The Free Volk's Reich of Germany"It was the greatest and grimmest irony that created the modern Volksreich. The first inklings of its creation began in 1934. Ernst Röhm was at the time the leader of the "Storm Detachment" (Sturmabteilung or SA), the premier paramilitary group for the Nazi Party, which had increasingly transformed into the military arm of the party's radicals. Tensions had been building between him and Heinrich Himmler, leader of the Security Squadron (Schutzstaffel or SS), a rival paramilitary group that acted as the Party's internal security and surveillance agency. Röhm learned by mere chance that Himmler was plotting to frame him. Röhm was able to convince the Führer to allow him to investigate the Security Squadron and prove this conspiracy. There they found forged documents that were still unfinished, trying to falsely incriminate Röhm as being a French-backed traitor.
Freie Volksreich Deutschland
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Himmler was humiliated by this, and while the Führer merely put an end to the plot and left Himmler with a slap on the wrist, trust in the Security Squadron was gone. Hitler began to rely on Himmler less and less, but Röhm's relationship with Hitler continued to sour. The SA was starting to anger the German military, becoming more powerful each passing month. Führer Hitler was uneasy about losing the Reichswehr's trust, continuing to try and jungle the Reichswehr, SA, and SS, alongside the Nazi Party's non-military members as well. Turning against the SA over time, Führer Hitler still stayed Röhm's friend, but there more and more strain on that friendship. To appease Himmler and the ever more agitated party, Hitler directed all anger on one enemy: Jews. The Jewish people of Germany, their rights already restricted, suffered even greater persecution, culminating in the Rotglasnacht or the Night of Red Glass. The SS was hungry for blood, and were sent out in the first of several state-sponsored pogroms in February of 1936. The horrid event resulted in the death of nearly 200 Jews, the destruction of businesses, synagogues, and homes. The events name came from when a group of Jews attempted to stop the destruction of their synagogue, only for the SS troopers to open fire. A survivor wrote that, from within the synagogue, it was almost like a scarlet snow had blown inside as the bullets sent in finely shattered glass and blood.
This event became the straw that broke the camel's back. Numerous officers, politicians, and private citizens from being critical of Nazism to directly hostile, with some loyalist even becoming filled with doubt. Beyond the atrocities, the economy was being made for war, and the rights of workers were being destroyed. Small Jewish businesses and craftsmen were sucked up by corporations, triggering economic consolidation in predominantly Jewish areas. This greater angered the likes of the Strasser Brothers and Röhm himself. 1937, the SS made another attempt to destroy the SA, which had become a haven of dissent. A widescale conspiracy to murder much of the SA leadership went into action, but failed. And Germany was plunged into war..."
~ German History vol. 4: 1918 to 1984 by Odette Peterson
"We were living in strange times. Strange alliances were made. The Reichswehr had become disgusted by the Nazis, but so had the SA. While we hated each other, we also needed each other. People forget that the Himmlerite Coup was also looking to kill many members of the military. They did kill some! They killed von Bredow and Beck, and were on their way to kill others.
So we came together. Didn't like it. Didn't like Röhm. We all knew he was a schw*le but that was irrelevant. It was us against Himmler. Well, Hitler at first. The fighting was brutal. Of course we were the enemy at first. Hitler said so, and everyone believed it unless they already hated the Nazis. But after six months of fighting in the streets, of making cities surrender or get shelled, we were starting to build peace. Hitler was reaching out to us, Röhm was leveraging their friendship...
Then boom! Hitler is dead. And Himmler says Röhm did it, tells everyone Röhm f*cks men, that all of us siding with him were homosexual Jew-blooded communists. But Himmler was an idiot. We had men on the inside too, from the Abwehr. They got enough evidence for our counter propaganda. Still took another four months before could kill Himmler though. Then we had Heydrich and Goebbels, but those eunuchs made it easy by trying to kill each other. Huh... We were a laughing stock around the world back then. The Italians said we had failed as fascists, the Soviets said we had failed as socialists, and the French just couldn't stop their f*cking laughing as German Reich neutered itself.
But we came out better afterwards. In 1938, a year after the Himmlerite Coup, a new Reich was able to stand tall. I got to stand over Goebbels and spit on him that day, right before they killed him. Me, a mischling, with my new medal on my chest. An iron cross with a Judenstern right on it. He was so angry when he saw it on me, still angry when they shot him. But I just couldn't stop smiling!"
~ Interview of Werner Goldberg, 1978
"Röhm's ascension as Führer was very very tenuous, you see? So he starts doing even more of these reforms to appease his base. Now that he's in charge, he gets rid of the SS, and even ends the Gestapo and promises greater freedom for loyal Germans. Not for non-Germans, of course, but he did end pogroms and even started weakening the Nuremburg Laws, mostly because his most powerful allies, Hans Oster and Henning von Tresckow, demanded it. He also ended persecution of homosexuals, and started working Jutta Rüdiger. Rüdiger was leader of the League of German Girls, a position awarded for siding against Himmler. We know now that she was possibly a lesbian too, and working with Röhm she promoted the new 'Volkssozialist Woman'.
Alright lets review. So Jews? Because of Oster and because of the Juden Brigades that helped in the war, many rights are restored. Women? No more housewives, now it's time to be an equal partner to men and help use femininity to build a better Volkist-Socialist future, but still living in separate spheres. Homosexuals? Definitely not acceptable to be one, but if you didn't ask, no one would tell. Out of sight, out of mind, y'know? And with all this, Aryanism is on the way out too, mostly because Himmler was so big on it. Being Aryan started being more... spiritual, I guess you could say. Blood mattered, but non-Aryans could 'exemplify Aryan-Germanic ideals' and honorary Aryan awards were handed out like candy.
Röhm does stand his ground though. He had become real closer with the Strasser Brothers, and he gave them control of the economy. Strasserism was the key tenet of the German economy. A guild system, the new genossenschaftkammer. Haha, don't worry just write down Co-op Chamber of the Reichstag. Gregor Strasser was out to break down the capitalist system, though he was made to change his tune about labelling any groups of people, and by that we mean Jews, as being inherently capitalist. And so the 'producerist' economy was able to take shape pretty quickly, helped a lot by the German economy being demolished by civil war.
But while Röhm and the Strassers were the face of the hip new Nationalvolkssozialismus, or as we call it Volkist-Socialism, Volkism, or Folk-Socialism, and presented a strong face, their coalition was a house of cards. You had Waldeck-Pyrmont and von Stauffenberg's December Plot that wanted to restore power to the nobility, you had communist, democrats, Old Nazis, the Young Germany Movement. Really it wasn't a shock when Röhm resigned for 'health reasons' in 1942. And that gives us the next Führer: Hans Oster."
~ Jared Davenport, History teacher at Gainsbrook Secondary
"As I mentioned at the start of this area, the Oster führership is when the Reich finally changed its name, finalized its flag, and embraced the political changes we know today. The Free Volksreich was one of several terms tossed around during the civil war to describe the regions of Germany held by the SA-Reichswehr alliance. Oster chose to formalize it. Unofficially, he himself wasn't a fan of Volkist-Socialism, but he also knew he had a war coming and a people in need of unity. So the ideology continued to grow, the Strassers' influenced calmed by an embracing of their economic ideas. Some people have labeled Volkism as a sort of liberal fascism, and that's not inaccurate! Oster did away with the Nuremburg laws, and began to enforce a belief in the essential liberties of all citizens, in exchange for their loyalty, of course.
Now the symbol of the Volksreich, and indeed Volkist-Socialism was always on the flag. Or, rather it was after it got created. At first the Strassers had their hammer and sword banner for their militias, and Röhm had the SA banners remade in the Strasserite inversion of Nazi colors. The symbol we have today reflects how Volkism was created; the lightning bolt of the SA crossed with the Sword of the Strasserists, topped by a Swastika. Röhm's reforms built a basis for Oster's greater liberalization, the Strassers' economics laid the foundation for the war economy, and the fervent nationalism and loyalty of Hitlerian Nazism over Himmlerite Nazism was modified to unite the country. Oster chose to add the red and golden stripes, to connect the Volksreich to both the Interwar Republic and the liberal Revolution of 1848. This made the flag into one that truly encompassed the new Germany.
Oster's leadership, even in making this flag, was critical for winning the War against the Franco-Soviet Alliance. His bold choice to allow for a national plebiscite to reaffirm his führership set a standard that made Germans loyal and once again eager to fight for the Fatherland. While the führership is for life, even today, the appointed deputy führer must face the Großvolksabstimmung to confirmed as führer. Per Oster's own recommendations, if the deputy führer or any challenger not gain a full majority of the vote, two highest winners must face a second round of voting. Of course, this has so far only happened once, when Hans Scholl almost bested deputy führer Schindler after Führer Plagge's death. Of course, Scholl would then succeed Schindler. We are actually building a Scholl wing with the patronage of führer Kohl. It should open next winter!"
~ Angela Brandt, Tour Guide at the National Museum of the Führers of the Volksreich
((Helloooo! I figured I'd take the most... difficult route and try to make a semi-plausible good guy Nazi Germany. Mostly engineering a Nazi civil war, then having someone more radical but sympathetic to certain minorities (Röhm) take over. But since Röhm and the Strassers were still antisemetic monsters, I have Oster come in and make use of their new patch-work ideology to unify Germany. Which means a 'liberal' but still authoritarian, ultranationalist, and militarist Germany that endures beyond the war, though it grows increasingly liberal. Its definitely still a pretty horrible place, but I hope I did enough to make it 'good' compared to OTL!
This uhm, ended up far longer than I planned! It was just... so hard to make the Nazis into "good guys". I think I might have even ended up more verbose than @Xanthoc! But if I need to add more to it to make it more clear they are "good guys", just say the word @Green Painting!))