Franz Ritter von Epp
name = Franz Ritter von Epp
imagesize = 220px
term_start = 1933
term_end = 1945
office2 = Member of the Reichstag
term_start2 = 1928
term_end2 = 1945
birth_date = Birth date|1868|10|16
nationality = German
death_date = Death date|1946|12|31
party = BVP, from 1928
Franz Ritter von Epp (
16 October 1868in Munich– 31 December 1946in Munich) was a regular officer in the Imperial German Army of the early part of the 20th century, who rose to the office of "Reichsstatthalter" of Bavaria, a position of dictatorial power, under the Nazis.
Franz Ritter von Epp was born in Munich in 1868, under the name of Franz Epp, being the son of the painter Rudolph Epp and Katharina Streibel. He spent his school years in
Augsburgand after this joined the military academyin Munich. He served as a volunteer in East Asiaduring the Boxer rebellionin 1900-01 and then became a company commander in the German colony "Deutsch-Südwestafrika" (now Namibia), where he took part in the bloody crushing of the Hererorebellion. [ [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=jIxCUXI38zcC&pg=PA76&lpg=PA76&dq=Franz+Ritter+von+Epp&source=web&ots=Opnsn7JYno&sig=zAjOYDcDpWLEd9wu4TdTXLDzZXA&hl=en Genocide and Gross Human Rights Violations] google book review, author: Kurt Jonassohn, Karin Solveig Björnson, publisher: Transaction Publishers] During the First World War, he served as the commanding officer of a Bavarian regiment, the "Infanterie-Leibregiment", in France, Serbia, Romaniaand at the Isonzo front.
For his war service, he received a large number of medals, the
Pour le Mérite(29 May 1918) being the most prominent. He was also knighted, being made "Ritter von Epp" on 25 February 1918, and received the Bavarian Militär-Max Joseph-Orden (23 June 1916).
After the end of the war he formed the "
FreikorpsEpp", a right-wing, paramilitaryformation mostly made up of war veterans, who Ernst Roehm, future leader of the SA, was a member of. [ [http://books.google.com.au/books?id=qncE3wy3TTsC&pg=PA59&lpg=PA59&dq=Franz+Ritter+von+Epp&source=web&ots=hPlIdsCBu6&sig=mJSVDIvLUDCWqHV_Zfc7kqC3_1s&hl=en The unmaking of Adolf Hitler] google book review, author: Eugene Davidson publisher: University of Missouri Press] It took part in the crushing of the Bavarian Soviet Republicin Munich, being responsible for various massacres. He joined the Reichswehrand was promoted to Generalmajor in 1922. He took his leave from the German army after getting involved with right-wing associations in 1923.
When it became necessary for the NSDAP to purchase a newspaper to publicize its political creed, Epp made available some 60,000
Reichsmarks from secret army funds to acquire the "Völkische Beobachter", [Shirer, William L.: " The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", 1960] which would become the daily mouthpiece of the party.
SAexpanded, it became an armed band of several hundred thousand men, whose function was to protect and guard Nazi rallies and to disrupt those of other political parties. Some of its leaders, particularly Roehm, visualized the SA as supplanting the regular army when Hitler came to power. To this end a department was set up under Epp called the Wehrpolitisches Amt (Army political office). Nothing came of this, as the role of the SA was dramatically recast after the Night of the Long Knives.
Epp became a member of the German parliament, the Reichstag, for the
NSDAPafter leaving the BVPin 1928, holding this position until 1945. He served as the NSDAP's head of its Military-Political Office from 1928 to 1945, and later as leader of the "German Colonial Society", an organization devout to regaining Germanys lost colonies.
Epp's final notable historical action occurred on
March 9 1933, two weeks before the Reichstag passed the enabling act which granted Adolf Hitlerdictatorial powers. On the orders of Hitler and Wilhelm Frickhe abolished the Government of Bavariaand set up a Nazi regime. He became " Reichskommissar", later "Reichsstatthalter", for Bavaria in 1933, in this position clashing with Bavarias Nazi prime minister Ludwig Siebert, which Siebert eventually succeeding over Epp. Epp's attempt to limit the influence of the central government into Bavarian politics failed. Epp however continued in his post as "Reichsstatthalter" until the end of the war, politically insignificant.
He distanced himself somewhat from other Nazi leaders during the war, the main reason for this was however personal dislike of some of them. He did not question or disagree with the regimes's politics.
He was arrested on
Paul Giesler's orders in 1945, being associated with the "Freiheitsaktion Bayern", lead by Rupprecht Gerngroß, a group opposed to the Nazis. Epp however did not want to directly be involved with the group as he considered their goal, surrender to the allies, a form of backstabbing of the German army. [ [http://rzblx2.bibliothek.uni-regensburg.de/blo/boslview/boslview.php?seite=195&band=1 Universitätsbibliothek Regensburg - Bosls bayrische Biographie - Franz Ritter von Epp] (in German), author: Karl Bosl, publisher: Pustet, page 179-180]
At the end of the war, he was imprisoned by the Americans and died in a prison camp in 1946.cite web | url = http://motlc.learningcenter.wiesenthal.org/pages/t020/t02083.html | title = motlc.learningcenter.wiesenthal.org | accessdate = 2007-08-24 | publisher = ]
Herero and Namaqua Genocide
* "Ein Leben für Deutschalnd" ("A life for Germany"), Autobiography by Franz Ritter von Epp, Munich, 1939
* at the internet movie database
* [http://www.historisches-lexikon-bayerns.de/document/artikel_44585_bilder_value_3_reichsstatthalter3.jpgPicture of Franz Ritter von Epp, taken in 1943] Historisches Lexikon Bayerns
* [http://rzblx2.bibliothek.uni-regensburg.de/blo/boslview/boslview.php?seite=195&band=1 Universitätsbibliothek Regensburg - Bosls bayrische Biographie - Franz Ritter von Epp] (in German), author: Karl Bosl, publisher: Pustet, page 179-180
* [http://www.dhm.de/lemo/html/biografien/EppFranz/ Biography of Franz Ritter von Epp] (in German)
* [http://home.att.net/~ordersandmedals/MMJO/Epp.htm Franz Ritter von Epp] Record of his military career
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