Martin Bormann was born in Wegeleben, Prussia in 1900 to a Lutheran family. He dropped out of school early on in life, and worked on a farm in Mecklenburg. He fought in the last few days World War I. He returned to Mecklenburg and joined up with the Freikorps, a paramilitary organization, and was involved in activities mostly involving assassinations and terrorizing trade unionists. He was sentenced to a year in prison in 1924 for being complicit in the murder of a supposed traitor to the Freikorps. In 1929 he married his wife, Gerda Buch, who died in 1946. Together they had ten children, nine of whom survived to adulthood. Of these nine all of his children survived the war.
Bormann joined the Nazi
party in 1925 after being released from prison. He was made regional press officer in Thuringia in 1928. He rose quickly through the ranks after this. By 1933 he became a Reich leader, and a month later was made a member of the Reichstag. He managed Adolf Hitler's
finances, controlling royalty payments from Mein Kampf
and coordinating thinly veiled extortion schemes. He served as Rudolf Hess
' private secretary from 1933 until 1941, when Hess' nervous breakdown and flight to Scotland
left Bormann in position to become head of the Party Chancellery. Bormann proved to be an expert political player, manipulating and ultimately making enemies of a number of high-ranking Nazi officials, including Heinrich Himmler
, Hermann Goring
and Joseph Goebbels
. However, Hitler trusted Bormann immensely, and Bormann was able to control the access of the other party members to Hitler.
He maintained and organized all of Hitler's paperwork and finances, and later, when the war was going badly, created offshore business interests and accounts. In 1943 he attempted to use his pull with Hitler to establish the Committee of Three, a junta in which Bormann would wield a great deal of power, however the other proposed members of the Committee lost power and the proposal fell apart. Bormann used the defeat at Stalingrad to discredit his political opponents. When Goring attempted to help maintain Nazi power power in the later years of the war, Bormann spun the request in such a way that Hitler took it as a coup, destabilizing Goring's influence with Hitler.
He was with Hitler in the Fuhrerbunker at the end of the war, but by the time it was overrun by the invading Soviet forces he had vanished. He was alleged to have been killed shortly after escaping Berlin
by a Soviet
patrol, however this went unconfirmed for several decades and he was tried in absentia
at Nuremburg and found guilty. He was sentenced to death. On December 7th, 1972 human remains were unearthed that were determined, through preliminary examination, to be Bormann's. In 1998 conclusive genetic testing was performed that proved that the remains were Bormann's.