Schlaffer, Fritz

(1888-1967)
   politician; chairman of the BVP during 1929-1933. He was born to a Munich postal official; his university studies led to a doctorate in law. After serving in World War I, he entered Bavaria's* Interior Ministry. A conservative Catholic* and monarchist, he abhorred the postwar chaos and resolved to "battle against the Revolution and against law-lessness and disorder." He joined the BVP in 1919 and sat in the Bavarian Landtag during 1920-1933. Preoccupied with Berlin's* relationship to the German states, he championed federalism. Notwithstanding his Catholicism, his efforts during the 1925 presidential campaign were critical in steering support from Wilhelm Marx,* the Center Party* candidate, to the Protestant* Paul von Hindenburg.* After leading the BVP's Munich chapter for five years, he suc-ceeded Heinrich Held* as Party chairman in 1929.
   On the national front, Schaffer formed cordial relations with Ludwig Kaas,* his counterpart in the Center Party. Yet when the Center's Heinrich Brüning* became Chancellor, his support was equivocal. Surmising that Briining's eco-nomics infringed upon federalism, he periodically ordered the BVP's Reichstag* faction to oppose the Chancellor's measures (e.g., an increased beer tax). In September 1931 he joined Held's caretaker government in Bavaria as Staatsrat in the Finance Ministry. The deteriorating situation led him to help establish the BVP's first paramilitary organization, the Bayernwacht (Bavarian Guard); with about thirty thousand members, Bayernwacht was soon engaged in skirmishes with the SA.*
   Although Schaffer was an early defender of Franz von Papen,* the Chancel-lor's "Prussian coup" (July 1932) turned him against Papen. After the July 1932 elections he endorsed efforts to form a Center-NSDAP cabinet; his distrust of Papen led him temporarily to underrate the danger embodied in Hitler.* Only after approval of Hitler's Enabling Act* (the BVP gave it unreserved support) did Schaffer try to avert catastrophe by restoring the Wittelsbach dynasty. But since Bavaria's Reichswehr* took orders from Berlin, Schaffer's effort failed. He was briefly incarcerated in June 1933. He spent most of the Third Reich in private employment and passed the final months of World War II at Dachau.
   After the war he helped found the Christian Social Union and then served as West Germany's first Finance Minister (1949-1957).
   REFERENCES:Altendorfer, Fritz Schaffer; Ellen Evans, German Center Party; Schön-hoven, Bayerische Volkspartei.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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