Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How a Will Could Have Prevented WWII

HindenburgSecret MI5 files were declassified in February and included documents that claim that the will of Paul von Hindenburg, former German President, was destroyed by Hitler. Hindenburg’s will was drafted by Fritz Günther von Tschirschky. In the newly released documents, Tschirschky claims that Hindenburg opposed Hitler’s rise to power and intended to stop his political power by expressing his disagreement in his will. The will never reached the public and Hindenburg’s objections did not have the intended effect of stopping Hitler.

After Hindenburg’s death, Hitler learned of the will and ordered it brought to him. The will was never seen again, but a statement by Hindenburg endorsing Hitler was released, which is now believed to have been a fake. Hitler was then voted into power, an event which Tschirschky claimed would not have happened if the German people knew Hindenburg’s true feelings about Hitler.

See Matt Blake, Could WWII Have Been Avoided?, Daily Mail, March 14, 2014.

Special thanks to ElizabethR. Carter (Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center) for bringing this to my attention.


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