this 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.
thousand 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 election campaign.
occupants 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.
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 motorcar
and immediately displayed a great interest in it. He shook hands with the
Nazi chiefs 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.
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
Hitler 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 brains
of the Nationalist-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. To Hitler’s left sits a massive, fair-haired man beside 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 he became
Chancellor, to accompany him on a flight.
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.
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 newspaper.
clouds 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 Berlin.” Prince August 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.
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.”
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:
father of this Storm Troop man, Gerhard Schiemminger, 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.”
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.
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
armband, 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.
are two Hitlers - the natural boyish Hitler, and the Hitler who is
inspired by a tremendous national force, a great Hitler. It is the second
Hitler who has stirred Germany to an awakening.