Hearst: Lord of San Simeon

By Oliver Carlson; Ernest Sutherland Bates | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XVII
American Fascist

WHEN Hearst and his party went to Europe in May 1934 they traveled on the Rex. The publisher was bound for Italy where, as he announced, he hoped to meet Mussolini; after that, the next country on his itinerary would be Germany, where he hoped to meet Hitler.

Mussolini showed no great interest in his American admirer, but it was different with Hitler. From Bad Nauheim the publisher carried on a voluminous correspondence with the Fuehrer, who became so impressed with this septuagenarian student who had crossed the Atlantic to sit at his feet that he invited him to Berlin and received him into the inner Nazi circles. Hearst had his photograph taken in the midst of a group of prominent Nazi officials looking quite like one of them -- a photograph which he neglected to reproduce in any of his American newspapers or magazines. He perfected arrangements to secure for the Hearst International News Service a monopoly of all American news published in the government-controlled German press. Most important of all, he himself derived a new political vision from his Nazi contacts -- a vision of the power to be obtained by the ruthless use of force in open warfare with the labor unions, by suppression of hostile criticism, and by the use of patriotic propaganda which he himself had early mastered but had never, as he saw now, used with sufficient singleness of purpose for the preservation of that capitalist system on which his own wealth and influence depended. The capitalist system was endangered now in America as it had been in Germany until Hitler saved

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