THE VOICE OF
G. P. Putnam's
1940, BY G. P. PUTNAM'S
CONTEMPORARY EVENTS 1
II A MORNING
PART II— 1933
CONTEMPORARY EVENTS 45
IV ANTICHRIST 47
V AT THE DINNER TABLE 58
VI "YES! WE
VIII ENRICH YOURSELVES 91
IX AFTER LEAVING THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS 104
CONTEMPORARY EVENTS 113
X HITLER'S FOREIGN POLICY 115
XI HITLER'S FOREIGN POLICY—Continued 135
XII A DANGEROUS GAME 150
XIII PAST THE CIVIL WAR 166
XVI MAGIC, BLACK
XVII THE HUMAN SOLSTICE 243
XVIII HITLER HIMSELF 255
XIX THE EAGLE'S EYRIE 267
THESE CONVERSATIONS with Hitler took place in the last year before his seizure of power and the first two years (1933 and '34) of the National Socialist regime. The writer jotted them down under the immediate influence of what he had heard. Much may be regarded as practically a verbatim report. Here, in the circle of his intimates, Hitler speaks openly about his innermost ideas—ideas which have been kept secret from the masses.
Only in exclusive circles is it known what Hitler really intends and what National Socialism is. Only among close friends has Hitler given free expression to his political and social aims. It is in such exclusive circles that I myself have heard them from his own lips.
To have published these conversations only six months ago, would have earned me at that time an accusation of malicious invention and defamation. Even hints which left the essentials unspoken aroused surprise and suspicion. As the author of The Revolution of Nihilism, I was repeatedly criticized because my statements contradicted the clear statement of National Socialist aims in Mein Kampf, for example, with regard to an alliance between National Socialism and Soviet Russia. As long as National Socialism was seen as nothing more than a German nationalist movement aiming at the removal of some of the worst features of the Versailles Peace
Treaty, no one took seriously my frank revelation of the real aims of Hitler. Not until today is the world prepared to accept the truth: that Hitler and his movement are the apocalyptic riders of world annihilation.
Jan. 7. Chancellor (Dr. Brüning) discussed presidential election with Hitler and proposed extension of von Hindenburg's term.
Jan. 11. Hitler rejected the proposed extension without an election.
Mar. 13. Von Hindenburg obtained large majority with Hitler second on the poll.
April 13. President ordered forcible dissolution of Hitler's army.
April 24. In the
May 25. Fight in Prussian Diet between Hitlerites and Communists.
May 30. Dr. Brüning and his Cabinet resigned.
May 31. Von Papen nominated as Chancellor.
June 3. President dissolved Reichstag.
June 9. Hitler fined £50 for contempt of court and unseemly behavior as witness in a Munich Court.
June 15. President raised ban on Hitler's private army.
July 17. Hitler opened his electoral campaign.
July 31. Hitler gained an increased representation in elections for Reichstag, but failed to secure majority.
2 THE VOICE OF DESTRUCTION
Aug. 1. Raids by Nazi troops.
Aug. 13. President rejected Hitler's claim to be Chancellor.
Aug. 22. Riots in
Sept. 2. Death sentence on five Hitlerites commuted to imprisonment for life.
Nov. 6. General Election in
Nov. 17. Resignation of von Papen Cabinet.
Nov. 21. President invited Hitler to explore possibilities of forming Cabinet under certain conditions.
Nov. 22. Hitler declined to meet President's desires.
Dec. 2. General von Schleicher became Chancellor and Baron von Neurath Foreign Minister.
Hitler gazed fixedly across from the little glass veranda of his mountain eyrie to the precipitous wall opposite.
"We shall regain the superiority of free operations."
"Is it true, Herr Hitler, that Germany has prepared secret inventions
which will break down every resistance, inventions against which even the French
Maginot Line will be defenseless?" The
"All armies have secret inventions. I am skeptical as to their value," Hitler returned.
"But the penetrative power of our new S-munitions. Isn't it true that electrical warfare yields entirely new possibilities of attack?" Forster persisted. "And the new poison gases and bacterial warfare? Will bacteria be used as a weapon in the next war?"
"A nation denied its rights may use any weapon, even bacterial warfare." Hitler's voice rose. "I have no scruples, and
4 THE VOICE OF DESTRUCTION
I will use whatever weapon I require. The new poison gases are horrible. But
there is no difference between a slow death in barbed-wire entanglements and
the agonized death of a gassed man or one poisoned by bacteria. In the future,
whole nations will stand against each other, not merely hostile armies. We
shall undermine the physical health of our enemies as we shall break down their
moral resistance. I can well imagine that there is a future for bacterial
warfare. We have not quite perfected it yet, but experiments are being made. I
hear that they are very promising. But the use of this weapon is limited. Its
significance lies in wearing down the enemy before the war. Our real
wars will in fact all be fought before military operations begin. I can quite
imagine that we might control
"Do you believe, my Führer, that
"Certainly we shall prevent it from trying again," was the reply.
"There are new weapons which are effective in such cases.
"You said that we should poison the enemy with bacteria even before the war starts. How can that be done in peace-time?" Forster asked.
"Through agents, harmless commercial travelers. That is the surest method—at the moment the only effective one," Hitler replied. "The results would not be immediate. It would take several weeks, if not longer, for an epidemic to appear. Perhaps we shall introduce bacteria at the height of the war,
at the moment when the powers of resistance of the enemy are beginning to fail."
Our conversation then dealt with some details of a future gas and bacterial war. We sat in the rather narrow veranda of Wachenfeld House in the Obersalzberg. Hitler's magnificent Alsatian sheep dog lay at his feet. The mountains on the opposite side of the valley glowed above a pleasant meadow. It was a magical August morning of that austere, autumnal clarity which is so refreshing in the Bavarian highlands. Hitler hummed motifs from Wagnerian operas. He seemed to me preoccupied and moody. From having been communicative, he fell suddenly into a dry silence. The political moment was full of danger. National Socialism was approaching one of its crises. The Party was in a well-nigh desperate position. But Hitler's every word rang with the firm conviction that he would soon be in power, and able to lead the German people to a new destiny. We spoke of the result of the war, and the tragical turn of all German victories.
"We shall not capitulate—no, never," Hitler exclaimed. "We may be destroyed, but if we are, we shall drag a world with us—a world in flames."
He hummed a characteristic motif from the Götterdämmerung.
Our young friend of the
"It is not arms that decide, but the men behind them—always," Hitler rebuked him.
"But surely new inventions and superior weapons do decide the fate of nations and social classes? Is not that what you meant, my Führer, when you said the next war would be quite different from the last one? The new weapons, the technical inventions will change the whole course of the war.
They make strategy completely superfluous. Today
"No, strategy does not change, at least not through technical
inventions. That is quite wrong." Hitler's manner became lively. "Has
anything changed since the battle of
Hess, at that time Hitler's private secretary, who had retired at the opening of the conversation, here intervened.
"The gentlemen do not seem to understand," he explained, "how
"Who says I'm going to start a war like those fools in 1914?" cried Hitler. "Are not all our efforts bent towards preventing this? Most people have no imagination." Here his face twisted into an expression of contempt. "They can imagine the future only in terms of their own petty experience. They are blind to the new, the surprising things. Even the generals are sterile. They are imprisoned in the coils of their technical knowledge. The creative genius stands always outside the circle of the experts.
"I," he went on, "have the gift of reducing all problems to their simplest foundations. War has been erected into a secret science and surrounded with momentous solemnity. But war is the most natural, the most everyday matter. War is eternal,
war is universal. There is no beginning and there is no peace. War is life. Any struggle is war. War is the origin of all things. Let us go back to primitive life, the life of the savages. What is war but cunning, deception, delusion, attack and surprise? People have killed only when they could not achieve their aim in other ways. Merchants, robbers, warriors—at one time, all these were one. There is a broadened strategy, a war with intellectual weapons. What is the object of war, Forster? To make the enemy capitulate. If he does, I have the prospect of wiping him out. Why should I demoralize him by military means if I can do so better and more cheaply in other ways?"
Hitler went on to develop the outlines of his war as he has since widely tested it. At that time it seemed a novel and not very convincing doctrine. It was evident, however, that he had given much thought to these matters. He looked upon himself as a great strategist of a new kind, a future war-lord in a sense and to a degree hitherto unknown.
"When I wage war, Forster," he declared, "in the midst of
peace, troops will suddenly appear, let us say, in
"We shall find such men, we shall find them in every country. We shall not need to bribe them. They will come of their
own accord. Ambition and delusion, party squabbles and
self-seeking arrogance will drive them. Peace will be negotiated before the war
has begun. I promise you, gentlemen, that the impossible is always successful.
The most unlikely thing is the surest. We shall have enough volunteers, men
"Do you know," whispered the awestruck Forster, "a few weeks ago he laid a new plan before the East Prussian generals, a plan of defense against Polish aggression. They accepted the plan. Hitler is a genius, he is an expert in every field!"
"You must give that sort of thing up in future," Hitler told
him. "There are better things in store for you. I need you, Hess."
Hitler resumed the conversation.
"In the air we shall of course be supreme. The air offers many possibilities. We shall surpass all competitors. We have only one serious rival in this field: the English. The Slays will never learn to fight in the air. It is a manly weapon, a Germanic art of battle. I shall build the largest air fleet in the world. We shall have the most daring pilots. Of course we shall have a great army as well."
"Will you introduce universal conscription again?" Linsmayer asked.
"Not only that, but a universal conscription of labor to which Hindenburg's auxiliary conscription will seem a petty half-measure. We need armies, not only highly qualified special formations, but mass armies as well. But we shall not use them as in 1914. The place of artillery preparation for frontal attack by the infantry in trench warfare will in future be taken by revolutionary propaganda, to break down the enemy psychologically before the armies begin to function at all. The enemy people must be demoralized and ready to capitulate, driven into moral passivity, before military action can even be thought of."
He went on with growing enthusiasm: "How to achieve the moral break-down of the enemy before the war has started —that is the problem that interests me. Whoever has experienced war at the front will want to refrain from all avoidable bloodshed. Anything that helps preserve the precious German blood is good. We shall not shrink from the plotting of revolutions. Remember Sir Roger Casement and the Irish in the last war. We shall have friends who will help us in all the enemy countries. We shall know how to obtain such friends.
Mental confusion, contradiction of feeling, indecisiveness, panic: these are our weapons. Of course you know," here Hitler turned to me, "the history of revolutions. It is always the same: the ruling classes capitulate. Why? Defeatism; they have no longer the will to conquer. The lessons of revolution, these are the secret of the new strategy. I have learnt from the Bolsheviks. I do not hesitate to say so. One always learns most from one's enemies. Do you know the doctrine of the coup d'etat? Study it. Then you will know our task."
We listened, none of us guessing how close we were to the realization of these ideas. I thought of the experiments of the highest commanders of the German Army during the last war with the Bolshevik leaders. What had seemed mere improvisations to disable the enemy were here reduced to a system, a universal law.
"I shall never start a war without the certainty that a demoralized enemy will succumb to the first stroke of a single gigantic attack." Hitler's eyes took on a fixed stare, and he began to shout. "When the enemy is demoralized from within, when he stands on the brink of revolution, when social unrest threatens—that is the right moment. A single blow must destroy him. Aerial attacks, stupendous in their mass effect, surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination from within, the murder of leading men, overwhelming attacks on all weak points in the enemy's defense, sudden attacks, all in the same second, without regard for reserves or losses: that is the war of the future. A gigantic, all-destroying blow. I do not consider consequences; I think only of this one thing."
He paused as if to give us time to take in this terrific pro-gram and some at least of its fearful implications. His next words were spoken with impressive calmness:
"I do not play at war. I shall not allow myself to be ordered
about by 'commanders-in-chief.' I shall make war. I shall determine the correct moment for attack. There is only one most favorable moment. I shall await it—with iron determination. I shall not miss it. I shall bend all my energies towards bringing it about. That is my mission. If I succeed in that, then I have the right to send youth to its death. I shall have saved as many lives then as could be saved. Gentlemen, let us not play at being heroes, but let us destroy the enemy. Generals, in spite of the lessons of the war, want to behave like chivalrous knights. They think war should be waged like the tourneys of the Middle Ages. I have no use for knights. I need revolutions. I have made the doctrines of revolution the basis of my policy."
Hitler paused again. His next words came like a peroration:
"I shall shrink from nothing. No so-called international law, no
agreements will prevent me from making use of any advantage that offers. The
next war will be unbelievably bloody and grim. But the most inhuman war, one
which makes no distinction between military and civilian combatants, will at
the same time be the kindest, because it will be the shortest. And together
with the fullest use of our arms, we shall grind down our enemy with a war of
nerves. We shall provoke a revolution in
WE HAD COME down from
Hitler came forward to receive us. He had visitors, ladies. The house was a small, agreeably modest one. A lounge ex-tending through the whole width of the house was furnished in the style of a Bavarian peasant cottage. A plain bench surrounded the great fireplace. From a shrouded bird-cage came the frightened chirping of songbirds awakened by the bustle. Hess greeted us, and we were introduced to the other guests. Hitler offered us some cherry brandy, though he himself is a teetotaler. It was quite cold up there—the air of the mountains was harsh after a hot train journey.
That August of 1932 was not the first time I met Hitler. I had looked into his famous eyes before this. But now for the first time I saw him in his private home, which combined good middle-class taste with highland scenery and refined peasant style, as was customary in our pre-war middle class. Dimity curtains, and what is known as rustic furniture, everything
small and dainty. Not really the right background
for the future liberator of
What impression does Hitler himself make on one? This is a question I have been asked many times, and I must admit that as far as I personally am concerned, it was with mixed feelings that I made his acquaintance. The great popular orator in these surroundings was reduced to the insignificance of the petit bourgeois. There was a general atmosphere of geniality, but there was something impersonal in the furnishings. I myself was rather taken aback at the company of decidedly over-blown ladies. Did he really crave the credulous devotion of women to retain his belief in himself? Hitler is not physically attractive. Everyone knows that today. But at that time stories were circulated in the party and among sympathizers about his deep blue eyes. They are neither deep nor blue. His look is staring or dead, and lacks the brilliance and sparkle of genuine animation. The timbre of his harsh, uncommon voice is repellent to the North German. The tone is full, but forced, as though his nose were blocked. Since then this voice, guttural and threatening, has become familiar to the whole world. It embodies the torment of these years.
There is something peculiar about the magic of a personality. I have found in myself and others that one succumbs to such magic only if one wishes to succumb to it. I have noticed that Hitler made the strongest impression on such people as were either highly suggestible or somewhat effeminate or accustomed by their education and social background to formalism and hero-worship. Hitler's physical appearance certainly does not heighten the impression made by his personality. A receding forehead, with the lank hair falling over it; a short, unimposing stature, with limbs somehow ill-fitting and awkward; an expressionless mouth beneath the little brush of a
mustache—such are the traits of the outer man. His only charm lies perhaps in his hands, which are strikingly well-shaped and expressive. What a difference to the strikingly youthful, intelligent countenance shown in Napoleon's death-mask!
Hitler greeted us cheerfully. It was shortly after the perpetration of a
certain bestial murder in
Our conversation dealt with the latest events. Hitler was indignant at the
opposition shown him by the nationalist middle class. He stigmatized them as
the real enemies of
"I shall have the Stahlhelm dissolved," he declared with the firmness of a man who is sure of his case. (The Stahlhelm was a union of national soldiers of the front, the real defense corps of the German Nationalists.) Then he castigated what he considered the dishonest and criminal policy of Papen. He attacked the death sentence of the court, calling it a mockery of justice. The violence of his tone showed how much he felt he had exposed himself by his telegram.
"Such savage judgments," he said, "are never forgotten by a
people. In such critical times as these, a nation will suffer and forget
anything done openly in the political struggle. If I were to allow the
thousand Germans were to lose their lives in street fighting, the nation would be able to forget it. The nation would console itself. Such things are like the incidents of the open battlefield. But a miscarriage of justice, a cold and considered judgment, a death sentence that outrages the unfailing moral sense of the people, the branding as common murderers and the execution of men who have acted from purely patriotic motives—that is something that the nation will not forget or forgive."
I must confess that at the time I was influenced by this passionate
pleading, though, like most people, I saw in the abominable Potempa
murder only a foul stain on the brown shirt, which was at that time still
regarded as an honorable uniform. How many brutal murders and tortures have
been done since then by
"Papen will have to answer for this one
day," Hitler said. "I guarantee that. And the Stahlhelm
will get its accounts
settled. I will have it dissolved for its treacherous attacks on my
It was late, and the ladies intervened. Hitler had allowed himself to be carried away in spite of the late hour. A sleep-less night was before him. We exchanged only a few further unimportant remarks. Hitler denounced the monotony of travel by air as compared with the ever-changing and delightful glimpses of the landscape, and of country and city life,
obtained from a motor car. He advised us to return home by car. He himself, after his first amazement at the view from above, had long since ceased to enjoy air travel.
Hess indicated that we were to retire, consoling us with the prospect of the following morning. He would indicate to us when we might bring up our own problems. He accompanied us to the door. It was long past , but fresh and clear. Already the gray of dawn was beginning to show. Linsmayer and I walked the short distance across to the Türken. Forster was stopping at another house.
"WE MUST BE RUTHLESS"
I slept badly, partly, perhaps, owing to the unaccustomed air of the
mountains, which affects us plain-dwellers, but also because I couldn't get out
of my mind what I had heard. I shared a room with Linsmayer.
It was already late when we received a message that Hitler was up and wished to speak to us. Our conversation opened on the theme of the previous evening.
"We must be ruthless," said Hitler. "We must regain our clear conscience as to ruthlessness. Only thus shall we purge our people of their softness and sentimental philistinism,
'Gemütlichkeit' and their degenerate delight in beer-swilling. We have no more time for fine sentiments. We must compel our people to greatness if they are to fulfill their historic mission.
"I know," he resumed after a pause, "that I must be a harsh master. I must demand harshness from myself. My task is more difficult than Bismarck's or any other German's. I must first create the nation before even beginning to tackle the national tasks before us."
Everyone who knew Hitler during the early years of struggle knows that he has by nature an easily moved and unmistakably sentimental temperament, with a tendency towards emotionalism and romanticism. His convulsions of weeping in all emotional crises are by no means merely a matter of nerves. The maudlin, sobbing tone in which, for example, he appealed to the Berlin S.A. when the Stennes conflict threatened to split the party was genuine. For this very reason, there lies behind Hitler's emphasis on brutality and ruthlessness the desolation of a forced and artificial inhumanity, not the amorality of the genuine brute, which has after all something of the power of a natural force. Nevertheless, in the harshness and unexampled cynicism of Hitler there is something more than the repressed effect of a hypersensitiveness which has handicapped its bearer. It is the urge to reprisal and vengeance, a truly Russian-nihilistic feeling.
Hitler's thoughts at this time were wrestling with the temptation to break
his own resolve to reach power by legitimate means only. He was being tempted
to place himself in possession of the supreme power by a bloody revolution, a
revolutionary temperament, which impelled him to passionate action, and his political astuteness, which warned him to take the safe road of political combinations and postpone his "revenge" till later.
There is not the slightest doubt that an open outbreak of the National Socialist revolution was imminent at the time of, the autumn elections of 1932. It would have meant the end of the party. The rising would have been ruthlessly suppressed by the Reichswehr. Over and over again in conversation this sentence cropped up: "Clear the streets for the brown battalions!" For himself and his friends, Hitler painted the chances of a surprise occupation of the key points of political and economic power, and he lingered with special interest over the chances of a bloody destruction of Marxist resistance in the streets. Events of the summer revealed the extent to which plans for a coup were already elaborated. They were not the sporadic enterprises of local party leaders, but came from Hitler himself. They suited his temperament, the needs of his imagination and his conception of historical greatness as not to be achieved without the spilling of blood.
We can see here the same conflict of feeling as that which recently caused the Führer of the Third Reich to vacillate between his desire to be "the greatest general of all times" and the devious road of "combinations," the art of maneuvering himself into power, of gaining his world empire by cunning. Incidentally, Hitler's followers reproached him with the charge that he had missed the most favorable moment to strike. And in truth the economic crisis began in 1932 to ease a little. The influx into the party fell off. Hitler's opponents began to draw together, and seemed well in the running. Driven to the wall, outflanked in all his chances of action, Hitler saw his plans to capture power melting away.
The Reich presidential election was a heavy defeat for his party. After Papen's accession to power, he saw the hated rival, with the ease and nonchalance of the young cavalry officer, clearing many of the political hurdles that Hitler had reserved as his own objectives, such as, for instance, the direction of the Prussian police and the removal of the basis of Marxist influence in Prussia. Urged to action by his fiery impatience and passion, he had nevertheless to play the part of an idle summer visitor to the Bavarian mountains, while time passed and Papen anticipated his plans.
Hitler's questions as to the position in
"How do you mean?" said Hitler, eyeing me with displeasure. "I am not worrying about financing our program.
You may safely leave that to me. As long as speculators are kept out, there are no difficulties."
"But," I ventured to interpose, "it will not be possible to keep prices stable if the creation of employment is financed thus. Feder's money theory will also have an inflationary effect."
"You get inflation if you want inflation," Hitler retorted
angrily. "Inflation is lack of discipline—lack of discipline in the
buyers, and lack of discipline in the sellers. I will see to it that prices
remain stable. That is what my
Forster nodded contentedly. This type of economic discipline appealed to him.
"Besides," Hitler continued, "I do not worry about the theories of Feder and Lawaczek. I have a gift for tracing back all theories to their roots in reality. I have nothing to do with pipe-dreams. You need not take this man Feder and his associates literally, even though officially the party does so. Let them talk as they please. When I am in power, I shall see to it that they do no mischief. If these men cause confusion, Forster, you will no longer allow them to speak. These people cannot think simply. Everything has got to be complicated. I have the gift of simplification, and then everything works itself out. Difficulties exist only in the imagination!"
Hitler's repudiation of Feder was at that time new to me. It was interesting as an indication of Hitler's supremacy over his entourage. There is no doubt that he did possess this gift of simplification, even in a creative sense, up to a point. He has the gift, like many self-taught men, of breaking through the
wall of prejudices and conventional theories of the experts, and in so doing, he has frequently discovered amazing truths. Hitler continued to fulminate:
"I shall not be deceived by these captains of industry either! Captains indeed! I should like to know what ships they navigate! They are stupid fools who cannot see beyond the wares they peddle! The better one gets to know them, the less one respects them."
Hitler made a disdainful gesture with his hand. Forster began to wax enthusiastic over the plans for employment that had been collected by a so-called "technical engineering division" in his district against the time when they should seize power. I observed Hitler's impatience and suggested that this was merely a rough draft; elaboration was still lacking. It seemed to me that a guiding principle would have to classify the various projects for financing.
"It all depends on the initial spark," Hitler returned. "How I shall bring that about is of no interest. The economic life of the country must be set in motion, and we must close the circle so that our economic strength is not drained out of the country. I can accomplish just as much by rearmament as by housing or colonization. I can also put more money in the hands of the unemployed, so that they may cover their needs. In this way I create purchasing power and additional trade. But these are simple, uncomplicated processes which we shall master by sheer determination not to shrink from unavoidable difficulties. None of this is a secret science, as the professors pretend, but a matter of sound sense and will-power."
Hitler did not appear to attach much importance to the employment plans. Evidently they were to him more a mental distraction in this period of complete inactivity, a means of occupying his mind with town planning, colonization, agri-
cultural improvement and technical progress. The whole "plan in the drawer" was, like so much else, merely a means to an end. It was a scintillating soap-bubble, not serious labor. The party leader himself set no store by these efforts. He allowed them to be made public for propaganda purposes, for pedagogical reasons, but was entirely indifferent as to the results. In other words, looked at in the light of day, there was nothing in the famous drawer. The sum of the expert equipment with which Hitler seized power consisted in his unlimited belief in himself, his faith that he could deal with things, in accordance with the primitive, but effective maxim: orders will be carried out. Haphazard, perhaps, but it worked for a time, and later he would see.
Nevertheless, Hitler's attitude showed both an open-mindedness and a peasant cunning that one is tempted to describe as sublime. The empty drawer, even later, was most effective in Hitler's view. The difficulties that arose were due to the hostility of the reactionaries who would have liked to sabotage his purposes. Hitler did not recognize any difficulties as inherent in a problem. He saw only human incompetence and human ill-will.
Incidentally he was fortunate in his empty drawer. Herr Schacht filled the yawning void with his ingenious projects. It is pretty certain that without this "magician" Hitler's self-assurance would soon have suffered a number of heavy blows. A pity! It thus became possible for Hitler, shortly before Schacht's dismissal, to refuse the latter's demands for a sterner control of expenses. Hitler was always able to point to his own past financial successes. Whenever, in the "struggle for power," he had demanded money from Schwarz, the party treasurer, Schwarz had regularly replied:
"Herr Hitler, there are no funds."
Then Hitler had pounded his fist on the table and shouted: "Tomorrow morning, Schwarz, I must have a thousand marks!"
And lo! and behold, next morning the thousand marks were there.
"Where he got them doesn't interest me!" Hitler would say.
The question of finance, indeed, has never troubled him much. For a time, perhaps, that was an added strength. At any rate, all the Gauleiter imitated him in it.
"There is money, unlimited money," Forster, our
"Herr Hitler," he resumed the conversation, after the Führer had been for some time lost in a brown study, "what is your opinion of new, revolutionary inventions? Can we count on any such? Is it not a fact that only such inventions compel industrialists to make really big investments, and that it is in this way that industry flourishes again, and a permanent prosperity is created? I mean"—apparently the implications were not entirely clear to Forster—"a further technical improvement of the whole of existence, as after the invention of the steam engine—an improvement of the electrical industry, and then of machines and chemicals?"
I pointed out that Lawaczek himself believed that the day of the great, revolutionizing inventions were past. This was the very reason why he had formulated his unconvincing theory as to the cheap storage of electrical power by means of the electrolytic production of hydrogen and his systematic development of graded falls as a means of producing cheap electric current.
"Engineers are fools," Hitler cut in rudely. "They have an
occasional idea that might be useful, but it becomes madness if it is
generalized. Let Lawaczek build his turbines, and not
try to invent industrial booms. Don't get mixed up with him. I know his
hobby-horse. This is all nonsense, gentlemen. History does not repeat
itself. What was valid in the nineteenth century is no longer so in the
twentieth. Inventions no longer appear of their own accord as a piece of
unprecedented good fortune. Today we control them. We can foretell when and
where inventions are to be expected. But the crucial point is this: we do not
develop them. We allow the possibilities to molder. It is all a question of
the will. One can no longer allow things to work themselves
out. The wealthy countries that have everything no longer need inventions. What
should they do with them? They are merely an embarrassment. They want to get
rich in the old way. They want to sleep, these rich countries—
He paused; and then went on excitedly, gesticulating with his hands and pounding the table, his voice rising in crescendo:
"In one respect Lawaczek is right: what was
once accident must become planned. We must do away with accident. We can! This
is the meaning of the 'great works' that states undertake today—not the
speculators and the bank Jews, in whose interests it is that nothing should go
forward. For this reason we must liberate
the world does not dream today. And we shall
perform them successfully. But we must have
Hitler broke off. It was the first time I had heard anything of his real aims.
But our immediate business was
The first question Hitler put to us was this:
any rate an agreement arranging for mutual legal aid. Hitler elucidated his meaning:
"If the German Reich demands it, is
I still failed to see what Hitler was driving at, but I gave him a negative reply. It was not the custom to hand over political personalities if they had committed no criminal act.
"It might," Hitler explained, "be necessary for me to
transfer my party headquarters outside German territory. Conditions may become
more difficult for our party very soon. It might, therefore, be my intention to
carry on the leadership temporarily from abroad. In
I replied that certainly the present government of
He turned to Forster:
"Forster, we must consider whether it would not be wiser to make
friends with the present government of
Forster did not reply at once.
"What is the earliest date at which you could have an election?" Hitler asked.
"The late autumn," Forster replied.
Hitler shrugged his shoulders.
"That's too late."
We had an extended discussion of the possibilities of an election and the
chances of persuading the present government to permit the setting up of
Hitler's headquarters in
We came to no conclusion.
without irony that Hitler was at one time strongly
in favor of
We began next to discuss the dangerous position in
We then began to discuss the coming war, and the secret armament and defense
measures of the Reich. Even at that time, Hitler thought the chances of an
isolated war against
"We must be strong first. Everything else will follow in due course. I shall advance step by step. Never two steps at once. Remember that, Forster," he added to his acolyte.
Then followed the conversation on war which I have already reported.
The hour was late. Hess had come in more than once. For a moment Hitler left
us to ourselves. He looked down into the valley. Hess explained the
surroundings, and pointed in the direction of
unrelenting hatred at the frontier which closed to him the country of his birth. We sensed that something more than political and national feelings were involved here. This was something deeply personal.
Hitler bade us farewell. We took with us some reflections on our
We took our leave of Hess. A car was waiting for us which drove us down to
THE FIRST BROWN House in
Only a very small circle had been invited here at Darré's
instance in the summer of 1932 to discuss the main lines of an "Eastern
policy." Darré, the youngest party member among
the later "Reich leaders," Hitler's immediate entourage, was specially eager to clarify the future Eastern policy of
cultural and population policy were not enumerated
in that vague and romantically utopian picture.
Darré, as a trained agriculturist, had also accepted responsibility for the practical and scientific accomplishment of the National Socialist principle of race and racial hygiene. He was engaged in the elaboration of a huge and detailed register of the biological heritage of the National Socialist élite, above all the S.S. Commissioned by Himmler, he was working on the pedigree of the new aristocracy—a pedigree for the planned breeding of a race of Herren, on the tested principles employed by all cattle-breeders' associations. Darré showed me his filing-cabinets and the register. At that time Himmler had just decreed that members of the S.S. might only marry by special permission, which was not granted until the couple had undergone searching biological tests.
"The new aristocracy will arise in this way. 'We
shall gather in the best blood only," said Darré,
pointing to his iron filing-cabinets. "Just as we have again produced the
I looked at the great quarto sheets of the register.
"I want all my peasant leaders to enter the S.S.," Darré said. "We shall breed the new aristocracy from the human reserves of the S.S. We shall do systematically and on the basis of scientific, biological knowledge what the old blood aristocracy of former days did by instinct. In this transitional
era we must replace instinct by rational measures. We shall in the first instance make use of the peasantry, insofar as it has the sense to join the movement. We shall also make use of the good heritage of all the old blood aristocracy that has remained pure. I can visualize the formation of 'halls of nobility,' where the new aristocracy, deeply rooted in the soil, will at the same time assume the mission of leadership among alien races. In other words, these halls of nobility will be situated in the foreign-language districts of our future empire."
Darré, whose second wife was a member of an old German-Baltic noble family, was thoroughly revolutionizing the petty-bourgeois socialist conceptions of the party, replacing them by plans for an entirely different type of German agrarian policy. Hitler, who was at that time trying to win over to his views the great landowners east of the Elbe, regarded Darré's ideas with the greatest sympathy. The discussion to which Darré had been invited, with Hitler's approval, dealt in fact with the future Eastern policy as the basis of a new German agrarian and an anti-liberal population plan.
A member of Darré's staff now proceeded to lecture on the problems of space involved in an "Eastern space policy," as Darré called the German Eastern policy. There would have to be, said the lecturer, an alliance of states, such as had in fact begun to develop in the last war. A core of iron, a central great power; Bohemia, Moravia, Austria as integral parts of it; then a circle of smaller, dependent titular states: this, the lecturer explained, was the skeleton of the German empire. The Baltic states, a central Poland, severely cut back to strictly ethnographical lines and without an outlet onto the Baltic, a larger Hungary, Serbia and Croatia cut up into their component parts, a diminished Rumania, a Ukraine divided into a
number of independent districts, South Russian and
Caucasian states: this was the future Reich alliance that was to give
All this, however, the lecturer continued, would remain an idle dream, unless a planned policy of colonization and depopulation were carried out. Yes, a depopulation policy. The great danger for the great white Nordic race was the tremendous biological fertility of the East Baltic races, which, like everything inferior, made up for poor quality by greater quantity, that is to say, by the fecundity of their women. Through the agrarian bolshevism of the post-war period, namely, the splitting up of the large estates among small peasant settlers, this fertility had been increased to an alarming extent. It was necessary to detach the small Slav peasant from the land, and transform him into a landless laborer in order to reduce his fruitfulness. It was necessary to bring agricultural lands predominantly into the hands of the German Herren (squire) class. "The large-scale farmer in the Eastern area must always be a German." The alien peasant must again become a laborer, even an agricultural casual laborer for the Reich itself, or an unskilled industrial worker.
Another speaker further elaborated the political aspect of the agricultural
problem. It was important that there should be no colonization within
"The settlement notions of a Brüning and company are criminal!" cried the speaker, excitedly. "They seduce the
German people to the Chinese ideal. No internal colonization; only genuine colonization by conquest! No small peasantry; only large-scale farming, the creation of a new squirearchy!"
Even the East Prussian policy of pre-war days had been a total
misunderstanding of this great problem, due of course to the spirit of the
Kaiser-Wilhelm epoch, which was polluted with liberalism. And this was the
result, diametrically opposed to the desired one: an increase in the Slav
population and not of the German one. The agrarian bolshevism of systematically
destroying the great estates would have to be firmly suppressed. It was
necessary to re-create from the dwarfed West German farms large agricultural
estates capable of employing horses and machinery. It was necessary to
re-create in the states resulting from the Versailles Treaty the ruined German
property, above all to transfer the large estates in the whole of the Eastern
territory to German hands. An entail law would have to be introduced in
This return to agriculture would never take place in
national markets, a thing which would sooner or later be indispensable.
Darré then addressed the meeting himself. Slav
fertility must be broken, that was one task. The second was to create and
firmly establish a German Herren-class. That was the ultimate meaning
of the "Eastern space" policy. Instead of a horizontal classification
of European races, there must be a vertical one. This meant that a German élite was destined to be the Herren-class
A new social structure was therefore necessary in the
science, and was no longer universally available, that it would again exercise its normal function, which was to be a means of ruling human, as well as extrahuman, nature. But this brought us back once more to the importance of reconstituting a European blood aristocracy, which National Socialism opposed to the international, liberal, money aristocracy.
Just as the German peasantry was the eternal blood source of the German people, and must as such be specially fostered, so must the new aristocracy be secured for all time and protected against the dangers of degeneration by being subjected to the most stringent demands of biological selection, and bound in very special ways to agriculture and the soil. It was the special function of aristocracy beyond the borders of German soil to maintain itself as the outpost of German supremacy. The importance of the East German Junker class had been just this, that they were the masters, the rulers, of a subject population. This had developed their Herren-qualities, and this was why the Prussian Junker had been the finest of German types as long as he had remained untainted by liberalism and Jewish blood relationship. The "new aristocracy of blood and soil" must now take a similar mission upon itself, not only in the interest of its class, but quite consciously in the service of the whole nation. Even those of the National Socialist leaders who had no relations with agriculture would one day have to take over a landed estate, an odal* held in fee tail for their kin. Similarly, the political recruits of the movement would in the more distant future be drawn exclusively from these aristocratic families, whose function it was to rule in the German mastery of the world. Gigantic
* "Among the early and medieval Teutonic peoples, especially Scandinavians, the heritable land held by various odalmen constituting a family or kindred of freeborn tribesmen."—Webster.
tasks were before us. It would be difficult to perfect their technique in the time left before the ultimate total breakdown.
"My party comrades," Hitler replied to this, "what we have discussed here must remain confidential. I think some of our party comrades might grievously misunderstand it. But Darré is right. We must strike off the egg-shell of liberalism, which unconsciously we still carry on our backs. This is difficult for many of us. We have gathered our ideas from every branch and twig by the wayside of life, and no longer know their origin.
"In the main I approve what has been said about our eastern, or 'Eastern space' policy. Only one thing, my party comrades, you must always remember. We shall never be great statesmen unless we have a nucleus of might at the center as hard and firm as steel. A nucleus of eighty to one hundred million colonizing Germans! My first task will therefore be to create this nucleus which will not only make us invincible, but will assure to us once and for all time the decisive ascendancy over all the European nations. Once we have succeeded in this, we shall find everything else comparatively simple.
"Part of this nucleus is
Besides, the post-war period brought with it an internal migration of many millions of people, compared to which our enter-prise will seem a trifle.
"The Bohemian-Moravian basin and the eastern districts bordering on
"In the Baltic countries," Hitler went on, "the case is
different. We shall easily Germanize the population. They are peoples who are
racially closely related to us and would have been German long since, had not
the prejudices and social arrogance of the German Baltic barons artificially
prevented it. For the rest, frontier problems as such interest me very little.
If I were to dissipate my energies on them, we should soon be at the end of our
rope, and the German people would be little benefited. I shall put an end, too,
to the absurdly sentimental views about the
mans live there, but because we require these and other parts to round off our central regions in the west, just as we require Bohemia in the south and Posen, West Prussia, Silesia and the Baltic countries in the east and north."
"Thus far there are no doubts. In the east and southeast, I do not follow
General Ludendorff nor
anyone else; I follow only the iron law of our historical development. When
"My party comrades, I am not thinking in the first instance of economical matters. Certainly we need the wheat, the oil and the ores of these countries. But our true object is to set up our rule for all time, and to anchor it so firmly that it will stand firm for a thousand years. No political or economic agreements, such as Papen and Hugenberg dream of, will achieve this. These are liberal games, which end in the bankruptcy of a nation. Today we are faced with the iron necessity of creating a new social order. Only if we succeed in this shall we solve the great historical task which has been set our people."
The classless society of the Marxists, he contended, was madness. Order always meant class order. But the democratic notion of a class order based on the moneybag was equally mad. A genuine aristocracy was not born out of the accidentally successful speculations of bright businessmen. The secret of our success lay in the fact that we had once more
placed the vital law of genuine aristocracy at the heart of the political struggle. True aristocracy existed only where there was also true subjection. We did not intend to abolish the inequality of man; on the contrary, we would deepen it and, as in ancient great civilizations, create insurmountable barriers which would turn it into law. There was no equal right for all. We would have the courage to make this denial the basis of all our actions, and to acknowledge it openly. Never would he concede to other nations equal rights with the German. It was our task to place other nations in subjection. The German people was called to give the world the new aristocracy.
Hitler then went on to show how this new aristocracy was to be created.
"The part played by the bourgeoisie is finished—permanently, my party comrades," he said. "Do not be deceived by any galvanic currents that may for a moment cause their dead muscles to jerk again. But even these 'upper classes justified by history,' this paper aristocracy, these degenerate shoots of ancient noble families, have still one thing left, 'to die in beauty.' The Herrenklub members and their associates will not be able by the preposterous methods of their clubs and cliques to halt the march of history. I shall certainly destroy no aristocracy which today is still genuine. But where is there any such? If there is any, it will give its support to me. No, my party comrades, we shall not discuss the growth of a new upper class. We shall create it, and there is only one way of creating it: battle. The selection of the new Führer class is my struggle for power. Whoever proclaims his allegiance to me is, by this very proclamation and by the manner in which it is made, one of the chosen. This is the great revolutionary significance of our long, dogged struggle for power, that in it will be born a new Herren-class, chosen to guide the
fortunes not only of the German people, but of the world.
"Not by hair-splitting and experimentation, but in a single historical occurrence, with the rise of a new Herren-class, a new social order will arise as well. We are in the midst of such a process. We stand in the midst of such a revolutionary cataclysm, produced by the abdication of old social powers and the rise of new ones. But the Marxist gentry are mistaken if they think it is the workers who will take the place of the Junkers as the new, leading social power. It is the preposterous mark of the cowardice of the surrendering bourgeoisie that it sees in the industrial worker the mystic savior in accordance with a kind of social doctrine of healing. The worker today, from the political aspect, is as much a temporary symptom of a dying social order as the nobility and the bourgeoisie."
He would tell us what the society of the future would look like.
"There will be a Herren-class," he said, "an historical class tempered by battle, and welded from the most varied elements. There will be a great hierarchy of party members. They will be the new middle class. And there will be the great mass of the anonymous, the serving collective, the eternally disfranchised, no matter whether they were once members of the old bourgeoisie, the big land-owning class, the working-class or the artisans. Nor will their financial or previous social position be of the slightest importance. These preposterous differences will have been liquidated in a single revolutionary process. But beneath them there will still be the class of subject alien races; we need not hesitate to call them the modern slave class. And over all of these will stand the new high aristocracy, the most deserving and the most responsible Führer-personalities. In this way, in the struggle for power and mastery both within a nation and outside it, new
classes emerge; never, as the professors and bookworms would have us believe, through a makeshift constitution, a government decree.
"I fully approve of what our party comrade Darré has said. Our great experimental field is in the east. There the new European social order will arise, and this is the great significance of our eastern policy."
In this connection he wanted to say a final word:
"Certainly we shall admit to our new ruling class members of other nations who have been worthy in our cause. On this point I entirely agree with Darré and Himmler. The racial and biological aspect is only one side of the total process. In fact, we shall very soon have overstepped the bounds of the narrow nationalism of today. My party comrades, it is true that world empires arise on a national basis, but very quickly they leave it far behind.
"And this brings me," Hitler said in conclusion, "to the point we call education or upbringing. As surely as everything we have discussed here today must be kept from burdening the mind of the ordinary party member, equally surely must we put an end to what is known as universal education. Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction."
Here Hitler paused deliberately as if to give us a chance of digesting his astonishing definition of universal education. He then brought his remarks to a close as follows:
"There must be only one possible education for each class, for each subdivision of a class. Complete freedom of choice in education is the privilege of the élite and of those whom they have specially admitted. The whole of science must be subject to continual control and selection. Knowledge is an
aid to life, not its central aim. We must therefore be consistent, and allow the great mass of the lowest order the blessings of illiteracy. We ourselves, on the other hand, shall shake off all humane and scientific prejudices. This is why, in the Junker schools I shall found for the future members of our Herren-class, I shall allow the gospel of the free man to be preached—the man who is master of life and death, of human fear and superstition, who has learnt to control his body, his muscles and his nerves but remains at the same time impervious to the temptations of the mind and of sciences alleged to be free."