II: Why Hitler?

How are we to explain the modern Genghis Khan? How was it possible that an intelligent and cultured nation was swept off its feet by a man who could not even speak its language correctly; a man who was far from Nordic in appearance, demeanour, outlook and tactics; a man who counted among his early followers homosexual soldiers of fortune like Ernst Roehm, thieves and embezzlers like Julius Streicher, sadists like Heinrich Himmler, financial downand-outers like Hermann Goering, and political mountebanks like Joseph Goebbels?

Adolf Hitler rode into power because, on the one hand, he proved to be the cleverest and most unscrupulous politician in Europe and becatise, on the other hand, the victors of World War I not only offered no real encouragement to the struggling young German republic, but totally misjudged Hitler as a crackpot and a fool.

It is always a mistake to under-estimate the enemy. Wishful thinking and cheap jibes will not win this war. It is useful at this time for us to understand the modern Genghis Khan, and it seems worth while to analyse the factors that contributed to his meteoric career. Chief among them all was the fact that he has a deep understanding of the German mentality and of its guiding impulse, national pride.

On the very night of my arrival in Germany in February, 1921, as a free lance, I had an experience which was symbolical of Germany and the Germans. Walking home from a restaurant, past the famous Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in west-side Berlin, I heard a man moaning in the shadow of one of the alcoves of the church. He was in great pain and unable to move. I got attendants with a stretcher land went along to the first aid station to which the man was carried to "sign a protocol" on the case -- in Germany every unusual happening is registered, with the witnesses signing their names to the account.

The man, who, it developed was suffering from a double rupture, was poorly dressed, but his clothes were clean, the patches in his trousers were carefully sewn on, and he wore a stiff collar and seemed to have a starched shirt. When he was stripped for examination, however, we found that he didn't have a shirt, merely a so-called " false bosom," without sleeves or shirt body. That was typical of the German. He is proud. He craves respectability and, however great his poverty, he longs to make a good appearance.

A few weeks later, I happened to visit some friends in Silesia, among them a maiden lady of sixty who insisted that I be her guest for a simple supper.

-19-

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What about Germany?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Foreword 6
  • Contents 8
  • Illustrations 10
  • I: the Modern Genghis Khan 11
  • Ii: Why Hitler? 19
  • Iii. Preparing the Ground 26
  • Iv: Why Wasn't Hitler Stopped? 36
  • V: "Terror is a Wholesome Thing" 44
  • Vi: the Nazis in Control 52
  • Vii: Fat Years Follow the Lean 60
  • Viii: the Birds of Prey 69
  • Ix: Heil Hitler! 77
  • X: Der Führer in Person 84
  • Xi: Observing the War Machine in Action 96
  • Xii: Lessons Learned from the Enemy 112
  • Xiii: More Lessons from the Enemy 120
  • Xiv: the Westwall 132
  • Xv: Bottlenecks 138
  • Xvi: Hitler's Headaches 149
  • Xvii: is There Another Germany? 161
  • Xviii: the Relapse into Barbarism 177
  • Xix: the Secret Press Instructions 191
  • Xx: the Battle of Words 197
  • Xxi: Shaping a People's Mind 208
  • Xxii: the War of Nerves 218
  • Xxiii: the Foreign Press Gets into Trouble 226
  • Xxiv: Sugared Bread and the Whip 234
  • Xxv: Fishing in Troubled Waters 244
  • Xxvi: A Better Place to Live In 253
  • Xxvii: An Abrupt End to a Long Stay 262
  • Xxviii: What Can Topple Hitler? 272
  • Index 281
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