Tschirschky Claimed He Held Papers that could have Changed History

Paul von Hindenburg, left, and Adolf Hitler ride in an open car during a parade in Berlin, Germany, May 1933 (photo credit: unknown/German Federal Archive)
German President, Paul von Hindenburg and Chancellor, Adolf Hitler

There have been documents recently declassified that shed new light on the testimony given by a pre-WWII diplomat from Germany who claimed, in a single document that he once had in his possession, could have changed history and prevented Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

A report in Friday’s London Times described the claims of Baron Fritz Gunther von Tschirschky, a former friend of Weimar-era president, Paul von Hindenburg. He left Nazi Germany to go to the UK in 1935. MI5 papers on him were declassified earlier in March.

Times of Israel reports Tschirschky stated he helped to create Hindenburg’s last will and testament—a document that he said “blasted Hitler” and implored the German people to embrace democracy. Hitler, whom Hindenburg unwillingly appointed as chancellor in 1933, learned of the document when Hindenburg died and ordered to have the documents in his hands immediately.

Hindenburg’s son was a loyal Nazi and passed the will to Hitler. It is assumed the will was destroyed. According to Tschirschky, the will was an incredible attack on Hitler’s ambition. Hindenburg allegedly wrote in the will that the Army should be independent of politics and he recommended there be a constitutional monarchy with a clear separation of powers. In a 1947 interview, Tschirschky reportedly told the Times that the will demanded the end of all racial and religious discrimination.

Tschirschky insisted that Hitler would have never come into power and there would never been any conflict if Hindenburg’s will was known to the people of Germany. Only two drafts of the will survived after the death of Hindenburg. One was located by the Nazis in Switzerland and destroyed and the other was kept by Tschirschky, until he feared for his life and he destroyed it before leaving Germany.

The authorities in Britain never trusted Tschirschky entirely and he spent a large portion of the war in an internment camp. There are still questions surrounding why Hindenburg waited until his death to let his feelings be known about Hitler. It was only hours after Hindenburg’s death did Hitler consolidate the offices of President and Chancellor. This was the beginning of his death grip on power. Several days later, the Nazi’s reportedly announced the discovery of the president’s “political testament,” which may have been a forgery, painted a glowing picture of Hitler.

Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE