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Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus (politician)

Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus 20 March 1891, Schieder, Germany – 7 June 1971 Florence, Italy was a German politician from the Conservative People's Party and a Reichsminister in both of Chancellor Heinrich Brüning's cabinets In the first he was Minister for the Occupied Territories March – October 1930 and then Minister without Portfolio October 1930 – October 1931; in the second October 1931 – May 1932, he served as Minister of Transport


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 21 Party politician 1924 to 1930
    • 22 Government minister 1930 to 1932
    • 23 Escape and emigration
    • 24 Later years 1945 to 1971
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links

Early life

He was the son of a German father and a Scottish mother After graduation, he became an officer in the Imperial German Navy from 1912 to 1918, holding the rank of lieutenant commander After leaving the navy, he studied agriculture and in 1921 became director of the Chamber of Agriculture He was married to Elisabeth Dryander, a travel writer


Party politician 1924 to 1930

In 1924, Treviranus was elected for the German National People's Party DNVP to the Reichstag From 1925 to 1929 he also was a member of the Landtag of the Free State of Lippe and served as the head of the DNVP's parliamentary group there As a representative of the moderate wing of the DNVP he rejected the extreme right led by Alfred Hugenberg who became party president in 1928 In the summer of 1929, Treviranus together with Hans Schlange-Schöningen was one of two prominent DNVP Reichstag deputies who resigned from the party's caucus in protest against the Young Plan referendum bill which they called irresponsible in the extreme, to be joined shortly afterwards by the former chairman Kuno von Westarp and another 20 DNVP Reichstag members leaving the party and forming the more moderate Conservative People's Party CPP[1]

Treviranus politically supported a center-right government coalition His goal was to align the CPP coalition with the moderate right The center-right alliance should conduct comprehensive reforms With this objective, Treviranus had built close relationships and had good contacts

Treviranus has played a significant role in the development of Brüning's government in March 1930 In December 1929, he had participated in preliminary discussions with Brüning, Kurt von Schleicher, Defence Minister Wilhelm Groener and President Hindenburg's head of office Otto Meissner, at the home of his national conservative party friend Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Willisen[2] Hindenburg gave Brüning the task of forming a cabinet that would govern without the Social Democrats SPD[3]

Government minister 1930 to 1932

March 1930: The Brüning cabinet's first meeting in the Reich Chancellory in Wilhelmstrasse, Berlin Sitting left to right: Minister of the Interior Joseph Wirth Zentrum, Minister of Economic Affairs Hermann Dietrich DDP, Chancellor Brüning Zentrum, Foreign Minister Julius Curtius DPP, Minister Georg Schätzel BVP; Standing Left to right: Minister for the Occupied Territories Treviranus CPP, Minister of Justice Johann Viktor Bredt Wirtschaftspartei, Labour Minister Adam Stegerwald Zentrum, Minister of Finance Paul Moldenhauer DPP, Minister of Transport Theodor von Guérard Zentrum

Treviranus' first position in the new government was as Minister for the Occupied Territories, ie those parts of the Rhineland under French and Belgian occupation After the occupation forces were reduced following the Young Plan in June 1930 he became Minister without Portfolio and he liaised with industry for Hindenburg and Brüning

Before the General Election of 1930, Treviranus, in co-operation with politically influential military leaders, tried to re-organise the party system He negotiated forming a loose middle-class electoral alliance to secure a majority for Brüning This was funded by generous donations from big business but it was not successful[4]

From 9 October 1931 to 30 May 1932 he served in Brüning's second cabinet as Minister of Transport

The government adopted a right wing nationalist stance during election campaigns and also at cabinet meetings When French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand submitted a plan for a European Union it was rejected by the entire cabinet, and Treviranus said that the plan was an attack on the current German foreign policy at that time In cabinet meetings he pushed to get the Versailles Treaty revised[5][6][7][8]

As Reich Commissioner for Eastern Germany, he was not successful in saving the country from bankruptcy[clarification needed] and after this failure he resigned in August 1931[9][10]

The Brüning government went through a crisis in autumn 1931 with a worsening economic situation Treviranus once again liaised between businesses and the government On behalf of Brüning, he advised the major Ruhr industrialists Paul Reusch and Fritz Springorum not to collaborate with the National Socialists and German nationalists However, the government fell when embarrassing documents about the behaviour of industry and the banks during the crisis came to light[11] In the parliamentary elections of 31 July 1932, Treviranus lost his seat as did his Conservative People's Party Treviranus went into business; he became chairman of the Upper Silesian Bata shoe factory His political career was over at the age of 41[12]

Escape and emigration

Although almost as much a nationalist as Adolf Hitler, Treviranus was well known for disliking the Nazi leader He was also Brüning's close friend and influential with the military On 30 June 1934, Treviranus escaped the Night of the Long Knives While in exile, he recalled that after lunch, a large number of police and SS men entered his house His father answered their request to see "Treviranus" Their target and his daughter were playing tennis in the garden when she cried out "front of house full of Nazis!" He got away by jumping over the garden fence, and climbed into his car which had the key already in the ignition and drove away at high speed Five rifle shots missed[13][14]

The assassins followed Treviranus but could not shoot him because he drove into town He borrowed street clothes from a friend, then went to Schleicher's home and asked an SS guard what was happening Learning that Schleicher had been shot, Treviranus abandoned his car outside the city to pretend that he had escaped into the countryside, took a taxi back into Berlin, was hidden by friends, and helped into the Netherlands by the same person who had helped Brüning to flee[13][14]

After a few days' stay in the Netherlands, he went to Great Britain He met many well-known politicians including Churchill and Anthony Eden, at whose behest, he was asked about the character of Hitler and the Nazi movement He warned of Hitler's aggressive expansion plan He was formally expatriated in 1939 by the German Reich and at the outbreak of war went to Canada where he worked as a farmer

Later years 1945 to 1971

After 1945, Treviranus advised the United States government on the allocation of loans to German companies as part of the Marshall Plan In 1949, he returned to Germany In the 1950s, his name became associated with a gambling scandal In the 1960s, he worked as a defence lobbyist in the West German capital Bonn He died in 1971 during a stay in Florence


  1. ^ Wheeler-Bennett, John The Nemesis of Power, London: Macmillan, 1967 page 209
  2. ^ Johannes Hürter: Wilhelm Groener Defence Minister at the end of the Weimar Republic R Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 1993, p242
  3. ^ Hermann Pünder: Politics in the Reich Chancellery Records from the years 1929-1932 German publishing house, Stuttgart 1961, p46
  4. ^ Reinhard Neebe: Business, government and the Nazi Party from 1930 to 1933 Paul Silverberg and the National Federation of German Industries in the crisis of the Weimar Republic Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 1981, pp254
  5. ^ Files of the Reich Chancellery - the Brüning cabinets I and II 1930-1932 Volume 1 Edit v Tilman Koops, Boldt, Boppard on the Rhine 1982, No104
  6. ^ Hermann Graml: Between Stresemann and Hitler The foreign policy of the presidential Brüning, Papen and Schleicher R Oldenbourg publishing house, Munich 2001, pp 52-54
  7. ^ Akten der Reichskanzlei Die Kabinette Brüning I und II 1930–1932 Vol 1, bearb v Tilman Koops, Boldt, Boppard am Rhein 1982, No180]
  8. ^ Hans Luther: Vor dem Abgrund 1930–1933 Reichsbankpräsident in Krisenzeiten Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 1964, p162
  9. ^ Akten der Reichskanzlei Die Kabinette Brüning I und II 1930–1932 Vol 1 , bearb v Tilman Koops, Boldt, Boppard am Rhein 1982, SXLIV
  10. ^ Harold James: Deutschland in der Weltwirtschaftskrise 1924–1936 Germany in the Worldwide Economic Crisis 1924-36 Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart 1988, pp266
  11. ^ Reinhard Neebe: Großindustrie, Staat und NSDAP 1930–1933 Paul Silverberg und der Reichsverband der Deutschen Industrie in der Krise der Weimarer Republik Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1981, p107
  12. ^ Horst Möller: Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus Ein Konservativer zwischen den Zeiten Horst Möller und Andreas Wirsching: Aufklärung und Demokratie Historische Studien zur politischen Vernunft Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich 2003, p241
  13. ^ a b Dieser nannte Treviranus etwa "ein Schuft" und behauptete: "So ein marxistischer sic! kleiner Prolet ist in einer Welt groß geworden, die er gar nicht begriffen hat", siehe Werner Jochmann Hrsg: Monologe aus dem Führerhauptquartier Hamburg 1980, p248
  14. ^ a b Gunther, John 1940 Inside Europe New York: Harper & Brothers p 58mw-parser-output citecitationmw-parser-output citation qmw-parser-output id-lock-free a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-free amw-parser-output id-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output id-lock-registration a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-limited a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-registration amw-parser-output id-lock-subscription a,mw-parser-output citation cs1-lock-subscription amw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registrationmw-parser-output cs1-subscription span,mw-parser-output cs1-registration spanmw-parser-output cs1-ws-icon amw-parser-output codecs1-codemw-parser-output cs1-hidden-errormw-parser-output cs1-visible-errormw-parser-output cs1-maintmw-parser-output cs1-subscription,mw-parser-output cs1-registration,mw-parser-output cs1-formatmw-parser-output cs1-kern-left,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-leftmw-parser-output cs1-kern-right,mw-parser-output cs1-kern-wl-rightmw-parser-output citation mw-selflink

External links

  • Newspaper clippings about Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW

Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus (politician) Information about

Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus (politician)

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