Ferdinand von Bredow, born on 16 May 1884, murdered on the night of 30 June 1934, headed the Minister’s Office in the Reich Ministry of the Armed Forces from June 1932 to 30 January 1933 and thus held the position of State Secretary.
Bredow divided the National Socialist movement into two camps: a few “good” National Socialists with “honest endeavors” stood against the “Radikalinskis” who had to be tamed. Bredow urgently hoped for the latter from Hitler but remained skeptical about Hitler’s ability to do so. Even though Bredow placed his hopes in Hitler’s person, he was not sparing in the criticism of his actions against the Jews and his foreign policy.
Bredow wished to be able to contribute to the new state with his skills, his knowledge, and his far-reaching connections. But this was his downfall: Hitler and Göring considered Bredow so dangerous that they had him murdered.
Although the SS conducted a thorough house search after Bredow’s murder, the diaries that Bredow had written from 20.2.1933 to 28.6.1934 did not fall into their hands. They also missed notes that shed light on the last days before 30.1.1933, especially on Kurt von Hammerstein’s wavering attitude.
This is his service passport from 1930, a most significant document for German (passport) history.
Ferdinand von Bredow was born on May 16, 1884, in Neuruppin. He enlisted in the German army and made close friends with General Kurt von Schleicher. Schleicher served as Paul von Hindenburg’s political counsel after he was elected president in 1925. “Kurt von Schleicher was an unscrupulous master of political intrigue, vain and ambitious; he sought to boost his own influence and that of the Army,” according to Louis L. Snyder.
Schleicher played a key role in Heinrich Brüning’s election as Germany’s chancellor in March 1930. Later on, he shifted his allegiance to Franz von Papen. Schleicher, who favored a centrist partnership, was angered by Papen’s reactionary actions. In December 1932, Schleicher persuaded numerous cabinet ministers to turn against Papen, and he was forced to resign. Schleicher was promoted to chancellor. He made Bedow the Abwehr’s commander.
Schleicher attempted to regulate the National Socialist German Workers Party’s activities to gain support from the center parties (NSDAP). Adolf Hitler retaliated by teaming up with Franz von Papen to depose Schleicher. Papen persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to nominate Hitler as chancellor with the help of industrial elites such as Hjalmar Schacht, Gustav Krupp, Alfried Krupp, Fritz Thyssen, Albert Voegler, and Emile Kirdorf. Papen, who went on to become vice-chancellor, persuaded Hindenburg that he could prevent Hitler from implementing his most extreme objectives.
Ferdinand von Bredow went to dine with Kurt von Schleicher and his new bride, Elizabeth, on July 22, 1934, with journalist Bella Fromm, one of Berlin’s most informed and well-known journalists. She cautioned the two gentlemen to be wary of Hitler. Schleicher responded, ” “They’re not going to touch me… Bella is the same old Bella. As usual, alarmist. I’ve been out of politics for a long time and am relieved to be free of the filth. So why should I be concerned?”
Adolf Hitler was resolved to exact vengeance on Ferdinand von Bredow, and the Schutz Staffel (SS) was dispatched to assassinate him during the Night of the Long Knives. On the 30th of June 1934, according to Paul R. Maracin, author of The Night of the Long Knives: Forty-Eight Hours that Changed the History of the World (2004): “General von Bredow sat at a table in the Hotel Adlon in Berlin a few hours after von Schleicher and his wife were murdered. When he left, the waiter – a Gestapo informant – took his tip and immediately dialed a phone number. Von Bredow was killed murdered on his doorway when he arrived home.”