Secret Meeting of 20 February 1933

Secret Meeting of 20 February 1933

The Secret Meeting of 20 February 1933 known in German as the Geheimtreffen vom 20. Februar 1933 was a secret meeting between Adolf Hitler and 20 to 25 industrialists at the official residence of Herman Göring's in the Reichstag Presidential Palace aimed at financing the election campaign of the Nazi Party. [cite book
author = Daniela Kahn
title = Die Steurung der Wirtschaft durch Recht im nationalsozialistischen Deutschland. Das Beispiel der Reichsgruppe Industrie
year = 2006
isbn = 978-3-465-04012
] [cite book
author = Rüdiger Jungbluth
title = Die Quandts. Ihr leiser Aufstieg zur mächtigsten Wirtschaftsdynastie Deutschlands
year = 2002
isbn = 3-593-36940-0

The German elections were to be held on March 5, 1933, and the Nazi Party wanted to achieve a two-thirds majority to pass the Ermächtigungsgesetz and desired to raise three million Reichsmark to fund the campaigns. According to records, two million Reichsmarks were contributed at the meeting.


The meeting was attended by the following business representatives:recording of Martin Blank for Paul Reusch printed in: cite book
title = Zum Verhältnis von Großindustrie und Nationalsozialismus 1930-1933
author = Dirk Stegmann
publisher = Bonn-Bad Godesberg
year = 1973
pages = 477
#Hjalmar Schacht
#Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach
#Albert Vögler, CEO of Vereinigte Stahlwerke AG
#Fritz Springorum, Hoesch AG
#Ernst Tengelmann, CEO of Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks-AG
#August Rosterg, Director General of Wintershall AG
#Ernst Brandi, chairman of Bergbauvereins
#Karl Büren, Director General of Braunkohlen- und Brikettindustrie AG, board member of Deutschen Arbeitgeberverbände
#Guenther Heubel, Director General of C. TH. Heye Braunkohlenwerke AG, board member of Deutschen Arbeitgeberverbände
#Georg von Schnitzler, board member of IG Farben
#Hugo Stinnes Jr., board member of Reichsverband der Deutschen Industrie, member of the Supervisory Board of Rheinisch-Westfälischen Kohlen-Syndikats
#Eduard Schulte, Director General of Giersch's Erben, Zink und Bergbaubetrieb
#Fritz von Opel, board member of Adam Opel AG
#Ludwig von Winterfeld, board member of Siemens & Halske AG and Siemens-Schuckertwerke AG
#Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben, head of the office of Carl Friedrich von Siemens
#Wolfgang Reuter, Director General of Demag, chairman of Vereins Deutscher Maschinenbau-Anstalten, presidential member of Reichsverbands der Deutschen Industrie
#Günther Quandt, major industrialist, later appointed "Wehrwirtschaftsführer", (Leader of the Armament Economy).
#Diehn August, board member of Wintershall AG
#Hans von und zu Loewenstein, executive member of Bergbauvereins
#Ludwig Grauert According to historian Gerald Feldmann: [cite book
title = Die Allianz und die Versicherungsgesellschaft
author = Gerald Feldmann
city = Munich
year = 2001
pages = S. 92
#Kurt Schmitt, board member of Allianz AG
#August von Finck, served on numerous boards and committees Georg von Schnitlzler said in his statement on November 10, 1945 that: [ [ German History Docs, Nuremberg Document EC-439] ]
#Dr. Stein, chairman of Gewerkschaft Auguste Victoria, a coal mine in Marl Hürls (subsidiary der I.G. Farben). Stein was an active member of the German People's Party.web cite|url=|title=Georg von Schnitzler über Hitlers Appell an führende deutsche Industrielle am 20. Februar 1933 (eidesstattliche Erklärung, 10. November 1945)|accessed = May 24, 2008]

equence of Events

First Hermann Göring gave a short speech in which he emphasized the importance of the current election campaign. Then Hitler appeared and gave a ninety minute speech. He praised the concept of private property and argued that the Nazi Party would be the nation's only salvation against the communist threat. The basis of the Nazi Party is the national idea and the concern over the nation's defense capabilities. Life is a continuous struggle and only the fittest could survive. Concurrently, only a militarily fit nation could thrive economically.

In his speech, Hitler declared democracy culpable for the rise of communism. The following is a translated excerpt of what remains of his speech:

We are today facing the following situation. The Weimar Government imposed upon us a certain constitutional order by which they put us on a democratic basis. By that we were, however, not provided with an able governmental authority. On the contrary, for the same reasons for which I criticized democracy before, it was inevitable that communism, in ever greater measure, penetrated the minds of the German people."The Mazal Library": [ NMT, Volume VII, pp. 557] (Document D-203 can be found on pages 557-562), [ The Farben Case] ]

Then Hitler declared that he needed complete control of the state to bring communism to bear:

We must first gain complete power if we want to crush the other side completely. [...] In Prussia, we must still gain another 10 seats, and in the Reich proper, another 33. That is not impossible if we exert all our strength. Then, only, begins the second action against communism.

After Hitler's speech, Krupp expressed thanks to the participants and put special emphasis on the commitment to private property and to the nation's defense capabilities. Hitler then left the meeting. Göring gave a short speech in which he pointed out the emptiness of the Nazi Party's campaign war chest and asked the gentlemen present to help remedy this shortage. Then Göring left and Hjalmar Schacht took the floor. Schacht requested three million Reichsmark.

The money was made out to "Nationale Treuhand, Dr. Hjalmar Schacht" and deposited in the Bank of Delbrück Schickler & Co. A statement from the IG Farben Trial indicated a total of 2,071,000 Reichsmark had been paid. The money then went to Rudolf Hess who transferred it to Franz Eher Nachfolger.


The total contributions made to the Nazi Party totalled 2,071,000 Reichsmark. Below the sum is broken down by transaction.

According to Marxist researchers, including Kurt Pätzold, this meeting provides further evidence of the financing of the Nazi Party by big business. [cite book
author = Pätzold, Kurt; Manfred Weißbecker
title = Hakenkreuz und Totenkopf, Die Partei des Verbrechens
city = Berlin
year = 1981
pages = 213
] On other hand, Historian Henry Ashby Turner pointed out that the contributions on the were not entirely voluntary, designating that meeting as a "milestone: the first important material contribution of organizations of the big business to the Nazistic cause. [cite book
author = Henry A. Turner
title = Die Großunternehmer und der Aufstieg Hitlers.
publisher = Siedler Verlag
city = Berlin
year = 1985
pages = 393-396
] Even the British historian Ian Kershaw, in his biography of Hitler, sees it as contributions as "political blackmail." [cite book
author = Ian Kershaw
title = Hitler 1889-1936
city = Stuttgart
year = 1998
pages = 567

ee also



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