| In the Presence of Mine Enemies |
POD: c. 1940
Rolf Stolle was the Gauleiter of Berlin. He was critical of Führer Heinz Buckliger for not more aggressively reforming the Greater German Reich. He was a fiery speaker, with a reputation for crude behavior and womanizing (indeed Heinrich Gimpel likened him to Göring), a reputation he reveled in. He also did much to cultivate his status as a man of the people. For example, where the Führer used the military as his bodyguards, Stolle preferred Berlin police officers.
Stolle forced himself into the broader public eye early in in 2011. He gave a speech, which most presumed would be a conventional pro-Nazi, pro-Reich affair. Instead, he surprised everyone by announcing that Buckliger, while on the right track, was too much of a "gentleman" to force the immediate reforms. He, like the British Union of Fascists, heraled back to the First Edition of Mein Kampf, and demanded a return to democracy for the party. In making these demands, Stolle simultaneously criticized Buckliger and the conservatives in the Party. While critical of Buckliger, his words for Reichsführer-SS Lothar Prützmann, a staunch opponent of reform, were pure venom.
During one speech, Stolle was able to turn his audience against an SS marching band, which was attempting to drown Stolle out. The crowd chanted "SS go home" until the band retreated. The fact that the SS did not crack down on the crowd underscored how much had changed under Buckliger's term.
When Prützmann attempted a putsch against Buckliger, he also ordered the SS to arrest Stolle at the Gauleiter's residence. Many Berliners, outraged by the attempted putsch, took to the streets and headed to Stolle's house (among them Heinrich Gimpel, Willi Dorsch, and Susanna Weiss), and hampered the SS's attempts. Stolle flamboyantly refused to surrender, publically rallying the Volk. Stolle took great pleasure in taunting the SS men, especially when the rumor that Prützmann was Jewish began circulating. Ultimately, the Wehrmacht sided with Stolle and Buckliger putting an end to the Putsch. Prützmann shot himself when Stolle led the crowd to Prützmann's residence.
From here on, Stolle had greater prestige and standing than Buckliger: Stolle had stayed in Berlin and let no one arrest him. Their interactions demonstrated Stolle's superior position and public opinion. It came as no surprise when Stolle not only won a seat in the Reichstag (beating his opponent, Engelbert Hackmann by a 6-1 margin), but was made speaker.