Alfred Ernst Rosenberg


1893, January 12 (Reval, Russian Empire)




Architect, philosopher, politician




Born in Reval, then in the Russian Empire, now part of Finland, to a family of Baltic Germans. Rosenberg supported the White Russians after the Russian Revolution, and then fled to Germany joining the NSDAP as one of its earliest members, in 1919. He acted as Fuehrer of the party during Hitler's prison term (1923-1924) after the Burgerbrau-Pusch. Hitler hand-picked him for this role as he regarded him as weak and lazy, lacking in ambition or a personal following.

The official philosopher of the NSDAP, he was made Reichsleiter in 1933, as well as holding the Foreign Office and Ideological Education portfollios. In 1941 he was given control of a newly created Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (now the Colonial Ministry). Generally well-disposed toward the anti-Soviet and anti-Great Russian nationalist movements in the occupied countries, Rosenberg was marginalised by more dogmatic forces, especially within the SS, until 1944.

Although not involved in the suppression of the Himmler-Putsch in 1944, Rosenberg was one of its chief beneficiaries. After the brief premiership of Hermann Goering, Rosenberg was appointed Reichskanzler. He owed his position to the fiat of the armed forces. Again, Rosenberg was regarded as a safe pair of hands: lacking a personal following or a high public profile, while his attitude towards the population of the occupied territories was regarded as politically realistic and free from the more extreme dogmas of many senior Nazis.

It was under Rosenberg's premiership that Germany issued the Prague Declaration, signalling a major shift in policy toward the peoples of Eastern Europe. Collaboration was now encouraged at the highest levels.

Many figures close to Rosenberg were included in the new administration of Eastern territories, such as the academics Alexander Nikuradse and Michael Achmeteli in Georgia, Wilhelm Franz von Habsburg-Lothringen (also known as Vasyl Vyshyvanyi) and Andriy Melnyk in Ukraine.

Rosenberg's decision to step down from the Chancellorship in 1962 prompted a brief power struggle amongst the upper echelons of the party-state apparatus, with the two major rival factions led by Arthur Seyss-Inquart and Baldur von Schirach. Baldur von Schirach emerged from this struggle as the new Reichskanzler.