THE WESTERN MAIL
AND SOUTH WALES NEWS, February 28th, 1933
A WELSHMAN LOOKS AT EUROPE (x)
WITH HITLER ACROSS GERMANY
By GARETH JONES
aeroplane should crash then the whole history of Europe would be changed. For a few
feet away sits Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany and leader of the most
volcanic nationalist awakening which the world has seen.
feet beneath us, hidden by a sea of rolling white clouds, is the land which he
has roused to a frenzy. We are rushing along at a speed of 142 miles per
hour from Berlin to Frankfurt-on-Main, where Hitler is to begin his lightning
of the aeroplane are, indeed, a mass of human dynamite. I can see Hitler
studying the map and then reading a number of blue reports. He does not
look impressive. When his car arrived on the airfield about half an hour
ago and he stepped out, a slight figure in a shapeless black hat, wearing a
light mackintosh, and when he raised his arm flabbily to greet those who had
assembled to see him, I was mystified.
His Right Hand Men
How had this
ordinary-looking man succeeded in becoming deified by fourteen million people?
He was more natural and less of a poseur than I had expected; there was
something boyish about him as he saw a new motor-car and immediately displayed a
great interest in it. He shook hands with the Nazi chief and with those
others of us who were to fly with him in the famous “Richthofen,” the
fastest and most powerful three-motored aeroplane in Germany.
His handshake was
firm, but his large, outstanding eyes seemed emotionless as he greeted me.
Standing around in the snow were members of his bodyguard in their black uniform
with silver brocade. On their hats there is a silver skull and crossbones,
the cavities of the eyes in the skull being bright red.
I was introduced
to these, the elite of the Nazi troops, and then to a plump, laughing man,
Captain Bauer, Hitler’s pilot, the war-time flying hero. We then entered
the great aeroplane and now we sit far above the clouds.
Brain of the Party
sits a little man who laughs all the time. He has a narrow Iberian head
and brown eyes which twinkle with wit and intelligence. He looks like the
dark, small, narrow-headed, sharp Welsh type which is so often found in the
Glamorgan valleys. This is Dr. Goebbels, a Rhinelander, the brain of the
National-Socialist Party and, after Hitler, its most emotional speaker.
His is a name to remember, for he will play a big part in the future.
left sits a massive, fair-haired man besides whom Hitler looks dwarf-like.
This is Hitler’s adjutant. The others in the aeroplane are secretaries,
and there are five members of Hitler’s bodyguard in their black and silver
uniforms with red swastika badges. The only two non-Nazis are another
newspaper correspondent and myself and we are the first foreign observers to be
invited by Hitler since be became Chancellor to accompany him on a flight.
Next to me sits a
scarred, well-built member of the bodyguard, who has a sense of humour and keeps
ragging another member who is sleeping. He has already offered me two
boiled eggs, two bags of chocolate, an apple and biscuits. There is
nothing hard and Prussian about my fellow-passengers. They could not be
more friendly and polite, even if I were a red-hot Nazi myself.
The chief of the
bodyguard is now drinking to my health in soda-water and grinning. He
shows me his silver badge which he wears on his breast and which shows that he
has been a follower of Hitler for thirteen years. He is obviously proud of
his uniform and points out his photograph to me in a weekly illustrated
underneath have now cleared, and we can see the Elbe winding below. Hitler
is now asleep. The sun is shining upon the engine to the left. I take up a
Nazi newspaper and I read:
night Goebbels and Prince August Wilhelm are speaking in the Sport Palace in
Wilhelm, the son of the Kaiser! What relations are there, I wonder,
between the Monarchists and Hitler? I recall an item of information which
I picked up in Berlin. The Kaiserin had come to Berlin to win over Hitler.
A meeting was arranged in a salon. Hitler kept the Empress waiting in the
drawing-room twenty minutes while he chatted in the corridor outside. At
last they met, but the Empress failed in her mission, and Hitler is not yet
converted to Monarchism.
Another item is:
“Fifty thousand people hear Dr. Goebbels in Hanover.” I look at the
vivacious little man and see that he is reading Wilson’s Fourteen Points.
His smile has disappeared, and his chin is determined, he looks as if he were
burning to avenge what the Nazis call the betrayal of 1918. I recall the
Nazi slogan: “Retribution.”
A notice, “In
Memoriam,” which I next read in the Nazi paper then gives a clue to the
emotion which has been let loose in Germany. Beneath the photograph,
surrounded by a thick black line, of a handsome young boy in a Nazi uniform I
read: “The father of this Storm Troop man, Gerhard Schlemminger, was one of
the two million who fell for Germany. The wife he left behind bravely went
along her path of duty and educated her son to be a sincere, honourable German
citizen in the decadent post-war days of confusion and vice. But Gerhard,
who gave all his energy for the freeing of Germany, was yesterday struck dead by
a murderous Bolshevik bullet.”
This throws a
light upon the political passions in Germany. I look again at Hitler.
He and his followers feel that the hundreds of Nazis, such as this young boy who
have died in street battles must be avenged, and they will be ruthless in
crushing Communist opposition.
is now turning and smiling to his adjutant. He looks mild. Can this
be the ruthless enemy of Bolshevism? It puzzles me.
The Two Hitlers
We are now
descending, however. Frankfurt is beneath us. A crowd is gathered
below. Thousands of faces look up at us. We make a smooth landing.
Nazi leaders, some in brown, some in black and silver, all with a red swastika
arm-band, await their chief. Hitler steps out of the aeroplane. But
he is now a man spiritually transformed. His eyes have a certain fixed
purpose. Here is a different Hitler.
There are two Hitlers - the natural boyish Hitler, and the
Hitler who is inspired by tremendous national force, a great Hitler. It is
the second Hitler who has stirred Germany to an awakening.