reports confirmed and followed shortly after Malcolm Muggeridge’s accounts in
the Manchester Guardian and, as
Muggeridge’s biographer mentions, Gareth’s stoHTTP/1.1 100 Continue
ries were incorporated in his
book Winter in Moscow.
was promptly presented by Walter Durranty, U.S. correspondent - long in the
Soviet ‘good graces’ to which Gareth replied in the New York Times reaffirming that starvation was widespread in
Russia. Soviet propaganda, fed by the
party activists who were imbued with a religious fervour, so impressed foreign
visitors and delegates that the outside world was unaware of the catastrophe
that had befallen 90% of the Russian people. In a letter to Gareth of April 17th 1933, Muggeridge
describes Durranty as “a plain crook, though an amusing little man in his way”
and offered to write a letter of protest to the New York Times if he had sight of Durranty’s piece.
Later that year Muggeridge wrote again
having seen the Durranty contribution and commented: “He just writes what they tell him”.
[Letter of September 29th 1933.]
Gareth wrote that the success of
Stalin’s plan of collectivisation and industrialisation would strengthen the
hands of the Communists throughout the world. As early as 1930 he was one of those who predicted that the 20th
century would be a struggle between Capitalism and Communism. As we reach the new millennium and are able
to look back over the history of the twentieth century we can see that his
belief was remarkably accurate.
His fluent German greatly
facilitated his reporting of German affairs and in 1933 he was the first
foreign correspondent to fly with Hitler in his plane, the famous ‘Richthofen’,
the fastest and most powerful aeroplane in Germany at that time. His article starts as follows:
“If this aeroplane should crash 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”.
He described Hitler as an
ordinary-looking man and was mystified how fourteen million people could deify
him as ‘The Great Dictator’. The flight
was from Berlin to Frankfurt-am-Main where Hitler was to speak at a rally of Nazi supporters.
At the rally Gareth described the people as
being “drunk with nationalism”, and that the atmosphere was one of hysteria in
the auditorium. 25,000 men rose to
their feet, 25,000 arms were raised in salute and 25,000 voices shouted ‘Heil
Hitler’. The dictator’s speech
completely mesmerised the audience.