GARETH REPORTING ON HITLER

(ARTICLE 2)

THE WESTERN MAIL AND SOUTH WALES NEWS, March 1st, 1933.

A WELSHMAN LOOKS AT EUROPE (xi)
BEGINNING OF GERMAN FASCISM

By GARETH JONES

HOTEL BASLER HOF,
Frankfurt-on-Main.

Germany is going full speed towards a Fascist Dictatorship. Now that Hitler has gained power he will cling to it. No considerations of constitutionalism will make him waver in his purpose. He will even throw aside Hindenburg rather than loosen the grip which he is gaining on Germany.

He is surrounded by men of unflinching will, unfettered by traditions, burning with hatred of Bolshevism and passionate in their cry of “Germany, awake!”

Who are these men? The cream of his followers are here now in this hotel, preparing for the vast meeting which is to stir the population of Frankfurt. When I draw the curtain and look down into the street I see some of them guarding the hotel. There is a police cordon drawn around and, except for the members of the bodyguard in their black and silver uniform, there is no one in the street outside. The members of the bodyguard are the picked few of the hundreds of thousands of storm troops whom Hitler has led to power.

Thus Hitler has behind him a vast army of determined young men, excellently trained. Those who are in brown are the S.A. men, or the Storm Department men. They are the rank-and-file. Those who are in black with silver trimmings are the S.S. men, the special defence troops, the elite. I have just had a long conversation with one of the leading S.S. men, who was pointed out to me as a hero, for he had killed a Communist.

What Happened

“What happened?” I asked the powerfully built young man, whose smile was so disarming that I found it difficult to realise that I was talking to one who had killed a man, although he had on his helmet a skull and crossbones. He told his story eagerly.

“Yes, that was a rare fight. We Nazis have a meeting-place here, and one night a number of Communist thugs rushed in to raid us. We set to. One of them came at me and I just took him up and crashed his skull against the piano. He was done for. Nine Communists got wounded in that fight and I got a dagger wound in my hand. Look at it.

“I managed to escape, but later I was amnestied. The amnesty came on my birthday.”

Gentleness to their enemies is no characteristic of Hitler’s hundreds of thousands of followers. The storm troops are backed by fourteen million German citizens, and Hitler finds himself in a strong position. He is digging himself in rapidly, thanks to one man, Goering, who now controls Prussia, and Prussia is two-thirds of Germany.

Goering is perhaps the most determined of Hitler’s followers. He has already dismissed hundreds of non-Nazi police, presidents, officials, and Civil Servant in Prussia and replaced them with keen Nazis. Many war heroes are now in control of the police. Goering’s actions have amounted to a coup d’état without violence.

Law the Tool of a Party

In a few weeks the Nazis have won the key positions, and they are not the kind of men to give them up. Goering has written a letter to the police which practically absolves them from any blame or responsibility if they shoot a Communist or a Socialist. The police are to support the Nazi troops in crushing non-nationalistic elements and the Nazi storm men are to become auxiliary police. Law is thus rapidly becoming the tool of a party.

Equally dictatorial has been the attitude towards the press. Responsible news papers have been banned for criticisms In this respect Germany is beginning to tread the path of Russia and Italy.

A dictator of public opinion is to be appointed-if opinion can be dictated to- and he is going to be the vivacious little man who sat behind Hitler in the aeroplane, and whose dark, narrow head an sharp brown eyes looked like those of a Glamorgan miner- Dr. Goebbels. With the “Herr Doktor,” as he is called, I have spent several hours.

Goebbels at the microphone at the Frankfurt Rally

National Emotion

He has a remarkably appealing personality, with a sense of humour and a keen brain. One feels at home with him immediately, for he is amusing and likeable.

It is strange to think that this little man who looks so Iberian, is a leader of the Nazi movement, which has as its basic the supremacy of the big, blonde Nordic race. Before long he is going to have control of the press, of the wireless, of art, as head of a new Ministry, and he is determined to educate the whole of public opinion in Germany along National Socialist lines.

The time has come, however, to leave for the mass meeting. The hall, which holds 25,000, has been packed since twelve o’clock, although Hitler is not to speak until 8.15. The “Leader” is upstairs getting ready. Dr. Goebbels tells me that the Nazis never prepare their speeches fully. They all speak out openly. Goebbels and Hitler jot a few slogans on two or three pieces of paper or outline a short plan and are usually carried away by the revivalist spirit.

Hitler is now coming down the staircase in his brown uniform. We must go. Before long I am destined to witness one of the most overwhelming outbursts of national emotion which history records and the beginning of German Fascism.

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