NONE DARE SAY NO
What happens when to say “no” to Adolf Hitler?
If you are Field Marshall Werner von Blomberg and Army Commander-in-Chief General Werner von Fritsch, you find yourselves drummed out of the military amid personal scandal and sexual allegations. Both saw their military careers end in January 1938. Their fall from grace was orchestrated by Adolf Hitler underlings. Blomberg was threatened with public disclosure that his new wife had worked as a prostitute and had posed for pornographic pictures with a Jew. Blomberg resigned instead, though the allegations proved to be untrue. Fritsch resigned a few days later after being accused of being a homosexual even though his sexual preferences were well known two years earlier.
So, why did these two high ranking military officers fall from grace in January, 1938?
In November, 1937, Blomberg and Fritsch were among a select few to hear Adolf Hitler outline his plans for securing living space, Lebensraum, for the German people. The details of the meeting were recorded by Colonel Friedrich Hossbach in what is now called the Hossbach Memorandum. Hitler told his military commanders that he did not want war with France and Great Britain, but Germany had to begin acquiring more land to insure the nation had the resources necessary to close the arms gap with both countries. He said Germany must seize Austria and Czechoslovakia and prepare for an eventual confrontation with the Soviet Union.
Both Blomberg and Fritsch voiced concerns, saying the plans were too risky and that Germany was not ready to face France and Great Britain on the battlefield. Hitler was clearly unhappy with their reaction. They would have to go. But Hitler realized he could not just sack two of his highest ranking officers without an explanation. The problem was the conference was top secret and couldn’t be used to justify the firings. “Fortunately” the problem took care of itself when both officers resigned just two moths later.
Hitler used the shake-up at the top of the military hierarchy to replace other officers with men more loyal to him and, in essence, took personal control of the Wehrmacht. There would be none daring to say “no” after the Blomberg-Fritsch affair.
 Robert Gerwarth, Hitler’s Hangman: The Life of Heydrich, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011). 116.
 Benjamin Sax and Dieter Kuntz, Inside Hitler’s Germany: A Documentary History of Life in the Third Reich. (Lexington, MA.: D.C. Heath and Company, 1992) 340-349.