|First World War||Second World War||The Cold War|
After the war he joined the Rossbach Freikorps where he fought with Rudolf Höss. He joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and in 1923 was found guilty with Höss of murdering Walter Kadow, who had been accused of betraying saboteur Albert Leo Schlageter. However, he only spent a year in prison.
Bormann joined the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) in 1927. Without any obvious talents he rose steadily in the Nazi hierarchy. He became party treasurer after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 he appointed Bormann as national organizer of the party.
In 1942 Bormann became Hitler's secretary and was given the post of deputy fuehrer. Bormann controlled all the papers Hitler saw and in this way he had a growing influence on government policy. He also sometimes blocked Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler and Albert Speer from seeing Hitler. Rarely leaving headquarters his judgements were invariably wrong during the final stages of the war.
When it became clear that Germany would lose the Second World War Bormann attempted to break through the lines of the Red Army. After the war several witnesses claimed they saw him killed by a Russian tank. Others said he took cyanide while standing on a bridge in Berlin. However rumours circulated that Bormann had managed to escape to South America. A skeleton found in Berlin on 8th December 1972 has officially been identified as Bormann.
(1) In his autobiography Albert Speer explained how Martin Bormann became such an important figure during the Second World War.
The powerful men under Hitler were already jealously watching one another like so many pretenders to the throne. Quite early there were struggles for position among Goebbels, Goering, Rosenberg, Ley, Himmler, Ribbentrop, and Hess. Only Roehm had been left by the wayside, and before long Hess was to lose all his influence. But none of them recognized a threat in the shape of trusty Bormann. He had succeeded in representing himself as insignificant while imperceptibly building up his bastions. Even among so many ruthless men, he stood out by his brutality and coarseness. He had no culture, which might have put some restraints on him, and in every case he carried out whatever Hitler had ordered or what he himself had gathered from Hitler's hints. A subordinate by nature, he treated his own subordinates as if he were dealing with cows and oxen.
(2) Martin Bormann wrote to his wife about his plans for the Slavs in German occupied Europe.
The Slavs are to work for us. Insofar as we do not need them, they may die. Therefore, compulsory vaccination and German health service are superfluous. The fertility of the Slavs is undesirable. They may use contraceptives or practice abortion, the more the better. Education is dangerous. It is enough if they can count up to one hundred. At best an education which produces useful coolies for us is admissible. Every educated person is a future enemy.
(3) Joseph Goebbels, diary (27th March, 1945)
Bormann is not doing very well at the moment. His ideas, particularly on the question of radicalization of the war, are not what I would have expected of him. As I have already said, these people are semi-bourgeois. Their thinking may be revolutionary but they do not act that way. Now, however, the revolutionaries must be brought to the top.
(4) Joseph Goebbels, diary (3rd April, 1945)
Once more a mass of new decrees and instructions issue from Bormann. Bormann has turned the Party Chancellery into a paper factory. Every day he sends out a mountain of letters and files which the Gauleiters, now involved in battle, no longer even have time to read. In some cases too it is totally useless stuff of no practical value in our struggle. Even in the Party we have no clear leadership in contact with the people.