In the current issue of Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Daniel Schmidt charts the life of Hans Ramshorn (1892-1934), from Prussian officer to SA leader:
‘How does the conventional life and career of a Prussian officer veer off course and onto the winding path of a Völkisch (ethnic nationalist) paramilitary? This article will address the above question using the biography of Hans Ramshorn (1892–1934) as an example.
Characteristic of this soldier´s life was, on the one hand, his absolute hostility towards those he held responsible for Germany′s defeat in the First World War, combined with a radical inclination towards violence, and on the other hand the quest to shape his life as the leader of a militant fraternity of like-minded men. Ramshorn fought in the First World War and on the civil war fronts of the post-war period before playing a substantial role in the suppression of the 1921 uprising in central Germany as a police officer in the service of the Weimar Republic. He later joined the Black Reichswehr, became active in the Völkisch movement and ultimately found his way to the SA in 1931. His excellent connections and qualities as a paramilitary organiser led to his rise to the position of leader of the Upper Silesian SA and finally, in spring 1933, to his appointment as chief of police in Gleiwitz. However, this proponent of an uncompromising course of violence did not succeed in expanding his position of power, and neither did the other Silesian SA leaders. Ramshorn was executed on the night of 1 July 1934 when the conflict between the Reichswehr, the SS and the SA escalated. As with many other soldierly renegades who had organised the rise of National Socialism, Ramshorn ultimately failed due to the political ambivalence of his paramilitary leanings which on the one hand sought subordination, but on the other hand remained “anarchic” (Ernst Jünger).’