Strasser, Gregor

Strasser, Gregor
   politician; next to Hitler,* the leading Nazi during the Weimar era. Born in the village of Geisenfeld to a Bavarian judicial official, he was trained by Jesuits. After Gymnasium he apprenticed as a pharmacist. A student at Munich when war erupted, he joined a Bavarian regiment, was wounded and decorated for bravery, and ended the war a lieu-tenant. A radical nationalist, captivated by Oswald Spengler,* he joined the Freikorps* brigade of Franz von Epp* and helped liquidate Bavaria's* Ratere-publik in May 1919. In 1921, upon completing pharmacy studies at Erlangen, he opened a chemist's shop in Landshut.
   Strasser met Hitler in 1921 and joined the NSDAP late in 1922. Active in the SA,* he became leader in March 1923 of the Lower Bavarian Storm Troops, the largest SA unit outside Munich. After leading his unit in the Beerhall Putsch,* he received an eighteen-month prison term in May 1924; the state released him upon his election the same month to the Bavarian Landtag. As part of a three-man directorate with Albrecht von Graefe of the German Racial Free-dom Party* and Erich Ludendorff,* he helped found the National Socialist Free-dom Movement in August 1924 as successor to the banned NSDAP. In December 1924 he entered the Reichstag.*
   Although Strasser's loyalty to Hitler remains a subject of speculation, it ap-pears that he never questioned Hitler's leadership of the Nazi movement. Yet when he reentered the NSDAP in February 1925, he did so as Hitler's colleague (Mitarbeiter), not as his follower (Gefolgsmann). Meanwhile, Hitler's esteem for Strasser is confirmed by the latter's rise. Named Gauleiter for Lower Bavaria in March 1925, Strasser delegated duties to Heinrich Himmler* (his personal secretary) and went to Elberfeld to organize the Nazi Working Group Northwest. He cultivated a north German following and, with help from his brother Otto Strasser* and Joseph Goebbels,* founded a publishing house and a newspaper,* NS-Briefe. The three men also drafted an alternative Nazi program; based loosely on a socialist appeal to industrial workers, it was rejected at the NSDAP's 1926 Bamburg Congress. In September 1926 Hitler made Strasser Propagandaleiter. By standing by Hitler, Strasser enlarged the NSDAP's appeal in the north just as it was waning in Bavaria.
   When Hitler became Propaganda Leader in December 1927, he appointed Strasser Reichsorganisationleiter. In the new post (equivalent to deputy Führer), Strasser overhauled the NSDAP's national structure and thus helped to prepare it for the massive campaigns of the depression* era. His prior interest in so-cialism had clearly dissipated when Otto dramatically resigned from the Party in July 1930; Gregor was crucial in preventing his brother's departure from damaging the Party. Yet his interest in issues outside the prevailing NSDAP agenda was evident in his cultivation of the National Socialist Factory Cell Organization* and in his broad political ties. Opposed to Hitler's presidential bid in 1932, he championed a policy of right-wing coalition once the NSDAP had become the Reichstag's largest party; the tactic was rebuffed by Hitler.
   When in early December 1932 Hitler rejected an offer that the NSDAP join a cabinet led by Kurt von Schleicher,* Strasser resigned his offices (he retained his NSDAP membership). Although Strasser never aimed to split the Party (as Schleicher may have hoped), Hitler never forgave him for stabbing "me in the back five minutes before the final victory." Still deemed a threat in 1934, es-pecially by Goebbels and Hermann Goring,* he was working as a director with a Berlin* pharmaceutical firm when Hitler had him murdered on 30 June as part of the Rohm purge.
   REFERENCES:Jablonsky, Nazi Party in Dissolution; Kissenkoetter, "Gregor Strasser"; Noakes, "Conflict and Development"; Orlow, History of the Nazi Party; Stachura, " 'Fall Strasser,' " Gregor Strasser and "Political Strategy."

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • Strasser, Gregor — ▪ German political activist born May 31, 1892, Geisenfeld, Ger. died June 30, 1934, Berlin       German political activist who, with his brother Otto (Strasser, Otto), occupied a leading position in the Nazi Party during its formative period. His …   Universalium

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