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GERMANY: WE DEMAND!

16 minute read
TIME

(See front cover) Adolf Hitler in repose can look as flaccid as a circus fat lady, but so far as the German people know he never rests from his heroic labors, dashes constantly up and down the Fatherland in multi-motored planes, never smokes and subsists wholly on fruit, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products. Last week the Vegetarian Superman flew over Poland’s hated Corridor to a big cozy country house at Neudeck in East Prussia. There he gripped hands with that hearty eater of tenderloin steaks, pork sausages, pigs-knuckles and chopped raw beef & onions, President Paul von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg. In a sense the meeting was historic. It marked a knife line between the original Hitler Cabinet containing “Safeguard Ministers”—old & trusted friends of Der Reichspräsident—and a new Hitler Cabinet which the events of the week showed will be without safeguards and 100% harmonized with the Nazi Party’s will. In flying to Neudeck last week Herr Hitler had not come to report. He had come to tell Herr von Hindenburg to put his mighty autograph* on a state paper accepting the resignation of the first “Safeguard Minister” to be forced out by Nazi pressure. Dr. Alfred Hugenberg, Germany’s greatest press & cinema tycoon who had been Minister of Agriculture & Economics. The President yielded with extreme reluctance. Then,President & Chancellor talked deeply of the fate of German Protestantism (see below). There was no accounting of the Chancellor’s stewardship, not Adolf Hitler, not Paul von Hindenburg, is now the master. The facts of 150 days of Nazi rule spoke last week loudly for themselves: Resurgence. Overlooked or minimized by many a foreign reporter in his distaste for Nazi bluster and brutality is the great German fact of RESURGENCE, the lifting up in heart and soul of a people tired of remembering their defeat in 1918, their impoverishment under inflation and the feeling ever since that Germany had ceased to be a Great Power. In unlacing this straitjacket of a national inferiority complex no Nazi has helped Adolf Hitler so much as the taut, vivid, sometimes hysterical, little man whom all Germany knows as “The Doctor,” famed Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, now Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment. To an amazing degree Herr Hitler and Dr. Goebbels possess in common the trick of talking to grown Germans as if they were children, yet with such furious fire, conviction and intensity that the soul of the German listener is uplifted and soars in joy. “Germany can no longer be ranked as a second class power!” cries Hitler. “Be proud of Germany!” shouts Dr. Goebbels with his curious but effective gesture of clenching both fists close to his bosom as though about to tear his chest. “Be proud of a Fatherland for which millions sacrificed their lives! Strike a rogue more than once! Believe in the future—then only can you be a victor!” Profoundly the resurgent German does believe in the Fatherland’s future and nothing helps him more than the Goebbels-Hitler method of explaining away all Germany’s defeats and trials in terms of the Jew. True Germans were not defeated in the War, so runs the Nazi tale for grown-up children. They were betrayed by Jewish pacifists. Marx was a Jew! In the welter of German revolution the Jews fomented a German Republic essentially Marxist. Under inflation “which only the Jews understood,” they bled true Germans white by their scheming speculation. Somehow or other they had something to do with the mountain of debt the Allies piled on Germany. All these “facts” are profoundly important in the Germany of today. They are at the root of national resurgence. By blaming everything on their Jewish fellow men, other Germans are escaping from their mental prison of inferiority. Louder and louder the Minister of Propaganda dins with clenched and pounding fists the exhortation he has thundered from half the platforms and over all the radios in Germany: “Never forget it, comrades, and repeat it a hundred times so you will say it in your dreams”THE JEWS ARE TO BLAME!” Labor. Next to Bolshevism, brown-shirted Hitlerism is the system of political thought which lays most stress on sheer work. But there is a difference, subtle, personal. Josef Stalin, imperiously masculine, commands and lays down as the essence of Sovietism every citizen’s NECESSITY TO WORK. Like a woman Chancellor Hitler prefers to appeal rather than command. To a great audience of workers, mostly young, mostly unemployed, he had the genius to cry “GERMANY NEEDS YOU!” Today the old trade unions have been definitely smashed and State-appointed “trustees of labor” dictate in every industry wages and working hours. Official Nazi figures of the registered unemployed show that they have been reduced from above 6,000.000 during the winter to below 5,000.000 in June. Last week, however, neutral observers reckoned, despite the official figures, that Germany’s unemployment situation has grown worse since Chancellor Hitler’s rise to power. Totalitätstaat. Of Nazi achievements thus far definitely the biggest has been to transform Germany from a republic of federalized states into a tightly centralized regime in which all rival parties are being rapidly squashed to make what Propagandist Goebbels loves to vaunt as Der Totalitätstaat, the totalitarian or One Party State. Even before the Reichstag met in Berlin’s banner-hung Kroll Opera House to vote the Hitler Cabinet supreme power (TIME, April 3), the German Communist Party, third largest in the Reich, had been outlawed by a Hindenburg decree. Prominent Socialists, men like iron-jawed Otto Braun, for years Premier of Prussia, lied in panic to Switzerland long before the Socialist Party was actually dissolved by Nazi might (TiME, July 3). Last week with a dozen smaller parties collapsing right and left, Germany reached the issue of whether the Nationalist Party, always the stanchest supporter of President von Hindenburg, could continue to exist. That issue was solved as Chancellor Hitler flew to Neudeck. In Berlin the executives of the Nationalist Party met behind locked doors, stared at each other with haggard, questioning faces. What was there to do? The Press of the Nationalist Party has been the Hugenberg Press. Now Dr. Hugenberg was being forced out of the Cabinet and his papers would certainly be stooped from championing Nationalists. In despair the executives announced “The Nationalist Party is in voluntary dissolution.” Only one other German party of importance remained, the Catholic Centrists. Hobbling into the fray last week club-footed Dr. Goebbels (who won his Heidelberg doctor’s degree on a Catholic scholarship) erupted at Stuttgart. “Our standpoint is: WE TOLERATE NO OTHER PARTY!” he screamed. “We annihilate other parties! If they do not dissolve voluntarily we will dissolve them.” Parties aside, the steps by which Chancellor Hitler mastered and centralized the organs of German government in his Cabinet’s hands are three: 1) Statthalters or viceroys have been sent to every German state; 2) the Statthalters appoint the state premiers who pick their own state cabinets; 3) the state cabinets are responsible directly to the German Cabinet in Berlin and cannot be removed by the state legislatures which have thus been robbed of virtually all power.

To weed every vestige of Jewry out of his totalitätstaat, Chancellor Hitler last week barred from holding national, state or municipal office and also from jobs in the Reichsbank and on the State Railways ali “non-Aryans” (people with one or more Jewish grandparents). Also barred are spouses of “non-Aryans.” Finally even pure Aryans are barred unless they swear as office holders “at all times unconditionally to support the National State.” Churches. Like most East Prussian Junkers, President von Hindenburg takes pride in his stork, a dignified bird which returns each spring to nest at Neudeck. Last week Chancellor and President found the stork their most pleasant topic of conversation, later sat down with faces slightly grim to talk of the Hitler State’s drastic efforts to obtain sway over German Protestantism. The 85-year-old President is a devout Protestant. The Chancellor, though reared a Catholic, seldom goes to church, has sev-eral times been threatened with excommunication. What he and Old Paul said remained, naturally, their secret. But the same day his guest flew back to Berlin, the President drafted with his own hand a long, anxious letter to Adolf Hitler whom he addressed as “Highly Esteemed Herr Reichskanzler.” The letter recalled that Germany’s 29 chief Protestant groups, the Evangelical Christians, joined together last month in a holy alliance against the “German Christians” (Hitlerite Protestants) and elected as their Reichsbischof the Rev. Dr. Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, beloved ”Bishof of the Poor” (TiME, June 12). Fortnight ago the State maneuvered Dr. von Bodelschwingh into resigning as Reichsbischof but last week Evangelical Christians passed from hand to hand a pastoral letter in which Dr. von Bodelschwingh declared: “My compulsory resignation does not cancel the charge I received from the hands of God. … I call on the uncounted multitude of the faithful to close their ranks and not to lose courage!’

Meanwhile Chancellor Hitler’s closest clerical friend, a blatant Army chaplain, the Rev. Ludwig Müllcr, assumed the Reichsbischof’s prerogatives last week, ordered bugle music at service in all the big churches and locked himself in his study “to redraft The Lord’s Prayer.”

At this Nazi “German Christians” rejoiced. Evangelical Christians denounced “outrage upon outrage” and President von Hindenburg wrote to Chancellor Hitler: “From the continuance, let alone the exacerbation, of these conditions the gravest damage must result to our people and Fatherland as well as injury to national unity. I therefore feel myself obligated to God and my conscience to do everything in my power to avert such damage.

“From my discussions of these questions with you yesterday I know that you, Herr Reichskanzler . . . are prepared to cooperate. … I am most confident that your statesmanlike farsightedness . . . will bring about the desired union of ihe various churches.

“With friendly greetings, your “VON HINDENBURG.”

Until this letter had well sunk in, Chancellor Hitler lay low last week, then sent up an amazing trial balloon. Nov. 10 will be the 450th birthday of Martin Luther. Flatly acting ReichsbischoF Müller stated that the Chancellor would then renounce Catholicism, become a Protestant and join “The National Evangelical Church.” Since Reichsbischof Müller is Herr Hitler’s close friend this announcement thunderstruck the Fatherland. Were even Catholics going to be dragooned into a National Church, a Nazi Church? For half a day Chancellor Hitler let the sensation sizzle. Suddenly he decided that Catholics must not be pressed too hard— just yet. In an official Government communique acting Reichsbischof Müller’s words were branded as “inventions from the whole cloth and lies. The Chancellor belongs to the Catholic Church and has no intention of leaving it.” Spiritually German Catholics breathed easier. Politically they were almost forced last week to give up the ghost. Utmost pressure was put on the Catholic Center Party to dissolve. Into their midst “The Doctor” stuck his sharp propaganda harpoon. “If I may be permitted,” he sneered, “to give the Centrist party a piece of gratuitous advice it is this: CLOSE YOUR SHOP. There are no more customers coming your way! If we remove the Centrist party from the realm of politics we shall have done the Catholic Church a good service.” Thus incited, Nazi police raided in Berlin six Catholic organizations whose headquarters they padlocked: the Catholic Peace League; Catholic Storm Troop; Windhorst League; Flock of the Cross; Peoples Union of Catholic Germany and Catholic Young Men’s Association. With religious frenzy mounting, half-naked Nazis appeared in Berlin wearing strips of animal skins and ancient Teutonic horned caps. Loudly touting a return to the worship of Thor and Wodan they celebrated in a Berlin stadium the “Festival of the Swastika” (Nazi symbol), seemed to consider their acts religious. Sunday found banners with the pagan swastika or Hakenkreuz (“hooked cross”) stuck up beside the cross of Christ in a majority of Berlin churches, though not in the provinces. Preaching from the text He that is not with me is against me, Hitler’s fiery acting Reichsbischof Miiller thundered: “Adolf Hitler has been sent by God to save the Fatherland! On the day he became Chancellor, he said to me ‘Everything seems like a miracle of God!'” While churchgoers were digesting this, 47 Nazi brides and bridegrooms marched through Berlin in snakedance formation led by a blaring Storm Troop band. At the huge Lazarus-Kirche perspiring Pastor Lenkning married them in batches, sent them off rejoicing to a Bohemian brewery where they blew froth with 1,000 wedding guests. Popping up among the brides & bridegrooms, club-footed Dr. Goebbels urged them, all at the top of his lungs to increase & multiply, bestowed on each couple “a picture of myself and family” (i. e. self, wife, daughter & stepson). But at sundown there came a sobering voice from the unterrified Throne of St. Peter. The Pope had decided to sign a “concordat” with the Nazis. And even Dr. Goebbels’ Press could not disguise the fact that the “concordat” left the Pope unconditional master of his German flock in all that pertained to religion. Tycoons & Junkers. When worried President von Hindenburg let “Safeguard Minister” Dr. Hugenberg go last week he withdrew support from Germany’s most pampered class—his closest friends and neighbors, the East Prussian Junkers (landed proprietors). The Junkers, sunk as a class in debt, have clung to their lands for years through special Government grants of credit and decrees to block foreclosure. Chancellor Hitler appointed as Minister of Agriculture a Nazi famed as “The Friend of the Small Farmer,” Herr Walter Darré. As every Junker knows Herr Darré regards their class as a feudal excrescence on new Germany. Sermonlike, his pamphlets all have lengthy titles impressive to yokels, such as A New Aristocracy, But Of The Blood And The Soil and The Peasantry As The Living Spring Of The Nordic Race. With Herr Darré in the saddle last week Old Paul’s Junker friends seemed doomed. Agriculture was only half of Dr. Hugenberg’s Ministry. Economics, the other half. Chancellor Hitler split off last week and placed in charge of a steady-going German insurance tycoon, Dr. Kurt Schmitt. There was, however, a catch. Dr. Schmitt, a man of no political prestige, will have as his Undersecretary and mentor famed Gottfried Feder, the “Nazi Ideologist,” inventor of the Party’s distinction between two kinds of capital: raffendes or “grasping loan capital” and schaffendes or “creative industrial capital.” In practice this distinction means that a Jewish lender or an industrialist who does not contribute to Nazi funds is liable to be denounced as a Shylock with raffendes Kapital while non-Jews and regular contributors-to-the-party are left unmolested with their schaffendes wealth. Last week Germany’s tycoons, whose business is increasingly regulated by the Ministry of Economics, shivered at the prospect that so loose and ingenuous a thinker as Herr Feder should have so much power. German industry today is described by Berlin economists as “stagnant.” It needs the life blood of fresh capital. German capitalists, whose deposits abroad run into billions, are unlikely to bring much of this money home while they do not know from one day to the next whether a man’s capital is really schaffendes and good or likely to be reclassified as raffendes, with ensuing Nazi reprisals. Prominent Nazis like Dr. Goebbels have of course no worries about whether their capital is schaffendes or raffendes. They can do no wrong. “The Doctor” lives in markedly sumptuous style with his beauteous wife, their baby daughter, and her little son by a previous marriage. When enemies charged that Frau Goebbels is distantly descended from a Jewish family named Friedlander, “The Doctor” produced no evidence but flew into a towering, effective rage. “Let whosoever desires to do so look upon my wife!” he challenged. “Let them convince themselves with their own eyes of her non-Jewish origin!” “WE DEMAND!” Unable, like the Roosevelt regime, to show an upturn in national business, the Hitler Government continued to ride last week the great wave of its successful propaganda, continued to rely more and more heavily on spry little, clubfooted. Dr. Goebbels. Nazi fanatics for a “pure race” contend, in the case of other Germans, that a club foot proves “bad blood,”but Dr. Goebbels is the great exception. Born in the Rhineland of middle class parents, he managed to study by fits and starts at six universities: Freiburg, Bonn, Wurzburg, Cologne, Munich and Heidelberg where he won at last the degree which makes him now “The Doctor.”Restless, neurotic, fond of taking long rambles at night, he turned to poetry and wrote a bad play. The Wanderer. When rejection slips piled up he put it away. Today State theatres play The Wanderer and Nazi audiences who know what is good for them wildly applaud. The year before Adolf Hitler and General Erich Ludendorff tried their “beerhall putsch” in Munich (TIME, Nov. 19, 1923), Dr. Goebbels had attached himself to “The Supreme Leader” as a useful handyman and organizer, always bobbing up when wanted in a raincoat two sizes too big. When Herr Hitler was convicted of treason and given a light sentence of “detention in a fortress” it was Dr. Goebbels who kept the party machine from disintegrating, handed it back a useful tool to Herr Hitler when he got out a year later. In 1926 only South Germany was strongly Hitlerite. Socialist Berlin remained hostile, cold. “The Doctor”north. Soon he and his newspaper Der An griff were the scourge of Berlin. At one time 126 libel suits were pending against Editor Goebbels. Coarse, provocative, scathing and sometimes close to obscene (especially when describing the habits of Jewish Berlin officials), “The Doctor” created a furor, won thousands of adherents among Berlin’s disgruntled youth and proved up to the hilt his scathing maxim: Mit den Augen der Masse sehen—das ist das ganze Rätsel der erfolgreichen Propaganda. (“See with the eyes of the masses—that is the whole secret of successful propaganda!”) This secret, shared and exploited by Goebbels and Hitler, accounts in no small degree for their success. Statesmen like the late Dr. Gustav Stresemann could not see with the German masses that what was needed was a philosophy of defiance and escape. Today Minister of Propaganda Goebbels plays on the entire German press, stage, screen and radio (to use his own expression) “as upon a vast keyboard.” In lieu of solid Nazi achievements, for which Germany must wait, the Government provides sensation after sensation, from the burning of un-German books to threats (not as yet carried out) to sterilize Jews. “Ours is a program without compromise,” is his rallying cry, “backed by men who will carry it out passionately! “A watchword without formula, but filled with living energy! WE DEMAND !’

*Modest in other respects, Der Rcichsprädsident carrier a monster fountain pen with a nib three sixteenths of an inch wide. With this weapon of vanity he signs municipal golden books in such heroic style that the thirteen letters von Hindenburg sprawl a full nine inches long.

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