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Franz Seldte

In office
30 January, 1933 – 1945
Preceded by Friedrich Syrup

Born June 29, 1882(1882-06-29)
Magdeburg, Germany
Nationality German Germany
Political party DVP, NSDAP
Alma mater University of Braunschweig
University of Greifswald
Franz Seldte, on right, giving speech at microphone, 1928
Poster for the nationalist "Black-White-Red" coalition of DVNP leader Alfred Hugenberg, Franz von Papen and Franz Seldte.

Franz Seldte (29 June 1882 – 1 April 1947) was a cofounder of the German paramilitary organization Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten, a Nazi politician, and a Reich labour minister.

Born in Magdeburg, Seldte was the son of an owner of a factory which made chemical products and soda water. He attended the Wilhelm-Raabe-Schule in Magdeburg. After an apprenticeship as a salesman, he studied chemistry in Braunschweig and Greifswald. He then took over the business of his early deceased father.

As a German officer he was wounded in World War I and lost his left arm. He then became a front reporter. Awarded with the Iron Cross Classes I and II, he also was promoted to captain in the reserve.

As a reaction to the November German Revolution in Germany, on 25 December 1918, Seldte founded the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten, and became its leader. However, he had a number of arguments with its acting leader, Theodor Duesterberg.

Seldte became a member of the German People's Party and was a member of the Magdeburg city council (Stadtrat).

The Stahlhelm became increasingly anti-democratic and anti-republican. However, Seldte hoped that the organization could become a leading organ of the national conservative movement. In 1931, he, together with Alfred Hugenberg and Adolf Hitler, helped create the Harzburg Front (Harzburger Front), an alliance against the Heinrich Brüning government.

Seldte desired to lead the National Socialists in a government led by him and wanted to make the Hitler Labour minister. At the start of 1933, he attempted to make the Kampffront "Schwarz-Weiß-Rot" (Black-White-Red Combat Front), into a political vehicle for this effort but failed.

In April 1933 Seldte joined the Nazi Party and integrated the Stahlhelm into the SA. In August 1933, he became an SA-Obergruppenführer and later was a Reichskommissar for the Freiwilligen Arbeitsdienst, a position he held until 1945. In March 1934 he was made leader of the German League of Front Fighters, an organization, however, that was soon disbanded. In 1935 he requested to be released from official responsibilities, but Hitler refused. Seldte remained, without substantial power, until 1945, when he became a member of the government as the Prussian labour minister.

Seldte was arrested at the end of the war and died in a US military hospital at Fürth, before being arraigned on charges.

During the time of Nazi Germany, streets were named after him in Magdeburg and Leverkusen.[1]

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