WESTERN MAIL & SOUTH WALES NEWS, August 21st 1934
WHO ARE THE “Yeses” and
“No” IN THE GERMAN PLEBISCITE
By Gareth Jones
Who were the
38,000,000 who voted for Hitler and who were the 4.000,000 who had the courage
to say “No”?
Among those who
placed their cross in the circle representing “Yes’s there were millions who
sincerely believed that Hitler should be their leader, but who hated the methods
which his dictatorship had introduced.
“Yes” because they saw no alternative to him except Communism and chaos.
“Yes” because they longed for an end to civil strife and some
stable régime however objectionable they might find many of its features.
They voted “Yes” above all because they felt that Hitler was a
representative of that national unity towards which Germany had always striven.
SERFDOM IN THE BLOOD
voted for Hitler, the Man. They are the millions who crave for someone to
lead them, who lack initiative and long for an order from above, who have in
their blood the former serfdom of East Prussia or the traditions of those petty
little States where, only a century-and-a-half ago, the princelings sold their
subjects to foreign generals for gold.
This type of man
worships a strong hand.
shouted “Ja” for Hitler because they believed that he had rescued them from
Bolshevism and from massacre. They looked upon him as the bulwark against
Industrialists-voted for him because he had smashed the trade unions and put an
end to strikes.
Others voted out
of fear that they should be discovered and lose their posts.
That their manner
of voting could be found out through the voting slips I do not believe, because
I am convinced that the ballot was secret. I visited a polling booth in
the most Communistic area of Berlin. There was no number or mark or my
voting slip by which the voter could be identified.
What of those who
said “No”? They comprise men of such scattered opinions that they
could hardly organise to overthrow Hitler. Among them were Communists and
Socialists, more bitter than ever against the régime. Numbers of Catholics
considered their “No” as a protest against National Socialism’s claim to
the souls of the children and to the belief of young Nazis that “we have a new
religion and that religion is Germany”!
have been among those who voted against Hitler, and they must have thought of
the simple but stirring protest of the philosopher and divine, Karl Barth,
when he exclaimed “Ich sage Nein!” (“I say No!”).
must have been amongst the dissidents. They grieve at the garrotting of
the German press and the ruining of the stage and of the films. “No!”
This must have been the reaction of some when they thought of the killings of
It would be a
mistake, however, to see in four million anti-Hitler votes the end of the Hitler
régime. There was a look of quiet confidence on Hitler’s face when I
saw him on Sunday saluting the enthusiastic crowd outside the Chancellery.
That confidence will be shaken far more by the economic tasks of the winter than
by the votes of four million men.
What are votes,
after all, to men of strong will who have energy, ruthlessness, the
determination to stay in power - and machine-guns?