Nazi Germany's Support for Franco: Ambassador Faupel
Repository: Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe, Warsaw, Poland
Fond or Collection
Collection Koncern Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny
Archiwum Ilustracji 3/1/0/17/10405
Repository and Location
Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe, Warsaw, Poland
Date Created: 1937
Extent: 1 item
Geographic Region: Salamanca, Spain
Lieutenant General Wilhem Faupel (Lindenbusch, 1873 - Berlin, 1945), was Chargé d'Affaires of Nazi Germany in "National" Spain starting in November 1936 and then, between March and August 1937, ambassador. A veteran of the Great War and head of a Freikorps unit in Silesia in the postwar period, in the 1920s and early 1930s he joined the Reichswehr and held high positions in the Argentine and Peruvian armies. He had very good relations with Fritz Thyssen, owner of I.G. Farben, and other businessmen who had collaborated in the rise of the Nazi regime. Known in the army as “General IG” and as excessively "political”, his appointment as chargé d'affaires in Salamanca was not welcomed by either the Reich Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Wehrmacht leadership.
In Spain, Faupel strove not only to achieve political and economic hegemony for his country, but also for the fascist party, Falange Española de las JONS, to play a leading role in Francoist Spain. In doing so, he went against Hitler's instructions to focus on preventing a Republican victory from leading to the establishment of a solid alliance with France, and to avoid meddling in domestic Spanish politics. During Faupel’s time in Spain, Germany became the main economic partner of Francoist Spain, surpassing Great Britain, the United States and France. The Third Reich acquired privileged access to minerals and other raw materials, acquiring rights to more than one hundred mines. It also signed economic, political and police agreements with Franco's government.
However, his treatment of Franco and the "National" army as if they were a South American general and army, as well as his clashes with the head of the Condor Legion, General Sperrle, aroused animosity. He also chose to get involved in the internal politics of the new dictatorship. After Franco had merged the Falange and the Carlist Traditionalist Communion into a single official party, the Falange Española Traditionalista and de las JONS) on April 19, 1937, Faupel supported the dissident former Falangist leader Manuel Hedilla, who Franco had fired, imprisoned and sentenced to death. This led to his being dismissed from his post as ambassador in August 1937. Faupel did not understand that, deep down, Hitler did not mind yielding political and military priority to Italy, and that economics was what really mattered. His successor, the diplomat Eberhard von Stohrer, learned the lesson and would not meddle in the Francoist authoritarian coalition as Faupel had, although he would also work with FET and de las JONS.
After his dismissal, Faupel returned to the Ibero-American Institute / Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut in Berlin, whose leadership he had held since 1934, and the German-Spanish / Deutsch-Spanische Gesellschaft Society which he had led since February 1936. He committed suicide together with his wife in Berlin before the arrival of Soviet troops in the German capital in the last days of World War II in Europe.