Jan. 30. Bill passed to remodel the constitution.
Feb. 25. Oath of absolute obedience to Hitler taken by over 1,000,000 Nazi officials.
March 27. Large increases shown in financial estimates for navy, army and air force.
May 29. In debt
June 14. Official announcement that for six months there would be no payment abroad of interest or sinking fund charges on any of Germany's medium and long-term foreign loans, including Dawes and Young loans.
June 30. Shooting (without trial or arrest) of many prominent Nazi leaders, including former Chancellor, General von Schleicher, and his wife, and Captain Roehm, leader of Storm Troops. Brown Army suppressed.
July 2. Executions in suppression of the revolt officially stated to number 90.
July 13. Hitler stated that 77 lives had been taken on his orders on June 30. Declared action necessitated
by discovery of plot to assassinate himself and Vice-Chancellor von Papen. Reichstag approved action and thanked Hitler.
Aug. 2. Death of President von Hindenburg. Hitler became President, the Cabinet uniting the office with that of Chancellor.
Aug. 3. Entire German Army took new oath of allegiance to Hitler as "Leader and Chancellor."
Aug. 26. Speaking at
Sept. 10. German note to Great Powers,
objecting to proposed Eastern "
Oct. 17. Law passed requiring all Ministers to take personal oath of loyalty to Hitler.
Oct. 31. Official announcement of death sentence for alleged treason on unknown number of unnamed persons.
Nov. 5. Hitler appointed a Commissar to control prices and fight profiteers and speculators.
Nov. 9. Minister of Interior banned discussion of Church affairs in the press.
Dec. 3. Agreement reached that
Dec. 22. Main body of British troops, with Swedish, Italian and Dutch contingents, reached Saarbruecken to keep order during plebiscite.
HITLER'S FOREIGN POLICY
IT WAS NOT till later that Hitler allowed me a more intimate insight into
his foreign policy. The time was the beginning of 1934, and Hitler had just
The conclusion of the German-Polish pact, in spite of all the criticism it
aroused in bourgeois Nationalist and army circles, meant a considerable
improvement. It might have been the beginning of a broad German policy of
federation. In the opinion of the self-styled initiates, the pact was merely a
temporary measure, until
I saw signs of this in his Polish policy. Hitler was chiefly interested in my report because he wished to draw from it conclusions as to further implications of the pact. At length he asked me bluntly:
This was a question for which I was not prepared; it seemed to me at the
time without practical significance. I therefore answered with some hesitation
that this must depend on the extent to which the reduced tension between
"But what will be
I replied that I believed it was in the interests of
"That is true," Hitler replied. "If I conquer Slav territory, I expose the German people to the danger of gradually losing their identity in the preponderance of Slavs."
He walked up and down in silent thought. I seized this opportunity of
outlining for him my own views of a possible great German policy in the east.
My idea was that the frontiers should not be tampered with, but that an
identity of interests should be created across them by a tightening of the
economic and political relations among the central and south-eastern European
states, leading gradually along peaceful lines to a sort of federation. I felt
there was every reason to hope for the assistance of
Hitler had allowed me to talk on. Whether or not he was really listening, I do not know. But at this point he broke in.
"Naturally," he remarked, "I should prefer an eastern policy
of agreement with
Again he fell silent, then resumed:
"At any rate I shall give the Poles a chance. They have men who seem to me to be realists, and they have as little use for democracy as we have. But of course they will have to be generous in their views. Then I shall be so as well."
Hitler asked me whether
that it would not be wise to open negotiations with such demands, though it might be possible to discuss them later. Hitler did not reply to this.
"The struggle against
"Do you plan to attack
"Perhaps," he returned.
"I rather thought your previous remarks implied that," I said.
I replied that perhaps
"I think the gentlemen will have to give up their pretensions to Ukrainian territory," Hitler interrupted me.
I replied that perhaps these considerations were a little premature, as it was
necessary to find out first whether any co-operation was possible at all, and
if so, how far it could be carried. I did not doubt that
the west, then I could not but believe she would
lay claim to the
"I have little use for a military might and a new Polish great power on
my frontiers," Hitler broke in abruptly. "A war with
In that case, I replied,
"Then I shall force her. I have it in my power to force her to
neutrality. It would be a simple matter for me to partition
I asked Hitler what he meant.
"All our agreements with
He paced the room in silence for some minutes.
"I could at any time come to an agreement with Soviet Russia," he
said at last, as he paused and faced me. "I could partition
"Do you seriously intend to fight the West?" I asked.
He stopped and looked at me.
"What else do you think we're arming for?" he retorted.
I said that I thought this would surely call forth a hostile coalition
step, so that no one will impede our advance. How
to do this I don't yet know. But that it will be done is guaranteed by
Hitler then began to talk about his favorite subject, the pacifism of
Hitler laughed scornfully. He would not live to see
"Do you intend to break through the Maginot
Line," I asked, "or will you march into
"If they have time to come in," Hitler returned. "Besides, I
shall neither break through the Maginot Line nor
I must have looked skeptical, for Hitler added triumphantly:
"How to do it is my secret! Of course," he continued after a
pause, "I shall do everything in my power to prevent co-operation between
racy has any more vitality than
"That would be the end. But even if we could not conquer then, we
should drag half the world into destruction with us, and leave no one to
"But that stage will never be reached," Hitler continued, restraining his mounting excitement. "It would only happen if I failed in all my undertakings. In that case I should feel I had wrongly usurped this place. Certainly I shall never blame accident for any mistakes I may make. But fortune follows where there is a firm will."
I remarked that the lesson for
Hitler lost patience with me.
independence," he shouted. "Do you
understand what that means? Is it not clear to you how tragically mutilated we
are by the restriction and hemming-in of our vital space, a restriction which
condemns us to the status of a second-rate power in
"We need space," he almost shrieked, "to make us independent
of every possible political grouping and alliance. In the east, we must have
the mastery as far as the
I asked him whether he was not trying to fly in the face of nature. Was he not trying to do by farce something that could only succeed by a policy of alliances?
I replied that every age has its own methods, and that I thought success very unlikely with methods by which a century and a half ago it had still been possible to found a colonial empire.
But Hitler would have none of this. Banging his fist on the table, he cried at the top of his voice:
"You're wrong, sir, quite wrong! One thing is and remains eternally the same: force. Empires are made by the sword, by superior force—not by alliances!"
This was not the first time, he went on more mildly, but still with strong disapproval, that he had noticed in me an evident tendency towards mistaken ideas about political forces. I was indulging, he told me, in pacifist day dreams. I should remember, once and for all, that all this palaver and pact-making had no permanency.
I reminded him that
"And without the victories of '66 and '70, that union policy would no
more have led to anything than did the chattering of the men of '48 in the Cathedral at
I suggested that perhaps the modem constitution of the
"So," Hitler replied, "you consider the
He paced the room in great excitement.
"In the center I shall
place the steely core of a Greater Germany welded into an indissoluble unity.
Hitler was silent for a little, lost in the contemplation of his vision.
"There will be continual changes in the power relationships," he
presently resumed. "But, after a certain point, these changes will all
work in favor of
With prodigious self-sufficiency, Hitler dilated on these plans, which at the time were all the more astonishing since they seemed to lack the slightest hope of realization. In 1934 they were madness; in 1990 they will perhaps be fact. It is not surprising that a man who has been able to realize so many of his dreams should be drunk with power and believe himself a god.
It is of no interest to pursue these plans in further detail. In part they
have been realized, like the Austrian Anschluss
and the dismemberment of
Hitler's imagination ranged over the entire world. He would attack
a valuable jumping-off ground for air and
underwater attacks on
"In less than eight hours we shall break through to their coast," he told me, in a tone of malignant triumph. A situation might arise, he explained, in which he might risk a great war. In that case, he would remain on the defensive, and leave it to the enemy to take the first aggressive step. On the enemy's doing so, he would then seize on Holland, Denmark, Switzerland and the Scandinavian states, improve his strategic positions, and propose peace under certain guarantees.
"If they don't like it, they can try to drive me out. In any case they will have to bear the main burden of attack."
On my suggesting that another blockade of
"The day of
One other item in this conversation with Hitler seemed to me remarkable, and
that was his view of
"The Italians can never be trained to become a warlike people, nor has Fascism ever understood the real meaning of the great upheaval of our era. Of course we can make temporary alliances with Italy; but ultimately we National Socialists stand alone, as the only ones who know the secret of these gigantic changes, and therefore as those chosen to set their seal on the coming age."
It would be a bad day for
"We must keep our eyes open. Under more favorable conditions, it is our task to carry to a victorious conclusion the war that was interrupted in 1918. If I succeed in that, everything else will accomplish itself with the elemental power of an inner necessity. What lay behind us was a truce; before us lies the victory we threw away in 1918."
Hitler dismissed me with expressions of cordiality, but I had a feeling that
I had lost ground with him. However, he thanked me once more for my efforts in
I learned of Hitler's plans for
We did not, however, reach the point of signing a Soviet-Danzig agreement,
on the basis of which
"Your National Socialism," he told me over an early luncheon,
"is certainly revolutionary, but what have you done with this
revolutionary force? Your Socialism is only a decoy for the masses. You are
carrying out a chaotic, unplanned revolution without a conscious aim. This is
not revolution in the sense of a social advance of human society. You want
power. You are abusing the revolutionary strength of
But it did not take as long as this for relations between Soviet Russia and
National Socialist Germany to be renewed. Actually they had never quite broken
down, not even where the party was concerned. Goebbels was not the only one
who, during the years of struggle, had been well-nigh exultant over the close
relationship between National Socialism and Bolshevism, though he was not so
indiscreet in public. There were a number of Gauleiter
who saw in a German pact with
skeptical for a number of reasons, none of which were ideological in character, all being purely practical. He never attempted the rejection of any agreement on grounds of principle, never, that is to say, among the inner circle of party members.
I mentioned that I had also discussed these plans with Gauleiter Koch of Königsberg.
"Yes, Koch's got a good head," said Hitler. "But I'm worried about him."
Koch was a friend of the disgraced Gregor Strasser, who, as a potential rival, was mortally hated by
Hitler. I took good care not to enter into a discussion of the rivalries
between the East Prussian party cadres. I told him instead about Koch's
"planning center." A young Professor von Grünberg
had devised some fantastic "planned landscapes" of the future, which
were drawn up at his institute. There were plans of means of transport, power
stations, electric lines, roads, railways, and canals. Accurately planned
economic "landscapes" covered the whole of the East as far as the
"Unless we get that, the whole revolution is only a flash in the pan," Koch had told me when I expressed my amazement at the breadth of his plans.
"Koch runs a little too far ahead of reality," Hitler said in
reference to these plans. "He's trying to persuade me that an alliance
I explained that I had not meant an alliance between
"Why?" Hitler asked sharply. "I've said nothing like that." Surely, I suggested, there would be considerable danger of the Bolshevization of Germany.
"There is no such danger, and never has been," Hitler returned.
"Besides, you forget that
either you go with them all the way, or you leave them strictly alone."
Then if I understood him
rightly, I said, he drew a line of distinction
"It is not
I raised cautious objections, pointing out the obvious danger of a planned permeation of party organizations by Communist agents. Most of those who had transferred their allegiance from the one party to the other were engaged as Comintern spies. Hitler rejected these suggestions rather sharply. He would accept the risks, he said.
"Our spirit is so strong, and the power of our magnificent movement to transform souls so elemental, that men are re-modeled against their will."
He feared internal unrest no more from the German Communists than from the
Russian agents of the Comintern. If he were compelled
to make a pact with
have his own second revolution in the background, a revolution which would protect him against all infection from Communist-Marxist chimeras.
"A social revolution would lend me new, unsuspected powers. I do not
fear permeation with revolutionary Communist propaganda. But
I remarked that it was curious how many young people—young Conservatives,
young Prussians, young soldiers and civil engineers—saw the safeguarding of the
future in an alliance with
"I know what you mean—all this chattering about 'Prussian Socialism' and so on. Just the thing for our generals, playing at political games of war. Because a military alliance of this kind seems convenient to them, they suddenly discover that they're not in the least capitalist, in fact that they suffer from a kind of anti-capitalist nostalgia! They are quite happy with their half-knowledge, and think of their Prussian Socialism as a kind of drill-ground discipline in economics and personal liberty. But the matter isn't as simple as that. I can understand that the engineers are delighted with their 'plans,' but this isn't such a simple matter either. They seem to think it is just a question of exchanging raw material for engineering
technique. The engineers, by the way, that they've got over there now are peculiarly rotten.
"These beliefs in a supernational workers'
state," he continued, "with production plans and production districts
can only come out of the misguided, over-rationalized brains of a literary
clique that has lost its sound instincts. It's all
convulsive, false, and a public danger because it obstructs National
Socialism. Perhaps I shall not be able to avoid an alliance with
"But for the time being we may retain the doctrine that Bolshevism is
our deadly enemy. We shall endeavor to go on from the point at which our armies
in the last war left off when the armistice was signed. It is still our task to
shatter for all time the menacing hordes of the pan-Slav empire. Under the
shadow of this supreme power,
upon us. It will open to us the door to permanent mastery of the world. That does not mean that I will refuse to walk part of the road together with the Russians, if that will help us. But it will be only in order to return the more swiftly to our true aims."
HITLER'S FOREIGN POLICY—continued
OBLIGATION TO DEPOPULATE
WAS THIS REALLY Hitler's Russian program?
At that time, I had still no inkling that in fact Hitler might have no definite political aims at
all, but simply rode on the crest of every favorable opportunity, prepared to
surrender everything he had ever fought for, solely in order to strengthen his
power. Perhaps he had improvised everything he said about
Hitler's politics consists in an unscrupulous opportunism which discards with perfect ease everything that a moment before has passed as a fixed principle. His past continues to haunt him—his past as a paid political agent prepared to accept every advantage offered him, flirting with Marxism today, and accepting money from the promoters of a Bavarian restoration tomorrow. Such a political attitude is characterized by two things: first, an unbelievable capacity to tell falsehoods, and
second, a quite disarming naïveté, a total innocence of promises and assertions made only a moment before. Most of these National Socialists, with Hitler at their head, literally forget, like hysterical women, anything they have no desire to re-member. Everyone who has had dealings with Hitler has had the same experience that I had over and over again: when reminded of some former statement he would either stare in blank amazement, or would curtly declare that he had never said anything of the kind.
Only people who indulge in such mental acrobatics are capable of risking elevating into a policy a series of radical changes of front. Only thus could a man believed to be the high priest of a rigid philosophy completely and cynically deny his entire past for the sole purpose of remaining in power.
In the conversation on foreign policy recorded in the last chapter, Hitler made some other remarks that are worth remembering. For example, he referred again to the danger of too great an infusion of Slav blood into the German people. The national character, he declared, would unquestionably be altered by it.
"We have far too much Slav blood in our veins already. Have you never
noticed," he asked me, "how many people in high positions in
"What conclusion can one draw from this?" asked Hitler. "That an asocial, inferior section of the nation is gradually
moving up to a higher social class. This is a great danger to the German people. They lose their character, an alien people takes possession of their language. The nation as a whole is still the German nation. But the German spirit lives in it as in a strange house. The true German is merely a tolerated stranger in his own nation. The Jews have already done their share in bringing this about."
Hitler paused, but I said nothing.
"The least we can do," he continued, "is to prevent this
alien blood from rising higher in the national body. I admit that this danger will
not be diminished if in the near future we occupy regions with a high
proportion of Slav population, which we shall not be able to get rid of very
"We are obliged to depopulate," he went on emphatically, "as part of our mission of preserving the German population. We shall have to develop a technique of depopulation. If you ask me what I mean by depopulation, I mean the removal of entire racial units. And that is what I intend to carry out—that, roughly, is my task. Nature is cruel, therefore we, too, may be cruel. If I can send the flower of the German nation into the hell of war without the smallest pity for the spilling of precious German blood, then surely I have the right to remove millions of an inferior race that breeds like vermin! And by 'remove' I don't necessarily mean destroy; I shall simply take systematic measures to dam their great natural fertility. For example, I shall keep their men and women separated for years. Do you remember the falling birth-rate of the world war? Why should we not do quite consciously and through a number of years what was at that time merely the
inevitable consequence of the long war? There are many ways, systematical and comparatively painless, or at any rate blood-less, of causing undesirable races to die out.
"And by the way," he added, "I should not hesitate a bit to say this in public. The French complained after the war that there were twenty million Germans too many. We accept the criticism. We favor the planned control of population movements. But our friends will have to excuse us if we subtract the twenty millions elsewhere. After all these centuries of whining about the protection of the poor and lowly, it is about time we decided to protect the strong against the inferior. It will be one of the chief tasks of German statesmanship for all time to prevent, by every means in our power, the further increase of the Slav races. Natural instincts bid all living beings not merely conquer their enemies, but also destroy them. In former days, it was the victor's prerogative to destroy entire tribes, entire peoples. By doing this gradually and without bloodshed, we demonstrate our humanity. We should remember, too, that we are merely doing unto others as they would have done to us."
THE NORTHERN MYTH
astonishing that both in and outside
In the old Hanseatic city
"Northern Society," the purpose of which was to foster the
cultural and personal relations between
In keeping with old Hanse traditions, a
culture of mankind had not arisen round the
A great deal of this sort of nonsense was spoken. The public, according to its cultural background, was either disgusted or naively enthusiastic. In the former category were members of old senatorial families who had lost their influence. But, precisely because the whole thing appeared so silly and sentimental, hardly any of us guessed that this was a subtle performance behind which lurked a serious purpose.
Here is the explanation:
In the conversation already recorded, Hitler had said that in a future war
there would be no neutrals. And he added that the Northern States belonged to
I suggested that the military subjugation of this vast, and to a large extent wild, peninsula must entail a disproportionate drain on our resources. To this Hitler replied that there was no question of occupying the entire country, but only the important ports and industrial centers, above all the iron-ore mores.
"It will be a daring, but interesting undertaking, never before attempted in the history of the world," he pointed out. "Protected by the fleet, and with the co-operation of the air force, I shall order a series of unexpected individual exploits. The Swedes will nowhere be prepared to put up a sufficiently strong defense. But even if one or other of these exploits
should fail, the overwhelming majority of strategic points will be held."
On my expressing surprise, he added that to ensure the political success of
this enterprise, it would be absolutely necessary to possess a close network of
supporters and sympathizers in
"I shall in every possible way make it easy for them to adhere to this
determination," he explained, "more especially by declaring that I
have no hostile intentions. I should tell them I did not wish to conquer them,
but wanted only an alliance that was entirely natural and would certainly also
be openly desired by
I must admit that when I first heard this, I refused to take it seriously. But I believe it ought to be so taken. One thing, however, is certain: Hitler is not interested in the pure Aryan blood of the Scandinavians, nor in the northern myths of Viking heroism. He is interested in the iron-ore mines. The
President of the Reichsschrifttumskammer, Herr Blunck, and our Swedish friends are playing gratuitous parts in a play the background of which they have never seen.
THE WORLD PROPAGANDA TROUPE
The various German organizations in different parts of the world are all in the same position. Largely without their knowledge, their functions are all being terribly distorted. Only history will show how great an accumulation of trust and belief has been wantonly destroyed. All these overseas German communities have become the breeding-ground of a mushroom growth of propaganda, flourishing in the dark, which has run through all the stages up to effective espionage. Every German, whether still a German national or a citizen of the country in which he was living, was impressed into the service of this enormous machine. Every organization that did not explicitly state its aims as being anti-Nazi was more or less the agent of a system of political propaganda, an espionage center that far exceeded all legal and legitimate limits.
Hardly any of the participants understood the nature of the growing movement. All we could see was the internecine struggles of the various cliques for powerful and lucrative posts. For years this vulgar quarreling went on in all the over-seas German associations. It was an undignified scramble of all the political sections, old as well as new, under the banner of loyalty to the Führer, for the favor of the leading circles in the Reich, that is, of the men who held the country's purse-strings, and were in a position to dispense honors and recognition to the ambitious. Unfortunately there were all too many such in the new Reich. There were at least seven party organizations in charge of overseas German societies used for propaganda and intelligence. Not one of them had the well-being and preservation of the German spirit at heart. They were all committed to the task of making Germandom abroad
the instrument of a gigantic, world-embracing system of secret service.
The German communities abroad were permeated with jealousies and quarrels, and there was so much confusion and disagreement that outsiders looked on in amazement and scorn. They were inclined to regard this "struggle for power" as a purely German concern, and, in their contempt for its pettiness, to overlook its essential menace.
We, too—myself and some of my friends in the German diplomatic service abroad—failed to understand the dangerous game played at Hitler's orders by unscrupulous party members. The spirit of overseas Germandom, indispensable to our reputation and our standing in the world, was being jeopardized. I emphasize this point because this abuse of the representative German spirit has called forth great indignation abroad, and threatens to destroy something that may never be restored again. If every foreigner all over the world is regarded with suspicion as the possible agent of a hostile power, then we shall soon be back in a state of general barbarism. It is necessary therefore to point out that certainly the great majority of Germans have quite unconsciously and unwillingly been made use of by the National Socialist machine. The blame should be laid exclusively at the door of Hitler and one or two of his lieutenants, especially Hess.
It was with Hess, the Führer's deputy, that I had
frequent conversations about the Germans in
struggle to be given to Germans living abroad. I knew nothing of this function, and acted in good faith, believing that I was merely reconciling adherents of the older order with the newer elements.
I was present at a meeting of overseas Germans. The speeches themselves were
not startling. But in conversation with the new representatives, members of the
Hitler Youth, of
Not long after this, I had occasion to hear Hitler's own views. Early in the summer of 1934, a conference of a small circle of people took place in Berlin, attended by some of the older school of representatives of Germans abroad, and a number of younger people who had not hitherto occupied responsible positions. There were present also representatives of the great German societies in other countries. One of the older representatives (long since fallen into disfavor) had asked me to attend because of my many years of preoccupation with the problem of minority rights and cultural autonomy. He expected me to exercise a restraining influence on the new elements. But there was no question of anything of the kind. The conversion of the minority pacts into a real European minority law for the whole of Europe, and a new and permanent European order without another war of revenge—things for which we had been hoping for more than a decade—were completely ignored. The discussion turned on economic questions, on the support of newspapers, the removal of distasteful committee members, the transfer of property—in short,
the quarrels of the cliques. But the climax of the meeting was a short address by Hitler.
"Gentlemen," Hitler began, after each one had been presented to him personally, and had the privilege of "looking into his eyes," "gentlemen, you have been entrusted with one of the most essential tasks. You are needed for something more than the fostering and strengthening of the German spirit which has engaged you so far. You must also train it into a fighting company. You are not out to gain parliamentary rights and limited privileges for the German spirit. Such rights might even be a hindrance rather than a help. You have therefore no longer to do your best, according to your lights, but to obey orders. What may seem to you advantageous may, from a higher point of view, be injurious. My first demand from you, therefore, is blind obedience. You are not the judges of what is to be done in your district. Neither shall I always be in a position to explain to you in detail what my intention is. Your obedience is the fruit of your trust in me. This is the reason why I have no use in our circles for representatives of the old parliamentary system. Such gentlemen will have to resign. They have tried to solve the problem in their way. Now we have no further use for them. If they will not give up their posts willingly, you are to remove them by any means necessary. The policy of the overseas German groups is no longer to be debated and voted upon, but to be determined here by me, or by my deputy, Party Comrade Hess.
"As the front line of our German fighting movement, you will make it possible for us to complete the occupation of our positions, and to open fire. You have all the functions that we older men carried out in the last war. You are the army's outposts. You will have to prepare definite enterprises far in
advance of the front. You will have to mask our own preparations for attack. You must regard yourselves as at war. You will be subject to martial law. Today you are perhaps the most important section of the German nation. The nation and myself will always be grateful to you for whatever sacrifices you may have to make for the future Reich."
Hitler knew how to appeal to young people, and in fact they glowed with enthusiasm, and spoke afterwards of this meeting as something that would affect their whole lives. Hitler then began to handle tactics. He was not disposed to take it too seriously, he said, if there were transient disagreements among certain groups and factions. The party had thriven not only on external struggles, but on internal ones as well. It was futile to worry about such rivalries. Wherever there was life there was also struggle. For other reasons, too, he did not consider it desirable that there should be only one privileged society in every country. By all means let there be tension and differences of opinion. This might even prove useful as a means of masking their true aims from the authorities.
"It is a good idea," he said emphatically, "to have at least two German societies in every country. One of them can then always call attention to its loyalty to the country in question, and will have the function of fostering social and economic connections. The other one may be radical and revolutionary. It will have to be prepared to be frequently repudiated by myself and other German authorities. I want to make it quite clear, too, that I make no distinction between German nationals and Germans by birth who are citizens of a foreign country. Superficially we shall have to make allowances for such citizenship. But it will be your special task to train all Germans, without distinction, unconditionally to
place their loyalty to Germandom before their loyalty to the foreign state. Only in this way will you be able to fulfill the difficult tasks I shall give you. I must leave to your discretion the means by which you train your fellow-Germans to this new discipline. It will not always be possible without friction. For me, success is the only criterion. The means are of no interest to me. But whoever opposes you should know that he has nothing more to expect from the German Reich. He will be outlawed for all time. And in due course he will reap the fruits of his treacherous attitude."
Hitler concluded his address as follows:
"It will depend on you, gentlemen, whether we reach our goal with
comparative ease and without bloodshed. You must prepare the ground.
the true chosen people of God, become in our dispersal the omnipresent power, the masters of the earth."
It was a period of suspense; the storm of the 3oth June, the German St. Bartholomew's night, was approaching. Indignant at this criminal nonsense, I seized the opportunity not long after of speaking to my friend, who was going abroad as the accredited representative of the Reich, about the consequences of this policy. We walked up and down in the Tiergarten for hours, discussing the possible means of liberating the German people from this adventurer.
It was not long before the party leadership began to show suspicion of me.
Hess's head office sent me a telephone message in which I was curtly forbidden
to take any further part in problems connected with Germans abroad, above all,
the Germans in Poland. Soon after this, a telegram of congratulation which I
had sent to the former Chancellor von Papen on the
occasion of his famous
I had one further opportunity of speaking on the problem of the Germans
abroad. This was shortly before my resignation in the autumn of the same year.
A meeting of the representatives of overseas Germandom
had concluded their conference with an excursion to
HITLER'S FOREIGN POLICY—continued 149
of a "purified" National
Socialism. The word was understood and placed me on the black books of
One more opportunity I had of acting on behalf of the Germans abroad, at
least of those in
The conversation proved to me
that he, too, was prepared to repudiate
all treaties and standards of justice as irrelevant in the decisive struggle for power. These minority treaties, he claimed, had hardly benefited even
the minorities themselves. He could accomplish more for the Germans in
I went on to ask if and when
A DANGEROUS GAME
BARON VON NEURATH is not a member of that Prussian aristocracy of the sword which is so much decried as lacking all culture, but a representative of South German aristocracy, which is regarded as measuring up to European standards of culture. One day in the spring of 1934 I was invited to lunch with him. With characteristic joviality he slapped me on the shoulder, saying:
"Let it run its course. In five years, no one will remember it.
I had hinted to him my apprehensions that
The choice in 1934 was between continuation of the revolution and a real restoration of order. Up till then, each man had interpreted the German revolution in the light of his own political aims and desires, but it had become suddenly clear, at least to the thoughtful and intelligent, that this German upheaval really was a revolution. But whither was it leading? Evidently to an indescribable destruction of everything that had hitherto been accepted as the basis of all national and social order. Could we look on any longer with our
hands folded? Was it not necessary to put an end to it and, even at the risk of another coup, to drive out the whole gang of brown-shirts?
But would this be possible without a civil war? And could
These were thoughts which many "anxious patriots" in every
political camp shared with me. From the early days of 1934, the desire had been
growing to put an end, cost what it might, to the evil spell which must bring
Suddenly the Roehm affair became acute. The Reichswehr (the army) understood the dangers threatening it from the new revolutionary nihilism. The army leaders saw, unhappily only from their technical point of view, the imminent disintegration of military discipline, and the extreme dangers of the recently instituted rearmament. Perhaps the Reichswehr was ready to put an end to this situation.
I knew Roehm only slightly. In the spring of 1933, soon after the party's accession to power, Forster had introduced us to each other. We had driven out to the Hotel Fasanenhof
in Charlottenburg, where Roehm usually stayed when he was in
"We've just beaten up the game for the generals," he grumbled.
Could not Forster use his influence with the Führer
on Roehm's behalf? The entire National Socialist
revolution would be bogged if the
"Adolf is a swine," he swore. "He will give us all away. He only associates with the reactionaries now. His old friends
A DANGEROUS GAME 153
aren't good enough for him. Getting matey with the East Prussian generals. They're his cronies now."
He was jealous and hurt.
"Adolf is turning into a gentleman. He's got himself a tail-coat now!" he mocked.
He drank a glass of water and grew calmer.
"Adolf knows exactly what I want. I've told him often enough. Not a second edition of the old imperial army. Are we revolutionaries or aren't we? Allons, enfants de la patrie! If we are, then something new must arise out of our élan, like the mass armies of the French Revolution. If we're not, then we'll go to the dogs. We've got to produce something new, don't you see? A new discipline. A new principle of organization. The generals are a lot of old fogeys. They never have a new idea.
"Adolf has learned from me. Everything he knows about military matters, I've taught him. War is something more than armed clashes. You won't make a revolutionary army out of the old Prussian N.C.O.'s. But Adolf is and remains a civilian, an 'artist,' an idler. 'Don't bother me,' that's all he thinks. What he wants is to sit on the hilltop and pretend he's God. And the rest of us, who are itching to do something, have got to sit around doing nothing."
He filled his glass, with wine this time, and went on:
"They expect me to hang about with a lot of old pensioners, a herd of sheep. I'm the nucleus of the new army, don't you see that? Don't you understand that what's coming must be new, fresh and unused? The basis must be revolutionary. You can't inflate it afterwards. You only get the opportunity once to make something new and big that'll help us to lift the world off its hinges. But Hitler puts me off with
fair words. He wants to let things run their course. He expects a miracle. Just like Adolf! He wants to inherit an army all ready and complete. He's going to let the 'experts' file away at it. When I hear that word, I'm ready to explode. Afterwards he'll make National Socialists of them, he says. But first he leaves them to the Prussian generals. I don't know where he's going to get his revolutionary spirit from. They're the same old clods, and they'll certainly lose the next war. Don't try to tell me! This is where you're letting the heart of our movement rot."
He was full of abuse of the Prussian officers. Too scared to put their noses outside the door. Coddled cadets, that had never seen anything but the military academy and the war office. But he was a revolutionary, a rebel! He nearly burst into tears. The restaurant was nearly empty by this time. The adjutant took him away.
I had very little to do with Roehm after that.
This outpouring seemed to me, albeit partly inspired by strong drink, to reveal
the tragedy of a man who had creative talents of a sort, a man who, in spite of
everything, was a rebel, as he himself said, and knew how to die. On Christmas
Day, 1933, he deprived me of my rank in the
I mention all this because a conversation with Hitler in February of 1934 showed me not only the Führer's superiority to his entourage, but also the dangerous game he was playing, a game which, when he was close to being deposed, saved him —at the cost of his friend, it is true—and made him one of the commanders of the newly created army. He seemed to
have betrayed the revolutionary ideas of this friend, but it was only a seeming betrayal.
At that time everything was still fluid. Hitler had to adapt the realization
of his "gigantic" plans to the difficult conditions of internal and
external politics, and could take only small, cautious steps forward. He
therefore felt an uncontrollable craving to assure himself of the greatness of
his historical significance by continually returning in discussion to his
world-embracing plans. With regard to the current difficulties, Hitler told me
he would conclude any pact that would allow
I guessed from this that he would regard a pact on the German limitation of
arms merely as a temporary facility for himself and the army, and not as a permanent
regulation. He mentioned the difficulties of keeping such matters secret, and
the rapid pace of rearmament. Inevitably the quality would suffer from such
speed. He would therefore welcome a temporary pause in armament. He had
gradually received the impression that perhaps the responsible generals had
"bitten off more than they could chew," and he feared a disaster in
case, during the present transformation of the professional army of the Reichswehr into a people's militia, the need should
arise of defending
submitted to the judgment of the generals and "the old gentleman" (Hindenburg), who had stubbornly insisted that he was the supreme authority, and the only real expert, and would have the final decision.
I asked whether this plan included the general arming of the
"This plan is discarded," Hitler replied. "Enthusiasm and
willingness are not enough. The arming and equipment of a great army is a
serious and difficult problem. My
After a pause, Hitler continued:
"The day of the mass army is not past.
served. Of course, in view of the increasing
importance of mechanized units, an ever larger part of the army will have to be professional soldiery serving for a
long period. But the best of these professional troops cannot be selected on
the basis of their revolutionary feeling or their status in the party, but
solely on their technical qualifications. I can't seriously be expected to draw
the material for my military élite from
the bow-legged and knock-kneed
It was not difficult to recognize in this the arguments of the army leaders who were resisting Roehm's aspirations.
"The revolutionary feeling," Hitler continued, "which is so much on the lips of some of our party comrades, who seem to think they have a monopoly of it, is in fact a decisive factor, the importance of which I shall never overlook. We cannot simply take up the pre-war traditions where we left them. In accordance with our doctrines, we must create some-thing entirely new. If the army leadership were to continue artificially to shut itself off from the National Socialist spirit, I should certainly not tolerate it. In that case, I should intervene at the proper moment. But for the present it is necessary to master the technical problems. They must not be complicated by other questions."
Hitler seemed to be reasoning with himself:
"You mustn't be impatient. I have really every reason to be impatient myself, but I suppress the feeling. For yourselves you make things easy, but for me you make them hard," he quoted unconsciously from the Meistersinger. Then he lost himself in the greatness of his task, which would not end with the creation of a vast army and the production of the required armaments. The spirit alone was the decisive factor, the spirit of unity, which filled officers as well as men. It
would all be incomplete and soon decay again if he did not succeed in imbuing the new army with the new, revolutionary spirit. He would therefore never renounce the thought of making the army the carriers of the same ideas as the party. The spirit of the army was the essence of the people's mass spirit. There must be no contradictions here. He would sooner have a technically imperfect instrument with the right enthusiasm than a technically flawless one which lacked soul and spirit.
"But," he added, "I shall attain what I consider indispensable by slow and determined degrees. We shall see which of us has the tougher will and the greater patience, the generals or myself. My aim is to get a specially trained and technically first-rate corps, shock troops consisting of long-serving party comrades, which will at the same time represent the National Socialist spirit in the national defense. The mass of the conscripts, on the other hand, will sink more and more to the level of second-rate troops with the function of a well-trained militia whose essential task will be defensive. The road is difficult and circumstantial. I must walk it because we have something more to establish than the army alone. But I shall never renounce the aim of firmly incorporating it in the National Socialist state as its strongest member outside the party itself."
Hitler's judgment was not always so detached and moderate. Three months
later, in the closest circles of the party leader-ship in
He could grant no monopoly to
the old Reichswehr. In the preparation
of universal conscription, it would be necessary firmly to resist all the
attempts of the reaction to seize control of the army, and thereby of
If Hitler had really said this, then it plainly showed the influence of the men round Roehm, and the fact that the internal crisis had become acute. It meant that they had torn him out of his lethargy. Later I heard Hitler in person, in the course of a visit I paid him in company with other Reich leader. Hitler was on the point of dismissing us, but was still deep in his explanations.
"It is madness," he said violently, "to attempt to make revolutionary wars with a reactionary army."
Evidently he had accepted the opposition of his entourage, and constituted himself its radical mouthpiece—a threadbare tactic that he loved, and by which he had repeatedly circumvented troublesome objections.
"I shall refuse to approve the plan for universal conscription. The German people is at the present stage incapable of satisfying the needs of conscription without jeopardizing the constructive work of National Socialism."
Without previous National Socialist training, Hitler insisted, indiscriminate arming of the German people would be well-nigh a crime. A professional army must first be created, and none but the party organizations might be called upon to complete it. If he was told that these organizations lacked the necessary training, then he replied that revolutionary élan was worth twice as much as lifeless military drill.
"HE'S LEADING US TO RUIN"
What had happened to cause Hitler, driven into a corner, to speak the language of the radicals in the party? Evidently the crisis had sharpened. A decision was unavoidable. But what was Hitler's aim? Was he simply drifting with the tide? Was he not the man he made himself out to be? The more the broad masses began to believe in Hitler, the deeper grew the doubts of the old revolutionary guard. Was this the National Socialist revolution?
"Hitler dead would be more valuable to the movement than Hitler alive," was the sentiment beginning to circulate among initiates.
"Away with the clown!" cried the radicals. There were demands for
the second revolution, the true revolution. Hitler was only the precursor, the
Hitler must be removed, some said. Hitler must be kidnaped, rescued from the claws of his reactionary friends, said others. In the spring of 1934 the danger of reaction became intensified.
"Unless Adolf breaks through, he's finished," the
"Adolf belongs to us!" clamored those who still felt some loyalty for
him. There was perhaps no one with less popularity among the revolutionary
But was he any more fortunate with his "reactionary" friends? That same spring I had addressed a group of heavy industry magnates at Essen Mining Syndicate (Essener Berg-
A DANGEROUS GAME 161
at a social gathering after the meeting I found them in the blackest depression
regarding the political situation. The general complaint in private
conversation was: "He's leading us to ruin." Some time later the
present Commander-in-Chief, General von Brauchitsch,
Hitler was isolated.
What, actually, was the aim of the second National Socialist revolution? Hitler knew his party members very well.
"There are people," he said, "who believe that Socialism means simply their chance to share the spoils, to do business and live a comfortable life."
Unhappily, this conception had not died out with the
Hitler had told me this in connection with a discussion on the raising of a "structure of graded classes" (ständischer Aufbau), an abortive effort to build up a corporative economy and constitution which Hitler very soon relinquished.
He knew perfectly well that every phase of a revolution meant a new set of rulers. The flood-tide of a second revolution would wash new men to the top. Would it not mean the end of Hitler and his immediate associates? Was it at all possible to keep the reins in one's hands, once the revolt of the proletarian masses was unchained? In spite of his armchair battles, Hitler was afraid of the masses. He was afraid of his own people.
"Irresponsible elements are at work to destroy all my constructive labors," he said. "But I shall not allow my work to be shattered either by the Right or the Left."
He gave out that treacherous elements within the party, agents of
He had received information that Roehm had intentions of kidnaping him—a suspicion which kept cropping up every time Hitler hesitated to strike at the right moment. On the other hand, it was certain that he must eventually—unless his antagonists were exceptionally stupid—have become the secret captive of the Conservative circles, to be employed as the taskmaster of the revolutionaries, the tamer of that wild beast "the masses."
Hitler for a long time felt tempted to place himself at the head of the radicals of his party and demand a second revolution, thereby retaining at least a semblance of leadership, and possibly even regaining, after some time, the real leadership. Intense struggles for power were at that time going on in the inner circles, very little of which ever came to the ears of the public. But it is to be assumed that the outcome was not an accidental one. For it proved that Hitler, in his insight and his far-sightedness, is infinitely superior not only to his
party clique, but also to his Conservative opponents and the leaders of the Reichswehr.
DISSOLUTION OR OPEN REVOLT?
In the background, one man was waiting: Gregor Strasser, Hitler's great antagonist within the party. Once again the same alignment took place as in the autumn and winter of 1932, when the party was threatened with a split, when General von Schleicher conceived his plan to make the trade unions and the social wing of the National Socialist movement the mass foundations of his government. This solution, pre-mature in 1932 and distasteful to the big industrialists, seemed now, after the universal muddle created in a year and a half of the National Socialist regime, the only possible alternative both to a fierce revolution of the S.A. and the sterile mass demagogy of Hitler. It would have provided the permanent form of a new constitution, supported by the Reichswehr.
Everything happened again exactly as in 1932: the contemptible cowardice of
the National Socialist civil servants, who tried to find cover in every
direction, and the sentimental speeches of Hitler's inner circle, proclaiming
eternal loyalty to the Führer. "Hard times are coming. We must remain true. Perhaps we
shall have to start from the bottom again." The same
thing in 1934 as in 1932. The indolence and softness Hitler
displayed betrayed the questionable greatness of the "leader." Was
this really the heaven-sent liberator of
The same thing had happened during the critical winter of 1932-33, and now we had it once more, with a slightly different coloring, as a premonition of the great decision to come.
I had been present at the last meeting of leaders before our seizure of
Was not the position essentially the same as that of 1932 and 1933? The
difference was merely that Roehm now stood on the one
hand, preparing his radical revolt, but on the other, in the background, Strasser, the potential successor, the exiled, the
disgraced, the hated rival. Hitler knew that if he
took Roehm's side, the Reichswehr
would restore Strasser and split the party. Strasser, the man who had spoken of the anti-capitalist
nostalgia of the German people, would return and, together with Conservative,
Liberal and Socialist sympathizers, create the new
street-corner agitator of proletarian mass revolution, while Strasser, the anti-capitalist, became the friend of generals.
Hitler made his decision. He made it out of hate and jealousy. The 30th June
broke. He struck down more than the rebellious
PAST THE CIVIL WAR
THE BLOOD-BATH might have been greater. A secret plot had been made to murder Hitler and place the blame for his death on the middle class. This was to be the signal for a real "night of long knives."
It is a matter of indifference whether Roehm had really intended a "betrayal," or had merely played with the idea of a second revolution, and then dropped it. It was a repetition of the Wallenstein* tragedy in the new German gangster republic. Nevertheless, there was something of genuine tragedy in the dark events of June 30th, when more than a thousand party members were shot without trial, and many others, innocent of any crime, were simply murdered. The speech by which Hitler tried publicly before the Reichstag to justify his act was in every detail an unprecedented collection of falsehoods and abominations. It was this "justification" which turned an act of qualified self-defense into a crime. True, it silenced the opposition, but at the same time it inflicted a wound that has never since ceased to fester and to poison the life of the people.
A few days after this speech, I had to see Hitler on a matter —of merely
* Famous German general of the Thirty Years' War, murdered by some of his officers.—Translator's note.
ent at the meeting were Schwerin-Krosigk, the Minister of Finance, von Neurath, the Foreign Minister, and Forster, the
"Why don't you let the poor man get some rest?" Neurath asked, unwilling that Hitler should be disturbed at this juncture. However, the conference did take place, and it was evident that it was not Hitler who had been defeated in the recent conflict. The two bourgeois Conservative Reich ministers were anxiously servile in their manner towards the Reich Chancellor. This was something very different from the once much-contemned fawning on the former monarch. This was abject fear of the hangman. A friend of mine, a high official of one of the ministries, had warned me when I talked to him about the chaotic state of affairs, in which there seemed no hope of a solution.
"For heaven's sake be careful," he begged me. "The walls have ears."
Fear stalked the corridors of the Foreign Department—fear of fresh violence,
of the outbreak of open revolution, of the sudden shots of the Gestapo. Every
time a door was suddenly opened the staff saw on the threshold their potential
executioners, ready to shoot them down without a word. They were all conscious
of the same guilt, at least in thought and desire. They had all had the same
hope concerning this sallow-faced man who roared at them ferociously and never
wanted to listen, but only to lecture others. They all hoped that at last they
were to be delivered from him. And then, instead of hope, came this deep fear
and restraint. What would become of the individual, what would become of
once proceed to open revolution. Those circles
which had forced him to mete out bloody justice, instead of allowing him time
to settle matters peaceably, according to his wish, would then bear the
All this I heard less in outspoken words than in whispers and stammers.
Everyone felt that the 30th June had been no solution. And "the old
gentleman," Hindenburg, already too aged to have a clear conception of
things, the hand of death already descending upon him, "stood by" in
They had all disappeared like rats in their holes, all these Nationalist opponents who only a few days before had been importantly discussing their plans to overthrow the government, and had already distributed Cabinet posts and instituted proceedings against the embezzlers of public funds.
"Don't expose yourself and us to ruin," I was implored by friends in Berlin with whom, only a few weeks earlier, I had discussed the reconstruction of Germany—with whom, to put it bluntly, I had conspired. Many people refused to receive visitors, and lived in retirement. Whoever was able to do so traveled, concealed himself, slept every night in a different place.
The most difficult thing to understand was the attitude of the army. They had got their wish: Roehm was removed. The independence of the Reichswehr was assured. That was enough for them. They had no use for civil unrest. They reserved the right to make a special investigation into the shooting of the two generals, von Schleicher, the former Reich Chancellor, and von Bredow. They allowed their one opportunity of shaking off the National Socialist yoke to go by. Without political insight, uncertain and vacillating in every-
thing except their military calling, they were anxious to return as quickly as possible to ordered and regular activities. This failure of the high officials and officers, and also of the big industrial and agricultural interests, was symptomatic of their further attitude. They were no longer capable of any statesmanlike action. In every crisis, they would again be in the opposition, but would always recoil before the final step, the overthrow of the regime.
With his peculiar intuitive gifts, Hitler at once sensed the vacillation of his bourgeois antagonists. But at first he too had little of the demeanor of a victor. With swollen, distorted features, he sat opposite me as I made my report. His eyes were lifeless. He did not look at me, but sat playing with his fingers. I had the impression that he was not listening. At length, however, after asking me one or two questions, he made his decision along the lines I suggested. All the time, I felt that disgust, weariness and contempt filled his mind, and that his thoughts were far away.
After we had taken our leave, he suddenly recalled Forster and myself.
"Just a moment, Rauschning," he said, in a clearer tone, as though he were just rousing himself. Then to Forster, "Just a moment, I want to ask you something more."
I wondered what he was going to say, but it was soon evident that all he wanted was not to be left alone.
"Tell me more about
Forster cut me short, and complacently related all that had been done, and
all that could be done if only
His eyes were expressionless, and gazed fixedly into the distance. Then he looked at the floor. Forster had finished with a question, but there was no reply. A pause ensued.
Hitler rose and began to walk up and down. Some time before this, he had transferred his office to a large new room, hung with tapestries and paintings; here he paced the long floor-space between the door and his desk, his hands clasped behind him.
There were rumors that since the bloody occurrence he had been able to sleep only in snatches. At night he prowled restlessly up and down. Sleeping tablets either did not help, or he would not take them, for fear of being poisoned. It was alleged that he had started out of his short, uneasy sleep in convulsive fits of weeping, and had been sick repeatedly. Wrapped in blankets, and shaking with ague, he had remained sitting in a chair, believing he was poisoned. One moment he wanted everything lit up and the rooms full of people, and the next he could not bear to see anyone, fearing even his most intimate friends. The only one whose company he still tolerated was Hess. Buch, the executioner, was said to inspire him with a positive horror, but he dared not show it. As a matter of fact, his nerves had, it was alleged, completely deserted him at the crucial moment, and everything had been done without his knowledge, though in his name. For a long time he had not known the whole terrible truth, and even then was not informed as to the full extent of the executions.
"I am determined to pursue the absolutely legal path, and no one shall persuade me otherwise," he now began his self-justification. "All the representations that were made to me, all the difficulties ahead of us—I saw them long before these officious pessimists did, and made allowance for them. I have not been surprised by anything that has happened. With the
same unalterable certainty, I shall attain the gigantic aims of our revolution. I don't need the assistance of critics and busy-bodies who want to make their own licentiousness the law of our development. These people take pleasure in prophesying to me daily the certain shipwreck of our movement, and in exaggerating the difficulties inherent in the initial stages of every great achievement. They would encourage me and themselves in our difficult struggle much more by emphasizing the positive instead of the negative side of our great work. I know far better than they that we have not the power yet. But my will is the final one. Whoever fails to obey my orders will be destroyed. Nor shall I wait until their insubordination is already evident to all the world. I shall strike as soon as I have so much as a suspicion of their disobedience. Firm and unwavering, I shall continue on my path."
Hitler gave himself up to such generalities for some time. Suddenly his mood changed.
"With the old gentleman at death's door, these criminals make such difficulties for me!" he cried indignantly. "At a time when it is so important to decide on the successor to the Reich presidency, when the choice lies between myself and one of the reactionary crowd! For this alone these people de-serve to be shot. Have I not emphasized time and time again that only the inviolable unity of our will can lead our venture to success? Anyone who gets out of step will be shot. Have I not implored these people ten, a hundred, times to follow me? At a moment when everything depends on the party's being a single, close entity, I must listen to the reactionaries taunting me with the inability to keep order and discipline in my own house! I must accept the accusation that the party is a hotbed of insubordination, worse than the Communists! I must hear them say that matters are at a worse pass than they
were under Brüning and Papen! I must listen to their ultimatum—these cowards and poltroons! I, I!" he screamed.
"But they're mistaken," he went on in a quieter tone. "I am
by no means at the end, as they think. They're all mistaken. They underestimate
me because I have risen from below, from the 'lower depths'; because I haven't
had an education, because I haven't the 'manners' that their sparrow brains
think right! If I were one of them, I suppose I should be a great man, even
now. But I don't need them to assure me of my historical greatness. The
insubordination of my
"I have spoiled their plans. They thought I would not dare; they
thought I was afraid. They saw me already wriggling in their net. They thought
I was their tool. And behind my back they laughed at me and said I had no power
now, that I had lost my party. I saw through all that
long ago. I've given them a cuff on the ear that they'll long remember. What I
have lost in the trial of the
PAST THE CIVIL WAR 173
"If I call on the people today, they will follow me. If I appeal to the party, it will respond, more closely knit than ever. They will not succeed in splitting my party. I have destroyed the ringleaders, as well as the potential ringleaders that have been lying in ambush. They have tried to estrange me from the party in order to make me a weak-willed tool in their hands. But I stand here stronger than ever before. Forward, Messrs. Papen and Hugenberg! I am ready for the next round."
It was thus that Hitler kept his courage up. He dismissed us—a man who had just dosed himself with the morphine of his own verbiage.
THE SECOND REVOLUTION
Hitler had prophesied correctly. His great coup was successful. He became the successor of Hindenburg, who died in Neudeck in August—died too soon, or too late. Few know what lies behind the army's oath of allegiance to Hitler. I am not one of those few. Before the removal of Hindenburg's body to the Tannenberg war memorial, I saw it lying in Neudeck on a plain iron bedstead, in a small simply-furnished room. Neudeck was a modest example of the East Prussian manor-house as I had known it from my childhood. How different from the clamorous objectivity of the modern building, or the self-indulgent luxury of the new rulers! It was the same type of country house as Kadinen, one of the favorite seats of the former Kaiser. Family traditions bound me to the Neudeck estate, my great-grandfather having returned from the Napoleonic wars more than a century ago as an adjutant of the brigade of von Beneckendorf and von Hindenburg. I had been received in audience by the aged Field-Marshal
early that same year in
That summer at Neudeck, already doomed, he had still on occasion been cheerful and in good spirits. A Japanese prince who visited him was still able to amuse him with stories of exotic customs. He could laugh and make innocent jokes—something of which his Reich Chancellor Hitler was incapable. He had received Hitler's report on the executions of the 3oth June, and thought everything had been dealt with in the most satisfactory way. He had even consoled Hitler when the latter complained of the difficulty of his task. There could be no birth without blood, he told him. And the new, great German Reich could not be born without the spilling of some blood.
On his death-bed, between the lucid moments and the fancies of the dying
Field-Marshal, something must have happened which we do not yet know. One thing
is certain: Hindenburg died with the command to his successor to re-instate the
Hohenzollern dynasty. He could imagine a secure future for
His son Oskar greeted me after my final view of the old Field-Marshal. There was no time for anything but the most perfunctory salutations. The property was closely guarded by the S.S.
I attended the funeral ceremony at Tannenberg, and
noted the execrable taste of the funeral oration, which Hitler concluded with
the blasphemous suggestion that the aged and devout Christian was entering
Hitler had succeeded. The second revolution was postponed, but he was the
Shortly after the funeral, Hitler spoke in a circle of his intimates, about the second revolution, and his views were circulated among the initiated members of the party. It was in this way that they came to my ears; I was not present at Hitler's private celebration of his official recognition as "Führer" of the German Reich.
"My Socialism," he is reported to have said, "is not the same thing as Marxism. My Socialism is not class war, but order. Whoever imagines Socialism as revolt and mass demagogy is not a National Socialist. Revolution is not games for the masses. Revolution is hard work. The masses see only the finished product, but they are ignorant, and should be ignorant, of the immeasurable amount of hidden labor that must be done before a new step forward can be taken. The revolution cannot be ended. It can never be ended. We are motion itself, we are eternal revolution. We shall never allow ourselves to be held down to one permanent condition."
What he had done, he said, would remain incomprehensible to many people. But he had been justified by success. Within six weeks, his opponents in the party had already been shown that the events of June 30th were necessary and correct.
"Externally," he went on, and these, I was told, were his exact words, "I end the revolution. But internally it goes on, just as we store up our hate, and think of the day on which we shall cast off the mask, and stand revealed as those we are and eternally shall remain."
He was not yet, he continued, in a position to tell them all that he had in mind. But they could rest assured that
Socialism, as the Party understood it, was not concerned with the happiness of the individual, but with the greatness and future of the whole people. It was an heroic Socialism—the community of solemnly sworn brothers-in-arms having no individual possessions, but sharing everything in common.
But the first task was to create order, to re-arm and prepare for the war that was unavoidable, and that meant the bringing about of the best possible social and economic conditions for preparedness for battle. The German system from thenceforth would be that of the fortified military camp, and all thoughts of self and private needs must go.
"And," he added, "the