No book documents the failure of the Allies’ de-Nazification policies following World War II better than T. H. Tetens’ The New Germany and the Old Nazis. Building effectively on their plans to go underground, finalized during the latter years of the war, the Third Reich successfully made the transition to “peacetime” governance of the “new” Federal Republic of Germany.
Dominating the political, national security, judicial and economic hierarchies of the German state, the Third Reich was able to realize goals set by Hitler and completed by his chosen agents in the Federal Republic.
Two long excerpts effectively characterize the dimension of the postwar Nazi success. Himself a Nazi sympathizer and collaborator during the war, [German chancellor Konrad] Adenauer was really a figurehead, with control of the chancellor’s office falling to Dr. Hans Globke. (Information about Adenauer’s wartime collaboration is available in AFA #2.)
Globke–the “eminence grise” behind “Der Alte” (Adenauer)–was the man who had implemented the Nazi racial laws, under which the Third Reich’s extermination programs were performed. Globke’s real power was such that he screened Adenauer’s mail.
. . . And the one directly involved with the formulation of these laws was Dr. Hans Globke. It was he who drafted the text of Hitler’s race law and who wrote the notorious “Commentary” interpreting this Nuremberg law, which paved the way for the extermination of millions of human beings.
When the Nazis decided to carry out the mass liquidation of European Jews, Dr. Globke’s direct superior, Ministerial Counsel Bernard Loesner, himself a Nazi party member, had scruples of conscience and resigned from office. His post was taken over by Dr. Hans Globke. As chief legal adviser and head of the Office of Jewish Affairs, Dr. Globke thus became a direct participant in the gigantic venture to make Germany judenrein. In applying the racial laws Dr. Globke worked hand in hand with the Main Security Office, the headquarters of the SS murder organization. Der Spiegel of September 28, 1960, reported a case which reveals that Dr. Globke had direct dealings with the SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann.
More than that, the evidence shows that Dr. Globke was a key administrator in the “Final Solution,” the master plan for the extermination of the Jews. The article in Der Spiegel quoted the testimony of a Wehrmacht officer, Max Merten, who together with Eichmann suggested in 1943 that 20,000 Jews in Macedonia (marked for the gas chambers in Auschwitz) should be released and shipped to Palestine. It was obviously not a feeling of humanity, but rather a personal greed for money, as well as a shortage of transportation facilities to the concentration camps, that motivated both Nazis to make this suggestion. . . .
. . . The German press has called Dr. Globke “The Gray Eminence,” “the power behind the throne,” and “The Spider.” Die Welt of October 30, 1955, described Dr. Globke as “the second-in-command in the control tower of the German ship of state.” According to Die Welt, Dr. Globke is the “only man who has access to Adenauer at all times or who can call the Chancellor at any hour.” The paper adds: “Globke’s political power rests entirely on the confidence which emanates from his chief, and on his domination over the official apparatus which must be regarded as his exclusive handiwork. of state.”. . .
The New Germany and the Old Nazis; pp. 37–40.
Globke, in turn, was a primary touchstone for a Nazi government in exile, operating effectively from Spain.
Newer listeners may well be confounded by the frequent references to “The Underground Reich,” an understandable reaction, under the circumstances. Tetens’ volume details the coup attempt of 1953, in which SS officer Werner Naumann (propaganda minister Goebbels’ hand-picked successor) tried to seize power, with the assistance of other Third Reich alumni.
Of consummate significance in this context is the executive force behind Naumann’s attempt–a fuehrungsring that administered the “new” Germany on behalf of a Nazi government in exile in Spain.
Taken in conjunction with the material in Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile, the disclosure that Reinhard Gehlen’s relocation of his spy outfit to U.S. intelligence was cleared with a German chain of command that had been preserved intact, as well as the relationship between Helene Von Damm, Otto von Bolschwing and the Nazi faction of the GOP, the Tetens discussion of the Naumann coup permits us to view much of the structure of this Underground Reich. A number of considerations to remember in this context:
- Once Naumann and his fellow conspirators were released into the custody of the Adenauer government and the postwar judiciary, all charges were dismissed.
- The lawyers for the defendants threatened to disclose the full measure of the conspiracy and its backers–knowledge that would have been devastating to the West. That information would have played directly into the hands of the former Soviet Union and its propaganda arm. In addition, many in the non-communist world would have been genuinely appalled at the degree of collaboration.
- The fuehrungsring was charged with initiating conspiracies in foreign countries on behalf of German cartels.
- The Nazi underground (including the Nazi Party itself) had penetrated diverse entities, including communist organizations.
- This information dovetails perfectly with content of The Nazis Go Underground and Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile, the latter distilled into FTR #305.
. . . . The next morning shortly after seven, the head of the press division of the Foreign Office, Sir William Ridsdale, distributed a communique which stated that a group of seven former high Nazi officials had been arrested in Duesseldorf and Hamburg for having plotted the overthrow of the Bonn Republic. The official announcement said that the British authorities had been aware for some time that the seven men had been involved in a plot and that the arrest had been made under the authority of Foreign Minister Eden. The ringleader of the group was a Dr. Werner Naumann, who, until the German collapse, had served as State Secretary in Dr. Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry. Dr. Naumann had been with Hitler during the very last days in the bunker of the Chancellery in Berlin, and he was the one designated by the Fuehrer in his testament to succeed Dr. Goebbels as Propaganda Minister. . . .
. . . The British reply was polite but determined. It pointed out that the occupation authorities had been profoundly disturbed when they had found evidence of an advanced plot, instigated by a vast Nazi network spreading from Dusseldorf to Cairo, Madrid, Buenos AIres, and Malmo, Sweden. They stated furthermore that they had had to proceed with the utmost secrecy, since the plotters had close contacts with high government circles in Bonn. According to the New York Times) the British submitted evidence to the Chancellor which “revealed a wide-spread plot with ramifications into many political parties and other influential organizations of West Germany.” Faced with the grave implications of the Naumann conspiracy, Dr. Adenauer and his Minister of Justice, Dr. Thomas Dehler, had to confirm the seriousness of the case. . . .
. . . After taking over the investigation, Dr. Adenauer admitted at a press conference “the existence of a far-flung plot” and that Naumann’s activities “had been financed with considerable sums by Nazi groups in foreign countries.” Minister of Justice Dehler told reporters that the Naumann group had developed “a most cunning and diabolic system of infiltration” and that the conspiracy represented “an acute threat to the democratic institutions in the Federal Republic.” The captured Naumann documents, he said, “gave clear proof that the aim of the group had been to fill key positions m all Rightist parties with hard-core Nazis and thereby create propaganda vehicles which later could be used for a broad neo-Nazi mass movement.” According to the Wiesbadener Kurier of May 6, 1953, Dr. Dehler quoted from one document in which Naumann expressed the hope that, if his scheme succeeded, “the coming election might be the last of its kind.”
Soon after the British had transferred the prosecution of the case to the German authorities, the lawyers of the arrested plotters began to put pressure on the federal government to suppress the case and release their clients. The Bremer Nachrichten reported on June 15, 1953, that the Naumann lawyers had even threatened to discuss “the true background of the case openly” if their clients were not released soon.
By the end of June 1953 Dr. Naumann and his co-plotters were suddenly released, in violation of the most rigid stipulations of German law and court procedure. A year and a half later, in December 1954, in spite of the fact that the prosecutor had brought an indictment against Naumann charging conspiracy against the constitution of the Federal Republic, the highest court quietly dismissed the case without any trial or hearing. Even before the plotters were released, the British became suspicious about the handling of the Naumann case and leaked some of the incriminating material to a staunchly democratic German newspaper which had gained quite a reputation for its revealing articles on the infiltration of former Nazis into the Adenauer administration. During the early part of June 1953 the Frankfurter Rundschau published five articles dealing with Naumann’s tapped telephone conversations, notes from his appointment calendar, correspondence between the plotters, and significant excerpts from his diary. The published material gave a full inside view of the scope and character of the conspiracy. The description of the intricate structure of the plot and the background of the many people involved filled whole pages in the Frankfurter Rundschau. Here it is sufficient to state the main objectives as they emerged from the confiscated material:
1] Use the democratic constitution as a facade behind which a new Nazi movement could be organized, designed to take over the apparatus of the state when time and circumstances would make such a step necessary and profitable.
2] Let Chancellor Adenauer serve as a front, exactly as Gustav Stresemann did during the twenties, behind which a new German power could develop undisturbed without arousing premature suspicions.
3] Apply a new method of infiltration (Unterwanderung) in order to conquer the existing parties and the administrative machinery of the state from within. Avoid noisy nationalistic demonstrations, flag-waving and incidents; use the more efficient and unsuspicious procedure of working in small cells, which some day, at an opportune moment, might consolidate themselves into a broad mass organization.
The detailed plan, which the Germans soon called the “Nau-Nau” strategy, instructed former well-known Nazi leaders to stay discreetly in the background until the time was ripe for action. In the meantime the leaders were to use all their connections to bring bright and capable young Nazis, especially those trained in the Hitler Youth, into influential positions, not only in the Adenauer coalition parties but also into all other political organizations.
The Naumann documents revealed much more than a mere strategic blueprint of how to subvert a state apparatus or the existing parties from within. There was a detailed record of how Dr. Naumann had used his contacts with top industrialists and leading politicians to fill well-paid positions in the Free Democratic party with scores of young, able Nazis who once had learned the tricks of the trade in the Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry. Dr. Naumann’s most devoted collaborator in this enterprise was his intimate friend, Dr. Ernst Achenbach, a former Ribbentrop diplomat who, after the war, had become a prominent lawyer in the Ruhr district. It was reported that Achenbach and Naumann had been close friends during the war when they served together in important positions under Ambassador Otto Abetz in the German Embassy in occupied Paris. It was Dr. Achenbach who, in 1943, recommended to the Foreign Office that two thousand Jews be shipped to the East as reprisal for an attack on two Nazi officers. . . .
. . . A lengthy British white paper on the Naumann-Achenbach plot was ready to be released in August 1953, when it was suddenly “withdrawn at the last moment on Cabinet instructions, for reasons which never have been made quite clear.” There were rumors that the British had yielded under the combined pressure of Washington and Bonn. The confiscated material disclosed that the Achenbach/Naumann group represented a so-called Fuehrungsring-a Nazi high command-a kind of political Mafia, with headquarters in Madrid, which operated by remote control through clever organizational schemes on different levels, serving various purposes. This Gauleiter group met periodically in the strictest secrecy, mainly in Duesseldorf or Hamburg.
Up to thirty former Nazi top officials assembled under false names as “old friends” in hotels, where they carried on their political scheming. Among them were the ex-Gauleiters Kaufmann, Grohe, Florian, Wegener, Frauenfeld, and Scheel, a number of high officials from the Propaganda Ministry, some Ribbentrop diplomats, and top-ranking SS officers. According to the British correspondent Alistair Horne, the “roll calls of the ex-Gauleiters and high SS officials present read like a page from some nightmare Who’s Who of the Third Reich.” These Nazi leaders had either escaped the dragnet of the victorious Allies by false identification papers or had been released from internment after a year or two without any substantial penalty. The aim of the group was “to form the general staff of the ‘National Opposition’ ” and build “a new political party out of the existing parties of the right.”
Besides the infiltration of co-conspirators into positions of command within the existing parties and into government departments and party organizations on the middle and lower levels, another task of the Fuehrungsring was to organize and direct mass organizations, such as veterans’ and refugee associations, which one day could easily be used as instruments for political action. Other fields of activities for the group were political propaganda in foreign countries, carried out in close contact with the Nazi headquarters in Madrid, and the initiation of conspiracies in foreign countries on behalf of German industrial cartels. . . .
. . . Long before, they had captured numerous key positions in the Adenauer administration, in political parties, and in the Laender (state) parliaments. They were exuberant about their successes in one of their secret directives circulated by the Nazi headquarters in Madrid. This lengthy document, issued in September 1950, spoke of the total failure of the Western occupation policy and pointed gleefully to the success of the “flexible and smoothly-working organization which, at the end of the war, provided the precondition for all the gains that by necessity emerged for Germany out of the chaos of the postwar period .
“. . . Five ‘years after Potsdam, we can look back with pride at our accomplishments .... Nothing happened by chance; everything was carefully planned.” There is considerable material available which gives conclusive proof that the Nazis had made preparations long before their collapse to train an army of agents, often skillfully camouflaged as “resistance fighters.” About the successful continuation of the Nazi subversive activities, the Madrid Circular Letter had this to say: “Even after the collapse, the National Socialist party continued to work in a camouflaged way [getarnt] in dozens of seemingly innocuous societies and groups, in order to keep the national outlook of the German people alive and undiluted. Just as many small brooks go toward making a mighty stream, the various nationalistic and radical groups in the Zonen-Reich carried out, almost without exception, worthwhile and powerful propaganda. Each of these groups had its special task and had to adjust its work to certain situations and circumstances. However, it was of chief importance to direct the underlying trend of the patriotic propaganda toward the same goal. The more diverse and disconnected these groups appeared on the surface, the less they were apt to arouse suspicion that they were directed and influenced by a central organization. We have placed our confidential agents, observers, and representatives for special assignments in all parties, even among Communist organizations and their fronts. The greater the number of organizations controlled and influenced by us, the more effective will be the results of our work.” . . . .
The New Germany and the Old Nazis; pp. 24–33.
From the book jacket:
More than a decade after World War II the infamous crimes of the Third Reich still haunt the world.
Now a new Germany has emerged. Its unrivaled energy has already made it one of the most powerful states in Europe.
What kind of country is this new Germany? Is Nazism “dead and buried,” as James B. Conant, our former ambassador to Bonn, believes? Has Germany really changed? If so, where are the hundreds of thousands who once faithfully and eagerly served Hitler’s reign of terror? And what is life like today for the Jews who are still in Germany?
The answers to these questions will shock most Americans. Many Nazis have returned to power–in almost every walk of German life.
The New Germany and The Old Nazis is based on thousands of news stories and court records, most of them of German origin. Naming names-including Adenauer’s top aide, Hans Globke–it documents in detail the dangerous resurgence of Nazism and anti-Semitism in the “new” Germany.
It describes notorious occurrences of anti-Semitism such as the Zind case–and the German reaction to it; it tells of the current activities of the Nazi SS; it reveals former Nazi officials who hold important positions in the present German government; it exposes former Nazi criminals and shows how they have been protected; it outlines the present plans of the underground Nazi party; and it presents the shameful record of Hitler’s judges who still sit on the bench.
As West Germany’s position in the cold war becomes more crucial, it is important to understand its aims and ambitions. This outspoken book looks behind the official façade of Adenauer’s Germany. What it discloses is of vital importance to every American.
T.H. Tetens, a leading expert on German geopolitics, was born in Berlin and worked during the 1920’s in Germany as an economist and newspaper editor. For more than thirty years he has studied the Pan-Germanic movement, the Nazi party, and the strategic theories of German geopolitics. When Hitler came to power, Mr. Tetens was put in a concentration camp. He escaped to Switzerland in 1934. There in pamphlet and newspaper articles he foretold the coming German assault on Europe.
Mr. Tetens is the director of the Library on Germanic and Related International Problems. He has written several books on the German question, the most recent being Germany Plots with the Kremlin.
In 1938, Mr. Tetens came to the United States and began research on German problems for government agencies and private organizations, From 1946 to 1947, he served with the U.S. War Crimes Commission in Washington.