TRANSLATION FROM STEEL HELMET.
have probably read about the great Steel Helmet demonstration held under the
protection of the Government, which was the most overwhelming manifestation of
the "front line" spirit which we have ever had; and I am very proud of
it. I am very sorry that I could not be there, but my son attended and has
described everything in so detailed a manner that I seem to see it before my
is now at a turning point, both in home and foreign affairs.
home affairs there are two phenomena. The first is the economic
crisis , which hits us Germans in a particular form. Since the inflation
Germany has been bled dry; our capital disappeared; there are no more reserves,
which can be called upon in times of stress. The crisis has made itself
felt in the smallest of workers' homes so cruelly that it is just as if you cut
into their living flesh. I read that the weavers of Lancashire are
striking because their wages are to be lowered
Germany no worker think of striking. He is glad if he is able to earn
anything at all. There have been three, four, or five reductions of
salaries in the middle classes ( officials etc.) We all live from
hand to mouth. Taxes are terrible and the standard of living has sunk so
low that it cannot go lower. We have to pay income tax here on a wage of
£60 upwards, so that the masses of workers who are spared in England have to
pay taxes. Business is at a standstill. Tariff walls throttle
our exports; and in the home market there is no money to buy. It
makes one despair.
Do you think that a parliamentary regime can settle this situation? And
here I come to the second point the ending off the Parliamentary System.
Bruning introduced a veiled dictatorship, and von Papen is merely continuing
this. But now we are changing from the "wait and see" attitude
to the “up and do" policy. We are tired of everlasting waiting.
We want to see what is going to happen. And therefore we are for the
von Papen Government, because he is against the Parliamentary system, and
because they not only publish a fine program to overcome the crisis, but they
have the courage to provide the mechanism and to set it going. They are
risking a lot, it is true, but fortune helps the brave! ( Fortes fortuna
adjuvat.) We are now going to fight the depression, with the weapons in
our hand and we are confident of victory. The Stock Exchange is the best
barometer and that shows that hope is springing up in our breasts.
Nazis believe in the "Third Empire" and think that if they have
all the power in their hands everything will be all right.. My personal
conviction is that Hitler lost a great chance when he left the President's
Palace blushing all over. He himself would have, I believe, readily
but he is too much under the influence of his Radical leaders. The
Nazis fear that they will lose a lot of their adherents if they make compromises
and they do not want a new election campaign. Moreover, Hitler’s unwise
actions in the matter of the "five heroes of Potempa" have lost him a
lot of support.
must soon have a reform of the voting system and raise the age of franchise and
also introduce the personal element into politics again. We want to vote
for men of flesh and blood, not for a list of names as we do now.
Foreign policy the question of re-arming is now the most important. The
German aide-memoire seems to have caused a great sensation. In England
they talk about "diplomatic clumsiness." Warsaw and Paris are
angry. It is just as if one had put one's finger into a wasps' nest.
But surely after the fiasco of the Disarmament Conference the German démarche
was the natural consequence and it is quite as natural that Germans of
responsibility should speak out their minds frankly and freely. Schleicher
is speaking what every nationally minded German feels in his heart. We
Germans have had enough of the underhanded ways of international politics.
We want to know where we stand. The patience of our whole people is
at an end. For thirteen years we have been rigidly bound to the paragraphs
of the Treaty of Versailles, which demand a thousand and one things from us.
But the Allies have conscientiously evaded the fulfilment of the few
obligations which they took upon themselves more for the sake of the "beau
geste" than in real sincerity.
worst of it all is that the French still put the sole blame for the War upon
Germany and cannot get rid of the conviction that the naughty boy must remain
branded for ever and ever. All the stipulations of the Treaty of
Versailles depend on this belief; and outside France it has been recognized that
they must be revised. Abolition of Reparations was only a step along this
path of revision; then general disarmament or German re-arming; and then comes
naturally the question of the Eastern frontiers.
French stated that no sooner would we be free of reparations than we would spend
the money (where is it?) on armaments. But it is not a question of money.
It is a question or the national honour of a great people whose will to
live cannot be suppressed for all times. What is right for other nations,
should be right for Germany. That is not chauvinism; that is just
commonsense. We do not want to make War; we feel, however, that the
surrounding of Germany by large armies is a threat of war. Moreover, you
have just to look at the map to see that readiness for defense is a
necessary tradition for the German people. We are pacifists in the sense
that we want friendly settlement of international problem; but we are not
pacifists in the sense that we must give all our military power up and
thus encourage our neighbours to hit us about,) ( look what the Lithuanians did
now just a word about the revision of the Eastern frontiers, which I call the
third step of our natural revision. The Corridor must disappear.
There are only two alternatives; either Danzig and East Prussia will become
German or they will become Polish; and we know what they ought to be.