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Martin Bormann

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The powerful men under Hitler were already jealously watching one another like so many pretenders to the throne. Quite early there were struggles for position among Goebbels, Goering, Rosenberg, Ley, Himmler, Ribbentrop, and Hess. Only Roehm had been left by the wayside, and before long Hess was to lose all his influence. But none of them recognized a threat in the shape of trusty Bormann. He had succeeded in representing himself as insignificant while imperceptibly building up his bastions. Even among so many ruthless men, he stood out by his brutality and coarseness. He had no culture, which might have put some restraints on him, and in every case he carried out whatever Hitler had ordered or what he himself had gathered from Hitler's hints. A subordinate by nature, he treated his own subordinates as if he were dealing with cows and oxen.
--
Albert Speer, from "Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs" - Page 87 - by Albert Speer - Nazis - 1970

 
Martin Bormann

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It is difficult to describe such a character. He was not highly educated but he was able and extremely industrious in technical office work. He was also extremely unscrupulous and very practical. His practicality was obvious even in his speech and appearance. He was a short, stocky man, quite fat, with an oxlike character. He had been a schoolteacher early in his career just as Streicher had been a schoolteacher, so you can see that being a schoolteacher is no sign of education. Technically and officially Bormann was the head of the party. Besides that, however, he was in reality the prime minister because all of Hitler's orders went through his hands. Bormann's real period of power began in 1941, although long before that, as far back as 1937, he had been a strong personal influence on Hitler. It was very strange. You know he was the chief of staff under Hess, but even while Hess was his superior, Bormann was much closer to Hitler in the hierarchy than was Hess. I think that Hess lost all his power because Bormann took it away from him, despite the fact that Hess was Bormann's superior. Bormann virtually became Hess's boss. Bormann entered party history in 1929 when he came to Munich. Before that he lived in my hometown of Weimar and used to chauffeur Sauckel, when the latter made propaganda and campaign speeches in Thuringia. Bormann at that time worked for Sauckel, and in a very minor, subordinate position. In 1929 he began doing financial work within the party. He continued with this task until 1933, when Hess made him his chief of staff.

 
Martin Bormann
 

Did I ever tell you about Goebbels? He incurred Hitler's disapproval after that incident with the movie actress for which he was beaten up. That clubfooted fanatic! He forced women to submit to him sexually because of his powerful position. He influenced Hitler to become anti-Semitic more than Hitler had been before. Hitler used to come to my house once in a while for a cup of coffee, and because I led a normal life, he would leave about nine o'clock. I was in the habit of retiring early. However, Hitler used to spend practically all of his nights, sometimes until four a.m., with Goebbels and his family. God knows what evil influence Goebbels had on him during those long visits.

 
Joseph Goebbels
 

Hess was an idealist, but the man who took his place, Bormann, was definitely a power-crazy, stingy man. Whereas Hess had the attitude of a worldly man, Bormann had the attitude of a newcomer. I believe that Bormann had no friends and that he was one of the most despised of men. The only reason he could hold the confidence of Hitler was that Hitler had been tremendously mistrusting during the last few years - a sickly mistrust.

 
Martin Bormann
 

No one. That was the difficulty of my position. Any day something might happen to me. Himmler told me at the end of April 1945, after I had held a conference with the Zionist leader in Sweden, that he felt sorry for what he had done in his life, regretted his sneakiness toward other people, and excused himself for that. He said, to quote Himmler from my memory: 'If I had only listened to you, Schellenberg, in 1943, there still would have been time to do something for the German people.' I always had the impression that Himmler was under the influence of Hitler. Himmler was suggestible - could easily have been under the influence of Hitler. Himmler conspired with me too much for it to be true that Hitler was under Himmler's influence. Himmler and I plotted against Hitler too much for that. Toward the end of 1943 Himmler actually talked with me about killing Hitler. That was the danger in my position. Should someone change his mind, it would be the end of me. It became even more obvious after the Attentat of July 20, 1944, when Kaltenbrunner worked more and more closely with Hitler. Kaltenbrunner conspired against Himmler.

 
Walter Schellenberg
 

He was interested mainly, I might say, solely in his personal standing with Hitler. He spent hours and days drafting letters of protest about Goebbels' interference in his affairs - merely because he was jealous of maintaining his prestige. Ribbentrop had an abnormal desire for rank and position. He wanted personal influence and good standing with Hitler. He did not want anybody to be closer to Hitler than himself. In this way he was unlike Himmler, who, I am convinced, wanted military power. Ribbentrop wanted to satisfy his own vanity. He is a very superficial man.

 
Joachim von Ribbentrop
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