murdered father, uncles, and aunts. When I think of a potential German victory in WWII I think of my great-grandfather. If the Germans had won he might have shared the fate of his father as would millions of other European Jews. There can be no doubt in anyone’s minds that the Germans would have behaved absolutely ruthlessly in victory.

And yet, there is this enduring need to provide scenarios in-which the Nazis triumph. I myself have been guilty of this in my own writing. Perhaps it’s because German generals with inflated views of themselves flooded the market with memoirs which disguised their own crimes and blunders during the Second World War. Perhaps it’s because the all-consuming fear of Communism which seized the Western mind in the Cold War years. Perhaps it’s because the Wehrmacht had cool uniforms.

One thing I am absolutely certain of is that timeline’s where the Nazis are victorious contain one fatal flaw. In my view, a Germany lead by Hitler could never have won the Second World War. His leadership style was too chaotic, his personality too acerbic, his ideology too inflexible. So, in his place may I present – Max Erwin von Schuebner-Richter. Not much is known about this early Nazi ideologue, Mein Kampf is dedicated to him and Hitler referred to his death in the Beer Hall Putsch as an ‘irreplaceable loss’, but he was an interesting man to say the least. Like Alfred Rosenburg he was a foreigner, an ethnic German born in Russia who settled in Bavaria, and cultivated far-right connections.

A rabid Anti-Semite he seems not to have shared in Hitler’s Anti-Slavism. Whilst living in Munich he organised Russian exiles in hopes of one day restoring the Tsars. Most interesting in my opinion is his role in the Armenian Genocide. According to contemporary sources the Armenian people had no greater friend. He was a constant advocate for their rights, called for the German government to intervene on their behalf, and helped dozens of civilians escape the massacres. How is it that this racist was such a devout advocate for an oppressed ethnic group?

Therein lies the great contradiction of fascism. On an individual level fascists may seem pleasant, courteous, even brave, they may have Jewish, Black, or Asian friends. Yet, they would happily send their friends’ ethnic groups to the camps. They see no irony or contradiction in this. We live in an era where fascists hide their totalitarian dreams behind appeals to human rights. One need only look at the term ‘white genocide’ to see the ways modern fascists couch their ideology in a cloak of humanitarianism. This is a story about how Fascists use democratic ideals to their advantage. Expect the first chapter tomorrow evening. I’ll say no more, but I will leave you with an extract from a lecture given by Dr Margaret Lavinia Anderson which inspired me to write this timeline.

Imagine… that Germany had prevailed in World War II, or at least... had fought the Allies to a stalemate. What would the study of the Holocaust look like now? Imagine that those (literally) tons of Nazi documents had not been captured and microfilmed for libraries around the world. Imagine that access to Germany’s archives was controlled by second- and third-generation successors of the Nazi state; that German schoolchildren were taught that Germany’s Jews had fought for Russia and that “deporting” them was an act of self-defense. Imagine that it was a crime in Germany to say in print that their leaders had been genocidaires, and that as recently as 2007 someone who did say it had been assassinated by nationalist fanatics.”
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I love the premise of this timeline. I'm fascinated by alternate histories where other Beer Hall Putch members take over instead of Hitler. I'm excited to see where it goes 👍

a constant advocate for their rights, called for the German government to intervene on their behalf, and helped dozens of civilians escape the massacres. How is it that this racist was such a devout advocate for an oppressed ethnic group?
The answer seems simple to me, he didn't hate Armenian Christians!

As for the general thrust of this TL, I'm skeptical as to whether any Nazi movement not led by Hitler, if that is your POD, would actually succeed in taking power at all in Weimar Germany. Without him, the movement would splinter into groups led by people like Rohm, and be much more "revolutionary" and seek extrajudicial ways to take power or be led by Strasser and grow but also be constantly under the threat of splintering by interparty squabbles without adherence to a Fuhrerprinzip principle.

If this is strictly an Richter lives TL though and Hitler still survives the Munich Putsch by turning lemons into lemonade and is able to take power in 1933, Then things could go a bit differently. With Richter as another Alte Kameraden in charge of ... say the foreign ministry, we could see greater avenues of cooperation with White Russians and anti communists within the USSR generally from the outset rather than the equivalent of digging deep into one's drawers when the outcome was no longer in doubt. Generalplan Ost would've been heavily modified if not completely changed by Richters own involvement in "liberating" his home country and region from Communist occupation(Remember that he was a Baltic German!)

Watched, though.
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I love the premise of this timeline. I'm fascinated by alternate histories where other Beer Hall Putch members take over instead of Hitler. I'm excited to see where it goes 👍
Thank you. I’d say Richter was one of the more fascinating of Hitler’s early cronies, and very under-utilised in Alternate History.
The answer seems simple to me, he didn't hate Armenian Christians!

As for the general thrust of this TL, I'm skeptical as to whether any Nazi movement not led by Hitler, if that is your POD, would actually succeed in taking power at all in Weimar Germany. Without him, the movement would splinter into groups led by people like Rohm, and be much more "revolutionary" and seek extrajudicial ways to take power or be led by Strasser and grow but also be constantly under the threat of splintering by interparty squabbles without adherence to a Fuhrerprinzip principle.
I’d agree with this assessment to a degree. I think a lot of Hitler-less Nazi Party scenarios fall into historical determinism. Certainly you won’t see them taking total power in 1933. What I do intend this timeline to show is the development of a different Nazi Party, with an ideology more closely reflecting Richter’s beliefs, with an alternate route to the Reichstag Chancellery.
If this is strictly an Richter lives TL though and Hitler still survives the Munich Putsch by turning lemons into lemonade and is able to take power in 1933, Then things could go a bit differently. With Richter as another Alte Kameraden in charge of ... say the foreign ministry, we could see greater avenues of cooperation with White Russians and anti communists within the USSR generally from the outset rather than the equivalent of digging deep into one's drawers when the outcome was no longer in doubt. Generalplan Ost would've been heavily modified if not completely changed by Richters own involvement in "liberating" his home country and region from Communist occupation(Remember that he was a Baltic German!)

Watched, though.
This is certainly going to be a major focus of the TL. Richter was a big mover in the Russian emigre community. He basically single-handed my organised all the major conferences of White Russian emigre groups from 1919-23. He believed that Reactionary Tsarism was the only ideology that could effectively govern Russia. Accordingly his plans for the USSR will very much involve the cooperation of White Russians.
Watched, though.
Chapter One – The Austrian Corporal & The Livonian Lieutenant
Cover Image SRR.jpg

Mad Max
The Life Of Ludwig Maximilian Erwin von Scheubner-Richter the Man of Blood

A Biography by
Isaac Anielewicz

Aaron Lopez Publishing; Hatteras Island Reservation, North Carolina., U.S., 2025

Chapter One – The Austrian Corporal & The Livonian Lieutenant

“We cannot expand commercially or territorially, we cannot regain what we have lost, until we find ourselves. We are in the position of a man whose house has burned down. He must have a roof over his head before he can indulge in more ambitious plans. We have succeeded in creating at least an emergency shelter to keep out the rain. We were not prepared for hailstorms.”
- Quotation taken from an October 1923 interview with Adolf Hitler.

The Origins of Evil

Nazi Antisemitism has its roots in Christianity. Drawing from Bible passages, such as Matthew 23, Christian Antisemites promulgated Anti-Jewish laws in the Medieval Age. Papal authorities required European Jews to identify themselves with yellow stars beginning in the 1500s. In treatise On The Jews & Their Lies (1543) protestant reformer Martin Luther railed against what he perceived as the ‘poisonous envenomed worms’ who infested societies and preyed on innocent Christians. In a dark prelude of what was to come, Luther called for their synagogues to be demolished, their books burned, and their teachings forbidden. He implored Germans to, ‘eject them forever from this country.’

Jews, where they existed at all in Medieval Germany, were confined to the periphery of society. Forbidden from owning property or land they took up jobs in banking, mercantilism, and smithing. Living in ghettos located near town centres in major cities existing at the sufferance of Crown and Church. Antisemitism was common among Germans regardless of denomination. The only escape was in conversion.

The Enlightenment brought the abolition of Antisemitic laws in some areas but it also saw the emergence of modern racism. A key development in the emergence of modern racist Antisemitism came with the publication of Count Arthur Gobineau’s turgid Inequality of the Races (1853). This abominable but landmark essay argued that there were three races – White, Black, and Yellow. Of these only the ‘superior’ white race was capable of true civilisation. Thus, all the ‘inferior’ nations of the Black and Yellow races only existed due to their contact with the white race. And of all the sub-groups within the white race the pinnacle were those of ‘Aryan-Nordic’ blood.

His ideas would be built upon by an Englishman named Houston Stewart Chamberlain who wrote The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899). In it he detailed the supposed rise and fall of the Indo-European (by which he meant Hellenic and Roman) civilisation brought low after ‘the Asiatic and African slave... wormed his way to the very throne of the Empire.’ Germanic peoples were the true inheritors of Rome and Sparta and the future torch-bearers of European civilisation. They had remained racially pure whilst ‘the Jew’ was supposedly an admixture of various ‘lesser’ races.

Chamberlain’s depraved screed found a ready audience in nationalist German literary circles. The German Empire was one of the major European powers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Prince Bismarck had forged this nation from an alliance of German states led by his native Prussia. Germany’s modern military, armed with breech-loading rifles and transported by steam-powered trains, defeated two of Europe’s great powers – first the Austrians in 1866 then the French in 1871. King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor (Kaiser) in the Palace of Versailles on 18 January, 1872.

Germany achieved this wealth and military might through rapid industrialisation. In the course of a generation the nation was transformed. Coal production increased from 1.8 million tonnes in 1850 to over 60 million tonnes by 1900. Train-tracks criss-crossed the nation with 9,400 locomotives travelling across thousands of miles of railroad by that same year. Mechanisation of agriculture saw increasing numbers of rural Germans move to the cities for work. Many disenchanted by the alienation of city life turned to the romantic writing of men like Chamberlain. Out of this malaise emerged völkisch ideology.

Völkisch thought is a concept with no direct translation in English. It holds that there is a special connection between a people and the land which gave them birth. Romantic, organicist, racist – it represented a rejection of the ever expanding industrial cities and hailed a return to the supposedly simple country living of the Ancient German tribes. As part of this return to nature foreign elements that were not an integral part of the German people would be purged. The symbol of this ideology, appropriated from a good-luck charm common among stone age cultures in Eurasia and Africa, was the swastika.

Naturally, this movement soon gained an Antisemitic element. German Jews, who had by law been excluded from the countryside, came to be identified with ‘urban blight.’ Twenty percent of their total population lived in Berlin and Frankfurt. They worked in urban industries such as banking, manufacturing, or shopkeeping. Völkisch art depicted them as an eastern race with an alien religion who had no attachment to the land. They became the antithesis of everything this new movement stood for. All this, despite the fact Jews made up less than 1% of the population. Most German towns and villages had no Jewish citizens at all. Racial Antisemitism forswore Christian baptism or cultural assimilation as a way out for Jews by couching itself in scientific terms. The Jewish race was a disease and an infection that subverted the racial health of nations. German Jews were to be removed.

It is worth noting, of course, that movements of this sort were not unique to Germany. No western civilisation was immune to the cancer of scientific racism. It would take the blast furnace of a modern war to forge Germany into a truly fascist state which revolved around the ideal of racial purity.


Houston Stewart Chamberlain the Godfather of Modern Antisemitism

The Great War
The details of the Great War need not concern us, only the major events and their repercussions. It was fought between the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey) and the Allies (Britain, France, Russia, America). In the west, after advancing into Belgium and northern France the German avalanche was halted at the Marne and fighting bogged down into positional warfare. At sea the Allied navies began a blockade of German ports preventing supplies from Germany’s colonies reaching the heartland.

In the east, despite massive casualties on all sides, the German Army made sweeping advances against the Russian Empire. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Soviet regime dropped out of the war, and seeded all the valuable agricultural territories of Belarus and the Ukraine to Germany at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. On March 21st 1918 the German Army wheeled west and launched its Spring Offensive, hoping to break the Allied armies in France and Belgium with one last push. Though they captured 3,100 kilometres of territory and 90,000 prisoners-of-war they outran their logistical chain and exhausted their supplies. Facing renewed Allied counteroffensives and mutinies by German sailors at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven the German Army was soundly defeated.

The war had a shattering effect on the civilian population. The economy went into free-fall. As inflation made physical money worthless people were instructed to buy war bonds which would be redeemed with reparation payments from Germany’s defeat enemies. Government, clerical and administrative workers saw their salaries stagnate. Women joined the urban workforce and helped coordinate strikes which were violently crushed. Germany’s working-class were becoming poorer and more radical.

The deprivations of Allied blockade and economic stagnation drove hungry city-dwellers into the countryside to scavenge in an ironic corruption of the völkisch ideal. Half a million people starved to death. Government ministries became centres of graft with highly placed officials profiting off the black market. In the decades to come ‘war profiteer’ became as hated a slur as ‘Yid.’ In an ill omen of things to come, those deemed superfluous to the war machine, such as the mentally ill, were abandoned to face disease and malnourishment in crumbling asylums.

In October 1918, seeing the writing on the wall, the military dictatorship of Generals Ludendorff and Hindenburg, agreed to hand over power to a civilian government. In part this was out of a desire to shift blame for the harsh peace treaty the Allies would doubtlessly inflict. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated on November 9th and Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert became President of the newly-proclaimed Weimar Republic. On November 11th the Germans formally signed an armistice with the Allies.
Ebert entrusted a Jewish liberal lawyer named Hugo Preuss to write the new nation’s constitution. Ensuring universal suffrage for both men and women, a new federal structure for the government, and separate elections for the presidency and the parliament (Reichstag). It was hoped this new constitution would forever break the political stranglehold of the Prussian nobility (Junkers).

On June 28th 1919, the new republic signed the Treaty of Versailles. To the horror of the general public the treaty stripped Germany of its foreign colonies, transferred border territories to its neighbours, forced the country to pay huge reparations to the Allies, and limited the size of its military. It was an act that would forever tarnish the Weimar Republic by association. Ludendorff and Hindenburg were successful in shifting blame for the war’s defeat on the shoulder’s of the republic’s founders.

Domestically, the fledgling republic was beset by political challenges. The Junkers overnight saw their ancient rights and privileges snatched away. Swathes of territory in West Prussia and Lower Silesia had been handed over to Poland including the vital port of Danzig. Public anger was directed against the ‘November criminals’, politicians who allegedly stabbed the army in the back and surrendered when Germany was on the cusp of a great victory, the Jewish population in general and Jewish Weimar politicians in particular. Chief among these hate objects was ‘Preuss the Jew.’ Junker leaders established the Anti-Semitic German National People’s Party (DNVP) with an aim to regaining the lost territories and re-establishing the monarchy.

No sooner had the new constitution been promulgated Poles rose up in Lower Silesia trying to break the province away from German control. In response paramilitary Free Corps (Freikorps) units of demobilised soldiers, former diehard shock troopers, and decommissioned military officers, organised to oppose them. This matter would not be settled until a referendum on the province’s status was held in 1921. Thousands of Poles would be killed and thousands more injured by the extralegal terrorism of the Freikorps.

Freikorps units were co-opted by Ebert’s government for use against left-wing insurgents. In January 1919, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht led the Spartacist Uprising in Berlin. They believed Ebert’s revolution had not gone far enough and aimed to found a Soviet-style council republic with collective ownership of property. With the German military limited to 100,000 men and 4,000 officers, Ebert employed the better organised Freikorps to combat the revolutionaries. Liebknecht and Luxemburg were both murdered after being captured. That summer Freikorps were again used to suppress the ‘Bavarian Soviet Republic’ established by rebellious workers in Munich.

Empowering the Freikorps proved to be a costly mistake. Wolfgang Amadeus Kapp, an American-born hack journalist, in alliance with General Ludendorff, lead the Freikorps in an attack on Berlin in 1920. After withdrawing to Stuttgart Ebert called out workers onto the streets to defend the republic. A general strike paralysed Berlin, civil servants refused to cooperate with Kapp’s stooges, and Kapp fled into Swedish exile as his coup collapsed.

However, the Weimar government refused to learn from the lessons of the Kapp Putsch. Putschist leaders, among them a Riga-born oddity named Max von Scheubner-Richter, were amnestied, allowed to walk free and continue whipping up hatred of republican institutions. In March 1920 another communist rebellion broke out in the Ruhr valley and the Weimar government again deployed the Freikorps.


Freikorps armoured vehicle, adorned with a swastika, during the Kapp Putsch, 1920

The Birth of the Nazi Party

It was into this atmosphere of polarisation between the left and right, economic crisis, and social upheaval that railway engineer Anton Drexler founded the German Workers’ Party (DAP) in January 1919. The bloody suppression of the Bavarian Soviet Republic in Munich transformed the city into a bastion for various far-right parties and it was here that the DAP made its home.

Its politics were anti-Bourgeois, anti-Jewish, and anti-Marxist, a negativistic world-view that would follow the party unto its ultimate destruction. Its ranks stuffed with uninspiring professors and deranged occultists, its exhortations to the working-class fell on deaf ears, in early 1920 it counted less than fifty-five paid up members.

Adolf Hitler, more than any other figure in the DAP early years, transformed the party into a mass movement. Born to a sleepy village in rural Austria Hitler spent his formative years as an artist in Vienna. Hitler’s residence in the city seems to have been the catalyst for his developing Antisemitism. During the First World War Hitler served as a regimental runner and won the Iron Cross for his bravery in battle. Future Nazi propaganda would carefully ignore the fact that he was nominated for this medal by a Jewish officer. After discharge from the army on March 21st, 1920, Hitler joined the German Workers’ Party in Munich and started working for them full-time.

Impressing the membership with his oratorical skills Hitler rose to the position of Chairman of the party, displacing the uninspiring Drexler, and changed the organisations’ name to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP). Soon he styled himself Führer. He acquired a paper, the Völkisch Observer (Völkischer Beobachter), which helped spread the party’s message. Cells sprang up across the country and membership increased ten-fold. In June 1921 the NSDAP formed a paramilitary wing, the Storm Detachments (SA) to act as bodyguards for party officials and intimidate political rivals.

It is unclear, at this point in the development of his political mind, what Hitler’s ultimate aim was. There is a vocal, if oft criticised, strain of thought which holds that he intended to become Germany’s dictator. But current consensus is that Hitler never believed himself to be a true leader, instead he saw himself as the standard bearer for the national socialist movement. The man who would someday rise to lead the Nazi Part into power was at this time relatively obscure.


Adolf Hitler, the Austrian who would-be Fuhrer, 1923

That Bloody Man

Ludwig Maximilian Erwin von Scheubner-Richter was born in Riga, then a vital port city in the Russian Empire, on January 21st, 1884 to a family of ethnic Germans. Comfortably middle-class the Richter clan could afford to send their son to the Riga Polytechnical University where from 1904 to 1907 he studied chemistry and engineering. A bright and intelligent young man he mixed in the student political scene, joining the Rubonia student corporation, and making contact with a number of later influential Baltic Germans such as Alfred Rosenberg.

In 1905, partway through his studies, revolution erupted in Russia following defeat in the Russo-Japanese War. Richter joined an auxiliary army of Baltic German settlers to defend the Tsar’s government. It was during this period that he met and married Mathilde von Scheubner, a society darling two decades his senior. She was the daughter of a factory owner whose property he had defended from the mobs of revolutionary peasants rampaging across the countryside. It was through this marriage that he attained the surname ‘von Scheubner’ and was subsequently ennobled in 1912.

In 1907 the couple relocated to Munich and became German citizens. When the Great War broke out he joined the Imperial German Army. In December of 1914, after briefly serving on the Western Front, the Lieutenant was posted to the German consulate in Erzemum, Turkey to organise Muslim guerillas behind Russian lines.

The multi-lingual dynamo soon ingratiated himself among the Turks impressing them with his personal bravery as he lead expeditions and sorties to link up with Kurdish tribes in the mountains. It was here that the Livonian Lieutenant would experience the most profound and traumatising event in his life – the Genocide of the Armenians.

Racial tensions between Turks and Armenians had run high since the 1890s. Turkish nationalists blamed Christians generally, and Armenians in particular, for Turkey’s humiliating defeats during the Balkan Wars. In the years 1912-14 the Turkish government conducted a series of massacres against Armenian civilians provoking the wrath of its European neighbours. With Ottoman entrance into the war, and European attention diverted, the leading nationalist figures in the Turkish government – Enver Pasha, Cemal Pasha, and Talât Pasha – seized upon the chaos to exterminate Turkey’s Armenian population and create a racially homogenous nation.

In a series of death marches Armenians were driven from their homelands into camps in the Syrian desert by police units and Kurdish auxiliaries. The Turkish authorities officially claimed that the Armenians were in a state of rebellion and that the deportations were for their own safety. Lt. Scheubner-Richter cast doubt upon this accusation when he arrived in Erzemum amidst the scenes of violent deportations, whatever resistance there was to the Turks had been desperate and reactive, he stated: ‘that tens of thousands of Armenians let themselves be butchered, without resisting, by a handful of Kurds and irregulars as happened here is surely proof of how very little taste this people has for fighting and revolution.

In his role at the consulate the Lieutenant vigorously protested against the massacres occurring in Erzemum. Personally, he intervened and helped dozens of Armenians to escape abroad. These efforts were in vain. By August of 1915 he reported to Berlin that all the Armenians in the vicinity of Erzemum had been murdered. He was removed as consul at the insistence of the Turkish government in 1916. At the war’s end he presented his adjutant Paul Leverkuehn with a copy of Lepsius’s newly-minted Deutschland und Armenien (1919) widely considered the authoritative contemporary text on the genocide.

It has been difficult for biographers of Scheubner-Richter to square his wartime actions advocacy for this suppressed minority with his later despotism. But this genuine empathy for the Armenians is best understood within the Lieutenant's own paternalistic mindset. The Lieutenant had to deal with Armenians on a personal level and watch their suffering first-hand. Schrubner-Richter was able to put distance between himself and the Jews. By 1923, he called for the ‘ruthless cleansing from Germany of all elements that are intentionally hostile and that are working against the völkisch union of all German tribes.’ [1]

Lt. Scheubner-Richter travelled to his native Livonia in 1917 to organise German volunteers fighting for the Whites in the Russian Civil War. Establishing his offices in Riga, cultivated contacts in the White Russian officer corps, and edited anti-Bolshevik newspapers. Forced to flee in the face of advancing Latvian and Soviet Armies, the loss of his home city coupled with the collapse of German military fortunes, had a devastating psychological effect on the Man of Blood.

Both the Tsarist and German far-right shared a pathological hatred of Jews and Judaism. The propaganda leaflet The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion was widely read and pogroms against Jewish citizens were common during the civil war years. As with the nationalist leaders in Turkey, who blamed Christian minorities for the Ottoman Empire’s military defeats in the 19th century, Scheubner-Richter laid the disaster which had befallen Germany after the Great War at the feet of German Jewry. This formerly stalwart fighter against racial hatred found it all too easy to dehumanise those racial groups he blamed for Germany’s defeat.

Indeed, insidiously he seemed to take from the Armenian massacres a twisted lesson, that diametrically opposed races inevitably destroyed one another. The Germans would share the Armenian fate unless a final solution to the Jewish Question was found. In early 1923, he wrote that the German government needed to,‘remove ruthlessly and completely from Germany and the German lines all those that carry the guilt for the destruction of the German national body.’ [2]

After a brief stint as Wolfgang Amadeus Kapp’s Information Minister in 1920 Scheubner-Richter returned to his Munich apartments. Among the milieu of imperial emigres, organised criminality, and dispossessed aristocracy, he formed the Aufbau Vereinigung, a reactionary organisation of White Russians. Its aim was to unite the disparate Russian emigre community, which had descended into fractious infighting, topple the German and Russian governments and replacement them with far-right regimes.

Ideologically, Scheubner-Richter was beginning to move away from völkisch conservatism towards fascism. Blame for the defeat in the Russian Civil War, he believed, lay at the feet of the liberals and socialists among the White ranks. Like the ‘November criminals’ in Germany they had stabbed the White Army in the back. For a nation to be strong all such ‘deviationists’ had to be exterminated.

Scheubner-Richter was an admirer of Mussolini, particularly the Italian dictator’s murder of political dissidents, and called for a ‘march on Berlin.’ [2] Only brutal force could save the nation from ‘Red terror’ and only a strong leader could unite the squabbling factions. He found this strong leader in Adolf Hitler.

The relationship between the Austrian Corporal and the Livonian Lieutenant is shrouded in mystery. It has been obscured by decades of Nazi propaganda depicting the two as old comrades. After all, Hitler’s ‘martyrdom’ is central to the Führer Myth. What is certain is that they met in October 1920 after the failure of the Kapp Putsch and became fast allies. Scheubner-Richter was a vital influence on Hitler, the younger man leaned on the elder’s lengthy political and organisational experience, whilst Scheubner-Richter provided him with financial and political connections in Munich through the Aufbau, and in-return attained a prestigious position in the Nazi Party.

On a personal level the two appear to have been close friends. The Austrian was a common sight at the Lieutenant's apartment. Hitler dined with the Scheubner-Richter couple and honoured them as though they were his own parents. Frau Matilde von Scheubner-Richter openly regarded Hitler as the son she could never have. Not for nothing were Hitler and Scheubner-Richter walking arm-in-arm when the Nazis marched on the Fredenhalle.

Scheubner Richter Painting.jpg

Portrait of Max von Scheubner-Richter, 1923

The Beer Hall Putsch

With the financial aid of the Aufbau and Hitler’s oratorical skills the Nazis had grown into a major force in Bavarian politics by 1923. This was aided by the seemingly inexorable collapse of the German economy. Between 1921-23 hyper-inflation crashed the economy and wiped out the savings of millions. As a result Germany defaulted on its reparations payments. In January 1923, the French and Belgians occupied the Ruhr valley, seizing coal shipments in-place of reparations. The Weimar government offered to pay striking Ruhr workers wages further driving up inflation. By November money had become practically worthless.

Hitler railed against this economic calamity and foreign occupation. Scheubner-Richter encouraged Hitler to join in alliance with other right-wing groups. In February 1923, a joint committee of fighting leagues (Kampfbund) was set-up under Scheubner-Richter’s control, and over the next few months most of the Freikorps units in Bavaria had joined it.

In August, Gustav Stresemann had become Chancellor at the head of a coalition government. As part of his wider program to end the economic crisis in Germany he announced that reparations payments to the Allies would resume. This provoked outraged responses from the various right-wing factions in Bavaria. Hitler ordered his subordinates to prepare for a march on Berlin to overthrow the government. Amidst this atmosphere of political violence on September 26th the arch-conservative Gustav von Kahr took power as State Commissioner in Bavaria and declared martial law.

Scheubner-Richter and his fellow Baltic German Alfred Rosenberg are credited with having devised the plan of action for the Beer Hall Putsch. [4] On the evening of November 8th Hitler hijacked a meeting of major right-wing leaders in the Bürgerbräukeller, a large Beer Hall. Standing on a table he roared that a national revolution was underway which would sweep away ‘the Berlin Jew government and the November criminals of 1918.’ Commissioner Kahr, Army Captain Otto von Lossow, and Bavarian Police Chief Hans Ritter von Seisser were induced to support the coup after much furious argument and empty threats from their Nazi captors.

Ernst Röhm the SA commander was dispatched to occupy major government buildings though they critically failed to secure the local army barracks. Whilst Hess organised a pogrom of the cities’ leading Jews Scheubner-Richter departed to Ludwigshöhe to collect General Ludendorff. The old soldier was purportedly not happy at Hitler’s distribution of offices to his cronies. Nevertheless he travelled with Scheubner-Richter to Munich that evening and declared for the Putschists.

Things began to fall apart swiftly. Lossow, Seisser, and Kahr abandoned the coup at the first opportunity. Hitler had not ordered the SA to seize control of Munich’s radio or telegraph stations – a critical error. Loyalist army officers called for reinforcements from outside the city whilst Commissioner Kahr denounced the coup in a speech broadcast across the city.

The deception and perfidy of ambitious comrades have converted a demonstration in the interests of national reawakening into a scene of disgusting violence. The declarations extorted from myself, General von Lossow and Colonel Seisser at the point of the revolver are null and void. The National Socialist German Workers' Party, as well as the fighting leagues Oberland and Reichskriegsflagge, are dissolved.”

Fearing that his revolution was coming apart Hitler decided to link up with Röhm and rally the remaining forces loyal to him. The next day Julius Streicher, Hermann Goering, Friedrich Weber, Erich Ludendorff, Max von Scheubner-Richter, Adolf Hitler, and 3,000 armed supporters marched towards Röhm’s stronghold at the Fredenhalle. On the Odeonsplatz, a large square in the city centre, they found the way blocked by armed police. A shot was fired, it is unclear by whom, and both sides responded with a volley. The cohesion of the Nazi line broke under the bombardment. Sixteen Nazis were killed alongside three policemen. Goering fell with a serious wound in his thigh. Hitler was shot in the lung and collapsed the ground, dragging Scheubner-Richter down with him, dislocating the other man’s shoulder. [5]

When it became clear Hitler was wounded a blind panic broke out among the Nazis. Scheubner-Richter and Streicher successfully carried Hitler to a waiting car where they conveyed him to a doctor sympathetic to the cause. By the time they arrived at his house Adolf Hitler was already dead. His last words were, purportedly, ‘Scheubner-Richter...my successor...complete the work…’ [6]

Two days later Streicher and Scheubner-Richter were apprehended. Other leading Nazis such as Rudolf Hess and Friedrich Weber were arrested in the following weeks. Goering fled across the border to Austria. The trial of the putschists began on February 24th 1924. Whilst Streicher used the trial as an excuse to subject the court to a two-hour rant against the Jews Scheubner-Richter took centre stage with a more measured approach. During the proceedings, he accepted full culpability for planning and executing the coup [7] attempt whilst insisting Hitler was merely, ‘a footsoldier for the cause, a selfless martyr, who instigated nothing.’

Taking advantage of sympathetic court officials he used his opening statement to grandstand, launching into a half-hour speech, decrying the November criminals who had sold Germany to the Allies whilst insisting the coup was merely a desperate attempt to alleviate the suffering of the good people. Friedrich Weber recalled this metamorphosis in 1949.

It was as though the hand of history had suddenly descended upon the shoulder of Max von Scheubner-Richter. Incandescent with fury he spoke with the passion, the desperation, the urgency of ten young men. More than a few of my old comrades genuinely believed that, with his last dying breath, Hitler had transferred his consciousness, with all its fire and fury, into the heart of his chosen successor.’

Georg Neithardt, the presiding judge, was mightily impressed by Scheubner-Richter’s rhetoric. Light sentences were handed down to the putschists. Scheubner-Richter, Hess, and Weber were sentenced to ‘fortress confinement’ in Landsberg Prison whilst Julius Streicher served only one year on a probationary sentence. Ernst Röhm was to serve no jail time at all. Ludendorff insisted that he had arrived at the putsch attempt ‘by accident’ and had no involvement with the National Socialists. He too would escape serious punishment.

And so it was that Max von Scheubner-Richter, Friedrich Weber, and Rudolf Hess entered Landsberg Prison on April 1st, 1924. Their conditions could not have been more accommodating. Cooped in this gilded cage the would-be conqueror scrawled his dreams upon paper smuggled in by party diehards. It was to be but a temporary roadblock on his inexorable march to power.


Landsberg Prison, Scheubner-Richter's gilded cage
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[1] and [2] OTL quotations taken from The Routledge History of the Holocaust by Jonathan C. Friedman.
[3] A real organisation and one the formative influences on Hitler’s politics. IOTL the Aufbau fell out of favour due to Hitler’s violent Anti-Slavic beliefs, here it persists for longer, and becomes a key part of Scheubner-Richter’s support base.
[4] Its a matter of some debate as to whether Scheubner-Richter was the mastermind behind the Putsch itself. In Russia and Germany: A Century of Conflict, Walter Laqueur argues that Scheubner-Richter was the first to call for a march on Berlin, but the initiative was all Hitler’s. Certainly Scheubner-Richter was one of its chief organisers. Since Scheubner-Richter will end up at the helm of the Nazi state subsequent historiography records the November 8th action as being his idea with Hitler as a mere rabble rouser.
[5] Non-Binaries, Ladies, and Gentlemen, our Point-Of-Divergence.
[6] It is, perhaps, a little too convenient that the only two people who hear these words are Max von Scheubner-Richter and his ally Julius Streicher…
[7] As I’ve said, this isn’t technically false, as Scheubner-Richter was central to planning the coup. But Richter is deliberately downplaying Hitler’s role for the sake of his own reputation.
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So, what's going to happen with Goering and Hess? Is Goebbels even going to become a Nazi? Will the SS still be formed?

Will Streicher become more powerful? And is Hermann Esser an ally of Scheubner-Richter as well?
I hope we see more of Streicher, he's a fascinating character. He's also a real piece of crap, but he's an interesting piece of garbage.
Whoa, weird. I was literally just reading about this guy last night, and then I find this TL.

Great start! Very excited for updates
Great minds clearly read alike. Richter is a fascinating if, understandably, obscure figure. Thanks for your interest!
I do wonder if the Strasser brothers w/ Röhm will be sidelined or purged here.
That crossed my mind, too.
Some kind of confrontation is inevitable. Richter shared their Antisemitism, but as an aristocrat and monarchist, he did not shared their more radical redistributive economic policies.
So, what's going to happen with Goering and Hess? Is Goebbels even going to become a Nazi? Will the SS still be formed?

Will Streicher become more powerful? And is Hermann Esser an ally of Scheubner-Richter as well?
Goering and Scheubner-Richter hated one another so will be on opposing sides in the coming battle for the heart of the Nazi Party.
Hess is imprisoned with Scheubner-Richter in Landsberg, and since they collaborated closely during the putsch, I think they’d grow closer whilst confined together.
Goebbels and Himmler will both be showing up next chapter, so I won’t say anything about them for now.
Streicher has, by virtue of his lengthy speech during the trial, becoming of the leading lights in the German far-right.
Esser is close to Scheubner-Richter’s friend Alfred Rosenberg. Both these men avoid prison.
I hope we see more of Streicher, he's a fascinating character. He's also a real piece of crap, but he's an interesting piece of garbage.
Oh yeah. Without Hitler to constrain him he’s going to be difficult to control.
... Without him, the movement would splinter into groups ...
... well ... at the time we speak of Hitler wasn't much more than a splinter(within the NSDAP despite his wishfull thinking) of a splinter (the NSDAP) of a group of fringe groups all over the Weimar Realm.

Dear @Ana Luciana II , may I ask where from aka which sources from you've derived Scheubner-Richters antisemitism?

The content only two "citations" by at least 2nd hand sources speak of 'enemies' without discernable connection to jews.
The connection to stays open to a critic that this is made made by the one author only and/or by you.

... or is it founded ('simply') in your 'picturing' of all of germany/germans of all times being antisemites ?
(however regrettable your familys history is ... kinda overkill IMHO)

.. despite interestingly the 'popes' of antisemitism named by you are a french diplomate, a british rich noble with too much time to write and too frail his ... 'nerval costume' and kinda french-russian 'entente' of unknown authors of a impoverished russian-moldavian noble publishers product who was member of the black hundereds.
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Dear @Ana Luciana II , may I ask where from aka which sources from you've derived Scheubner-Richters antisemitism?

The content only two "citations" by at least 2nd hand sources speak of 'enemies' without discernable connection to jews.
The connection to stays open to a critic that this is made made by the one author only and/or by you.
Both The Routledge History of the Holocaust by Jonathan C. Friedman and Russia and Germany: A Century of Conflict by Walter Laqueur as well as the few academic papers on the subject I’ve been able to find, concur that Scheubner-Richter was Antisemitic. He also was central to the Aufbau, an Antisemitic organisation of Russian exiles. He is known to have read Antisemitic literature.
His references to enemies that needed to be exterminated for the good of the national health were obviously about the Jews. They are the same words used by the Young Turks against Armenians. The Unionist Young Turks also referred to 'enemies' who wanted to fight for other nations, who carried the guilt for Turkey’s defeats, and who needed to be removed for the good of the nation.
A man who mingled with Pan-Turkic officers during the Armenian Genocide, who read The Elders Of Zion, who organised Antisemitic Russian Exiles, knew what these words meant.
... or is it founded ('simply') in your 'picturing' of all of germany/germans of all times being antisemites ?
(however regrettable your familys history is ... kinda overkill IMHO)
My intent was never to present all Germans as Antisemites. Germany has contributed great works of art, architecture, and philosophy to the world. There are literally hundreds of admirable figures throughout Germany’s history - it is the nation of Arminius, Henry I, Goethe, and Preuss.
However, I do believe German history contains an undercurrent of Antisemitism. For a number of reasons I outlined - Luther’s writings, the influence of scientific racism, völkisch ideology - Germany was vulnerable to becoming a fascist state obsessed with racial purity. But none of this would or could have happened without the traumatic effects of WW1. I mentioned these things to give greater context to the Antisemitic beliefs of the German Far-Right not to slander an entire nation.
.. despite interestingly the 'popes' of antisemitism named by you are a french diplomate, a british rich noble with too much time to write and too frail his ... 'nerval costume' and kinda french-russian 'entente' of unknown authors of a impoverished russian-moldavian noble publishers product who was member of the black hundereds.
I wrote that "No western civilisation was immune to the cancer of scientific racism" because these ideas were widespread in the World before WW1. Russia in particular was a bastion of Antisemitism it’s where Scheubner-Richter began to espouse racial hatred of the Jews.
It’s why I think Scheubner-Richter is so interesting. He brings together various movements - Pan-Turkic nationalism, Far-Right Tsarism, and völkisch conservatism - that inspired the Nazi movement.
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Chapter Two - New Nazis New
Chapter Two – New Nazis


The New Nazis depicted the German Farmer as the Blueprint for the 'National Community.'

Herr der Rassen‘The Lord of the Races’ – is a two-volume tome mostly written during Scheubner-Richter’s stay in Landsberg. Rudolf Hess, his fellow inmate was his editor and sole critic. A meandering screed, part-adventure novel, part-autobiography. Scheubner-Richter’s first novel Homecoming (1918) [1] detailed the Leutnant’s experiences in the Baltic during the Russian Civil War. This second book focused on his experiences during the Armenian Genocide.

In the deserts of Turkeyland I brooded on the nature of world politics. As Nietzsche teaches us, the superman is forged from suffering, and nowhere in the world suffered as did Turkey during the Great World War. Like a Japanese monk in his mountain garden, among the blue rocks of Erzemum, I, Scheubner-Richter, received enlightenment.’

The book was influenced by the apocalyptic writings of White Russian exile Piotr Krasnov whose novels featured a stalwart protagonist discovering devious Jewish plots to destroy western civilization. The novel follows the exploits of Scheubner-Richter and his adjutant Paul Leverkuehn as they journey to Erzemum. The narrative grows progressively bleaker as Scheubner-Richter witnesses appalling atrocities meted out by the Turkish to Armenian civilians.

Though Scheubner-Richter considered the Turkish to be among the lowest races, exceeded in backwardness and impurity only by the Jews, there was a perverse respect for the ruthlessness with which the Turks murdered their countrymen. The Leutnant came to view the Armenian Genocide as a blueprint for future campaigns of ethnic cleansing.

One may admire the singular drive of the Turk to remove alien elements from within his borders. If we undertook such disciplined action to remove the traitors that despoil Germany then our nation would arise from its prostrate position and again dominate the world.’

His use of the term ‘traitors’ here is telling. In his writings Jews were elided with the traitorous Marxist dogma which had supposedly cost Germany the war. And since Communism inevitably lead to destruction all Jews would have to be removed for the sake of the race’s survival. Scheubner-Richter, once the stalwart defender of the Armenians, heaps scorn upon ‘those dusky nomadic Hittite-Syriac-Babylonian mongrels called the Hebrews.’

Scheubner-Richter claimed to have ‘discovered the terrible truth of the enemies’ master-plan.’ Miscegenation was, he claimed, supported by Jewish puppetmasters in Moscow and London, who wanted to weaken the Germanic races by interbreeding them with weaker groups, so that they could rule over the ashes of the world.

Races needed to be kept separate with the weaker peoples like the Armenians ‘shepherded’ by martial races such as the Germans and protected from the wiles of ‘aggressive races such as the Jews and Romani.’ In order to ensure the martial races were strong enough to protect the weaker races they would require living-space (lebensraum). Growing out of anxieties about German agriculture not being able to support its population growth the policy of Lebensraum called for the settlement of colonists on farmland in the east seized from ‘unnatural states’ – Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, and the USSR.

Thus, it will be necessary to split these unnatural states into smaller reservations for their component nationalities under the protection of a benevolent class of German soldier-peasants who will govern them with the assistance of local tribal leaders. The natives will work the land, gaining an appreciation of hard-work, whilst the settler’s farms are provided with free labour. These landholders will bring peace, stability, and order to these territories whilst providing the Fatherland with a vast agricultural yield and security from foreign threats.’

The book concludes that in order for this grand plan to ‘liberate’ the subject peoples of the Eastern Unnatural States and secure agricultural land to succeed, Germany would need to rearm her military, unite economically and militarily all Germanic peoples, end reparations payments to the Allies, and ‘chase the traitorous enemy from our land forever.’


NSDAP propaganda poster celebrating the seizure of lebensraum.

Upon his release from Landsberg the book numbered some 800 pages. Though Hess encouraged Scheubner-Richter to publish it immediately he demurred insisting that further drafts were necessary in order to boil off the fat. It would eventually be published to widespread critical acclaim, but poor sales figures, in 1925 weighing-in at 1,200 pages.

Though there are many similarities between Hitler and Scheubner-Richter it is worth taking this opportunity to note the distinct differences between their political visions since they became most marked during the period in which he wrote Herr der Rassen. Scheubner-Richter was infinitely more appealing to the German establishment than his rabble-rousing protege. Not much of a public speaker but a first rate organiser and strategist, a well-spoken patrician, respected in the upper and middle class circles he moved in. Informed by his experiences during the Russian Revolutions he disliked the use of the mob in politics which was a driving force behind his conflict with Gregor Strasser’s Black Front.

Hitler seems to have had a very dim view of Slavs perhaps cultivated during his years in Vienna. Scheubner-Richter by contrast, believed that ‘if properly educated and refined the Slavic races could be thoroughly Germanized and welcomed into our nation.’ Many of the Nazi Party’s major financiers, as late as 1929, were Russian emigres such as the Tsarist pretender Duke Vladimir Kirrilovich and his German-born wife Victoria Feodorovna. He also lacked Hitler’s class politics, seeking a legalistic way to power, rather than violent revolution. Scheubner-Richter had a deep respect for the Monarchy and the Church regarding both as central pillars upon which the new Germany must be built.

Whilst Scheubner-Richter was busy assembling his opus he simultaneously engaged in a furious campaign of letter writing. In his nine months of imprisonment he sent no less than six hundred letters to Nazi functionaries across the country helping to further cement his position as the leading light of the National Socialist movement. By the end of his sentence many party members had taken to referring to him as the ‘Führer-in-waiting.

Prison officials sympathetic to his ideology ensured he wanted for nothing. When he wasn’t writing Scheubner-Richter was reading. His favourites were newspapers from Britain, France, and Italy, alongside escapist novels set in the medieval period. A veritable flood of well-wishers visited him at all hours. Thirty people visited the inmates for Oktoberfest on September 16th, 1924. Together they grilled sausages, drank beer, and sang songs long into the night.

Otto Leybold, the Warden of Landsberg, wrote in a memorandum on Scheubner-Richter, ‘the perfect gentleman, quiet, thoughtful, conscientious, especially towards the guards.’ Franz Gürtner, the Bavarian Minister of Justice, was much impressed by Leybold’s letters and arranged parole for Scheubner-Richter, Hess, and Weber. On December 21st 1924, Max von Scheubner-Richter walked out of Landsberg Prison and back onto the political stage.

Despite his fame and the loyalty of his fellow inmates in Landsberg Scheubner-Richter’s control over the party was far from absolute. Outside the prison gates, in the absence of a powerful leader, the Nazi Party had split into factions centred on different regions. In the north-west, Gregor Strasser and Joseph Goebbels lead the Populist group (National Socialist Freedom Movement) which called for a more radical redistributive economic policy and closer ties with the Soviet Union. In the south, a former chicken farmer named Heinrich Himmler headed a conservative group, the True National Socialists (Greater German Conservative Party), which supported a return to Hitler’s ideals.

Julius Streicher had attempted to form his own group, the Greater German Peoples’ Community (GVG), alongside Alfred Rosenberg. The party newspaper The Stormer (Der Stürmer) sold well among the working-class. It spoke in simple terms people could understand, titillating them with tales of sexual depravity allegedly committed by Jews, tugged at their heart-strings with sob stories of widows losing their houses to greedy Jewish landlords. But Streicher was unable to transform this readership into a mass movement. Streicher was a man of phenomenal ability, a top-rate communicator and writer capable of whipping up the masses. But his fatal flaw proved to be his acerbic personality, he was too cold, too personally alien, to cultivate the relationships needed to build a successful political party.

Hermann Goering returned in mid-1925 and was elected to the Munich legislature as an independent nationalist. Goering’s personal hatred of Scheubner-Richter prevented him from re-joining the resurgent Nazi Party. After the abysmal failure of his attempt to take control of the DNVP Goering formed a small but influential paramilitary organisation called The Grenade (Die Granate). Ideologically it embraced a form of extreme conservatism which opposed the revolutionary nature of fascism. It’s party anthem boldly declared, ‘your doom shall come soon all you worker scum.’

Der Granate Party Banner.png

Die Granate Party Flag

Upon his release Scheubner-Richter set about trying to reunite the disparate factions. General Erich Ludendorff had aligned himself with the Populists following Hitler’s death however he switched his allegiance to Scheubner-Richter’s faction in December 1924 due to the two men’s close personal relationship. Thanks to Ludendorff’s endorsement many former NSDAP members flocked to support the Livonian. [2] Rosenberg abandoned the GVG and joined Scheubner-Richter’s faction in January 1925, in return for this support, he was appointed editor of the Völkischer Beobachter. After Scheubner-Richter promised to fund the purchase of a printing house for Der Stürmer, Streicher dissolved the GVG and rejoined the party in March of that year. [3]

Naturally the fanatically Anti-Soviet Scheubner-Richter was appalled by the Russophile stance of the Populists. The Populists’ leadership were similarly uninterested in reconciliation, Gregor Strasser publicly denounced the ‘reactionary capitalist Scheubner-Richter’ whilst Joseph Goebbels was particularly unimpressed by the Leutnant writing, ‘What a mild and watery man, this Russian Richter, he is surely no Führer!’ [4]

At the Bamberg conference on February 14th, 1926 events came to a head. Gregor Strasser put forth a motion to support a Social Democratic bill in the Reichstag regarding expropriating estates belonging to the deposed royal family. Scheubner-Richter counted many members of the royal houses of Germany as friends and, more importantly, financial backers of his revived Nazi movement. The Leutnant took to the floor of the conference and fiercely denounced the ‘Crypto-Marxist’ Populist clique.

I will not have this party, which represents the only hope for Germany, carried into power on the backs of grumbling steelworkers!’ He famously declared. In response, Goebbels and Strasser alongside twenty Populist delegates walked out, forming their own party, the Revolutionary Proletarian League of National Socialists, better known as the Black Front. [5]

In March, Scheubner-Richter was elected Chairman of the NSDAP. By autumn 1926 the man of blood was master of the Nazi Party. To cement this position his old friend Alfred Rosenburg was appointed Party Secretary with control over the membership list. The various Nazi regional branches were organised into Gaus under the control of a Gauleiter. Himmler’s True Nazi faction were neutralised when Scheubner-Richter appointed him Gauleiter of Munich. Anti-Scheubner-Richter members were expelled en-masse.

In lieu of the title Führer, which only the inspired Hitler could hold his followers addressed Scheubner-Richter as ‘Leutnant’ recalling his humble rank in the Imperial German Army. In-order to sanctify Hitler’s memory, Scheubner-Richter had him declared ‘Eternal Führer of the Party’ at a meeting of Beer Hall Putsch veterans on November 6, 1926. Once he had the party firmly in hand Scheubner-Richter would spend the next four years disseminating his ten point program to various cells across the country.

A rhetorical tool and pseudo-theory which would guide the Nazi state in years to come, its ten point program was – the unification of all German communities under one state, the end of urban and rural poverty, seizure of lebensraum from the unnatural states of the east for the sustenance of the people, support for a healthy middle class through the abolition of trusts and warehouses, expansion of retirement pension and the right to an untroubled old age, protection of women and girls from sexual depravity through the death sentence for Homosexuals and other deviants, strengthening the national military, stripping of Jews and other non-Germans’ citizenship, an immediate ban on immigration from alien nations, and for agriculture to be made prosperous through the abolition of land seizures and land speculation. [6]

The years 1924-29 represented a low ebb in support for the Nazi Party. Gustav Stresemann introduced a new currency called the Rentenmark. The economy stabilised, unemployment fell below a million, wages increased. The Dawes Plan saw the negotiated withdrawal of foreign troops from the Ruhr, a staggered series of reparations that was more manageable, and massive American investment in the German economy primarily through Wall Street bonds. Welfare systems funded by American loans became the envy of the world. Unemployment fell to below 600,000 in 1928. Support for extremist parties faded. In the face of urban renewal the Nazis turned their attention to Germany’s rural areas.


Friedrich Weber the Veterinarian Totalitarian

Friedrich Weber, released from Landsberg in January of 1925, was one of the key Nazi strategists in this period. Born in Frankfurt in 1892 he had lectured on veterinary medicine at Munich University. During the Great War he served as an army veterinarian in the 1st Bavarian Heavy Cavalry Regiment where he made life-long contacts with elite German officers which would serve him will in the years to come.

As commander of Freikorps Oberland he was among the chief conspirators of the Beer Hall Putsch. Weber had considered returning to veterinary practice after his stint behind bars however Scheubner-Richter was able to convince him that he was necessary to the grand plan. Playing on Weber’s salvation complex Scheubner-Richter promised him the post of agriculture minister in the future government they would form.

On February 1st, 1925, Scheubner-Richter appointed Weber the Supreme Plenipotentiary of the Nazi Electoral Effort. Both men were painfully aware that in order to achieve electoral success they would need a broad base of support outside of Munich’s city limits. Weber’s major innovation was the so-called Northern Stratagem.

In broad terms the Northern Stratagem was a realignment of the NSDAP program to focus on rural issues. Influenced by the writings of leading party ideologue and Scheubner-Richter ally Walter Darré, Weber advocated for a ‘blood and soil’ policy, establishing Nazi branches in agricultural areas. The Nazis shifted from self-described revolutionaries to a new stance as defenders of the established order. As Weber wrote in a March 1925 letter to Scheubner-Richter. ‘The National Socialist Party must become the party of the lower-to-middle class in the rural German town.’

In the period 1926-29 the Nazis tended to excel in places which were isolated, backwards, and resistant to change. For example, Geest, their stronghold in Schleswig-Holstein, was a sandy, hilly region of family-owned farmsteads and small villages. NSDAP voters were usually middle class, artisans, ex-soldiers, clerical workers, small farmers, and shopkeepers. Among these voters there was general consensus that NSDAP were the only party willing to address their political concerns. Nazi policies promised to end farm foreclosures, increase agricultural prices, and abolish the dreaded Weimar bureaucracy.

It would be easy to imagine that economic considerations were the only reason for Nazi successes. In truth, many Nazi supporters were economically stable, even successful. The eastern portions of Schleswig-Holstein, dominated by wealthy landowners lording over large palatial estates, returned Nazi candidates at the 1928 election. [7] Middle class paranoia about expropriating leftists and degenerate modernists played a role in early support for Nazism. Older conservative voters longed for the stability of the German Empire and distrusted democracy. Second and third sons who did not stand to inherit land supported territorial expansion in hopes of gaining land grants in the east. Many rural voters were wooed by Nazi promises that they would have a key part to play in coming national community. Weber wrote of the German farmer:

In this sleepy folk are found the blueprint for the national community. The men are strong, hard-working, and stern. The women are obedient, fertile, and fecund. No boundaries of class or race or faith. In hard times any member of the village may lean on any other. A single community functioning as organism.’

Nazi representatives dominated elections to the Agricultural Chambers thanks to the gentry in Thuringia and Schleswig-Holstein bank-rolling local branches. Unsurprisingly, Scheubner-Richter’s sole successes in the 1928 election came from these wards. Out of 124,663 total votes almost all of these were concentrated in the NSDAP islands of Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia.

Owing to rural fears about urban outsiders the Nazis recruited local authority figures to lead the Northern Stratagem. Speakers at Nazi events were respectable establishment types, grizzled U-boat captains, university professors, wounded Great War veterans, and dashing Arctic adventurers. Christian ministers were often the first target for conversion to the cause once an office had been established in a town. In Upper Saxony the Gauleiter was a demure, bespectacled librarian. In Oberstdorf, Bavaria, the NSDAP branch was established by Dr. Alexander Helmling, a respected local physician. [8]

In his position as Gauleiter, Himmler went to great lengths to recruit leading patrician families in Munich to the cause, albeit with limited success. The Bavarian aristocracy always looked down upon this up-jumped chicken farmer. Establishment newspaper the Munich Latest News began referring to Himmler as the Farmboy (Der Bauernjunge) a nickname he would carry for the rest of his life.

In part, the success of Scheubner-Richter was in creating a politicised base of support. NSDAP members were expected to attend rallies year-round. Softly-spoken, with refined North German accent, Scheubner-Richter was an uninspiring public speaker. Ernst Hanfstaengl, his stage manager, turned this to his advantage however. It was the firebrands – Streicher, Helldorff, Himmler, and Rosenberg – that made the big speeches at party rallies. The Leutnant would appear at the end of each rally, speaking sternly and solemnly, raising his voice at the very end of the address to begin the almost liturgical recitation of the party creed: ‘That which the King (Frederick II) dreamt, the Prince (Bismarck) forged, the Führer (Hitler) defended, and the Leutnant (Scheubner-Richter) shall save! Hail Victory!’ [9]

American sociologist Wilhelm Abel described a Scheubner-Richter rally thusly: ‘Max was always a calm island in an ocean of radical fury. One-by-one, the banner-wavers would stand up and rant, then at the last, when the crowd had sweated themselves out, a hush would descend and he would appear. Speaking with that grandfatherly North German lilt. In looks and manner he reminded one of a Prussian schoolteacher, solemn and patrician, familiar yet distant.’

Northern Stratagem propaganda emphasised Scheubner-Richter’s personal piety and dedication to the Christian faith. The extent to which this professed belief was genuine is uncertain. In Landsberg the Leutnant read Luther’s On The Jews & Their Lies (1543) a tome he religiously re-read every year for the rest of his life. In speeches Scheubner-Richter often referred to himself as a soldier of Christ and stressed his personal donations to major Christian charities. It evidently slipped his mind that vanity was a deadly sin.

I feel the hand of the almighty upon my shoulder. He guides me in all things, gives me succour, girds my loins against enemy barbs. I am a Christian and I wish to live in a Christian nation.’ The Leutnant declared in 1927. That same year, with the support of evangelical protestant clergy, he launched the Faith Rectification campaign, a speaking tour by conservative clerics in major rural communities encouraging simple living and a return to traditional family values.

A variety of churchmen were drawn to this effort. Ranging from unassuming dupes such as Wilhelm Zoellne, an old-fashioned Lutheran superintendent, to fanatics like Ludwig Münchmeyer, a Saxon pastor who had been defrocked for his heretical beliefs. The latter was a close confidant of the Leutnant’s first wife Mathilde and later leader of the All-German Church. [10]

Nazi attempts at penetrating the urban proletariat met with less success. Gregor Strasser dispatched Joseph Goebbels to Berlin to head up the Black Front Factory Organisation in October 1926. By 1928 they had cells on the floor of all major factories in the city. Occasionally they united with communists and other radical trade unions in organising wild-cat strikes. The National Socialist Industrial Labourer’s Corps, by contrast, were less militant, less organised, less numerous. Nazi presence in Berlin was limited to the wealthy western districts of the city. Goebbels wryly noted in his diary: ‘Our street-fighters wear overalls theirs wear dinner jackets.’

Therein lay the advantage and ultimate failing of the Black Front, in their focus on street violence and wealth redistribution, they provided an outlet for poor workers’ frustrations with their bosses and the political elite. But this economic radicalism and anti-clericalism prevented them from appealing to the middle and upper classes and excluded them from the Catholic Rhineland and south. It remained a purely Prussian group concentrated in poorer areas of the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolis.


Graf von Helldorff the Man with the Heart of Iron.

Wolf-Heinrich Graf von Helldorff, the son of a wealthy Prussian landowner, was installed as the new Stabschef of the SA. [11] A decorated veteran of the Great War, the Graf had been a Populist Nazi legislator in the early 1920s, and spent much of the family fortune to keep the party afloat. A vain and ambitious man he was a first-rate organiser and leader. Initially a follower of Goebbels, von Helldorff had been won over by Scheubner-Richter through the latter’s offer of high station in the party.

Reformed and reconstituted into a major paramilitary force, many of the radical elements in the SA had defected to the Black Front’s Combat League (KGB), allowing the Graf an unprecedented opportunity to purge the organisation of Anti-Scheubner-Richter thoughts. SA unit leader’s were made answerable to officers (Gruppenführer-Leibstandarte). Politically unreliable members were expelled from the organisation. The Graf made a particularly thorough effort to kick out ‘homosexuals and other troublemakers’, most notably Edmund Heines commander of the Munich SA, and a re-education program began with an eye to synchronising the political ideology of the rank-and-file. Membership grew to 250,000 by 1932 and numbered over 1.5 million by 1934. [12]

In 1927 the Graf formed the Corps of Guards (Leibstandarte) to act as an officer corps for the SA. Whilst the Stormtroopers concerned themselves with street brawls Leibstandarte presented itself as a mixture between a Freikorps unit and an old-fashioned gentleman’s club. Training centres were established, crypto officer schools, open to anyone of good Aryan stock. Courses were held in pistol and machine-gun shooting, small unit tactics, alongside horse-riding and dining etiquette. Of the 120 Leibstandarte officers in 1927, 31 were members of elite dining clubs, 12 were professors at good universities, and 40 were doctors or veterinarians.

In the SA unemployed youth found an outlet for their rage. Mounted on motorbikes or packed into trucks, middle-aged brawlers with beer guts commanded ranks of angry young men, who otherwise would have drank away their destitute youth in the doss-houses of rustic towns and small cities.

Trade unionists and other political radicals were major targets for SA raids. The hated KPD had its own paramilitary force the Alliance of Red Front-Fighters (RFB) and the two engaged in a low-level battle from 1928 to 1932. Clashes in Neukölln district, the KPD stronghold in Berlin, were exceedingly violent with over 200 injured in a single engagement on June 28th, 1929.

The pot-bellied revolutionaries reserved much fury for the traitors of the Black Front. In a ‘grand offensive’ on December 1st, 1929, gangs of SA marched through the Strasser-supporting Wedding slums, tearing down the red hammer and sword of the Black Front and raising the bronze swastika. In response the KGB attacked the NSDAP office at Potsdamer Strasse, [13] smashing up the printing works, and throwing the local Gauleiter out the window.

Nazi Propaganda in this period focused its attacks on those with no social standing. The so-called Asocials – Romani, Sinti, hardened criminals, and addicts – those deemed incapable of productive work. Non-Germanic citizens of the Republic were also tempting targets. In Schleswig-Holstein the bogeyman of choice was the Danes, in Saxony the Czechs, in Silesia and East Prussia it was Poles and Russians playing on medieval hysteria of ‘Asiatic hordes from the East.’


Through Stürmer Julius Streicher became head of the Antisemitic campaigns in the NSDAP.

Naturally, Jews were the major targets for abuse. Julius Streicher, in his position as Gauleiter of Franconia in northern Bavaria and editor of Der Stürmer, was the party’s major Antisemite. Constantly railing against Polish Jews and unceasing in his demands for deportation of the Gau’s entire Jewish population. Streicher whipped up wild conspiracy theories about supposed Jewish sexual slavery rings and Judea-Bolshevik plots libellously slandering major Jewish figures, and exalting its readership to ‘Hang Judah.

The reconstituted SA took charge of the assault on Jewish cultural life. In Frankfurt and Berlin the Graf authorised military-style patrols – dubbed ‘Christian Patrols’ – of Jewish neighbourhoods to supposedly rescue German women taken as sex slaves and discourage anti-social behaviour by Jewish youths. Trucks and lorries screamed through sleepy side-streets SA men stuffed within likes sardines. Armed with clubs they forced their way into synagogues, shops, and libraries. Looting whatever they wanted, smashing up whatever was nailed down, and mercilessly beating up anyone who got in their way.

Paradoxically many Nazi Party members had Jewish friends, lovers, even family members. Franz Schechter, a former SA commander, recalled in 1951 that ‘many of my boys had Jewish girlfriends.’ None of this was seen as contradictory to the party’s stated aims. Official propaganda focused on ‘Enemies of Germany’, a handy phrase applied to Jewish leaders foreign and domestic. In an October 1927 interview with the New York Times, Scheubner-Richter elucidated the difference between individual Jews and the gargoyle of Jewish Finance.

Many of the Jews in this country are fine. We do not have a problem with innocent, individual Jews. We are worried about the extremists, the financiers, the ones who are causing harm. All those that bear the guilt of Germany's defeat. So our Storm-Soldiers are going into their temples, the ones hosting extremists, and stirring them up and defeating them.’

As historians we must not fall into the trap of accepting this Nazi propaganda at face value. Scheubner-Richter’s intent was always genocidal. As laid out in Herr der Rassen party policy called for the deportation of all German Jews. Furthermore Scheubner-Richter stated, in several letters that 10,000 Jews would need to be murdered with poison gas to ‘instil discipline in the survivors.’ Graf von Helldorff surmised Nazi views on the Jewish Question in a speech to party members in Franconia.

The European will not be safe and secure in his own home until the Jew has been expelled past the Urals into the Asiatic hinterland from whence he came.’
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[1] Real book by-the-by, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a copy. Apparently Scheubner-Richter was a creative type (what is it with Nazis being failed artists?) and I can see him taking his down-time in prison to write a second novel.
[2] Ludendorff and Scheubner-Richter were very close, it was Scheubner-Richter who secured the old general’s support for the Beer Hall Putsch, so I think its plausible he would support the Livonian Lieutenant in a potential leadership bid.
[3] Scheubner-Richter was an aristocrat with a penchant for securing loans easily. Streicher notoriously had trouble finding print works that would print Der Stürmer. Its only natural the two would come to an arrangement. The relationship between these two men is something I’m going to cover in greater detail later, but suffice it to say that Streicher does not hold Scheubner-Richter in the same awe he did Hitler.
[4] Goebbels was only convinced to break with Strasser’s faction following a series of meetings with the very forceful Adolf Hitler. ITTL Scheubner-Richter is unable to convince Goebbels to support his position.
[5] The leading dissidents are Gregor Strasser, Otto Strasser, Joseph Goebbels, Ludolf Haase, and Franz Pfeffer von Salomon. This group goes on to form the core of the Black Front, which I’ll go into more detail on in the next chapter. Ernst Röhm is still in exile at this point.
[6] A more streamlined version of the 25-point program, most policies taken and modified from Hitler’s original proposals with the exception of point 6, which arises from Scheubner-Richter’s crackdown on ‘covert homosexuality’ in the Nazi ranks, and point 10, which emerges from Weber and Darré’s focus on rural concerns over urban ones.
[7] IOTL Geest was the NSDAP stronghold in Schleswig-Holstein but they had difficulty breaking into the more densely populated areas. ITTL Weber and Darré are more successful at winning over the upper class areas in the eastern part of the province due to their propaganda directly addressing the concerns of these communities, mostly poaching Conservsative voters from the DNVP and DVP. In all, Scheubner-Richter’s NSDAP is more successful at capturing rural votes in the Rhineland and the Catholic South than their OTL counterparts, but less successful at winning over the urban proletariat. By 1929 they are a truly rural party with all the advantages, and disadvantages, that this brings.
[8] Helmling was, in actual fact, a boorish oaf whose daughter was the local bully. IOTL he joined the party in 1934 out of naked careerism, here, he joins earlier due to the NSDAP branch in Oberstdorf having a stronger local presence.
[9] Scheubner-Richter was a poor public speaker. Not that this mattered given his role as a backroom schemer IOTL. Here, his oratorical skills are improved due to having an army of political advisors surrounding him. He’s playing to his strengths during his few public appearances by being reserved and controlled.
[10] Münchmeyer was an early supporter of Nazism. A fascinating and obscure fire-and-brimstone preacher, he ran an ‘Antisemitic Spa’ and flavoured his speeches with bible verses. He lost relevance as the NSDAP went mainstream, here, due to the Northern Stratagem and the Faith Rectification campaign, he gets to ingratiate himself with the party elite.
[11] IOTL Graf von Helldorf was one of Goebbels’s right-hand men, he served as Police Chief of Berlin, lead the charge on Kristallnacht, and later (for pragmatic reasons) helped organise the July 20 Plot. He was devious, intelligent, and utterly without principle. ITTL with Scheubner-Richter’s renewed focus on gaining rural and upper-class support for his party I think its reasonable that he’d want to appoint a Prussian, a Junker, someone with decent social standing, to head-up his new SA.
[12] OTL numbers were 400,000 in 1932 they’re lower ITTL due to more radical members getting poached by the KGB.
[13] 109 Potsdamer Strasse was the Nazi HQ in Berlin until Goebbels took over as Gauleiter in 1926 and moved them to new offices in Lützowstrasse. Since Goebbels is flying the black flag ITTL the Berlin Nazis remain based at Potsdamer.
For future reference the Ten Point Program is:
  1. The unification of all German communities under one state.​
  2. The end of urban and rural poverty.​
  3. Seizure of lebensraum from the unnatural states of the east for the sustenance of the people.​
  4. Support for a healthy middle class through the abolition of trusts and warehouses.​
  5. Expansion of retirement pension and the right to an untroubled old age.​
  6. Protection of women and girls from sexual depravity through the death sentence for Homosexuals and other deviants.​
  7. Strengthening of the national military.​
  8. Stripping of Jews and other non-Germans’ citizenship.​
  9. An immediate ban on immigration from alien nations.​
  10. Agriculture to be made prosperous through the abolition of land seizures and land speculation.​
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This is really interesting so far, I have one gripe though, why would Göring put a Mills hand grenade on his party flag instead of German Stielhandgranate? So soon after the Great War it would be deemed rather unpatriotic.