German culture and literature

HANS FRIEDRICH BLUNCK
Honorary President of the Reich Chamber of Literature, Member of the Reich Culture Senate and of the Senate of the Academy of Literature

At first glance it may seem strange that a poet and writer of fairy-tales has been chosen to write this article on German culture policy, when so wide a choice from among leading politicians was available. Perhaps, however, the selection was symbolic, because creative artists in Germany to-day are concerning themselves, as never before, with the rising and falling fortunes of their fellow-countrymen. Certainly that romantic age which consigned the writer to an isolated garret existence has gone for ever. If only in this respect, we, in Germany, have turned from the romantic period of Europe to the classic, when some of the great creative thinkers were also leading personalities in the State.

Another motive made me particularly happy to accept the invitation to co-operate in the writing of this book. I was born in Schleswig-Holstein, a country jealous of its Anglo-Saxon heritage, where we are all intensely aware of our relationships and where also, since the time of Storm and Kroger, we have been fully alive to the dual nature of the creative artist’s work. This duality, so frequently found in England, is probably a common inheritance.

Galsworthy, who was my friend during the last year of his life, always seemed to me to be the perfect example of a well-balanced individual, who possessed at the same time the attributes of a strong leader. He was an Anglo. Saxon of the type that we, in this Hanseatic land, appreciate and love – not only from personal sympathy, but also for old sake’s sake.

Occasionally I discussed with Galsworthy the part that writers could play in our restless Europe, and I still remember the tolerant smile with which he said that we writers would never be able to act and write as statesmen, because our ideals, conceptions and convictions must always be bound by some inward necessity. Perhaps, he said, our position may be, for this reason, particularly strong, and perhaps it may not be a bad thing for the people of our respective countries if, by using our imaginations, we can cover with some sort of nobility even the coldness and self-seeking prevailing in European politics.

In considering Germany’s present culture policy, a starting-point must not be made at the complacent and satisfied Europe which was commonly shown to the British and French reading publics before the German revolution. Instead, we must examine those terrible times through which our country passed, when it seemed impossible that it could ever rise again from defeat and hopelessness, especially the latter. A military collapse can never produce such bad effects as an injustice; the broken promise that lay between the Armistice and the Peace Treaty was probably that which most deeply hurt the feelings of our humanitarian population, and indeed still does. For long it seemed that all attempts to build up a new Reich were condemned to failure, and as if a death dance had begun which would end in the complete ruin of our thousand-year-old State. Let it not be forgotten that the Communists were on the point of securing the largest representation in the Reichstag and that all the restraints of the old order were breaking down. The middle classes, supporting a liberalism which they did not understand, and pervaded with the instinct of self-seeking and self-preservation, were apparently no longer in a position to offer any resistance. The currency, after one breakdown, was threatened with yet another collapse. Thousands of peasants were driven from their homesteads, which thus became the property of the mortgagees, and the workers – sick of unfulfilled promises – were definitely hostile to the bourgeoisie. Hundreds of pretentious developments in the sphere of the arts were hailed for a moment as substitutes for religion, only to disappear a few weeks later. Words and figures were bandied about, only to sink again into obscurity, like spooks which had strayed for a moment from the land of shadows. A small gang of alien immigrants from the east drew their profit from the sorrows of a whole nation, spreading like a blight over the country. The cradles stood empty, and everyone lived for the hour or the day because there seemed to be no future. Whatever sensibility or pride remained was destroyed by humiliations suffered through our foreign policy.

These were the conditions out of which National Socialism arose, and beneath its wing our “Wartburg Circle,” literature’s adventure against the forces of decay, was formed. The “Academy” remained firmly a left-wing institution, while the powers of progressive conservatism collected around Johst, Beumelburg, Münchhausen, Kolbenheyer, Grimm, Schäfer, and Vesper (the author of this article is, of course also a member of this group). The glowing poetry of certain younger men, amongst thern Anacker, Schumann, Böhme, Möller, Nierentz, Eggers Meusel, Brockmeier, Oppenberg and Helke formed an accompaniment to the political development of the times. Amongst the dramatists, I would specially mention Rehberg, Bethge, and Langenbeck.

There is no doubt that these groups were the first to awaken a response in the minds of the common people throughout the country. Post-war artistic achievement had no wide appeal, based, as it was, either on eroticism, or concerned with expressionism or cubism, and directed only towards a small public. The right-wing opposition, however, succeeded in winning the appreciation of the youth. Readers, turning away in disgust from the eternal psycho-analytical studies, found a young art flourishing in their midst, that reminded them of their national history, that made their country-side bloom again and whose subject matter was not limited to descriptions of city life. Here were poems, tales and essays for which the man in the street, almost unknown to himself, had had a secret longing. In short, the rift between writers and people, that had yawned wider and wider during the post-war years, started to close again. Here was a literature which – though not ignoring the old forms – was rooted in the countryside, was closely in touch with the feelings of the people but was also vitally connected with the political happenings which were then heralding a new era.

The culture policy of the State has shown clearly enough that the debt of gratitude to creative artists has not been forgotten.

Perhaps it should first be made clear what is meant by this expression “culture policy,” for misunderstandings arise only too easily in the babel of modern Europe.

It is the duty of the State to cultivate harmony between the political and private life of the people – neither more nor less. Therefore, without limiting, or acting against, the achievements of the individual, it seeks to promote the broad conception of “People’s Culture,” to encourage their inherent taste for decoration, for picturesque celebration and for their own ancient customs, and to direct these so that they conform to those “Christian ethics” which are valid throughout Europe. The German State also accepts it as a duty to discover those who are capable of speaking for the people, and who, every now and then, have tried to gain the light of day, only to be overshadowed by the acceptance, formerly so readily accorded, of foreign values. Those who wish to know something of this subject should read the book, The Tyranny of Greece over Germany, published by the Cambridge University Press. German history can reveal over and over again how the so-called educated classes kept their distance from the mass of the people, and attempted to form their own autocracy. The present Government, on the other hand, seeks to emphasise the connection between the old literature and the new, and the relationship of both to the people. This is not achieved by laying a compulsion of any sort upon the creative worker. The Government does reserve to itself, however, certain rights of choice and the right to issue recommendations. What other more fortunate nations accept as a matter of course, namely the possession of an art inherently national had still to grow up in Germany and to be assiduously cultivated.

This problem was solved in 1933 with comparative ease, largely thanks to the opposition of the “intellectuals” to the former regime, an opposition that had sprung up before the revolution.

Thanks are also due to the energetic preparation of the ground and to the intellectual values which the modern conceptions “Nationalism” and “Socialism” had been given in Germany since the pre-classic, the Sturm und Drang period, and since the time of Herder and the youthful Goethe.

Nothing, surely, could make a stronger appeal to the artist’s sense of justice than Herder’s conception of “Nationalism” – that is to say, the ordering of Europe in accordance with the self-governing rights of the nations, and the refusal to recognise any interference on the part of neighbouring States. I am well aware that the word “Nationalism” has a different meaning in every European country, and it is one of the Continent’s greatest misfortunes that this apparently universal expression creates nothing but misunderstanding and that we all mean something different when we use it. Nationalism in England means more or less the same as “Imperialism”; in France it means “Chauvinism”, while in Germany it means exactly the opposite, namely, the right of all nations, in the sense of Volkstümer, to develop along their own lines, within their borders. In Germany, in fact, it means nothing but an aspect of the old longing for freedom, the dream of a Europe in which the free nations live peacefully as neighbours.

Again, the religious sensibilities of the artist cannot be more profoundly stirred than by the conception of true Socialism, as the fittest expression of national solidarity. The rationalist, or Marxist, foundation of Socialism was overthrown because it was based on class warfare, but it was a Socialism grounded in religion that attained power in Germany with the arrival of National Socialism. I must go further: I must maintain that it did not only attain power, but it gave Europe the most perfect example of living Socialism extant, so far, of course, as this could be achieved by a people which disposed of no raw materials. It is hardly a matter for surprise that the artist, who ever inclines towards the essentials of faith and pity, eagerly embraced the theories of the new State, that he accepted Nationalism as self-government of the people, Socialism on religious grounds, and that at the same time he rejoiced exceedingly over the new and intimate relationship with all his countrymen, without the barrier of class prejudice that was the gift to him of the new State. I will not conceal that it was the younger writers of the new movement who passionately accepted the change, which was a difficult matter for those who had fought hard and long in the ranks of the opposition, and upon whose individualistic ideas the demands of the time placed hardships, which forced them for a space into loneliness. It may seem paradoxical, but I am quite sure that the new leaders of Germany are fully aware of the essential loneliness of the creative artist. All the same, however, German writers to-day know what happiness it means to stand before a crowded, youthful audience on a winter evening and to read to them ballads, stories or essays that meet with true appreciation. The writer who stands up and reads his works to a crowd of factory workers, and who sees the meaning of his words truly understood by them, realises enough to want to hold firmly to the relationship between writer and people, which seemed at one time to have been utterly lost.

Perhaps I have dwelt too long on the consideration of that background against which the astonishing change in Germany took place. I thought it necessary because so many of my English friends interest themselves in various details of the organisation of the Third Reich, but know little of the intellectual “behind the scenes” of the change; I might jestingly say that we, the third – or continental – Anglo-Saxon group, feel that we have a certain responsibility towards the Reich on behalf of our next of kin in the United Kingdom, and that we would so gladly restore the bridge that existed for five centuries between England and Germany, so perhaps my discursiveness may be pardoned. In compensation, I will answer more pointedly the questions – What were the practical measures taken in connection with culture policy in new Germany? and How was the close relationship between the State, the people and the artists – desired by National Socialism – achieved? For (and of this there can be no doubt) the relationship exists, even though the voice of complaint is now and again raised, and even though there are aspects of the achievement that could be improved. These things are unavoidable when sweeping changes take place. On the other hand, there is no organised opposition group, a fact that has led our neighbours (who cannot believe that it is really lacking) to suppose that it does indeed exist, but has been artificially suppressed. My friends, anyone who knows anything about the soul of a writer and about the courage of the creative worker, must surely also know that a real opposition cannot be suppressed, and must realise that the wonder of the German unity is that it is actually based upon true community of heart.

This miracle of which I speak is the more remarkable in that the economic situation of the artist was anything but rosy – as is probably always the case in times of revolution and change – during the first few months of the new regime. Adherence to it was, therefore, a sacrifice rather than an exploitation. It must be admitted at once that the State very soon took steps to ameliorate the initial difficulties, but such emergency assistance is not to the taste of the artist, who wishes to live by his work. Nevertheless, financial assistance given to artists during the first two years of National Socialism amounted to more than had been available for two decades before – a sign of how seriously the situation was taken. It was not long before the new theatre replaced the old organisation destroyed by the revolution, and before Kulturgemeinden (Culture Communities) were created which, even in the smallest German towns, invited writers to deliver lectures and readings, and made them the principal speakers at country gatherings. At the earliest possible moment attempts were made, through the organisation Kraft durch Freude (Strength through Joy), to bring to the ordinary workers their past and present heritage in literature, music and art. From the moment that National Socialism achieved power, it strove to make of the “proletarian” the “fellow-countryman,” equal heir with all to Germany’s intellectual kingdom. In 1936, no fewer than two million workers visited exhibitions and attended plays, and often lectures, organised in the factory buildings. Two literary “agencies” were set up, and helped in their own way: endless patience was expended in the reading of manuscripts, and it was recently announced that all the writings “hidden away in Germany’s old chests and cupboards” had now been examined as to their literary merit. Everything of value was handed to one or another of the great publishers, but in future it will be the task of the latter alone to make their selections.

Among the great organisations in modern Germany, there is scarcely one that has not concerned itself, either more or less, with the arts: they all possess literary departments. Successes have not everywhere been equal, but this was hardly to be expected during a period of four years of drastic change. However, good will has nowhere been lost, and we must realise that when we see excellent cheap reproductions of the classics and the best of the moderns being eagerly read in peasants’ houses, in the labour camps and in the barracks; our public buildings decorated by the work of living sculptors, and finally, the love of music being cultivated in villages as well as in city concert halls, then we must also see that work of much value is being done, which outbalances the occasional failures. This revolution, that outwardly forced political aims and social necessity so much into the foreground, and that found so many bitter words to utter against the “anti-social influence” of the arts, has, in spite of everything, greatly profited from the teachings of history. It is fully aware that artistic achievements alone are able to justify to posterity a change in the form of government. This new Government, composed as it is of members half of whom are men who originally intended to devote themselves to some creative work, knows, because of its inward religious convictions, the importance of artists as mediators. This government, rooted in opposition against rationalism, is well aware of the nameless longings of the people it governs, of their dreams that sway between heaven and earth, which can be explained and expressed only by the artist.

Perhaps more important than anything else that has been mentioned so far is the legislative attitude of the State towards the sphere of the arts. The position of the arts in the State was defined by the Chamber of Culture Law of October 1933, which represents something entirely new in Europe.

Probably the clearest description that I can give of this law is that it has given practical shape to the establishment of an artist’s guild or corporation.

The principle of the Corporate State, which has been applied to some of the changes made in Germany, has, for many decades past, been expressed in political writings. Other countries than Germany have concerned themselves with this idea: Literary Congresses in various countries have constantly urged that the relationship between the arts and the State should be defined, British and French delegates having been particularly insistent on this. No better solution has, however, as yet been found than to demand an unlimited “liberalism”- whilst the corporate suggestion was consistently rejected.

The newer governments have sought another way out by reviving the idea of autonomic “Companies of Artists” such as existed in medieval times. The Chamber of Culture raises the groups of artists from the ranks of the people, and makes them self-governing. The duty of self-observation is also laid upon them. For the present the State has withdrawn various privileges, a withdrawal which certain individuals regard as limiting, and which they describe as “bureaucracy.” These privileges have been replaced by a Corporate Constitution, providing for several sub-Chambers, each of which is entrusted with the task of ordering the professional relations between its members and of assuming responsibility for their professional affairs. Each is invested with full legislative power. It should be mentioned that the activities of the Chamber are limited to German nationals, and that artists of foreign extraction are directed to set up their own organisations.

Altogether there are seven such sub-Chambers, those of Music, the Plastic Arts, Literature, Wireless, Press, Theatre and Cinematograph. They are united under the control of a central authority, whose decisions are binding upon all. A Reich minister stands at the head of the Chamber, and the individual sub-Chambers are mostly under the presidency of creative workers. For instance, the architect, Herr Hönig, was at the head of the Chamber of Plastic Arts and Richard Strauss was the former president of the Chamber of Music, which is now under the leadership of Peter Raabe. For two years I was privileged to be President of the Chamber of Literature, and I was succeeded by Hanns Johst, the famous dramatist and lyricist. Another writer, Rainer Schlösser, is at the head of the Theatre Chamber, but the Radio and Press are managed by experts in each subject, rather than by artists.

The decrees made by the Press Chamber have received more attention than those received by any other. There has been approval as well as disapproval. The latter is doubtless caused by certain hardships that are bound to be the result of any revolution: nevertheless we have through these prevented our revolution from assuming the proportions of the one in Spain, and I am convinced, however much the duress may irk the individual artist, that, even in this, we have pursued the right path. The great change in the press that has so served to stimulate and refresh us, is what I might call the” publicity” of subscribers and editors, which has completely swept away the influence formerly exerted by anonymous contributors of money, by certain economic circles and by interested denominational groups. The reconstruction is proceeding apace, and is based on the principle of the personal responsibility of the newspaper proprietor and his editors. Anyone acquainted with our press as it was towards the end of the parliamentary democracy must be well aware to what a degrading dependence upon industrial concerns it had sunk, and how many cliques – preserving touch with our foreign enemies – attempted to influence home policy in order to serve their private ends. All who lived through those times realise to-day how sane an effect the application of the principle of personal responsibility for word and deed has had.

I have nothing to hide or to extenuate, and I am perfectly aware that, at the inception of the revolution and for a short period afterwards, it was impossible to express a free opinion. This has rapidly changed. So long as attacks are not made on the State itself, and so long as nothing is published that could lead to a disturbance of the public peace, there is no ban placed upon the free expression of opinion. Do not let us always return to times that lie behind us, but when did the makers of any revolution permit any opposition propaganda to be published? Let us rather compare soberly the question of dependence and independence as it works out in Europe to-day, and, if we do so, we must admit that in the majority of countries around Germany (I forbear to mention names) where the press is still in the pay of economic groups and political parties, the freedom and security of an editor are far more severely restricted than in Germany. I think that in this respect (as in many others) the fact is not sufficiently appreciated abroad that a strong opposition is lacking not because it is suppressed in Germany, but because the conviction of opposition is also lacking.

The number of newspapers sold, which decreased between 1933 and 1934, has once more gone up, so that in many cases the original sale of the papers has been greatly increased. The attitude of the general reading public is most clearly indicated by their demand for those publications known to be free from any suspicion of outside influence, i.e., periodicals, magazines, etc. In 1935, their sales figures increased by 9 per cent. as compared with 1934, and a further increase of 15 per cent. is estimated to have taken place in 1936. These figures apply in connection with about 1,500 important magazines and periodicals. The Press Chamber, like the Chamber of Literature, dispenses a considerable relief fund, which expended over two million marks in 1934, and the same sum in 1936. An Act that came into force in April 1938 provides pension schemes for all editors of newspapers.

The Chamber of Music, apart from giving great support to the cultivation of music throughout the country, has issued regulations governing the fees paid to musicians. The International Congress for the Protection of Authors’ Rights, which recently met at Berlin, confirmed the fact that Germany had found the surest and quickest way of dealing with this distracting task. If we should now approach our neighbours with a legislative suggestion to make authors’ rights more secure internationally, we should do this not so as to snatch at a leading position for ourselves, but simply because, so far, we have in this respect gone further than any other country. What is probably the greatest proof of this statement is that unemployment amongst our German musicians, which amounted in 1934 to 50 per cent., is to-day insignificant. Every British visitor to Berlin, Munich or Hamburg knows that the repertoire of operas has been enlarged and that our opera houses are often “sold out” long before the dates of the performances, whilst – in 1932 – our actors and actresses frequently played before empty or half-empty houses.

The most difficult position in those earlier days was doubtless that occupied by the Chamber of Plastic Arts. The bourgeoisie that, perhaps without much taste, took pleasure in supporting the efforts of sculptors and painters, withdrew the greater part of its custom in this respect after the economic crisis of 1929, which led not only to the unemployment of the artisan, but also to that of the artist. The new Government felt itself compelled to set an example, and very soon no public building was planned without an artist having a share in its design.

The State has erected many buildings in the past few years, but the position is still very difficult. The new stratum which is to give private orders and commissions to the artist is forming very slowly. During the year 1935, the Chamber of Plastic Arts, apart from large sums expended on travelling, provided 800 old and young artists with holidays varying between fourteen days and four weeks in length. Further sums, reaching a very high total, were also spent in giving relief to artists who had fallen into poverty, and the Chamber instituted, or provided the stimulus for, between three and four hundred competitions offering valuable chances and prizes. The chief work in this connection is the provision of new facilities for exhibition and the training of a new class of would-be purchasers, a task which has met with very considerable success during the past couple of years. Europe’s finest exhibition building, the Haus der Deutschen Kunst, at Munich, was inaugurated by the Führer himself in 1937.

The Chamber for Wireless reports that the number of listeners increased from about 4,000,000 to 7,500,000 within the space of four years. I do not know whether this increase corresponds to those recorded in other countries. But I do know, from what I heard when I paid visits abroad, that the German programmes are popular outside the borders of the Reich, especially those broadcast by the Deutschlandsender and the short-wave transmitter, which are designed to keep our countrymen abroad in touch with the mother country.

There is little to say regarding the activities of the Cinematograph Chamber, under the first-rate managership of Professor Lehnich: the international prizes awarded to German films are sufficient witness of their effectiveness. The number of people who go to the cinemas has increased by 10 per cent. per annum since 1935.

The Chamber of Culture Law has probably been most effective in the domain of the Theatre and in that of literature. The theatres, which after 1928 grew emptier and ernptier, and which could attract a public only by producing the most sensational plays, were not in 1933 instantly able to win back their audiences. The continuous appeals of the new Government to the theatre-going public to encourage the arts, and the influence exerted by the theatre-goers’ organisations (which, for the first time, included the workers) little by little produced a change. The visitor to Berlin to-day is frequently surprised to find that all 40 theatres of the capital are playing to full houses, and that the theatre is actually in the midst of a great boom. The number of State or municipally owned theatres mounted from 155 to 178 between 1933 and 1936, and the number of people employed in theatres increased from 20,000 to 26,000. State subsidies to the theatre amounted to 12,000,000 marks a year, and were principally placed at the disposal of theatres with ancient traditions, which had fallen on evil days, but which nevertheless remained fully conscious of their local or classical importance. I have not space here to relate anything about the new plays that have been performed, or about the open-air theatre or the people’s theatre, which can accommodate up to about 5,000 persons. It would be better to hear an expert in these subjects, and still better if English people would make a trip through Germany and see for themselves what is being done.

Under the Chamber of Literature are organised not only writers, but also booksellers and libraries and everything that has to do with the production and distribution of books. When the Chamber of Culture Law was passed, the book trade had an ancient organisation of its own, and there was also an Authors’ Society of little importance, which concerned itself solely with financial matters, and which was becoming more and more an institution of the great cities alone. It is putting the situation in a nutshell when it is said that the movement of 1933 was nothing more nor less than a rising of the regional instinct against the exaggerated centralisation in the capital. It is certainly true that literature very plainly revealed that its support was for the healthy movement, rooted and grounded in the people and the country, against the circles of eastern emigrants and undesirable groups in the capital. In spite of the unrest of the times, a strong impetus has been given again to regional forces in literature.

Economic protection remains, of course, an important part of the Chamber’s work. The advisory bureau on legal matters has been re-established, and disputes between publishers and authors mostly yield to arbitration, both parties being members of the same Chamber.. Subsidies from the State, and privately offered contributions, make it possible to give assistance in cases of real distress, through the instrumentality of the Chamber.

All these, however, are means that were employed before, and they do not suffice for the work of the present Chamber. Soon after it came into existence and was provided with full power under the Chamber of Culture Law, it started to fight for the new rights of the arts. It has opened its own book trade school, at which hundreds of young people not only learn to know the literature of the Middle Ages, the Classical period and the Romantic movement, but learn also to form their own opinions regarding our present-day literature by discussing it with their fellows. Not only this, it has caused the 10,000 lending libraries of Germany, some of which catered for a very inferior taste, to increase their stock by about 33 per cent., in which they had to include the classics and some at least of the best modern writings selected from the literatures of all nations. The Chamber of Literature was also able in 1935 to offer a number of prizes, which were the result of private subscriptions and which represented a value of about 2,000,000 marks.

One of its best ideas has proved to be that Book Week, organised each autumn, in which everyone is asked to examine his books and to buy whatever he can afford to improve his library. Book-buying, which had markedly suffered, has, since 1934, increased each year by about 15 per cent. This is a large increase when it is considered that political books, which were heavily bought during the pre-revolutionary years, monthly lose in popularity, and that book-buyers are found more and more amongst the youth of the country, who are eager purchasers of the omnibus collections published by the Insel-Verlag, the Diederichs-Verlag and the Müller-Verlag.

The passing of the Chamber of Culture Law was followed up by the formation of a Reich Senate authorised to deal with Germany’s cultural problems. It is composed of the presidents of the various sub-Chambers and a number of the foremost young writers and artists. From amongst these, experts are chosen to see that the new law is properly applied, and from them the State seeks to forge the instrument by which the intellectual leadership of the people may be made to march side by side with the political.

This is the position after four years of ceaseless, breathless action. We know, of course, that changes which give specific rights to the company of artists, the effect of which can hardly be appreciated as yet, need a decade or two in which to develop. We are pleased that, during these vital years, we have laid the foundations for the new order. We know that we have made a great many mistakes, but it is surely better to achieve something, even if mistakes happen, than to sit with folded hands awaiting the fate that seems to threaten the whole Continent.

Germany’s revolution is not yet over: the smoothing of the paths, the rounding off, is just beginning. We know that every revolution produces a number of restless spirits who have to sow, as it were, their wild oats before they can adjust themselves to the new order of things. Our task is not over: it has only just begun. But we are pursuing a road that daily becomes clearer. We are in the midst of a time which is characterised by a will, surely everywhere perceptible, to create juster principles of religious brotherhood and freedom amongst the nations, a Weltanschauung by which the arts are no longer regarded as belonging exclusively to the intellectuals, but as instruments in the hands of an all-pervading Power that guides our human destinies.

I have often spoken about these things with my friends abroad, many of whom still seem to think that the writer should be lying in the sun when he is not puzzling his brains at his desk. How in the world, they say, can you, for instance, who have just read us your poems and fairy- tales, possibly occupy yourself with matters of State? What have they to do with you?

I have already told of Galsworthy, who felt differently about this, and who devoted a great part of his life and his writings to the service of his people. I believe that we, the peoples inhabiting countries whose shores are washed by the North Sea, hold similar views on these matters, and that we also understand the dual task which has been laid upon our shoulders. And if people go further, and ask me whether I approve the restraint that is used and the “Prussianising” of the arts, then I, poor innocent, merely shake my head over the wisdom to be found in this world. Does anyone really believe that we, with our solid peasant stock and honest bourgeoisie, would permit restraints to be placed upon us that we did not voluntarily accept as a means to bridge over the difficulties of the moment? Does anyone believe that we – who, after many a hard struggle, have just regained our national unity – would be content with the policy pursued by the new Reich if, in our hearts, we disapproved of it? Does anyone think that we artists are so unemotional and passionless that we would calmly tolerate circumstances we were unable to support with all our belief-belief in a better world and a new fulfilment of our God-ordained task?

We will not utter reproaches, though it is often a bitter thing to be misunderstood. We want nothing but to build up our own State without external interference, and in the way we think best both for our people and for the young art that is flourishing with us now. May people learn to leave us alone, if they cannot understand us, because we have no designs on them and only desire to complete in peace the great work we have undertaken. But where we find sincere friendship we return it with friendship, and we only ask our friends to be patient for a little while, if they cannot comprehend everything that happens in the Reich. Our people, since 1918, have been compelled to bear almost unendurable burdens – is it then surprising that they are longing for a newer and juster world? We have won through to inward and are now awaiting outward peace and justice. We artists are probably the most strongly desirous of peace, because we are building the new homes of the four arts, and believe we are building them well.

Does this sound arrogant? I do not think so. We should learn to be more tolerant not only of the old, but also of the young. It should be realised that the spirit permeating our continent is one that has many aspects, and that it is variously expressed in every nation. Let us also always remember that the nations are not really so far apart from each other as jealousy and unrest would have them believe, and let us hope that the feeling of European solidarity, which our thousand-year-old history has taught us to appreciate and in the development of which we Germans would like to take our share, may once more be awakened. We artists of the Reich are teaching this creed to the children of our people. But we still miss the outside response.

Lothrop Stoddard – Interview with Dr. Joseph Goebbels

Theodore Lothrop Stoddard
(29.06.1883 – 01.05.1950)

Another noteworthy point is that the Government made no attempt to ease the people into the war by tactful stages. Quite the reverse. Nazi spokesmen tell you frankly that they cracked down hard from the start and made things just about as tough as the civilian population could bear. Indeed, they say that severe rationing of food and clothing from the very beginning was done not merely to avert present waste and ensure future supplies; it was done also to make people realize that they were in a life-and-death struggle for which no sacrifice was too great.

This was stiff medicine for a people as stunned, depressed, and jittery as the Germans certainly were during the first two months of the war. I do not recall any other Government which has prescribed a course of treatment so drastic, under similar circumstances. Flag-waving and assorted heroics are the orthodox formula.

I was therefore deeply interested to discuss this original method with the man who carried it out. He was no less a person than Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, head of the vast propaganda machine which is perhaps the most outstanding feature of the Third Reich.

This lithe, brunet Rhinelander, with his agile mind, cynical humor, and telling gestures, is an excellent person to interview. He is mentally on his toes every instant, and he is full of what the journalist calls „good lines.“ He got one of them off early in our conversation when he stigmatized the British blockade of Germany by exclaiming: „It’s high time that forty million people stopped dictating to eighty million when they should have a cup of coffee!“ As Dr. Goebbels warmed to his subject, his words flowed with the smoothness of a well-oiled machine.

„Mr. Minister,“ I began, broaching the subject uppermost in my mind, „the thing that strikes me most since I’ve been in Germany this time is the great difference between the popular mood now and in the last war. No hurrahs, parades, bands, and flowers like in 1914.“

„That’s right,“ he shot back quickly, „and the reason is very simple. In 1914 the German people didn’t know what it was all about. They had no clear war aim. Some French iron mines! A bit of Belgium! _Gott strafe England_! Slogans and phrases! That’s no way to wage a war. And our rulers then couldn’t make them understand. They were an aristocratic caste, out of touch with the people.“

„And now?“ I put in.

„Now?“ he countered. „We National Socialists are men of the people. We know how our fellow-citizens think and how to make them understand. But, really, the British have done it for us. They’ve given us our war aim by forcing the war on us.“

„Meaning what?“ I asked.

„Meaning this,“ he replied. „We made it clear to the British that we didn’t want to disturb their empire. We carefully kept our hands off sore spots like India and Ireland. Why, we even offered to give them a military guarantee of their empire’s integrity. But we made it clear that, in return, they were to keep their hands off our sphere of interest–Central Europe. Well, they wouldn’t have it that way. They’re trying to crush us. So, this time, every German knows what it’s all about.“

„And that’s why they’re so quiet about it?“ I asked.

„Exactly,“ nodded Dr. Goebbels with a quick smile. „We Germans don’t like this war. We think it’s needless–silly. But, since England feels that way, we see it’s got to be gone through with. The average German feels like a man with a chronic toothache–the sooner it’s out, the better. And he doesn’t need brass bands and flowers to get it over with. That’s where our aristocrats went wrong last time. They forgot old Bismarck’s saying that hurrah-patriotism isn’t like pickled herring that you can put up in barrels and store away for years. Listen! If I wanted to get the German people emotionally steamed up, I could do it in twenty-four hours. But they don’t need it–they don’t want it.“

„Then, psychologically–“ I began.

Dr. Goebbels cut in with a sweeping gesture. „Psychologically,“ he answered, „we are way ahead. Last time, I admit, it was very different. Then, at the crucial moment, both France and England produced great men–Clemenceau and Lloyd George, both men of the people. If we on our side could have produced a Bismarck or a Hitler, we should have won. This time, we have the right men and the others haven’t. We National Socialists understand profoundly that it is the human being who counts–not just material resources. England is socially unsound. She is a colossus with feet of clay. Furthermore, England has a negative, defensive war aim. This time, it’s the British who talk in vague phrases like ‘aggression.’ What does it mean to Tommy in the trenches to tell him he’s fighting ‘aggressors’?“

„Would you mind enlarging on that a bit, Mr. Minister?“ I asked.

„Certainly not,“ he answered. „The more you examine British war aims, the more negative they appear. The English admit they have nothing tangible to get out of this war but that they have a lot to lose. We, on the other hand, have very little to lose and a lot to win. Here we Germans are–eighty million of us, all together. And right next to us is our sphere of influence in Central Europe–everything under one roof. Sooner or later, we massed Germans are bound to get what we need. The British, on the contrary, are spread all over the map. They draw their resources from the four corners of the earth. Their empire is too dispersed, too artificial. They’re bound to lose in the long run.“

„Then the British Empire–“ I began.

„Please understand,“ broke in Dr. Goebbels. „We had no designs upon it. We showed this clearly when we made the naval treaty with England limiting our fleet to one-third their size. In face of that fact, any responsible German who might have meditated an attack upon the British Empire would have been guilty of criminal madness. It is only now, when England forces us to a life-and-death struggle, that we hit back in every possible manner. All we asked was that England regard us, too, as a great nation with its own special sphere. After all, nations should be treated on their merits, for what they are. Live and let live was our motto toward England. It is the British who would not have it that way.“

„The English,“ I remarked, „seem to believe that this is a struggle between democracy and dictatorship.“

„Dictatorship!“ shot back Dr. Goebbels scornfully. „Isn’t the National Socialist Party essentially the German people? Aren’t its leaders men of the people? How silly to imagine that this can be what the English call dictatorship! What we today have in Germany is not a dictatorship but rather a political discipline forced upon us by the pressure of circumstances. However, since we have it, why shouldn’t we take advantage of the fact?“

„Just what do you mean by that, Mr. Minister?“ I queried.

„I’ll give you an example,“ answered Dr. Goebbels. „Take the difference between the way we and the English handle radio. We don’t let our people listen to foreign broadcasts; the English do. Why should we permit our people to be disturbed by foreign propaganda? Of course we broadcast in English, and the English people are legally permitted to listen in. I understand lots of them do. And can you imagine what is one of the chief discussions about it across the Channel? It is, whether our German announcer has an Oxford or a Cambridge accent! In my opinion, when a people in the midst of a life-and-death struggle indulge in such frivolous arguments, it doesn’t look well for them.“

„Then, Mr. Minister,“ I asked, „you don’t think there is much likelihood that history will repeat itself?“

Dr. Goebbels’ dark eyes lighted. „History never repeats itself,“ he exclaimed with a sweeping gesture.

„History is like a spiral–and we believe that, since the last war, we have made an ascending turn while Britain has made a descending one. Today, we have a national unity, discipline, and leadership vastly superior to that of 1914, and even more superior to anything which England has as yet produced. The rightful claims of the German people were thwarted a generation ago. They cannot be denied a second time.“

So saying, the world-famous Minister of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda rose briskly from his chair and gave me a vigorous handshake. One last look at the slim, dynamic figure and his spacious office hung with historic portraits, and the interview was over. I had got „the dope,“ all right, from headquarters. And the more one studies the text of that interview, the more revealing it becomes–in many ways! It certainly was propaganda of the Goebbels brand.

Celebrations in the Life of the SS Family

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This publication explains the meaning of the various celebrations and provides guidance to the SS family on how to celebrate them in the right spirit. Through reading this booklet, every SS Man and SS Woman should come to a deeper understanding of these celebrations. This booklet should be especially useful to the SS Woman, as most of the preparations will fall to her.

Knowledge of the customs of our forefathers gives us inner peace; keeping to these customs gives us direction and strength.

Austria After the Anschluss

Source: Year of Reckoning – by G. Ward Price, Chapter IX

Mr. Ward Price

Most of the month following upon the Anschluss was taken up in Germany and Austria with intensive propaganda for the plebiscite fixed for April 10.

It may seem strange that a Government with such avowed contempt for democratic methods should trouble to hold a referendum on a step which, even if it were unpopular, could scarcely be cancelled.

But though the Nazis rate leadership far above the ballot-box as the governing element in the State, they know that mammoth demonstrations of any kind automatically impress the human mind. Fifty Storm Troopers marching along the street are so common a sight in Germany that no one turns his head to look at them, but 500,000 Storm Troopers, parading through the streets of Nuremberg, provide the climax of the great Annual Party Congress. A gigantic vote for the Government has its effect not only on the German people but on the outside world as well. It also frees the administration from the charge of denying opportunities for the expression of political convictions.

Though the result of the plebiscite was a foregone conclusion, it did not necessarily give a false picture of the sentiments of the Germans and Austrians. It is difficult for the British, who have never had to experience a long period of national humiliation, to realise how the Anschluss stirred the hearts of the Germans. To the people of the Reich, it came as the first clear assertion outside their own frontiers of their new international standing. After twenty years, during most of which they had been sufferers and suppliants, they took pride in seeing their Government impose its will in defiance of Germany’s former conquerors, brushing aside their protests in contemptuous terms.

The Austrians, for their part, had so long been depressed and discouraged that in their view any change must be for the better. Some doubtless regretted that the heavy hand of Nazi repression would now control a country of such long easy-going and liberal traditions and that the Austrian Jews were doomed to become either victims or fugitives. But they were careful to conceal such sentiments, and the majority of both nations felt strong satisfaction in the amalgamation of the two Germanic stocks, combined with full confidence that it would prove to the benefit of both.

When Herr Hitler arrived in Vienna on April 9 to wind up a tour of oratory that had taken him all over Germany, he delivered the most eloquent and interesting speech of the many I have heard him make. It was an analysis of his own career, tracing the steps by which he rose from obscurity to the leadership of the Reich, then achieved its restoration as a Great Power, and finally fulfilled his boyhood ambition to unite the land of his birth with the country of his adoption.

He stood on a high pulpit, raised at one end of the long and lofty hall of the North-West Railway Station, which had been transformed by a white and gold awning overhead stretching its whole length, and by draperies along its walls.

As a young man, said Hitler, he had had no concern with politics. His sole ambition then was to be an architect. For four years he had remained a nameless soldier. He had never tried to become a politician or a journalist. He had never made a speech. Those were the days when Germany was being steadily ruined. The men then in power bore the responsibility for her downfall. And it had been the sight of the havoc which they wrought that had decided him to take up politics.

“As I lay half-blinded in hospital, I realised that those who had wrecked Germany could never restore her. Seeing my country ruined and its people divided, I made for the first time the resolve to speak.

“It was clear to me that, if the cleft between bourgeoisie and proletariat were not healed, Germany would be wrecked. Each of these factions hoped for foreign help. The bourgeoisie looked towards Geneva; the proletariat towards Moscow.

“And even these divisions were endlessly sub-divided. There were forty-seven political parties in Germany.

“I saw that no party could unite Germany; that her salvation could not come from Monarchy or Republic, from any Church or group, from bourgeoisie or proletariat. I studied all their programmes and records.

“Germany did not fall into my lap like ripe fruit. I worked bitterly hard for fifteen years. You cannot deny that I worked harder than all your earlier leaders,” proclaimed Hitler fiercely. “For years I had no single day’s rest. I used to speak every day that I was not prevented by hoarseness. My foreign critics sometimes say my success is based on terror. I could impose no terror then. It was my antagonists who had all the power.

“I never found a loyal adversary,” he interjected bitterly. “They never said ‘Give him a chance,’ but only ‘Lock him up!’ or ‘Kill him!’

“I hated to use force against my fellow-Germans, and I only did so when force was used against me. Then, however, I employed it with vigour, for I had been a soldier.

“I know that I have critics and detractors, but we can neglect them. Our critics are growing old, and we have won their children to our cause.

“Nineteen years ago I was a completely unknown man. Now I stand here with a great nation behind me, ready for anything. After achieving all this, do you suppose that such opposition as still exists can count for anything? I never gave in when I was weak, when I was in prison, or when I was forbidden to speak in public. And to-day the power is in my hands! “

The Führer’s strident voice rose to a shout. His face was flushed and his eyes blazed. In one of his triumphant gestures, he swept the microphone in front of him off its stand, and sent it crashing to the floor.

Listening to such an harangue, one appreciates how completely the German nation is dominated by the personality of this man, who, in turn, reacts to the impulses of his own temperament with the assurance of a prophet believing himself inspired. Of the 75,000,000 Germans under Hitler’s rule as he delivered his speech in Vienna, more than half were hearing his words as they resounded from the wireless receivers fixed in the streets of every town, or rang out in restaurants, theatres and cinemas; in all factories and workshops; in German mines below the ground; in German ships on the high seas and in millions of private homes, besides being printed in every newspaper next day. To Germans, every syllable uttered by the Führer on such an occasion is sacrosanct and constitutes an unchallengeable pronouncement upon the subject with which it deals.

“In the last five years, out of the once wretched and disorganised German people has grown a nation stronger and prouder than ever before,” he declared dramatically. “Have I not the right to stand here? This is my home! I do not know if Schuschnigg’s name will be remembered a hundred years from now, but I know that mine will as the greatest son of Austria!”

The sense of personal destiny that explains much in Herr Hitler’s character found expression in his words.

“I believe it to have been the will of God” he said, “that a boy from this country should have become the Head of the German nation, and then united his homeland to the Reich. Otherwise, one would have to doubt Divine Providence. There is a Supreme Power, and we are but instruments in its hands. When, on March 9, Schuschnigg broke his pledge to me, I made up my mind that the time had come, and in three days he was broken. On the very day for which he had planned that treasonable plebiscite, I brought my homeland into the Reich. I render thanks to God, Who showed me the way.”

In a climax of high-power publicity, the preparations for the plebiscite came to an end. On the Kahlenberg, Leopoldsberg, Cobenzl and other heights around Vienna, red swastikas glowed through the night. Giant bombers cruised in the dark over every Austrian town, flashing, in red electric lights from the underside of their wings, that slogan which had brought about the Anschluss, “Ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Führer.”

I spent the actual plebiscite day, Sunday, April 10, in visiting polling-booths. To some I went alone and unannounced. Into others I was taken with a party of journalists under the charge of Government officials. There was nothing to suggest that pressure was being brought to bear on the voters. Herr Buerckel, the organiser, had ordered polling-papers to be marked in the privacy of the curtained booths. I saw one or two men demonstratively make their cross in the “Yes” circle before the eyes of the polling-officers, accompanying the act with a loud “Heil Hitler!”, but so many other voters took their green envelopes and ballot-papers out of sight that they obviously did not fear being noted as hostile to the regime through doing so.

The former Austrian President, Dr. Miklas, who had lost his office a month before, sent a message to Dr. Seyss-Inquart to say that he intended to vote for the Anschluss. Cardinal Innitzer, the Archbishop of Vienna, walked over to a polling-booth at 8.0 a.m., and gave the Hitler salute as he came out. The day before I had myself seen two swastika emblems, surrounded by wreaths of gilt laurel, on the walls of the Cardinal’s palace, while above its door hung a large Nazi flag. In St. Stephen’s Cathedral that morning, which was Palm Sunday, many men bearing palms were also wearing swastika arm-bands.

The 70,000 Czechs and 15,000 Slovaks living in Vienna were allowed to vote at special polling booths, a privilege which they had always enjoyed. In Germany soldiers are excluded from elections, but the members of the Austrian Army were authorised to take part in the plebiscite.

Around midnight that evening the results of the voting were announced by Dr. Seyss-Inquart to a dense crowd filling the largest concert-hall in Vienna. They showed that out of 4,284,795 who had gone to the polls in Austria, 4,273,884, or 99.75 per cent., had said “Yes” to the Anschluss. We heard Herr Buerckel communicate this result on the wireless to Herr Hitler sitting in Berlin, and receive the Führer’s congratulation in return.

There was loud cheering, but, looking down from the gallery, I could not help thinking that this final interment of the old Austria deserved a more dignified setting.

Here was the last fraction of the 52 millions of people who had once lived under the House of Habsburg passing out of independent existence. Soon “Austria,” a name so great in history, would be used no more except to identify one of the smaller German provinces.

The reading of the figures by which, as everyone had expected, the annexation of Austria to Germany was confirmed to within a fraction of unanimity, completed a process which had begun when the Vienna Government took the first step towards the Great War by issuing its ultimatum to Serbia.

It had not been the cement of common welfare that held the mosaic of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire together, but only the tie of dynastic union.

Of its 52,000,000 inhabitants, nearly one-half were Slavs, Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Ruthenians, Croats and Slovenes. These had enjoyed the special favour of the Imperial House. The inferiority to which the Germans of Austria believed that they were relegated under Habsburg rule was the influence which caused Hitler as a youth to make pan-Germanism his life’s ideal.

The German element in Austria numbered twelve millions. The Hungarians were ten millions, and there was a Latin fringe, consisting of Rumanians in Transylvania, and Italians at Trieste and in the Trentino, which amounted to four millions. Austria-Hungary also contained 1,500,000 Jews, mainly concentrated in Galicia and in the capital itself.

The lack of solidarity in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire was so obvious and long-standing that it was accepted as normal. The Hungarians held jealously to the constitutional privileges secured to them under the “Compromise” by which the Dual Monarchy took its final form. The Czechs refused to talk German, and formed a nationalist physical-training movement called the Sokols, which were really political clubs.

In most countries, the effect of war is to compose internal differences and consolidate national unity. In Austria-Hungary it had the reverse effect. Sections of the non-German races set themselves to gain their independence in the upheaval. The Czechs deserted to the Russians or the French; Croats went over to the Serbs; Italians of Trieste or Trentino joined up with their kinsmen fighting against the Government whose subjects they were.

With the defeat of the Central Empires, nationalistic claims became more clamorous. In some cases, they were supported by a record of services rendered to the Allies.

The. statesmen who drafted the terms of peace in Paris tried to prevent the reconstitution of the formidable block of Powers known in the war as the Central Empires by splitting up Austria-Hungary into its constituent parts. M. Tardieu, who was one of them, has argued that they had no choice, as the Dual Monarchy had already been dissolved in anticipation by the war-treaties of alliance made with Italy, Serbia, Rumania, and with representatives of the Nationalist elements in Poland and Bohemia. They failed to realise that this measure, by creating a series of small, weak States in Central Europe, would make it easier for Germany to establish her authority over them when she regained her national strength.

Not only did the Allied Powers overlook the disastrous consequences of disrupting a State which had given rise to the international axiom that “If Austria did not exist, it would be necessary to invent her,” but they followed conflicting policies in the Central European area which they had thus dissected.

The French subsidised the Little Entente, of which one State, Czecho-Slovakia, was wholly, and the other two, Rumania and Jugoslavia, were partly built up out of the wreckage of Austria-Hungary. Italy, on the other hand, supported the revisionist claims of Hungary, which the Little Entente had been formed to oppose. Great Britain disinterested herself entirely from Central European affairs.

In the years immediately following the Peace Treaties, British and French Socialists protested strongly against the denial to Austria of the right to join up with Germany. They were just as vigorous in demanding the Anschluss in the early 1920’s as they were in denouncing it when it came about in the late 1930’s.

With the passage of time, it became increasingly apparent that the mutilated fraction of territory which still bore the name of Austria was incapable of economic survival.

There had been no Customs barrier inside the great expanse of 240,000 square miles of Central Europe making up the old Austrian Empire. From 1919 onwards a network of them crossed it in all directions, dividing mutually complementary areas into small autarchic States, each engaged in costly and ineffective efforts to achieve self- sufficiency.

The small country left by the Allied peace-makers to bear the name of “Austria” was no more than the isolated control-station of a great economic mechanism that had been broken up. Like a limbless trunk, the Austrian Republic could do nothing for itself.

Austria thus became Europe’s perpetual “deserving case.” After the abandonment of the fantastic scheme to collect Reparations from this ruined country by means of a local Allied Commission which cost more to maintain than the Government itself, repeated attempts were made to “put Austria on her feet.” Loans were made to her, backed by the League of Nations and by the British Government; advances were granted by the Bank of England; there were plans for exchange of products with the Little Entente; an agreement with Italy and Hungary, known as the Rome Protocols; and a scheme, launched at the ill-fated Stresa Conference, for the creation of a Danubian Confederation, of which nothing was ever afterwards heard.

After Stresa, the break-up of the Western Powers into hostile camps finally opened wide the door to German intervention in the affairs of an adjoining country of the same blood and language.

In this way was the forecast fulfilled which the German Ambassador, Prince Bulow, made on leaving Rome when Italy declared war on Germany in 1916:

“Even if we lose the war, we shall still be winners, because we shall annex Austria.”

In the roundabout way which human affairs so often take, the Allies, by the use they made of their victory, laid the basis for Germany’s future expansion into Austria, and thence over Eastern Europe.

So ended the division of the German race into North and South which began in 1756, when Frederick the Great started Prussia’s career of conquest by his sudden attack upon Maria Theresa in time of peace.

During the Anschluss, I met a French colleague who had been with me in Vienna after the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in 1914. He reminded me that at their funeral, as we watched the parade of Austrian generals in their white tunics and green-plumed cocked hats, I had said to him:

“Let us take a good look at this Austrian pomp and circumstance. It may be the last time we shall ever see it.” A month later, the war put an end to all the old splendour of Austrian life, so rich in romance, charm, tradition and ceremonial dignity.

It was now the turn of Austria herself to disappear. The Führer had boldly carried out a policy from which even his hero the Iron Chancellor himself had recoiled. After the German victory in the war of 1866, Bismarck replied to those who urged the extension of German authority to the Danube that Vienna could never be governed from Berlin. The speed of modern communications, however, makes that task much simpler.

There is a marked difference of temperament between these 7,000,000 Catholic South Germans and the highly nationalist and aggressive Prussian stock in whose hands the administration of the Nazi regime principally lies. But the Führer himself is Austrian-born, and the example of Italy has shown how effective the methods of education and organisation employed by a totalitarian regime can be in modifying the habits and outlook of a nation.

The continuance of this ruined fragment of the once great Austro-Hungarian Empire had been, since the war, no more than an historical anachronism. Like the overthrow of the Byzantine Empire or the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire, the annexation of Austria was the suppression of an institution which had long lost its vitality.

The imposing buildings and broad streets of Vienna were but the memorials, and no longer the appurtenances, of a robust nation. When Hitler drafted on a single sheet of paper in that small hotel on the Danube bank at Linz the brief decree which removed Austria from the map of Europe, he was writing only the final paragraph of a chapter of history whose first pages were the Treaty of St. Germain.

The tangible benefits of the Anschluss to Germany were considerable; the strategical and moral advantages it brought were greater still.

The annexation of Austria added to the German frontiers 32,000 square miles, which were 25,000 square miles more than Germany had lost under the Peace Treaties. Her population was increased by 6,786,000, 94 per cent. of these being Catholics and 200,000 Jews, who were practically all concentrated in Vienna, and of whom, by the end of 1938, one quarter had been forced to emigrate. The extension of Germany’s political influence in Central Europe may be measured by the fact that this expansion brought her into direct frontier contact with four fresh Central European States -Hungary, Jugoslavia, Italy and the Principality of Liechtenstein. She now has more neighbours than any other country in Europe, her borders touching:

Denmark, in the North;
Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France in the West;
Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Italy in the South;
Jugoslavia and Hungary in the South-East; and
Slovakia, Lithuania and Poland in the East.

Marshal Goering’s strong hand soon made itself felt at the economic levers of Austria. As Minister responsible for the Four Year Plan, the organisation of the resources of this new Province of the Ostmark came under his authority. A swarm of his expert advisers descended upon it, and within a week he had announced certain measures which were to be immediately put in hand. They were:

  1. The amalgamation of the Austrian and German currencies,
  2. Abolition of Customs duties between the two countries.
  3. A scheme for the exploitation of Austrian water-power.
  4. Large developments in the armament, mining, chemical and agricultural industries.
  5. The building of a new aeroplane factory and Air Force barracks.
  6. Improvement of the Austrian railway-system.
  7. The construction of 775 miles of motor-roads in Austria on the model of the German Autobahnen, and the building of four new bridges over the Danube. Within a month of the Anschluss, Herr Hitler in person had turned the first sod of the new motor-road to be built from Salzburg to Vienna, which will form part of the transcontinental auto- mobile route from the English Channel to the Bosphorus.

Marshal Goering himself had not been able to come to Austria with the Führer at the time of the Anschluss. “You have seen something that I have not seen. I envy you,” he said, when I called on him at Karinhall a week or two later.

“It was impossible for me to go while the Führer was there. He will never allow me even to travel on the same train or in the same car as himself; it is too risky.”

The Marshal accordingly paid the newly annexed territory a visit about a fortnight after the annexation, and made a State tour of the country, which included a journey down the Danube by steamer and took him to Mauterndorf, an old castle in Tyrol belonging to his mother’s family, where as a boy he had sometimes spent the summer-holidays.

The industrial equipment of Austria proved to be of poor quality. An expert examination of every factory was ordered, and even some of the best-known works in the country were found to be largely furnished with out- of-date plant, which was replaced without delay.

The greatest undertaking established there since the Anschluss is the Hermann Goering Iron Works, near Linz, for whose 50,000 employees an entirely new town was built close by.

One of the most serious of German forfeits under the Treaty of Versailles had been that of the iron ore of Lorraine, for since then the country had produced only about 20 per cent. of its national requirements in this material. Austria has largely made up the loss by bringing into the German stock additional deposits estimated at 220,000,000 tons with an iron-content of about 40 per cent. There is a mountain so rich in ore as to bear the name of Eisenberg.

Of timber Austria had plenty. Her annexation increased the forest-area of the Reich by 25 per cent. She possessed also mines of magnesite, graphite, copper, lead and salt.

In agricultural produce, the new territory was barely self-supporting, and the Anschluss did not diminish Germany’s own dependence upon imports for about one fourth of her food-supply. The annexation was, however, a paying proposition in the sense that Austria had a favourable trade balance of close on £2,000,000 a year. This was largely due to her flourishing tourist-industry and the income derived from transit goods-traffic.

The gold reserves of Vienna were estimated at £10,000,000, and were added to the scanty Reichsbank store of that metal which, according to published figures, was, at the time, down to £6,000,000. Austrian water-power was a national resource whose capacities had never been developed to more than about 10 per cent. They were calculated at 25,000 million kilowatt-hours annually.

But the advantages of the Anschluss were not to be measured in material gains alone. The Austrians benefited by the opening up to them of the vast German field of opportunity; by the stimulus of German energy and example, and by the increase of prestige which citizenship of a Great Power brings. The Reich, through the extension of its frontiers into the heart of Central Europe, won a dominating economic position in that part of the Continent. The principal road, river and rail communications of the Balkans with the West of Europe lay henceforth across German territory.

Some disturbance was caused in the summer of 1938 by a declaration from Dr. Funk, the German Minister of Economics, that his Government would not recognize the Austrian foreign debts, of which £17,000,000 had at various times been issued in the form of sterling bonds, bearing interest at 7 per cent., 4 ½ per cent. and 3 per cent., and guaranteed by the British Government. Of these, £11,000,000 were held by British investors. The United States also held $50,000,000 of Austrian liabilities, of which half consisted of the unpaid bill for food-supplies sent to relieve starvation in Austria after the war.

German repudiation of these debts was based upon the pretext that the loans had not been granted for economic reasons, but only for the political purpose of preventing union with the Reich.

It soon transpired, however, that this attitude had been taken up to secure a bargaining counter for obtaining a reduction in the rate of interest payable upon the Dawes and Young Reparation Loans, and within a fortnight from Dr. Funk’s speech of June 17, a German delegation in London had negotiated a settlement satisfactory enough for the prices of all Austrian and German securities on the Stock Exchange to advance considerably.

One benefit of the Anschluss to Austria became immediately effective. It was the disappearance of unemployment. Herr Buerckel, the newly-appointed Administrator, had told me on March 13 that the workless in that country numbered 600,000. Within a month, a very large proportion of these had been absorbed. In September I was informed by Dr. Seyss-Inquart that unemployment was down to 5 per cent.

For years the Austrian workless had been living on the scantiest of relief in collections of leaky wooden huts on the outskirts of Vienna and other towns, surrounded in winter by morasses of mud. Some of these squalid hovels had served, twenty years before, as prisoner-of-war camps or base hospitals, and had since been allowed to decay without repair.

In those that I visited around Vienna and Linz, families were living under the most abject conditions, as many as eight in a room, without bed-linen or change of clothing; with no sanitary arrangements; no water laid on, and the minimum of food and fuel. Stunted children splashed in the muddy lanes between the rows of huts. Many of these squatter-families kept rabbits-in one case even pigs-in the hovels where they lived.

With impressive speed, these people were organised on higher standards of citizenship. The men were drafted into the new jobs which sprang up in the stagnant industries directly German authority had been established; the children were gathered into creches and kindergartens, and the wives and mothers were provided with the elementary essentials of decent existence.

Even Colonel Sepp Dietrich, the commander of Hitler’s bodyguard, one of the toughest soldiers I know, was moved by the conditions in which he had found the poorest children of Vienna existing.

“I have 1700 men here,” he told me, “and out of their rations they are daily feeding 1100 children.”

Before the Anschluss was a month old, the German Government had made plans, at a cost of £2,000,000, to replace the Vienna slum-camps by proper housing-accommodation, and £400,000 was allotted to the supply of food and clothing for the Austrian poor whose need was greatest.

The “Bavarian Help Train” was sent to the working-class quarters of Vienna to bake bread and provide medical attention.

This “Help Train,” a gift from State technical employees to the Government, consists of a dozen giant motor-coaches elaborately fitted up. Some are equipped as surgeries; some as bakeries, or field-kitchens; some with pumps for dealing with floods, or for maintaining a water- supply. The idea was to create a mobile unit which could bring the conveniences of civilisation at high speed to any area which had been devastated by catastrophe, or where refugees had unexpectedly concentrated.

Seven dental ambulance-waggons were dispatched to tour the country, treating the children free. Holidays in Germany for the approaching summer were arranged for 10,000 Austrian workers and 10,000 children of war- veterans. Large camps were prepared for boys and girls of the poorer classes. It is by such measures of public welfare, and not only by tireless propaganda and mammoth parades, that the Nazi regime maintains its popularity with the mass of the German people.

The delight and relief displayed by the great majority of the population of Austria when the Anschluss was suddenly thrust upon them had thus a basis in practical benefit. The people were tired of being a poverty-stricken, divided little nation, uncertain of its future, incapable of self-defence, lacking the material resources necessary for prosperity, dependent upon the goodwill of stronger powers, whose capital city, and administrative, banking, industrial and commercial equipment, designed for a nation of 52,000,000, were now reduced to serving a land populated only by 5,000,000, most of them poor peasants.

For several years they had been looking on at the rapid development of their German kinsmen across the border into a highly organised and relatively prosperous nation, and though the regimentation which is the secret of Nazi success may not have been attractive to the Austrian temperament, there was no denying its efficiency and success. The energetic rulers of Germany knew what they wanted; they went after it ruthlessly, and no one in their own country or outside it seemed able to resist them.

At the time of the Anschluss, Austria felt like a small and bankrupt shopkeeper whose business has been taken over by a flourishing chain-store company. He may have sentimental regrets for the loss of his identity and independence, but he rejoices to be freed from anxieties and worries, and to gain the confidence that comes from association with a powerful and prosperous organisation.

This spirit, which brought about the ready Austrian acceptance of the Anschluss, was not understood in England, where the series of ultimatums issued by Herr Hitler on the evening of Friday, March 11, followed by the advance of German troops across the frontier, had created a mental picture of Germany enforcing her will upon a cowed and reluctant population.

Some of the enthusiasm for the Anschluss in Austria may have evaporated during the past year, since realisation seldom comes up to expectation.

The Viennese regret the fall of their historic city from the status of a European capital to that of a provincial town like Dresden or Stuttgart. Many former enthusiastic Austrian workers for the Nazi cause are disappointed that they have not got better jobs. The provinces declare that the falling-off in the number of British and other foreign visitors for summer-tours and winter-sports is not compensated by the large influx of North Germans who are far from being such free spenders.

But the utter poverty in which many Austrians lived has disappeared. As evidence of the increase of popular purchasing power, a Brewers’ Congress held at Vienna in April, 1939, reported that the sale of beer in Austria had trebled since the Anschluss.

The Rise of the NSDAP, 1921 – 1934

PART 1. THE RISE OF THE NSDAP 1921-1933.

Alfred Rosenberg describes the early National-Socialist struggles for power.“ Reichsleiter Rosenberg, seated in office and wearing uniform, speaks to camera, recalling early cooperation with Dietrich Eckart, Kapp Putsch, meeting Adolf Hitler through Eckart, taking over from Eckart as editor of the Völkischer Beobachter, and the March to Feldherrnhalle.

Brief film shots show Communist headline, brigades along street, young Dr. Goebbels addressing crowd, headline in his Berlin evening paper “Der Angriff”, Adolf Hitler entering hall, Gauleiter Goebbels at microphone, crowds passing Ausstellung Barcelona sign, police dispersing crowds in early 1920s with Café Raimund visible, fighting inside hall with chairs and baton-wielding police (feature film, „Hans Westmar“ ?), Vorwärts headline on Hitler’s arrest and removal to Landsberg, headline calling for reconstruction of National-Socialist Party, hand filling in Adolf Hitler’s membership card giving profession as writer and date 21 March 1925.

SA passing through town, NSDAP sign on door to office where Dr. Goebbels is writing before picking up phone, Italian telegram announcing that university Fascists will be represented at Nuremberg NS Deutscher Studentenbund by Santoni, signed Maltini. Dr. Santoni in morning coat and NSS Bund Reichsführer von Schirach emerge from building together at Congress, and unidentified delegates, not all in SA, arrive saluting in Nuremberg for Party Rally in August 1927.

Titled film of Rally continues with film of SA walking along country road holding banner marked „Berlin-Nuremberg Walk July-August. Despite the ban, not dead“, Adolf Hitler standing with Rudolf Hess, Julius Streicher – Gauleiter of Franconia, captain von Pfeffer, same banner through town, the Führer saluting, flag ceremony with Hitler and Hess, Streicher standing in front of Reichsparteitag banner, the Führer welcoming delegates who include some not in uniform though respectably dressed, Hitler and Hess departing by car, parade on Luitpoldhain and comment in Fränkisch-Kurier of 22 August 1927, Adolf Hitler speaking to his followers proclaiming „Germany’s freedom will arise again, just as the people and fatherland will arise again, stronger than ever“, Hitler taking salute from car at marchpast by SA, with Rudolf Hess, von Pfeffer and Streicher in front row.

1929 Rally shows another SA marchpast in Nuremberg, Adolf Hitler in a car through crowds, and Goebbels, Rosenberg, General Ritter von Epp in helmet and Goering all visible, Hitler throwing banners to SA who catch them. Autumn 1932 Reichstag elections: Adolf Hitler speaking at Nuremberg, Der Angriff and Vorwärts campaign headlines, the Führer in car. Reichsleiter Rosenberg continues his historical summary of the NSDAP, recalling move to Berlin in 1933 after fourteen years struggle in Bavaria over film of Hitler and Hess emerging from Hindenburg’s residence, Hitler’s assumption of power on 30 January 1933 over film of SA torch procession, his own nomination as head of the Party Office for Foreign Politics and in charge of Party ideological matters. Hindenburg and Hitler appear at the Reichs Chancellery window at night time.

Der Angriff headline of 11 February reports Adolf Hitler’s Sportpalast speech of 10 February before film of actual event (English title incorrectly states „Hitler’s first speech as Chancellor, 30 January 1933“), with Hitler speaking against crimes of past from which lessons must be learnt if Germans are to overcome their impoverishment, Horst Wessel anthem and banner parade. „Goering named Prussian Minister of Interior by Hitler, outlines his programme, February 1933.“ Hermann Goering seated at desk speaks to camera promising to remove from office reds who are stifling national aspirations and expressing his determination to make Prussia the strongest and foremost bastion of Germany. „Election day in Bavaria, 5 March 1933.“ Völkischer Beobachter headline „With Adolf Hitler for a new Reich“ and National-Socialist Münchner Post of 5 March 1933; National-Socialist election poster; SA torchlight parade and band; exterior of Münchner Post and SA Heim Sturm 16L guarded by armed SA, standing in Holzstrasse; SA man machine gun outside Trade Union building in Munich with SS also present. „Election day in Berlin, 5 March 1933.“ President Hindenburg emerges from a polling booth, followed by his son Oskar and latter’s wife; Vice-Chancellor von Papen at polling station answers request for comment by saying „This election will be of decisive importance for Germany and the world“. Völkischer Beobachter headlines Adolf Hitler’s victory. „Meeting of Reichstag at which the Führer and his cabinet receive plenary powers of legislation, 24 March 1933“ (actually 23 March). Hitler declares in Reichstag „the economy exists not for capital, but capital serves the economy and the economy the people“.

PART 2. ACQUIRING CONTROL OF GERMANY, 1933-34.

„Opening of the official anti-Semitic campaign, 1 April 1933.“ Goebbels in suit addresses outdoor crowd, speaking of machinations of Jews in Paris, London and New York. One member of crowd holds up Nationalsozialistische Betriebszellen-organisation placard. Tracking shot follows SA in truck with placard „Germans! Defend yourselves! Don’t buy from Jews!“, as same slogan is chanted on soundtrack. Truck passes Bata shoe shop and U-bahn entrance (i.e. Berlin). Sign „Beware! Kosher!“ and Star of David are painted on shop windows, plus a death’s head with warning „Beware Jews!“. Cafe Unter den Linden. Anti-Semitic signs are placed outside other shops, including a shoe shop and restaurant. Angry exchange between SA man and civilian. Another sign reads „The Jewish owners of the 5-pfennig shop are parasites and grave-diggers of the German working class quarter. They pay starvation wages to the German workers. The proprietor is the Jew Nathan Schmidt“. SA shout „Wehrt Euch!“ slogan to camera from back of truck.

„Foreign press conference, April 1933.“ (actually Union of German foreign press, 6 April 1933). Reichsminister Dr. Goebbels in dark suit at podium reads speech declaring that the national revolution which broke out on 30 January is an event of elemental importance which came as a surprise only to people out of touch with their time, a revolution which will overflow into every aspect of German life. Adolf Hitler in dark suit then speaks, recalling the violence done to Germany since November 1918 and the determined suppression of „national elements“ in the same period.

„The burning of the books, 10 May 1933.“ Newsreel report describes burning of un-German and immoral books in university towns by German students over film of bonfire in Berlin’s Opernplatz. Students bearing National-Socialist flags march past fire, throwing on books. Goebbels in raincoat speaks to night-time gathering of youth, declaring „the era of footling Jewish intellectualism is now over“ and that the burning is a great symbolic act for all the world to see. Students then sing „Deutschland verwehrt!“.

„Christening of new great German aircraft in presence of Cabinet members.“ Hermann Goering in formal attire declares „German industriousness, German labour, German invention and German organisation have given here new proof of their unique force and strength. Hindenburg’s name is today famous throughout the whole world“ before christening the four-engine plane after the President. Von Papen and other ministers are present.

„Reichstag address on disarmament, 17 May 1933.“ Adolf Hitler at podium declares „in the name of the German government and the German people. Germany has disarmed and has fulfilled way beyond the limits of all reasonableness and sense the conditions imposed on her in the Peace Treaty“.

„Youth meeting in Thuringia, 18 June 1933.“ Adolf Hitler addresses huge open-air gathering of SA at Ehrfurt, declaring that in four months his government has already reduced the unemployed by 1.2 million and that they will not rest until their goal (i.e. full employment) is reached.

„Swastika becomes a national symbol, 9 July 1933.“ The Führer declares to a huge SA gathering in Dortmund that the Party flag has become a symbol of the German Reich. Röhm stands by his side.

„Fifth Party Congress, September 1933.“ Adolf Hitler, followed by Rudolf Hess, Robert Ley and Julius Streicher, approaches platform in Nuremberg Stadium and addresses huge crowd of followers, declaring „the most precious thing on earth is one’s own people, and for these people we want to speak, fight, never tire nor adjourn nor give up hope“.

„Inauguration at Frankfurt am Main of new section of the super-highway net-work, 23 September 1933.“ Autobahn workers march past with shovels raised, singing before intoning the national anthem, at site of first autobahn linking Frankfurt to Heidelberg. Adolf Hitler, with Hoffmann taking pictures and Hierl behind, declares his commitment to the German worker: „before many years pass a gigantic work will bear testimony to your service, industry, skill and determination. German labourers! To work!“

„Over radio network Hess administers oath of allegiance to more than one million leaders of the NSDAP and all affiliated organisations, 25 February 1934.“ Rudolf Hess, outside the Party Building in Munich’s Königsplatz , with Robert Ley and Baldur von Schirach behind, leads assembled gathering in oath to Hitler, which they repeat.

What the “Socialism” Really Means

Source: Germany’s Hitler (Chapter XIV) – by Heinz A. Heinz

It is scarcely necessary to enlarge, here, upon the „Nationalism“ in Adolf Hitler’s political creed. Enough has already been written about it. It has occupied so much space in the contemporary Press and been discussed in so many books it has come to be regarded with a certain degree of Chauvinism. I propose, therefore, to confine myself, in the conclusion of this work, to a few observations under the second heading of our double-barrelled title. It is so completely true that he who studies contemporary Germany with a view to forecasting the future of the country, must study it from inside and not from the outsider’s point of view.1 From outside one mainly perceives the nationalism. From the inside the drive and force of the socialism is most apparent.

German Socialism – Adolf Hitler’s Socialism – is a totally different thing from what is generally understood by this term, from the Socialism derived from Marxian and Communistic theory. The first essential difference between the two consists in this, that the former is strictly national in aim, scope and limit; the latter is international, without boundaries of race or land. The second vital distinction is that the first has been set up by the wish of the people concerned, the second is imposed upon nations by the will of those who organise and propagate it. A third contrast can be drawn inasmuch as German Socialism tends to draw all sections of the nation closely together, international socialism initiates class war. German Socialism is directed by the country’s nationals; international Socialism is an instrument of the Jews2. In the former it is the personality of the Leader which tells; in the latter we have nothing but the inertia of the mass which is exploited by its organisers.

By the above signs is German Socialism to be recognised and distinguished. When it has completely assimilated Germany to itself, it will extend and become the groundwork for the future development of other countries. Marxism and Communism are finished in Germany. They have played their part and their role is over. Long enough have they made their influence felt in every sphere of German life, intellectual, political and economic, to the suppression of the truer socialism. Socialism is not a thing to be apprehended through dreary theory only, but to be tested and proved in action. We have written enough, elsewhere, very fully to show that the present German Government is inspired in its legislation by the spirit of active philanthropy which it calls Socialism. This legislation incorporates the very essence of German Socialism.

As Dr. Goebbels writes: „Socialism, as we understand it, does not reduce men to a dead level, but ranges them in order according to their individual capacity and leading. If I were to try and put our aims and objects in this direction in a nutshell, I should say that it is our endeavour to build up in Germany a people who all possess the same rights in life. We want everyone, high and low, to belong to such a people. We desire that the highest among them shall feel themselves more closely united with the last and lowest of their own kith and kin than with the highest of any other nation. We aim at this – that the highest of our people would rather be the lowest of his own nation, than the highest of any other nation. Such an aspiration can only be the outcome of an absolutely unified national will.”

It would lead us too far afield to instance the many measures in which Hitler has exemplified his conception of true Socialism. We must confine ourselves to a mere sketch of the most important and obvious incorporations of the ideas through which he has restored to the German worker his honour and self-respect.

THE GERMAN LABOUR FRONT

The law of April 10th, 1933, which arranged May 1st as a great Labour Day Holiday initiated the abovenamed reorganisation of labour in Germany. The first celebration of the new holiday was unanimous and universal: the Germans had never had anything like it before. Thousands of people gathered together at the same time, all over the country to listen to the Leader’s speech, and then to make high holiday. All trades and callings and professions for the first time were assembled in common, symbolising the unity which was henceforth to unite both types of labour – that of the head, and that of the hand, symbolising the necessary equal value to the community of both. German Socialism recognises no discriminating difference between the brain worker and the hand worker.

Quick on the heels of May 1st and its celebrations, came action. The German Labour Front emerged. On May 2nd the premises of all Marxian Labour Unions were taken over and the contents sequestrated.

Abroad, similar Marxist Unions described this action of Hitler’s as a theft of the German workman’s hardly earned pay, saved up for years and years in the Unions’ funds. Such a charge could not be substantiated, since these moneys were not taken from the workmen, to whom they rightly belonged, but from the greedy grasp of union officials to whom they did not belong, but who administered them wastefully, or appropriated them in disproportionate salaries.

With the workman himself went his money also, into the Labour Front. Here it could only be put to the best and most legitimate uses on his behalf.

The great object of the Labour Front is to secure German industry from the incessant recurrence of strikes and all their disintegrating consequences. German Socialism utterly opposes itself to strife between employers and men. Here again it shows quite a different face from that of Marxian Socialism which seeks to foment such discord, whereby, moreover, it maintains its own sovereignty.

In Germany to-day a strike is impossible for the reason that no employer dare pay less than the standardised daily wage, or the State would immediately take up the workers’ grievance. On the other hand, were the workers to demand more than their due they themselves would bring about the collapse of the concern for which they worked. The standard of wages is arrived at by experts representing the men and concerned to secure their best interests.

Together with wages, the question of hours has also been considered. In Marxist-Socialist Germany after the War, very hard times set in for German working men. Their leaders had every opportunity to show what the theory could accomplish; they had a majority in the Reichstag, a member of the Party was President of the Reich. Nevertheless, they were all either too lazy or too indifferent to carry out their programme.

So long as the masses went hungry they were easy to inflame, and to excite against capitalism and the wealthy. While six and a half million unemployed hung about the streets while their wives and children were starving, selfish employers exploited this wretched state of things just because they were paying the dole, forsooth! If a man grumbled he lost his job; hundreds were only waiting to pounce upon it in his stead. If he sought the assistance of the Secretary of his Union he drew another blank. What cared the employer for the Unions? Should a strike ensue all he had to do was to close shop or factory as the case might be, and say, „All right. We’ll see who can stick it out the longest, you or I.”

Days or even weeks might go by, but the result was always the same. The men came back with hangdog mien, glad of the work again at any cost! This is where the German working man had lost in his own eyes. It was from this sort of victimisation and wretchedness that Hitler designed to rescue him, and give him back his self-respect. Hitherto he had been the prey of vicious circumstances, the slave of an unscrupulous class.

All was altered in a twinkling when Adolf Hitler came to power. A cry of gratitude and relief went up from all ranks of German working men. The Brown Shirts were everywhere welcomed as they made their way into shop and factory and yard to enquire after the needs and circumstances of every employee in the place. Union secretaries were hauled to account no less than unsocialistic-minded employers. The German Labour Front was out to accomplish what it promised.

With the exception of peasants and officials, who have their own organisations, the German Labour Front comprises workmen of all kinds, employees, employers and people working on their own account. Hitler is its patron, Dr. Ley is its Leader. The standards of wages are carefully regulated and observed by reliable workers themselves. The Reich is divided up, under this scheme, into Regions, these, in turn, into Districts, these into Circuits or Local Groups, and these latter again into Trade Communes, Cells and Blocks.

STRENGTH THROUGH JOY

Perforce of its iron will, its absolute refusal to com-promise and its terrific onset, National Socialism wrenched itself suddenly into power. Long years before this happened its better ideas had attracted people away from those of the old system then in vogue, and so it is readily to be understood how, in March, 1933, the aforesaid old system simply collapsed.

The first and greatest duty before National Socialism was to win the German people back to a sense of nationality, and in impressing its own principles upon them. A State that is to endure for centuries ahead must be built upon the very foundations of organic life, upon blood and soil, nationality and home.

In order to replace one kind of State with another, and better one, it is not enough merely to do away with the former: the people themselves must be re-educated. In place of a system full of class enmity and distinctions and pride of place, there is now a commonwealth. The new State, organically designed, is founded upon the principle “The common good before that of the individual.”

Under National Socialism the culture of an entire people must not be identified with any particular caste, class, or level: it must characterise and belong to the mass. Nor must aesthetic enjoyments be only for the few; they must be common to all. Just as the creation of a united working people has been confided to the German Labour Front, so is it the business of another organisation, that of “Strength through Joy,” to make every member of the nation free of its cultural and artistic treasures and resources. The two endeavours are inter-related. By means of the latter every German working man can look to his free evening as a real opportunity for refreshment and „uplift ”; money which had formerly gone merely in organising strikes, can now be spent far more profitably and agreeably.

It is not the object of „Strength through Joy“ to educate the people politically. Few want to attend classes in civics after a hard day’s work. Its aim is rather to bring the people together on a broad basis of enlightenment, an effort in which they, too, of course, must concur.

The Director of „Strength through Joy“ is also Dr. Ley. His work is comprised under many headings. It is one of his principal endeavours to open up to worker and unemployed alike all the best sources of entertainment, opera, theatre and concert hall. For the fact that a workman in any German city can obtain admission to the finest operas for practically a nominal sum is Hitler himself directly to be thanked. Hitler often starved, in the old days, in order to buy the meanest standing room in the house, to hear Wagner. Now that he is Chancellor, no working man in Germany need be put to such shifts to gratify his artistic longings.

The „Kulturamt“ has opened to the people all sorts of intellectual resorts hitherto sacred to the upper ten. It is a mistake to suppose that only such appreciate the best. In Germany Wagner takes precedence, even with the poorest people, over nigger minstrelsy and jazz.

Even the working man’s week-ends are provided for. Previously he went for a bit of a walk in the park perhaps, on Sunday, or took a tram out of the suburbs to get a breath of air. If he were a single man he might spend the most part of his leisure in a beer hall, listening to the band. Although this sort of thing can still be observed everywhere, nowadays the workman looks to the sort of week-end right away which previously could only be enjoyed by the better to do. For a couple of marks, to-day, he can go thirty miles out of the city, follow a personally conducted tour around some beauty spots, and enjoy a good meal into the bargain. When his holiday comes round, it is provided for, lavishly as far as good things are concerned, at equally small cost.

Workmen from Munich can now envisage holidays by the North Sea with all sorts of trips and bathing fun thrown in. Those from Berlin can go to the Alps, do a bit of mountaineering and try what hotel life is like. These are dreams come true which for whole generations past must have ever remained unrealisable. All thank: to Adolf Hitler.

The section of this activity which deals with „Volkstum und Heimat,” seeks to revive, for urban populations, the knowledge of and delight in old peasant and traditional customs, songs, dances, costumes. This sort of thing reawakens love of the country and their origins in people long divorced from the land. It bridges the gull between the peasant and the townsman.

Kraft durch Freude (“Strength through Joy”) looks also to sport to give the working man zest and change in exercise. It is Hitler’s keenest desire to see the worker, particularly the youthful worker (Hitler’s Germany is all being built for the future – the past must now look after itself, „let the dead bury the dead”) made „crisis resisting.” The young workman goes in for tennis and golf and every other vigorous game that’s going.

Through the instrumentality of innumerable exhibitions, it is sought to rouse the worker’s pride in his own achievements, in his niche in society, in the part he plays in the whole. His craft is displayed before him in its entire interest, or beauty, or significance. Prizes and com-petitions abound. Each man becomes conscious of the part he takes in the whole, and discovers fresh pride in his trade and in himself.

Cheap classes are held for those who desire to advance in their particular calling, or to study more particularly the trade to which they belong, and for the acquisition of foreign languages. The best teachers are retained and the instruction is given in the buildings of the local University.

People are assisted to acquire their own dwelling- houses. Loans for this purpose can be repaid by instalments over a series of years. In this way it is hoped to promote a cheerful small villadom beyond the limits of the greater cities.

The department for propaganda aims at bringing all these activities and facilities before the people, to encourage them to make the utmost use of them. Only so will they be bringing about the National Socialist State envisaged by Adolf Hitler. There are still more departments in this one Movement alone, but space forbids their description.

Much, indeed, has been written about the new Germany. In England and America so much attention has been directed to its political aspect, that these others have been neglected. Of that attention, moreover, by far the greater part is highly inimical, highly critical. Few outside Germany yet realise why Hitler is prepared to go to all lengths to save this new Germany from being torpedoed either from within or without. He saves it in his own way and from those he considers its enemies, whether his action is understood abroad or not.

Let those disbelieve it who will, Adolf Hitler has done more for Germany since he came to power than any other statesman at any other time, and the wrecking of his work would not only spell the final ruin of Germany, but the ruin of Europe at large.


Notes:

1. Germany’s political development has been along lines totally different from those in England, and has led to a type of political public opinion very different from that of the average Englishman. The latter make a great mistake to judge of affairs in another country as if they had happened in their own. This is the universal mistake of the onlooker and critic: perhaps it accounts for two-thirds of the international misunderstanding in Europe today.

2. Vide the period of the Soldiers’ and Workmen’s Councils in Munich.

Your Life Belongs to Your Folk!

Source: SS Leitheft, March 1944

In the diary and belongings of an SS man who killed himself, the following sentence is often repeated: „My life no longer has value!“ What did he mean by that, and did he have a right to talk that way?

The SS man was 21 years old. His love – which had bound him with two different girls, one after the other, was not of a frivolous kind. He had sought a worthwhile union, an equal wife, who would give him healthy children in a lasting marriage. He gave up the first girl when medical examinations clearly showed the girl would remain infertile. But then, when a new dear love had bound him to another girl, he learned in the hospital that he himself through his own fault had become sterile. Since then the sentence about the purposelessness of his life was often repeated in his writings, and that he had lost everything he had lived, loved and fought for the perpetuation in his children.

What did the SS man want to achieve through his suicide? Did he want to make up for his self-inflicted infertility or did he wish to escape a childless existence, which seemed poor and empty to him?

We will gladly leave the examination of these questions to the psychiatrists. For us SS men, in this case, as in all cases of suicide, only one question is necessary and important: Did the deed help or hurt the folk?

Nobody can deny that the deed of the SS man mentioned here caused serious damage to the folk. For through it nothing was atoned for or made good. Quite the opposite: not only did the SS man deprive his folk of progeny, but through his own death he also deprived it of himself and of his own work-strength and fighting-strength. Hence, he added to his guilt.

There may be cases where a great guilt can only be atoned for through death. Then there is the case where the continued life of the guilty person can mean an unbearable burden for the community. In all other cases there is only one atonement and reconciliation, namely the total life effort for the community.

In his order of March 19, 1939, the Reichsführer SS clearly took a position to suicide. It says:

„At most 15% of suicides are committed for reasons that can be accepted, so for example the ending of life after a crime that hurts the community and tarnishes honour. 85% of the suicides, however, are committed for reasons that can never be accepted, such as fear of punishment, fear of a test, after reprimand from a superior, after an argument with parents. after the dissolution of an engagement, out of jealousy, after an unlucky love affair etc.

„Suicides of this kind have nothing do to with heroism or heroic spirit. They are viewed by we SS men as an escape, as a desertion from struggle and from life itself.”

„The SS has never had understanding for people who avoid struggle. Therefore, I decree that in all cases where an investigation instigated by the superior clearly determines that the reason for the suicide cannot be accepted, that no notice be given to the death of the man, and that the SS does not participate in the burial.”

Your life does not belong to you, but to your folk.

– H. Kl