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GERMANY: Happy Hitler

3 minute read

For 22 years Adolf Hitler was a grim, lonely figure, brooding bitterly over the humiliation imposed on him and Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. Like a neurotic who has exposed the source of his own neurosis to himself and dominated it, fortnight ago, when the Germans conquered France and expunged the old humiliation, a new Hitler began to appear. His gloomy, impenetrable reserve began to flake off. When the French capitulation was handed him he actually snapped his fingers, chuckled, did a little goose step (TIME, July 8). Last week the new Hitler was happier than ever.

Beaming with pleasure, the Führer rolled into Berlin in his special antiaircraft-guarded train, smiled at wildly celebrating crowds. Stepping onto the red-carpeted platform where Nazi bigwigs crowded to welcome him, he listened with frank delight to the metallic clamoring of bells, the roaring Heils of Hitler Youth and Hitler Maidens, the trumpeting blare of a Storm Troopers’ brass band.

Under the green-decked, beflagged arch of the station entrance, down oak-garlanded stairs lined with Elite Guard troopers, he marched, smiled and saluted acknowledgment to straining thousands in the streets. With the savage chant of Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! ringing in his ears, he entered his automobile, began a triumphal journey to the Chancellery as crowds cheered and wept themselves into hysteria. On either side swastika banners covered the building fronts, garlands of flowers hung across the street on golden cords, bands thundered out continuously his favorite Badenweiler March. The pavement beneath was a multicolored blanket of flowers strewn by white-bloused Hitler Maidens. Overhead the sun shone bright. It was a happy day.

With special loudspeakers blaring out an account of the proceedings for those unable to see, the Führer appeared on the balcony of the Chancellery. Waving to the throngs in the Wilhelm-Platz below, he turned to the Nazi leaders around him, talked, laughed, poked them in the ribs. Only after several minutes of horse play did he turn to the crowd, grinning and waving some more.

“The Führer will appear once more,” rasped the loudspeakers. “He has important conferences and asks you all to go home.” Instead, the crowd began singing We Are Sailing Against England. Happy Hitler came out on the balcony again, then went inside for good. The throngs slowly dispersed, into the falling darkness of blacked-out Berlin.

The German press whipped itself up to find extravagant titles, came through with “Lord of Battle,” “Victor of 1940 and Victor over 1918,” “Rouser out of Stupor,” “Leader from Darkness into Light,” “Triumphator.”

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