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THE WESTERN MAIL,  February 8th, 1933


4 Germans.JPG (106858 bytes)

[Click on picture for detail -Caption reads:" What the King Conquered, the Prince Shaped, the Field Marshal defended, the Soldier saved and united.]



A crowd has gathered in one of Bremen’s chief streets and is staring at a group of pictures in a shop window.  Two or three youngsters look with flashing eyes at the scenes depicted. 

The first photograph is of Mussolini-stern, with firm jaw.  The German boys look at one another, nod, and say: “That’s the kind of man we want here.” 

The second photograph shows thousands upon thousands of Nazis meeting in Danzig in their khaki uniform, carrying red banners with the swastika upon a white circle in the middle.  "Danzig shall remain German” run the words underneath.  “Thirteen years ago Danzig was torn from the Fatherland by the brutal Treaty of Versailles.”  The youngsters, I can see, are burning with indignation when they look upon that scene. 

The third photograph depicts French soldiers dragging a German policeman through the streets of a German town.  French cavalrymen are riding alongside, some of them smiling scornfully.  Underneath the photograph are the words: “The attack on the Ruhr ten years ago. A despicable blot on France's honour. Germany, awake!“ 

The German youngsters look at each other, and one says: “To think that we Germans have stood that disgrace for thirteen years!  But we will stand it no longer.  Hitler will bring us honour again.” 

Germany’s Honour 

That boy reflects the feelings of a large part of Germany.  The period of patient waiting and of submitting to insults, the Germans feel, is at an end.  Of this passionate desire for equality of status and of this hatred of a subordinate position in Europe I was soon to have proof, because ten minutes after the train had steamed out of Bremen station towards Hanover and Leipzig I entered into conversation with two German ex-soldiers.  One of them was pale and excitable; the other was a former sergeant-major, stout, tall, with a red, scarred face. 

The pale, excitable German said: “Germany can no longer suffer the disgrace it has had ever since the Socialists stabbed us in the back in 1918.  We were betrayed then.  That’s why we lost the war.  The Republic has been the curse of Germany.  But I have kept my old Imperial flag, and it’s waiting for the day when it will be unfurled and we can save Germany’s honour, which has been trampled under foot.” 

The sergeant-major broke in: “Quite right.  The day is bound to come.  I was in the war on the third day.  I went through Belgium for Imperial Germany.  It was all in vain because of the traitors in Germany who have ruined everything- those Socialists, who have no feeling for the Fatherland.” 

The Kaiser 

“So you want a Monarchy again ?“ I asked.

“Of course,” they both said.

“The Kaiser ?”  I asked.

The sergeant-major puffed at his cheap cigar and meditated.  “No. He should have gone out with the fleet in November, 1918, and died like a man.  No.  Not the Kaiser.” 

“Well, the Crown Prince?”  I asked.

“No, not the Crown Prince.  He had too good a time behind the lines while we were in the front trenches.  It will be a long time before we get a Monarchy, but it’ll have to come some day.  It will have to be another Frederick the Great.” 

This sentence gave me a clue to the feeling in Germany today.  Frederick the Great, the Prussian King who struggled against almost all the powers of Europe in the eighteenth century and built the military system of Prussia, is now the hero of Germany. 

Attitude Towards Britain 

The Germans feel that when they are surrounded by the French, the Poles, and the Czechs, and have their army reduced to 100,000 men, their honour and self-respect have disappeared.  They bear no personal rancour against Britain, but their feeling against France, Poland, and also America, is often violent. 

The pale German said: “The British were honourable enemies and we respect honourable enemies.  But the French and the Poles have insulted us ever since the war and treated us like insects.  And the Americans, too.  What right had they to put their paws into the war in 1917 when it had nothing to do with them?”

The conclusion that the two ex-soldiers came to-and the fellow-travellers in the compartment nodded and muttered consent-was: “We must and we will again have a big army, so that we Germans can hold our heads high again.” 

That is what national-minded German men are thinking.  What of the women?  I was soon to learn one widely-spread point of view, for the train had come into Hanover and I had to change for the Leipzig train. 

The Good Old Days

Into the compartment came a big, strapping woman in home-spun tweeds.  “An officer’s wife,” I said to myself. Almost her first words were: “We must have big army.  As a mother and as the wife of a landowner, I say that the youth Germany is going to destruction.  The young people have no discipline, and it’s discipline we want.  We will have the old army back again.  Let the lads earn only few-pence a day, as they used to in the good old days before the war.  We cannot afford to have our youngsters idle upon the street.  The Army would take half a million away from idleness. 

“Then we people who breed horses have to suffer because the young people, not having been in the Army, know nothing about horses.  Our Hanover horses are famous and have to be specially handled, very quietly treated.  But they are being, spoilt because the youngsters have not been in the Army and thus know nothing about horses.  We must have the Army again.” 

It is not only the Nationalists who want a big Army in Germany, but also the Socialists.  I recalled a conversation with a former Cabinet Minister, a Socialist, who had stated that a large Army was essential for Germany.  He feared the Reichswehr (the present professional Army of 100,000 men).  “It is a danger.  It gives twelve years’ training and after that its soldiers get preference everywhere.  It also has too much political power.” 

The Private Armies 

“Moreover, a large Army is a force for national unity.  Germany is now split into contending private armies which hate and attack each other.  The Nazis shoot at the Communists and vice versa.  The Catholics hate the Protestants and the Prussians loathe the Bavarians.  If we had an army these would live together and learn to get on with one another. 

A large army would be a force for peace.  Today the army for German youth is a romantic ideal.  If the young people were grilled and cursed at, if they had to sweat and have blisters, they would soon be against militarism. 

Germany is bound to have a great army again, I thought, as the lights of Leipzeig appeared and the train entered the largest station in Europe.  What effect would that have on the peace of Europe and of Wales? The outlook seemed dark. 








Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany.


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