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General Kurt von Schleicher after his Appointment as Chancellor (December 3, 1932)
General Kurt von Schleicher (1882-1934), a member of the Prussian military aristocracy, was a protégé of General Wilhelm Groener, whom he served as a political advisor during the latter’s tenure as Minister of Defense. With close ties to President Hindenburg and diverse connections within the government, the Reichswehr, and various political parties and organizations, he was the consummate behind-the-scenes political operator. On assuming the chancellorship in December 1932, he arrived at the zenith of power. He had convinced President Hindenburg that he could construct a workable government from representatives across the political spectrum – from the trade unions to the Nazi party (though without Hitler). But that was an illusion. From the start, Schleicher was undermined by his predecessor and former friend, Franz von Papen, who orchestrated his replacement as chancellor by Adolf Hitler. On June 30, 1934, he was murdered, along with his wife, in the so-called “Night of the Long Knives.”