Why did the Nazis support Hitler?
The brown nobility and the Nazis: we publish the letters from Crown Prince Wilhelm to Hitler
“God protect you and our German fatherland! Sieg Heil! ”When the German Crown Prince Wilhelm, son of the abdicated Hohenzollern Emperor Wilhelm II, learned of the victory of the Nazi troops against Holland, Belgium and France in June 1940, he was excited about the campaign - and the commander in chief behind it. In a letter to the Führer Headquarters, he praised Adolf Hitler in the highest tones. Thanks to his “brilliant leadership”, the “incomparable bravery of our troops” and “their first-class armament”, it was possible to force the other European countries to surrender.
The support of the House of Hohenzollern for the National Socialist dictatorship is again a topic in the German public these days. The reason: the nobles want money from the German state. And plenty of it. The Hohenzollern heir Georg Wilhelm is demanding 1.2 million euros from the state of Brandenburg as well as works of art and a right to live in Cecilienhof Palace as compensation for the fact that the aristocratic family was expropriated during GDR times.
Admiration on every Führer birthday
The aristocracy and the state are now arguing about the compensation claims in court. The main question is: Has the House of Hohenzollern forfeited its claim to compensation because it supported the Nazi regime?
We publish correspondence between Crown Prince Wilhelm and Hitler and the Reich Chancellery from 1933 to 1940, which can be found in the Berlin branch of the Federal Archives (file number: BAB, R 43 / 40-3). The letters show that Wilhelm was a staunch National Socialist who repeatedly offered his help to Hitler.
So Wilhelm congratulated the dictator annually on his birthday and New Year. Also on the death of the “father of the SS” and Hitler's bodyguard, Julius Schreck, Wilhelm Hitler condoled “[i] n unchanged attitudes”. Over the years, Wilhelm’s greetings have actually remained euphoric. In December 1936, for example, Wilhelm conveyed to Hitler his “most sincere wishes” for Hitler's “beneficial work for the benefit of our beloved people and fatherland”.
Birthday greetings from Wilhelm to Hitler in 1936
With this, Wilhelm continued a long shared history with the Nazis. As early as 1926 - seven years before power was handed over to the National Socialists - he had received Hitler at his Cecilienhof Palace (later expropriated by the Soviets and now the focus of the compensation negotiations). During a further visit in 1932, Wilhelm Hitler suggested that Wilhelm could become President of the Reich and that Hitler “under him” Chancellor. After this failed due to a ban imposed by his father, Wilhelm called for the election of Hitler. As a result, he boasted that he had won two million votes for the Nazis. Even after the transfer of power to the Nazis in 1933, he showed himself at propaganda events of the NSDAP, including on March 21 at the “Potsdam Day”.
Congratulations on the war
That Wilhelm not only pretended to provide support in order to avert worse - as the House of Hohenzollern is currently arguing in the compensation negotiations - also emerges from Wilhelm's later letters. After the invasion of Bohemia and Moravia and the subsequent annexation of the territories to Nazi Germany in 1938, Wilhelm Hitler conveyed his "feelings of admiration" and "sincere congratulations".
Congratulations on the attack on Bohemia and Moravia
Shortly after the start of the war in September 1939, he asked Hitler to “be used” in a “military position” during the war. In relation to his son, who was also called Wilhelm, this actually happened. He died in fighting during the invasion of France in May 1940. The head of the Nazi Reich Chancellery and later war criminal Hans Lammers then wrote condolences to Wilhelm.
The death of his son did not detract from the Crown Prince's enthusiasm for the Nazis. Just a month later, Wilhelm Hitler congratulated Hitler on the fact that Germany had forced its enemies to surrender thanks to the “brilliant leadership”. Now the way is clear for the "final settlement with the perfidious Albion", as the National Socialists called the "British enemy".
Congratulations on the war
Wilhelm survived the war. In the years that followed, he did not distance himself from the National Socialists - not even until his death in 1951. Admittedly, a denazification process for Wilhelm probably took place in the former royal seat of Hechingen after the war. Nevertheless, the relevant files and evidence cannot be found in the responsible state archive in Sigmaringen. The archive does not have any indications as to where these documents have gone.
There was no controversial discussion about the role of Wilhelm in post-war Germany. In addition to some benevolent apologetic publications on Wilhelm, there is still hardly any systematic research on the role of the noble family in National Socialism, which also makes it difficult to clarify the complaint about the compensation claims. The Hohenzollerns sometimes take legal action against critical reports.
The source situation is another problem: While the Federal Archives - as in the case of the letters we published - have some documents on Wilhelm available, a large part of the noble estate is in the private archives of the Hohenzollern family. Access to the documents can therefore be closed again at any time.
The new prince fund
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