XXVII: An Abrupt End to a Long Stay

AFTER my return from the Finnish-Russian front in mid- August, 1941, signs began to multiply rapidly that the Hitler régime regarded an armed conflict wtih the United States as inevitable. But nobody, either among my foreign or my German friends, dated the breach of diplomatic relations or the outbreak of war earlier than the spring of 1942.

The position of the American correspondents became increasingly difficult. More and more we were excluded from press conferences staged in honour of pro-Axis statesmen. More and more we had to listen to vulgar diatribes against America and the American chief of state at the daily press pow-wows. Had we been accredited diplomats, we should have had to leave in protest. As correspondents charged with getting the news, even the unwelcome or the unsavoury, we had to remain, boiling inwardly. Besides, we knew that our presence at these conferences was a matter of irritation to the Wilhelmstrasse. They would have been happy to have us withdraw.

So little even did my best sources of information anticipate Pearl Harbour and the events which followed that I decided to get out of the poisoned atmosphere of Berlin and away from politics and war, to attend the Mozart Festival at Vienna. It was the happiest week I had spent since the beginning of the war. Operas, Masses, symphonies, chamber music -- it was a far cry from the hymns of hate on the Wilhelmstrasse. Not even the voice of the Nazi governor for Austria, Baldus von Schirach, who announced, "Every German boy who dies at the front is dying for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart," could spoil it.

On my return to Berlin my enthusiastic description of the music to my family was rudely interrupted by a telephone call, telling me that our country had been invaded by the Japanese at Pearl Harbour.

On December 9, shortly before midnight, Ed. Shanke, on night duty at the office, called me to say, "The German newsmen in America have been arrested by the F.B.I." We didn't need to tell each other that, under the German system of reprisals, we were slated for similar treatment.

Most of the morning of December 10 was spent in conferences at the Embassy and the German Foreign Office in an attempt to learn what was likely to happen.

"You may rest assured that, whatever may become necessary in the way of reprisals will be done in the noblest manner," the Wilhelmstrasse official who usually acts as trouble shooter for the foreign correspondents, assured me.

-262-

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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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