Gareth Jones

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BERLIN, Wednesday.

“The President, Field-marshal von Hindenburg is gravely ill.  Herr Hitler is on his way to the President’s estate in Neudeck, East Prussia, and we are fearing the worst.” 

The German diplomat who ponderously announced this news to me looked anxious and wan, and wherever men and women heard that all hope for the President’s life had been abandoned there was a glint of fear in their eyes. 

To them it was the latest of three catastrophes which have shaken Germany within the short space of a month. 

Out of the blue on June 30 had come the ruthless stamping out of the Roehm revolt, which destroyed not only the bodies of men but the soul of a movement, and which has left rancor in the hearts of thousands of storm troopers. 

A Crushing Defeat 

On July 25, the greatest ambition of the National Socialists in foreign affairs to regain the soil of Austria, sacred to them not only for the Germanic race of its countrymen, but for having brought to the world the Leader, Hitler-was dashed to the ground and converted into a crushing defeat which has humiliated them before the world [Assassination of Dolfuss in failed Austrian Putsch]

Now comes the third catastrophe, the fear of the disappearance of the strongest link with the German past and of the most reasonable and restraining force in German politics-Hindenburg. 

For many Germans it is a terrifying prospect because it will be a break with some of the most glorious days of German history; with the solid bourgeois virtues of pre-War days, and with the old Prussian conceptions of honour, military justice, and duty. 

Many reflect that Hindenburg was a young lieutenant at the time of the founding of the German Empire in 1871, and feel that with his death there will pass an era which, in spite of its militarism, has had admirable qualities. 

With Hindenburg’s death there will probably be a renewed struggle for power, more bitter, I believe, than before in the history of National Socialism in Germany.  It was due to Hindenburg’s personal influence that many posts in certain Ministries, such as the Foreign Office and the War Ministry, were in the hands of Nationalists-conservative men who have been revolted by the excesses of the revolutionaries in the national Socialist party. 

It has been largely due to Hindenburg’s influence that many of the Ministers have not been National Socialists, although they have paid lip service to its ideals and to its leaders.

With Hindenburg’s passing the fight for these posts will begin.  Young Nazis, feeling themselves deprived of power and pay by the continuance of the Conservatives in privileged places, will seek to capture those prizes of authoritative posts which are now withheld from them. 

Banner of Monarchy 

The Right Wing will probably make a vigorous fight, and perhaps will win, because they have the Army and the Steel Helmets on their side. They will, perhaps, wave the banner of Monarchy, and will greet the return of the Kaiser or of another of the Hohenzollerns. 

These are only suppositions and no one can foretell future events here.  But of the two elements, revolutionary Nazis seeking power, and the Conservatives, it is probable that the Conservatives will win.  Upon the struggle the publication of Hindenburg’s political testament will have a great influence. 

Mutual Hatred 

In the struggles between Left and Right the S.S. men (black uniformed elite of the Storm Troopers) will range’ themselves with the Army and the Steel Helmets. These S.S. men have won the enmity of thousands of the Brownshirts, and I believe that the mutual hatred will grow. 

What of Hindenburg’s successor? It is possible that the great old man has been the last President; that there will not again be a Presidential election, and that Hitler will make himself “Leader.”








Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany.


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