GARETH REPORTING ON HITLER
WESTERN MAIL AND SOUTH WALES NEWS, February 28th, 1933
A WELSHMAN LOOKS AT EUROPE (x)
WITH HITLER ACROSS GERMANY
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
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.
His Right Hand Men
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.
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.
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
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 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.
Hitler’s 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.
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.
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
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
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.”
“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
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
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.
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