- German officer, last rank: Lieutenant Colonel
- Military attaché in Washington from 1913 to 1915
- Became Reichskanzler in 1932
- Paved the way for Adolf Hitler
Franz von Papen was born into the noble house of Papen in Westphalia. He started training in the military at a cadet academy - a path of his own choosing. In 1913, he joined the diplomatic service as a military attaché in Washington, D.C. After the war started, following orders from the Reich’s leadership, he participated in acts of espionage and sabotage. This explains the pressure from the American government that led to him losing his position in 1915. After returning home, he first fought as an officer on the Western Front; later on, he was transferred to the Middle East. Right when the war ended, he left the military and entered the political arena. He served as a Member of the Prussian parliament from 1921 to 1932, representing the monarchist right wing of the Center Party. During the 1925 presidential elections, instead of backing his party colleague Marx, he lent his support to Hindenburg’s candidacy. This isolated him from peers within his own party. Upon Schleicher’s suggestion, Hindenburg granted Papen the mandate to form the government. In November 1932, Papen was planning to dissolve the Reichstag indefinitely and proclaim a new constitution. He failed because of Defense Minister Schleicher’s resistance. Schleicher succeeded in winning Hindenburg over to his position. After Papen stepped down, Schleicher himself became Reichskanzler. Papen in turn then used his connections with Reichspräsident Hindenburg to promote Hitler’s path towards becoming Reichskanzler. He became the deputy Reichskanzler in Hitler’s cabinet in 1933.