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THE WESTERN MAIL,  Thursday February 9th, 1933



LEIPZIG (Saxony).

My Saxon host came rushing into my room, slammed the door and shouted: “Hitler is Chancellor!”  Even the Alsatian wolfhound in the corner barked with excitement. 

The Saxon continued: “Hindenburg has appointed Hitler Prime Minister.  It’s a coalition between the National-Socialists and the German Nationalist party.  Papen is Vice-Chancellor.  At last Germany has a National Government such as you have in Britain.” 

I went out into the streets to see if anything were happening.  All was calm.  I overheard snippets of conversation: “Adolf Hitler is a second Napoleon.” … “Will there be a General Strike?” … “There’ll be some murders in Berlin to-night.” … “It’s an attack on the working-classes.” … “Hitler has gone over to the capitalists.” 

Then somebody came up to me, pressed a leaflet into my hand and slipped away.  I looked at the pamphlet and read the letters: “GENERAL STRIKE AGAINST THE FASCIST TERROR!  HITLER IS CHANCELLOR.”  

“This new Cabinet of open Fascist Dictatorship is a most brutal declaration of war against the German working-class.  Instead of Schleicher we have against us bayonets of the Army and the revolvers of the Hitler bandits.  It means limitless terror, the smashing of the last rights of the workers.  The barbaric of régime of Fascism is to be set up over Germany. 

“COME OUT ON ” TO THE STREETS?  Lay down your tools!  Down with Hitler, Papen and Hugenberg!  Long live the General Strike!  Long live the struggle for a Workers and Peasant Republic!  The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany.” 

Newspaper Banned 

In the streets all was normal.  I went to the station to look for any signs of revolt or of general strike.  Nothing happened.  I asked for a Communist newspaper.  It’s banned to-day,” said the girl.  “We’ve just been told that it is illegal to sell it any more.” 

“Will there be a general strike now that Hitler is in power?”  I asked a friend.  “Will the Communists and the Socialists lay down tools?” 

“No a bit of it,” replied the German.  “The Unions have got no money; and no man would be fool enough to lose his job these days.” 

The advent of Hitler has, therefore, been disappointingly calm.  It is true that thousands upon thousands surged through the Berlin streets to greet the new Chancellor.  It is true that the Hitler newspaper reports: 

 “Storm-leader Maikowski shot dead by Red murderer!  On the march home after the overwhelming welcome to Chancellor Hitler our comrade, Storm-leader Maikowski, as he marched singing songs of battle, was laid low by a bullet fired by a band of Communist murderers. … His death shall not remain unavenged!”  Otherwise, throughout Germany, all was calm.  A few Nazi banners were hanging from windows in the Leipzig streets.  On one wall was written a threat: “Nazi Storm Troops, the Red Trade Union Organisation Warns You!”  But that was all. 

A New Chapter 

Nevertheless, the advent of Hitler may well open a new chapter in German postwar history.  It makes the class-struggle in Germany more violent than it has been before.  The Nazis have now co-operated with the most capitalistic sections of Germany.  In the Cabinet, led by Hitler, there are Nationalist industrialists and great landowners.  The German workers will be more bitter in their opposition to the Government than they were to Schleicher.  Therefore, many people fear that Hitler, in spite of his desire to unite all classes and all creeds, will only succeed in making Germany more divided into master and worker than ever. 

Hitler will find this problem of the workers the most difficult he has to deal with.  In his wireless speech he has promised that by his Four-Year Plan no unemployed man will be left in Germany at the end of four years.  Is this not too great a promise?  Will not the disillusion sweep away the present foundations of Germany? 

Hitler has gone so much to the Right, away from Socialism to Nationalism that he is bound to lose the faith which Radical elements in his party have in him. 

Hitler’s Great Task 

Hitler promises to overcome Bolshevism in Germany and to crush the followers of Marx.  But it is misery and hunger, and not agitation, that have made 6,000,000 Germans vote for the Communist Party.  If Hitler fails to banish misery and hunger many more millions will vote for the Communist Party, and the already nerve-stricken Germany will again be on the verge of civil war. 

In German politics, however, nothing can be prophesied.  There are to be elections on March 5th, and what will happen then no one knows.  Perhaps there will be a National Dictatorship.  Perhaps … but no one can tell. 

The personality of Hitler arouses no confidence in the calm observer.  It is hard to reconcile his shrieking hatred of the Jews with any balanced judgment.  It is hard to think that a telegram he sent congratulating certain Nazis who had brutally murdered a Communist before the eyes of the murdered man’s family reveals any spirit of justice.  Nor have Hitler’s scornful hints about the old age of Hindenburg and his reminder to the President that he (Hitler) could wait, while a man of over 80 years could not, earned the Nazi leader the respect of certain observers.  Hitler’s neurotic behaviour in a December meeting of Nazis, when he burst into tears and wept without control, was not that of a Bismark. 

His Goal Reached 

Hitler is Chancellor.  The former Austrian lance-corporal, with his thirteen million followers, has reached his goal at the very moment when his fortunes seemed to be turning and when defeat was staring him in the face. 

He has begun quietly and legally.  The strong whisky of the Nazi speeches has so far, in practice, been milk-and-water.  He has not destroyed the Republic.  He promises merely a Four-Year Plan to give employment.  His is a tremendous task. 

If he fails to bring Work and Bread in Germany far more blood will flow in the streets of Berlin than has ever flowed before.








Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany.


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