Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Day of the Aryan Awakening



We have the power. Now our gigantic work begins.“

Those were Hitler’s words on the night of January 30, 1933, as cheering crowds surged past him, for five long hours, beneath the windows of the Chancellery in Berlin.

His political struggle had lasted 14 years. He himself was 43, that is, physically and intellectually at the peak of his powers. He had won over millions of Germans and organized them into Germany’s largest and most dynamic political party, a party girded by a human rampart of hundreds of thousands of storm troopers, three fourths of them members of the working class. He had been extremely shrewd. All but toying with his adversaries, Hitler had, one after another, vanquished them all.

Standing there at the window, his arm raised to the delirious throng, he must have known a feeling of triumph. But he seemed almost torpid, absorbed, as if lost in another world.

It was a world far removed from the delirium in the street, a world of 65 million citizens who loved him or hated him, but all of whom, from that night on, had become his responsibility. And as he knew - as almost all Germans knew at the of January 1933 - that this was a crushing, an almost desperate responsibility.

Seventy years later, few people understand the crisis Germany faced at that time. Today, it’s easy to assume that Germans have always been well-fed and even plump. But the Germans Hitler inherited were virtual skeletons.

During the preceding years, a score of „democratic“ governments had come and gone, often in utter confusion. Instead of alleviating the people’s misery, they had increased it, due to their own instability: it was impossible for them to pursue any given plan for more than a year or two. Germany had arrived at a dead end. In just a few years there had been 224,000 suicides - a horrifying figure, bespeaking a state of misery even more horrifying.

By the beginning of 1933, the misery of the German people was virtually universal. At least six million unemployed and hungry workers roamed aimlessly through the streets, receiving a pitiful unemployment benefit of less than 42 marks per month. Many of those out of work had families to feed, so that altogether some 20 million Germans, a third of the country’s population, were reduced to trying to survive on about 40 pfennigs per person per day.

Unemployment benefits, moreover, were limited to a period of six months. After that came only the meager misery allowance dispensed by the welfare offices.

Notwithstanding the gross inadequacy of this assistance, by trying to save the six million unemployed from total destruction, even for just six months, both the state and local branches of the German government saw themselves brought to ruin: in 1932 alone such aid had swallowed up four billion marks, 57 percent of the total tax revenues of the federal government and the regional states. A good many German municipalities were bankrupt.

Those still lucky enough to have some kind of job were not much better off. Workers and employees had taken a cut of 25 percent in their wages and salaries. Twenty-one percent of them were earning between 100 and 250 marks per month; 69.2 percent of them, in January of 1933, were being paid less than 1,200 marks annually. No more than about 100,000 Germans, it was estimated, were able to live without financial worries.

During the three years before Hitler came to power, total earnings had fallen by more than half, from 23 billion marks to 11 billion. The average per capita income had dropped from 1,187 marks in 1929 to 627 marks, a scarcely tolerable level, in 1932. By January 1933, when Hitler took office, 90 percent of the German people were destitute.

No one escaped the strangling effects of the unemployment. The intellectuals were hit as hard as the working class. Of the 135,000 university graduates, 60 percent were without jobs. Only a tiny minority was receiving unemployment benefits.

„The others,“ wrote one foreign observer, Marcel Laloire (in his book New Germany), „are dependent on their parents or are sleeping in flophouses. In the daytime they can be seen on the boulevards of Berlin wearing signs on their backs to the effect that they will accept any kind of work.“

But there was no longer any kind of work.

The same drastic fall-off had hit Germany’s cottage industry, which comprised some four million workers. Its turnover had declined 55 percent, with total sales plunging from 22 billion to 10 billion marks.

Hardest hit of all were construction workers; 90 percent of them were unemployed.

Farmers, too, had been ruined, crushed by losses amounting to 12 billion marks. Many had been forced to mortgage their homes and their land. In 1932 just the interest on the loans they had incurred due to the crash was equivalent to 20 percent of the value of the agricultural production of the entire country. Those who were no longer able to meet the interest payments saw their farms auctioned off in legal proceedings: in the years 1931-1932, 17,157 farms - with a combined total area of 462,485 hectares - were liquidated in this way.

The „democracy“ of Germany’s „Weimar Republic“ (1918 - 1933) had proven utterly ineffective in addressing such flagrant wrongs as this impoverishment of millions of farm workers, even though they were the nation’s most stable and hardest working citizens. Plundered, dispossessed, abandoned: small wonder they heeded Hitler’s call.

Their situation on January 30, 1933, was tragic. Like the rest of Germany’s working class, they had been betrayed by their political leaders, reduced to the alternatives of miserable wages, paltry and uncertain benefit payments, or the outright humiliation of begging.

Germany’s industries, once renowned everywhere in the world, were no longer prosperous, despite the millions of marks in gratuities that the financial magnates felt obliged to pour into the coffers of the parties in power before each election in order to secure their cooperation. For 14 years the well-blinkered conservatives and Christian democrats of the political center had been feeding at the trough just as greedily as their adversaries of the left.

Nor did the bribing of the political parties make them any more capable of coping with the exactions ordered by the Treaty of Versailles. France, in 1923, had effectively seized Germany by the throat with her occupation of the Ruhr industrial region, and in six months had brought the Weimar government to pitiable capitulation. But then, disunited, despising one another, how could these political birds of passage have offered resistance? In just a few months in 1923, seven German governments came and went in swift succession. They had no choice but to submit to the humiliation of Allied control, as well as to the separatist intrigues fomented by Poincaré’s paid agents.

The substantial tariffs imposed on the sale of German goods abroad had sharply curtailed the nation’s ability to export her products. Under obligation to pay gigantic sums to their conquerors, the Germans had paid out billions upon billions. Then, bled dry, they were forced to seek recourse to enormous loans from abroad, from the United States in particular.

This indebtedness had completed their destruction and, in 1929, precipitated Germany into a terrifying financial crisis.

The big industrialists, for all their fat bribes to the politicians, now found themselves impotent: their factories empty, their workers now living as virtual vagrants, haggard of face, in the dismal nearby working-class districts.

Thousands of German factories lay silent, their smokestacks like a forest of dead trees. Many had gone under. Those which survived were operating on a limited basis. Germany’s gross industrial production had fallen by half: from seven billion marks in 1920 to three and a half billion in 1932.

The automobile industry provides a perfect example. Germany’s production in 1932 was proportionately only one twelfth that of the United States, and only one fourth that of France: 682,376 cars in Germany (one for each 100 inhabitants) as against 1,855,174 cars in France, even though the latter’s population was 20 million less than Germany’s.

Germany had experienced a similar collapse in exports. Her trade surplus had fallen from 2.872 billion marks in 1931 to only 667 millions in 1932 - nearly a 75 percent drop.

Overwhelmed by the cessation of payments and the number of current accounts in the red, even Germany’s central bank was disintegrating. Harried by demands for repayment of the foreign loans, on the day of Hitler’s accession to power the Reichsbank had in all only 83 million marks in foreign currency, 64 million of which had already been committed for disbursement on the following day.

The astronomical foreign debt, an amount exceeding that of the country’s total exports for three years, was like a lead weight on the back of every German. And there was no possibility of turning to Germany’s domestic financial resources for a solution: banking activities had come virtually to a standstill. That left only taxes.

Unfortunately, tax revenues had also fallen sharply. From nine billion marks in 1930, total revenue from taxes had fallen to 7.8 billion in 1931, and then to 6.65 billion in 1932 (with unemployment payments alone taking four billion of that amount).

The financial debt burden of regional and local authorities, amounting to billions, had likewise accumulated at a fearful pace. Beset as they were by millions of citizens in need, the municipalities alone owed 6.542 billion in 1928, an amount that had increased to 11.295 billion by 1932. Of this total, 1.668 billion was owed in short-term loans.

Any hope of paying off these deficits with new taxes was no longer even imaginable. Taxes had already been increased 45 percent from 1925 to 1931. During the years 1931-1932, under Chancellor Brüning, a Germany of unemployed workers and industrialists with half-dead factories had been hit with 23 „emergency“ decrees. This multiple overtaxing, moreover, had proven to be completely useless, as the „International Bank of Payments“ had clearly foreseen. The agency confirmed in a statement that the tax burden in Germany was already so enormous that it could not be further increased.

And so, in one pan of the financial scales: 19 billion in foreign debt plus the same amount in domestic debt. In the other, the Reichsbank’s 83 million marks in foreign currency. It was as if the average German, owing his banker a debt of 6,000 marks, had less than 14 marks in his pocket to pay it.

One inevitable consequence of this ever-increasing misery and uncertainty about the future was an abrupt decline in the birthrate. When your household savings are wiped out, and when you fear even greater calamities in the days ahead, you do not risk adding to the number of your dependents.

In those days the birth rate was a reliable barometer of a country’s prosperity. A child is a joy, unless you have nothing but a crust of bread to put in its little hand. And that’s just the way it was with hundreds of thousands of German families in 1932.

In 1905, during the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the birthrate had been 33.4 per one thousand. In 1921 it was only 25.9, and in 1924 it was down to 15.1. By the of 1932, it had fallen to just 14.7 per one thousand.

It reached that figure, moreover, thanks only to the higher birth rate in rural areas. In the fifty largest cities of the Reich, there were more deaths than births. In 45 percent of working-class families, there were no births at all in the latter years. The fall in the birthrate was most pronounced in Berlin, which had less than one child per family and only 9.1 births per one thousand. Deaths exceeded the number of new births by 60 percent.

In contrast to the birthrate, politicians were flourishing as never before - about the only thing in Germany that was in those disastrous times. From 1919 to 1932, Germany had seen no less than 23 governments come and go, averaging a new one about every seven months. As any sensible person realizes, such constant upheaval in a country’s political leadership negates its power and authority. No one would imagine that any effective work could be carried out in a typical industrial enterprise if the board of directors, the management, management methods, and key personnel were all replaced every eight months. Failure would be certain.

Yet the Reich wasn’t a factory of 100 or 200 workers, but a nation of 65 million citizens crushed under the imposed burdens of the Treaty of Versailles, by industrial stagnation, by frightful unemployment, and by a gut-wrenching misery shared by the entire people.

The many cabinet ministers who followed each other in swift succession for thirteen years - due to petty parliamentary squabbles, partisan demands, and personal ambitions - were unable to achieve anything other than the certain collapse of their chaotic regime of rival parties.

Germany’s situation was further aggravated by the unrestrained competition of the 25 regional states, which split up governmental authority into units often in direct opposition to Berlin, thereby incessantly sabotaging what limited power the central Reich government had at that time.

Even at the beginning of the First World War (1914-1918), the German Reich included four distinct kingdoms (Prussia, Bavaria, Wurttemberg and Saxony), each with its own sovereign, army, flag, titles of nobility, and Great Cross in particolored enamel. In addition, there were six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, and three free cities.

Each regional state had its own separate government with parliament, prime minister and cabinet. Altogether they presented a lineup of 59 ministers who, added to the eleven Reich ministers and the 42 senators of the Free Cities, gave the Germans a collection of 112 ministers, each of whom viewed the other with a jaundiced eye at best.

In addition, there were between two and three thousand deputies - representing dozens of rival political parties - in the legislatures of the Reich, the 22 states and the three Free Cities.

In the Reichstag elections of November 1932 - held just months before Hitler become Chancellor - there were no less than 37 different political parties competing, with a total of 7,000 candidates (14 of them by proxy), all of them frantically seeking a piece of the parliamentary pie. It was most strange: the more discredited the party system became, the more democratic champions there were to be seen gesturing and jostling in their eagerness to climb aboard the gravy train.

Honest, dishonest, or piratical, these 112 cabinet ministers and thousands of legislative deputies had converted Germany into a country that was ungovernable. It is incontestable that, by January of 1933, the „system“ politicians had become completely discredited. Their successors would inherit a country in economic, social and political ruins.

Today, more than half a century later, in an era when so many are living in abundance, it is hard to believe that the Germany of January 1933 had fallen so low. But for anyone who studies the archives and the relevant documents of that time, there can be no doubt. Not a single figure cited here is invented. By January 1933, Germany was down and bleeding to death.

All the previous chancellors who had undertaken to get Germany back on her feet - including Brüning, Papen and Shleiher - had failed. Only a genius or, as some believed, a madman, could revive a nation that had fallen into such a state of complete disarray.

When President Franklin Roosevelt was called upon at that same time to resolve a similar crisis in the United States, he had at his disposal immense reserves of gold. Hitler, standing silently at the chancellery window on that evening of January 30, 1933, knew that, on the contrary, his nation’s treasury was empty. No great benefactor would appear to help him out. The elderly Reich President, Paul von Hindenburg, had given him a work sheet of appalling figures of indebtedness.

Hitler knew that he would be starting from zero. From less than zero. But he was also confident of his strength of will to create Germany anew - politically, socially, financially, and economically. Now legally and officially in power, he was sure that he could quickly convert that cipher into a Germany more powerful than ever before.

„It will be the pride of my life,“ Hitler said upon becoming Chancellor, „if I can say at the end of my days that I won back the German worker and restored him to his rightful place in the Reich.“ He meant that he intended not merely to put men back to work, but to make sure that the worker acquired not just rights, but prestige as well, within the national community.

The objective, then, was far greater than merely sing six million unemployed back to work. It was to achieve a total revolution.

„The people,“ Hitler declared, „were not put here on earth for the sake of the economy, and the economy doesn’t exist for the sake of capital. On the contrary, capital is meant to serve the economy, and the economy in turn to serve the people.“

The Social Revolution

It took several years for a stable social structure to emerge from the French Revolution. The Soviets needed even more time: five years after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, hundreds of thousands of Russians were still dying of hunger and disease. In Germany, by contrast, the great machinery was in motion within months, with organization and accomplishment quickly meshing together.

The single task of constructing a national highway system that was without parallel in the world might have occupied a government for years. First, the problem had to be studied and assessed. Then, with due consideration for the needs of the population and the economy, the highway system had to be carefully planned it all its particulars.

As usual, Hitler had been remarkably farsighted. The concrete highways would be 24 meters in width. They would be spanned by hundreds of bridges and overpasses. To make sure that the entire Autobahn network would be in harmony with the landscape, a great deal of natural rock would be utilized. The artistically planned roadways would come together and diverge as if they were large-scale works of art. The necessary service stations and motor inns would be thoughtfully integrated into the overall scheme, each facility built in harmony with the local landscape and architectural style.

The original plan called for 7,000 kilometers of roadway. This projection would later be increased to 10,000, and then, after Austria was reunited with Germany, to 11,000 kilometers.

The financial boldness equalled the technical vision. These expressways were toll free, which seemed foolhardy to conservative financiers. But the savings in time and labor, and the dramatic increase in traffic, brought increased tax revenues, notably from gasoline.

Germany was thus building for herself not only a vast highway network, but an avenue to economic prosperity.

These greatly expanded transport facilities encouraged the development of hundreds of new business enterprises along the new expressways. By eliminating congestion on secondary roads, the new highways stimulated travel by hundreds of thousands of tourists, and with it increased tourism commerce.

Even the wages paid out to the men who built the Reichsautobahn network brought considerable indirect benefits. First, they allowed a drastic cut in payments of unemployment benefits, or 25 percent of the total paid in wages. Second, the many workers employed in constructing the expressways - 100,000, and later 150,000 - spent much of the additional 75 percent, which in turn generated increased tax revenues.

Hitler’s plan to build thousands of low-cost homes also demanded a vast mobilization of manpower. He had envisioned housing that would be attractive, cozy, and affordable for millions of ordinary German working-class families. He had no intention of continuing to tolerate, as his predecessors had, cramped, ugly „rabbit warren“ housing for the German people. The great barracks-like housing projects on the outskirts of factory towns, packed with cramped families, disgusted him.

The greater part of the houses he would build were single story, detached dwellings, with small yards where children could romp, wives could grow vegetable and flower gardens, while the bread-winners could read their newspapers in peace after the day’s work. These single-family homes were built to conform to the architectural styles of the various German regions, retaining as much as possible the charming local variants.

Wherever there was no practical alternative to building large apartment complexes, Hitler saw to it that the individual apartments were spacious, airy and enhanced by surrounding lawns and gardens where the children could play safely.

The new housing was, of course, built in conformity with the highest standards of public health, a consideration notoriously neglected in previous working-class projects.

Generous loans, amortizable in ten years, were granted to newly married couples so they could buy their own homes. At the birth of each child, a fourth of the debt was cancelled. Four children, at the normal rate of a new arrival every two and a half years, sufficed to cancel the entire loan debt.

Even before the year 1933 had ended, Hitler had succeeded in building 202,119 housing units. Within four years he would provide the German people with nearly a million and a half (1,458,128) new dwellings!

Moreover, workers would no longer be exploited as they had been. A month’s rent for a worker could not exceed 26 marks, or about an eighth of the average wage then. Employees with more substantial salaries paid monthly rents of up to 45 marks maximum.

Equally effective social measures were taken in behalf of farmers, who had the lowest incomes. In 1933 alone 17,611 new farm houses were built, each of them surrounded by a parcel of land one thousand square meters in size. Within three years, Hitler would build 91,000 such farmhouses. The rental for such dwellings could not legally exceed a modest share of the farmer’s income. This unprecedented owment of land and housing was only one feature of a revolution that soon dramatically improved the living standards of the Reich’s rural population.

The great work of national construction rolled along. An additional 100,000 workers quickly found employment in repairing the nation’s secondary roads. Many more were hired to work on canals, dams, drainage and irrigation projects, helping to make fertile some of nation’s most barren regions.

Everywhere industry was hiring again, with some firms - like Krupp, IG Farben and the large automobile manufacturers - taking on new workers on a very large scale. As the country became more prosperous, car sales increased by more than 80,000 units in 1933 alone. Employment in the auto industry doubled. Germany was gearing up for full production, with private industry leading the way.

The new government lavished every assistance on the private sector, the chief factor in employment as well as production. Hitler almost immediately made available 500 million marks in credits to private business.

This start-up assistance given to German industry would repay itself many times over. Soon enough, another two billion marks would be loaned to the most enterprising companies. Nearly half would go into new wages and salaries, saving the treasury an estimated three hundred million marks in unemployment benefits. Added to the hundreds of millions in tax receipts spurred by the business recovery, the state quickly recovered its investment, and more.

Hitler’s entire economic policy would be based on the following equation: risk large sums to undertake great public works and to spur the renewal and modernization of industry, then later recover the billions invested through invisible and painless tax revenues. It didn’t take long for Germany to see the results of Hitler’s recovery formula.

Economic recovery, as important as it was, nevertheless wasn’t Hitler’s only objective. As he strived to restore full employment, Hitler never lost sight of his goal of creating a organization powerful enough to stand up to capitalist owners and managers, who had shown little concern for the health and welfare of the entire national community.
One of the first labor reforms to benefit the German workers was the establishment of annual paid vacation. The Socialist French Popular Front, in 1936, would make a show of having invented the concept of paid vacation, and stingily at that, only one week per year. But Adolf Hitler originated the idea, and two or three times as generously, from the first month of his coming to power in 1933.

Every factory employee from then on would have the legal right to a paid vacation. Until then, in Germany paid holidays where they applied at all did not exceed four or five days, and nearly half the younger workers had no leave entitlement at all. Hitler, on the other hand, favored the younger workers. Vacations were not handed out blindly, and the youngest workers were granted time off more generously. It was a humane action; a young person has more need of rest and fresh air for the development of his strength and vigor just coming into maturity. Basic vacation time was twelve days, and then from age 25 on it went up to 18 days. After ten years with the company, workers got 21 days, three times what the French socialists would grant the workers of their country in 1936.

These figures may have been surpassed in the more than half a century since then, but in 1933 they far exceeded European norms. As for overtime hours, they no longer were paid, as they were everywhere else in Europe at that time, at just the regular hourly rate. The work day itself had been reduced to a tolerable norm of eight hours, since the forty-hour week as well, in Europe, was first initiated by Hitler. And beyond that legal limit, each additional hour had to be paid at a considerably increased rate. As another innovation, work breaks were made longer; two hours every day in order to let the worker relax and to make use of the playing fields that the large industries were required to provide.
Dismissal of an employee was no longer left as before the sole discretion of the employer. In that era, workers’ rights to job security were non-existent. Hitler saw to it that those rights were strictly spelled out. The employer had to announce any dismissal four weeks in advance. The employee then had a period of up to two months in which to lodge a protest. The dismissal could also be annulled by the Honor of Work Tribunal. What was the Honor of Work Tribunal? Also called the Tribunal of Social Honor, it was the third of the three great elements or layers of protection and defense that were to the benefit of every German worker. The first was the Council of Trust. The second was the Labor Commission.

The Council of Trust was charged with attending to the establishment and the development of a real community spirit between management and labor. „In any business enterprise“, the Reich law stated, „the employer and head of the enterprise, the employees and workers, personnel of the enterprise, shall work jointly towards the goal of the enterprise and the common good of the nation.“

Neither would any longer be the victim of the other-not the worker facing the arbitrariness of the employer nor the employer facing the blackmail of strikes for political purposes. Article 35 of the Reich labor law stated that: „Every member of an Aryan enterprise community shall assume the responsibilities required by his position in the said common enterprise.“ In other words, at the head of the company or the enterprise would be a living, breathing executive in charge, not a moneybags with unconditional power. „The interest of the community may require that an incapable or unworthy employer be relieved of his duties“

The employer would no longer be inaccessible and all-powerful, authoritatively determining the conditions of hiring and firing his staff. He, too, would be subject to the workshop regulations, which he would have to respect, exactly as the least of his employees. The law conferred honor and responsibility on the employer only insofar as he merited it.

Every business enterprise of 20 or more persons was to have its „Council of Trust“. The two to ten members of this council would be chosen from among the staff by the head of the enterprise. The ordinance of application of 10 March 1934 of the above law further stated: „The staff shall be called upon to decide for or against the established list in a secret vote, and all salaried employees, including apprentices of 21 years of age or older, will take part in the vote. Voting shall be done by putting a number before the names of the candidates in order of preference, or by striking out certain names.“

In contrast to the business councils of the preceding régime, the Council of Trust was no longer an instrument of class, but one of teamwork of the classes, composed of delegates of the staff as well as the head of the enterprise. The one could no longer act without the other. Compelled to coordinate their interests, though formerly rivals, they would now cooperate to establish by mutual consent the regulations which were to determine working conditions.

Every 30th of April, on the eve of the great national labor holiday, council duties ceased and the councils were renewed, pruning out conservatism or petrifaction and cutting short the arrogance of dignitaries who might have thought themselves beyond criticism.

It was up to the enterprise itself to pay a salary to members of the Council of Trust, just as if they were employed in the work area, and „to assume all costs resulting from the regular fulfillment of the duties of the Council“.

The second agency that would ensure the orderly development of the new German social system was the institution of the „Workers’ Commissioners“. They would essentially be conciliators and arbitrators. When gears were grinding, they were the ones who would have to apply the grease. They would see to it that the Councils of trust were functioning harmoniously to ensure that regulations of a given business enterprise were being carried out to the letter.

They were divided among 13 large districts covering the territory of the Reich. As arbitrators they were not dependent upon either owners or workers. They had total independence in the field. They were appointed by the state, which represented both the interests of everyone in the enterprise and the interests of society at large.

In order that their decisions should never be unfounded or arbitrary, they had to rely on the advice of a „Consulting Council of Experts“ which consisted of 18 members selected from various sections of the economy in a representation of sorts of the interests of each territorial district.

To ensure still further the objectivity of their arbitration decisions, a third agency was superimposed on the Councils of Trust and the 13 Commissioners, the Tribunal of Social Honor.

Thus from 1933 on, the German worker had a system of justice at his disposal that was created especially for him and would adjudicate all grave infractions of the social duties based on the idea of the Aryan enterprise community. Examples of these violations of social honor are cases where the employer, abusing his power, displayed ill will towards his staff or impugned the honor of his subordinates, cases where staff members threatened work harmony by spiteful agitation; the publication by members of the Council of confidential information regarding the enterprise which they became cognizant of in the course of discharging their duties. Thirteen „Tribunes of Social Honor“ were established, corresponding with the thirteen commissions.

The presiding judge was not a fanatic; he was a career judge who rose above disputes. Meanwhile the enterprise involved was not left out of the proceedings; the judge was seconded by two assistant judges, one representing the management, another a member of the Council of Trust.

This tribunal, the same as any other court of law, had the means of enforcing its decisions. But there were nuances. Decisions could be limited in mild cases to a remonstrance. They could also hit the guilty party with fines of up to 10,000 marks. Other very special sanctions were provided for that were precisely adapted to the social circumstances; change of employment, dismissal of the head of the enterprise or his agent who had failed in his duty. In case of a contested decision, the legal dispute could always be taken up to a Supreme Court seated in Berlin-a fourth level of protection.

This was only the end of 1933, and already the first effects could be felt. The factories and shops large and small were reformed or transformed in conformity with the strictest standards of cleanliness and hygiene; the interior areas, so often dilapidated, opened to light; playing fields constructed; rest areas made available where one could converse at one’s ease and relax during rest periods; employee cafeterias; proper dressing rooms.

With time, that is to say in three years, those achievements would take on dimensions never before imagined; more than 2,000 factories refitted and beautified; 23,000 work premises modernized; 800 buildings designed exclusively for meetings; 1,200 playing fields; 13,000 sanitary facilities with running water; 17,000 cafeterias. Eight hundred departmental inspectors and 17,300 local inspectors would foster and closely and continuously supervise these renovations and installations.

The large industrial establishments moreover had been given the obligation of preparing areas not only suitable for sports activities of all minds, but provided with swimming pools as well. Germany had come a long way from the sinks for washing one’s face and the dead tired workers, grown old before their time, crammed into squalid courtyards during work breaks.

In order to ensure the natural development of the working class, physical education courses were instituted for the younger workers; 8,000 such were organized. Technical training would be equally emphasized, with the creation of hundreds of work schools, technical courses and examinations of professional competence, and competitive examinations for the best workers for which large prizes were awarded.

To rejuvenate young and old alike, Hitler ordered that a gigantic vacation organization for workers be set up. Hundreds of thousands of workers would be able every summer to relax on and at the sea. Magnificent cruise ships would be built. Special trains would carry vacationers to the mountains and to the seashore. The locomotives that hauled the innumerable worker-tourists in just a few years of travel in Germany would log a distance equivalent to fifty-four times around the world!

The cost of these popular excursions was nearly insignificant, thanks to greatly reduced rates authorized by the Reichsbank.

The National Labor Service

Hitler created the National Labor Service not only to alleviate unemployment, but to bring together, in absolute equality, and in the same uniform, both the sons of millionaires and the sons of the poorest families for several months’ common labor and living.

All performed the same work, all were subject to the same discipline; they enjoyed the same pleasures and benefited from the same physical and moral development. At the same construction sites and in the same barracks, Germans became conscious of what they had in common, grew to understand one another, and discarded their old prejudices of class and caste.

After a hitch in the National Labor Service, a young worker knew that the rich man’s son was not a pampered monster, while the young lad of wealthy family knew that the worker’s son had no less honor than a nobleman or an heir to riches; they had lived and worked together as comrades. Social hatred was vanishing, and a socially united people was being born.

From the first months of 1933, his accomplishments were public fact, for all to see. Before end of the year, unemployment in Germany had fallen from more than 6,000,000 to 3,374,000. Thus, 2,627,000 jobs had been created since the previous February, when Hitler began his „gigantic task!“ A simple question: Who in Europe ever achieved similar results in so short a time?

Not without reason were the swastika banners waving proudly throughout the working-class districts where, just a year ago, they had been unceremoniously torn down. 


Saturday, 20 January 2018

Hitler, Germany and the World


Source: Germany’s Hitler (Chapter XV) - by Heinz A. Heinz

In order to round out the picture of Hitler which it has been the attempt of these pages to depict, a few words remain to be said about his private life since 1919.

As has been already narrated, Hitler left barracks in the August of that year, and rented a modest lodging with humble people in the Thierschstrasse, Number 41.

It is interesting to have a look into this poor room where Hitler lived for ten years. A Herr Erlanger was, at that time, the landlord of the house. He observes today: „I hadn’t much to do with him myself as he wasn’t directly a tenant of mine. His room was a sub-let. And since I am a Jew, I concerned myself as little as possible with the activities of my lodger and the National Socialists. I often encountered him on the stairway and at the door –h e was generally scribbling something in a notebook.

„Often he had his dog with him, a lovely wolfhound. He never made me feel he regarded me differently from other people. He lodged here in my house from the autumn of 1919 to 1929. First he took a little back room, and then an equally small one in the front to serve as a sort of office and study. The back room in which he slept is only eight by fifteen feet. It is the coldest room in the house; there’s a passage below it leading to the courtyard. Some lodgers who’ve rented it since got ill. Now we only use it as a lumber room; nobody will have it any more.

„The only ‘comfort ’ Hitler treated himself to when he was here, was a hand basin with cold water laid on.

The room to the front was a bit bigger, but the small high-set window left much to be desired. It was very scantily furnished.”

We have caught a glimpse of the rooms that were his home all these strenuous years in the Thierschstrasse, and now we must have a look at his unpretentious house on the Obersalzberg.

The Obersalzberg is one of the slopes of the Bavarian Alps, above the Königsee, but below the grand, bare snow-flecked summits of the highest mountains near Watzmann. It is a shaggedly pine-wooded region interspersed with wide stretches and spaces of open grass or meadowland threaded by white filaments of winding road. The whole is dotted over with the characteristic Bauernhöfe (peasant farms) of the country, looking much like the chalets of Switzerland with their flower-decked balconies, their green-shuttered windows above the white stonework of the ground floor.

A steep road leads up from Berchtesgaden to the Obersalzberg. Here Hitler and a few chosen intimates found refuge from the stress and strain of life during the time that preceded the disruption of the Party in November, 1923. They forgathered in one of these Obersalzberg farm houses, called the Platterhof, and there took counsel together, and enjoyed brief, but precious, snatches of rest and recreation.

One gets to Berchtesgaden from Munich by train in about three hours. But by motor one can do the journey a little more quickly. Berchtesgaden is a little town near the Königsee. It does not He directly on the lake because the mountains there come down so steeply to the water’s edge no room remains for the town. The lower flanks of these mountains are covered with hanging pine forests, but the summits are bare rock, snow-clad and glacier-seamed in winter. The Obersalzberg is a single mountain in the neighbourhood of the Königsee (King’s Lake). There are houses built upon it.

Lower down the slope of the Salzberg lay a little house, also built in the Bavarian mountain style, called the Berghof.

Here the Bavarian Mountains meet the Salzburg Alps; the former frontier between Germany and Austria ran athwart these rocky summits. The view from hence is magnificent. Deep down below lies the green valley in which Berchtesgaden nestles. Snow-clad peaks soar into the blue heavens all around; among them König Watzmann and his seven rocky offspring.

Hitler’s house, Berghof, here, is in no sense a ministerial residence like Chequers in England. It is nothing more than a simple country house.

It consists of two storeys, the lower built of white stone, the upper of brown-stained wood. A wooden balcony with flower-boxes all along the railing runs round the house outside the bedroom windows. The windows have green shutters with white bands; the grey shingled roof is secured against the storms of winter by rows of heavy stones laid upon it. A little belfry, thatched, like a bird shelter, adorns one end of the roof tree. The plateau surrounding the house is laid out for a car park and a garden. There are flower borders, a large green lawn with a wide rectangular path surrounding it, a rock garden, a telescope, garden furniture – gay chairs, tables, coloured sun umbrellas – and a flagstaff with the long red flag and its hooked cross in the central circle of white, hanging from it.

All within is as simple and as well-kept as without. The peasant note is stressed. To describe one of the rooms: the furniture, consisting of little but the table and a few chairs, is of local make, of painted wood. A wooden dado in grey-green panels with a single little bunch of country flowers painted on each, reaches half-way up the cream-washed walls. The window has a valance, and simple curtains of figured cretonne hang straight at the sides. A wooden bench coloured like the dado amply furnished with variously and gaily covered pillow-shaped cushions runs round the room and forms a window-seat. There are one or two well-hung engravings to be noted, a cupboard with large painted panels, topped with jugs in peasant ware, and the bright notes of here and there a tasteful plate set on the beading of the dado. Such is the Reichskanzlers sitting or dining-room in the Berghof. His square bare table has gaily turned and painted legs, and stretchers for foot rests between. All is eminently homelike and simple. A great green tiled oven, surrounded by a bench, takes the place of the English open hearth. Huge rag rugs lie here and there about the floor.

The Berghof was built shortly before the War by a Hamburg merchant. Hitler discovered it long before he bought it. His thoughts turned to this spot and this house after the strains and stresses of Landsberg.

He rented it, and asked his sister to come and keep house there, so that he himself could come and go as circumstances might permit. Later on he purchased it outright, and was thankful to withdraw to its peace and privacy during the stressful time of the struggle of the Party.

Later ensued a period during which but the rarest moments of respite could be snatched at the Berghof. During the last phases of his struggle for power in 1932 Adolf Hitler rarely was able to resort thither, alone or with chosen companions, for a few hours’ relaxation or intensive counsel.

After a simple but sufficient repast in which fresh milk, black bread, and some sort of cereal were the chief ingredients, the Führer and his friends liked to sit round the table, or around the stove, and in this informal fashion talk over the prospects and the problems of the Kampf.

Since his accession to the Chancellorship of the Reich, Hitler’s little country place has had to be adapted somewhat to its owner’s wider needs. Without losing anything of its unpretentiousness, a motor road approach to it has been constructed, and additional accommodation has been added after the Führer’s own plans. It remains, however, much as it was originally, and ever awaits the coming of its master, guarded by three friends of his of whom he has none more loyal and faithful, the sheep-dogs, Muck, Wolf and Blonda.

By the year 1929 when Hitler’s Party had now become a nation-wide Movement, it was unsuitable that he should remain any longer in the Thierschstrasse, mainly for the reason that he was obliged to receive the visits of highly placed or important people either in his inadequate little room there, or in the back premises in the Schellingstrasse used as Party headquarters. So he removed to an empty apartment in the Prinzregenten– Platz 16.    „This bachelor requires nine rooms for himself,” wrote one of his critics and opponents, quite failing to add that two families also shared them, one of these consisting of the very people with whom he had lodged in the Thierschstrasse.

Hitler still lives in this house when in Munich. His pretensions have waxed no whit since he became Chancellor.

He generally comes of a week-end to Munich or to Berchtesgaden. The rest of the time he spends in Berlin. He inhabits the old Reichskanzlei of Prince Bismarck. As a rule he takes his frugal meals at home, often in company with a few simple S.A. men who come to him from every quarter, some of whom he may not even know. His adjutant Brückner sees to it, doubtless, that it is not always the same visitors who have the privilege of dining with Adolf Hitler.

Personal comfort, apart from personal cleanliness, never meant much to Hitler. He lives as simply to-day in the Wilhelmstrasse as he lived at Frau Popp’s and in the Thierschstrasse in those early beginnings.

In this connection, it might be interesting to say a few words on the private life of the Führer.

As a matter of fact, on this subject there is but little to be said, for this private life takes up a few hours only of each day, and sometimes not so much as one single hour.

Although Hitler generally retires to rest at a very late hour, very often not until 2 a.m. or even later, he is up again early in the morning. He is without doubt one of those people who can do with a minimum of sleep. It is a known fact that, starting from January 30th, 1933, when he became Chancellor of the German Reich, he worked without interruption for three days and three nights, and during this time showed himself on the balcony of the Chancellor’s palace at frequent intervals to the enthusiastic crowds who all day long filled the Wilhelmplatz.

After breakfast, which in his case takes on a very simple form, consisting usually of milk, black bread and fruit, Hitler makes a practice of being informed on all world happenings. His Press Chief, Dr. Dietrich, who is closely attached to his person, lays a large quantity of home and foreign newspapers before the Führer, and furnishes him with a precis of all important articles and news items. This review of the newspapers takes place twice or three times a day. In addition Dr. Dietrich reports to the Führer all the numerous items of confidential information which day and night pour into the Chancellery of the Reich by telephone, telegraph and radio, or by courier. Dr. Dietrich is one of the few people who are permitted to present themselves at all times unannounced in the private room of the Führer. It may be said in this connection that Hitler is one of the best-informed persons in the world. It makes not the slightest difference where he happens to be, he keeps himself without intermission informed on all the important happenings in the world. When he is travelling by plane, the Morse apparatus works without intermission, and in his official train, in addition to a wireless receiver, there is a radio-telegraphic apparatus.

Hitler’s working day, similarly to that of other states-men, consists principally in the receiving of reports, in discussions with the heads of his Chancellery and of the different ministries, in the reception of visitors, and in working through documents and files. In addition to this he frequently finds time to devote himself to his favourite subject of architecture. There is little doubt that had Hitler not become Chancellor, he would have been an architect of no small repute. The vast plans which in less than a decade will have completely changed the face of so many towns in Germany, such as Berlin, Hamburg, Nuremberg and Munich, originate in their main features with Hitler, and were worked out in part by his former architect, the late Professor Troost, and in part by his present adviser, Professor Speer.

As already stated, it is seldom that Hitler takes his midday meal alone. Generally some members of his immediate staff sit at table with him, and he also very frequently invites a few of his oldest adherents whom he came to know during the war, or in the years immediately following it. Often too, to their great surprise, some of the youngsters and girls of the Hitler Youth, who come from all parts of Germany, and stand before the Chancellor’s house, find themselves invited in to lunch with him, and to tell him about themselves and their families, and the circumstances in which they live. Although the Führer himself eats vegetables, salad and fruit only, it is not his wish that those who sit at table with him should follow him in this respect.

Hitler generally invites a few well-known German artists and men of science to a short tea in the afternoon, this enabling him to discuss artistic and scientific matters with them. The interest which the Führer takes in painting and sculpture may be said to be as great as that which he takes in music. Among the subjects which interest him most are history, of which he possesses an unusual knowledge, the natural sciences, and practical engineering. In technical matters the Führer is also an expert. The well-known People’s Car, which is to be manufactured by the million in Germany, and which in spite of its exceptional qualities is, in the matter of cheapness, in advance of all other types up till now, was constructed by Professor Porsche under the constant supervision of the Führer. Designs from Hitler’s own hand decided its form, and he himself carried out tests with the trial car, before the final form was decided upon.

In the evening it is the custom of the Chancellor to work for several hours, often as late as midnight. Now and again he visits the opera, or more frequently he sees films in his own cinema in the Chancellor’s palace. He takes a particular interest in the films, and often has foreign films run off before him, so that he may compare them with the German films. Afterwards he discusses both the artistic and the technical side with German film artists.

Before finally retiring to rest, it is Hitler’s custom to read for a certain time, and in preference to any others he reads works on history, and on the history of art, also on military subjects and biographies.

A little noticed but indeed interesting and typical quality of the Führer’s is his intense loyalty to all those with whom he has been acquainted for a long time, and who in former years were in any way amicably disposed towards him, or afforded him any help. It is a known fact that when in Munich he still stays with the same people with whom he stayed in 1919. Few persons, however, realise why when in Munich he frequently takes his meals in a small, inexpensive and comparatively unknown restaurant in the Schellingstrasse. It is for the reason that during the period 1926 to 1930, when the headquarters of the Party were accommodated in the back part of a house in this street, the then Leader of the Party, Hitler, used to take his meals in this inexpensive hostelry which adjoined them. Similarly, when travelling by car in Upper Bavaria, the Führer makes a practice of visiting the same inns and the same acquaintances, which many years before he used to visit at the very beginning of his struggle.

Not far from Munich, in the small village of Solln, there lives an old lady eighty years of age of the name of Hoffmann. She is known everywhere in Munich by the name of „Hitlermutterl ” (Hitler’s Mother). In her house there hangs a portrait of the Führer dating from the year 1925, bearing the following dedication: „Meinem lieben treuen Mütterchen in Verehrung Adolf Hitler ” („To my beloved and devoted adopted Mother in token of deep respect Adolf Hitler”). This distinguished old lady has ever since the year 1920 been one of the most devoted adherents of Hitler. She visited him every month during his arrest in the fortress of Landsberg, and remained loyal to him for years on end. Today she is still working in the National Socialist People’s Welfare Organisation. In spite of the heavy burden of the responsibilities of State, Hitler never misses journeying every year by car to the small village of Solln to pay a visit to „his beloved and devoted adoptive Mother ” on her birthday.

Intimate and heartfelt as are the relations of Hitler to his old acquaintances and friends, equally profound is the confidence which all sections of the population, each after their kind, feel towards the Führer. On an average three thousand letters reach the Chancellor’s office every day, each of them addressed to Adolf Hitler personally; in these people from all parts of the country make requests, and lay propositions before him. A special bureau deals with these letters alone, and it has been ascertained that the great majority of the requests received are in point of fact justified. In such cases help is always given, either by the National Socialist People’s Welfare Organisation, or by some other organisation of the Party, or by the Reich’s Chancellor himself. The Führer frequently causes such letters to be laid before him, with a view to keeping in constant touch with the anxieties of the people, and in order to be able himself to lend a helping hand.

During the weeks preceding Christmas the stream of letters grows to the dimensions of a flood. Tens of thousands of children write to „Uncle Hitler,” to tell him about their Christmas wishes. With a few words, and in childish handwriting, the different toys and other matters are mentioned upon which the hearts of his small correspondents are set. They believe that „Uncle Hitler ” must surely be on good terms with Santa Claus, and in this they are right. The National Socialist People’s Welfare Organisation make it their business to see that the wishes of the children are fulfilled, and among the hundreds of thousands of Christmas packets which are distributed every year by this organisation, many thousands are destined for those children who, full of confidence, have written to „Uncle Hitler.”

In a village in the neighbourhood of the Obersalzberg there lives a boy who suffers from paralysis. He too once wrote to Adolf Hitler, and asked for a wireless set as a Christmas present. The letter found its way into the Führer’s hands, and to the great surprise and joy of the poor youngster, the Führer insisted on making him a personal present of the much-desired set. Hundreds of examples of the kind might be quoted.

But it does not always so happen that Hitler is the giver. Often it is the other way about. Some time ago, for example, when as the result of a chill Hitler was suffering from a cough, and from hoarseness of the throat, he received written advice, and numberless letters and prescriptions from all classes of the community. He was sent all kinds of medicinal teas, and a large quantity of jars of honey from all parts of Germany found their way to the Chancellor’s house. Every year on his birthday Hitler receives more presents than it has ever been the lot of a statesman to receive from his fellow-countrymen. Every year, on April 20th, entire post office vans drive up to the Chancellor’s residence, and whole rooms gradually fill with presents of every description. The great majority come from humble homes, and also from children, and many of the presents represent months of patient work. It is with the greatest happiness that the Führer examines all the presents that are sent him, for he cannot but look upon them as evidence of the devotion which the millions in Germany feel towards him, who have placed their whole future in his hands.

From the few examples cited above, it will be readily recognised that the relations between the Führer and the German people, from a human standpoint also, are both close and intimate. And as Hitler, since taking over the Chancellorship, can hardly be said to have altered in any of his essential human qualities and principles, and in his manner of regarding himself, like Frederick the Great, as „the first servant of the State,” and no more so do the German people look up to the Führer not as a dictator, or a ruler, but as the leading working man of the nation.

Undoubtedly the year 1938 was by far the most dramatic since Hitler’s accession to power. At the same time it possibly entailed the greatest consequences not only for Germany but for the whole of Europe. In March, 1938, Austria ceased to be an independent State, and in October the same year Czechoslovakia lost those of her frontier regions which were almost exclusively inhabited by Germans.

These two countries, Austria and Czechoslovakia, were created at Versailles, and, according to the calculations of the authoritative statesmen there, should have been of permanent duration, had conditions generally and the balance of power in Europe remained what they were in 1918, but it was forgotten that history does not stand still. It would have been considered impossible, at that time, that the face of Germany would radically change within the century, and that she could again attain to any great degree of political or military importance.

Not one of the statesmen gathered at Versailles had ever heard of Adolf Hitler. Had he done so he would certainly have smiled ironically at the man’s insignificance, and at the fantastic plans he formulated in the Bierhalle of Munich.

And yet it was this very Hitler beginning his struggle entirely without means, without power and without help, who in fourteen years had united behind him a people of sixty-eight millions; who as the creator and leader of a new Germany, twenty years after Versailles, showed that the Treaty signed there was nothing practically but a scrap of paper.

For treaties can only be lasting when at the beginning they take into consideration alterations in the situation, or when–in such a case–they are revised. If this is not done, they will simply be passed over and extinguished by historical development.

The rise of the National Socialist movement in Munich in the year 1920 opened up the question of the Anschluss of Austria and of the Sudeten German territories, and therewith the creation of a Greater Germany.

The first paragraph of the Programme of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party runs as follows :

“We demand the fusion of all Germans into a Greater Germany on the ground of the people’s right of self- determination.” As Adolf Hitler announced this programme on the 24th of February, 1920, in the Hofbräuhaus in Munich to an enthusiastic audience of 2000 people, among his hearers were some from Austria and Sudetenland, delegates from the Nazi Parties of those districts populated by Germans.

The development of the Austrian and Sudeten German Nazi Parties from 1919 to 1933 draws many a parallel with the rise of the Hitler Movement in Germany. When, however, Hitler became Reich’s Chancellor in January, 1933, the struggle for union with the Reich carried on by those parties in Austria and Sudetenland entered upon its dramatic last phase. The Führer’s first care, however, was to make Germany strong again, politically, and from a military and economic point of view, for the reason that he knew only a strong nation at home could guarantee to the Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia the realisation of the right to self-determination.

It would exceed the purpose of the present book to describe here the long embittered struggle waged by the people in Austria–who for the most part were National Socialists–against the Government and its forces. It cost innumerable lives. Thousands of National Socialists were imprisoned for years together: still more fled to Germany. Distress and misery waxed ever greater and greater. Schuschnigg’s Dictatorship had long looked for support from abroad, until at length Germany became sufficiently powerful, and the Berlin-Rome Axis was consolidated. In March, 1938, Adolf Hitler was once more able to set foot on his native soil, after a long absence. The question he had so often pondered as a schoolboy in Linz: „Why don’t we Austrian Germans live together with the others in Germany? ” remained a question no longer, for he himself had answered it for ever.

The first visit paid by the Führer in his native land was to the graves of his parents in Leonding near Linz. On the evening of his first day in Austria he visited his old Master, Professor Pötsch, the man who had grounded him so well in history, before he started to make history himself.

On the same evening the present writer (who as a journalist accompanied the Führer’s entry into Austria and that of the German troops) had occasion to note a characteristic example of Hitler’s method of rapid thinking. His thought never tarries with the thing which has immediately been accomplished, but at once goes forward. On that particular evening, when all the inhabitants of Linz were out and about, laughing and weeping for joy, when thousands of them gathered before the Führer’s hotel enthusiastically singing National Socialist songs, when everyone in the hotel and out of it was talking of nothing but this marvellous event, this Anschluss–Hitler himself asked for a big map of Linz, and began then and there to discuss rebuilding with architects and engineers, to rough out plans for the enlargement of the city. He talked already of a new bridge over the Danube, a work put in hand a few weeks later; and he was much interested in new projects for a large river harbour, the building of which was begun three months afterwards.

On the same day first orders were already being placed with Austrian industry, and plans were initiated for the building of a Reich’s motor high road from Salzburg to Vienna. In order to ameliorate the terrible immediate distress in the cities and in the country the National Socialistic organisation for the betterment of the people (Volkswohlfahrt, N.S.V.) now took hold. In the first six months after the Anschluss the N.S.V. laid out more than seventy million marks for the benefit of the impoverished population of Austria. This one quotation alone shows how extensive was the help extended. The sum involved was almost as much as the first loan made to Austria by the United States after the War, in order to save a country in utter collapse from final extinction. But the money spent in Austria by the N.S.V. was no loan; it was a gift. It was spent by the German people, and distributed in the form of foodstuffs, clothing, etc.

Yet another reference to figures to show how Austria was assisted economically by the Anschluss – the number of the unemployed, which had stood at about 600,000 in March, already sank in six months to 100,000. At the same time the marriage rate quadrupled itself over the preceding year.

In this way Hitler began the work which was designed, as he said, to transform his native land into a blossoming garden.

With the Anschluss of Austria an accomplished fact, the question of the return of the Sudeten Germans to the Reich became acute. This problem had been a long-standing one. The Sudeten Germans had repeatedly been striving after unity with Germany ever since 1848. In the year 1918, after the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy, the Deputies for the Sudeten area declared (30th October, 1918) the region to be an Austrian Province. But in the Austrian Constitution of October, 1918, Austria was declared to be a part of the German Reich! Herewith the Anschluss of Austria and of Sudetenland with the German Reich was formally completed.

But this Anschluss concluded in a democratic sense on the people’s own right to self-determination was not of long duration. The French Foreign Minister, Pichon, announced as early as in January, 1919, that all means of force would be put into relentless operation to prevent such a union of Germans. Under pressure from the Allied Powers the step had to be cancelled. Czechoslovakia was designed to form a military fortress of great strategical worth, which widely dominated Germany. And this artificially constructed State could only hold together if Austria remained dissociated with the Reich.

But the statesmen at Versailles had not reckoned with the National Socialists, who increased the more rapidly also in Sudetenland the more the German population was oppressed by the Czechs. The misery of these people became worse and worse; although the Czechs were numerically twice as strong as the Germans, 60 per cent of the latter formed the unemployed. Since the end of the Great War over 20,000 of them had committed suicide. These facts were doubtless responsible for it that by 1933 the National Socialist Party had become the most powerful party in Czechoslovakia. After it became more and more certain to those living abroad in the summer of 1933 that ere long Adolf Hitler would assume the direction of affairs in Germany, the Czech Government felt that a settlement of the Sudeten question was drawing nearer. They hoped to resolve it in their own favour by repressing and exterminating the Germans in Czechoslovakia, before Nazi Germany should become strong enough to have a say in the matter. The Czech Government dissolved the National Socialist Party in October, 1933.

At this moment Konrad Henlein, Director of the German Gymnastic Societies in Czechoslovakia, appeared on the political stage. In spite of persecution, and of measures taken against him by the State Authorities, in less than two years he succeeded in getting together two- thirds of the Germans living in Czechoslovakia into a Sudeten German party. Whereupon he became the leader of the strongest party in the country. But in spite of this he was not permitted to take part in the Government.

Affairs were rapidly coming to a crisis. The measures taken by the Government against the Germans became more and more effective. The position of these people constantly became worse. Here is one example: In the Czech city of Zwickau, entirely inhabited by Germans, at the end of the year 1936 only 200 men were in work out of 4,800. One thousand two hundred of the unemployed received no dole at all; 80 per cent of the children were undernourished and tuberculous. The misery elsewhere was similar to this.

When Austria returned to the Reich the crisis in Czechoslovakia came to a head. Meantime Konrad Henlein had succeeded in bringing all Sudeten Germans into his party. At the local elections in June, 1938, 95 per cent of the voting was in his favour. The anxiety of the Czech Government and of the military authorities increased at the same time. Shootings took place nearly every day. Germans were shot in the streets.

The British Government recognised the danger of the situation and despatched Lord Runciman to look into it, and to act as intermediary. Lord Runciman soon saw that here no adjustment was possible any longer, that only a swift and complete liberation of the Germans from Czechoslovakia would avoid the danger of an inter-national conflict. The brutal treatment of the Sudeten Germans by the Czech Army, which had been mobilised for months, aggravated the situation.

Then Adolf Hitler stepped in.

In his speech to the Party Congress in Nuremberg on the ground of the people’s right to self-determination he required that the Sudeten Germans should be permitted to return to the Reich. Otherwise Germany would be obliged to secure this right for them by force. The British Prime Minister Chamberlain, who was particularly anxious to avoid armed conflict, thereupon immediately flew to Berchtesgaden, to have a talk with Adolf Hitler. The Czech Government showed itself unwilling to under-take negotiations. It armed the Communist groups, and forbade the Henlein Party.

Severe fighting took place daily in which the Czechs used artillery and tanks. Every night there was a constant stream of thousands of Sudeten German refugees across the German border.

Meantime talks were going on in London between the British Prime Minister and the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, the outcome of which was a suggestion to the Czech Government that the German regions should be severed from Czechoslovakia, thereby securing a lasting peace in Europe.

The proposal was accepted after Mussolini had made it quite clear that he took his stand on the side of Germany.

But the Czech Government made no move to realise the project. The Sudeten Germans, who were shot, many of them women and children, already numbered nearly two hundred. There was a second meeting between Hitler and Chamberlain, this time at Godesberg. The Führer handed the Prime Minister a Memorandum for the Czech Government in which considering the impossible state of affairs he demanded the severance of the Sudeten areas by the 1st of October, 1938.

The crisis was now coming to a head. All Europe was seized with the feverish anticipation of war. Germany, England and France had already partially mobilised. While Hitler was having a fortress wall built in the west, upon which more than five hundred thousand men were employed, in the east the German and Czech Armies were confronting each other.

England and France prepared to march, and Hitler and Mussolini left no doubt about it that on their side Germany and Italy were ready to fight for the right of self-determination and the immediate return of the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia to the Reich.

Meantime open war had broken out between the German population and the Czech soldiery. Over 200,000 Sudeten German refugees had abandoned their homes and belongings and fled to Germany.

The world was confronted by the most critical moment since August, 1914.

Then it was the wonderful thing happened.

At the suggestion of the British Prime Minister, and at Mussolini’s intervention, the Führer invited the leading statesmen of England, France and Italy to a final conference at Munich. While the whole world looked to Munich in a state of intense tension, the four statesmen sat and deliberated at length.

Reason carried the day.

The representatives of the four great European Powers came to agreement, after various points in the original Memorandum had been mitigated and amended.

The new proposals were accepted by the Czech Government, the German troops began their entry into the Sudeten German territory on the 1st of October, 1938, and hereby was confirmed the return of three and a half millions of Germans to the Reich.

Just as he had formerly visited Austria, the Führer was present in Sudetenland on the first day of the liberation of the fortunate people of these regions. But the writer remarked a great difference in the behaviour of the Austrians and the Sudetenlanders. Whereas in Austria there was nothing but rejoicing and laughter, the thousands of people here who lined the roads and waited for hours for the coming of the Führer were weeping. It was deeply moving to see how even the hard weather-beaten faces of the peasants were wet with tears. They had endured such untold misery and oppression, this sudden change of affairs was too much for them. They could not grasp what had happened before their eyes. The Führer’s road was thickly strewn with flowers.

The Sudeten Germans received assistance as expeditiously as Hitler’s fellow-countrymen in Austria had done. The first thing was to provide the poor people with food and clothing. As the German troops marched in they already distributed over 200,000 loaves of bread. Their field kitchens were placed at the service of the entire population. Hundreds of the trucks of the N.S.V. entered the impoverished towns and villages at the same time as the soldiers. In Dresden alone tons of tinned stuff and other foods were assembled, together with clothing and footgear for 250,000 people. Similar concentrations of supplies were organised all along the frontier, in order that help might be immediately forthcoming.

Then the Führer provided work for the unemployed. Building was begun.

The swift settlement of the Sudeten German question doubtless caused the disappearance of one of the most dangerous occasions of war in Central Europe.

The settlement was a gain for Germany as well as for Czechoslovakia. It meant a gain, as a matter of fact, for all Europe. No further complications will now arise as to frontiers between Germany and Czechoslovakia, because now the frontier is drawn not on artificial and strategical, but on natural and ethnological lines. Like the other countries of Southern Europe Czechoslovakia will benefit by a close economical co-operation with Germany and will peacefully attain to a new prosperity which would never have come to her through war.

 Today the whole world demands „Whither Germany? “The answer is simple. One can only reply, „Germany follows Hitler.” Who would predict the course the Fatherland will pursue should study the life of the Führer, mark its consistency from the beginning up to the present, and only so venture on prophecy. It is impossible to foretell what line his policy will take if he is only considered from the angle of politics and diplomacy. Hitler must be estimated from the human side as well.

Anyone who has so studied Hitler’s career, especially that period of it in Vienna which preceded his taking up politics will grant that he has not deviated from the views he formed as a young man either in respect of them or with regard to the conduct of life in general.

And, as has been so often remarked, place and power have not altered the manner of man he was.

Germany’s foreign policy is directed towards peace and good understanding. It is a great mistake when they confuse National Socialism with Imperialism. National Socialism has no designs upon other lands and other peoples. Germany’s future lies in its keeping, and, indeed, that of the whole world–in the keeping of the true Socialism of common life, not in that of class war.

Socialism as an international aspiration has practically petered out. It reached its apogee towards the end of the War, and at the moment when it made its bid for power, its failure began.

The future belongs to National Socialism since, like Christianity itself, it is founded on love, and reconciliation between high and low, rich and poor. Herein lies its special creative and effective power. Marxian Socialism, on the contrary, flourishes on class clash and hatred. It is anti-Christian and destructive.

The world will come to the recognition of all this in time. It may be decades will be required before the truth of the contention is established beyond cavil. Later generations will consider the Period of Marxian Socialism as an interlude out of which purgatory the world emerged into the truer and beneficent conception of
ADOLF HITLER