Adolf Wagner (1 October 1890 in Algrange, Alsace-Lorraine – 12 April 1944 in Bad Reichenhall) was a German soldier and high-ranking Nazi Party official born in Algrange, Alsace-Lorraine.
He studied science and mathematics at Strasbourg University, then mining at RWTH Aachen University. He served in World War I as an officer in the German Army. He lost his right leg below the knee during the war.
He joined the Nazi Party in 1923 and became an Ortsgruppe (District) leader in the town of Erbendorf in Bavaria. He participated in the abortive Beer Hall Putsch of 9 November 1923. He was elected to the Bavarian Landtag and formed a Nazi Party faction in early 1925. On 1 October 1928 he became Gauleiter of the Upper Palatinate (Oberpfalz). On 1 November 1929 he was switched to Gauleiter of Greater Munich, the seat of the Nazi movement. Finally, on 16 November 1930 his Gau absorbed the neighboring Gau of Upper Bavaria (Oberbayern) and he became Gauleiter of Gau München-Oberbayern. He was elected a deputy to the Reichstag in November 1933.
Shortly after the Nazi seizure of power in Germany, Wagner was appointed acting Minister of the Interior in Bavaria on 9 March 1933. In this post, he controlled all the security apparatus of the state. On 12 April he was made permanent in this position and also became Deputy Minister President of Bavaria. He thus wielded enormous power in both the party and the government, despite nominally reporting to Reichsstatthalter Franz Ritter von Epp. On 28 November 1936, he was also made Bavarian Minister for Education and Culture. A member of the SA, he was promoted to the rank of SA-Obergruppenführer on 9 November 1937. As Gauleiter of Munich, Wagner served as the master of ceremonies for the annual commemorations of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch every 9 November. At the outbreak of war on 1 September 1939, Wagner was named Reich Defense Commissioner for Wehrkreise (Military Districts) VII and XIII. He was the only Commissioner named to head two districts. His jurisdiction included his Gau and four other Bavarian Gaue (Bayreuth, Franconia, Mainfranken and Swabia) as well as the northwestern section of Reichsgau Sudetenland.
As Bavarian Education Minister, in April 1941 he ordered that school prayer should be replaced by Nazi songs and that crucifixes and religious pictures be removed from Bavarian classrooms, which outraged the Roman Catholic Church and the general public. The opposition to this move was so strong that Wagner was forced to rescind the order, one of the rare circumstances of successful public opposition in Nazi Germany. Despite this setback, Hitler apparently remained on good terms with Wagner, one of the Alter Kämpfer.
Wagner suffered a stroke in June 1942 that effectively incapacitated him, and resulted in Paul Giesler taking over as Acting Gauleiter in Munich. Wagner nominally remained in his posts until his death on 12 April 1944, at which time Giesler was named his permanent successor. The increasingly reclusive Führer Adolf Hitler made a rare public appearance to attend his lavish funeral, and posthumously awarded him the German Order, the Nazi Party's highest decoration.
Rare 8 mm colour film of Wagner appears in home movies (c. 1938) filmed by Hitler's companion, Eva Braun. He can be seen talking with Hitler on the terrace of Hitler's Bavarian residence the Berghof, near Berchtesgaden.
- Winfried Müller: Gauleiter als Minister. Die Gauleiter Hans Schemm, Adolf Wagner, Paul Giesler und das Bayerische Staatsministerium für Unterricht und Kultus 1933-1945, In: Zeitschrift für Bayerische Landesgeschichte 60, 1997, (973-1021).
- ^ Pope, Ernest R (January 13, 2014). Munich Playground: (Expanded, Annotated) (Kindle ed.). Big Byte Books. p. 58.
- ^ a b Karl Höffkes: Hitlers Politische Generale. Die Gauleiter des Dritten Reiches: ein biographisches Nachschlagewerk. Grabert-Verlag, Tübingen, 1986, pp. 364–365, ISBN 3-87847-163-7.
- ^ Winfried Müller: Gauleiter als Minister. Die Gauleiter Hans Schemm, Adolf Wagner, Paul Giesler und das Bayerische Staatsministerium für Unterricht und Kultus 1933-1945, 1997.
- ^ Richard J. Evans (19 March 2009). The Third Reich at War: 1939-1945. Penguin. p. 483. ISBN 978-1-101-02230-6. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- ^ "Eva Braun Home Movies, part 1 Hitler, Nazis in color (Wagner appears at 4:20)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2013.