Franz von Epp
|Born||16 Oct 1868|
|Died||31 Dec 1946|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseFranz Epp was born in Munich, Germany to painter Rudolph Epp and Katharina Streibel. He attended school in Augsburg, Germany and then attended the military academy in Munich. Between 1900 and 1901, he voluntarily joined the military and served in China during the Boxer Rebellion. After China, he was transferred to German Southwest Africa (now Namibia); as a company commander, he fought against the rebellion led by Samuel Maharero and participated in the subsequent Herero and Namaqua Genocide. During WW1, he commanded a Bavarian regiment in France, Serbia, Romania, and along the Isonzo River; for his WW1 service, he received the Bavarian Militär-Max Joseph-Orden on 23 Jun 1916, was knighted on 25 Feb 1918 (thus making him Franz Ritter von Epp), and received the Pour le Mérite on 29 May 1918.
ww2dbaseEpp formed the para-military Freikorp Epp group, whose membership included Ernst Röhm. This group took part in crushing the Bavarian Soviet Republic in Munich. He joined the German Army at about late 1921, and by 1922 he held the rank of major general. He took a leave from the Army in 1923 after getting involved with right-wing associations. In the mid-1920s, he purchased the newspaper publisher Völkische Beobachter for about 60,000 Reichsmarks and began printing newspapers for the Nazi Party. He was briefly made, by Röhm, the head of an office called "Army political office", but the position was short-lived as Röhm's faction lost influence after the Night of the Long Knives. In 1928, he officially joined the Nazi Party and became a member of the Reichstag, the German parliament, and the head of the Nazi Party's Military-Political Office. On 9 Mar 1933, he disbanded Bavaria's local government and established a new one manned with Nazi Party members. He was named the Reichskommissar, later Reichsstatthalter, of Bavaria. He held all three of these positions until early 1945. In these positions, he clashed politically with prime minister of Bavaria Ludwig Siebert, another Nazi Party member, who enjoyed greater support from Berlin. This made Epp's influence limited despite the high position. He never questioned orders coming from Berlin, even those associated with the Holocaust. In 1945, on the order of Premier of Bavaria Paul Giesler, Epp was arrested for his dealings with Freiheitsaktion Bayern, a group opposed to the Nazi Party, even though Epp was a known opponent of Freiheitsaktion Bayern's wish to surrender to the Allies. After the war, he was arrested. He died in a prisoner of war camp in Munich in Dec 1946.
Last Major Revision: Nov 2008
Franz von Epp Timeline
|16 Oct 1868||Franz von Epp was born.|
|31 Dec 1946||Franz von Epp passed away.|
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