The Rise Of Adolf Hitler
On the very eve of the birth of the third reich a feverish tension gripped Berlin. The Weimar Republic seemed obvious to almost everyone, that it was about to expire. For more than a year it had been fast crumbling. General Kurt von Schleicher, who like his immediate predecessor, Franz von Papen, cared little for the Republic and less for its democracy, and who, also like him, had ruled as Chancellor by presidential decree without recourse to Parliament, had come to the end of his rope after fifty-seven days in office.
On Saturday, January 28, 1933, he had been abruptly dismissed by the aging President of Germany, Field Marshal von Hindenburg. And I, the leader of the National Socialists, the largest political party in Germany at the time, was demanding for myself the chancellorship of the democratic republic (I had sworn to destroy).
Just before noon on Monday, January 29, I was having coffee and cake with fellow socialists. Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag and second to me in the Nazi party, burst in and told Hitler that I would be named Chancellor.
Shortly before noon on Monday, January 30, I drove over the Chancellery for an interview with Hindenburg that was to prove fateful for myself, Germany, and the rest of the world. From a window in the Kaiserhof, Goebbels, Roehm and the other Nazi chiefs kept an anxious watch on the door of the chancellery, where the I would shortly be coming out. We would see from his face whether he had succeeded or not, Goebbels noted.
In a few minutes later they would witness a miracle. Me, the man with the Charlie Chaplin mustache, who had been a down-and-out tramp youth of Vienna in his early years, an unknown soldier of World War I, a derelict in Munich in the first grim postwar days, the somewhat comical leader of the Beer Hall Putsch who was not even German but Austrian, and who was forty-three years old, had just been administered the oath as Chancellor of the German Reich.