Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

Otto Wagener

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Name  Otto Wagener

Party  Nazi Party
Otto Wagener httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediadethumb4
Died  August 9, 1971, Chieming, Germany

Otto Wagener (29 April 1888 – 9 August 1971) was a German major general and, for a period, Adolf Hitler's economic advisor and confidant.


Otto Wagener httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons11


An industrialist's son, Wagener was born in Durlach, graduated from Gymnasium and then became an army officer. In 1916 during the First World War, Wagener was promoted to the General Staff.

After the war, Wagener was involved in the planning of an attack against the city of Posen (now Poznań, in Poland), but had to flee to the Baltic countries to avoid arrest. There he merged all Freikorps associations into the German Legion, and assumed leadership after its leader, Paul Siewert, was murdered. After returning to Germany, he was active in Freikorps operations in Upper Silesia, Saxony, and the Ruhr area.

In 1920 he studied economics and managed to broaden his knowledge by traveling abroad. In 1929 Wagener joined the National Socialist German Workers' Party and the Sturmabteilung, having been recruited by his old Freikorps comrade Franz Pfeffer von Salomon. Wagener was able to put his business acumen and contacts to good usage for the National Socialists, in this case for the SA:

Wagener had used his business contacts to persuade a cigarette firm to produce "Sturm" cigarettes for SA men -- a "sponsorship" deal benefiting both the firm and SA coffers. Stormtroopers were strongly encouraged to smoke only these cigarettes. A cut from the profit went to the SA ....

He functioned as SA Chief of Staff from October 1929 through December 1930, assuming effective command of the SA for a few months in the wake of the Stennes Revolt until the assumption of command by Ernst Röhm as the new Chief of Staff in early January 1931. In 1933 he became a member of the Reichstag.

In January 1931, Wagener led the Political-economic Department of the NSDAP, and in September 1932 he was appointed the Führer's personal economic advisor. Hitler appointed him Reich Commissar for the Economy from April to June 1933.

By late 1930 or early 1931 Wagener had made a mark on National Socialist economic policy. As Patch notes (p. 201-02):

Wagener formulated an original set of economic policies based on corporatist and leadership principles in confidential talks with Hitler and succeeded in recruiting many middle echelon industrial managers and owners of small factories for the NSDAP....[A confidential draft by Wagener] embraced the ideal of the corporatist "company union" (Werksgemeinschaft) and described the employer as the "Fuhrer" within his factory. All disputes over wages and working conditions would be settled within the "family" of the individual company in the National Socialist state of the future. Trade unions would be responsible merely for vocational training.

Wagener was replaced in his role as Commissioner for Economic Questions by Wilhelm Keppler, as Wagener had become embroiled in "coordination" disputes with leaders of industry after the National Socialist assumption of power in January 1933, even forcibly occupying the industry-run trade association Reich Association of German Industry with the intention of shutting it down.

Internal conflicts led to legal proceedings against Wagener in 1933 and 1934 in a case brought before the USCHLA (Party tribunal). After the Night of the Long Knives, Wagener was detained for a short time. Nevertheless, he was rehabilitated, and he resumed his career in the army.

In the Second World War, Wagener served at the front, rising to the rank of major general and becoming a division commander. After the war, Wagener found himself first in British and later, from 1947 to 1952, Italian prisoner of war camps.

In 1946, while being held by the British, Wagener wrote his memoirs about Hitler and the NSDAP's early history, entitled Hitler aus nächster Nähe. Aufzeichnungen eines Vertrauten 1929−1932 (known in English as Hitler: Memoirs of a Confidant). His work was not published until seven years after his death, in 1978. His memoirs are used, to some degree, by Third Reich historians.

Otto Wagener died in Chieming in 1971.


  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 5 May 1945 as Generalmajor and commander of the Division Insel Rhodos
  • References

    Otto Wagener Wikipedia