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Title:      Into The Darkness (1940)
Author:     Lothrop Stoddard [1883-1950]
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Language:   English
Date first posted:          May 2003
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      Into The Darkness (1940)
Author:     Lothrop Stoddard [1883-1950]

Into The Darkness
Nazi Germany Today




All Europe is under the shadow of war. It is like an eclipse of the
sun. In the warring nations the darkness is most intense, amounting to
a continuous blackout.  The neutral countries form a sort of twilight
zone, where life is better, yet far from normal.

In nature, an eclipse is a passing phenomenon; awe-inspiring but soon
over. Not so with the war-hidden sun of Europe's civilization. Normal
light and warmth do not return. Ominously, the twilight zone of
neutrality becomes an ever-bleaker gray, while war's blackout grows
more and more intense.

I entered wartime Europe by way of Italy, making the trip from America
on the Italian liner Rex. It was a strange voyage. This huge floating
palace, the pride of Italy's merchant marine, carried only a handful
of passengers. War's automatic blight on pleasure tours, plus our
State Department's ban on ordinary passports, had dammed the travel
flood to the merest trickle. So I sailed from New York on an almost
empty boat.

First Class on the _Rex_ is a miracle of modern luxury.  Yet all that
splendor was lavished upon precisely twenty-five passengers including
myself. Consequently we rattled around in this magnificence like tiny
peas in a mammoth pod. A small group of tables in one corner of the
spacious dining salon; a short row of reclining-chairs on the long
vista of the promenade deck; a pathetic little cluster of seats in the
vast ballroom when it was time for the movies--these were the sole
evidences of community life. Even the ship's company was little in
evidence. Save for the few stewards and deck-hands needed to look
after us, the rest did not appear. Now and then I would roam about for
a long time without seeing a soul. The effect was eery. It was like
being on a ghost ship, "Outward Bound" and driven by unseen hands.

There was not much to be gleaned from my fellow-passengers.  Most of
them were Italians, speaking little English and full of their own
affairs. A pair of American business men were equally preoccupied. For
them, the war was a confounded nuisance. The rapid-fire speech of a
Chilean diplomat bound with his family for a European post was too
much for my Spanish. The most intriguing person aboard was a lone
Japanese who beat everybody at ping-pong but otherwise held himself

Back aft, Tourist Class was even more cosmopolitan, with a solitary
American set among a sprinkling of several nationalities, including a
young Iraki Arab returning to Bagdad from a course at the University
of Chicago. He was a fiery nationalist deeply distrustful of all the
European Powers, especially Soviet Russia with its possible designs on
the Middle East. In both Tourist and Third Class were a number of
Germans, mostly women but three of them men of military age.  All were
obviously nervous. They had taken the gamble that the _Rex_ would not
be stopped by the English at Gibraltar, Britain's key to the
Mediterranean. In that event, the men knew that a concentration camp
would be the end of their venturesome attempt to return to the

Passing the Straits of Gibraltar is always a memorable experience.
This time it was especially impressive.  We entered about
midafternoon. The sky was full of cloud-masses shot with gleams of
watery sunshine.  At one moment a magnificent rainbow spanned the
broad straits like a mammoth suspension-bridge.  On the African shore
the jagged sierras of Morocco were draped in mists. By contrast, the
mountains of Spain were dappled sunlight, their brown slopes tinted
with tender green where the long drought of summer had been tempered
by the first autumn rains.

At length the massive outline of the Rock of Gibraltar came into view.
It got nearer. We forged steadily ahead on our normal course toward
the open Mediterranean beyond. Would the British let us pass?  Nobody
knew but the ship's officers, and they wouldn't tell. Then, when
almost abreast of the Rock, our bow swerved sharply and we swung in
past Europa Point.  The British were going to give us the once-over!

Hastily I climbed to a 'vantage-place on the top deck to view what was
to come, my Japanese fellow-passenger following suit. As the _Rex_
entered Algeciras Bay we could see Gibraltar's outer harbor crowded
with merchant shipping. When we got closer, I could discern by the big
tricolor flags painted on their sides that most of them were Italian.
Seven Italian freighters and three liners, all held for inspection. We
cast anchor near the _Augustus_, a big beauty on the South American

As the anchor chain rattled, my fellow-passenger turned to me with a
bland Oriental smile. "Very interesting," he remarked, pointing to the
impounded shipping. "Do not think Japanese Government let this happen
to our steamers."

We continued to view objectively happenings that did not personally
concern us. Not so the bulk of the ship's company. The sight of those
many impounded ships stirred every Italian aboard. Officers assumed
tight-lipped impassivity and stewards shrugged deprecatingly, but
sailors gathered in muttering knots while passengers became
indignantly vocal, especially as a large naval tender approached us
from shore. It was filled with British bluejackets and officers with
white caps. I also spotted two military constables, which meant that
they were after Germans.

As the tender swung alongside just beneath my 'vantage-point, a young
Italian fellow-passenger strode up and joined us. Since he had already
proclaimed himself an ardent Fascist, I was not surprised when he
relieved his pent-up feelings with all the vigor of his seventeen

"Look at all our ships held in here!" he shouted.  "Isn't it a shame?"

I couldn't resist a mischievous thought. "Just a little pat of the
lion's paw," I put in soothingly.

The tease worked to perfection. He fairly exploded.

"Lions?" he yelled, shaking his fist. "Insolent dogs, I call them.
Just you wait. This war isn't over; it's only begun. Some fine day,
our Duce will give the word.  Then we'll blast that old rock to
smithereens and hand the fragments to our good friend Franco as a
gesture of the friendship between our two Latin nations."

This speech set off a sailor who was painting nearby.  He joined us,
gesticulating with his brush. "I know how the English act," he
growled, "I went through the Ethiopian War. Wouldn't I like to drop
this paint-brush on that So-and-So's head, down there!" That So-and-So
was a young British navy officer standing very erect in the tender's
stern. I shudder to think what might have happened if the sailor had
obeyed that impulse.

By this time most of the British officers had climbed aboard, so I
went below to see what was up. The spacious entrance salon was dotted
with spectators.  Through the open door of the purser's office I could
glimpse two Britishers going over the manifest of the ship's cargo.
Just outside the door, flanked by the constables, stood our three
Germans of military age--stocky men in their thirties or early
forties. They stood impassive.  This stoical pose was perhaps due to
the fact that they had been drinking all the afternoon to quiet their
nerves, so they should have been pleasantly mulled. Presently they
entered the purser's office. The interview was short. Out they came,
and the constables escorted them downstairs to the lower gangway.

I hurried on deck to watch the tender again. It was now dark, but by
our ship's floodlights I could see some cheap suitcases aboard the
tender. Soon a constable climbed down the short rope-ladder; then the
three Germans; then the second constable and the British investigation
officers. The Germans, clad in raincoats, huddled around their scanty
baggage and lit cigarettes.  As the tender chugged away, the young
officer previously menaced by the paint-brush shouted up to us in
crisp British accents: "You can go straight away now!" The ordeal was
over. It had lasted less than four hours. With only mail and a bit of
express cargo, there was no valid reason for detaining us longer. We
were lucky. Some ships with a full loading were held up for days.
Anyhow, we promptly weighed anchor and were off. The twinkling lights
of Gibraltar Town slipped quickly past and vanished behind Europa
Point. The towering heights of the Rock loomed dimly in the sheen of
the moon. Then it, too, sank from sight.

Approaching Italy, the weather turned symbolic. The last night on
board we encountered a violent tempest marked by incessant lightning
and crashing thunder.  With the dawn a great wind came out of the
north, blustering and unseasonably cold. The Bay of Genoa was smartly
whitecapped as the giant Rex slid into the harbor and nosed cautiously
up to her dock.

Historic Genoa, climbing its steep hills against a background of bare
mountains, looked as impressive as ever. Yet there was a strange
something in the picture which I could not at first make out. Then I
realized what it was--an almost Sabbath absence of motion and bustle,
though the date was neither a Sunday nor a holiday. Broad parking
spaces behind the docks were virtually empty of motor cars, while the
streets beyond were devoid of traffic save for trams and horse-drawn
vehicles. Civilian Italy was denied gasoline. The precious fluid had
been impounded for military purposes.

Friends met me at the dock, helped me through customs, and took me to
the nearby railroad station in one of the few ancient taxis still
permitted to run. At the station I checked my baggage as I was leaving
town late that same evening. Apologetically, my friends escorted me to
a tram in order to reach their suburban home some miles out. On the
way I noted big letters painted on almost every deadwall. _Duce! Duce!
Duce_! Such were the triple salutes to Mussolini, endlessly repeated.
Less often came the Fascist motto: _Believe! Obey!  Fight_! Italy
being partly mobilized, I saw many soldiers.

Yet, despite all those exhortations, neither soldiers nor civilians
appeared to be in a martial mood. On the contrary, they seemed
preoccupied, walking for the most part in silence, huddling down into
their clothes against recurrent blasts of the chill mountain wind.
Once beyond the heart of the city, traffic became even thinner.  The
few trucks encountered were run by compressed methane gas. I could
tell this by the big extra cylinders clamped along their sides. They
were like exaggerated copies of the Prestolite tanks I recall from my
early motoring days.

At dinner that evening my friends and their guests talked freely.
"We're just getting over a bad attack of jitters," remarked my
American-born hostess. "You should have been here a month and a half
ago, when the war began, to realize how things were. At first we
feared we were going right in, and expected French bombers over our
heads any hour. You know that from our balcony we can glimpse the
French coast on a clear day."

"The worst feature was the blackouts," added my host. "Thank goodness,
we don't have any more of them. Wait until you get up into Germany.
Then you'll know what I mean."

"The Italian people doesn't want to get into this row," stated a
professional man decisively. "We've been through two wars
already--Ethiopia, Spain. That's enough fighting for a while."

"If we should intervene later," broke in a retired naval officer, "it
will be strictly for Italian interests. And even then we'll get what
we want first. No going in on promises. We don't forget how we got
gypped at Versailles.  That won't happen a second time."

"I must apologize for not serving you real coffee," said my hostess.
"But this _Mokkari_, made from roasted rice, isn't so bad. You know we
can't get coffee from South America any more on a barter basis and we
mustn't lose any gold or foreign exchange in times like these except
for imports vitally needed."

"As a matter of fact," put in a guest, "we could have a small coffee
ration from what we get in from Ethiopia.  But that coffee is very
high grade and brings a fancy price on the world market. So the
Government sells it all abroad to get more foreign exchange."

"We've been systematically learning to do without luxury imports ever
since the League sanctions against us during the Ethiopian War," said
my host. "You'd be surprised to learn how self-sufficient we have

"Autarchy," stated the retired naval officer sententiously, "is a good
idea. Puts a nation on its toes. Makes more work. Stimulates
invention. Of course we can't do it a hundred per cent. But the nearer
we can come to it, the better."

During the railroad journey from Genoa to the German border, my social
contacts were scanty. Fellow-travelers were Italians, and my knowledge
of that tongue is far too sketchy for intelligent conversation.
Still, I found an army officer who spoke French and a business man who
knew German.

The army officer was an optimist, due largely to his faith in
Mussolini. "Our Duce is a smart man," he said emphatically. "He's
keeping us out of that war up north because he knows it isn't our
fight. Not yet, at any rate.  Should conditions change, I'm sure he's
smart enough to pick the right side for us." Ideologies evidently
didn't bother him. In his eyes it was just another war.

The business man was equally unconcerned with ideals but did not share
the officer's optimism. "This is a crazy war," he growled. "I can't
see how the leaders on either side let it happen. They ought to have
had sense enough to make some compromise, knowing as they should what
it will probably mean. If it goes on even two years, business
everywhere will be hopelessly undermined and may be nationalized. If
it lasts as long as the other war, all Europe will be in chaos. Not
organized Communism. Just plain anarchy."

"Won't Italy gain commercially by staying neutral?" I inquired.

"Oh, yes," he shrugged. "We're doing new business already and we'll
get more. But we'll lose all our war-profits and then some in the
post-war deflation." He sighed heavily and looked out of the window at
the autumn landscape flitting by.

A number of Germans boarded the train at Verona. I later found out
that they were vacationists returning from a short trip to Venice.
Typical Hansi tourists they were--the men with round, close-cropped
heads; the women painfully plain, as the North German female of the
species is apt to be.

I presently engaged one of the men in conversation.  He complimented
me on my German and was interested to learn that I was bound his way.
"You'll find things surprisingly normal in Germany, considering it's
wartime," he told me. "Though of course, coming straight from your
peaceful, prosperous America, you won't like some aspects of our life.
Blackouts and foodcards, for instance. Even so, I'm glad to be going
home.  Italy's a lovely country, but it isn't _Gemuetlich_. The
Italians don't like us and make us feel it. At least, the people here
in Northern Italy do. Further south, I'm told they are not so

By this time our train had entered the region formerly called South
Tyrol, annexed to Italy at the close of the World War. Despite two
decades of Italianiza-tion, the basic Germanism of the region was
still visible, from the chalet-like peasant farmsteads to the
crenelated ruins of old castles perched high on crags, where Teutonic
knights once held sway. I had known South Tyrol before 1914 when it
was part of Austria, so I was interested to see what changes had taken
place. Even from my car window I could see abundant evidences of
Italian colonization. All the new buildings were in Italian style, and
Latin faces were numerous among the crowds of Third-Class passengers
who got on and off at every stop. The stations swarmed with soldiers,
police, and Carabinieri in their picturesque black cutaway coats and
big cocked hats. The German tourists viewed all this in heavy silence.
It was clear they did not wish to discuss the painful subject.

As the train wound its way up the mountain-girt valley of the Adige,
the weather grew colder. Long before we reached Bolzano, the ground
was sprinkled with snow--most unusual south of the Brenner in late
October. It was the first chill breath of the hardest winter in a
generation, which war-torn Europe was destined to undergo. The
mountains on either hand were well blanketed with white.

Bolzano (formerly Botzen) is a big town, the provincial capital and
the administrative center. Here, Italianization had evidently made
great strides. Large new factories had been built, manned by Italian
labor. The colonists were housed in great blocks of modern tenements,
forming an entire new quarter. On the walls were inscribed in giant
letters: "Thanks, Duce!" There must be a big garrison, for the old
Austrian barracks had been notably enlarged. They bore Mussolini's
famous statement: "Frontiers are not discussed; they are defended!"

When we had reached Bolzano, the autumn dusk was falling. As we waited
at the station, a gigantic sign on a nearby hill blazed suddenly
forth, in electric light, the Latin word _Dux_. When the train started
its long upward pull to the Brenner Pass, the snowfields on the high
mountains to the north were rosy with the Alpine-glow.

The crest of the historic Brenner Pass is the frontier between Italy
and Germany. It is likewise the dividing-line between peace and war.
To the south lies Italy, armed and watchful but neutral and hence
relatively normal. To the north lies Germany, a land absorbed in a
life-and-death struggle with powerful foes. The traveler entering
Germany plunges into war's grim shadow the instant he passes that
mountain gateway.

I crossed the Brenner at night, so I encountered that most startling
aspect of wartime Germany--the universal blackout. All the way up the
Italian side of the range, towns and villages blazed with electric
light furnished by abundant water-power. Also my train compartment was
brilliantly illuminated. There was thus no preparation for what was
soon to happen.

Shortly before reaching the frontier two members of the German border
police came through the train collecting passports. Being still in
Italy, they were in civilian clothes, their rank indicated solely by
swastika arm bands. They were not an impressive pair. One was small
and thin, with a foxy face. The other, big and burly, had a pasty
complexion and eyes set too close together.

At Brennero, the Italian frontier station where Hitler and Mussolini
were later to meet, the German train-crew came aboard. The new
conductor's first act was to come into my compartment and pull down
the window-shades.  Then in came the official charged with examining
your luggage and taking down your money declaration.  In contrast to
the border police, he was a fine figure of a man--ruddy face, blue
eyes, turned-up blond mustache, and a well-fitting gray uniform. After
a brief and courteous inspection he stated crisply: "Only blue light
allowed." Thereupon the brilliant electric globes in my compartment
were switched off, and there was left merely a tiny crescent of blue
light, far smaller than the emergency bulbs in our subway trains. So
scant was the illumination that it did little more than emphasize the
darkness. Had it not been for a dimmed yellow bulb in the train
corridor, it would have been almost impossible to make my way around.

With nothing to do but sit, I presently tired of my compartment and
prowled down the corridor to find out whether anything was to be seen.
To my great satisfaction I discovered that the windows to the car
doors had no curtains, so I could look out. And Avhat a sight I
beheld! It was full moon, and the moonlight, reflected from new-fallen
snow, made the landscape almost as bright as day. Towering
mountain-peaks on either hand shot far up into the night. The tall
pine and fir trees were bent beneath white loads. Now and then, tiny
hamlets of Tyrolean chalets completed the impression of an endless
Christmas card.

As the train thundered down from the Alpine divide it entered a
widening valley with a swift-flowing little river. Houses became more
frequent, hamlets grew larger. Now and then we passed a sawmill,
apparently at work, since smoke and steam rose from the chimneys.  Yet
nowhere a single light. Only very rarely a faint gleam where some
window was not entirely obscured.  The landscape was as silent and
deserted as though the whole countryside had been depopulated.

At Innsbruck, the first city north of the border, are freight-yards,
and here I could appreciate more fully the thoroughness of German
anti-air raid precautions.  The engines had no headlights--only two
small lanterns giving no more illumination than the oil lamps in front
of our subway trains. In the freight-yards, switch-lights were painted
black except for small cross-slits. Here and there, hooded lights on
tall poles cast a dim blue radiance.  Only on the station platform
were there a few dimmed bulbs--just enough for passengers to see their

>From Innsbruck on I was allowed to raise my window-shade, so I could
sit comfortably in my compartment and view this blacked-out country at
my ease. So extraordinary was the moonlit panorama that I determined
to forego sleep and watch through most of the night. The sacrifice was
well repaid.

As we got into the Munich metropolitan area I could judge still better
the way urban blackouts are maintained.  Munich is a great city, yet
it was almost as dark as the countryside. The main streets and highway
intersections had cross-slitted traffic lights, but since these are
red and green they doubtless do not show much more from the air than
does blue. Furthermore, at this late hour, there was almost no traffic
beyond an occasional truck. No ray of white light anywhere, and except
along the railway no hooded blues. Passing through this great darkened
city, the sense of unnatural silence and emptiness became positively

The streets of Munich presently gave way to open country once more.
The mountains lay far behind, and the plateau of Upper Bavaria,
powdered with snow, stretched away on either hand until lost in frosty
moon-mist.  The monotonous landscape made me doze. Some sixth sense
must have awakened me to another interesting sight. My train was
passing through the Thuringian Hills. They were clothed with
magnificent pine forests, as deep-laden with new-fallen snow as those
of the Tyrolean Alps. Those Thuringian forests grow in rows as regular
as cornfields. The hills are belted with plantings of various heights,
giving a curious patchwork effect. Where a ripe planting has been cut
over, not a trace of slash remains and seedlings have been set out.
Here is forestry carried to the nth degree of efficiency.

Out of the hills and into level country, I dozed off again, not to
awaken until sunrise--a pale, weak-looking late-autumn sun, for North
Germany lies on the latitude of Labrador. The sun was soon hidden by
clouds, while at times the train tore through banks of fog. We were
well into the flat plains of Northern Germany, and a more
uninteresting landscape can hardly be imagined. Houses and factories
are alike built chiefly of dull yellow brick, further dulled by
soft-coal smoke.  The intervening stretches of countryside are equally
unattractive. The soil, though carefully tended, looks thin, much of
it supporting only scrub pine.

At some of the larger stations were sizable groups of soldiers,
perhaps mobilized reservists waiting for troop trains. They were in
field kit, from steel helmets to heavy marching boots coming halfway
to the knee. Incidentally, the present German uniform is not the
"field-gray" of the last war. It is a dull gray-green, unimpressive in
appearance yet blending well with the landscape, which wartime
uniforms should do.

Towns became more frequent, until we were obviously on the outskirts
of a metropolitan area. I was nearing Berlin. Now and then the train
passed extensive freight-yards. Here it was interesting to note the
quantity of captured Polish rolling-stock. Like the German freight
cars, they were painted dull red, but were distinguished by a
stenciled Polish eagle in white with the letters PKP. In most cases
there had been added the significant word DEUTSCH, meaning that the
cars are now German.

At length the train slackened speed and pulled into the vast,
barn-like Anhalter Bahnhof, the central station for trains from the
south. I had arrived in Berlin, Germany's capital and metropolis.


My entry into Berlin was not a cheering one. The train was nearly two
hours late and there was no diner, so I had had nothing except the
traditional cowpunch-er's breakfast--a sip of water and a cigarette.
The chill autumnal air made me shiver as I stepped from the train.
Porters, it seemed, were scarce in wartime Germany, and I was
fortunate to pre-empt one to carry my abundant hand-luggage.

My first job was to get some German money, for I hadn't a pfennig to
my name. You can't legally buy Reichsmarks abroad. What the traveler
does is to take out a letter of credit before he leaves his native
land.  While in Germany he draws on this and gets what is known as
Registered Marks which are much cheaper than the official quotation of
2.4 to the dollar. I bought my letter of credit in New York at the
rate of nearly five to the dollar. That meant a twenty-cent mark--a
saving of almost 100 per. cent. The traveler is supposed to use this
money only for living expenses, and every draft is entered on his
passport as well as on his letter of credit, thus enabling the
authorities to check up on what he has spent when he leaves Germany.
However, the allowance is liberal, and unless his drafts indicate that
he has been buying a good deal, he will have no trouble. Of course,
one gets ordinary currency. The Registered Mark is merely a
bookkeeping phrase.

At one of the bureaus maintained at every large railway station I drew
enough cash to last me for a few days, then my porter found me one of
the few taxis available. Both cab and driver were of ancient vintage,
but they rattled me safely to my hotel. This was the famous Adlon,
situated on Berlin's main avenue, Unter den Linden.

While unpacking I had the pleasure of a telephone call from a German
named Sallett whom I had informed of my coming. I had known him when
he was attached to the German Embassy in Washington. Now he was in the
American Section of the Foreign Office, so I counted on him to start
me right. Since the day was Sunday there was nothing officially to be
done, but he asked me to meet him at lunch for a preliminary chat and
to come to his home for dinner that same evening.

Before keeping my luncheon date, however, I took care to equip myself
with food-cards--those precious bits of paper on which one's very life
depends. Incidentally they are not cards, but blocks of coupons,
reminiscent of the trading-stamps issued by some of our department
stores. The clerk at the desk inscribed my name in a big book and
handed me a week's supply in the shape of little blocks of coupons
variously colored.  Each coupon is good for so many grams of bread,
butter, meat, and other edibles. Every time you eat a meal you must
tear off the various coupons required for each dish, the amount being
printed on the bill of fare. And the waiter must collect them when you
give your order, because he in turn must hand them in to the kitchen
before he can bring you your food. This has nothing to do with price.
In the last analysis, each of these food-coupons is what the Germans
call a _Bezugschein_--an official permit to purchase an article of a
specific kind and quality. Let me illustrate: You want to buy some
meat. Each of your meat coupons entitles you to so many grams. You may
go into an inexpensive restaurant and get the cheapest grade of
sausage or you can go into the best hotel and get a finely cooked
filet mignon. The price will differ enormously, but the number of meat
coupons you hand over is precisely the same.

I needed to take along my food-cards even though I had been invited to
lunch. In Germany, no matter how wealthy your host may be, he has no
more coupons than anyone else and so cannot furnish them for his
guests.  That is true of all meals in hotels or restaurants. It does
not apply when the host invites you to his own home.  He then has to
do all the honors. This severely limits domestic hospitality. In such
cases the guests are usually served fish, game, or some other delicacy
for which food cards are not required.

Dr. Sallett had asked me to lunch with him at the Kaiserhof, a
well-known hotel some distance down the Wilhelmstrasse. It is the Nazi
social headquarters, and when prominent members of the Party come to
Berlin from the provinces they usually stop there. Sallett met me in
the lobby, resplendent in a gray diplomatic uniform cut with the swank
which military tailors know how to attain. Being Sunday, the usual
week-day crowd was lacking in the dining room. Those who were present
seemed to be much of a type--vigorous men, mostly in their thirties or
forties, some of them hard-faced and all with an air of assurance and
authority. Nearly all of them wore the Party emblem, a button about
the size of a half-dollar bearing a red swastika on a white

My first meal in the Third Reich was a distinct success.  As might
have been expected in this pre-eminent Nazi hostelry, the food was
good and the service quick.  The imitation coffee, an _Ersatz_ made of
roasted barley, was banal, but it was remedied by an excellent pony of
old German brandy. Thereafter, my friend Sallett explained to me the
various things I must do in order to get going without loss of time.

When we had parted until evening, I strolled back along the
Wilhelmstrasse to get the feel of my new abode. I noted how the famous
street had architecturally had its face lifted since I was there a
decade before.  Across the broad square from the Kaiserhof stood the
new Chancery, while on the opposite side of the street was the equally
new Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda--an institution
I was to know extremely well, since all foreign correspondents fall
under its special jurisdiction. Both buildings typify the new Nazi
architecture--their exteriors severely plain, whatever magnificence
may be within. This is a conscious reaction from the ornate
exaggerations of the old Empire style, which is frowned on as vulgar
and tasteless.

Just beyond the Chancery is the rather modest old eighteenth-century
palace which is Adolf Hitler's official residence. It sets well back
from the street behind a high iron railing. Above its gabled roof
floated a special swastika flag to denote that _Der Fuehrer_ was at
home.  That is the way Germans always speak of him. Very rarely do
they use his name. With a sort of impersonal reverence, he is _Der
Fuehrer_, The Leader, in Teutonic minds.

The railing before the palace has two gates through which motor cars
can enter and leave by a semicircular drive. These gates were guarded
by Security Police, nicknamed Schupos, in green uniforms and visored
black leather hats. Before the entrance to the palace itself stood two
military sentries in field gray. Across the street clustered a large
group of sightseers, gazing silently at their leader's residence. Even
on weekdays one can always find such onlookers from dawn to dusk,
after which loitering on the Wilhelmstrasse is not allowed.

The streets were well filled with Sunday strollers, and since the
misting rain of the forenoon had let up, I thought it a good
opportunity to get a look at the holiday crowds. I therefore walked
for an hour or more up and down Unter den Linden, around the Pariser
Platz, and finally back to my hotel. My outstanding impression of
these wartime Berliners was a thoroughgoing impassivity. They seemed
stolidly casual with expressionless faces. Almost never did I see a
really animated conversation; neither was there laughter or even a
smile.  Twice I dropped briefly into a cafe. In both cases the patrons
sat chatting quietly, and from snatches of talk I overheard the
conversation was wholly about personal or local affairs. Not once did
I catch a discussion of the war or other public matters.

Uniforms naturally abounded. Soldiers, obviously on Sunday liberty,
passed and repassed, sometimes in large groups. They never sauntered
but clumped along at a fair pace, their hobnailed boots clashing
heavily upon the pavement. Most of them had fine physique and all
looked well nourished and generally fit. Now and then I saw a Nazi
storm-trooper clad in brown with a red swastika arm band. More often I
encountered a black-uniformed S.S. man--the Party's _Schutz Staffeln_,
or Elite Guard. Twice I passed groups of Hitler Youth, boys dressed
entirely in dark blue, from cloth hat to baggy ski-trousers tucked
into high boots. There was much punctilious saluting. The soldiers
gave the army salute, a quick touch of the fingers to helmet or forage
cap.  The others gave the stiff-armed Nazi greeting.

The most interesting example of Berlin's impassive popular mood was
the attitude toward the tightly closed British Embassy which is just
around the corner from the Adlon. There it stands, with gilded lions
and unicorns upon its portals. I had rather expected that this
diplomatic seat of the arch-enemy would attract some attention,
especially on a Sunday, when this part of town was thronged with
outside visitors. Yet, though I watched closely for some time, I never
saw a soul give the building more than a passing glance, much less
point to it or demonstrate in any way.

Another surprising thing was how well dressed the people appeared. I
saw many suits and overcoats which had obviously been worn a long
time, but invariably they were tidy and clean. At the moment I thought
this good showing was because everyone was wearing Sunday best, but I
could detect little difference on subsequent days. In fact wherever I
went in Germany the people dressed about the same. Nowhere did I see
ragged, unkempt persons. I was told that the cheaper fabrics, made
largely of wood synthetics mixed with shoddy, absorb dampness quickly,
get heavy, and are hard to dry out. Nevertheless, they look good,
though I doubt the efficacy of their resistance to rain and cold.

One thing those clothes did lack, however, and that was style. The
range of models was small, and they were obviously designed for
service rather than smartness.  Overcoats were mostly of the ulster
type, and that goes for the women too. While I did see a considerable
number of ladies who were well-dressed according to our standards, the
average Berlin female, with her ulsterette or raincoat, her plain felt
hat, her cotton stockings, and her low-heeled shoes, rarely warrants a
second look. I may add that she uses little or no make-up and seldom
has her hair waved. Such beautifying is frowned upon by strict Nazis
as unpatriotic.

My first stroll indicated another thing confirmed by subsequent
observation. This is that Berlin remains what it always was--a city
lacking both color and the indefinable charm of antiquity. Its
architecture is monotonous, and the drab effect is heightened by its
misty northern climate. Most of the autumn season is cloudy with
frequent light rain. Even on so-called clear days the low-hanging sun
shines wanly through a veil of mist.

By this time the early autumn dusk was falling, so I returned to the
Adlon. I did not dress for my evening appointment because in wartime
Germany one rarely wears even a dinner jacket. A double-breasted dark
suit is deemed ample for almost all occasions. My friends the Salletts
lived some distance away from my hotel, but I had ordered a taxi so I
was sure of transportation. The taxi situation is one of the many
drawbacks to life in wartime Berlin. Because of the strict rationing
of gasoline, taxis are scarce even by day and scarcer still at night.
They are supposed to be used only for business or necessity, so
drivers are not allowed to take you to any place of amusement, even to
the opera. Neither do they cruise the streets for fares, so unless you
know a regular cab stand you can almost never pick one up.

The hotel lobby was brilliantly lighted when I descended, but thick
curtains had been drawn across the entrance. I slipped through them to
encounter that most trying of all wartime Berlin's phenomena, the
_Verdunklung_, or blackout. As I emerged through the swing-doors it
hit me literally like a blow in the face. The misting rain had begun
again, and it was dark as a pocket. The broad avenue of Unter den
Linden was a maw of blackness.  Not a street light except the
cross-slitted traffic signals at the nearby corner of the
Wilhelmstrasse. They were hardly needed for the few motor cars and
occasional buses that crawled slowly by. Well might they drive
cautiously, for their headlights were hooded save for a tiny orifice
emitting a dim ray. As I stood on the sidewalk waiting for my taxi,
pedestrians picked their way warily in the inky gloom, sensed rather
than seen.  Some of them wore phosphorescent buttons to avoid
collisions with other passers-by. Others used small electric lamps to
guide their steps, flashing them off quickly and always holding them
pointed downward toward the ground. Any other use of a flashlight is
strictly prohibited.  To turn it upward to read a street sign or find
a house number rates a warning shout from one of the policemen who
seem to be everywhere after dark. Indeed, such action may lead to
arrest and a fifty-mark fine, which at par is about twenty dollars.

I entered my taxi with some trepidation. How was the driver going to
find my friend's address, avoid collisions, or even keep to the
roadway on a night like this? Yet he seemed to know his business, for
he forged steadily onward, with many mysterious turns and twists
through the maze of unseen streets and avenues. As for me, I could not
see even the houses on either hand, though I sensed their looming
presence and marveled at the thought of all the life and light pent in
behind numberless shrouded windows. The only visible objects were
pin-point lights of approaching motor cars and occasional trams or
buses which clattered past like noisy ghosts. They were lit within by
tiny blue bulbs revealing shadow passengers. Wartime Berlin had indeed
become a "city of dreadful night." No description can adequately
convey the depressing, almost paralyzing, effect. It must be _lived_
to be understood.

At length my taxi halted. The driver flashed a light which showed a
couple of doorways quite close together.  "It must be one of those
two," he said, as I got out and paid him.

Fortunately I had with me a flashlight brought from America. It was
small as a fountain pen and could be clipped into my vest pocket. The
sight of it never failed to evoke envious admiration from German
acquaintances.  Heedless of lurking policemen, I flashed its tiny beam
upward at the house number which, as usual, was perched on the tip top
of a high door. It was not the right place. I tried the next door. It
had no number and seemed to be disused. I tried the next house. The
numbers were running the wrong way. Meanwhile the misty drizzle had
increased to a smart downpour.

Feeling utterly helpless, I determined to seek information; so I
pressed the button to the first floor apartment and as the latch
clicked I went inside. As I walked across the hallway the apartment
entrance opened and a pleasant-faced young woman stood in the doorway.
I explained the situation, stating that I was a total stranger. Her
face grew sympathetic, then set in a quick frown.

"You say that taxi man didn't make sure?" she exclaimed.  "Ach, how
stupid! The fellow ought to be reported.  Wait a minute and I'll show
you myself." She disappeared, returning a moment later wearing a

I protested that I could find my way from her directions, but she
would have none of it. "No, no," she insisted.  "Such treatment to a
newly arrived foreigner! I am bound to make up for that driver's

Together we sallied forth into the pattering rain. On the way she
explained that my friend's apartment house, though listed as on her
street, had its entrance just around the corner on another avenue. She
thought that also very stupid.

Arriving as I did somewhat late, I found the others already there. To
my great pleasure the chief guest was Alexander Kirk, our Charge
d'Affaires in Berlin. He is doing a fine diplomatic job in a most
difficult post. Generally popular, he does not hesitate to speak
plainly when he needs to. And, instead of getting offended, the
Germans seem to like him all the better for it. Some weeks later, Mr.
Kirk won new laurels by vetoing the usual Thanksgiving celebration of
the American colony in a restaurant or hotel. He argued that, when all
Germany was strictly rationed, such public feasting would be in bad
taste. Instead, he invited his fellow-citizens to a private dinner at
his own palatial residence in a fashionable suburb. The Germans
considered that the height of tactful courtesy.

The other two guests were Herr Hewel, one of Hitler's confidential
advisers, and Dr. Otto Schramm, a leading Berlin surgeon. In the
course of the evening, Dr. Schramm told me about a new synthetic fat
which had just been invented. Elaborate experiments were being made to
produce not only a substitute for soap but also an edible compound to
supplement animal fats and vegetable oils. This, he claimed, would
soon remedy blockaded Germany's chief dietary danger, since it could
be produced from chemical constituents abundantly available. The talk
ran late. Fortunately, I was taken back to my hotel in Herr Hewel's
car, which, being an official, he could still use.

Just before reaching the Adlon we encountered a column of huge army
trucks going up Unter den Linden and out through the Brandenburger
Tor. I was afterward told that material and ordnance, routed through
Berlin, are usually moved late at night. There must have been plenty
of activity on that occasion, for long after I had retired I could
hear intermittent rumblings of heavy traffic whose vibrations came to
me even through the Adlon's thick walls.


I went to Europe as special correspondent of the North American
Newspaper Alliance, a press syndicate with membership in the United
States, Canada, and other parts of the world. My main field was
Germany, with side-glances elsewhere in Central Europe. Since N.A.N.A.
is a feature service, my job was to study conditions, do interpretive
or local color articles, and get important interviews. I was not
professionally interested in spot news. To do a good job I had to have
an open mind; so I did my best to park my private opinions on this
side of the ocean. And since my return I've tried not to pick them up

An objective attitude was made easier by the fact that the outbreak of
the European War caught me in a place where it meant nothing except
its effect on the price of sugar--Havana, Cuba.

Between a survey I was making with a Washington colleague, H. H.
Stansbury, and the terrific heat I could pay scant attention to
European affairs, which were badly covered in the Havana press.
Everybody was absorbed in local politics. The Batista Government was
getting ready to celebrate the anniversary of its revolutionary
origin, the momentous date being September 4th. So Havana was all
bedizened with flags and bunting, while across the harbor on Morro
Castle and Cabanas Fortress rose huge transparencies bearing the
legends: BATISTA and CUARTO SETIEMBRE electrically blazing forth
o'nights in giant letters of fire.  Then, just before the big party,
Europe had to explode!  Small wonder that it hardly made a dent on
Cuban thinking, except the sugar phase.

However, it made a big dent on my mind. I had already canvassed the
possibility of personally covering the German situation, for which I
had certain qualifications such as an intermittent knowledge of the
country since childhood and a working knowledge of the language.  I
had also followed German events regularly in my studies of foreign
affairs. Therefore as soon as I could wind up my Cuban survey, I
hurried home, reaching New York late in September. Three weeks
afterwards I was on the _Rex_, Europe-bound. I thus arrived on the
scene of action in an objective state of mind.

To get working quickly and efficiently, three things had to be done as
soon as possible. First of all, I must present my credentials and
acquire the permits needed by a foreign correspondent in wartime. Then
I had to establish correct and personally amicable relations with the
officials with whom I would be in contact. Last but not least, I
should get on really friendly terms with the outstanding members of
the foreign press corps--not merely the Americans but those of the
other neutral nationalities stationed in Berlin. An experienced,
capable foreign correspondent is your best source of information.  He
usually knows more and sees clearer than a diplomat of the same
caliber. This is also true of certain long-resident foreign
professional or business men. Furthermore, both they and the
correspondents can talk more freely to you. There are certain things
which members of the diplomatic corps hesitate to discuss unreservedly
with you even in the strictest "off the record."

Fortunately I was able to make a good start on all three lines the
very first day after my arrival in Berlin.  Monday noon found me at
the Foreign Office, half-way down the Wilhelmstrasse, where I was to
attend the foreign press conference held there daily at this hour.
These conferences are usually held in a large oblong room, elaborately
paneled. Down the middle of this chamber runs an enormously long table
covered with green baize. On one side of the table sit a line of
Government officials drawn from both the Foreign Office and the
Propaganda Ministry. One of these men is the Government spokesman for
the day, who makes announcements and answers questions either directly
or through some other official who is a specialist in the particular
matter. On the other side of the table cluster the foreign
correspondents, representing every neutral country in Europe, plus a
few Orientals and a strong contingent of Americans. The average
attendance runs between fifty and seventy, including several women

Personal relations between these Government spokesmen and the foreign
correspondents are generally friendly and sometimes cordial. The
officials are intelligent men specially picked for the business of
tactfully handling foreign journalists. The correspondents are, for
the most part, old hands who know how to play the game. So the
conferences, which are conducted in German, usually go off smoothly,
with humorous undertones as a shrewd query is met by an equally shrewd
parry. These bits of repartee are often greeted by a general burst of

After the conference that morning I was introduced to the chief
officials, and I likewise met several of our American press delegation
to whom I had been recommended or with whom I was previously
acquainted. The officials were nearly all university men, some with
doctorate degrees. Those in the American Section were well fitted for
their posts. Dr. Sallett, the Foreign Office contact man for
Americans, had lived in the United States for years before he entered
the diplomatic service and had done postgraduate work at Harvard. Dr.
Froelich, head of the Propaganda Ministry's American Bureau, has a
Harvard Law School degree, while his junior colleague, Werner
Asendorf, is a graduate of the University of Oregon. Both these men
have American wives. The head of the entire Foreign Press Section, Dr.
Boehme, is an engaging personality with a quick intelligence and
cynical sense of humor, who has traveled widely in many lands
including the United States. I felt from the first that here were men
who knew us well and with whom one could get along harmoniously.

That same afternoon I attended another foreign press conference, this
time at the Propaganda Ministry. These conferences, likewise held
every week-day, deal more with special topics than with spot news.
Government specialists address the correspondents on current military,
naval, or economic situations, while outstanding figures are produced
for inspection. For instance, when a big aerial battle was fought over
the North Sea, the squadron commander and his flying aces appeared
before the foreign journalists to tell their side of the story and be

Before the inevitable blackout ended my first working day in Berlin I
had been duly enrolled in the foreign press corps and had filed my
application for a Press Wireless permit. This is the correspondent's
most important privilege. It enables him to file press despatches to
his newspaper or syndicate, payment guaranteed at the other end.
Furthermore, those despatches go through uncensored. I am sure of
this, both from what I was told and from my own experience. For
instance, I filed a despatch at a small sub-station as late as 6.15
P.M., Berlin Time (12.15 noon, Eastern Standard Time) and it appeared
in all editions of the New York Times next morning. This would have
been impossible if there had been even the short delay which a most
cursory check-up before putting the despatch on the wireless would
have involved.

This brings up one of the most interesting aspects of wartime
Germany--the system of handling foreign journalists. Right at the
start I was told at the Propaganda Ministry just where I stood and
what I could, and could not, write. Military and naval matters were,
of course, severely circumscribed, together with topics such as
sensational rumors obviously tending to discredit the German
Government and give aid and comfort to its enemies. There was a sort
of gentleman's agreement with the correspondent that he would abide by
rules laid down for his guidance. If he overstepped the line and a
despatch, when published in his home paper, contained matter which the
German authorities considered untrue, unfair, or otherwise
unprofessional, the correspondent would be called onto the carpet and
warned to mend his ways. If the offense was flagrant he might be
formally expelled from the foreign press corps, thereby losing his
official status with all its attendant privileges. His professional
usefulness would thus be at an end, and he might as well leave Germany
even though not formally expelled.

This gentlemen's agreement system is equally obvious in the matter of
interviews. When you interview an official personage you are required
to submit your manuscript to the Propaganda Ministry which makes a
German translation and lays it before the person interviewed for his
approval. Obviously, it is necessary for the Government to see to it
that its leading spokesmen are correctly quoted and that statements
made to the interviewer "off the record" are not published. So it
often happens that considerable changes have to be made before the
final draft is O.K.'d. Once approval is given, however, there is no
further check-up and the interview can be filed for the wireless in
the same way as any press despatch. Technically, there is nothing to
prevent your sending the original version. But naturally, if the
published interview does not tally with the draft agreed upon, it will
be clear that you have broken faith, and confidence in your
reliability is destroyed.

The same policy applies to foreign telephone service.  Most Berlin
correspondents of newspapers in European neutral countries have
telephone permits similar to Press Wireless for us Americans. Such
permits enable the European correspondent to telephone his despatches
directly from his Berlin office to his home paper. These talks may be
subject to a double check--by listening in and by transcription on
dictaphone records. However, even when this is done, it is seemingly
to catch such obvious indiscretions as discussion of military matters.
I never heard of a press telephone conversation being broken into or
stopped. Here again the foreign correspondent is called to account
only when a despatch published in his home paper contains something
which German officialdom considers a violation of the rules of the

During my stay in Berlin, the Propaganda Ministry evolved an ingenious
method of expediting press stories sent by mail. All such material
could be turned into a special bureau with the understanding that the
manuscript would be read and mailed within twenty-four hours unless
something objectionable should be discovered.  Being mailed in a
special envelope, it went through without scrutiny by the regular
censors. In case of objection, the correspondent was notified, and
specific changes or eliminations were suggested. Here, as elsewhere,
objections seemed to have been rarely made except for reasons already

The foreign correspondent can go pretty far in describing current
conditions and general situations. German officialdom seems to have
realized that it is no use trying to stop press stories about matters
which are undeniably true and widely known. Let me cite one instance
from my own experience. I had written a pair of "mailers" describing
in detail the many vexations and hardships which German housewives had
to endure.  They went through the Propaganda Ministry all right, but I
wanted to find out the official reaction to them.  Accordingly, I
tried them out on an official who I was sure had not read them. He
scanned them carefully and handed them back with a slightly wry smile.
"American readers will be apt to think we're in tough shape," he said.
"I really think you left out certain qualifying factors which would
have made the picture less dark.  However," he ended with a shrug,
"what you do say is all true, and I believe you're trying to be fair.
So, under our present policy, we can make no legitimate kick."

Of course, the latitude extended foreign correspondents has its
practical limits. Should a correspondent unearth some unpalatable
information he is more than likely to be told that such a despatch,
even though true and not falling under the ordinary tabus, is
displeasing to the German Government. I know of one such instance
where the offender was plainly told that, if he publicized any more
exceptional discoveries of this kind, he would get into serious

There seems also to be distinct discrimination between the latitude
permitted the correspondents of powerful neutrals and those of the
small European countries which fall more or less within Germany's
orbit.  More than once their press representatives said to me: "We
can't write nearly as freely as you Americans. If we did, the German
Government would either crack down on us directly or make strong
diplomatic protests to our own Governments, who in turn might make it
hot for our home papers."

Such things make it abundantly clear that, in its seemingly liberal
attitude toward foreign correspondents, the German Government is
animated by no idealistic motives. Its policy is severely practical.
The shrewd brains which run the Propaganda Ministry have decided that
it pays to treat foreign correspondents well and help them to get
their despatches out with a minimum of red tape and avoidable delay.
Nothing makes a newspaperman more contented than that. But that isn't
the only reason. The very fact that Berlin despatches to the foreign
press sometimes contain items unfavorable to Germany tends to give
public opinion the idea that a Berlin date-line is relatively
reliable, and this in turn aids the German Government in pushing out
its foreign propaganda. Finally, there is no danger that any of those
unfavorable items will leak back to the German public, because they
are not allowed to be printed in any German newspaper.

Nothing can be more startling than the contrast between the respective
treatments of foreign journalists and their German colleagues. The
German press is rigidly controlled. Indeed, German papers print very
little straight news as we understand the term. Every item published
is elaborately scrutinized. I had one illuminating instance of this
when I was invited by the head of a German press syndicate to
contribute a short statement of my impressions of wartime Europe.
Having been assured that I could write what I chose, I stated frankly
that we Americans thought another long war would ruin Europe
economically, no matter which side was victorious. The Propaganda
Ministry promptly vetoed publication, and I was tactfully but firmly
told that such a statement, though quite proper for my fellow
countrymen, was deemed unsuitable for German readers.

When he travels, the foreign correspondent encounters the same
condition of circumscribed freedom as he does in sending his
despatches. Over most of Germany he can travel almost as freely as he
could in peacetime--by train or commercial bus, of course, since
gasoline rationing makes private motor trips impossible. The only
apparent check on his movements is the requirement to turn in his
passport when he registers at a hotel. But there are certain parts of
the Reich which are rigidly barred zones. He cannot go anywhere near
the West-Wall, the fortified belt of territory along the French,
Belgian, and Dutch borders. He cannot visit the fortified coasts of
the North Sea and the Baltic. He cannot enter German-occupied
Poland--at least, he could not during my stay in Germany. He has to
get special permission to enter the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia,
and even then he is under such close surveillance that no patriotic
Czech will dare come near him.  Such, briefly, are the conditions
under which the foreign correspondent lives and works in wartime
Germany.  Within limits, he can operate quickly and efficiently.
There are quite a few locked doors, and he had best not try to open
them. But at least he knows where he stands, and the rules of the game
are made clear to him.


At the very first press conference I attended at the Propaganda
Ministry we were informed that a trip was being arranged for foreign
correspondents and all who wished to go were asked to register. It was
to be a three-day journey through Central Germany and the northern
Rhineland. Its purpose was to observe the "Inner Front"; how the
peasants and industrial workers were doing their bit to carry on the

"I advise you to come along," said an American colleague with whom I
sat. "I can't vouch for how much they'll show us, but you'll see quite
a bit of the country, and then you'll get to know a good many of the
press corps. That alone should make the trip worth while for you."

Accordingly, the fourth day after my arrival in Berlin found me ready
to take the road again. Noon saw about forty journalists assembled
with light luggage at the Propaganda Ministry. Ours was a cosmopolitan
group, drawn mostly from European lands, together with five Americans,
two Japanese, and an Egyptian with crinkly hair and complexion _cafe
au lait_. A lone Danish lady journalist, rather pretty and on the
bright side of thirty, had ventured to join this phalanx of
masculinity. Having observed her at several press conferences, I
judged her capable of taking care of herself in any circumstances
likely to arise.

We were welcomed by a bevy of officials, some of whom would accompany
us. After a fulsome speech, our itinerary was read out, telling just
where we were going and what we were to see and do. Before starting on
a sightseeing trip, Germans apparently like to have everything worked
out down to the last detail. Good staff work, yet sometimes a bit
trying; since, under no circumstances, can there be the slightest
deviation from the plan prescribed.

After the oratory had ended we were bidden to fall to on several
platters heaped high with sandwiches, which graced the long table
about which we were standing. One of the things you quickly learn in
Germany is to eat whenever eatables come your way. Food restrictions
and uncertainties soon develop in you a sort of psychological hunger
which is never wholly out of your mind. So we did full justice to this
buffet lunch.

Leaving the festive board we descended to the street, where we found
awaiting us two enormous sightseeing buses into which we climbed. We
Americans had kept together, so we were all seated in Bus Number One.
Near me were seated a Belgian, a Dutch, and a Hungarian journalist.
Swinging out by Unter den Linden and thence to Potsdam, we presently
found ourselves on one of the Third Reich's famous motor roads. Mile
on mile the twin ribbons of concrete stretched before us, separated
always by a broad grassy strip. No crossings to look out for, since
all intersecting roads and railways are taken care of by over--or
underpass. Yet this magnificent highway was virtually empty of
traffic.  With all private motoring forbidden, official cars, army
camions or commercial trucks were almost its sole occupants.

Every few miles I noted a combined restaurant and filling-station
tastefully built. About mid-afternoon we stopped at one of them for
another meal. Incipient hunger was assuaged with hot frankfurters and
sauerkraut, cold ham, cheese, and rye bread, washed down with plenty
of schnapps and beer. Before proceeding on our way we were lined up
before one of the buses and had our picture taken. Group photography
is a German specialty, so this was repeated on every noteworthy
occasion.  Subsequently, each of us received the whole collection
mounted in a handsome album, as a souvenir.

As our cavalcade rolled swiftly southwestward, the afternoon waned
into misty twilight, and with the universal blackout we knew that
there would be no bus lights for us. To brighten our spirits, a large
carton in the rear of the bus was opened, revealing a case of brandy.
Our hosts were indeed missing no opportunities to create a favorable
impression. An attendant went up and down the aisle pouring drinks
into paper cups.  Pleased to find it was a good French brand, I
expressed my appreciation to one of the Propaganda Ministry officials
seated across the way. He smiled jovially, then winked, nodded toward
the nearby carton, and whispered: "Slip a bottle into your overcoat
pocket while the going is good." Somebody started a song up ahead.
The brandy was getting to work. My American seat-mate slapped me on
the knee. "Looks like a good junket," he chuckled somewhat cynically.

It was long after dark when our buses rolled through the blacked-out
streets of Weimar and halted before Haus Elefant. The Elephant House
is the name of Weimar's splendid new hotel. I understand it was built
to accommodate the tourist trade to this picturesque old town, but now
there are no tourists. That evening we were given a banquet presided
over by the Gauleiter, or Provincial Governor of Thuringia, and
attended by all the local Nazi notables. I sat next to him at table
and thus had a chance to chat with him.

I liked that Gauleiter. He was very much a self-made man, having
started as a sailor, literally "before the mast" on a windjammer. He
was also self-educated, but he exemplified Lord Bacon's dictum that
much reading maketh a full man, because he had obviously digested his
books. Although sincerely devoted to the Party's program and policies,
he did not parrot them forth in set phrases, as many Nazis do, but
interpreted them with shrewd common sense.

I did not care much, however, for the other local notables. They
looked to me like German equivalents of our own ward politicians. Few
of them could have amounted to much before they landed a Party job.
Even more revealing were their womenfolk, who joined us in the big
hotel lounge for _Ersatz_ coffee and liqueurs after the banquet was
over. Most of them were pretentiously dowdy. They exemplified better
than anything I had yet seen the fact that National Socialism is not
merely a political and economic upheaval but a social revolution as
well. To a very large extent it has brought the lower middle class
into power. To be sure, one finds quite a few aristocrats and
intellectuals in the Nazi regime. Furthermore, there are plenty of
Nazis sprung from peasant or worker stock, some of whom, like the
Weimar Gauleiter, would rise in any society. Yet the lower middle
class seems to be inordinately in evidence.  One does not notice this
so much in Berlin, because the ablest elements in the Party tend to
gravitate to the seat of power. In the provinces the
_Spiessbuergertum_ comes much more to the front.

With our heavy schedule, we rose early and descended to an amazing
breakfast for wartime Germany. I could hardly believe my eyes when
they feasted themselves on plenteous eggs and butter unlimited. We
were the guests of the Propaganda Ministry, so for us food
restrictions were politely waived. One luxury, however, we did not
get--real coffee. That tabu was seemingly unbreakable.

With the inner man thus fortified we climbed into our buses, toured
Weimar briefly to glimpse its historic sights, and took to the
highroad once more. Just outside of town we were delayed by a long
caravan of army trucks, crammed with everything from supplies and
field kitchens to troops and machine-guns. Flanked by convoys of
sputtering motorcycles, they thundered endlessly past. Everything was

All that morning we motored through the hills and valleys of
Thuringia, a charming countryside dotted with mellow villages and
clean little towns. Peasants and townsfolk alike looked well-fed and
warmly clad.  The many children who waved to our passing were
rosy-cheeked and smiling. The day was unseasonably cold. Snow powdered
even the lower hills.

Shortly after noon we reached the Wartburg. For nearly two hours we
were herded through the historic place like holiday trippers while we
were shown every last detail down to the exact spot on the wall where
Martin Luther's inkstand is supposed to have missed the devil. I got
distinctly bored. I wasn't in Germany for sightseeing, and I knew the
Wartburg of old. I wanted to be shown peasants, farms, dairies,
cold-storage plants--the rural sector of that "Inner Front" we had
heard so much about. But apparently we weren't going to be shown.

I said as much to one of our official guides. He assured me that I
would see peasants that very evening.  It was all nicely arranged. So
we rolled through country growing ever more hilly until darkness
overtook us on the slopes of the Sauerland Mountains. Soon we arrived
at what had originally been a large farmstead, now transformed into an
inn. As we sat down to a bounteous country supper, in walked our
peasants. They were the real articles, all right: sturdy,
weatherbeaten men, washed and dressed up for the occasion yet still
exhaling a faint aroma of livestock. A couple of them were assigned to
each table, and I was fortunate enough to have a fine old fellow for
my right-hand neighbor.  In rural Germany they have a habit of
sandwiching schnapps and beer, which makes a potent combination, and
we soon got on famously. After several rounds, my companion waxed
garrulous and began to air his views on several subjects, including
the war. Before he had got far, however, a young servingman bent down
and muttered in his ear: "Gaffer, you've had a lot to drink.  Bridle
your tongue!" Thereafter he kept to safer topics.

In mid-evening we left our bucolic partners and motored on to a fine
new winter-sports hotel perched on the summit of the range, where we
were to spend the night. Here winter had already come, though it was
only the beginning of November. The ground was well covered with snow,
and more was falling, whipped by a biting wind.

Next morning we were again up bright and early, and after another "off
the record" breakfast our buses plowed through snow-clogged mountain
roads which wound downwards through fine forests until we emerged from
the mountains and struck out into the Westphalian plains. Quaint
timbered-brick farmsteads and villages gave place to industrial towns
until we were fairly into Germany's "black country," the industrial
ganglion of the Rhineland, dotted with factories and murky with coal
smoke. Snow had long since been left behind. The autumn day, as usual,
was cloudy with spits of rain.

We grazed the outskirts of Cologne but got only a distant glimpse of
its twin-towered cathedral. Our destination was Duesseldorf, where we
were promised the most interesting feature of the trip. This was a
luncheon with the workers at the big Henkel Soap Products factory. We
were to hobnob with them at their noon hour, share their food, and
generally get acquainted.  After the meal we and the workers were to
be addressed by none other than Dr. Robert Ley, head of the Labor
Front, the organization which welds all the workers of the Third Reich
into a gigantic whole. A sort of Nazi One Big Union.

With Teutonic punctuality, our buses drew up before the Henkel factory
at precisely the appointed hour. After a brief reception by the
managerial staff we repaired to the dining hall, an enormous place
capable of holding over a thousand people. The workers, about equally
divided between men and women, were already pouring in. They were in
their work clothes; the men in dark overalls, the women mostly in
smocks. They had evidently washed up for lunch, for all looked neat
and clean. Besides, a soap factory ought not to be a very dirty place.

These working folk looked fairly healthy, though few of them had much
color and many had pasty complexions.  They seemed cheerful and smiled
readily. I even noted some surreptitious sky-larking between the young
men and girls. However, it should be remembered that these were
Rhinelanders, folk temperamentally freer and gayer than the stiff,
dour Prussians to the eastward.

We journalists were mixed thoroughly with the workers.  I sat at a
table accommodating some twenty of them. Opposite me were three men:
one a nondescript type, the second a hulking blond giant, the third a
slim, darkish, handsome fellow who looked like a Frenchman. At my left
hand sat a plain-featured woman in middle life; at my right, a chunky
little blonde girl in her late teens.

Hardly were we seated before a bevy of waitresses swept through the
hall bearing large trays laden with plates of thick potato soup. The
next course consisted of pork, red cabbage, and mixed vegetables,
served in miniature platters with separate compartments. Slabs of rye
bread went with the soup. It certainly was a hearty lunch, and well
cooked. The meat gravy was good, and there was plenty of it. I could
not finish all that was set before me.

My neighbors were obviously hungry and attended so strictly to the
business of eating that conversation languished until toward the end
of the meal. The girl beside me smilingly accepted one of my proffered
cigarettes.  Before I had time to invite the men across the table,
each had produced a packet of his own and lit up. I then began asking
a few tactful questions. They told me that this was an average
luncheon, that they were working longer hours than before the war but
were paid a bit extra for overtime, that part of the plant was being
diverted to munitions, and that comparatively few men from the factory
had as yet been called to the colors since so many of them were
skilled workers. This was about all the information I got, since they
were bent on asking me questions about America.  Suddenly a gong
sounded and all eyes turned toward the center of the hall, where a
rotund figure in a blue uniform had mounted one of the tables and was
bowing smilingly to left and right in response to a growing ripple of
applause. He was the great Dr. Ley. His rotund countenance was
wreathed in smiles as he acknowledged the greeting. Then he began
speaking in a loud, rasping voice, addressing the assembled workers as
"Soldiers of the Inner Front" and assuring them that their labors were
as praiseworthy and vital to the conduct of the war as were deeds of
valor on the battlefield.  He then launched into a diatribe against
England and its allegedly diabolical attempt to starve out the German
people, including women and children, by the hunger blockade. A lurid
picture of the terrible starvation years of the last war was followed
by comforting reassurances that the Government had rendered such
privations in the present struggle impossible because of careful
preparations and methodical planning. Foodcards might be annoying, but
there was enough to go around and everyone, rich or poor, was assured
of his or her rightful share. "This time," he shouted, "we all eat out
of the same dishl" He closed with an eloquent appeal to stand beside
their inspired Fuehrer until complete and lasting victory had been

It was a rousing speech, and it seemed to strike home.  Those working
folk listened with rapt attention, at the high points breaking into
applause which was clearly spontaneous. Dr. Ley is obviously a good
psychologist.  He knows his audience. Certainly he was onto his job
that day as head of the Labor Front.

When the speech was over and the workers had returned to their labors
we correspondents were introduced to Dr. Ley and were then shown
around the factory buildings in the usual detail. Needless to say, we
did not see the munitions section to which my luncheon companion had
casually alluded.

It was mid-afternoon when we reached our hotel, one of the best in the
city. With nothing officially scheduled until dinnertime, a number of
us strolled about town.  One of my acquaintances had a severe head
cold and needed to buy some handkerchiefs. He could not buy ordinary
cotton or linen ones, because that required a local clothing card.
However, he finally found some expensive silk handkerchiefs which were
"card-free," because they were _Luxuswaren_--luxury goods.

The dinner that night turned out to be a big banquet, with an
excellent menu and vintage wines. Again the local Nazi notables were
present, and they averaged better in appearance than those at Weimar.
All but the Gauleiter. He was a distinctly sinister-looking type;
hard-faced, with a cruel eye and a still crueler mouth.  A sadist, if
I ever saw one. I can imagine how unpopular he must be among the
good-natured, kindly Duesseldorfers.

The banquet was a lengthy affair, interspersed with speeches.
Parenthetically, the German method of sandwiching food and speech
seems to me a good idea; much better than our way of gobbling the
entire menu and then sitting back to endure a long series of orations
in a state of mingled repletion and boredom.

>From the banquet room we descended to the blacked-out street where, by
the aid of electric torches, we got into our darkened buses and went
some distance to witness a special entertainment given in our honor by
the local organizations of _Kraft durch Freude_--Strength Through Joy.
Later on I shall describe this characteristic institution of the Third
Reich in some detail.

Enough to say here that it is an elaborate system designed to brighten
the lives of the working classes in various ways.

The program that evening, put on entirely by "local talent," included
choruses, group-gymnastics, and vaudeville turns, most of the latter
being pretty amateurish.  The high spot in the program was a military
band, which was really thrilling in its spirit and fire.

Next morning we could take things easy, since our train back to Berlin
did not leave until noon. I therefore ordered breakfast served in my
room, and received not merely eggs but a whole platter of cold meats
as well. The Propaganda Ministry was evidently determined to make our
trip enjoyable to the very end!

Our homeward journey was uneventful. We had a special car, but the
stern realities of life were brought back to us when we went into the
diner and had once more to use our food-cards to obtain a meager and
expensive lunch. The train did not reach Berlin until after dark. It
was a misty evening. When I emerged from the station, I literally
could not see my hand before my face. Not a taxi was to be had, and I
was far from my hotel, so I would have to go by subway. The Berlin
subway system is a complicated network which needs some knowing before
you can find your way about, and I had quite forgotten the
combination, especially as several new lines had been built since I
was last there years before. Fortunately a colleague was going my way
and came to my rescue.

As I walked up the flights of steps from the subway, leaving behind me
a brilliantly lighted station redolent of modernity's inventive
genius, and barged into primeval darkness, it seemed to me symbolic of
what this war was doing to European civilization. This, I reflected,
was no local blackout. It stretched like a vast pall over three great
nations and might soon spread to other lands as well. "Where, and
when, and how would it end?" I reflected as I picked my way through
the gloom and finally stumbled into the lobby of the Adlon.


The Germans detest this war. That was the ever-deepening impression I
got throughout my stay in the Third Reich. Wherever I went, it was the
same story.  Public opinion in Berlin about the war tallied with what
I found in my travels through West-Central Germany as far as the
Rhineland and the North Sea Coast, and through South Germany to
Vienna. This attitude is shared by Nazis and non-Nazis. On this point
there is no difference between them.

Yet we should clearly understand the reason for this agreement. It is
not founded on moral opposition to war as such. In the Third Reich,
pacifism is akin to treason. Such genuine pacifists as may still exist
there outside of concentration camps are so carefully camouflaged
that, like Arctic hares in winter, they cannot be detected against the

German aversion to the present war, therefore, though general and
genuine, is due to strictly practical reasons. What maddens the
Germans is that they are obliged to fight desperately in order to keep
what they now hold. During the past three years they have marched with
giant strides toward the realization of one of their oldest
dreams--the domination of Central Europe. Long before Hitler was even
heard of, _Mittel-Europa_ was a phrase to conjure with. Rightly or
wrongly, most Germans believe that hegemony over mid-Europe is
necessary for their national future. As often happens in such cases,
they have "rationalized" their desire until they have come to think it
their just due. So whatever is done to achieve this goal seems to
Germans quite right and proper.

Embattled Poland was the last local obstacle to _Mittel-Europa_. By a
series of amazing diplomatic victories, Adolf Hitler had taken all the
other hurdles without firing a shot. This led the average German to
believe that the Fuehrer would complete the process without recourse
to arms. Like Al Smith, he said: "Look at the record!" In German eyes,
the Anglo-French guarantee to Poland was wholly uncalled-for. Why,
they asked, should Britain and France stick their noses into what was
none of their business? Most Germans did not believe that the Western
Powers would risk a general war over Poland. The German people was
thus psychologically unprepared for what actually happened.

When they found themselves suddenly plunged into a decisive struggle
with the Western Powers, Germans were torn between two emotions:
disgust at what they considered a stupidly needless war, and fear for
the consequences which it might involve. All sorts of persons I talked
with stigmatized the war as a tragic blunder.  Some of them went so
far as to criticize their Government for having acted too
precipitately. They thought the war could have been avoided by
cleverer diplomacy. But those very persons approved of the end sought,
no matter how sharply they disapproved of the means. Even ardent
Nazis, who claimed that Hitler had taken the only possible course and
who professed perfect confidence in ultimate victory, revealed the
same underlying mood of regretful irritation. "Think of it," they
would explain, "here we were busy making over our country, and now we
have to lay aside most of our fine reconstruction plans to go and
fight it out with those damned Englishmen!"

In this respect, Germany's attitude can perhaps best be compared to
that of the big winner in a poker game who was just raking in the
chips when somebody kicked over the table.

Yet, needless or not, the great war was here! That was the grim
reality which suddenly confronted the German people. And they seem to
have been literally stunned. At first they just couldn't believe it
was true.  From all I could gather, their attitude during the first
month or so was that of a man in a nightmare who tries to wake up and
find it is only a bad dream. The amazingly quick military decision in
Poland produced, not so much popular jubilation over the victories
themselves, but rather a belief that Poland's rapid collapse would
cause Britain and France to accept the situation, and that the war in
the West would therefore soon be over.

That was the prevailing mood when I entered Germany toward the end of
October, 1939. Almost everyone I talked to, from hotel waiters and
chambermaids to chance acquaintances in restaurants and cafes, asked
me if I didn't think the war would end soon. And they didn't need any
tactful prodding. They usually raised the question themselves early in
the conversation.

Another irksome feature in German eyes was that, as time passed and
nothing much happened in a military way, the war tended to become a
bore. No one could get very excited over intermittent land skirmishes,
a few airplane dog-fights, or an occasional submarine exploit.
Meanwhile the numberless irritations of a strictly rationed life went
steadily on. People in the cities hadn't any too much to eat, and they
had to fuss with their multitudinous food-cards every time they bought
a meal or went marketing. They certainly had none too much to wear,
yet to get that little they must go through the rigamarole of
clothing-cards and _Bezugscheine_.  Practically everything could be
bought only in limited amounts, and many things could not be bought at
all. Social life had been disrupted or distorted by the general
blackout. While as yet there was little acute suffering, everyday life
was full of minor irritants and nothing was quite normal.

The result of all this was a depressing mental atmosphere.  People
were obviously uneasy, dully unhappy, and uncertain about the future.
At first I thought this indicated really bad morale and I began to
wonder whether the German people might not soon crack under the

Presently, however, I revised my opinion. For one thing, I recalled
from past experience that Germans have always been complainers. They
seem to enjoy having what the English call a "grouse"--with Berliners
perhaps the biggest grousers of the lot. The Germans have a slang word
for this sort of thing. They call it _meckering_, which means the
ill-natured bleating of a billy-goat. Indeed, a long-term American
resident of Berlin told me that he considered _meckering_ a healthy
sign; it is when the German says nothing that you must look out for

Another thing I noted was that, with every passing week, the Germans
were putting aside their wishful thinking for a quick peace and were
mentally accepting the stern reality that they were in for what would
probably be a long and bitter struggle. Despite surface appearances,
therefore, it became clear to me that the German people was not in
what the French call a "defeatist" mood. Not once did I hear a single
German, high or low, rich or poor, suggest even in the most
confidential talk that the Reich should throw up the sponge and accept
peace terms in accordance with British and French war aims. To give up
Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Austria, for example, seems to most
Germans quite impossible. By gaining control over those lands, the
Germans believe they have got what they have long wanted--an
unshakable economic and political supremacy in Central Europe. Since
Britain and France challenge that supremacy and seek to overthrow it,
the attack must be met and broken, no matter how long the job may last
or how painful it may become.  That, in a nutshell, was the basic
popular mood which I saw ripen and harden under my eyes.

England was regarded as the arch-enemy. There seemed to be almost no
hostility towards the French, who were looked upon as Britain's
cat's-paws and dupes.  Popular hostility toward Britain, however, grew
visibly more intense from day to day. In part, this was undoubtedly
due to the violent diatribes in the press and in public utterances of
official spokesmen; in part it was a natural and inevitable reaction
against the country which was held responsible for all the discomforts
of the wartime present and the dangers of the future. But, during my
stay in Germany, this anti-British trend seemed to be a dour anger
rather than flaming emotion.  People did not go around shouting Gott
strafe England!  as was done in the last war; neither was anything
written similar to Lissauer's _Hymn of Hate_. Popular hysteria was
notably absent.

Indeed, the whole war-psychology of the German people today seems to
be quite different from that of a quarter-century ago. Kaiser Wilhelm
loved military glitter and trappings; his army was the Empire's
Exhibit A, and writers like Bernhardi glorified war as a healthful
exercise to keep a people fit or even as a "biological necessity." So,
when real war came in 1914, the Germans went into it with jubilation.
And, for the first year or two, they kept up this hysterically
romantic mood.

You find nothing like that spirit in Germany today.  Bitter memories
of the last war and the chronic misfortunes which ensued have cured
the present generation of the war-heroics in which their fathers so
liberally indulged. To be sure, the average German seems ready to
fight and die for what he believes to be his rightful place in the
world. However, he doesn't sentimentalize over it. He's usually
hard-boiled on the subject. It's just a dirty chore that, if needs be,
must be done.

That seemed to suit the Nazi Government, which made no attempt to whip
up popular emotion by either military or Party displays. During all
the months I was in Berlin or other cities, I never saw any of those
big parades with blaring bands and dress uniforms which we are apt to
associate with wartime. The only marching soldiers I saw were
occasional platoons of infantry going to change guard where sentries
were posted. And the German soldier, in his lead-colored steel helmet,
his slate-green clothes, and his clumping high boots, is a severely
practical person. I should think it would be hard for the most
sentimental Teuton to work up much of a thrill over this
matter-of-fact fighting man.

Another noteworthy point is that the Government made no attempt to
ease the people into the war by tactful stages. Quite the reverse.
Nazi spokesmen tell you frankly that they cracked down hard from the
start and made things just about as tough as the civilian population
could bear. Indeed, they say that severe rationing of food and
clothing from the very beginning was done not merely to avert present
waste and ensure future supplies; it was done also to make people
realize that they were in a life-and-death struggle for which no
sacrifice was too great.

This was stiff medicine for a people as stunned, depressed, and
jittery as the Germans certainly were during the first two months of
the war. I do not recall any other Government which has prescribed a
course of treatment so drastic, under similar circumstances.
Flag-waving and assorted heroics are the orthodox formula.

I was therefore deeply interested to discuss this original method with
the man who carried it out. He was no less a person than Dr. Paul
Joseph Goebbels, head of the vast propaganda machine which is perhaps
the most outstanding feature of the Third Reich.

This lithe, brunet Rhinelander, with his agile mind, cynical humor,
and telling gestures, is an excellent person to interview. He is
mentally on his toes every instant, and he is full of what the
journalist calls "good lines." He got one of them off early in our
conversation when he stigmatized the British blockade of Germany by
exclaiming: "It's high time that forty million people stopped
dictating to eighty million when they should have a cup of coffee!" As
Dr. Goebbels warmed to his subject, his words flowed with the
smoothness of a well-oiled machine.

"Mr. Minister," I began, broaching the subject uppermost in my mind,
"the thing that strikes me most since I've been in Germany this time
is the great difference between the popular mood now and in the last
war. No hurrahs, parades, bands, and flowers like in 1914."

"That's right," he shot back quickly, "and the reason is very simple.
In 1914 the German people didn't know what it was all about. They had
no clear war aim. Some French iron mines! A bit of Belgium! _Gott
strafe England_!  Slogans and phrases! That's no way to wage a war.
And our rulers then couldn't make them understand.  They were an
aristocratic caste, out of touch with the people."

"And now?" I put in.

"Now?" he countered. "We National Socialists are men of the people. We
know how our fellow-citizens think and how to make them understand.
But, really, the British have done it for us. They've given us our war
aim by forcing the war on us."

"Meaning what?" I asked.

"Meaning this," he replied. "We made it clear to the British that we
didn't want to disturb their empire. We carefully kept our hands off
sore spots like India and Ireland. Why, we even offered to give them a
military guarantee of their empire's integrity. But we made it clear
that, in return, they were to keep their hands off our sphere of
interest--Central Europe. Well, they wouldn't have it that way.
They're trying to crush us.  So, this time, every German knows what
it's all about."

"And that's why they're so quiet about it?" I asked.

"Exactly," nodded Dr. Goebbels with a quick smile.  "We Germans don't
like this war. We think it's needless--silly.  But, since England
feels that way, we see it's got to be gone through with. The average
German feels like a man with a chronic toothache--the sooner it's out,
the better. And he doesn't need brass bands and flowers to get it over
with. That's where our aristocrats went wrong last time. They forgot
old Bismarck's saying that hurrah-patriotism isn't like pickled
herring that you can put up in barrels and store away for years.
Listen! If I wanted to get the German people emotionally steamed up, I
could do it in twenty-four hours. But they don't need it--they don't
want it."

"Then, psychologically--" I began.

Dr. Goebbels cut in with a sweeping gesture. "Psychologically," he
answered, "we are way ahead. Last time, I admit, it was very
different. Then, at the crucial moment, both France and England
produced great men--Clemenceau and Lloyd George, both men of the
people. If we on our side could have produced a Bismarck or a Hitler,
we should have won. This time, we have the right men and the others
haven't. We National Socialists understand profoundly that it is the
human being who counts--not just material resources. England is
socially unsound. She is a colossus with feet of clay.  Furthermore,
England has a negative, defensive war aim. This time, it's the British
who talk in vague phrases like 'aggression.' What does it mean to
Tommy in the trenches to tell him he's fighting 'aggressors'?"

"Would you mind enlarging on that a bit, Mr. Minister?" I asked.

"Certainly not," he answered. "The more you examine British war aims,
the more negative they appear.  The English admit they have nothing
tangible to get out of this war but that they have a lot to lose. We,
on the other hand, have very little to lose and a lot to win.  Here we
Germans are--eighty million of us, all together.  And right next to us
is our sphere of influence in Central Europe--everything under one
roof. Sooner or later, we massed Germans are bound to get what we
need. The British, on the contrary, are spread all over the map. They
draw their resources from the four corners of the earth. Their empire
is too dispersed, too artificial. They're bound to lose in the long

"Then the British Empire--" I began.

"Please understand," broke in Dr. Goebbels. "We had no designs upon
it. We showed this clearly when we made the naval treaty with England
limiting our fleet to one-third their size. In face of that fact, any
responsible German who might have meditated an attack upon the British
Empire would have been guilty of criminal madness. It is only now,
when England forces us to a life-and-death struggle, that we hit back
in every possible manner. All we asked was that England regard us,
too, as a great nation with its own special sphere. After all, nations
should be treated on their merits, for what they are. Live and let
live was our motto toward England. It is the British who would not
have it that way."

"The English," I remarked, "seem to believe that this is a struggle
between democracy and dictatorship."

"Dictatorship!" shot back Dr. Goebbels scornfully.  "Isn't the
National Socialist Party essentially the German people? Aren't its
leaders men of the people? How silly to imagine that this can be what
the English call dictatorship! What we today have in Germany is not a
dictatorship but rather a political discipline forced upon us by the
pressure of circumstances. However, since we have it, why shouldn't we
take advantage of the fact?"

"Just what do you mean by that, Mr. Minister?" I queried.

"I'll give you an example," answered Dr. Goebbels.  "Take the
difference between the way we and the English handle radio. We don't
let our people listen to foreign broadcasts; the English do. Why
should we permit our people to be disturbed by foreign propaganda?  Of
course we broadcast in English, and the English people are legally
permitted to listen in. I understand lots of them do. And can you
imagine what is one of the chief discussions about it across the
Channel? It is, whether our German announcer has an Oxford or a
Cambridge accent! In my opinion, when a people in the midst of a
life-and-death struggle indulge in such frivolous arguments, it
doesn't look well for them."

"Then, Mr. Minister," I asked, "you don't think there is much
likelihood that history will repeat itself?"

Dr. Goebbels' dark eyes lighted. "History never repeats itself," he
exclaimed with a sweeping gesture.

"History is like a spiral--and we believe that, since the last war, we
have made an ascending turn while Britain has made a descending one.
Today, we have a national unity, discipline, and leadership vastly
superior to that of 1914, and even more superior to anything which
England has as yet produced. The rightful claims of the German people
were thwarted a generation ago.  They cannot be denied a second time."

So saying, the world-famous Minister of Popular Enlightenment and
Propaganda rose briskly from his chair and gave me a vigorous
handshake. One last look at the slim, dynamic figure and his spacious
office hung with historic portraits, and the interview was over. I had
got "the dope," all right, from headquarters. And the more one studies
the text of that interview, the more revealing it becomes--in many
ways! It certainly was propaganda of the Goebbels brand.


About a fortnight after my arrival in Germany I had an opportunity to
secure two worth-while interviews away from Berlin. The first was with
General Loehr, Commander-in-Chief of the Air-Arm at Vienna.  The
second was with Father Joseph Tiso, newly elected President of the
equally new Slovak Republic, at his capital, Bratislava. Neither had
as yet been interviewed by an American journalist.

Since I was to be the guest of the Air Ministry, an army transport
plane had been placed at my disposal.

Accordingly, I motored out to Berlin's main airport, accompanied by a
major of the Air-Arm who was to be with me on the journey. A
pleasant-faced Hanoverian in his mid-forties, he proved to be an
agreeable companion.

The tri-motored, slate-gray plane took off on schedule, and we soon
rose above the ground-haze into the clear air of a crisp autumn
morning. Flying at about 2,000 feet, we skimmed swiftly over the flat
plains of North Germany--an endless patchwork of forest and farmland,
interspersed with lakes and dotted with villages or towns. The sky was
cloudless until we approached the Bohemian Mountains, when we
encountered a billowing wave of white pouring like a giant cataract
onto the Saxon plain. Rising steeply above this cloud-sea, we lost
sight of earth during most of our flight over Bohemia. Only now and
then did I catch a glimpse of the Protectorate through a rift in the
white veil. I had a quick sight of Prague. Its palace-citadel looked
like a toy castle. The river Moldau was a silvery ribbon winding
across the landscape.

As we neared the hilly border between Bohemia and Austria, the
cloud-belt beneath us was again unbroken, though a few mountain
summits rose like dark islets above a white sea. On the outskirts of
Vienna the clouds thinned and the pilot could see his way to a smooth
landing. Greeted cordially by airport officials, the Major and I
motored to our hotel, a quaint hostelry named the Erzherzog Karl, on
the Kaerntner Strasse. We were in the heart of old Vienna, a city I am
always glad to see. I knew it in its glory before the Great War, when
it was the capital of the vanished Habsburg Empire. I knew it again in
the dark post-war days, when hunger and despair stalked its shabby
streets. Now I was to see it in a new guise--demoted to a provincial
center of the Third Reich.

Curious to sense the feel of the place, I wandered about town all that
afternoon and evening, sizing up the street crowds, revisiting old
haunts, and dropping into an occasional cafe. In their general
appearance the people looked similar to those in Berlin. I saw no
ragged or starving persons, neither was I accosted by beggars. But the
old Viennese spirit was gone. The mental atmosphere was one of tired
resignation to whatever might be in store.

However, the Viennese did not have the stiff stolidity of the
Berliners. They still smiled easily and entered quickly into friendly
conversation. The most notable difference was in the women, who have
retained some of their former chic despite the cramping limitations of
hard times and clothing-cards. My biggest surprise was when I saw
perfectly respectable women and girls in a leading cafe casually take
out their lipsticks and freshen their make-up.

Bright and early next morning the Major and I went to the
_Hauptkommando_, a huge, dingy old building rising to the height of
seven stories. Here I met the military censor who was to pass on my
interviews and give me permission to get them on the wireless for
transmission to America. He was a tall, slender man, obviously
Austrian, as were the other officers to whom I was introduced. The
necessary formalities having been completed, I motored to Air
Headquarters not far away, where General Loehr awaited me.

The General received me in a large office equipped with an exceedingly
long conference table. This came in handy for a panoramic series of
air photographs which stretched its entire length. With these the
General illustrated his story of the great air attack which he had
commanded during the Polish campaign. In vigorous middle life, with
graying-dark hair and an agreeable voice, he is typically Austrian in
both appearance and manner. An airman since youth, his recent exploits
in Poland are the climax of a brilliant professional career.

With soldierly promptness, General Loehr wasted no time starting the
interview. His dynamic forefinger swept over the photographic panorama
that lay on the conference table. "Picture to yourself," said he, "a
thousand troop trains jammed along a sixty-kilometer stretch of
railway under mass-attack by bombing planes." Taken from a great
height, the photos were in miniature, but with a magnifying glass I
could spot the trains, singly or in bunches along the right-of-way, or
filling sidings and freight-yards. Now and then I noted squadrons of
bombers at lower altitudes than the photographing plane and could spot
their work by puffs of smoke where bombs exploded with deadly accuracy
over the double-track railroad line.

The General went on to describe the terrific disorganization wrought
by this mass air attack upon the Polish army retreating from the Posen
front to form a new line before Warsaw--soldiers leaping to the tracks
from troop trains and losing their formations; horses and guns forced
from freight cars, with no unloading platforms. This harassed army was
still full of fight and tried to attack, but it so lacked
co-ordination that the bravest efforts were vain. To make matters
worse, the telephone and telegraph lines, which in Poland follow
railroads rather than highways, were likewise shattered by bombing, so
communication was destroyed. Loehr also showed me aerial glimpses of
the countryside dotted with Polish soldiery breaking up into small

Asked to give what he considered the reasons for his quick victory
over the Polish air force which preceded the bombing of the army, just
related, Loehr replied substantially as follows: The German air force
had as its primary aim the destruction of Polish air power--if
possible on the ground. So the very first day of the war all
practicable airfields were assailed. On that fateful first of
September the weather was very bad for flying.  This made the task a
hard one, but the Poles were not expecting a general air attack in
such weather and were thus caught unprepared. Loehr attributed much of
his success to blind-flying excellence, which he claimed was a German
specialty. Caught unprepared, the Polish airfields were terribly
mauled. To give one instance, twenty-five planes in one hangar at
Cracow were destroyed by a single bomb. This first attack was followed
by a second that same day. Again the Poles were unprepared, because
they did not think the German bombers could reload and refuel so soon.
They were thus caught salvaging their damaged planes and fighting
airfield fires.

This initial German success was not without its price.

Loehr frankly admitted heavy losses in these first attacks--losses
which might have been troublesome if they had kept up. But the vast
damage the Germans inflicted had so weakened the Polish air force
that, only two days after war broke out, it was incapable of further
concerted action, and Germany had obtained command of the air.
Thereafter Polish air activity was limited to sporadic counterattacks
by small squadrons or single planes. Only after the Polish air power
was thus broken did the German Air-Arm turn its attention to the
railways and ground forces.

Loehr stated that in this campaign Germany's initial air preponderance
was not so great as commonly imagined abroad. At the start, he had
only about one-third numerical advantage. This was less than the
Allied lead over the Germans on the West Front during the World War,
where the Allies never attained real command of the air. The General
closed the interview with expressions of polite regret that he could
not invite me to the luncheon he had planned for me, because he had
been suddenly ordered to fly for a conference at Berlin.

I spent the afternoon writing out my interview and transcribing it in
semi-code for the wireless--a technical job which always takes some
time. The obliging censor passed it with a couple of minor changes,
and I saw the interview safely on its way across the ocean, returning
to my hotel just in time to meet friends with whom I was to spend the
evening. We dined at _The Three Hussars_, a cozy little restaurant
long famous for its food and wines. The wines were still up to par,
but the food had sadly deteriorated from the old days. In fat-short
wartime Germany, really good cooking is as unlikely as bricks made
without straw.

During dinner we discussed the local situation. Both my host and his
wife were members of the Party and thus enthusiastically in favor of
_Anschluss_. They admitted, however, that Austria's inclusion into the
Third Reich had produced many economic difficulties. Much of Vienna's
local industry had been luxury products for foreign markets. This had
greatly suffered since annexation, owing to several factors such as
difficulty of obtaining raw materials through lack of foreign
exchange, competing German lines, and the boycott of German goods (now
extended to Austrian goods) in foreign lands, notably in the United
States. He himself had suffered through the closing of a factory of
which he had been manager. Controlled by German interests, it had been
closed after Anschluss as uneconomical.  Things had been pretty bad
until the outbreak of war, when the increase of employment on war work
coupled with army mobilization had relieved the labor situation.  He
believed that, on the long pull, Austria would benefit economically by
Anschluss, but she was going through a trying transition period.

That evening we went to one of the best-known music halls, where we
saw a typical Viennese program, full of skits and jokes--many of them
sharp knocks at current conditions. I expressed my surprise and said I
did not think such latitude would be tolerated in Berlin.  My hostess
laughingly assured me that the Viennese must have their satirical
jokes. It was an historic tradition, and the German authorities had
been persuaded that they had best not sit on this characteristic
Austrian safety-valve.

Another surprising matter was the number of officers and soldiers
sitting together in gay parties throughout the audience. I had already
noted instances of this in North Germany, but not to the same extent.
Recalling as I did the rigid caste lines in both the old Imperial Army
and the small professional _Reichswehr_ established after the World
War, it took me some time to get used to these evidences of social
fraternization. The new trend is due to two causes. In the first
place, it is part of the Nazi philosophy to break down class and caste
distinctions, and weld the whole nation into a conscious
_Gemeinschaft_--an almost mystical communion, as contrasted with the
rest of the world. In such a socialized nationhood, the traditional
caste barriers, first between officers and soldiers, secondly between
army and civilians, are obviously out of line. The present German army
is undoubtedly more of a _Volksheer_--a People's Army, than it ever
was before. This new tendency is also furthered by the fact that with
better education, specialization, and technical training of the
rank-and-file, officers and men are more nearly on the same plane.
The old Imperial Army, unmechanized and made up so largely of peasant
lads commanded by Junker squires, was a vastly different institution.

Yet, despite all social changes, military discipline and authority do
not seem to have suffered. No matter how friendly men and officers may
be off duty, the heel-clicking and stiff saluting on duty are as
punctilious as they ever were in the old days.

Next morning, the Major and I set off by military car to get my
interview with the new Slovak President.  The little Republic of
Slovakia, so recently carved from the former Czechoslovakia, is
technically an independent state, though actually it is a German
Protectorate.  The fiction of sovereignty is carried out in every
detail.  The Major and I had both sent our passports to the Slovak
Consulate in Vienna to obtain visas for our one-day trip in a
"foreign" land.

The fine weather of the past two days had given place to heavy clouds
and spitting rain. Once out of Vienna, there was little to see except
marsh and sodden fields as we motored down the Danube valley. To pass
the time, I entered into conversation with our military chauffeur, who
was an unusual type--a man with an air of good breeding enhanced by
slender hands and dark, well-cut features. I was surprised to learn
that he was a German from the Caucasus, one of the few survivors of a
flourishing colony established there long ago under the Czars but
wiped out by the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution.  Escaping as a
boy, he had wandered in many countries, returning at last to the
ancestral Fatherland which he had never previously seen. Incidentally,
it is curious how often one encounters in Germany such persons come
home from the Teutonic _diaspora_. Besides Austrian Adolf Hitler, four
of the top-flight Nazi leaders were born abroad--Wilhelm Bohle in
Britain, Alfred Rosenberg in Russia, Rudolf Hess in Egypt, and Walther
Darre in the Argentine.

>From Vienna to Bratislava is only an hour's quick run by motor car.
For a national capital, Bratislava is most unhandily situated. It lies
on the north bank of the Danube. On the south bank stretches the
German Reich, while a few miles downstream is the Hungarian border.
Bratislava is thus wedged narrowly between two foreign nations. Still,
it's the only city in Slovakia, so there's no second choice. The rest
of the little country is a jumble of mountains inhabited by a
primitive and pious peasantry. When I called on the Minister of
Foreign Affairs that same afternoon, his office windows looked out
across the river directly at alien soil. Certainly a unique situation.

We arrived at the international bridge about noon.  The usual
formalities of passport and customs inspection were gone through with
on the German side, plus money control. Although we were to be out of
the Reich only a few hours, we had to leave our marks behind and thus
quit German soil with no money except a little loose change.
Fortunately we were to be the guests of the German Minister, so we did
not have to go to the bother of getting Slovak currency. Incidentally,
it was lucky we made the trip when we did. That very night Adolf
Hitler was to have his narrow escape from being blown up by the bomb
explosion in Munich which killed or wounded so many of his old
companions-in-arms.  Thereafter, for some days, I understand that
every frontier of the Reich was almost hermetically sealed.

Crossing the massive bridge over the muddy Danube, our car came to a
halt at the Slovak customs control.  This did not take long, and we
were soon motoring through the town on our way to the German Military
Mission, where we were to check in. The people on the streets of
Bratislava were distinctly Slavic in type, with broad faces and high
cheekbones. Slovakia has a small army of its own, so I saw a few
soldiers. They still wore the regulation Czechoslovak uniform, which
is so like the American that they looked strangely similar to our own
doughboys. All the business signs were in Slovak.  The street signs
were in both Slovak and German.

The Germans were apparently trying to avoid publicly ruffling Slovak
sensibilities. The iron hand seems to be covered by a well-padded
glove. Their Military Mission is inconspicuously tucked away in a
modest villa on a side street; so is the Legation, to which we soon
drove in order to meet the Reich's diplomatic representative. In fact,
it is too small to house the Minister and his numerous family. He is
therefore obliged to live at Bratislava's one hotel.

The Minister is a clever man, as he has to be to fill so responsible a
post. He is also a jovial soul, as I soon discovered when we began to
swap jokes. Before long we adjourned to the hotel for lunch. That meal
was an eye-opener to me. Slovakia is a neutral land which grows a
surplus of foodstuffs, so rationing is unknown.  What a joy it was to
tuck into a Wiener Schnitzel with sour cream gravy, backed by
vegetables with a good butter base! A momentary fly in the ointment
appeared when a message was brought to our table that President Tiso
might be unable to see me as arranged because he was closeted with
Parliamentary leaders putting the last licks on Slovakia's new legal
code. My face must have shown some dismay, but the Minister put a
reassuring hand on my arm. "Don't worry," he smiled, "I'll get right
on the phone and persuade him." Soon he was back. As he sat down, he
remarked with a sly wink: "He's persuaded."

Accordingly, late afternoon found me hurrying from a call on the
Foreign Minister to keep my rendezvous with Slovakia's clerical
President. The newspapermen in Berlin had already told me that the
reverend gentleman was a pretty tough political operator--more holy
than righteous, as the saying goes. So I was curious.

The interview took place under conditions typical of this _al fresco_
republic. Since the President's official residence is not yet ready,
his temporary office is on the second floor of an apartment house. Two
stolid Slovak sentries at the house entrance alone marked it off from
other buildings in the block. In response to our summons a small boy
opened the house door. I climbed a flight of stone stairs, rang a
bell, and was promptly ushered into the Presence.

The President was equally informal but by no means so unimpressive.
Father Tiso is a big man--big head, broad face, broad shoulders,
massive body, and legs like tree trunks. A typical peasant even in his
black clerical garb, he is visibly rooted in the soil.

The many persons of Slovak origin in my native land naturally came to
mind, so my first question was what message he had for them. The
answer came quickly in a deep rich voice: "Tell my Slovak brothers in
the United States that all goes well here; that we have peace again
now that the Polish War is over; that order prevails, and that our new
state will work out its national evolution by its own inner strength.
I beg the Slovaks in America not to believe the many rumors I know to
be current there about our situation. They simply aren't true."

"You mean, Mr. President," I queried, "reports that Slovakia is merely
a puppet state of the Reich?"

Father Tiso smiled calmly. "How long have you been in this country?"
he asked in turn.

"About six hours," I admitted rather ruefully.

"All right," he shot back quickly. "Stay here a week and travel
through Slovakia. Then you'll learn the answer yourself."

That seemed to settle that, so I tried a new tack.  "How do Slovakia's
aims and ideals differ from the former Czechoslovakia, of which it
formed a part?"

"Our aim," began President Tiso deliberately, "is the perfecting of
Slovak nationality. Czechoslovakia was founded on the fiction of a
Czechoslovak nation without the hyphen--that precious hyphen which we
were promised from the first as an equal member of a dual nation. The
Czechs gave us nothing to say. They claimed we were merely backward
Czechs, whereas there are deep cultural differences between us. We
have our own history, language, art, music, folk-songs. For centuries
we defended this cultural heritage against foreign rulers. And on
those deep-laid foundations we propose to build our own national

"What sort of life?" I countered. "Let's take the practical angle.
Will your economic development be individualistic business, peasant
equality, or national socialism?"

Again the President replied slowly. "It is true that today we are
mainly a land of peasants. But the rapid increase of our population
makes the development of industry an urgent necessity. However, we
intend that industry shall serve the good of the whole nation--not
merely its own good. So I may say that our economic aim is our special
type of national socialism based on Christian principles and
practices. We know that capital must be allowed to earn a fair return.
But we intend that the worker shall have a fair livelihood, with
security against unemployment and unmerited poverty.  The Government
will interfere in industry to correct--but not to direct."

I turned to politics. "Isn't it true," I asked, "that you have some
non-Slovak national minorities, especially Hungarians and Germans? How
will you handle them?"

"We assure them cultural liberty," said the President.  "They will
have the right to their own language, education, and Parliamentary
representation proportionate to their electoral voting strength."

"Well, what about the Slovak majority?" I queried.  "How does it stand

"There is only one Slovak party in Parliament," answered President
Tiso. "This is the National Party, until recently headed by our
revered leader, the late Father Hlinka. In the recent elections, the
Slovaks were unanimous, and the next elections will be five years
hence. There is nothing in the Constitution to prevent the formation
of new parties. But there aren't any others just now."

So saying, this clerical President rose to indicate that he must
return to his task of building a nation. "A clever man," I thought to
myself. "He knows all the words."

When I left the presidential apartment, night had fallen. But, in
neutral Bratislava, night was normal.  There was no blackout. How gay
I felt to walk, even in a chill rain, along well-lighted streets with
cheery shop-window displays and glimpses of folk dining or drinking
comfortably in restaurants and cafes! You learn to prize the simplest
amenities of peacetime when you have lost them for a while, even
though that apparent peace may cloak an iron repression.


No intelligent foreigner can be in Germany a week without asking
himself: "How do these people stand it?" When he has been there a
month, he says: "How long can they stand it?" After three months, his
verdict will probably be: "I guess they'll stand it a long time."
Those, at any rate, were my reactions. And, from conversations with
many foreign residents in Germany, I believe they are typical ones.
Let me explain how this mental evolution came about.

Germany is today a fortress under siege by the British naval blockade.
Even where the Reich has apparently unhampered sally-ports through
neutral neighbors, its freedom is relative; for the neutrals in turn
feel the pressure of British sea-power in whatever may aid England's
arch-enemy. In the World War, Germany collapsed through this
strangling grip. To avoid a similar fate, the Nazi Government has
developed an amazingly elaborate system of rationing which extends to
the smallest details.

The foreign visitor to wartime Germany encounters this all-pervading
system the instant he crosses the border, when the frontier inspector
hands him a few bread, meat, and butter coupons nicely calculated to
avert hunger till he reaches his destination. Thereafter he receives
full sets of coupons (collectively termed "food-cards") enabling him
to buy specified amounts of eatables.  As already related, the quality
depends on the prices he is willing to pay; also he can purchase
certain high-priced luxuries, such as game which (with the exception
of venison) is card-free. But, no matter how great his wealth, he
cannot get more coupons than are legally allotted him. Except under
special circumstances, he gets the same treatment as the average
citizen of the Reich. Germans or foreigners, they all "eat out of the
same [official] dish."

Offhand, one would be apt to think that such severe restrictions would
produce a thriving bootleg trade. As a matter of fact, underhand
trading does exist. But it is relatively small and very much
undercover, because German law punishes the buyer equally with the
seller, and sentences can be imposed up to ten years at hard labor.
For most persons, therefore, the risk is too great.

Legal differences in rationing there are. These, however, are based,
not on wealth or influence, but on age and occupation. Infants and
small children get special foods to safeguard their health and growth.
At the other end of the scale are two favored classes known as "heavy"
and "heaviest" workers--persons engaged in specially strenuous or
hazardous labor. These classifications are prized almost more than
higher wages in laboring circles. The most appreciated favor handed us
newspaper correspondents by the Propaganda Ministry was when it had us
classified as _heavy workers_. Thereby we were entitled to draw an
extra food-card allotment amounting to nearly fifty per cent above

What, you may ask, is normal? The answer is that the allotment varies
somewhat from month to month; and, interestingly enough, it tends to
rise. For various reasons, the Government determined to start in with
wartime restrictions as severe as the people could presumably stand
without immediate injury to their health and without arousing too much
discontent. The official calculation was that slight additions to the
allotment from time to time would produce marked improvement in
popular morale. This was certainly true, as I myself can testify. I
shall not soon forget how much brighter the world looked when my
microscopic butter ration was increased by nearly a pat a day. The
difference totaled only a few ounces per month, but the psychological
effect was great indeed.

Here is a table of the principal items of rationed foodstuffs for the
month of December, 1939. The reader can easily translate them into
ounces by remembering that 1,000 grams equals 2.2 pounds. Normal
rations which could be bought per head, per week, were:

  Item                              Grams

  Meat.............................. 500

  Butter............................. 125

  Lard.............................. 62.5

  Margarine......................... 80

  Marmalade........................ 100

  Sugar............................. 250

  Cheese............................ 62.5

  Eggs.............................. 1 (egg)

Bread, flour, and other grain products are likewise rationed, but the
allotments are so large that the rationing is chiefly to avoid waste.
Nobody except a tremendous eater could begin to consume his bread
ration while I was in Germany. That is because the Reich is amply
supplied in this respect, due to abundant harvests in recent years
with consequent large carry-overs.  Potatoes and vegetables generally
are unrationed. So are fruits, though these are scarce and of mediocre
quality, judged by American standards. Tropical fruits, even oranges,
tangerines, and lemons, are rarely seen. I understand that most of
these come from Southern Italy.  Mondays and Fridays are fish days.
Wartime Germany's fish supply now comes mainly from the Baltic, which
is not in the active war zone.

It takes only a glance at the table just given to spot the weak point
in Germany's food supply---edible fats.  This danger point has long
been realized, and the Government has done its best to remedy the
deficiency, both by increasing domestic production and by imports from
abroad. Despite these efforts, however, Germany's domestic fat
production averaged only 56 per cent of her consumption in the years
just before the war. In anticipation of the war danger, the Nazi
Government has undoubtedly laid up large emergency fat reserves.  As
far back as the autumn of 1938, Hermann Goering announced at the
annual Party Congress at Nuremberg that the Reich had a 7 1/2 months'
fat supply in storage, while trade statistics indicate that this
figure should be even larger today. Germany can, and does, import much
fat, together with meat and dairy products, from its Continental
neighbors. This trade is, of course, not stopped by the British
blockade. Still, the fat shortage remains; and in a long war it will
be apt to get more acute.

Certainly, the present regulation diet is out of balance.  There is an
obvious deficiency, not only of fats, but also of foods rich in
protein, mineral salts, and vitamins, such as fruit, green vegetables,
and dairy products, especially milk and eggs. The present diet
contains far too much starch, as the writer can emphatically testify,
since he gained twelve pounds during a stay in Germany of less than
four months, although his weight had not varied half that much in
years. And he met many other persons, both foreigners and Germans, who
were having similar experiences. When healthy, well-balanced
individuals react that way, there must be something wrong with the
dietary picture. Unless remedied, it cannot fail to produce bad
results on the general population in the long run.

However, if the food ration can be kept at its present level, the bad
results will be so gradual that they should not notably lower the
average German's strength and efficiency until after a long lapse of
time. When the war broke out the German people were reasonably
healthy.  Yet this health standard had been maintained on a diet
which, in American eyes, must seem meager and monotonous.  For many
years, most Germans have been restricted in their consumption of fats
and dairy products.  The war is thus not a sudden change from plenty
to scarcity, but a relatively slight intensification of chronic
shortages. I discussed food conditions with working-men, and they said
that, if they could get their full foodcard allotments, they fared
about the same as before the war. These statements checked with what
competent foreign observers told me. The winter diet of the working
classes has always been potatoes, bread, and cabbage, together with
some fish, less meat, and even less fats. They hadn't the money to buy
anything better. It is the upper and middle classes who have been hit
hardest by war rationing, and it is among them that you hear the
loudest complaints.

Those upper and middle class folk certainly _mecker_ vociferously over
the food situation, but their complaints are mingled with a somewhat
sour sense of humor. Here is a typical food joke which was current in
winter Berlin: "Recipe for a good meal: Take your meat card. Wrap it
in your egg card, and fry it in your butter or fat card until brown.
Then take your potato card, cover with your flour card, and cook over
your coal card until done. For dessert, stir up your milk and sugar
cards; then dunk in your coffee card. After this, wash your hands with
your soap card, drying them with your cloth card. That should make you
feel fine!"

These complaints, however, are for the most part mere emotional kicks
at hard conditions which cannot be helped. They do not imply
condemnation of the rationing system, as such. The German people have
poignant memories of the terrible starvation years during the World
War, and they are willing to undergo almost anything rather than see
mass-starvation come back again. The Government claims that it has
devised a starvation-proof system including not merely the foodcards
but also the complete "rationalization" of agriculture, with fixed
prices all the way from producer to consumer. Before the farmer starts
his spring planting, he knows that everything he raises will be bought
at a figure which should normally enable him to make a slight profit.
At the other end of the scale, when the housewife goes to market, she
knows that the storekeeper cannot charge her more than the Government
permits. The food regulations today in force assure to the poorest
German the basic necessities of life while the richest cannot get much
more than his share. So long as the German people believe that the
system will enable them to keep above the hunger-line, there seems to
be scant likelihood of a popular revolt over food alone.

What the system means was explained by Walther Darre, Minister of
Agriculture and in supreme charge of the food situation, when he said
to me: "Our foodcards constitute merely the last link in an economic
chain which we were forging long before the war. This chain extends
from farm grower to consumer, with stable prices all along the line.
The food-card is the final act of the whole carefully-worked-out
process, ensuring to each citizen his share of food, no matter what
the size of his income. In the World War, food-cards were a sign of
want. They were started only when a dangerous scarcity already
existed. This time, foodcards, started the very first day of the war,
are a symbol of strength."

Herr Darre's statement has a two-fold significance.  It shows both the
economic advantages of wartime rationing and its steadying effect on
the popular state of mind. This second aspect is perhaps the more
important.  In the World War, the old Imperial German Government did
practically nothing to control food conditions during the first two
years of the struggle. The result was a vast deal of hoarding,
profiteering, and a general skyrocketing of prices. Rich families laid
in big stocks while poor men went hungry. These obvious injustices did
more than anything else to rouse popular resentment and promote
revolutionary unrest. It is well known that civilian morale broke down
long before that of the soldiers at the front. Also, this civilian
breakdown ultimately infected the armies in the field. The Nazi
leaders are keenly aware of all this and are determined that it shall
not happen again.

Nevertheless, the task is great and the struggle complex.  Another
sector of the gigantic battle against the British blockade is the
clothing situation. The Government tackled this problem as promptly as
it did the question of food. From the very start, clothes were
strictly rationed. At first, this was done by the _Bezugschein_
method. As already explained, a _Bezugschein_ is an official permit
enabling the holder to purchase a specific article. Accordingly, if a
man or woman needed an addition to the wardrobe, he or she had to go
to the Permit station established in their particular neighborhood and
state the case. The officials in charge, being themselves local
people, usually had a good idea of the applicant's honesty and
reliability. With a good reputation, permission was generally granted
at once, though the applicant often had to wait in line a long time
before his turn came. In doubtful or suspicious cases, however, the
applicant was told to return with his old coat, suit, shoes, even
shirt or underwear, to prove it was really worn out. In extreme cases
his house might even be searched to make sure he was not trying to

This makeshift system obviously involved great loss of time, caused
many hardships, and produced much popular irritation. It also did not
give a sufficiently clear picture of popular needs. With
characteristic German thoroughness, the Government made a searching
study of the problem. Its answer was the clothing cards issued in the
late autumn of 1939. There are different cards for men, women, boys,
and girls. Thereby the Government intends to regulate both production
and consumption in an efficient and predictable way.

The woman's clothing card was issued first, and I still recall the
impression it made on me when I puzzled over the announcement of it
which was published in the morning papers. To me, its complexities
seemed almost like an exercise in higher mathematics. Like the
food-cards, it is based on the coupon method. The left-hand side of
the clothing card contains a list of articles available, together with
the number of coupons required for permission to purchase each
article; for, as already explained in relation to food-cards, they are
really little Permits which have nothing to do with price. The quality
of the article purchased depends on the buyer's pocketbook.

The right-hand side of the clothing card contains the precious
coupons--and here American women readers of this book are due for a
shock. There are only one hundred of these coupons, popularly known as
"points," and they must last the feminine holder of the card for an
entire twelve-month, starting from November. A hundred points may
sound like quite a lot, but just wait until we note how fast they can
go and how little they mean! One handkerchief takes one point. A
brassiere takes four points; a set of "undies" 12; a slip 15; and so
on up to a warm winter suit, which sets the lady back no less than 45
points--almost one-half of her whole clothing allowance for the year.

The most poignant item is hosiery. On her card the German woman is
allowed a "normal" ration of four pair of stockings per year--each
pair taking four points.  If she insists, she can get an additional
two pair; but in that case she is penalized by having to give up eight
points apiece for her temerity.

A paternal Government sees to it that she shall not rush frantically
out to the nearest store and get all her clothing ration at once. The
points are "staggered." One-third of the total are available
immediately; but the next ten can't be used before January 1st; then
twenty on March 1st; and other twenties in May and August
respectively. Clothing cards are personal. They cannot be transferred,
and coupons detached from the card have no value. Any attempt at
cheating is punished by a loo-point fine, which leaves the culprit
unable to buy anything for a whole year!

The meticulous way in which this system has been worked out shows in
the smallest details. Even thread and darning-yarn are exactly
rationed. There is a wide difference between various kinds of
textiles; woolen articles, which are admittedly scarce, call for
nearly twice as many points as do articles of the same sort but made
of different materials. An attempt is likewise made to differentiate
between articles of such prime necessity that they are worn by rich
and poor alike, and those worn chiefly by persons in comfortable
circumstances.  The former articles take less points than the latter,
though the differential is not great.

Men are even more drastically rationed than their womenfolk.
_Meinherr_ must part with 8 of his 100 points for each pair of socks,
27 to 35 points for a full-length set of underwear, and a devastating
60 points for a business suit. No wonder that he was pleased last
Christmastide when the Government announced a "present" in the shape
of its gracious permission to buy a card-free necktie. Milady was
simultaneously gratified by the right to purchase a pair of stockings
without losing any of her points.

It should be noted that these cards do not cover a number of important
items such as overcoats or cloaks, boots and shoes, bedclothing, and
household linen.  Clothing for infants and very young children is
likewise not covered by the card system, though boys and girls have
cards similar to those issued to adults. All cardless items must be
obtained by the Permit method previously described.

To any American above our poverty-line, the severity of this clothes
rationing will presumably seem little short of appalling. It certainly
appalled many Germans with whom I discussed the matter. This was
especially true of the women, some of whom threw up their hands in
despair at the grim prospect while others asserted vehemently that
feminine discontent would reach such proportions that the Government
would be forced to relent before they reached the rags-and-tatters
stage.  Ardent Nazis tended to minimize the hardships--at least, in my
presence. They reminded me that Germans are thrifty souls who wear
their best clothes sparingly, with second--or even third-best apparel
for ordinary use. Thus, most persons are apt to have a clothing
reserve which can be stretched over this emergency period.  Nazi
ladies laughingly predicted that next summer's hosiery would all be in
brown shades--the brown of sun-tanned bare legs. Still, I detected a
melancholy ring to their most patriotic sallies.

Resident foreigners are issued the same clothing cards as Germans.
Transients have none, the assumption being that they need none for a
short stay. The wise foreigner will equip himself in advance with
everything needful. I certainly did, down even to shoe polish, having
been informed that, owing to lack of grease, the _Ersatz_ mixtures now
used in the Reich were hard on leather. I thus personally suffered no
inconvenience, though I was continually haunted by the thought that I
might lose something or that my shirts might not stand the wear of
wartime German laundries. But woe to the traveler who enters Germany
short on clothing! He cannot buy even a pocket handkerchief by
ordinary methods. I saw some harrowing sights during my stay in the
Reich. One instance was that of an American lady who arrived at the
Adlon from Southern Italy minus her baggage, which had gone astray.
She had nothing with her but the lightest summer shoes. The rain and
chill of autumn soon gave her such a heavy cold that she could not go
out until she had proper footwear. She had to enlist the good offices
of the American Embassy to have a special _Bezugschein_ issued to her
without delay.

Restrictions on food and clothing are merely the outstanding aspects
of everyday life in Germany, which is Spartan throughout. Possession
of cards is no guarantee that the articles covered by them can always
be bought.  In the big cities, especially, many temporary shortages
occur, due chiefly to faulty transportation or distribution.  Shopping
involves much delay, especially through having to stand in line before
being waited on. Articles technically card-free are effectively
rationed because they must all be bought in small quantities; so even
persons with plenty of money can never get much ahead of their
immediate needs. Also, one is never sure of being able to buy
anything, because it may suddenly be temporarily or even permanently
sold out. To a foreigner, this sort of existence soon becomes
maddening.  So he is apt to fancy that it must be equally unendurable
to Germans, and he may therefore conclude that they cannot stand it
much longer.

Such generalizations, however, are unsound. The Germans have been
through a lengthy and bitter schooling in adversity. They have not
known a really normal life since the World War broke out in July,
1914. That fateful summertide was twenty-six years ago. For more than
a quarter-century the Germans have experienced about every sort of
vicissitude--war, inflation, an unsound boom, deflation, civil strife,
the Nazi Revolution, and now war again. No German man or woman under
twenty-six years of age was even born into what we would call a normal
national life or has had any personal experience of it unless they
have been abroad.

No German under forty has more than childhood recollections of the
"good old times."

This historical background should always be kept in mind if we are to
judge correctly German reactions to their surroundings. We see here a
people so accustomed to do without things or to get them only with
difficulty and in limited amounts that they are used to it. Therefore
Germans take lightly or never think about many matters which, to
Americans especially, are irritations and grievances. We thus
encounter two standards of living and attitudes toward daily life
which differ from each other so profoundly that they cannot easily be

In this connection we should remember another point--the factor of war
psychology. Nearly all Germans have come to feel that they are in for
a life-and-death struggle.  They believe that defeat in this war would
spell something like the destruction of their nationhood.  They
therefore bear cheerfully, through patriotic emotion, privations
which, to the resident foreigner with nothing at stake, are personally
meaningless and therefore exasperating.

I cannot illustrate this matter better than by citing a conversation I
had one day with a German acquaintance.  In the course of our chat I
remarked how much I missed coffee. "I used to be quite a coffee
drinker too," he answered, "and at first I also found it hard.  But I
realized that, by doing without coffee imports, we Germans strengthen
our economic situation and thereby help beat the English. You know,
that thought was so satisfying that it overcame my desire for coffee.
So now I am not only reconciled to our _Ersatz_ but I actually enjoy
drinking it and have no wish to go back to real coffee, even if I were
given a supply." From similar remarks heard on many occasions, I am
sure that he was sincere and that he typified an important aspect of
the national state of mind.


If we are really to understand conditions in strange lands, it's well
to get down to cases. So let me tell the tale of the housewife in
wartime Germany. She is a composite lady, the combined result of
several studies I made into the daily life of families living in
Berlin. Two of them had kept house in America. In that way I got
intelligent comparisons between German and American standards.

All these families are financially well-off; able to pay for
everything they really need. I chose such families deliberately,
because I wanted to eliminate the factor of financial worry from the
picture. What I tried to find out was how, and to what extent, the
everyday life of these Berlin homes is affected by wartime conditions.

On the day in question our composite lady sallies forth to do her
marketing in the middle of the forenoon.  This is her regular market
day, and she should have started earlier, but couldn't because of home
work due to lack of servants. She goes at once to a nearby grocery.
Of course she is a regular customer there, as she is with her butcher
and other tradespeople. That is the only way she can cope with the
food-card situation.

Let's follow her in and take a look around the place.  The first thing
that strikes our American eye is the meagerness of the stock. In part,
this impression is due to the fact that there are no canned goods on
display.  They are all being kept off the market until green
vegetables and autumn fruits are exhausted. Then the Government will
release canned goods for public sale to bridge the gap until the next
fruit and vegetable crops are available. We should also understand
that, in Germany, grocery stores are more specialized than ours.  They
sell chiefly staple food and dairy products, together with lines such
as jams and jellies, condiments, smoked meats, and light table wines.
Still, the stock is not large and the store is a small place, though
with several clerks--all women.

As she enters the store, Milady catches the eye of the head clerk and
gets immediate service. That's a bit of good luck, for the woman is
much quicker than the others, which means a saving of precious time.
As soon as she reaches the counter, Milady opens a pocketbook
containing several compartments, each bulging with folded papers of
various colors. These are food-cards-sheets of paper about a foot
square, on which are printed many coupons that can be torn or cut off,
stamped, or punched, as the case requires.

Let us assume that this lady shops for a good-sized family--say,
herself, husband, and four children. Each of these six individuals
needs seven food cards; so Milady has to carry forty-two cards with
her whenever she goes to market. I may add that she has still other
cards at home--clothing cards for each member of the family, and
special milk cards if any of her children are young. But, as Kipling
would say, that is another story.

Let's take a look at those cards as Milady unfolds them and lays them
on the counter. That's what everybody has to do in Germany before one
can even start buying anything. The saleswoman has to make sure the
customer hasn't exceeded her quota, while the customer has to find out
if what she wants is in stock that day.  In big cities like Berlin
there are, as I have said, many temporary shortages of foodstuffs. In
the smaller towns there is no such trouble.

The cards are now spread out. First the bread card.  This covers not
only baked bread but also flour of various kinds. No difficulty here;
the bread ration is ample. Secondly the sugar card, which includes
jams, jellies, etc. Again no trouble. Thanks to a big sugar-beet crop,
this is well taken care of. Now the meat card.  This is chiefly for
the butcher; but Milady happens to want a bit of sausage and smoked
ham, so she uses it in the grocery store. The saleswoman informs her
that she is getting the last of the ham, because it has been decreed a
luxury, so farmers have been ordered not to smoke any more for the
delicatessen trade.

Now the fat card. Here we run into a sore spot. Germany is short on
fats; so butter, margarine, and lard are very strictly rationed.
However, Milady does pretty well here, because she has three young
children, who rate much more fats than do adults. Incidentally, they
get some chocolate, reserved for child consumption.  Next comes the
soap card--another sore point which we will investigate when Milady
gets home. Now the adult milk card. Grown-ups rate only skimmed milk,
which, to my American taste, is an unpleasant substance that I never
use. Neither, apparently, do Germans except for cooking or sparingly
in their imitation coffee or tea. Last comes a card entitled
_Naermittel_, best translated by our word "victuals." It's a sort of
catch-all, covering a wide variety of rationed items ranging from
macaroni and noodles to packaged cereals, _Ersatz_ tea and coffee, and
certain kinds of game.

We can now understand what a prolonged huddle Milady goes into with
the saleswoman. Each food-card has to be taken up separately, since
quotas vary for adults, half-grown children and small children. When a
quota is calculated to the last gram, that particular card is punched,
stamped, or snipped, and another card is investigated. The varied
rations are jotted down on a slip of paper for adding up when the list
is completed.  As before stated, all this rigamarole has nothing to do
with price. It's just a preliminary canter to find out how much bread,
butter, lard, sugar, or other foodstuffs the buyer is _entitled_ to.
Only when that has been ascertained are the actual prices of the goods
figured out and written down on another slip.

Let's try to translate those prices into our money.  After
considerable investigation, I reckon the purchasing power of German
currency to Germans at a trifle over four Reichsmarks to the dollar,
thus making the Reichsmark roughly equivalent to our quarter. On that
basis, staple groceries average only a trifle higher than they do in
America. Some items, especially bread, are cheaper. Fats are
distinctly higher. Butter, for instance, is over fifty cents a pound.
However, German housewives have the satisfaction of knowing that these
prices are fixed by law and cannot be raised except by a new official

By this time Milady's purchases have been duly assembled on the
counter. Only when strictly necessary are they sparingly wrapped in
paper, because paper is scarce. String is even scarcer, so it is
seldom used. Instead of paper bags, the goods are placed in containers
which look like sections of fish-nets. These mesh bags must be
furnished by the customer, who is supposed likewise to carry away the
purchases under a general "cash and carry" rule. However, should they
be too heavy and bulky, the store will usually oblige a regular
customer by sending along one of the women clerks, if she can find a
moment to spare.

The most notable aspect of Berlin marketing is the time it takes.
Often, a bill of goods coming to only a few dollars will keep
saleswoman and customer engrossed for a full hour. When our synthetic
lady leaves the shop, the business is over so far as she is concerned.
Not so with the grocery store. Those coupons from Milady's food-cards
go to swell multicolored piles which have to be sorted out, pasted on
big sheets of paper, and fully accounted for before they are turned
over to the food-control authorities. These jigsaw-puzzle economics
are usually done after business hours and sometimes last far into the

However, our Berlin lady is too busy with her own affairs to think
about the extra work she has made for grocery clerks. Laden with her
fish-net bags, she deposits them at her apartment and hurries off to
do more marketing at a nearby butcher's shop. Luck is with her when
she notes a good line of meats on display, for meat distribution is
uncertain. Luck is with her again when she points to a badge worn in
her coat lapel and marches to the counter ahead of a line of waiting
customers.  That badge shows she is the mother of at least four
offspring. She is thus _Kinderreich_--rich in children. A
_Kinderreich_ matron has many privileges, among them the right to
immediate attention at any store; the theory being that she should be
helped to save time for her family duties in every way. It certainly
comes in handy this morning, for Milady is very anxious to get home,
where she is already long overdue.

Her meat purchases are soon made--veal cutlet at 45 cents a pound, and
some pork chops at 30 cents. Then a quick dash to the vegetable market
a couple of blocks away where she doesn't need food-cards. But of the
limited oranges and lemons there aren't any for sale today.

At last Milady can go home. She is anxious to see how the washing is
progressing and how her younger children are getting on. Both those
worries are due to a crowning ill--lack of a servant.

"Ah!" the reader may exclaim, "here is one familiar feature in wartime
Berlin." In the larger sense, however, you'd be wrong. While Germany
had a shortage of competent servants even before the war, wartime
conditions have intensified this shortage into an acute famine.  It is
no longer a question of money. No matter how good wages one may be
willing to pay, servants are often unobtainable at any price.

Here's how it happened. The instant war broke out, the Government
"froze" domestic service. No servant could thenceforth leave her
employer except for self-evident reasons like non-payment of wages or
genuine mistreatment. Neither could the servant demand a raise.  That
regulation prevented "servant-stealing" by wealthier employers and a
consequent skyrocketing of wage scales.

This was fine if you happened to have a city-bred servant or one that
was middle-aged. However, Berlin servants, particularly the
general-housework variety, are apt to be young women from the country.
Of course the Government had them all ticketed. So, when mobilization
called the young peasants to the colors, their sisters were summoned
back from domestic service to remedy a labor shortage on the farms.

Let us suppose that our Berlin lady's general-housework maid was thus
taken away from her a couple of months after war broke out. She went
promptly to an official employment agency to see what could be done.
The woman in charge smiled at her sadly. "My dear lady," she remarked,
"we already have so many cases like yours ahead of you that I can't
give you much hope." So there was our good housewife, left
single-handed with a sizeable apartment, a hard-working professional
or business husband, and four children to care for. Certainly a tough
break for a well-to-do woman who has always had competent servants.

However, since our Berlin lady is a German, she has presumably had a
thorough domestic training before her marriage, that being the custom
even for girls of wealthy families. So she knows how, not merely to
superintend her household, but actually to do the work herself.
Furthermore, since she has young children, she has first call on
whatever domestic service there is to be had. That is another of her
_Kinderreich_ privileges. So we may assume that, by the time our story
opens, she has been able to get the temporary services of a part-time
woman to come in, say, a couple of days a week to do the washing and
heavy cleaning.

Furthermore, being _Kinderreich_, she is almost sure that her servant
problem will be solved with the spring.  Next April ist, multitudes of
young girls will graduate from school. Those girls are thereupon
subject to a year's _Dienst_, which means National Service. On the one
hand, they can go into _Hilfsdienst_, which usually means domestic
service in a family with young children.  That is where our Berlin
lady comes in. She is virtually certain to get one of those girl
recruits. For city girls, especially, such tasks may be more congenial
than _Arbeitsdienst_, which means work on the farm.

There are no exemptions from this compulsory service.  Rich or poor,
all are alike subject. During my stay in Berlin, I dined one night
with some aristocratic and wealthy Germans who introduced me to their
charming daughter, just returned from getting in the potato crop on a
farm a hundred miles from Berlin.

As far as the servant problem is concerned, our Berlin lady's first
war-winter will presumably be the hardest, and if she is a strong,
healthy young matron she probably won't be much the worse for it.
Still, it isn't easy.  She has to be up early and get breakfast for
six. The husband is at the office all day, while the older children
take their lunches with them and don't get back from school until
mid-afternoon. Her younger children are the hardest problem. They
can't be left alone, so Milady is tied to her home except on the days
when her part-time servant is there. Those are the precious hours she
takes for marketing and other necessary shopping. She gives the
youngsters an airing when she can, but the little tots do lack outdoor

Let us now see what Milady does when she gets home from market and
takes her purchases to the kitchen.  That kitchen will almost
certainly have a gas or electric stove and other modern conveniences.
But it will probably lack American specialties like an electric icer
or a washing-machine. And right there we touch upon another very sore
point in wartime Germany's domestic life. That point is soap.

We have already noted how short Germany is in butter, lard, and
kindred products. But this shortage goes beyond edible fats. It
applies to soap-products as well. Nowhere are Germans more strictly
rationed. Each person gets only one cake of toilet soap per month. The
precious object is about as large as what we call a guest-cake size,
and it has to do the individual not only for face and hands but for
the bath as well.

The same strict rationing applies to laundry soap and powder.
Furthermore, the fat content of both is so low that, though it takes
the dirt out, the clothes are apt to look a bit gray. And bleaches
must be used sparingly, since they tend to wear out clothes. That is
why most families have their washing done at home instead of sending
it out to commercial laundries. Incidentally, when the washing is
done, the sudsy water is not thrown away. It is carefully saved for
washing floors or other heavy cleaning.

Let us assume that Milady finds the washing going well and that the
little ones haven't got into too much mischief during her absence.
It's now about time for her to get lunch. The children's meal brings
up the interesting point of juvenile milk. Only children get "whole"
milk in Germany today. They are issued special milk cards and are
rationed according to age. Infants up to three years get one liter per
day--a trifle over a quart. Children between three and six years get
half a liter, and those between seven and fourteen one-quarter
liter--half a pint. Thereafter they are considered adults and can have
only skimmed milk. Those juvenile milk quotas seem pretty stiff, but
they are the winter ration. I understand that they are substantially
increased when the cows are turned out to grass in the spring. I may
add that I have tasted children's milk and found it good--fully equal
to what we in America know as Grade B.

When luncheon is over, disposal of the scraps introduces us to another
notable feature in wartime Germany's domestic economy. Every family is
in duty bound not to waste anything. So each German kitchen has a
covered pail into which goes all garbage that can be served to pigs.
This pail is taken downstairs and dumped into a large container which
is collected every day. Meat bones are usually taken by the children
to school as a little patriotic chore.

What we in America call "trash" must be carefully segregated into the
following categories: (1) newspapers, magazines, or other clean paper;
(2) rags; (3) bottles; (4) old metal; (5) broken furniture or about
anything else that is thrown away. City collectors come around for
this segregated trash at regular intervals. There are no private junk
dealers. An all-seeing paternal state attends to even this petty
salvage. Wartime Germany overlooks no details.


"The peasant is the life-spring of our Reich and our race." Thus did
Walther Darre, Minister of Agriculture and Food Supply, concisely
state the Nazi attitude toward the land and those who work it. _Blut
und Boden_! "Blood and Soil!" That is one of National Socialism's key
slogans. Nowhere has this revolutionary regime undertaken more daring
and original experiments than upon the land itself. Of that I was
aware when I came to Germany, so I was anxious to study this
challenging phase of German life by first-hand observation.

The Minister was more than willing to assist. This big, energetic,
good-looking man is one of the most interesting personalities among
the Nazi leaders. As his name indicates, he descends from Huguenot
ancestors who came to Germany three centuries ago. Furthermore, as I
have stated, he was born in the Argentine.  The son of a wealthy
German resident, he spent his early life in South America. He is well
qualified for his job, since he is an expert on agriculture and

I have already quoted Dr. Darre on the food-card system now in
operation. However, in our conversations, he repeatedly emphasized
that this was merely part of a much larger organic whole which far
transcended the war. Here is how he summarized National Socialism's
agricultural aim and policy: "When we came to power in 1933, one of
our chief endeavors was to save German agriculture from impending
ruin. However, our agricultural program went far beyond mere economic
considerations. It was based on the idea that no nation can truly
prosper without a sound rural population.  It is not enough that the
farmers shall be tolerably well-off; they should also be aware of
their place in the national life and be able to fulfill it. Here are
the three big factors in the problem: First, to assure an ample food
supply; second, to safeguard the future by a healthy population
increase; third, to develop a distinctive national culture deeply
rooted in the soil. This ideal logically implies an aim which goes far
beyond what is usually known as an agrarian policy."

These factors were dealt with by three important pieces of legislation
passed shortly after the Nazis came to power. They were: (1) The
National Food Estate; (2) The Hereditary Farmlands Law; (3) The Market
Control Statute.

The Food Estate is a gigantic quasi-public corporation embracing in
its membership not only all persons immediately on the land but also
everyone connected with the production and distribution of foodstuffs.
Large landowners, small peasants, agricultural laborers, millers,
bakers, canners, middlemen, right down to local butchers and
grocers--they are one and all included in this huge vertical trust.
The aim is to bring all these group interests, previously working
largely at cross-purposes, into a harmonious, co-ordinated whole,
concerned especially with problems of production and distribution.
The Market Control Statute links all this with the consumer. The aim
here is a thoroughgoing, balanced economic structure based on the
principle known as the "just price." Everybody is supposed to make a
profit, but none are to be out of line with the others.  Furthermore,
the ultimate consumer is to be protected from profiteering.

The Hereditary Farmlands Law revives the old Teutonic concept that the
landowner is intimately linked to the land. It is officially stated
that "The idea engendered by Roman law that land was so much
merchandise to be bought and sold at will is profoundly repugnant to
German feelings. To us, soil is something sacred; the peasant and his
land belong inseparably together." Emphasis is thus laid on the
_Bauer_, imperfectly translated by our word _peasant_. The German
_Bauer_ is an independent landowner, self-respecting and proud of the
name. We can best visualize him as like the old English yeoman.

This is the class which National Socialism seeks to foster by making
peasant holdings hereditary; keeping the farm in the family, and
keeping it intact by having it descend through the oldest son. That
was the old Teutonic method, which still prevails by custom in parts
of Germany. Over 700,000 of these hereditary farm holdings have now
been established. They cannot be sold or mortgaged; neither can a
creditor seize the crop for the owner's personal debt. To qualify as a
hereditary peasant, however, a man must be of German blood and be able
to manage his property. Title to the land is thus not absolute; it is
rather functional in character.

This type of peasant is most numerous in Northwestern Germany. In the
eastern provinces, great estates predominate. In Southern Germany, on
the contrary, where farms have customarily been divided among all the
children, holdings tend to be too small. The Nazis consider either
extreme economically and socially unsound.  They therefore seek to
split up the big estates into moderate-sized peasant farmsteads, and
combine small parcels into normal units. They are not trying to rush
things, but considerable progress has been made along both lines.

As usual, the Nazis have tried to enlist psychology in their
agricultural endeavors. The _Bauer_'s traditional pride is flattered
in many ways. He is extolled as the Third Reich's "nobility of the
soil"; the vital well-spring of national life. Everything is done to
encourage his corporate spirit, from reviving costumes and folk-dances
to an annual Peasant Congress and a gigantic festival on the historic
Bueckeberg. The Nazis frankly admit that mere planning and regulation
from above, no matter how efficient, will not attain the desired
goal--a flourishing agriculture which will feed the whole nation. Not
unless the rural population is inspired to do its utmost will the
experiment succeed. It is this psychological aspect which Nazi
spokesmen have in mind when they speak of the _Inner Front_. As Darre
told me: "We saw from the first that we could not reach our goal
through state action alone. We needed the help of the organized
farmers to put it over."

Such was the theory. How was it working out in practice?  "See for
yourself," said Dr. Darre. He thereupon proposed that I make an
investigation trip through what he considered the most instructive
region--rural Westphalia and Oldenburg. There I would see in
successful operation an agricultural system and way of life basically
unchanged since the Middle Ages. It was upon this system, adapted to
modern conditions, that the National Socialist Government had framed
its land laws, which it intends ultimately to extend throughout the
Reich. I would thus see a sort of working model for a hoped-for

A few days after this conversation I left Berlin for the projected
tour, accompanied by one of the Minister's right-hand men. He was Dr.
Friedrich Sohn, a leading agronomist who had also studied agricultural
conditions in America and had done special work in the Brookings
Institution at Washington. He could thus compare German and American
agriculture in a most useful way. As usual, an elaborate schedule had
been drawn up for a comprehensive survey, with many stops to visit
farms, large and small, and ample time to chat with the owners, look
over their livestock, and examine methods of cultivation. A shy man,
Dr. Sohn handed me the typewritten schedule rather anxiously. "This
means that we'll be going every day from dawn till after dark," he
said with a deprecating smile. I assured him that was all right with
me, as I wanted to make the most of this trip. This cheered him up no
end. Germans really like hard work, and they seem always delighted
when a foreigner is willing to hit the same pace.

We left Berlin by train just after lunch and journeyed westward via
Hanover to Minden, where we were to spend the first night. We arrived
after dark. The railway station is some distance from the town itself,
so we had to rustle our bags through the misting rain to a waiting
tram almost tiny enough to pose for a model of the famous Toonerville
Trolley. On our way, we nearly ran over a drunk who had chosen the
space between the rails for his couch. The motorman heaved the sleeper
impatiently to the roadside and kept on, reporting the incident to a
policeman on post as we entered town.

We stopped at a little hotel decorated in the plush splendor of the
1870's. They dine early in the provinces, so when we got to the
dining-room it was almost empty except for one large _Stammtisch_ in a
far corner. About that table sat a dozen big, blond men smoking fat
cigars and drinking from generous steins of beer. Our meal confirmed
what I had already heard about the less stringent food regulations in
the small towns. It was a meatless day, but I rejoiced to see egg
dishes on the menu.  I hastened to order fried eggs, "sunny side up,"
and got two big beauties. The fresh yolks beamed at me from the
blue-bordered plate. Those were the first eggs I had seen in Germany
since the Press junket; but those had been rather "off the record"
while these were evidently a matter of course. I was still more
astonished to see a nice piece of fried ham nestling beside the eggs,
while the next instant my waiter placed a pat of butter on the table,
with no request for my food-card. I looked inquiringly at Dr. Sohn.
"Out here they don't bother much about such matters," he smiled.

After dinner, the head of the local _Bauernschaft_, or Peasants'
Organization, came to pay his respects and talk over the trip planned
for the next day. Like most of these officials, he was an obvious
countryman. The _Bauernschaft_ is really run by "dirt farmers."

We breakfasted early and entered the motor car ordered for us just as
the late autumn dawn was breaking.  It was a small sedan, through the
windows of which I caught charming glimpses of historic Minden with
its crooked streets and gabled houses. The day was cold and cloudy. By
the time we had reached our first scheduled stop, I was somewhat
chilled. This was the town of Enger, where we were to do a bit of
sightseeing--but with a practical purpose. Here is the burial place of
Widukind, the legendary Saxon chieftain who for so long withstood the
might of Charlemagne. The Nazis have glorified Widukind as a popular
hero, defending primitive Germanism and the old gods against Karl the
Great who is described as a Latinized Teuton seeking to impose upon
the Saxons the yoke of a revived Roman Empire and an equally alien
Roman faith. That, at least, is the thesis of the handsome little
booklet given me when I visited the new Widukind Memorial, half museum
and half shrine. The booklet also states that, long after the Saxon
nobles had lost heart and given up the fight, the tribal masses stood
by their patriot hero to the death. Perchance the intent is to suggest
a primeval _Fuehrer_?

We were now well into rural Westphalia, and our investigations had
begun. But before relating details, let me sketch in the background.
The districts I was to visit all lie in what is undoubtedly the most
Teutonic part of Germany. From Westphalia northward to the North Sea
Coast and the Holstein peninsula to the Danish border stretches the
region which can perhaps best be called _Old Saxon-Land_. This region
should not be confused with the modern province of Saxony, which is
far to the southward and has no historical connection.  What I refer
to as Old Saxon-Land is the primeval home of those Teutonic tribes
some of whom migrated oversea and conquered Britain. It is interesting
to note that the old blood still shows in the present population.  A
large proportion of the peasantry have long heads and faces, ruddy
blond complexions, and frames which, though tall and muscular, are
seldom rotund or thickset.  Such persons could very easily pass for
English rural types. Some of them, indeed, with different clothes and
haircuts, would look quite like old-stock Americans.

For the American visitor, the general aspect of this region has a
familiar look. In other parts of Germany the rural population lives in
villages. Old Saxon-Land, however, is throughout a country of detached
farms.  Each family lives on its own holding, entirely separate from
its neighbors. This, indeed, typifies the traditional spirit of the
folk. The Old Saxons have been, and for the most part still are,
independent land-holders. There are relatively few large estates held
by noblemen. The region is predominantly inhabited by a landowning

Within itself, this peasantry varies considerably in economic and
social standing. At the top stand large farms of two hundred acres or
more, while the smallest holdings are only a few acres. Most of the
large farms are worked, not by temporary hired labor, but by tenant
farmers. The relations of these tenants to their proprietors are
highly personal and are regulated by contracts and customs going back
to ancient times. Some tenant holdings have been in the same family
for generations.

The agricultural system and way of life in Old Saxon-Land cannot be
understood unless we realize that these people, no matter what the
size of their holdings, all feel themselves to be _fellow-peasants_.
Even the wealthy owner of many acres and proprietor to several tenants
is very much of a dirt farmer. He probably has been away to school and
possesses a good education. Nevertheless, he works with his hands,
wears farm clothes and wooden shoes, and is just as close to the soil
as anyone else. He has no wish to be a nobleman or even a "squire" in
the English sense. However, he has a deep though unobtrusive pride in
himself and his place in the world. With good reason, too; for in many
cases his forebears have been leaders in the local community since
time immemorial. One big farm I visited, which had been in the same
family for over five centuries, had been continuously cultivated with
scant change in boundaries ever since the year 960 A.D.--more than a
hundred years before the Norman Conquest of England!

The quiet dignity and mellow beauty of these old farmsteads must be
seen to be appreciated. They consist of a number of buildings ranged
about a courtyard, whence their German name of _Hof_. They are always
built of timbered red brick, though the timber patterns differ from
one district to another. As you enter the courtyard, you have directly
in front of you the main building--an impressive structure with
high-pitched roof running down to within a few feet of the ground.
This building is very long; sometimes well over a hundred feet. It
houses both the master-farmer and his animals.  When you enter the
great doorway you find cows and horses stalled on either side. Only
the malodorous pigs are today usually relegated to other quarters,
though formerly they lived there too.

At the rear of the farmstead are the family living-quarters.  In olden
days there was no partition between, so the master-farmer could survey
his livestock directly from his great bed and watch the work going on.
Today, the living-quarters are walled off from the barn itself, though
with handy access through one or more doors.  Back of the
living-quarters lies a moderate-sized pleasure garden, filled with
shrubs and flowerbeds, and usually walled in by high hedges. Here the
family take their ease on summer evenings.

The smaller farmsteads are built on precisely the same lines as the
great _Hofs_, though everything is on a lesser scale. In the old
tenant farmsteads conditions are decidedly primitive. The
living-quarters are not merely under the same roof; they are right in
with the animals.  Yet even here I found no filth or squalor. The air
might be pungent with the smell of cows and horses, but the rooms were
always neat and clean.

Maier Johann awaited me as my motor car drove in through the outer
gate of the farmstead and stopped in the middle of the wide courtyard.
The yard was surrounded by buildings of timbered brick. Indeed, the
yard itself was paved with brick, liberally coated with sticky black
soil tracked in by wagons, men, and animals.  My host stood in the
great doorway of his Hof, his ancestral abode.

Maier Johann is a wealthy man, as wealth is reckoned in those parts.
He owns over two hundred acres of rich land, most of it under crops
though with some pasture and woodland. His ancestors have owned it for
nearly eight hundred years. From the first glance it is clear that he
is a good manager. Everything is well kept up.

The front of the _Hof_ is a sight in itself. From the high-pitched
roof to the ground, this front is elaborately carved, and those old
carvings are painted in many colors. From them you learn that the
present _Hof_ was built in the year 1757. There is a curious mixture
of pious Christian texts and symbols coming down from heathen
times--sun, moon, stars, the signs of fertility, and black ravens for
good luck. On the massive oak timbers of the doorway, wide and high
enough for hay wagons to drive in, are carved and painted the Norse
Trees of Life, together with symbolic serpents to guard the humans and
animals dwelling inside from evil spirits that might seek to intrude.

My host is a _Maier_. That is not a family name. It denotes his rank,
and has the same significance as the original meaning of our word
"mayor"--leading man in a community. The farmstead is thus a
_Maierhof_. But he is not merely a _Maier_, he is a _Sattelmaier_.
That means a leading man on a fully-caparisoned horse; in short, a
man-at-arms, who ranked next to a knight in Feudal times. It is the
very tip-top of the peasant hierarchy.  Only a few _Sattelmaiers_ are
to be found in this countryside.

When a _Sattelmaier_ dies, the bells in the parish church toll for an
hour in a special way. The coffin containing the deceased is taken to
the church in a wagon lined with straw and drawn by six horses. Behind
the wagon paces the dead man's favorite steed, led by the oldest of
his tenant farmers. During the funeral service, the horse looks in
through the open church door, and he also inspects the grave while his
master is laid to rest.  On such occasions the whole countryside turns
out to pay final honors.

These curious ceremonies have not been described merely to make a
quaint story; they typify the spirit of this conservative yet virile
folk. The proudest _Sattelmaier_ is neither nobleman nor squire. He is
a peasant--a master-peasant, if you will, yet still a peasant--the
first among basic equals.

Of this, Maier Johann was a good example. He knew I was coming to see
him, but he had made no attempt to "dress up." So he met me clad in an
old hunting-cap, heavy farm clothes, and wooden shoes flecked with mud
from work about the stables. A tall, fair man, ruddy from a life spent
in the open, he led me through the doorway into the long barnlike
_Hof_, lined with cow-stalls on one side and horse-stalls on the
other. The brick floor was partly covered by a pile of hay from the
loft above and heaps of green fodder. The loft flooring was supported
by massive oak beams two feet thick, hand-hewn and dark with age.

At the far end of the barn was a wooden partition, walling off the
living-quarters. Into these we passed through a low door, and I found
myself in a hall stretching the width of the _Hof_. This hall
contained several pieces of massive furniture, obviously family
heirlooms and elaborately carved. The doors and wainscoting were
carved in similar fashion.

On the walls hung several portraits of army officers.  My host
explained. "This," said he, pointing to the framed sketch of a bearded
man in a hussar uniform, "is an ancestor of mine who was killed in the
Danish War of the 1800's." He pointed again: "Here is a relative who
fell before Paris in 1871." Again: "This is my uncle, killed in the
World War." He made no mention of an excellent likeness of himself in
officer's field-gray.  The earlier portraits were especially
interesting to anyone who recalls the caste spirit of the old Prussian
Army. They revealed perhaps better than aught else the peculiar social
status of the _Sattelmaier_--a master-peasant who was nevertheless
eligible to a commission alongside noblemen and gentlemen.

One other portrait hung on the wall: a painting of a very old man with
shrewd blue eyes twinkling behind features withered like a red apple.
My host smiled almost tenderly. "A _Heuerling_," he answered my
unspoken question. "One of our tenant farmers. He died last winter at
the age of ninety-four."

Maier Johann was the only _Sattelmaier_ I visited. But he was merely a
somewhat wealthier and more prominent specimen of a generalized type.
The other master-peasants with whom I stopped were very similar in
appearance and character, and their homes were much the same. All of
them appeared to be capable, practical men, naturally intelligent and
with a fair measure of education; yet never "citified" and always in
closest touch with the earth which nourished them. Their homes were
free from pretentiousness or cheap modernity; their farms were models
of careful husbandry--a good, sound breed.

As might be expected, their hospitality was as ample as it was
unaffected. Most of all do I remember the country breakfasts--those
European "second breakfasts" which are eaten in the middle of the
forenoon.  Picture me seated in an old room with carved wainscoting
and beamed ceiling, heated by a tall tiled stove.  Around a long table
sit big brawny men and buxom women, eating heartily of the food with
which the board is laden. Those viands may sound simple to American
readers in our fortunate land of plenty, but to me, fresh from
strictly rationed Berlin, they were luxuries indeed.  In Berlin my
butter ration was about an ounce per day; here was a stack of butter
nearly as big as your head!  Platters of smoked Westphalian ham and
varied sausages, flanked by piles of rye bread and pumpernickel.  Best
of all, a big platter of hard-boiled eggs fresh from the nest. No
food-cards for the folk who produce Germany's food!

The one thing lacking was coffee, for no one in Germany has coffee
except invalids, wounded men in hospital, and soldiers at the front.
But there were cups of strong meat bouillon, and later on small yet
potent glasses of schnapps or brandy to wash down the meal.  Then
German cigars, mild and quite good, were passed around, and we sat
back to chat amid a haze of blue tobacco smoke.

It was hard to leave those cordial hosts and their kindly hospitality.
Always with regret did I quit the cozy living-room, walk down the long
vista of the barn, climb into my waiting car, and wave farewells until
the motor had passed out of the _Hof_ gates and taken once more to the

One of the outstanding features of the agricultural system of
northwestern Germany is the tenant farmer.  In that region he is
called a _Heuerling_. This is the German variant of our old English
word "hireling." With us, the word has come to have a bad meaning. It
signifies a man who has sold himself into some unworthy or criminal
service. In German, however, it means simply a hired man, and in
Northwestern Germany it applies especially to a peculiar sort of

The _Heuerling_ is not a casual or seasonal agricultural laborer. In
Northwest Germany, landless, floating farm labor is little in
evidence. Only since the outbreak of the present war with the
consequent enrollment of many young peasants as soldiers has such
labor been much needed. For centuries, the _Heuerling_ has supplied
the basic answer. The nearest thing we have to him in America is the
"hired man" in rural New England, who is usually a farm fixture, often
for life.

The New England hired man, however, is ordinarily a bachelor, living
under the same roof with his employer and virtually part of the
immediate family. The _Heuerling_ has a house of his own, together
with a small tract of land which he can work in his spare time. His
home is a miniature farmstead. Like the spacious _Hof_ of the
proprietor, it shelters family and animals under one roof--and in the
closest proximity. Those animals are supplied to him by the proprietor
as part of the tenancy contract--at least one milch cow and several
pigs, to say nothing of poultry. The _Heuerling_ also gets a cash
wage. In return for all this he is bound to give the master-peasant
who employs him most of his time. A large farm of two hundred acres
may have five or six of these tenant households within its borders.

I suppose that this system, like every other, has its share of abuses.
But from all the evidence I could gather, it seems to work
satisfactorily. In the first place, the system is very ancient, and
tenancies are made in accordance with long-established custom and
precedent.  Even more important, there is no class distinction
involved. As already remarked, all these folk feel themselves to be
fellow-peasants, and they actually work side by side. Their basic
social equality is revealed by the way they always speak to one
another in the second person singular--the German _Du_, which implies
close familiarity. Another favorable sign is the way these tenancies
are cherished. Some tenant farmsteads I visited had been in the same
family for generations.  Certainly, all the _Heuerlings_ I met and
talked with appeared to be upstanding men--simple and good-natured, if
you will, yet not a type to be browbeaten or ill-used. The whole
system is intensely personal in its relationships. In fact, it is
quite feudal, still infused with the spirit of medieval times.

The best example of the quaintly feudal loyalty which the _Heuerling_
entertains toward his master-peasant employer is one which came to my
attention during a visit to a certain large farmstead. The owner had
died suddenly about a year before, leaving a widow, a son only sixteen
years old, and a still younger daughter.  The management of the farm
was immediately taken over by the most capable of the _Heuerlings_ in
conjunction with the widow, and this joint regency was working so
successfully that there seemed to be no danger that the farm would run
down before the heir was old enough to take matters into his own

The most vivid recollection I have of a _Heuerling's_ home is one I
visited late one afternoon. Darkness had already fallen as my motor
struggled up a muddy, rutty lane and finally stopped before a small
farmstead redolent of age. The gatelike doorway opened to our knock
and I found myself in a curious house-barn interior where a cow gazed
tranquilly from its stall into a tiny kitchen across the way, and
where chickens roosted in surprising places. This strange household
was dimly lit by a few oil lamps which threw a mellow sheen on beams
and walls nearly three centuries old.

The _Heuerling_, a hale old man and his equally hale wife, greeted me
without the slightest trace of self-consciousness.  I had come at a
good moment, he said, for he had something interesting to show me--the
pig he had long been fattening and which he had slaughtered that very
morning. Visibly swelling with pride, he led me to the rear of the
house, and I mentally agreed that his pride was justified, for it was
certainly a mammoth porker. As the great carcass, immaculately
dressed, swung gently from a beam in the ceiling, it bulked enormous
in the dim light. I was told it weighed nearly five hundred pounds,
and I do not think the man exaggerated.

Such, briefly, is the old _Heuerling_ system, and the homes and human
types it produces. It is interesting to note that the German
Government is actively fostering this system and seeks to extend it
further afield, with such modifications as new circumstances call for.
Wherever a large or middle-sized farm needs more regular labor, the
Government offers to loan the proprietor about two-fifths of the cost
of building a _Heuerling_ house, the loan to be repaid over a
considerable term of years. Such houses as I saw were not of the old
type.  They were severely practical two-story affairs, with no room
for animals, though with ample cellar space for storing vegetables and
preserves. Built solidly of brick, tile, and concrete, they appear to
be fireproof throughout.  Except for a small kitchen-garden plot they
have no land attached to them, but I am told that the proprietor is
bound to furnish certain amounts of meat and other foodstuffs. Rental
contracts run for a year. The terms vary according to the kind of
employment. One man whose home I inspected was a professional milker,
brought down from Friesland. He naturally has no time for anything but
his cows, so his contract calls for an almost wholly cash wage.

This young man and his sturdy little wife were un-disguisedly proud of
the new home they had just furnished.  The furniture, though plain,
looked of good quality. They told me that most of it had been paid for
out of the l,000-Mark ($400) loan which the Government will make to
any healthy young couple at the time of their marriage. It is to be
repaid in small installments, but one-fourth of it is canceled every
time a baby is born. So a prolific couple should not have to repay
very much.

The Government seeks in every way to tie these new settlers to the
land and make them into _Heuerlings_ of the old school. One of the
most striking inducements which it offers is a sort of long-service
bonus. After a man has served satisfactorily for five successive
years, the Government offers to make him a gift of from 600 to 800
Marks if he will sign a five-year contract with his employer. Although
these attempts to extend and modernize an age-old system have been
inaugurated too recently to yield much evidence as to their success,
they constitute an interesting experiment in agricultural labor

How are the Nazis faring in their Battle of the Land?  That is a
complex question, hard to answer. Personally, I examined in detail
only one sector of the "agricultural front," and was presumably shown
the best of that.  However, we have some definite information, and I
supplemented this by discussions with Germans and qualified foreign
students of the problem.

The Third Reich does not seem to be in any immediate danger of actual
starvation from the British blockade.  At present rations, there is
enough grain, meat, potatoes, and other stock vegetables including
beet sugar to last for at least two years.  [Footnote: This was
written on the basis of what I could learn in Germany down to my
departure in January, 1940. I have since had information that the
record cold during the winter months froze and spoiled vast amounts of
stored potatoes and other vegetables. This point and its possible
effects are discussed in Chapter XXII.] The German grain crop for 1938
was 27,430,000 tons--about 2,000,000 tons over normal consumption. The
amount of the grain reserve is secret; but it is known to be very
large. Estimates range from twelve to eighteen months. Also, Germany
can import grain in quantity from Hungary and other parts of Central
Europe; possibly also from Russia, especially as time goes on.

The last German potato crop was 56,300,000 tons, of which less than
one-third is needed for human consumption, despite the wartime shift
to a potato diet.

The balance goes chiefly for feeding pigs and distillation into
alcohol, used largely for commercial purposes and for mixing with
motor fuels. There is an abundance of sugar beets, likewise an
excellent animal feed. Cabbage, turnips, and other vegetables are all
in satisfactory shape.

Germany has a growing number of hogs--a vital source of fat as well as
of meat. Hogs do well on a diet of sugar beets and potatoes. The last
hog census for Greater Germany showed 28,613,000 porkers, an increase
of no less than 53 per cent over December, 1938.  Cattle herds number
almost 20,000,000. Even under the worst conditions, that should
furnish a lot of milk, and of meat at the present ration--one pound
per week per person.

That is the bright side of the picture, from the German point of view.
But we have already discussed the dark side--a crucial lack of fats
and other shortages which result in an unbalanced diet injurious to
health and strength over a period of time. The German people is today
on iron rations. They cannot be notably reduced without disaster. Can
they be maintained for years at their present level?

The answer to that question depends on certain long-range factors,
especially the efficiency of the present agricultural system and the
temper of the farming population.  The Nazi regime has established a
highly complex economic structure with fixed prices all along the
line. Agriculture has been basically socialized. To be sure, the
peasant owns his land and has been protected against heavy loss, but
he is no longer a free agent. He must grow what he is told and sell at
established rates.  He is virtually tied to the soil and his
initiative is narrowly circumscribed. Economic security has been
coupled with rigid state control.

For the first few years of the Nazi regime, the peasant probably
gained on balance. But with the introduction of the Four Year Plan
toward the close of 1936, agriculture ceased to be the White-Haired
Boy. An intensive rearmament program coupled with colossal
reconstruction projects had first call on both capital and labor.
This imposed serious handicaps upon agriculture, which the war tends
to intensify. One of these is a farm-labor shortage. At the annual
Peasant Congress in December, 1938, Minister Darre admitted that there
were 400,000 fewer workers on the land than when the Nazis came to
power, and the deficit is probably much larger than that figure.
Furthermore, we must remember that this is only part of a general
shortage of labor in every phase of Germany's economic life. The
Government is striving to overcome this by compulsory labor service
for young men and women, and it has promised that 1,000,000 Poles
would be imported to work on German farms. It remains to be seen how
efficient such amateur or conscript labor will be as compared with
seasoned farm workers.

Recently the Government raised the prices of milk and butter as avowed
incentives to the farming population.  No such disturbance of its
nicely balanced price system would have been made if the need for such
action had not been urgent.

The Battle of the Land thus goes forward. What the outcome will be,
only time can tell.


The Third Reich's whole economic life is what Nazis frankly call a
_Wehrwirtschaft_--an economy run on military lines. That is why they
use military terms to describe its various activities. Having observed
the Battle of the Land, let us now survey the industrial sector, known
as the Labor Front.

Before attempting this survey, however, one point should be
emphatically made which applies not only here but also in subsequent
chapters dealing with institutional aspects of the Third Reich. In
each case a well-rounded presentation would have involved prolonged
first-hand investigation and extensive research. This was obviously
impossible during a three months' stay in Germany. The best I could do
was a limited amount of personal observation plus discussions with
officials and a study of available data. These were checked as far as
possible with qualified foreign students and observers, but I am aware
that the results are not conclusive.  Nazi spokesmen present the
official case with inadequate rebuttal or full disclosure of the other
side of the story. The upshot is a more or less unbalanced treatment
which can be legitimately criticized.

All this I know and deplore. But I could see no practical alternative.
To have confined myself solely to my own observations and impressions
would have meant a series of fragmentary sketches which would have
been intelligible only to readers who already had considerable
knowledge of the subjects touched upon. These subjects are so little
known to the general public in America that most readers would
presumably have obtained neither a connected picture of wartime
Germany nor a background against which matters specifically treated
could be viewed.

One of the first acts of the Nazi regime was to dissolve the old labor
unions and merge them into a single organization under state control.
This, however, was not a mere Nazi "One Big Union." Precisely as the
Nazis did in agriculture, so they here co-ordinated everybody
connected with industry into a huge vertical trust. The lowliest
workingman and the biggest manufacturer became (at least technically)
fellow-members of the new Labor Front. And the white-collar workers
were likewise in the same boat.

Here, as elsewhere, we note the underlying principle of the Third
Reich--the classless State mobilized for collective aims in accordance
with the slogan: _Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz_--"The common weal above
individual advantage." In short, everything and everybody subordinated
to the advancement of a regime which is in some respects a cross
between modern Guild Socialism and the craft guilds of the Middle
Ages. The feudal note is clear. Employers are termed "leaders";
employees became "followers" or "retainers." Both are adjured to
cherish mutual loyalty and duty. Their personal dignity is emphasized
by "Courts of Honor."

Strikes, lockouts, and arbitrary "hire-and-fire" are alike prohibited.
The final arbiters in this curious set-up are "Trustees of Labor," who
can discipline or discharge anyone, even "leaders." Needless to say,
these Trustees are Party members. They see to it that the whole Labor
Front functions efficiently in full accordance with the general
policies laid down by the Nazi Government.

Such is the theory. How has it worked out in practice?

First let us try to visualize the Labor Front. This huge organization,
embracing the entire structure of German industry, has nearly
30,000,000 members.  Membership is compulsory. So are the dues,
individually moderate but aggregating a vast fund, expended as the
leadership sees fit. The leader is, of course, Dr. Robert Ley, whom we
saw haranguing the Duesseldorf workers. A florid, dynamic man with
compelling gray eyes, he apparently cannot modulate his voice, for my
ear-drums literally ached after a long conversation I had with him.

On the whole, we can say of the Labor Front what we said of the Food
Estate--it worked out most advantageously for its members during the
early years of the Nazi regime. Its outstanding success was the
triumph over mass unemployment. When the Nazis came to power in 1933,
Germany had 7,000,000 unemployed.  In proportion to total populations,
this was worse than in the lowest depth of our depression at about the
same time. The drastic measures of the Nazi regime, repellant though
they are to our ideals, not only rapidly did away with unemployment
but presently brought about a growing labor shortage. Germany was
working full-time. Real wages did not make so good a showing.  They
had risen only slightly; so the individual work-ingman was financially
not much better off than he had been in 1933--_if_ he then had a job.
However, all the former unemployed now did have jobs. Also, the Nazi
apologists were careful to point out to me, the workers had gained
certain advantages, such as the Strength through Joy benefits, which
we will examine later on.

The year 1937 is a turning-point in the status of German labor. By
that time the famous Four Year Plan had got well into its stride. The
Third Reich had embarked upon an aggressive foreign policy which made
war at least likely, if not certain. _Wehrwirtschaft_ thus became a
genuine war-economy. To prepare for all contingencies, labor and
capital were regimented as ruthlessly as was agriculture. The results
were as grim as they were inevitable. In the summer of 1938, a
Government decree obligated all able-bodied men and women for
short-term service to meet "nationally urgent tasks." Almost at the
same time, another decree fixed maximum wages and salaries. Labor was
not only tied to its present jobs but could be taken from them and
sent anywhere the Government might think fit. The principle of the
eight-hour day was discarded for a ten-hour day, with a maximum of
fourteen hours in exceptional cases. Restrictions on the labor of
women and children were also relaxed.

When the war actually came a year later, this draconic program was
pushed to its logical conclusion.  In wartime Germany today, labor is
everywhere working at the limit of its capacity. Indeed the limit of
human endurance seems to have been **page torn**ped. Although such
matters cannot there be discussed in print, Germany is full of rumors
concerning a falling-off of production in many lines. The main reasons
seems to be sheer overstrain, but there is doubtless a considerable
amount of calculated "ca' canny."

We here come to the highly controversial subject of popular discontent
against the Nazi regime. Even shirking by workingmen is treated as
"sabotage" and may be punished by death; so no German admits
opposition to anything unless he has full confidence in the one to
whom he speaks. Resident journalists sometimes have good lines of
information; but even they seldom get specific for fear of betraying
German informants into a concentration camp or worse. It is thus very
difficult for the temporary observer to assess accurately the amount
of opposition which today exists.

The nearest I came to first-hand acquaintance with militant unrest was
one evening when a journalistic colleague took me to a beer hall in a
poor quarter east of Alexanderplatz. The clientele looked sordid and
semi-criminal. My colleague introduced me to one hard-looking citizen
who, when asked how he stood politically, answered sourly: "Sure I'm a
Nazi--oh, yeah?  Phuuugh!" He made that last remark by breathing hard
against the back of his hand pressed against his lips, which resulted
in a loud "Bronx cheer." Also he made no effort to lower his voice; so
his words were overheard by sitters at nearby tables--who grinned

However, I hesitate to generalize from this incident and a few other
matters along the same line, any more than I would be apt to deduce an
impending revolution in America from frequenting tough joints around
Union Square, New York. I do think that genuine unrest exists in
Germany today--far more than any Nazi spokesman would care to admit.
But I do not believe that it is either as widespread or as deep-seated
as we in America are led to believe. Many of the older
trades-unionists have presumably never reconciled themselves to the
new order of things, yet I found scant evidence that the younger
generation shared their idealistic attitude.

The reason for this lack of idealistic roots to such militant
opposition as exists is because Nazism has offered the workers certain
popular appeals--some psychological, others tangible, still others
evoked by the old lure of "bread and circuses."

In the first place, the Labor Front promised working-men greater
security and self-respect. The employing class under both the Empire
and the Weimar Republic tended to be arrogant, hard-handed plutocrats.
A Statute which stressed the dignity of labor, set up Courts of Honor,
and was run by State Trustees who often cracked down on big
industrialists might give the average workingman an emotional glow
that partly offset low wages and strict regimentation. This was
especially true in the first years of the Nazi regime.

Furthermore, the Labor Front has done something to improve working
conditions along the most advanced lines. This phase of its activities
is known as _Schoenheit der Arbeit_--"The Beautification of Labor." A
minority of employers had voluntarily begun the movement under the
Weimar Republic and even under the Empire, replacing ugly, dreary
factories by more cheerful and more healthful surroundings. However,
too many of the old type remained, depressing the worker by dirt,
smoke, bad lighting, worse plumbing, and no fit place for luncheon or
rest periods. Few owners of such factories seem to have had the vision
or the money to realize that the worker's efficiency would be notably
heightened by cleaner and cheerier surroundings.  The Labor Front
swept away many such abuses. Employers were compelled to clean house,
and were lent part of the money needed to do so. Factories were either
remodeled or scrapped while new ones were erected, scientifically
built to give the workers a maximum of light and air. These new
factories were set in park-like grounds, wherein workers could spend
their rest periods or on which they could look while working instead
of having to gaze at a blank wall or a sordid shed. Tasteful
rest-rooms, lunch-rooms where hot meals are served, up-to-date
washroom facilities--these are the new order of the day. I can vouch
for these matters, because I ate good (if simple) meals and inspected
the other improvements in several factories during my stay in Germany.
Especially was I minutely shown the locker-rooms, swimming-pools,
shower-baths, and toilets.  Coming from plumbing-conscious America, I
found few novelties. But their eager pride in such matters made me
realize how recent they must have been. Of course I was shown the
best. I do not know their percentage to the total number of factories.

One interesting feature was the competitions between factories for
model championships. I recall one factory which had gained that honor
the summer previous. A special swastika banner symbolized the
triumph--and it must be re-earned each year if it is not to go
elsewhere.  I was shown photographs of the presentation ceremonies,
and of the subsequent jollification when all hands, from executives
down, went off in chartered buses to a picnic at a nearby amusement

An even more important, and certainly a more publicized method of
winning the masses to National Socialism is that known as _Kraft durch
Freude_--"Strength through Joy." This is the most gigantic scheme of
organized, state-directed entertainment that the world has ever seen.
It includes a wide variety of activities, from "highbrow" art and
music to popular amusement, travel, and sport. Every member of the
Labor Front can participate, from high-paid executives to day
laborers; from women secretaries to servant girls. Conversely, no one
outside the Labor Front can share its benefits.

The theory behind the experiment is thus explained by Dr. Ley: "Work
entails physical and nervous strain liable to leave a feeling of
bodily and mental exhaustion which cannot be eradicated by merely
going to rest.  Mind and body require new nourishment. Since during
the hours of labor a maximum of effort and attention is demanded of
the worker, it is essential that during his leisure hours the best of
everything should be offered him in the shape of spiritual,
intellectual, and physical recreation, in order to maintain, or if
necessary restore, the joy of life and work." As he put it to me: "The
more work we give men to do, the more enjoyment we must give them

With typical German thoroughness, every form of recreation has been
organized. When we read of palatial "K.d.F." liners gliding through
Norwegian fjords or special trains discharging thousands of trippers
at sea beaches or inland beauty spots, we are apt to think of K.d.F.
as a glorified tourist agency. These long vacations are, however, only
high spots for relatively small numbers of workers in a program which
goes on in every industrial locality throughout the year. The smallest
town is apt to have its little amateur K.d.F. orchestra, gymnasium,
sports field, and hiking club.

To the individualist Anglo-Saxon, all this regimented "leisure to
order" may not sound particularly attractive.  "To order" it certainly
is, and the Nazis make no bones about it. K.d.F. is not merely a
privilege; it is a duty as well. Says Dr. Ley: "We do not intend to
leave it to the individual to decide whether he desires, or does not
desire, a holiday. It has become compulsory." Again, even here, we
detect the military note. One of Dr. Ley's best-known publications is
a pamphlet entitled: "A People _Conquers_ Joy." However, these aspects
are not specifically Nazi; they reflect the average German's faith in
organization and his acquiescence in state direction and control.
There seems to be no doubt that _Kraft durch Freude_ is generally
popular and that it is prized as the outstanding benefit which the
industrial masses have gained from the Nazi regime.


One cold winter morning I approached an extensive building on the
outskirts of Berlin. Near the entrance I observed a large banner
stretched upon the wall. It was red with a central circle of white,
within which was a symbolic black spade from whose short handle
sprouted twin wheat-ears. Below the banner was inscribed this saying
by Frederick the Great: "Whoever makes two stalks of grain to grow
where formerly there was only one, can claim to have done more for his
nation than a military genius who has won a great battle."

That was my introduction to a study of the National Labor
Service--what Germans call _Arbeitsdienst_. It is an outstanding
feature of the Third Reich, variously interpreted by foreign
observers. You hear good words for it, especially as it is applied to
young men. But its extension to Germany's young womanhood is by no
means so favorably regarded.

The Nazis did not invent the idea. It grew up spontaneously during the
Weimar Republic, when various organizations established camps for
unemployed youths to take them off the streets and put them to useful
work, especially in the country on land-reclamation and forest
projects. When the full tide of economic depression hit Germany, the
Weimar regime tried to co-ordinate these groups into an officially
controlled organization. Membership, however, was voluntary. The aim
was a temporary one, to cope with an economic emergency. In both
spirit and method, this first Labor Service closely resembled the
C.C.C. organization set up under our "New Deal." However, it was not
so unified or efficiently run as ours.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they took over this rather
dubious experiment and soon transformed it along characteristic lines.
In fact, they were already operating a small labor service corps of
their own, commanded by Colonel Konstantin Hierl, who was destined to
develop the movement to its present scope. This soldierly-looking man,
with close-clipped mustache and precise mouth, seems to be one of
those efficient organizers whom National Socialism has produced.

In describing the National Labor Service, two things should be kept in
mind. First, what we have already stressed with other Nazi
innovations--the wide distinction between theory and practice. The
picture which Nazi spokesmen paint for you may be very far indeed from
what is actually in operation. Sometimes they admit this; but they
then point out that their regime is only seven years old and has
functioned during a period of growing stress and strain culminating in
a great foreign war. Under such exceptional circumstances they claim
that the fair-minded foreign investigator should keep this in mind,
and should neither condemn the idea itself nor deny its feasibility in
more favorable times,

A second point to be remembered is the unfavorable trend in the
working of Nazi institutions which set in with their ruthless
concentration on the Four Year Plan for national self-sufficiency
under the imminent threat of war, and which has been further
accentuated since the outbreak of war itself. This is notably true of
the National Labor Service. In the early years of the Nazi regime, it
resembled the ideal far more closely than it has done in recent years
or than it does today.

With these qualifications, let's take a look at the theoretical
set-up, as it is described to you at Labor Service Headquarters and
set forth in its abundant propagandist literature.

The plan for this National Labor Service combines severely practical
aims with high ideals. Become compulsory and universal, it took the
entire annual "class" of twenty-year-old youths and set them to
productive tasks designed to conserve and expand Germany's natural
resources, especially her food supply.

The idealistic side of the story is thus expressed by Colonel Hierl:
"The Labor Service restores the soul-contact between work and the
worker, destroyed by a materialistic philosophy." The ideal is
emphasized in the Service motto: _Arbeit Edelt_--"Work Ennobles."
Members of the Service are termed "Soldiers of Labor." Collectively,
it is known as _The Army of the Spade_.  This army numbers
approximately 400,000, normally housed in about 2,000 camps scattered
throughout Germany.

The Labor Service is designed to accomplish "national tasks" useful to
the German people as a whole.

By this is meant such matters as drainage projects, reclamation of
waste or marginal lands, reforestation, and similar works which
otherwise would be done neither by private nor public enterprise
because normal wages and working conditions would make it too
expensive.  The Labor Army is not intended to compete with ordinary

These young labor soldiers are not supposed to be "sweated" in their
tasks, since that would tend to make them hate the very labor which
they are taught to honor. The idea is not to overstrain them. Neither
are speed and material efficiency deemed primary considerations.  When
I was shown the tools used by the Labor Service, it was carefully
explained to me that all of them must be such as are merely helpful
adjuncts to manual labor. Spades, axes, mattocks, and many other
implements were there, some specially invented as the result of
practical experience. But they were all tools, subordinate to the
laborer himself. The Labor Service does not officially favor the use
of mechanism like tractors, where man is a mere guider of the machine.
The psychology aspect of work done by the Labor Service is thereby

There is certainly enough to be done. Labor Service surveys estimate
that there is work of this sort for 500,000 men for twenty years. At
Berlin headquarters all this is graphically set forth on an immense
wall-map, where at a glance you can see both what is planned and what
has already been done. The war has interrupted many if not most
pending projects, but much has been completed, particularly important
drainage works along the Baltic and North Sea coasts, together with
moorland reclamations in various regions.

According to official statements, Labor Service detachments rarely
exceed two hundred men. In peacetime, they are usually housed in
wooden barracks much like our C.C.C. camps. The dormitories are
furnished with mattress beds, and each man has his individual locker,
chair, and small table. The camp-unit centers in a larger barrack
containing a big combined dining and social room, together with
kitchen, larder, and officers' quarters.

The normal, peacetime working day is spent as follows:

Reveille in summer at 5.00 A.M.; in winter at 6.00 A.M. Ten minutes of
setting-up exercises follow. Then an hour for washing, dressing,
bed-making, clean-up, and early breakfast. Then flag parade and orders
for the day.

The day's work takes up seven hours, including time taken for marching
to and from work, and thirty minutes for breakfast. Dinner in summer
is served at 1.30 P.M.; in winter at 2.30. An hour's rest is normally
taken after dinner. The afternoons are devoted to bodily and mental
training. Sports, games, and marching exercises take place on
alternate days and last one hour. After that, daily instruction is
given in home politics, German history, current affairs, and subjects
of special interest to the Labor Service. Needless to say, all lessons
are intensely propagandist and serve to implant the Nazi point of

Supper is served at 7.00 P.M. After that, the evening hours of leisure
begin, spent according to individual inclination except twice weekly,
when all join in community singing, attendance at lectures, or seeing
motion pictures--further bits of propaganda. Camp tattoo and
lights-out end the day at 10.00 P.M.

Such is the official program of the labor school through which more
than 2,000,000 young men have passed in the last seven years. Of
course it is designed primarily to make loyal Nazis, and it has
undoubtedly played a large part in molding the thought and outlook of
the younger generation. Nevertheless, from what I could gather, the
Labor Service has been popular with both the men themselves and the
general population.  I was told by Germans and foreigners alike that,
in parades or Party demonstrations, the Labor Battalions, in their
warm earth-brown uniforms and with their gleaming spades, were always
greeted by loud applause.

What I have been describing is the peacetime scene.  Today, one rarely
sees those brown-uniformed youths, either at work or on parade. An
omnivorous war-machine has caught up these disciplined labor forces
and has drafted them for military tasks. Most of them are now
concentrated either behind the West-Wall or in Poland. I was told
that, in the Polish campaign, the Labor Battalions were invaluable.
Going in right behind the troops, they did yeoman service in clean-up
operations. Naturally, under stress of war, the normal peacetime
schedule of work and life I depicted has given place to a sterner and
more strenuous regimen.  To all intents and purposes, those boys are
"in the army now."

I heard few criticisms of the Labor Service for young men even in
quarters strongly anti-Nazi in most respects.  However, I encountered
much criticism of the young women's branch of the service, in some
instances rising to severe condemnation. In Nazi eyes, since a
national labor service should be truly universal, Germany's young
womanhood is logically included in the general scheme. In practice,
however, labor service for women was not generalized until the
outbreak of the present war. At first, service was voluntary, and the
number enrolled annually did not average much over 15,000.

The basic idea behind the Women's Labor Service is the same as that
for their brothers. Girls of all social classes live and work
together, learning the value and dignity of labor--and of course
becoming ardent Nazis in the process. Their surroundings and the types
of work they do, however, differ markedly from those of their brothers
in the Army of the Spade.

Though these girls wear a brown uniform, it is of feminine cut, quite
like that of our Girl Scouts. Beyond flag drill, there are few
military features, the goal being to turn out housewives and mothers;
not potential female soldiers. The camps are relatively small,
averaging thirty-five girls. They also tend to be less barrack-like in
aspect, and camp life is concerned largely with domestic training in
all its branches.

Outside of their camp curriculum, Labor Service girls have various
duties. Some of these are in the line of social service. Many girls
are assigned to help overworked mothers by tending their children. To
this end, some camps are established near industrial areas to aid the
wives of factory workers. Such camps sometimes run kindergartens.
Country children are similarly looked after by Service girls,
especially in harvest time when the peasant mothers must be away in
the fields.

However, Labor Service girls have been increasingly assigned directly
and almost exclusively to regular farm work. Every morning they leave
camp for farmsteads in the neighborhood, doing whatever the peasant or
his wife may direct and returning to camp only toward nightfall. All
that time they are entirely without supervision by their camp
guardians and are in a rough, hard environment, associating with
peasants who are apt to be coarse and uncouth, and who frequently may
be drunken and immoral. I was told of distressing instances where
girls had been overworked, ill-treated, insulted, and even seduced, so
that they returned to their homes with child. Those are the dark
aspects which seem to be inevitable in a system like this.

Yet it is precisely this phase of the Women's Labor Service which the
war has greatly accentuated. Since the outbreak of war, national
service for young women is being so rapidly extended that it may soon
become well-nigh universal in fact as well as in name. Shortly after
hostilities broke out, 60,000 girls were mustered for the Labor Corps,
in addition to 40,000 already in service. New barracks were hastily
built to accommodate these recruits, and I understand that girl
conscription has proceeded as fast as they could be effectively
mobilized. Most of them were frankly destined for farm work as
replacements for peasants called to the colors.

All this is merely part of the general process which has turned the
Third Reich into a vast Modern Sparta, wherein every able-bodied man
or woman, youth or maiden, is part of a gigantic war-machine. We have
already noted the decree giving the Government authority to send
anyone anywhere on any sort of duty.

The implications of this decree are limitless. I recall a chat I had
with a man in Bremen on this very point.  I asked whether the virtual
paralysis of that great port-city by the British blockade would not
result in widespread unemployment and a difficult local situation.
The man looked at me in genuine surprise.

"Of course not," he answered. "If, say, half the people here have no
local work to do, they'll just be shifted elsewhere to other jobs. You
understand," he concluded, "we Germans are all soldiers today, no
matter whether we are in or out of uniform."

That is the spirit you encounter everywhere in this New Sparta.


During the autumn and winter months spent in Berlin I would
occasionally see groups of boys on the streets clad in simple blue
uniforms. Once or twice they had their arms filled with old
newspapers--a patriotic chore to which they had been assigned. More
often I would see them helping extract contributions for the
Winter-Help, a charity collection scheme that I will later describe.

Those are perhaps the only glimpses the casual foreign visitor gets of
the extraordinary system whereby National Socialism is molding the
rising generation according to its imperious will. Like many other
things in the Third Reich, what you see on the surface is only a small
part of what lies behind. Outwardly, Nazi Germany even in wartime does
not look startlingly different from the Germany of former days. The
same ordered neatness and cleanliness prevail, and you may live there
a long time without having a single dramatic incident occur before
your eyes. All this is apt to fool you, until you dig below that
impeccable surface. Then you begin to learn and to understand the
radical transformation of life and thought that is taking place.

These blue-clad boys, between 10 and 14 years old, represent the first
link in a chain of evolution which begins with the unformed child and
ends with the uniformed man, indelibly stamped with the Nazi brand.

Their official title is _Jungvolk_--best translated as _Hitler
Youngsters_. Like everything else in the Third Reich, they are
organized from basic groups of ten right up to National Headquarters.
However, their duties and training are elementary, as befits their
tender years.  The system does not get into full swing until these
boys enter the _Hitler Youth_, where they remain until their
nineteenth year. Thence they go into the National Labor Service, which
we have already described. After that comes military service, which
lasts at least two years more. Such is the arduous apprenticeship
which the male German must undergo.

The German girl passes through a formative period similar in character
and of about the same length. From 10 to 14 she is a _Young-Maiden_;
after that she is a _Hitler Maid_ until she is 21. During the latter
years of her Maid-hood she is apt to be enrolled in the young women's
branch of the Labor Service, but of course she has no military service
to undergo.

The combined male and female membership of the Hitler Youth in all its
stages aggregates a total of well over 7,000,000, highly organized in
every respect. That, I imagine, is the largest single youth
organization in the world.

Adolf Hitler always stressed the necessity for any proselyting
movement to gain and retain a firm hold on the rising generation. At
the very start of his movement he organized a small youth group,
though this was shattered like every other phase of his first effort
after the disastrous Beer-Hall Putsch of 1923. However, with the
re-founding of the Party two years later, a youth section was promptly
started and made rapid headway under a series of able leaders, of whom
Baidur von Schirach is the most famous. Before an interview could be
arranged for me, the leader of the Hitler Youth had made his dramatic
gesture of volunteering for army service and promptly departed for the
Western Front.

To gain youth's allegiance, the Nazi regime has evolved a system which
enlists the interest and loyalty of the rising generation. Its core is
the local _Home_--a.  well-appointed boys' clubhouse where the
youngster meets his fellows in an atmosphere of comradeship supervised
by carefully chosen leaders. Every Wednesday, the boys and girls
gather in their respective Homes for their regular Home-Evening. The
leader conducts the meeting according to a program prepared in advance
at National Headquarters. Throughout Germany, the same songs are sung
and the same subjects discussed.  Then the radio is switched on, and
all listen to a program entitled "Young Germany's Hour," which begins
at 8.15 P.M. and is broadcast by all stations. On some other week-day
evening the youngsters gather a second time for a program devoted to
games and sports. It is interesting to note that there is no military
drill or use of arms in these physical exercises. Unlike the _Balilla_
and _Sons of the Wolf_, the corresponding youth units of Fascist
Italy, there are no miniature rifles or other warlike paraphernalia.
The Nazis believe that imposing military training at this early age
would be a psychological mistake.

To develop loyalty and maintain interest in their organization, a
whole round of activities and special events has been devised. On New
Year's Day the Supreme Youth Leader makes an address to all his
followers over the radio. In late January Young Germany honors the
memory of its symbolic martyr, a fifteen-year-old Hitler Youth named
Herbert Norkus, murdered by Communists during the years of strife
before the Nazis came to power. From February to April a series of
competitions takes place to determine who among them possess those
qualities of leadership which qualify them to be appointed to minor
offices in the organization. The Fuehrer's birthday, April 20th, is a
great celebration, on which Hitler Youngsters who have attained their
fourteenth year pass into the ranks of Hitler Youth. On May 1st,
winners of special competitions throughout Germany are received by the
Fuehrer himself. From June to August millions of Hitler boys and girls
go vacationing in their Youth Camps or on hiking tours, and nationwide
sport competitions take place. The highlight of this period is the
annual Party Day at Nuremberg, when chosen detachments of Hitler Youth
of both sexes travel thither from the remotest parts of the Reich to
parade proudly before the Fuehrer and receive the applause of
assembled Nazidom. This is also the day when those youths who have
completed their eighteenth year formally graduate into the adult ranks
of the Party. The autumn months are enlivened by various activities,
especially participation in the Winter Help charity drives. It is easy
to see how this continuous round of stimulating, pleasurable
activities tends to center interest and loyalty around the
organizational _Home_ and all that it signifies.

How has all this modified the individual boy's and girl's relations to
those other aspects of life--family, church, and school? Complex
adjustments are inevitable, for we must remember that, however
pleasurable they may be, Hitler Youth activities are _duties_ which
must be complied with and with which no one may interfere.  In the
first years of the Nazi regime I am told that this sudden shift of
youthful loyalties provoked frequent domestic conflicts and caused
many personal tragedies. Great numbers of non-Nazi parents were
recalcitrant at seeing their children placed in an atmosphere which
sapped their authority and tended to make boys and girls flout the
teachings of their elders. The traditional German family is
patriarchal, and many fathers objected to the claims of the Youth Home
on personal grounds even when they had no strong objections to the
Nazi regime as such. In many cases, this conflict of loyalties went so
far that boys and girls denounced their own parents to the authorities
for what the children had been taught to consider unpatriotic speech
or conduct.

Today, I understand that such extreme conflicts are rare. The Nazi
regime broke parental resistance as systematically as it did
opposition of every kind; so the most rebellious fathers and mothers
have been weeded out by concentration camps or lesser penalties. The
average parent now accepts the situation as inevitable, even if he or
she does not at heart wholly approve.  Indeed, I was told by foreign
observers that a large proportion of German parents, including of
course all Party members, now assent willingly to an institution which
teaches their children good personal habits, promotes their health,
and brightens their young lives in many ways.

Far more serious has been the conflict with the churches. Both the
Protestant and Roman Catholic confessions possessed strong youth
organizations. The Nazi Government, in accordance with its policy of
all-round co-ordination, insisted that these confessional groups be
merged in the Hitler Youth. This raised a storm of protest from pious
church folk, who deemed the Youth Homes, with their absence of
denominational teaching, little short of godless, while priests and
pastors encouraged and backed the protests of their parishioners.
Here, again, very many distressing incidents took place. Protestant
opposition has apparently lessened with the years, though a
recalcitrant minority still exists. The Roman Church, however, has
maintained its traditional objection to membership of its young people
in non-Catholic organizations. This is one of the main reasons for the
deep-going conflict between the Roman Church and the Nazi State which
has existed from the start and which is by no means settled.

The uncompromising Nazi attitude is set forth in the following
official statement: "The socialist conception of the Third Reich
demands of each individual the unconditional subordination of his
individual being to the socialist expression of his people. This
socialist existence has one form of expression as far as the youth of
Germany is concerned: namely, the Hitler Youth.  Every youth
association outside the Hitler Youth transgresses against the spirit
of the community which is the spirit of the State."

That policy has been carried out by a combination of legal action and
official pressure which most Roman Catholic parents have been unable
to resist. The result has been the liquidation not only of the
Catholic youth organizations but of most of the parochial schools as
well. But I was told that a vast deal of suppressed heartburning

The Nazification of the public schools presented no such difficulties
because they formed part of the State itself. The Nazis have made few
formal changes in the educational system they inherited from the
previous regime, but its spirit and emphasis have been profoundly

Bernhard Rust, Reich Minister of Education, thus characterizes the
former system: "Although the intellectual capacities of young persons
had been excellently trained and although they were thoroughly
qualified for their vocations in after-life, the importance of
knowledge for knowledge's sake had been over-estimated, whilst
physical education and the training of the will had been neglected....
Furthermore, excessive importance had been attached to the individual
as such. It was almost forgotten that each individual is at the same
time a member of a racial community, and that it is only in that
capacity that he can perfect his powers to their fullest extent, while
it is his duty to work for the community good."

Dr. Rust then continues his argument for the Nazi idea of education by
asserting: "All forms of instruction have _one_ aim--the shaping of
_the National Socialist human_. But each form has its special tasks.
The school is, in the main, determined by the fact that it educates by
means of lessons.... In the past there has been a tendency towards
cramming into pupils' heads every new addition to learning, but
restrictions are now imposed upon that tendency. It is not necessary
to teach everything that is interesting or otherwise worth knowing."

Dr. Rust's somewhat restrictive view of formal education is in exact
accordance with Adolf Hitler's dictum, when he wrote in _Mein Kampf_
that one should "not cumber the brain with a lot of useless knowledge,
ninety-five per cent of which it has no use for and hence proceeds to
jettison." In the same volume, Hitler also proposed "to cut down
instruction so that it deals solely with essentials."

Among those essentials, the Third Reich emphasizes Nazi ideas and
bodily development through sport. We have already seen several ways in
which these aims are furthered, but even in the restricted sphere of
the school they occupy a prominent part in the curriculum. The amount
of time there devoted to the acquirement of what we may call
book-learning is relatively less than that of former days.

Emphasis on bodily development has undoubtedly produced some good
results. No foreign visitor to the Third Reich can fail to note the
high average level of health and strength in the rising generation. At
the same time, some foreign investigators have criticized the new
system as being out of balance.

One of the most interesting of these criticisms is contained in the
report of a British educational mission which visited Germany in 1937.
Its report raises the query whether athleticism is not being fostered
at the expense of mental development. Noting signs of nervous strain
among German school children and members of the Hitler Youth, taught
to regard the body as a machine which must be kept at the highest
pitch of efficiency whilst the mind must at the same time be attuned
to maximum receptivity to Nazi ideas, these British educators were led
to wonder whether the ultimate outcome might not be "Mens _insana_ in
corpore sano!"

This joint emphasis upon athletics and Nazi ideology reaches its
height in certain special institutions which the Third Reich has added
to the regular educational system. These are the Adolf Hitler Schools
and the National-Socialist-Order Castles.

The Hitler Schools are designed to train what Nazis term "a new
aristocracy" from whose ranks shall be drawn the future leaders of the
Third Reich. In their choosing, the wealth or social position of
parents is supposed to play no part. The candidates are selected from
twelve-year-old boys, physically perfect and of sound Germanic stock,
who have shown special aptitude in school and in the Hitler Youth. It
goes without saying that the one indispensable aptitude is a record of
unflagging zeal for Nazi ideas.

Those selected youngsters are a favored group. According to the plan,
they are to pass six years in fine educational institutions where they
receive every advantage, entirely at Government expense. Thereafter
they are scheduled to pass into the regular Labor Service and do their
military duty. After those tasks come three years of civilian life,
earning their living or starting a profession in the ordinary way.

Then, at the age of twenty-five, they are to reassemble.  By a second
process of selection, the most eligible thousand (from the Party
viewpoint) are picked for the Nazi Order of Knighthood--the
post-graduate School of Leadership.  In stately castles reminiscent of
the medieval fortresses of the Teutonic Knights, they will pass four
years of intensive training, wherein physical and ideological
attainments are brought to the highest pitch of perfection. This elite
thousand will then graduate, to take up their lifework of guiding and
governing the Third Reich.

The reader will note that I have spoken of this grandiose conception
in the future tense. That is because it was started only two years
before the war, which has at least temporarily shelved the daring
experiment.  As far as I could learn, the Hitler Schools are closed.
I visited one in Northern Oldenburg. It was architecturally
impressive--but it was occupied by soldiers. The castles are likewise
empty, the knights having all gone into military service.

Like about everything else in the Third Reich, its youth system is
dependent upon the outcome of the life-and-death struggle wherein it
is engaged.


The leader of the women's wing of the Nazi regime is Frau Gertrud
Scholtz-Klink, who set forth that aspect of the Third Reich in an
interview she gave me. This conversation came as the climax to several
studies I had made of various women's activities under the guidance of
purposeful lady subordinates. Those manifold activities are managed by
the _Reichsfrauenfuehrung_, a compound word which means the Directing
Center of German Women's organizations. The combined membership of
these societies totals fully 16,000,000. From this central point in
Berlin, directive guidance reaches out to every portion of the Reich.

It was a bitter mid-winter afternoon when I hopped from my taxi and
scurried for the entrance of national headquarters, an extensive
building situated in Berlin's West End. The air was full of driving
snow whipped by a high wind. I was glad to find shelter in the warm
entrance hall, though I could scarcely make my way through a litter of
hand luggage and a crowd of women bundled up as though for a trip to
the Arctic regions.  I was later informed that they were a party of
trained nurses and social workers bound for Poland where they would
care for a convoy of German-speaking immigrants being repatriated from
the Russian-occupied zone. Mute testimony, this, of the multifarious
activities of the _Reichsfrauenfuehrung_, alike in peace and in war.

A dynamic lady, whose mother is an American, Dr.  Marta Unger soon
appeared and guided me up stairs and through corridors to her chief's
outer office. Presently we were admitted to the inner sanctum, a
pleasant reception-room, tastefully furnished. As we entered, the
famous women's leader stood awaiting us.

Frau Scholtz-Klink was rather a surprise to me. I had often seen
pictures of her, but they were not good likenesses.  She must
photograph badly, for they all made her out to be a serious, aloof
person well into middle life. When you actually meet her, the first
impression she makes on you is one of youthful energy. She was then
just thirty-six. A compact woman of medium height, she walks to meet
you with an easy, swinging gait and gives you a firm handshake. She is
quite informal and as she warms to her subject, her face lights up
beneath its crown of abundant blonde hair wound about her head in
Marguerite braids. She never gets too serious and laughs easily.

I started the conversation by telling her some of the organizational
activities I had seen, and asked her what was the basic idea on which
they were conducted. Unhesitatingly, she answered: "Encouraging
initiative. You can't just command women. You should give them guiding
principles of action. Then, within this framework, let them function
with the thought that they themselves are the creators and fulfillers
of those ideas."

This rather surprised me, and I told her so, remarking that in America
there is a widespread impression that woman's position is less free in
National Socialist Germany than it was under the Weimar Republic, and
that this is especially true regarding women's professional
opportunities and political rights.

Frau Scholtz-Klink smiled, nodded understandingly, and came back with
the quick retort: "That depends on what you mean by political rights.
We believe that anyone, man or woman, thinks politically who puts the
people's welfare ahead of personal advantage. What does it matter if
five or six women are members of Parliament, as was the case in the
Weimar regime? We think it vastly more important that, today, sixteen
million women are enrolled in our organization and that half a million
women leaders have a weighty voice in everything which concerns women
and children, from the Central Government and the Party down to the
smallest village."

"How about professional opportunities," I put in.  "Are German women
still in the universities and in lines like higher scientific work?"

"They certainly are," she replied, "and we are glad to see them there.
It is true that when we first came to power seven years ago, some
National Socialists were opposed to this because they had been
prejudiced by the exaggerately feminist types of women who were so
prominent under the Weimar Republic. Today, however, this prejudice
has practically vanished. If occasionally we run across some man with
an anti-feminist chip on his shoulder, we just laugh about him and
consider him a funny old has-been out of touch with the times."

"That's interesting," I ventured.

"But it's easy to understand," rejoined Frau Scholtz-Klink, "when you
recall our basic attitude and policy.  Unlike many women's
organizations elsewhere, we don't fight for what is often called
'women's rights.' Instead, we work hand-in-hand with our menfolk for
common aims and purposes. We think that rivalry and hostility between
the sexes are as foolish and mutually harmful as they are
scientifically unsound. Men and women have somewhat different
capacities, but these should always be regarded as complementing and
supplementing each other--organic parts of a larger and essentially
harmonious whole."

"Then woman's part in the Third Reich, while consciously feminine, is
not feminist?" was my next query.

"Precisely," she nodded. "We consider it absolutely vital that members
of a woman's organization always remain womanly and do not lose touch
with their male colleagues. How long do you think I could stand it if
I were shut up here with several hundred woman all the time? Why, I
wouldn't stay here three days! No, no, I can assure you our
organization isn't run like a nunnery.  We foregather frequently with
our masculine collaborators in informal meetings where we chat and
joke together over our weightiest problems."

"Tell me a bit more about your organization," I suggested.

Frau Scholtz-Klink thought for a moment; then proceeded: "We National
Socialist women didn't start out with any cut-and-dried program or
preconceived theories.  When we came to power seven years ago, our
country was in terrible shape and we had very little to work with. So
we began in the simplest way, busying ourselves with immediate human
needs. All the elaborate structure you see today has been a natural
evolution--a spontaneous growth."

"How about your outstanding personalities?" I inquired.

Smilingly she shook her head. "We distinctly play down the
personalities," she deprecated. "In our opinion, thinking of person
implies that one is not thinking of principle. Take me, for example. I
assure you that I really don't care whether, fifty years hence, when
our present goal has been splendidly attained, people remember just
who it was that started the ball rolling and helped it on its way."

"What are your relations with women's organizations in other lands?" I

"We are not internationalists as the term is often used abroad," Frau
Scholtz-Klink answered. "We concern ourselves primarily with our own
problems. Of course we are only too glad to be in contact with women
from other countries. Indeed, we have a fine guest-house here in
Berlin where women visitors can come and stay as long as they like,
seeing and studying all we do. If they approve, so much the better. We
have no patents.  In this sense, therefore, I believe we have a most
effective women's organization. But we have not yet seen our way clear
to joining the International Women's Council."

Behind that official statement of the viewpoint of Nazi womanhood lies
one of the most interesting stories in the evolution of the Third

Under the old Empire, conservative views prevailed in the field of
domestic relations. The man was very much the head of his family.
Woman fulfilled her traditional role of wife and mother. Kaiser
Wilhelm described woman's sphere as bounded by the "Three K's,"
_Kinder, Kueche, Kirche_--children, kitchen, church.  Most of his
subjects apparently agreed with him. Some sharp dissent there was, and
it was not legally repressed.  But these dissenters were a relatively
small minority.

When the Empire perished, domestic relations were in a turmoil.
Liberal and radical ideas on woman's status became common, all
markedly individualistic in character.  Women were given the ballot
and went actively into politics. Advanced feminist types appeared,
intent on developing their personalities and seeking careers outside
the home. The "emancipated" woman seemed to be setting the tone.

These radical trends might have survived in an atmosphere of political
stability and economic prosperity.  But the times were neither stable
nor prosperous. When the world depression hit Germany at the close of
the 1920's, conditions became desperate. In this chaotic atmosphere,
National Socialism waxed strong and finally prevailed.

One of the first tasks of the Nazi revolution was to sweep away all
the new ideas concerning domestic relations.  Adolf Hitler had
pronounced views on the subject.  In one of his campaign
pronouncements he stated: "There is no fight for man which is not also
a fight for woman, and no fight for woman which is not also a fight
for man. We know no men's rights or women's rights. We recognize only
one right for both sexes: a right which is also a duty--to live, work,
and fight together for the nation."

In this forthright attitude, Hitler apparently had a large section of
German women on his side. From the very start of the Nazi movement,
women took a prominent part and were numbered among the Fuehrer's most
devoted followers. These women declared they wanted neither "equality"
nor "women's rights." What they were after was a home. For the mass of
German women, "emancipation" had meant little except hard work at
meager wages, and the idea went completely sour with them when
economic depression made countless unemployed men dependent upon their
womenfolk. Thus, any program which promised confidently to change this
abnormal situation could count on enthusiastic support from many women
as well as from men.

That was just what National Socialism did promise with its pledge to
re-establish the traditional order of domestic relations. It painted
an alluring picture of a regime of manly men and womanly women--the
manly men as provider and fighter; the womanly woman as wife, mother,
and guardian of the domestic hearth.

According to Nazi economic theory, woman's natural career is marriage.
By following the delusive path of Liberal-Marxist materialism, said
Hitler, woman herself had been the chief victim. Having invaded
business, industry, and the professions, women threw men out of jobs
and became their competitors instead of their helpmeets and
companions. In so doing, women not only robbed themselves of their
crowning happiness (a home and children) but also became largely
responsible for the economic crisis which ultimately left women
financially worse off than before. When both men and women turned into
producers, there were not enough consumers left to consume what they

That was the Nazi theory. And it caught on like wildfire. Nazi women
orators denounced the Weimar regime as having degraded German
womanhood into "parasites, pacifists, and prostitutes." It was these
feminine zealots who converted their sisters wholesale. The "Woman's
Front" of the Nazi movement soon became one of its most influential
branches. And the interesting point is that it was run by the women

The activities of this Woman's Front are complex and far-reaching.
They overlap into many fields which we have already surveyed, such as
the feminine sectors of the Labor Service and the Hitler Youth,
together with phases of the great social-service enterprise known as
NSV, which we will describe in the next chapter.

Its earliest enterprise was the _Muetterdienst_, or Mothers'
Service--a network of adult schools giving courses of instruction in
infant care, general hygiene, home nursing, cooking, sewing, and the
beautification of the home itself. Permanent quarters are established
in all cities and large towns, while itinerant teachers conduct
courses in villages and the remotest countryside.  The system has now
reached throughout the Reich, and several million women have passed
through this domestic education--an intensive course with classes
limited to twenty-five persons, since instruction takes the form, not
of theoretical lectures, but of practical teaching by actual
demonstration in which the pupils take part. Alongside these courses
for housewives are others for prospective brides.

Most foreign observers agreed that this domestic education has helped
many German women to be better wives and mothers. I myself
investigated the large Mother School established in _Wedding_, a
Berlin suburb inhabited by working folk. This institution also serves
as a sort of normal school where teachers are trained.  I met and
talked with the members of the current class, drawn from all parts of
Germany. They appeared to be earnest, capable young women, well chosen
for their future jobs.

Another major field of service is in industry, where trained
"confidence women" actually work in factories, stores, and offices
employing much female labor. These women are thus in personal touch
with working conditions.  Naturally, such women are the best sort of
propagandists for the Party and its ideas. Still other fields of
activity might be described if space permitted in a general survey
like this. At least half a million women are actively engaged in these
various lines of endeavor.

This, of course, is the answer which Frau Scholtz-Klink and her
colleagues make to the charge that National Socialism has driven women
out of public life.  They claim that it has changed the nature of
those activities to more fruitful channels. As a matter of fact, the
whole economic trend in the Third Reich, by transforming mass
unemployment into an acute labor shortage, has driven women into all
sorts of activities outside the home circle--which is certainly not
what Hitler promised his feminine followers. It is estimated that
nearly 12,000,000 women were gainfully employed in the Reich when war
broke out, and that figure will undoubtedly be vastly exceeded as men
are continually mobilized for war service. Yet, in these new
developments, it is probable that the Nazi attitude and policy will
remain basically unaltered.


As the damp chill of the north European autumn deepens into dark, cold
winter, there appear increasingly the manifold activities of the
_Winterhilf_--in plain English, the Winter-Help. Once a fortnight,
every city, town, and village in the Reich seethes with brown-shirted
Storm Troopers carrying red-painted cannisters.  These are the
Winter-Help collection-boxes. The Brown-Shirts go everywhere. You
cannot sit in a restaurant or beer-hall but what, sooner or later, a
pair of them will work through the place, rattling their cannisters
ostentatiously in the faces of customers. And I never saw a German
formally refuse to drop in his mite, even though the contribution
might have been less than the equivalent of one American cent.

During these periodic money-raising campaigns, all sorts of dodges are
employed. On busy street-corners comedians, singers, musicians,
sailors, gather a crowd by some amusing skit, at the close of which
the Brown-Shirts collect. People buy tiny badges to show they have
contributed--badges good only for that particular campaign.  One time
they may be an artificial flower; next time a miniature dagger, and so
forth. The Winter-Help campaign series reaches its climax shortly
before Christmas in the so-called Day of National Solidarity.  On that
notable occasion the Big Guns of the Nazi Party sally forth with their
collection-boxes to do their bit. I am told that it is considered
quite an honor to drop an offering into the cannister wielded by so
redoubtable a personage as, say, Hermann Goering.

These collection-box campaigns have been going on every winter since
the Nazis came to power. So has another picturesque feature--the
Winter-Help Lottery.

The sale of these lottery tickets is not restricted to certain
periods; it goes on continuously through the entire autumn and winter
season. They are sold by men in rather attractive uniforms with
red-banded caps and dove-gray capes. Like the Brown-Shirts, these
lottery-vendors cover every public place, even the best hotels.

The tickets are enclosed in tightly sealed orange envelopes stacked in
rows on a little tray. The vendor approaches you, salutes politely,
and offers his wares.  Should you wish to buy, you pick an envelope at
random and pay him fifty pfennigs--half a Reichsmark, which is worth
somewhat over ten cents. Unlike his Brown-Shirt colleagues, the vendor
is not insistent and the public does not feel constrained to buy.

There's a good feature about this Winter-Help Lottery--you know right
away if you _haven't_ won. So purchasers promptly tear open the
envelope and take out their folded ticket. Nearly always they are
confronted with a large blue _Nicht_, which means "No" and shows they
haven't a chance. Needless to say, that's what I drew when I tried my
luck. But plenty of persons seem to play the lottery often. In gay
restaurants it's quite a game for a whole group of diners to buy
envelopes and greet each loser with peals of laughter--the vendor
standing by and enjoying the fun.

However, buyers aren't always losers. In the first place, out of the
6,000,000 tickets which form a series there are nearly 350,000 which
carry small prizes called "premiums" ranging from I to 100 Marks.
These minor premiums are paid by the vendor on the spot. Above these
come the "prizes," which range all the way up to a 5,000-Mark Grand
Prize. However, those prizes are not paid offhand. What you get is the
_right_ to a prize-winning number in the lottery drawing which will be
held three months hence. The prizes and premiums total an even
1,000,000 Marks. The cost of the tickets is 3,000,000 Marks. Since the
lottery vendors are all volunteer workers who give their services and
get no commission, the net "take" of the Winter-Help from several
lottery-series sold during the season totals a handsome sum.

Still other money-making devices exist, the best-known of them being
the One-Dish Plan. Each month during the autumn and winter a certain
Sunday is set apart as the sacrificial day. On that Sunday, every
patriotic German is supposed to contribute to the Winter-Help the cash
difference between the cost of a normal Sunday dinner and that of a
single-course meal. In all public eating places nothing else is served
during the noon hours, so foreigners also must comply. The cost is
trifling for the meal itself, but I should hate to have it as a steady
diet, consisting as it does of a plateful of stewed onions, cabbage,
and potatoes, graced by a lone miniature meat-ball compounded of the
cheapest grade of hamburger. In private homes families are not legally
compelled to restrict themselves to one-course meals. They can
actually eat as they choose. But they are practically compelled to
contribute their cash offering in any case. A Brown-Shirt always
appears at the door, and the offering is assessed on tariff-rates
proportionate to the family's social status and known

The foreigner doesn't learn that last item unless he happens to have
German friends who tell him things.  All he usually knows about is the
box-collections, the lottery vendors, and the sad experience of a
one-dish lunch in a restaurant or hotel. He may learn that annual
contributions to the Winter-Help average well over 400,000,000
Reichsmarks--nearly $200,000,000 at the official rate of exchange. The
foreigner may marvel that so prodigious a sum could be raised by the
methods he has observed. As a matter of fact, it isn't. Most of the
money comes in through a carefully worked-out schedule of
contributions assessed on corporations, business firms, and
individuals from the wealthiest down to all but the poorest peasants
and laborers.

Your Nazi acquaintances probably won't mention this to you. If they
do, they will almost certainly tell you these are merely patriotic
suggestions for voluntary contributions, properly graded. Technically,
they are telling the truth, since Winter-Help offerings are legally
"voluntary." In the first days of the Nazi regime, quite a few persons
took this literally and refused to contribute. That, however, was
likely to be followed by unpleasant consequences; so prescribed
sharing has become well-nigh universal.

Here, again, we encounter what I have already stated to be a cardinal
aspect of Nazi Germany--the fact that what the foreigner sees and
casually learns may be only a slight indication of what goes on behind
the scenes.

So much for the way Winter-Help funds are raised.  How are they spent?
That is a controversial point.  Nazis assure you that these huge sums
are efficiently managed and all go for the purposes intended by the
donors. They point out that most of the work is done by unpaid
volunteers, so the administrative overhead should be small. This may
be true, but there is no way of checking such assertions because no
detailed, audited balance-sheets are published. Some foreign observers
tell you that Winter-Help funds have been diverted to other purposes,
much as the still vaster Labor Front funds are presumed to have been,
according to some assertions by foreign critics of the Nazi regime.

I do not know where the truth lies in this matter, so I merely raise
the point in order to make a balanced picture. From what I actually
saw and learned, it seems to me that much of the Winter-Help funds is
actually spent on the poor and needy, and that the institution does a
lot of good in many ways. So let us take a look at the Winter-Help to
see what it is, how it works, and what it accomplishes.

The Winter-Help began in the autumn of 1933--the first year of the
Nazi regime. It was a terrible time, with over 7,000,000 registered
unemployed and 17,000,000 in dire need. This latter figure included
both unemployed and unemployables, especially the aged and the very
young. The previous winter, the last under the Weimar Republic, had
been grim. The Government dole had, to be sure, enabled the poor to
keep body and soul together, but that was about all; and the outlook
for the coming winter was equally gloomy.

Then the Fuehrer spoke. His word was: "No one shall suffer from hunger
and cold!" So Hitler announced a new organization, run by the Party,
to be known as the Winter-Help. It was not a substitute for Government
aid; it was an _addition to_ that aid, designed to bridge the gap
between the low minimum of State charity and a somewhat more tolerable
standard of life. The aim was to provide coal and garments sufficient
to keep a household fairly warm and decently clothed; to supply a bit
more food; to distribute Christmas dinners, trees, and children's toys
at the beloved Yuletide. It even promised to step in and relieve
unexpected accidents and misfortunes for which the victims were in no
wise to blame.

That very first season, the Winter-Help "delivered the goods." The
Party got behind it to the last man, woman, and child. Over a million
volunteer workers donated their services. Vast amounts of food, fuel,
and clothing were mobilized and distributed. The hearts of the poor
were cheered--and warmed towards the new regime. That was the
intention; for the Winter-Help was officially described as: "The
instrument which enables us to make the most comprehensive appeal to
the spirit of national solidarity." In short, an extremely effective
form of domestic propaganda.

The more I studied the Winter-Help, the more it appeared to me as an
amazing cross between the Salvation Army and Tammany Hall. It would be
unfair to put down the whole business as just cold-blooded politics.
All the good-will mobilized, the unselfish effort donated, the goods
distributed to deserving persons--those things are real, no matter
what the attendant political motive. Think what it means to numberless
"forgotten men"--and women, to be thereby lifted a bit above the
squalor line; to have their drab lives unexpectedly brightened,
especially at Christmas time. Perhaps all the poor do not share
equally in those benefits; perhaps good Party members get the best of
what's going, while ex-Communists are often overlooked. Nevertheless,
so many poor people get something that the effect on popular feeling
is great and cumulative. And the tendency must be toward winning the
good-will of the populace for the Nazi regime. It is the little things
that count in getting and holding popular favor. Tammany in New York
learned that long ago; and the Nazis are as clever and far more
efficient than Tammany ever dreamed of being.

What we may term the Tammany-Salvation-Army technique comes out in
everything the Winter-Help does. Picture to yourselves a typical case.
A Winter-Help volunteer enters a sordid tenement dwelling in the
poorest section of Berlin's East End. He or she brings the family a
basket of food, a packet of clothing, a tiny Christmas tree, or fuel
tickets good at the nearest coal-dealer's. "Good morning!" is the
cheery opening.  "I bring you this with the Fuehrer's Greetings!" Then
comes a bit of friendly chat. On leaving, the visitor extends an arm
in salute with the inevitable: _Heil Hitler_! Is it not well-nigh
inevitable that the answering "Heil" comes spontaneously from grateful

Such is the Winter-Help and what it signifies. Now let us go on to
consider the even larger social-service organization of which the
Winter-Help is itself organically a part. This vast institution bears
the appalling title of _Nationalsozialistischevolkswohlfahrt_! Broken
down into plain English, that Teutonic jawbreaker means National
Socialist People's Welfare. It's even too much for the Germans, so
they always speak of it as NSV.

NSV, though essentially a Party enterprise, is technically a voluntary
organization supported by nearly 11,000,000 members who pay dues with
a minimum of one Reichsmark per month. It has over 1,000,000 active
workers, of whom only about 20,000 are paid, these being trained
social-service specialists in various lines.  The vast majority of NSV
workers contribute their spare time, and they do it generously--many
of them as much as three hours per day. Like everything else in Nazi
Germany, NSV is elaborately organized from a supreme head-center in
Berlin down through regional, provincial, and local sub-centers until
it reaches the ultimate unit--the so-called "block" of forty or fifty
families. There can be no doubt that NSV is generally popular;
otherwise it would be difficult to conceive of 11,000,000 persons
paying regular dues and over 1,000,000 contributing so generously of
their time the year round. Mere compulsion could not bring that about.
What, then, is the reason? The answer to that query involves an
understanding of a social set-up and attitude toward life which is
radically different from ours.  First of all we should realize that
NSV, like its Winter-Help affiliate, is _not_ a substitute for
Governmental assistance to the poor and needy. In Germany, total
destitution has long been rare, thanks to the system of social welfare
begun under the old Empire more than half a century ago, and extended
under both the Weimar Republic and the present Nazi regime. Most
Germans are thus legally protected against dire poverty and downright
starvation. NSV _supplements_ State aid in various ways. And it does
so, not in our sense of "charity," but as a _duty_ which the
socialized nation, the almost mystical _Gemeinschaft_, owes to each of
its members.

Another important point to be understood is that, despite all the
assistance which it gives to the poor and weak, NSV is even more
interested in helping the fit and strong to be fitter and stronger. It
seeks to energize the individual by making him constantly feel that he
is organically part of the whole nation, and that he literally has the
whole nation behind him--so long as he in turn does his duty and seeks
to serve the nation of which he is an integral part.

In the Nazi social-service system, the Winter-Help has specialized
functions. It is concerned chiefly with the relief of temporary
difficulties and transient weaknesses or breakdowns of morale. NSV
takes care of the long pull and deals with social problems which are
solvable only in the remote future.

One of the axioms of National Socialism is that the family, rather
than the individual, is the true unit of society. For this reason, NSV
tries in various ways to integrate individuals into healthy,
prosperous, fruitful families. Hence its special efforts for the
welfare of mothers and children. Its largest and most important
section is that known as _Mutter und Kind_. The size of this special
organization can be visualized when we learn that it has some 26,000
offices covering every part of the Reich, with medical staffs and
assisted by about 230,000 matrons of homes, kindergarten governesses,
communal sisters, and nurses. Their activities are manifold, though
their aim is not clinical; rather is it investigative and educational.
Mother-and-Child stations are neither hospitals nor sanatoria. When
bad conditions are detected, they are turned over to hospitals or
State charities. But mothers by the million have visited these
stations, or station agents have visited mothers in their homes. For
instance, all infants up to the age of two years are medically
examined and the parents are given advice as to proper care and
feeding. Through affiliated organizations, the stations complete their
preventive and educational work by enabling mothers and children most
in need to have special care, take vacations, go to kindergartens, and
so forth.

A striking instance of the meticulous way in which NSV seeks to foster
the public health is its special subsection called _Bettenaktion_.
Medical research has established the fact that nothing is more
important to health and personal efficiency than good, restful sleep.
Subsection "Bed-Action" sees to it that each individual has his own
bed--and a comfortable, sanitary one, at that.  In the past few years,
it is officially stated that fully 1,000,000 beds have been
distributed free of charge to persons unable to pay for them.

Another important field of service is the raising to normal status of
distressed or depressed areas. Certain remote regions, such as the
mountainous districts of Lower Bavaria and the Eiffel hill-country in
the Rhine-land, were chronically impoverished and unable to improve
their condition out of their own meager resources.  NSV pours aid of
all kinds into these abnormal districts until today, according to
official accounts, some of them have been quite transformed.

Like the other quasi-public institutions of the Third Reich, NSV gets
out a tremendous volume of educative literature about its own
activities. Booklets, pamphlets, illustrated sheets, and small charts
are printed and distributed wholesale to the general public, either
free or at very slight expense. Its Berlin headquarters maintains a
permanent exhibition including large illuminated wall-maps, colored
charts, miniature models, and a stereopticon lecture lasting nearly an
hour. Its foreign relations representative, Erich Haasemann showed me
through, explained in detail, and invited me to visit some of its
Berlin activities. The most interesting of these was its distribution
center, which I visited next morning.

This center is housed in a rambling old building several stories high
in the market district near Alexanderplatz.  It is thus handy to the
working-class quarters.

Here needy persons come with their distribution-certificates--a sort
of chit enabling them to get required articles, both clothing and
furniture. They get these chits on recommendation from their
_Blokwart_, the official who looks after each block of forty families.
Incidentally, there are nearly 450,000 such units in Greater Berlin.

The Blokwart makes it his business to know intimately the
circumstances of each family in his unit.  He visits them frequently
in their homes, and to him they make known their troubles and requests
for aid.  Here is how it works: an outdoor laborer needs a new
sheepskin-lined jacket. He shows his old one to the Blokwart, who sees
it is no longer serviceable. "That's right," says the Blokwart,
"you've got to have a new jacket if you're going to be efficient on
that job of yours these cold winter days. For you to get sick and
perhaps land in the hospital would be bad business for the nation. So
here you are. Go and pick one out at the center tomorrow after working
hours." Down goes our workingman, presents his chit, and is shown to
the proper department, where hundreds of jackets, of all sizes, hang
on long racks. Like all lines, they are in somewhat different styles
and in diverse colors. This is to avoid uniformity in appearance. That
aids _morale_ by satisfying personal tastes and heightening the
wearer's self-respect. If all NSV recipients were dressed alike, they
would have a depressingly "institutional" look. It is really
extraordinary how such psychological factors have been carefully
thought out!

I roamed around that warehouse for an hour, looking at huge stocks of
everything from clothes and shoes to beds and baby-carriages.
Everything seemed to be of good quality, well-made, and of
surprisingly tasteful appearance. I was asked to note that there were
_full_ lines of everything, including even the most unusual "out
sizes" which might not even be made commercially, much less carried in
ordinary store stocks. For instance, I was shown a pair of boots so
huge that it did not seem possible a human being could have such big
feet. Nevertheless, I was told that a few did exist.  Those persons
were known. So NSV was prepared for them.

NSV does not manufacture its own supplies. They are bought in the open
market, but they must be made by local manufacturers. Prices are thus
not strictly competitive--at least, on a national scale. The idea is
to spread work and keep local money at home.

These are only the high-lights of a subject with many ramifications.
However, they may suffice to give a general idea of the importance of
NSV in the Nazi scheme of things and in its hold upon the people. Such
social services tend to win popular support for the Nazi regime and
reconcile the masses to conditions which otherwise might breed
discontent and even revolutionary unrest.


"The treatment given a tuberculous patient is partly determined by his
social worth. If he is a valuable citizen and his case is curable, no
expense is spared. If he is adjudged incurable, he is kept
comfortable, of course, but no special effort is made to prolong
slightly an existence which will benefit neither the community nor
himself. Germany can nourish only a certain amount of human life at a
given time. We National Socialists are in duty bound to foster
individuals of social and biological value."

It was the official in charge of the Tuberculosis Section of the
Public Health Service headquarters who spoke. He was an earnest young
man with reflective eyes and a precise manner of speech. His was only
one of many departments devoted to the combating of every notable
Germanic ill, from cancer to flat feet. Here the myriad strands of a
nationwide organization head up in a big building near

I had become accustomed to elaborate publicity methods in all the
national headquarters of Governmental or Party institutions, but I
think this one deserves the prize. The whole building was one series
of exhibits, while the detailed educational literature was
all-inclusive. As usual, I was given a liberal sampling, sent next day
to my hotel. They went to swell a collection of data which filled a
hand-trunk by the time I left Germany.

I have that public health literature spread out before me as I write.
There are some twenty pamphlets, dealing with general or special
topics, including a detailed bibliography of the best books available
in the entire field. Some of the pamphlets are illustrated with cuts
and diagrams. I note especially the one dealing with foot troubles,
which contains a whole series of exercises.  Then there are several
single-sheet "dodgers." Here is one entitled: _Advice to Pregnant
Women_. This consists of a series of wood-cuts. First, the things she
should do: Sponge-bath on arising; take a quiet walk; wear proper
clothes--as indicated; brush her teeth before retiring; take a good
sleep in a comfortable bed. Now the _don'ts_: heavy lifting; high
reaching; bending long over the washtub; bending low to get into that
bottom drawer; standing too long a time; drinking and smoking; wearing
high-heeled shoes; getting shaken up--as on a motorcycle; finally,
losing one's temper. At the bottom of the sheet, proper articles of
diet are visualized.  Others in this pictorial series cover matters
like Preparation for Motherhood, and Care of the Baby.

The pamphlets deal with all sorts of things. Here are several on
specific diseases--tuberculosis, cancer, foot troubles, infantile
paralysis, venereal diseases, and so forth. There are several more on
sex--the best ages for begetting children; advice to parents on
handling children during adolescence; advice to youths and
maidens--these last preaching strict morality, though from a patriotic
rather than a religious basis. Lastly, there are a few miscellaneous
topics, including diet, exercise, and avoidance of liquor and tobacco.
All these are inexpensively gotten up for mass distribution.

Before I started on my tour of investigation, the general director,
Dr. Eckhard, had given me a general background discussion, as Germans
always do. He stated that the general theory and structure of the
German public health system goes back to Bismarck's day. The
outstanding development under the Third Reich is thoroughgoing
co-ordination of various departments and organizations. Structurally,
therefore, no great changes have taken place except the establishment
since 1933 of a complete system of cancer centers throughout Germany.
It is in the spirit and tempo of the Public Health Service that we
discover the vital difference between the present and former times.
The Nazi attitude, subordinating the individual to the collective
good, is well expressed in the remarks of Dr. Eckhard's subordinate
with which this chapter began.

Dr. Schramm, the eminent surgeon whom I met at my first dinner-party
in Berlin, undertook to continue my education in Public Health. One of
the points he stressed was the good general level of health, due
largely to the health-insurance law by which even the poorest are
assured full medical treatment. People are urged to seek medical
advice periodically or for any worrisome symptom, and since it costs
them nothing personally, they do it gladly. All medical men are
legally bound to give a certain portion of their time to insured
patients; patients have the right to choose the doctor or surgeon they
wish to consult, and they even have the right to be sent to the
private hospitals of such medical men, if he customarily sends his
patients to those institutions.  Dr. Schramm took me to the hospital
of which he was chief surgeon. It was a fairly large private
institution, with about 150 beds. Some wards were for insured
patients.  I spoke with several of them. They were all workingmen.
Their health insurance allowed them up to one year's hospitalization,
with pocket money. After that, if not cured, I was told they were
taken care of out of the public health funds indefinitely.
Incidentally, Dr. Schramm informed me that cotton is so short in
wartime Germany that absorbent cotton has become scarce. It is now
saved for vital uses. Ordinary dressings are made of paper, and appear
to serve quite well.

Another interesting point I learned was the progress made in the fight
against venereal diseases. Anyone infected must at once consult a
doctor, under heavy legal penalties. Since he or she can get free
treatment and choose the doctor, they are glad to comply. Privacy for
the case is assured by having the doctor send in a report to the
health authorities bearing a number, the name and address of the
patient remaining in his files. But if the patient does not come
regularly or fails to comply with directions, the doctor discloses the
patient's identity and coercive measures are taken. Anyone spreading
infection is punished by a sentence of at least six months in jail.
This sentence is mandatory. Wealth and social position are of no
avail. The result of all this is a sharp drop in social disease rates.
Fresh syphilitic infections have become rare. There is still
considerable gonorrhea, but much is hoped from the new treatment with
sulfanilamide. The war has thus far not notably affected the
situation. Soldiers are so well trained in prophylaxis and are subject
to such heavy punishment for carelessness that there has been scant
spread of venereal disease by them.

I spent an instructive morning visiting an accident and out-patient
clinic, to see how that aspect of public health was handled. This
clinic was maintained for workingmen; all of them, of course, insured.
The approach was not prepossessing. It was on the fourth floor of a
dingy warehouse-like building, and was reached by a freight elevator.
Once inside, however, I was astonished at the completeness and
modernity of the equipment.  X-Ray and Roentgen-Ray machines, sun--and
violet-ray lamps, mechanical and hand massage, up-to-date
operating-room--everything seemed to be there.  An American woman, the
wife of a bone specialist, who accompanied me, was frankly astounded
at what we saw.  She knew about such matters, and she told me that she
had never seen anything professionally finer at home.  Perhaps the
most significant point was the cheapness with which the clinic was
conducted. I was shown the cost-sheets, and found that the average
charge made for patients to their associations was less than one
dollar per day.

Another important aspect of public health is housing.  The officials
concerned with this phase showed me several new developments, from
inexpensive workingmen's apartments, through single and double-house
settlements, to upper-middle-class "model villages," all on the
outskirts of Berlin. However, I wasn't satisfied with what was
officially shown me, surmising that everything would be the best of
its kind. So I got a foreign journalist who knew about such matters to
steer me around the poorest quarters. I was on the hunt for slums.

My colleague told me I wouldn't find anything very bad, because Berlin
had no real slums, as most countries reckon them. But he promised to
show me the worst there were, and we spent the greater part of a day
poking about. Our starting point was Alexanderplatz, formerly a very
tough district and a Communist stronghold.  Today, it is a humdrum
traffic and shopping center.  The worst section nearby has been almost
entirely rebuilt with municipal apartment houses for working-men.
They are plainly and simply built, and the rents are very cheap. The
heart of this extensive development is Horst Wessel Platz, named after
the famous Nazi hero and martyr who was murdered by Communists in an
old tenement (now torn down) which faced the present square.

After that we radiated in easterly segments; some of the oldest
tenement sections drab and dreary, especially in the gray light of a
cloudy autumn day. But none of them were run-down, and no dirt or
rubbish was to be seen. My colleague informed me that the Nazi
Government has forced landowners to clean up and repair even the
oldest tenements. This was originally started as part of a compulsory
"make-work" program during the early years of the Nazi regime. In some
tenement courtyards I saw small, shedlike buildings (somewhat like the
"alley dwellings" of Washington, D. C.) which once had evidently been
lived in. However, such structures have all been condemned as living
quarters. So are all cellar tenements. The general impression I got
from these workingmen's quarters was that of a rather low average
standard of living, yet above the squalor line.

The nearest to slumlike conditions I discovered was in and about the
Grenadierstrasse. There the very poorest class lives, including many
foreigners and a considerable number of Jews. The tenements look
sordid, with few clean curtains or flowers in the windows, as was the
case nearly everywhere else. Many of the passers-by looked as sordid
as their abodes. The Jews, understandably, had a fear-ridden, sullen
air. I tried to find out whether ghetto conditions existed, in the
sense that Jews were concentrated in certain tenements. Apparently
this is not the case. In one tenement, where I saw nothing but Jews
about, I asked a postwoman just going in to deliver mail if this were
a purely Jewish place.  With the frank callousness one so often
encounters, she answered disdainfully, "_Ach, nein_. Jews, Gypsies,
all sorts of trash live here!"

Germany's coldly efficient system of public health is strikingly shown
by the scientifically notable sanitary job it has done in Poland.
Although none of us foreign journalists were allowed to visit the
Polish zone, I was fortunate in having a long conversation with almost
the only foreigner who was permitted to go there. This man was Dr.
Junod, a Swiss and a high official of the International Red Cross. Dr.
Junod is an expert judge of sanitary conditions, with many years of
service in the Red Cross and long experience in the Ethiopian and
Spanish Civil wars. He visited Warsaw, Poland's shattered capital
city, about mid-November.

He told me that what the German health authorities had done to Warsaw
since its capture in late September was a miracle of scientific
efficiency. Though the houses were still largely in ruins, the streets
were immaculate--he did not see even bits of waste paper blowing
about. The water and lighting systems had been restored and the
population generally inoculated against typhoid. The prostitutes had
been listed and were carefully examined at frequent intervals. Most
striking of all, the urban masses, habitually filthy and verminous,
had been deloused wholesale. The delousing stations parted a man from
his clothes, both going through different cleansing processes. These
were so nicely synchronized that the naked individual usually met his
garments at the other end--both clean and freed from local
inhabitants. The clothes were dry, since they had been subjected to a
blast of hot air which desiccated them almost immediately.

About the more important aspects of the lives of the people through
whose city those unlittered streets ran, I was able to gather little.

Nevertheless, the result of this intensive health campaign was an
utter transformation of public hygiene in the short space of two
months. Thereby a great peril had been averted. Sanitary conditions
immediately following the German conquest were so bad that, unless
heroic measures had been speedily taken, mass epidemics would have
been inevitable. This would have endangered not only German-occupied
Poland but Germany itself. If such epidemics had spread into the
Reich, the consequences might have been catastrophic, for the
habitually cleanly Germans have no such partial immunity to filth
diseases such as typhus as the Poles have acquired through having been
chronically exposed to them. It was clearly not for the Poles,
therefore, but for the benefit of the invaders that this miracle of
sanitary science had been invoked.


Nothing is so distinctive in Nazi Germany as its ideas about race. Its
concept of racial matters underlies the whole National Socialist
philosophy of life and profoundly influences both its policies and
practices. We cannot intelligently evaluate the Third Reich unless we
understand this basic attitude of mind. Unfortunately such
understanding is not easy, because the whole subject has been so
obscured by passion and propaganda.

I have long been interested in the practical applications of biology
and eugenics--the science of race-betterment--and have studied much
along those lines. During my recent stay in Germany I supplemented
this academic background by first-hand investigation, including
discussions with outstanding authorities on the subject. These
included both official spokesmen such as Reichsministers Frick and
Darre, and leading scientists--Eugen Fischer, Fritz Lenz, Hans
Guenther, Paul Schultze-Naumburg, and others. Through their
recommendations I was able to sit beside the judges during a session
of the Eugenic High Court of Appeals.

As is well known, the Nazi viewpoint on race and the resultant
policies are set forth by Adolf Hitler himself in the pages of _Mein
Kampf_, the Bible of National Socialism. The future Fuehrer therein
wrote: "It will be the duty of the People's State to consider the race
as the basis of the community's existence. It must make sure that the
purity of the racial strain will be preserved.  It must proclaim the
truth that the child is the most valuable possession a nation can
have. It must make sure that only those who are healthy shall beget
children and that there is only one infamy: namely, for parents who
are ill or show other defects to bring children into the world. But on
the other hand it must be branded as reprehensible to refrain from
giving healthy children to the nation. Herein the State must come
forward as the trustee of a millennial future, in face of which the
egotistic desires of individuals count for nothing. Such individuals
will have to bow to the State in such matters.

"In order to achieve this end the State will have to avail itself of
modern advances in medical science. It must proclaim that all those
people are unfit for procreation who are afflicted with some visible
hereditary disease, or are the carriers of it; and the State must
adopt practical means of having such people rendered sterile. On the
other hand the State must make sure that the healthy woman will not
have her fertility restricted through a financial and economic system
of government which looks on the blessing of children as a curse to
their parents. The State will have to abolish the cowardly and even
criminal indifference with which the problem of social provision for
large families is treated, and it will have to be the supreme
protector of this greatest blessing that a people can boast of. Its
attention and care must be directed towards the child rather than
towards the adult."

When we analyze Hitler's pronunciamento we observe that he is here
dealing with two very dissimilar things. The first of these concerns
differences between human stocks. Hitler assumes that such differences
are vitally important and that "the purity of the racial strain" must
be preserved. Therefore, logically, crossings between them are an
evil. This is the Nazi doctrine best described as _racialism_.

The interesting thing is that Hitler does not here stop to labor the
point. He takes it for granted as self-evident and passes on to other
matters which he treats in detail. These concern improvements _within_
the racial stock, that are recognized everywhere as constituting the
modern science of _eugenics_, or race-betterment.

The relative emphasis which Hitler gave racialism and eugenics many
years ago foreshadows the respective interest toward the two subjects
in Germany today.  Outside Germany, the reverse is true, due chiefly
to Nazi treatment of its Jewish minority. Inside Germany, the Jewish
problem is regarded as a passing phenomenon, already settled in
principle and soon to be settled in fact by the physical elimination
of the Jews themselves from the Third Reich. It is the regeneration of
the Germanic stock with which public opinion is most concerned and
which it seeks to further in various ways.

There are one or two German ideas about race which, it seems to me,
are widely misunderstood abroad. The first concerns the German
attitude toward Nordic blood. Although this tall, blond strain and the
qualities assumed to go with it constitute an ideal type in Nazi eyes,
their scientists do not claim that Germany is today an overwhelmingly
Nordic land. They admit that the present German people is a mixture of
several European stocks. Their attitude is voiced by Professor
Guenther when he writes: "The Nordic ideal becomes for us an ideal of
unity. That which is common to all the divisions of the German people
is the Nordic strain.  The question is not so much whether we men now
living are more or less Nordic; the question put to us is whether we
have the courage to make ready, for future generations a world
cleansing itself racially and eugenically."

Another misconception is that the Nazis regard the Jews as a distinct
race. To be sure, that term is often used in popular writings and many
ignorant Nazis may believe it, but their scientific men do not thus
defy obvious anthropology. They therefore refer to the Jews as a
_Mischrasse_. By this they mean a group which, though self-consciously
distinct, is made up of several widely diverse racial strains. It is
because most of those strains are deemed too alien to the Germanic
blend that the Nazis passed the so-called Nuremberg Laws prohibiting
intermarriage between Jews and Germans.

Without attempting to appraise this highly controversial racial
doctrine, it is fair to say that Nazi Germany's eugenic program is the
most ambitious and far-reaching experiment in eugenics ever attempted
by any nation.

When the Nazis came to power, Germany was biologically in a bad way.
Much of her best stock had perished on the battlefields of the Great
War. But those war losses were surpassed by others during the post-war
period, due to the falling birth-rate. Economic depression,
mass-unemployment, hopelessness for the future, had combined to
produce a state of mind in which Germans were refusing to have
children. The birth-rate dropped so fast that the nation was no longer
reproducing itself.  Furthermore, the lowest birth-rates were among
those elements of highest social value. The learned and professional
classes were having so few children that, at this rate, they would
rapidly die out. At the other end of the scale, the opposite was true.
Morons, criminals, and other anti-social elements were reproducing
themselves at a rate nine times as great as that of the general
population. And those lowest elements were favored in their breeding
by the welfare measures of the Weimar regime. Statistics indicate that
it cost far more to support Germany's defectives than it did to run
the whole administrative side of Government--national, provincial, and

As the Nazis saw it, they had a two-fold task: to increase both the
size and the quality of the population.  Indiscriminate incentives to
big families would result largely in more criminals and morons. So
they coupled their encouragements to sound citizens with a drastic
curb on the defective elements. That curb was the Sterilization Law.

The object of the statute is set forth in its official title: An Act
for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring. The grounds for
sterilization are specifically enumerated. They are: (1) Congenital
Mental Deficiency; (2) Schizophrenia, or split personality; (3)
Manic-Depressive Insanity; (4) Inherited Epilepsy; (5) Inherited
(Huntington's) Chorea; (6) Inherited Blindness; (7) Inherited
Deafness; (8) Any grave physical defect that has been inherited; (9)
Chronic alcoholism, when this has been scientifically determined to be
symptomatic of psychological abnormality.

It should be understood that all these defects and diseases have been
proven to be hereditary by scientists throughout the world. It was
estimated that at least 400,000 persons in Germany were known to be
subjects for sterilization. But the law specifically forbids
sterilization for any non-hereditary cause. Even mentally diseased
persons, habitual criminals, and ordinary alcoholics cannot be
sterilized. Each case up for sterilization must be proved beyond a
reasonable doubt before special district courts, and appeals from
their verdict can be taken, first to a regional court of appeals, and
ultimately to the High Appellate Court sitting in Berlin.

Such are the provisions of the Sterilization Law. So many charges have
been made outside Germany that it is being used to sterilize
politically undesirable persons that I particularly welcomed the
opportunity to study at first-hand the High Court's proceedings.
Parenthetically it should be noted that the term "sterilization" does
not mean castration. The law specifically prescribes methods which
involve only a minor operation and result in no diminution of sexual
activity other than incapacity to produce offspring.

Germany's Eugenic Supreme Court sits in an impressive building at
Charlottenburg, one of Berlin's western suburbs. I arrived just as
court was opening. On the bench sat a regular judge in cap and gown.
At his right was the celebrated psychopathologist, Professor Zutt, a
typical savant with mild blue eyes and a Vandyke beard. At the judge's
left was a keen-eyed younger man who was a specialist in criminal
psychology and beside whom I sat during the proceedings. All three
courteously explained points to me at frequent intervals.

Since this was the court of last resort, all matters came up to it on
appeal from lower courts, and thus tended to be "hairline" cases. The
thing that struck me most was the meticulous care with which these
cases had already been considered by the lower tribunals.  The dossier
of each case was voluminous, containing a complete life-history of the
subject, reports of specialists and clinics, and also exhaustive
researches into the subject's family history. In reaching its
decision, the High Court not only consulted the records of the case
but also personally examined the living subjects themselves.

The first case I saw looked like an excellent candidate for
sterilization. A man in his mid-thirties, he was rather ape-like in
appearance--receding forehead, flat nose with flaring nostrils, thick
lips, and heavy prognathous jaw. Not vicious-looking, but gross and
rather dull. His life-history was mildly anti-social--several
convictions for minor thefts and one for a homosexual affair with
another boy when a lad. In early manhood he had married a Jewess by
whom he had three children, none of whom had showed up too well. That
marriage had been dissolved under the Nuremberg Laws. He was now
seeking to marry a woman who had already been sterilized as a moron.
The law forbids a non-sterilized individual to marry a sterilized
person; so he was more than willing to be also sterilized. The lower
court recommended sterilization.

All three members of the High Court interrogated the man at length.
Questions disclosed the fact that he conducted a newspaper delivery
route in the suburbs, that he was able to run this simple business
satisfactorily, and that he answered the Court's queries with a fair
degree of intelligence. The Court concluded that sterilization had not
been proven mandatory and sent back the case for further

Case Two was obviously unbalanced mentally, though not an asylum case.
Swinging a cane like a fine gentleman, he entered Court with an "air,"
which went incongruously with his shabby-genteel clothes and the
battered felt hat tucked under his left arm. There was no doubt that
he should be sterilized. The lower courts had decided he was either a
schizophrenic or a manic-depressive, and both defects came under the
law.  But which of the two it was had to be clearly determined before
the operation could be legally performed.  This man wanted to marry an
unsterilized woman, so he was strongly opposed to sterilization. His
case-history showed two prolonged mental breakdowns, irrational
violent quarrels, and queer actions. Ten years previously he had
evolved a plan for a Utopian State and had been arrested when he tried
to lay it personally before President Hindenburg. He answered
questions intelligently, revealing education, but he got excited
easily; and his eyes, which were never normal, became wild on such
occasions. The Court inclined to think him a manic-depressive, but
they also detected schizophrenic symptoms. Since they were not
absolutely sure, the case was remanded for further clinical

Case Three was an eighteen-year-old girl. A deaf-mute, she talked
through an interpreter. She was obviously not feeble-minded, but had a
poor family record.  The parents, who also appeared, were most
unprepossessing.  Her case had first come before the lower court two
years ago. It then decided against sterilization because no hereditary
deafness was shown in the family record. Recently it had recommended
sterilization because several unfortunate hereditary factors in the
family had been disclosed by further investigation. The High Court
ordered the girl sent to a clinic for observation.  It also ordered
more research into the family record.

Case Four was a seventeen-year-old girl. The issue was
feeble-mindedness. She certainly looked feebleminded as she sat below
the bench, hunched in a chair, with dull features and lackluster eyes.
Left an orphan at an early age, she had had a haphazard upbringing.
The record showed her to have been always shy, backward, and unable to
keep up with normal schooling.

At present she was employed as helper in a cheap restaurant.  When her
case first came before the lower court, its verdict was: Wait and see.
Perhaps this is a case of retarded intelligence due to environmental
factors, which will ripen later. But it did not ripen; so there were
further hearings, at which two specialists had disagreed.

The members of the High Court examined this poor waif carefully and
with kindly patience. She had no knowledge of or interest in even the
most elementary current events. For instance, she barely knew there
was a war going on. But the psychologist discovered that she was able
to make change for small customers' bills in her restaurant and that
she could perform other duties of her humble job. So the Court finally
concluded that, despite her most unprepossessing appearance and her
simple, childlike mind, she was not a moron within the meaning of the
law and therefore should not be sterilized.

There were other cases that day, all conducted in the same
painstaking, methodical fashion. I came away convinced that the law
was being administered with strict regard for its provisions and that,
if anything, judgments were almost too conservative. On the evidence
of that one visit, at least, the Sterilization Law is weeding out the
worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly
humanitarian way.

To turn from negative to positive eugenics, the first active measure
for increasing both the quantity and quality of the population was the
Law for the Promotion of Marriages. I have already mentioned the young
Friesian milker and his wife who were enabled to furnish a home
through a l,000-Mark Government loan, 25 per cent of which was
canceled on the birth of each child born to them. These loans are made
to young couples, not in cash, but in the form of certificates for
household goods; before being eligible for the loan, the couple must
have passed medical and mental tests proving that they are sound,
healthy stock. Since the law went into effect, more than 900,000 such
loans have been made.

Another population stimulus was official grants-in-aid to large
families in poor circumstances. This was later expanded to a regular
system of child-allowances. The taxation laws were likewise revised to
lighten the burdens which large families tend to bear. An example of
this is the tax on salaries, which is 16 per cent for the unmarried
and 10 per cent for a married man without offspring, but which
decreases with each child until it vanishes after four children have
been born. In all measures requiring official loans or allowances,
only sound, healthy persons can benefit. It should be understood that
these specific measures dovetail with all those social-welfare and
public health activities discussed in previous chapters. Thus the
entire system is permeated with the eugenic point of view.

These stimuli to population growth have produced remarkable results.
In 1933, the year when the Nazis came to power, only 957,000 children
were born--far below the reproductive rate for the nation. The very
next year births had shot up to 1,197,000, and they increased steadily
until, when the war broke out, they were running about 1,300,000
annually. This is entirely contrary to the general trend in other
countries of Western and Northern Europe, where average birth rates
are low, with slight changes during the past decade.  Even Mussolini
was unable to get as good results from his efforts at increasing
Italy's population until he recently copied several measures from the
Reich.  And we should remember that Fascism seeks quantity production,
without the eugenic requirements for quality that are in force in

Before closing this survey, we should note the psychological aspect of
Nazi population policy. The rulers of the Third Reich do not stop with
laws and economic regulations. They realize that, for the full
attainment of their goal, ideology must be mobilized. So the German
people is systematically propagandized for the upbuilding of what may
be described as a racial and eugenic consciousness. Here, for
instance, are the _Ten Commandments for the Choice of a Mate_. Couched
in the exhortatory form of the German _Du_, this new racial decalogue
is brought so constantly to the attention of every German youth and
maiden that they must know it by heart.

Here is the text:

1. _Remember that thou art a German_! All that thou art, thou owest,
not to thine self, but to thy people.  Whether thou wiliest it or no,
thou belongest thereto; from thy people hast thou come forth. In all
thou doest, bethink thee whether it be to thy people's best

2. _Thou shalt maintain purity of Mind and Spirit_!  Cherish and
foster thy mental and spiritual capacities.  Keep far from thy mind
and soul whatsoever is instinctively foreign to them, what is contrary
to thy true self, what thine inner conscience rejects. Seeking after
money and worldly goods, after quick preferment, after material
pleasures, may often lead thee to forget higher things. Be true to
thine own self, and before aught else be worthy of thy future

3. _Keep thy body clean_! Maintain the good health received from thy
parents, in order to serve thy people.  Guard against expending it
uselessly and foolishly. A moment's sensual gratification may
lastingly wreck thine health and heritable treasure whereon thy
children and children's children have a compelling claim.  What thou
demandest from thy future life-partner, that must thou demand of
thyself. Remember that thou art destined to be a German Parent.

4. _Being of sound stock, thou shalt not remain single_! All thy
qualities of body and spirit perish if thou diest without heirs. They
are a heritage, a donation from thine ancestors. They exist as a
chain, of which thou art but a link. Durst thou break that chain, save
under stern necessity? Thy life is straitly bound by time; family and
folk endure. Thy hereditary estate of body and spirit prospers in thy
waxing offspring.

5. _Marry only for love_! Money is perishable stuff and ensures no
lasting happiness. Where the divine spark of love is absent, there can
no worthy marriage endure.  Wealth of heart and soul is the foundation
of a lasting, happy union.

6. _As a German, choose a mate only of thine own or kindred blood_!
Where like meets like, there rules true unison. Where unlike races
mix, there is discord. Mixing racial stocks which do not harmonize
leads to the degeneracy and downfall of both strains and peoples.  The
more unlike the mixtures, the faster this takes place. Guard thyself
from such ruin! True happiness springs only from harmonious blood.

7. _In choosing thy mate, consider the ancestry_! Thou weddest not
alone thy mate but also thy life-partner's forebears. Worthy
descendants are to be expected only where worthy ancestors went
before. Gifts of mind and spirit are just as much inherited as the
color of hair and eyes. Bad traits are bequeathed precisely like lands
or goods. Naught in the whole world is so precious as the seeds of a
gifted stock; noxious seeds cannot be transformed into good ones.
Wherefore, marry not the one worthy member of a bad family.

8. _Health is the prerequisite for even outward beauty_! Health is the
best guarantee for lasting happiness, for it is the basis for both
external charm and inward harmony. Demand of thy mate medical
assurance of fitness for marriage, as thou thyself must also do.

9. _In marriage seek, not a plaything but a helpmeet_!  Marriage is
not a transient game but a lasting union.  The supreme aim of marriage
is the raising of healthy offspring. Only by the union of beings who
are like in spirit, body and blood can this high goal be attained, to
the blessing of themselves and their people. For each race has its
ov;n ethos; so like souls can alone endure together.

10. _Thou shalt desire many children_! Only by engendering at least
four children can the continuance of thy people be assured. Only by
having an even larger number can the greatest possible proportion of
the merits inherited from thine ancestors be surely handed down. No
child wholly resembles another. Each child inherits different traits.
Many gifted children greatly enhances the worth of a people and are
the surest guarantees for its future. Thou wilt soon pass away; what
thou givest to thy descendants endures. Thy people liveth forever!

What an amazing mixture of idealisms and propaganda!  This Marital
Decalogue is a striking instance of the Nazi attitude and methods.


To meet and talk with Adolf Hitler, "Der Fuehrer" of the Third Reich,
was naturally an outstanding item in my professional program when I
went to Germany.  I have already recounted how, my very first evening
in Berlin, I met Herr Hewel, one of Hitler's confidential men. I did
not fail to discuss the matter with him, but his reaction was not
encouraging. For a long time past, he said, the Fuehrer had been
seeing very few foreigners except diplomats in his official capacity
as Chancellor of the Reich. Since the outbreak of war, no non-official
foreigner had been received; nor was such an audience then in
contemplation. However, Herr Hewel expressed interest in my plans and
promised to see what could be done.

The officials of the Foreign Office and the Propaganda Ministry with
whom I had introductory talks during the next few days were equally
dubious. They flatly told me that, while an audience was remotely
possible, an interview was out of the question. Let me explain that,
in journalistic parlance, the two terms have a widely different
meaning. An _interview_ is granted with the express understanding that
much of what is said will be permitted publication in the press,
though certain remarks made during the conversation may be withheld as
being "off the record." In an audience, on the contrary, everything
said is "off the record" unless specific permission to publish certain
remarks is granted. But there was no chance that such an exception
would be made to me, because, when the current war broke out, a rule
was adopted that any audience with the Fuehrer which might be given
was with the clear proviso that no word spoken by him should be
quoted. That logically excluded newspapermen, since for them an
unquotable audience would have no professional meaning.

It looked as though I was up against a stone wall, but when I analyzed
those conversations, I thought I saw a possible way through. Just one
American writer had seen Hitler in the preceding two years. He was
Albert Whiting Fox, well known for his magazine and press feature
articles. After three months of diligent effort, Fox had seen Hitler
shortly before the war. And, from what was told me, I gathered that
Fox succeeded mainly because his purpose was to present a picture of
Hitler the Man and his surroundings, rather than to get a statement of
the Fuehrer's views on politics or other controversial matters.

The Nazi officials liked that idea, because they favored anything
which would present the human side of their Leader to the outer world.
More than one of his close associates expressed regret to me that the
foreign public knew and thought of him only in his official
capacity--occasionally declaiming over the radio, but otherwise an
aloof, mysterious figure whom his enemies depicted as sinister, even
inhuman.  Indeed, these informants went on to say that they would have
long since accorded reputable foreign writers and journalists
permission to make first-hand studies of Hitler and his environment
but for the opposition of the Fuehrer himself. It seems that Hitler
dislikes having his intimate personality and private life thus
publicized.  He feels it would be undignified, and prefers being known
to the outer world for what he officially says and does.

Realizing how these officials felt, I concentrated along that line. I
pointed out that, though I had come to Germany as a journalist, I was
there also with the intention of gathering material for a book and for
lectures to the American public. In those latter capacities, the ban
on quoting Hitler's remarks were to me relatively immaterial. An
audience would serve almost as well, if I were permitted to describe
the circumstances and portray the man himself as I saw him. It is to
these arguments that I ascribe chiefly the audience which, after two
months, was granted me. Indeed, this audience, the only one granted a
non-official foreigner since the beginning of the war, was given me
explicitly in my capacity, not as a journalist, but as a writer of
books and public speaker.

The memorable day was Tuesday, December 19, 1939. Shortly before one
o'clock in the afternoon, a shining limousine drew up in front of the
Hotel Adlon and a handsome young officer in dove-gray Foreign Office
uniform ushered me to the waiting car. Driving down the
Wilhelmstrasse, the car slowed before the Chancery and blew a peculiar
note on its horn. Like most public buildings erected under the Third
Reich, the new Chancery is severely plain on the outside, with a high
doorway flush with the wall and normally always closed. In response to
the summons, however, the halves of the entrance opened immediately,
and the car drove slowly inside.

What a contrast to the plain exterior! I found myself in a large paved
courtyard. Opposite the gate was a broad flight of stone steps flanked
by two impressive gray stone figures. The flight led up to an
entrance. On the steps stood several lackeys in blue-and-silver
liveries, while near the entrance doorway was a knot of high officers
in regulation gray-green uniforms. Through the entrance I glimpsed a
foyer ablaze with electric light from crystal chandeliers.

Emerging from my car, I walked up the steps, to bows and salutes, and
entered the foyer, where more lackeys took charge of my hat and
overcoat. I was here greeted by a high official with whom I walked
through the foyer into a magnificent hall, without windows but
electrically lighted from above. This lofty hall, done in light-red
marble inlaid with elaborate patterns, reminded me somehow of an
ancient Egyptian temple.

At its further end, more steps led up to an enormously long gallery of
mirrors lighted by numerous sconces on the left-hand wall. Since this
gallery was set at a slight angle, the effect upon me was of intense
brilliance; much more so than a straight perspective would have

About half-way down the long gallery I observed a door on the
right-hand side, before which stood a pair of lackeys. Through this
door I passed, to find myself in a large room which, I was told, was
the ante-chamber to the Fuehrer's study. In it were about a dozen high
officers to whom I was introduced and with some of whom I chatted for
some moments.

The whole build-up thus far had been so magnificent and the attendant
psychic atmosphere so impressive that by this time I really did not
know what to expect. I had the feeling that I was being ushered into
the presence of a Roman Emperor or even an Oriental Potentate. The
absurd thought crossed my mind that I might find _Der Fuehrer_ seated
on a throne surrounded by flaming swastikas.

At that moment I was bidden to the Presence. Turning left, I passed
through double doors and entered another large room. To my right hand,
near the doorway, was an upholstered sofa and several chairs. At the
far end of the room was a flat-topped desk from behind which a figure
rose as I entered and came towards me.  I saw a man of medium height,
clad in a plain officer's tunic with no decorations save the Iron
Cross, black trousers, and regulation military boots. Walking up to
where I had halted near the doorway, he gave me a firm handshake and a
pleasant smile. It was the Fuehrer.

For an instant I was taken aback by the astounding contrast between
this simple, natural greeting and the heavy magnificence through which
I had just passed.  Pulling myself together, I expressed in my best
German my appreciation of the honor that was being shown me, calling
him _Excellency_, as foreigners are supposed to do. Hitler smiled
again at my little speech, motioned to the sofa, and said: "Won't you
sit down?", himself taking the nearest chair about a yard away from
me.  My German evidently made a good impression, for he complimented
me upon my accent, from which he inferred that I had been to Germany
before. I assured him that he was correct, but went on to say that
this was my first view of the Third Reich. To which he replied, with a
slight shake of the head: "A pity you couldn't have seen it in

The conversation of about twenty minutes which followed these
preliminaries naturally cannot be repeated, because I had given my
word to that effect.  Hitler, however, told me no deep, dark
secrets--heads of States don't do that sort of thing with foreign
visitors.  I think it is no breach of my agreement to say that much of
his talk dealt neither with the war nor politics but with great
rebuilding plans which the war had constrained him temporarily to lay
aside. His regretful interest in those matters seemed to show that he
still had them very much in mind.

Even more interesting than what Hitler said was his whole manner and
appearance. Here I was, in private audience with the Master of Greater
Germany, and able to study him at close range. Needless to say, I
watched intently his every move and listened with equal intent-ness to
his voice. Let me try to depict as clearly as possible what I

There are certain details of Hitler's appearance which one cannot
surmise from photographs. His complexion is medium, with blond-brown
hair of neutral shade which shows no signs of gray. His eyes are very
dark-blue.  Incidentally, he no longer wears a cartoonist's mustache.
It is now the usual "tooth-brush" type, in both size and length. As
already remarked, his uniform is severely plain and seemingly of stock

In ordinary conversation, Hitler's voice is clear and well-modulated.
Throughout the audience he spoke somewhat rapidly, yet never
hurriedly, and in an even tone. Only occasionally did I detect a trace
of his native Austro-Bavarian accent. The audience was not a
monologue.  Although naturally he did most of the talking, Hitler gave
me plenty of chances to ask questions and put in my say. He did not at
any time sharply raise his voice. Only when discussing the war did it
become vibrant with emotion; and then he dropped his voice almost to
an intense whisper. He made practically no gestures, sitting for the
most part quietly, with one hand resting on the arm of his chair and
the other lying relaxed in his lap.

Hitler's whole appearance was that of a man in good health. He
certainly did not look a day older than his fifty years. His color was
good, his skin clear and un-wrinkled, his body fit and not
over-weight. He showed no visible signs of nervous strain, such as
pouched eyes, haggard lines, or twitching physical reactions. On the
contrary, appearance, voice, and manner combined to give an impression
of calmness and poise. I am well aware that this description tallies
neither with current ideas nor with reports of other persons who have
seen and talked with him. Very likely those reports are just as true
as mine, since Hitler is said to be a man of many moods. Perhaps I saw
him on one of his good days; perhaps, he intended to make a particular
impression upon me. All I can do is to describe accurately what I
myself saw and heard.

Three other persons were present during this audience.  First of all,
there was Herr Schmidt, the official interpreter, present at all
meetings of the Fuehrer with foreigners and reputed to be master of
many languages.  This time his services were not needed, so Herr
Schmidt sat quietly beside me on the sofa without uttering a word the
entire time. Equally silent were the other two, who sat in chairs some
little distance away. They were Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop and
Herr Hewel, who had done much to bring the audience about. Hitler
terminated the conversation by rising, shaking hands again, and
wishing me success in the balance of my stay in Germany. He then
turned back to his desk, whither von Ribbentrop had already gone and
where two other men were standing. At some point during the interview
a photograph had been taken of Hitler and myself in conversation. So
unobtrusively was this done that I was not aware of it at the moment.
The first thing I knew about it was when a copy was presented to me
with the Fuehrer's compliments as a souvenir of the occasion. Since it
was given me with the express understanding that it was not for
publication, I cannot reproduce it here, as I should like to have
done. I regret this, for it shows an interesting pose and would have
helped greatly to visualize what I have attempted to describe.

>From this audience emerge two outstanding contrasts.  First, as
already indicated, that between the magnificently staged approach and
the simple, undramatic, almost matter-of-fact meeting with the man
himself. Very likely this contrast was also deliberate staging.
Anyhow, it made a striking effect.

The second notable contrast which occurred to me was that of this
audience with Hitler and one I had years ago with his fellow-dictator,
Mussolini. The two audiences were complete opposites. There isn't much
stage-setting in reaching Mussolini at the Palazzo Venezia. The
dramatic build-up really begins when you go through a little
ante-chamber door and find yourself in an immense room, darkened by
half-closed blinds, and with no furniture except a desk and a couple
of chairs at the far end of the room. From behind that desk rises
Mussolini, just like Hitler, but there the resemblance abruptly ends;
for, instead of coming to meet you, you have to walk all the way
across the room to him.

However, from the very start, you feel that Mussolini is intensely
_human_. You get the fact that he is interested in you as a _person_.
Also you sense that he is trying to sell you, not only his ideas but
also _himself_. He wants to win your interest and admiration, and to
attain that he employs the arts of a finished actor--uses his big,
compelling eyes; thrusts out his chin; aims to semi-hypnotize you.
It's all very intriguing. Perhaps, to an Anglo-Saxon, it's a bit too
obvious. But it flatters your ego, just the same.

Nothing like that with Hitler. Though always pleasant and courteous,
he makes no obvious attempt to impress or win you. When he talks, his
eyes get a far-away look, and he sometimes bows his head, speaking
abstractedly, almost as though to himself. Whatever he may be to his
friends and intimates, I came away feeling that, however interested
Hitler may be in people collectively, he is not interested in the
average individual, as such. Of course, that is a personal impression.
After all, I was just a foreign journalist who meant nothing to him or
his scheme of things, and whom he had seen only on the advice of
subordinates. But the same was true of Mussolini, who _had_ shown a
personal interest.

Another factor: personal charm. Mussolini has it. At least, he turns
it on even in casual audiences. I felt his magnetic aura when I was
two yards away from him.  I didn't get any such psychic reaction from
Hitler neither did I get any emotional "lift" from his conversation.
This was perhaps the most surprising thing in my whole audience with
him, because all that had been told me pointed to the exact opposite.
My very first evening in Berlin, Herr Hewel had descanted to me on the
_inspirational_ value of personal contact with the Fuehrer, and all
who were closely connected with him spoke in the same way. Dr. Ley,
for instance, described at great length the need of continuous
personal contact with Hitler, not only for specific advice but even
more to drink in and be inspired by the constant creative emanations
from the Fuehrer's constructive genius.  For instance, Ley said that
Hitler had once said to him: "If you wait until I summon you about
something, then it is already too late." As a matter of fact, the Nazi
inner circle foregathers with Hitler almost every day, especially at
lunch time. The mid-day pause in Berlin's official life is admittedly
timed to this _intime_ luncheon-period.

Now I do not attempt to explain this seeming contradiction between my
personal impression and that of all privileged Nazis. At first, I
thought their statements on this matter was a sort of "Party Line."
Yet the idea was expressed in so many diverse ways and with such
differences in detail that I am inclined to think they really meant
what they said. It's just one of those mysteries that you run into so
often in present-day Germany.  Like the Third Reich which he has
created, what you first see in Hitler by no means indicates all that
lies behind.

One last aspect connected with this audience--its rigid
confidentiality. Long before I saw Hitler, I had had to give my word
of honor that everything he might say when I saw him would be kept
scrupulously "off the record." As the time for the audience
approached, everybody concerned said to me in substance: "You know, by
recommending you, we have in a sense vouched for you. If there should
be any misunderstanding on your part, it would be--most embarrassing
for us." I was given to understand that the Fuehrer felt strongly on
the matter.

The climax to all this came when I returned to the Adlon after my
audience and found a message from Herr von Ribbentrop, stating that he
would like to see me later that same afternoon. At the hour appointed
he received me and wasted no time getting to the point.

"You understand, of course, Dr. Stoddard," said he, "that today's
interview with the Fuehrer must not be quoted in any way."

I was slightly nettled. "Mr. Minister," I answered, "long before this
audience, I informed your subordinates and the officials at the
Propaganda Ministry of my journalistic experience and my reliability
for keeping a confidence and keeping my given word. I assume your
subordinates have informed you favorably."

"Of course, of course," replied von Ribbentrop hurriedly, "but--"

Even this is not the whole story. Three days after my audience with
Hitler I left for a Christmas holiday at Budapest, Hungary. Magyar
newspaper colleagues of mine in Berlin had telephoned their editors I
was coming, and naturally the audience had made me "news." So two
editors of leading Budapest papers promptly gave me a fine luncheon,
after which they proceeded to interview me with the introductory
remark: "Now let's hear all about your interview with Hitler."

"Gentlemen," I had to tell them, "before I say another word, please
understand that it was not an interview but an audience, and that
everything said was very much 'off the record.' You must give me your
word that, in whatever I say, you will publish this statement
textually. If you agree, I will tell you what the Fuehrer looked like
and under what circumstances I saw him."

They agreed, and, like good Magyar gentlemen, they did just what they
promised. Their press accounts were, of course, promptly transmitted
to Berlin. I knew nothing about it till I got back ten days later.
Then I did, because officials met me with unusual cordiality. "What
nice statements you made in Budapest," was the general refrain.

Thenceforth, all doors seemed to be open to me. In my last month in
Berlin I got my most important interviews.  Which would seem to
indicate that, in Germany as elsewhere, keeping faith is a good thing
at least for a journalist to do.


As the initial weeks of my stay in Germany grew into months, the damp
chill of autumn deepened into the damp cold of winter--the first
winter of the Second Great War. The shortest days of the year drew
nigh, and in North Germany they are short indeed. Even at high noon
the sun stood low in the heavens--a sun that gave scant light or
warmth. Often the sun was hidden by clouds. When the cloud-veil was
thick, it was almost like twilight, fading presently into the long
winter night with its inevitable blackout.

Slowly yet inexorably, war's impoverishing grip drew ever tighter,
producing cumulative shortage and scarcity.  Its constricting presence
could be literally felt.  Thanks to the efficient rationing system
already described, you didn't notice it much in the bare necessities
of life, but it did hit all comforts and luxuries. Here, uncertainties
and disappointments were the order of the day, symbolized by that
dread word _Ausverkauft_--"sold out."

_Ausverkauft_; how often you saw that sign! It was a mental hazard
that dogged your footsteps at every turn.  You found a brand of
cigarettes that fairly suited your American taste. Forbidden to buy
more than one package at a time, you couldn't lay in a stock. All at
once, that brand was no longer on sale anywhere, and you were told
that it was off the market--permanently _ausverkauft_.  You hit upon a
cigar that suited your fancy.

Impossible to buy a box, while your daily ration of five cigars in
October dropped to three in December and to two per day when I left
Berlin. Also, the chances were that long before then, that brand could
be had no more.  Suppose a few friends were scheduled to drop into
your room for a chat. You went around the corner to buy a bottle of
brandy for the occasion. Temporarily _ausverkauft_.  Same with
schnapps. All you could buy that day in the liquor line was an
imitation vodka, made in Germany. And I may add that in mid-January,
when the cold was at its worst, hard liquors vanished completely from
the market.

One of the most annoying aspects of the situation was the deceptive
appearance of the stores. They all kept up a good front. The windows
were filled with attractive displays. But go in and try to buy any of
it! Like as not, you would be told that those were only
Muster--display-samples which were not for sale. The shops had been
ordered to keep their windows full of goods even when stocks were
almost bare, so as to create a prosperous atmosphere that would
bolster morale. It was highly instructive to watch how the big
department stores found goods to cover their counters. They did, but
when you looked closely, you found that much of the stuff on sale
consisted of things seldom wanted or of obviously poor quality. Quick
"sellers" were chronically short, especially during the Christmas
shopping season. I remember going into AWAG, formerly Wertheim's,
Berlin's biggest department store, to buy a few toys for the children
of a family I knew well in Berlin.  It was at least a fortnight before
Christmas, yet I found that everything I had in mind had long since
been sold out.

Now these occurrences were not real hardships. They were merely
annoyances. But multiply them many times a day, in conjunction with
such matters as scratched-out dishes on restaurant or hotel menus,
shortages of taxicabs, and the constant dread that you might lose or
wear out some article of clothing which could not be replaced, and you
found yourself in a chronic state of irritation which wore on the
nerves. Most of the foreigners I met, with the exception of a few old
hands who were thoroughly "salted," told me that their dispositions
were being slowly but surely ruined. This was especially true of
Americans, who were apt to be cross and jumpy after a few months' stay
in Germany.

All this applies particularly to foreigners. We have already pointed
out that the Germans, long toughened and hardened by misfortune, are
not affected to anything like the same extent. But they, too, felt the
grim undertow which was sucking down their living-standards.  No class
was exempt. Indeed, war's leveling process hit the poor less obviously
than it did the rich and well-to-do. I would go into homes displaying
every evidence of wealth and comfort. At first sight, nothing had
changed. But those families could no longer entertain much because
they could buy only a few luxuries beyond their food-rations; they
could not bring out their fine linen and napery because they had no
extra soap to wash them with when soiled; they had to use the subway
or walk because their fine motor-cars had been either commandeered by
the government or laid up for lack of gasoline. And didn't they hate
this sort of thing!  It was in such homes that I heard the bitterest

The Christmas season was especially revealing. It showed how slim is
the margin the German people now has for good cheer. Yuletide is
especially dear to German hearts. Even the very poor strain themselves
to make a real celebration, particularly for the children.  I have
already described how the Government did its bit by allowing men to
purchase a Christmas necktie and women a pair of stockings without
recourse to their clothing cards. Other official relaxations were a
slight raising of the food rations, or the month of December, and a
special food bonus or Christmas week.  This munificent release worked
out, per person, at about one-eighth of a pound of butter, the same
amount of Ersatz honey, one extra egg, and a little chocolate cake and
candy! Lastly, there was a temporary increase in the sugar ration and
permission to buy certain flavoring extracts and spices. Since the
regular bread-flour ration was already ample, German housewives were
able to bake their traditional Christmas cakes and marzipan--in
moderation. Boughten sweets, however, were scarce. There was a cake
and candy shop near my hotel, and I noted the daily queue of persons
waiting eagerly to enter for the short period in which that shop was
open for business. When the daily stock had been sold out, the shop
closed for the day.

I did not witness the actual Christmas celebration in Germany, because
I spent the holiday season in Hungary.  But I was in Berlin until
December 22nd, so I saw all the preparations. They were rather
pathetic. In the department stores, crowds of shoppers would mill
about the counters, looking for Christmas gifts. Most of the stuff on
sale was clearly unsuitable for that purpose.  Nevertheless, the most
unlikely articles were bought, for want of something better. Everybody
seemed to have money enough. The trouble was that their Reichsmarks
simply couldn't connect with what they were after. That typifies what
goes on in Germany all the time. It's a sort of reverse inflation.
Money doesn't increase notably in quantity, but what you can buy with
it dwindles away.

That is the reason why Germans tend to spend so much on amusements of
all kinds. Despite the blackout and curtailed transportation,
moving-picture houses, theaters, and the opera are filled to capacity.
The same is true of cafes, bars, and night-clubs, where Germans throng
to drown their sorrows according to their pocket-books in beer,
schnapps, or champagne. The Germans today drink much more than they
normally do, so the night-life is stridently hilarious. I saw a good
deal of drunkenness; and I may add that when the German sets out to do
some serious drinking, he makes a good job of it. Seldom does he
acquire a fighting jag. Usually he just gets maudlin until he sinks
either to the floor or into the gutter, as chance directs.

One of the drawbacks to a big time in Berlin is that you must quit
early unless you are near home. Otherwise you will find no return
transportation. The subways and most trams stop at 1.00 A.M., and
buses retire even earlier, while there are virtually no taxis. I
recall one poignant occasion when I forgot the schedule. I emerged
from a night-club in a driving rain, three miles from my hotel and
with not the faintest idea how to get there on foot. Of course there
were no taxis, since a chauffeur whom the police discovers parking or
cruising near any resort of pleasure loses his license. The friend who
had brought me thither stuck by me as we roamed the wet streets in
search of a conveyance. At last a taxicab hove in sight, and my
companion brought it to a halt by yelling: "Here's a foreigner! An
American!  He has a legal right to ride!"

After a hard day's work, I did not always feel like spending the
evening writing in my room. The same was true of other foreign
journalists living in downtown hotels or who had night work in
downtown offices. Some months before my arrival in Berlin, the
Propaganda Ministry had tried to help the foreign press corps by
having special privileges extended to a certain restaurant called the
_Taverne_ with the idea of making it the evening rendezvous for
newspapermen. One could get certain foods like egg dishes,
unobtainable elsewhere, while taxis were allowed to stand outside.
Also, the place was furnished with a number of regular "Ladies" whom
the journalists nicknamed "Himmler's Gals," because they were supposed
to be _Gestapo_ (political secret police) agents waiting to vamp the
unwary and extract information from them. However, the _Taverne_
prostitutes, the high prices and the noise soon got on the nerves of
the North European and American correspondents.

The Propaganda Ministry, heeding our complaints, soon found a new
place for us which was eminently satisfactory. This was a private
dining-room in the _Auslands Club_, a really distinguished
organization on Leipziger Platz. Here the food was excellent, the
service quick, and prices surprisingly moderate, conbidering what you
got for your money. Accordingly, we Americans, together with the best
of the North European correspondents, made our quarters a real club of
our own, dining there frequently and spending the evenings in
conversation. On dark, cold winter nights, I cannot describe how
grateful I was for that snug haven.

In many ways the life of the foreign press corps in Berlin is a hard
one, professionally as well as personally.  I cannot praise too highly
my American colleagues, who do fine work on the most difficult and
also the most thankless assignment in Europe today. I have already
described the technical side of our professional existence and the
generally good relations existing between foreign journalists and the
officials with whom they have regularly to do. The only time those
relations threatened to become strained was when the Russo-Finnish War
broke out. Red Russia's invasion of Finland raised stormy echoes in
the foreign press corps, and the German Government's attitude in the
matter did not tend to calm us. Since this is a good instance of Nazi
propaganda methods, towards both foreigners and its own people, it
seems worth describing in some detail.

The Government's basic standpoint was that it sat on the sidelines
watching objectively a matter which was not its concern. At first, it
did its best to play down the affair. During the diplomatic crisis
which preceded the war, and even after fighting had actually started,
the Government spokesmen in our daily press conferences refused to
take things seriously and foretold a peaceful settlement. German
newspapers either tucked brief items in inconspicuous corners or
printed nothing at all. Only when the war was well under way did they
make even a partial attempt to present the news.

In its attempt to mold German public opinion, it was revealing to see
how the official thesis evolved from day to day. First we were told
that Soviet Russia sought merely to safeguard its outlet to the Baltic
Sea, and that the Finnish Government was very foolish in refusing to
grant Moscow's moderate demands. We were also told that those demands
were fully justified by geography, history, strategy, and
what-have-you. Next came an assertion that Russia was trying to throw
off the shackles imposed upon her after the Great War by unjust
treaties that constituted an "Eastern Versailles." If Finland rashly
attempted to perpetuate this intolerable Diktat, she must suffer the
logical consequences of her folly.  The final link in this chain of
reasoning brought England into the picture. The newspapers at first
hinted and then openly stated that British diplomacy was chiefly, if
not entirely, responsible for Finland's stubborn resistance to Russian

Well, if you heard only that side, and if you either forgot or didn't
know what had happened in the past, perhaps the German official thesis
might have seemed reasonable. Otherwise it sounded pretty thin. When
you mentioned the matter to well-informed Germans who weren't
officials, they would shrug deprecatingly and then make a more
understandable explanation.

"What do you expect us to do?" they would ask.  "What _can_ we do,
under the circumstances? Here we are in a life-and-death struggle with
Britain and France.  Do you want us to offend Russia and perhaps find
ourselves as we were in the last war--nipped between two fronts?"

So, most Germans seemed inclined to think that their Government was
making the best of a bad business.  But, in private conversation,
intelligent Germans admitted that it was a bad business. And they
displayed no love for Soviet Russia, either. Make no mistake about

The foreign residents in Berlin were practically solid in their
sympathy for Finland and their condemnation of the Soviets. The
Americans, especially, were furious.  One of the ways in which we gave
vent to our feelings was by raising our glasses to the toast: _Skoal
Finland_!  whenever we took a drink. We newspapermen were especially
fond of doing this in the Kaiserhof bar. You will remember that the
Hotel Kaiserhof is the Nazi social stronghold, and at the cocktail
hour its bar, a large room with many tables, is apt to be filled with
big guns of the Party. We journalists would often slip in there for a
drink and a chat after our afternoon press conference at the
Propaganda Ministry just across the Wilhelmsplatz from the hotel. We
were thus sure of a distinguished audience when we raised our glasses
and gave our defiant toast. We had our ansxver all ready, in case any
Nazi remonstrated, by pointing out that the German Government had
officially emphasized entire objectivity to the Russo-Finnish
conflict, and that therefore it was no breach of etiquette on our part
to show where our sympathies lay. The Nazis must have realized this;
because, aside from a few heavy stares, no objection was ever made.
Indeed, I imagine that such demonstrations by the press
representatives of many neutral nations may have given some of our
Nazi hearers a sense of moral isolation which could not have been

The most interesting vantage-point from which to watch both official
and foreign attitudes was at the daily press conferences at the
Foreign Office, which I have already described. Whenever the Finnish
question arose, as it often did, the usually cordial atmosphere would
grow a bit tense. Of course, impeccable politeness prevailed on both
sides. But the press queries were sharply searching, while official
answers frequently had an acid flavor.

I certainly didn't envy the Government spokesman, those days. Usually,
he was Dr. Braun von Stumm, an able man, though with a temper of his
own. He needed all his ability, for he had to keep a somewhat tortuous
official record straight, and dodge or parry questions shot at him by
clever, quick-witted men and women on a highly delicate topic. And he
visibly showed the strain he was under. As the questions piled in, he
would redden, and I could see him squirm, mentally as well as
physically. On more than one occasion, those days, he reminded me of
the bull in a Spanish _corrida_, pricked by the barbed darts flung at
him by agile _banderilleros_. When he thought the matter had gone far
enough, he was apt to announce brusquely that the Russo-Finnish topic
had been fully covered for the day, and that we should shift our
queries to other matters.

One other outstanding aspect of Berlin life should be included in the
picture. This was the great cold. On top of an unusually inclement
autumn, it started in about mid-December. From then on, one cold wave
after another rolled over us, fresh from the Russian steppes. Morning
after morning, it would be below zero, Fahrenheit. With a rise of only
a few degrees during the short winter day, the cold hung steady and
tightened its grip. Since it was a damp cold, its penetrating quality
was far greater than our winter weather.

Those cold waves covered all Europe. I found even lower temperatures
in Hungary, though with a drier air, and I watched the mighty Danube
river fill with ice floes during the Christmas season until it was
frozen solid by New Year's Day.

The severest blow which the hard winter dealt Europe was an almost
complete stoppage of inland water transportation. We in America make
comparatively little use of our rivers. Europe, on the contrary, is
covered with an interlocking system of navigable rivers and canals on
which much of the slow freight is moved by barges. By the turn of the
year, that entire system was frozen up, so water-borne freight
movements were paralyzed. That threw a prodigious burden on railway
lines already overworked or on motor trucks strictly rationed for

Nowhere were winter's blows harder to parry than in Berlin, one of the
world's great metropolitan centers with a population exceeding four
million souls. Even in normal times this implies an elaborate supply
system, much of it by water. For instance, I was informed that 40 per
cent of Berlin's coal ordinarily comes by barge.  The sudden crisis
precipitated when the great cold began in mid-December was rendered
all the more serious by the fact that three months' strict food and
fuel rationing had made it impossible for the thrifty and forehanded
to lay up any stocks.

Great credit is due the Government for the way it handled the
situation. Truly heroic efforts were made, and disaster was averted.
Yet widespread suffering was inevitable. Living as I did in one of
Berlin's leading hotels, I personally experienced little of all this.
The Adlon continued to be well heated, and I saw no perceptible
difference in the quality of my food. But, when I returned to Berlin
immediately after New Year's, I heard sad tales on every hand of
ill-heated houses or apartments and skimpy domestic menus. Even
potatoes and cabbages grew scarce, because they froze on the way to
market and were spoiled. Train schedules were cut to the bone. When I
left Germany at the end of January by that famous flyer, the
Berlin-Rome Express, my journey was full of unpleasant incidents. I
felt I was getting out just in time, and what I learned afterwards
amply justified my foreboding.

An amusing aspect of the wintry scene was the enormous overshoes
issued to policemen on post before public buildings. I presume they
were stuffed with felt, straw, or some other cold-resistant material.
Anyhow, the _Schupos_ waddled along their short beats like mammoth
ducks, and seemed somewhat self-conscious when passers-by glanced at
their foot-gear.

Berliners did not wholly lose their proverbial wit and caustic sense
of humor. Curses at the weather were often interlarded with jests. The
best joke I heard was uttered by the coatroom man at the _Auslands
Club_.  When I came there to dine one bitter December night, I gave
him my opinion of the weather in the shape of a loud "Brrrh!" Quick as
a flash, he replied, with a sly wink: "Yeah. The first export out of

To tell the truth, I was a bit fed-up with this wartime Berlin life.
Much of my hardest work was still ahead of me, and I had a long time
to go before I could get through. I needed a break, and I could think
of no better place than Budapest, Hungary; a city of which I have
always been fond, and where I have old friends.  So, three days before
Christmas, I left Berlin for the holidays in a land where I could
escape from blackouts, food-rations, etcetera, at least for a short


The best night train in Germany rolled into the Friedrichstrasse
Station. At least, it ought to be the best, because it's the only
all-sleeping-car train in the Fatherland, and it runs between Berlin
and Vienna, the two metropolitan cities of the Third Reich.

It was three days before Christmas. I had been warned that the holiday
traffic would be heavy, so I had engaged my berth nearly a fortnight
in advance. I had also been positively assured when I bought my ticket
that there would be a dining-car on that de luxe train, so I had eaten
nothing since lunch. As meals in Germany don't stand by you very well
these days, I was good and hungry.

The best night train in Germany was half an hour late, though it was
made up in the Berlin yards and had stopped at only two stations
before reaching mine.  Meanwhile I had stood on the darkened platform
and watched the crowds storming the outgoing trains. Never before had
I realized so fully the shortage of Germany's rolling-stock. The
railway authorities were quite incapable of handling the holiday
traffic. When the day-coach section to Vienna ahead of mine arrived,
it was like an aggravated subway rush. The coaches, already
well-filled from previous stations, were jammed to overflowing.  I
pitied that close-packed mass of humanity, condemned to stand up all
night, and thanked my lucky stars that my train took only those whose
passages were booked.

At length I climbed aboard my sleeper, found my compartment, deposited
my hand luggage, and sought the porter to ask my way to the diner. He
shook his head sadly.

"There isn't any on tonight, sir," he answered.

"What?" I stormed. "But they assured me--"

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't have a diner aboard."

"Well, then," I said, clinging to a last hope, "haven't you anything
in your buffet?"

"Nothing to eat, sir; only beer and liquors."

"Well, what can I do?" I asked in desperation.

"There's one more stop in Berlin, sir. You may be able to get
something on the platform if you're quick."

The train was just drawing into that station, so I dashed down the
steps and made for the dimly lighted little buffet. Only packaged
goods to be seen! I bought two small boxes of crackers and made a
flying leap for the train which was about to get under way. Those
crackers, washed down with two bottles of beer, constituted my dinner.

A traveler must needs be somewhat of a philosopher, so I proceeded to
look on the bright side. My car was relatively new, my compartment
comfortable and clean, while hunger is a good sauce even for crackers.
Midway in my reflections I was disturbed by raucous voices in the
corridor. I opened the door and found several angry men and women
gesticulating with the conductor. I presently gathered that one of the
sleeping cars had broken down when the train was made up and had not
been replaced; so some thirty passengers with perfectly good tickets
had no place to sleep. This reconciled me to my lost dinner like
nothing else.

I turned in early; the bed was excellent and the car well sprung; I
slept long and well. There is an old saying that he who sleeps dines,
but I disproved it when I awoke from my slumbers next morning hungry
as a wolf. The best night train in Germany was over two hours late, so
I knew I would miss my connection for Budapest. That, however, was a
minor detail beside the question of food. Rather hopelessly, I asked
the porter.

"Oh, yes, sir," he answered brightly. "We switched one on early this
morning. Last car in the rear."

Electrified, I lightly trod a long series of cars until I reached the
diner. Of course, I knew in advance that I would get nothing more than
rolls, butter, and imitation coffee. Still, after two months in
Germany, that didn't faze me. Blithely I took out my food-cards; and,
since I was a bit ahead of the game, I recklessly tore off a double
allowance of butter. About this time the waiter came up. He looked at
my pile of coupons and shook his head.

"Sorry, sir," he announced, "but we have no butter--and no rolls
either; just sliced bread."

"All right," I sighed, "bring me some honey or a bit of jam."

"Sorry, sir," came the reply, "you're a bit late, so the honey and jam
are also out."

My famous breakfast thus whittled down to three slices of dry bread
dipped in the _Ersatz_ mixture which German wits have dubbed
_West-Wall Coffee_ because it is "untakeable"!

The best night train in Germany pulled into Vienna nearly three hours
late. I had a seven-hour lay-over before the next train for Budapest,
Hungary, left at six o'clock that evening. The day was cold and foggy,
and I was cold and hungry. I knew Vienna well of old, and had been
there a short time before, so I took a long walk to get a bit of
exercise and finally dropped into a little place I remembered to get
an early lunch.

An hour before train-time I ambled over to the station. That was
certainly a good hunch, as events were to prove! First of all, I had
to deposit my Reichsmarks before leaving Germany; and that took some
time because I had to wait in line. The real trouble, however,
developed when I turned in my ticket at the gate. In the waiting-room
beyond, I glimpsed a tight-packed crowd of people.

"What's the matter?" I asked the ticket-taker.

"Passport control," he answered shortly.

"But I thought that was done at the frontier," I said in dismay.

"It's done this way here," he barked. "Move on!  Don't block the

With a bag in one hand and my typewriter in the other, I charged the
rear of that crowd and wormed my way into the press. Craning my neck,
I glimpsed two officials examining passports behind a long table. Just
two of them to handle that mob! And how leisurely they were about it!
Slowly they scanned each passport thrust into their faces by frenzied
hands, making copious notes and asking questions from time to time.
Dismayed at this deliberation, I glanced at the station clock and saw
it was a quarter before six. Gradually I forged to the front, and one
of the officials took my passport, scanned it, and gave it his O.K.
With four minutes to spare, I hastened to the train and found a
compartment.  Leaning out of the window, I hailed the conductor.

"How long will the train be delayed for all those folks back there in
the control room?" I queried.

He looked at me severely. "We leave at six sharp," was his crisp

Sure enough, on the hour, he blew his whistle and the train started,
with unfortunates running vainly down the platform in its wake. I hate
to think of the number left behind, forced to spend a night in a
strange town, perhaps with insufficient funds, and very likely with
families anxiously wondering what had happened to them, since no
private telegrams can be sent across the border.

This train was fast and kept to schedule. It is only about fifty miles
from Vienna to the Hungarian frontier, and the interval was occupied
by inspections from various officials examining your luggage, checking
up on your money, and giving your passport the once-over a second

Until we reached the border, of course, the windows were kept tightly
curtained. Then the train stopped, started, stopped once more.
Cautiously I peeked past a corner of the curtain. We were in a
brilliantly lighted station bearing the big neon sign _Hegyeshalom_.
On the platform stood policemen and railway officials in strange
uniforms. Through the uncurtained windows of the station I could see a
restaurant with counters laden with foodstuffs. I was in Hungary--a
land of peace and plenty! Standing up in my compartment, I gave three
loud _Ellyens_! Which is Magyar for _Hooray_!

To enter Hungary from wartime Germany is literally to pass from
darkness into light. The sense of this grew upon me with every
kilometer the train made toward Budapest, the Hungarian capital.

First and foremost, a meal in the dining car which, accustomed as I
had become to German fare, seemed a dinner fit for the gods: a big
basket heaped with crisp, all-wheat bread, butter _ad lib_., a meat
entree with sour-cream gravy, and so on down to a cup of good strong
coffee. Such viands may not sound startling to American readers--but
just you live a couple of months in wartime Germany, and you'll

Another wonder was the approach to Budapest--a great city twinkling
and sparkling with lights. To one fresh from blacked-out Germany, it
seemed like fairyland.  Then the taxi drive through
brilliantly-illuminated streets thronged with Christmas shoppers
lingering before windows filled with tempting displays--it seemed just
too good to be true. A sound night's rest in an excellent hotel,
followed by a breakfast memorable for such unheard-of delicacies as
orange-juice, eggs, and coffee with whipped cream completed my sense
of liberation.

At first sight, therefore, neutral Hungary seemed as peaceful and
normal as America. But of course I realized that Hungary does not
enjoy our blessed isolation, set as it is squarely in the midst of
war-torn Europe. How far had its everyday life been affected by the
storm raging just beyond its borders, and what were its prospects for
the near future? Those were the two questions I set out to investigate
as I sallied forth from my hotel next morning and walked down a
majestic promenade beside the broad river Danube to keep my first

I was glad to be in Hungary, not merely to get a vacation but also for
professional reasons. Hungary is the key nation in the whole Central
European small-state constellation, while Budapest is an ideal
vantage-point from which to survey the entire mid-European situation,
including both Germany and Italy. Since Hungary is neutral, you can
meet all sorts of foreigners, including both sets of belligerents, and
get their respective points of view.

During my ten days' stay I met and talked with a considerable number
of important personalities, Hungarian and foreign, including the Prime
Minister, Count Teleky; the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Csaky;
ex-Premier Bethlen; Tibor Eckhard, an important Parliamentary leader;
and other men prominent in Hungarian national life. Count Csaky was
the only one among those mentioned whom I had not known in former
days, and since the Magyars are warmhearted folk who have the knack of
easily resuming interrupted friendships, it was pleasant as well as

One of the most charming qualities of the Magyars is their
informality. This applies to all classes, and is due mainly to the
fact that the whole spirit of the country is profoundly aristocratic.
The Magyars consider themselves to be a master-race, innately superior
to their Balkan neighbors. This may not be so agreeable for the
neighbors, but it does promote good social relations and national
solidarity among themselves, and is pleasant for foreign visitors. I
never saw a Magyar with an inferiority complex. Nobleman or taxi
driver, they respect themselves and one another, with neither
condescension nor servility. That is one advantage of an aristocratic
society, where each one knows just where he stands in the social
scale. Hungary is thus almost exempt from those plagues of other
lands--the vulgar ostentation of plutocrats and the ostentatious
vulgarity of proletarians.

The apex of the Hungarian social pyramid is the aristocracy.  It is a
real aristocracy, and it effectively runs the country. This ruling
class is not confined to the titled nobility; it includes likewise the
very numerous gentry.  Those two groups have a strong sense of mutual
cohesion, best exemplified by the way they habitually address one
another in the familiar second-person singular--the Magyar equivalent
of the German _Du_.

Though Hungary was outwardly normal, I found it inwardly nervous, as
was natural when one considers its ticklish international situation.
All the personalities with whom I conferred chatted freely but asked
me not to quote them directly.

One thing they all agreed on--the Magyars are thoroughly at peace
among themselves. Imminent dangers from abroad have united an
instinctively patriotic people.  Domestic politics stand adjourned,
and the existing Government appears to have not only popular support
but also popular confidence in its ability to guide the nation safely
and to further its best interests. Although the Hungarian army was on
a war-footing while I was there, there had been no general
mobilization. In the capital itself I saw relatively few soldiers. The
bulk of the troops were massed to the north and east, along the most
immediately-threatened frontiers. This absence of soldiers from the
capital was, in itself, strong evidence of the domestic calm which
prevails. Everyone assured me that the local Nazi movement, formerly
so strong as to be dangerous, had greatly lessened since the beginning
of the war, and that its leaders were discredited.

Hungary is an agricultural country, producing in abundance all the
staple foodstuffs with large surpluses for export. Imported
foodstuffs, however, were becoming scarce. This was chiefly due to
foreign exchange difficulties. The Hungarian currency was still
steady, but wartime expenses were a heavy burden on the treasury, and
a prudent Government was taking no chances.  So imports of all kinds
were being curtailed. This hit the average citizen in such matters as
coffee and clothing. The Hungarians are great coffee-drinkers, and any
sudden deprivation of this cherished beverage would be keenly felt.
The Government was therefore rationing coffee in indirect ways,
chiefly by putting on a stiff war-tax and limiting sales. When I was
there, you could get a cup of coffee, but at twice the former price.
The Government had likewise forbidden the importation or manufacture
of pure wool cloth. This, however, hit only the richer people who
could afford all-wool clothing.

The re-exportation of imported articles was forbidden, and this ban
was strictly enforced. People told me gleefully about one recent
instance. It seems that a group of visiting German business men loaded
themselves down with all sorts of things forbidden in the Fatherland,
from Brazilian coffee to American shaving creams and toothpastes. At
the border, the Hungarian customs officials spotted the loot and
promptly confiscated it!

This little incident brings up one of the burning questions which
agitate the Hungarian people--their relations with Germany. In normal
times, the economic ties between Hungary and the Reich are not only
close but mutually beneficial. Germany, especially since the
annexation of adjacent Austria, offers the best natural market for
Hungarian foodstuffs and other raw materials, while Germany is able to
supply Hungary with manufactured articles on unusually favorable

But today, conditions are not normal. German industry has been so
disrupted by the war that it can no longer supply Hungary with the
quantity and quality of manufactured goods desired along many lines.
On the other hand, German needs for Hungarian produce grows by leaps
and bounds. This wide gap between demand and supply has caused growing
economic tension between the two nations, with important political
implications.  The Hungarians have no intention of allowing themselves
to fall wholly into Germany's economic sphere. They know that, should
this happen, they would soon be sucked dry by wartime Germany's
pressing economic needs, with no commensurate benefit to themselves.
That is what has happened to the German protectorate of
Bohemia-Moravia, and what may happen with Slovakia. The canny Magyars
do not want to follow suit.

However, Hungary is in no position to take too stiff an attitude
towards its giant neighbor. So long as Germany can obtain considerable
quantities of food and industrial raw materials from Hungary under
existing arrangements, it is to the interest of the Germans to have
Hungary remain neutral and peaceful. The more normal Hungarian life
is, the better its economic system will function and the more it will
produce. But Germany demands a large share of the resultant surplus,
even though the Reich cannot momentarily pay for it by a full exchange
of goods. The Hungarians know that they must meet the Germans halfway
or risk most unpleasant consequences. So they continue to sell largely
to the Reich, despite the fact that it means a further increase of
German debit balances. They feel that a disguised tribute is worth the
price, so long as it is kept within bounds. As one Hungarian statesman
remarked to me candidly, "We know it means piling up more blocked
Marks; but--better get Marks than soldiers!"

None of the Hungarians I talked to seemed to me pro-German. But
neither did any of them sound pro-Ally.  England was strongly
criticized for the way she was even then holding up goods destined for
Hungary on ships stopped by the British naval blockade. They all
wanted to keep out of the war if it were humanly possible, and
expressed no strong ideological preferences.  Mainly, they thought the
outcome of the war highly uncertain, with complete victory unlikely
for either Germany or the Allies.

One eminent personage--remember I am under obligation to give no
obvious clues as to identity--expressed this viewpoint as follows:
"The chances are that the military stalemate in the West indicates
that _this_ war will end in a draw. But such a peace may be only a
truce, followed by another war in the not-distant future.  It may be
twenty or thirty years before our poor old continent can find a
genuine settlement. There are so many problems to be solved--for
instance, the problem of Russia, which has recently become even more
complicated.  Britain does not seem to realize that eighty million
Germans in the heart of Europe must be given some hope of an adequate
future. Until they get it, they will make continual trouble, even
though the Allies win the war and Germany is carved up. The greatest
ultimate danger in this war, should it be unduly prolonged, is the
degradation of the German standard of living to the full Russian
level. In that case, we might see those two peoples really get
together permanently--which would be a frightful danger for Western
civilization.  But few Englishmen visualize this, and even fewer
Frenchmen. The French, in particular, seem to want to 'finish up
Germany'--which is, of course, impossible."

The only prominent person I talked with who thought an Allied victory
almost certain was equally pessimistic about the ultimate
consequences. The reason for his pessimism was that he thought the
Germans would hold out so long that victors and vanquished alike would
be ruined and sink into common anarchy.

Another political leader gave me some interesting sidelights on Hitler
and his foreign policy. This man had first become acquainted with the
future Fuehrer at the very start of his political career. Hitler at
that time appeared to my informant to be a fanatically intense,
simple-minded man, limited in education and outlook. His chief
criticism of Hitler was that, though the Fuehrer has since learned the
technique of politics to a marvelous degree, he has not acquired a
commensurate understanding of the larger aspects of what he does.
According to my informant, Hitler made his great mistake when he got
his agreement with Stalin, _and then_ invaded Poland. If he had used
the Russian agreement as an instrument of diplomatic pressure, the
Poles would soon have had to do everything Hitler wanted, and there
need have been no war.

What interests Hungarians most intensely in the field of foreign
affairs is their relations with their Central European neighbors. In
the peace treaties which followed the Great War, Hungary lost large
slices of territory to Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, and Rumania; and of
the inhabitants of those lost lands at least 3,000,000 were Magyars.
To get back the lost blood-brothers has been the absorbing passion of
this supremely patriotic folk. They did so in large part, as far as
their claims against Czechoslovakia were concerned, when that country
was conquered by the Germans and Hungary was awarded a share. Hungary
has, for the time being, soft-pedaled claims against Jugoslavia,
because both countries now want peace in Central Europe for various
reasons. Hungary's chief goal is to recover the Magyars of mountainous
Transylvania, which she lost to Rumania. That remains a burning issue
in all Magyar hearts. One of the most powerful organizations in
Hungary today is the Revisionist League, staffed entirely by
Transylvanian exiles who work continually to bring about the reunion
of at least 1,500,000 Magyars with their homeland. I conferred at
length on this question with Dr. Andre Fall, the head of the League,
and his colleagues.

There can be no doubt that Hungary would go to any lengths in order to
recover Transylvania, if the opportunity ever presents itself, and its
statesmen watch with lynx eyes each move on the diplomatic chessboard
with this in mind. However, for the moment, they feel that this issue
must be subordinated to the general situation, especially the danger
from Russia which, they believe, menaces not only Hungary but the rest
of the small nations of Central Europe, including Rumania itself.

It is the specter of Russia which haunts Hungarian minds. I could
seldom talk politics in Budapest without having that grim topic bob
up. Most Hungarians believe that Stalin has his eyes on Central Europe
and plans to strike for its domination. Some think the attack will
come soon. And it is generally agreed that such a Russian onslaught
would set all Central Europe in flames.

Fear of Russia is nothing new for the Magyars. Before the Great War,
Czarist Russia set itself up as the Big Brother to the Slav peoples of
Central Europe and the Balkans, and the ultimate goal of that policy
was a great "Pan-Slav" federation with Russia as its natural head.
But that would have spelled the destruction of Hungary.  The Magyar
race, brave, energetic, but not very numerous, stands midway down the
Danube valley, thereby separating the Slavs of the north and east from
those to the west and south. Should the Pan-Slav ideal ever be
realized, the Magyars would be practically obliterated.

When Russia went Bolshevik during the Great War, Pan-Slavism gave
place to the Communist policy of World Revolution. That, however,
didn't end the feud between Russians and Magyars. Indeed, war-torn
Hungary was presently overrun by Bolshevik agents who put over a local
Communist revolution headed by the notorious Bela Kun. This Communist
regime was soon overthrown by Admiral Horthy who formed a conservative
government that has ruled Hungary ever since.  That was a body-blow to
Soviet Russia which has never been forgotten. Moscow regards
conservative Hungary and its aristocratic rulers as a bulwark of
reaction, and would like nothing better than to encompass its

So long as Russia was shut away from Central Europe by a strong Polish
buffer state, Hungary had little to fear from Moscow. But the
partition of Poland between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany at the
beginning of the present war gave the Soviets a common frontier with
Hungary. This was an ominous change for the Magyars. To be sure, the
new frontier ran along the crest of the rugged Carpathian Mountains,
and was thus easy to defend. But further eastward the Carpathians
become Rumanian. There we touch the thorny question which not only
embroils Rumania and Hungary, but prevents them from combining
effectively against the Russian peril which menaces them both.

Hungarian leaders with whom I talked admitted that this inability of
Hungary and Rumania to pursue a common policy against possible Russian
aggression might ultimately be fatal to both of them. But such an
understanding was impossible without a prior settlement of the
Transylvanian question in a sense favorable to Hungarian aspirations.
As one eminent personage frankly put it to me: "No Hungarian
Government could openly aid Rumania unless Transylvania were first
ceded. The people would tear any statesman to pieces who did that. A
benevolent neutrality would be the utmost we could risk."

Russia has had a bone to pick with Rumania ever since the latter
seized the province of Bessarabia while Russia was in the throes of
revolution. Russia has never reconciled herself to Bessarabia's loss
and would undoubtedly like to get it back again. Some of my Magyar
informants did not think that Russia would make war on Rumania merely
to recover this province. An invasion of Bessarabia would therefore
imply the first step toward the larger goal of Balkan domination.

Few Hungarians thought that Rumania could long defend itself against
Russia single-handed. They had a poor opinion of the Rumanian army and
considered the internal situation most unstable. As one personage put
it: "Just now, everything in Rumania depends on one man--King Carol.
Should he disappear, anything might happen." Furthermore, there seemed
good reason for believing that, the instant Russia struck from the
east, Bulgaria would strike from the south to recover her lost
province of Dobrudja, likewise taken by Rumania as a war prize. Should
Rumania collapse suddenly, like Poland, Russian armies might rapidly
occupy Transylvania, a natural fortress from which they would dominate
the Danube valley.

That is the supreme peril which threatens Hungary.  And the Magyars
assured me that, to avert that danger, they are ready to fight even
against the longest odds.  If Russia should stop short with
Bessarabia, Hungary might not move. But the instant Russian troops
went further, the Hungarian army would strike to occupy Transylvania.
At the start, at least, this would spell war against Rumania rather
than against Russia. But the Magyars would regard this as a preventive
occupation to forestall a Russian invasion. If Hungary should sit
still, it would soon be at Russia's mercy, because its present eastern
frontier is an arbitrary line drawn across open country which could
not be defended against a powerful opponent.

Should Hungary occupy Transylvania under those circumstances, imagine
the diplomatic tangle which would ensue! Britain and France have given
Rumania a guarantee treaty similar to the one they gave Poland.  They
sidestepped Stalin's occupation of eastern Poland because they didn't
then want to fight Russia. But could they ignore a direct Russian
attack upon Rumania? And if they did declare war on Russia, what would
they do when Hungary committed an act of war against Rumania--in order
the better to fight Russia--against whom Britain and France had at
least technically begun hostilities?

At first sight it might look as though Hungary would be courting
almost certain destruction to fling itself single-handed at the
Russian colossus. The Magyars, however, feel they would not stand
alone. They believe Mussolini could not tolerate Russian domination of
the Balkans and Central Europe. Therefore Hungary counts upon Italian
aid. Indeed, I was informed from what seemed to be a reliable source
that, even then, a large number of Italian planes and pilots were
discreetly tucked away "somewhere in Hungary," ready for

If Mussolini did what the Magyars expect him to do, we glimpse another
amazing diplomatic tangle. Here we would have Hungary, Italy, Britain,
and France, all fighting Russia. What would be the relations of this
singular quartette amongst themselves? Remember that Hungary would be
also fighting Rumania in defiance of an Anglo-French guarantee, while
Italy would be at least nominally on good terms with Germany, her Axis
partner but the Anglo-French arch-enemy.

Such were the diplomatic and military crossword puzzles with which my
Magyar informants were busying themselves, those crisp winter days of
my sojourn in Budapest. They were keen analysts, yet, somehow or
other, I personally didn't believe that Stalin was going to put on the
big show they were expecting--at least, not for some time. The main
reason for my skepticism was that I had come straight from Germany.
And two months of intensive study and observation there had made me
certain of one thing--Germany didn't want to see the war spread to
Central Europe and the Balkans.  Why not? _Because that's where
Germany eats_.

Most of the food and a large part of the raw materials which Germany
can import overland come from precisely those regions. So long as the
nations there are at peace, their economic life is fairly normal, and
they thus have large surpluses for the German market. But the instant
war breaks out there, exports to Germany stop.  And it wouldn't help
the Germans much if their armies overran the whole region, because it
would be so devastated in the process that even German efficiency
would need a year or two to get things running again as well as they
run today.

That being the situation, can we imagine Germany standing by and
letting Russia start something which, to the Reich, would be an
unmitigated disaster? We know that Berlin and Moscow have a pretty
definite understanding. It is almost inconceivable that the German
Government cannot exert enough pressure upon Stalin to prevent him
from carrying out a policy which, for Germany, might prove fatal.

Those, at any rate, were the arguments I put up to Hungarian friends
and acquaintances in the closing days of December, 1939. And, as I
write these lines the following spring, they seem to be still valid.
That, however, does not mean that Hungary can be sure of maintaining
her neutrality, set as she is on the mid-European crossroads, with all
its latent dangers. Small wonder that my Budapest friends tended to be
nervous. The longer I tarried in that charming capital, the more I got
the feeling that its peaceful and extremely congenial existence might
be shattered almost any day.

Yet, for the moment, everyday life ran smoothly, and people made the
most of it in the pleasure-loving Magyar way. On New Year's Eve, when
all Budapest turns out for a grand jollification, I foregathered with
newspaper colleagues at their favorite eating-place to celebrate.

It was an unpretentious place on the outside, but it had an inner
room, the walls decorated with Magyar rural scenes done by local
artists; enlivened by a gypsy orchestra. And how those Tziganes could
play! The Old Year's final hours passed all too swiftly with good
food, fine wine, witty talk, and much jollity. When the midnight hour
struck, a chimney sweep appeared with his traditional broom made of
small twigs, and each of us broke off a piece for good luck. After him
came another man bearing in his arms a sucking pig. To assure good
fortune in the coming year, everybody tried to touch the little
animal, and if possible to pull its curly tail.

My friends and I then left for a promenade along avenues crowded with
revelers, equipped with tin horns and rattles, wearing paper caps over
their ordinary headgear, bedecked with badges, and waving streamers
mostly in the national colors--red, white, and green.

There was plenty of inebriation, but it was all good-natured.
Everyone was having a royal good time, and the weather helped--crisp,
but not too cold, and with a light powdering of snow which gave just
the right seasonal touch.

We ended up in an _Espresso Bar_. These characteristically Budapest
institutions are small coffee shops where the delectable drink is made
by driving live steam through pulverized coffee, which is then served
in small cups. The process extracts every bit of aroma and makes a
beverage strong enough to take your head off. However, it goes well
after a big evening. One of our party, a young man from the
Revisionist League, apparently needed it; for when we entered the
place he announced in stentorian tones that he was a Transyl-vanian.
Whereupon all hands, including the waitresses, applauded loudly and
laughingly shouted: _Ellyen_!

New Year's Eve marked the close as well as the climax to my Budapest
interlude. Shortly after noon of New Year's Day found me in a
train-compartment, Vienna-bound.  I own to a regretful pang as I
recrossed the frontier; left behind me gay, friendly, neutral Hungary;
and entered war's shadow once more.

Incidentally, I re-entered Germany equipped with sundry
eatables--sausages, smoked and spiced; a precious kilo of butter; and
a bottle of the best _baratsk_, apricot brandy, which is a Hungarian
specialty. Those luxuries were to help out a bit in Berlin. But, for
my immediate needs, I took along several large ham sandwiches. I
wasn't going to go foodless a second time on "the best night train in
Germany," with which I was to connect that same evening at Vienna.
However, the laugh was on me. This time, the famous express _had_ a


"The Party." That is the commonest phrase in Germany today. It denotes
that all-powerful organization, NSDAP
(National-Socialist-German-Workers-Party) which dominates, energizes,
and directs the Third Reich.

Just what is the Party, and what are its relations with the Nation,
the State Administration, and those numberless organizations
characteristic of German life? That was one of the first questions I
put when I got to Germany.  Knowing as I did the range of official
literature, I supposed I would be promptly handed a neat manual
setting forth the whole subject in the meticulous Teutonic way. What
was my amazement when the Propaganda Ministry informed me that no such
manual existed, the reason alleged being that the system was more or
less fluid and that changes were continually taking place.

Accordingly, I had to piece the current picture together, bit by bit.
You never can be sure, at first glance, what is "Party" and what
isn't. For instance, I at first took it for granted that all the
Brown-Shirt S.A. and Black-uniformed S.S. men I saw were Party
members.  Presently I learned that this was not true; that many of
them were candidates, qualifying themselves for membership by
meritorious service. As for the organizations, some are "Party,"
others "State," still others are intermediate, while one or two, like
the National Labor Service (_Arbeitsdienst_), were started by the
Party but are now under State control. It was all very confusing.
Indeed, I frankly admit that even now I haven't got a wholly clear
idea of the scheme in all its complex details.

The reason for this seeming confusion appears to be that National
Socialism, though a revolutionary movement, evolved as a regular
political party with a complete organization of its own, until, by the
time it came to power, it had become virtually a State within a State.
Instead of merging itself with the State, or vice versa, this separate
organization has been maintained. Of course, all branches of the State
are headed by prominent Party men, and their higher subordinates are
usually Party members. Indeed, a man may simultaneously hold a State
and a Party office. But, in such cases, both the offices and their
functions are kept consciously distinct from each other.

When Nazis try to explain to you the interactions of State and Party,
they usually say that the Party is like an electric motor running a
lot of machinery. This motor is the great energizer. It revolves very
rapidly and tries to make the machine go at top speed. The machine,
however, tends to run at a regulated tempo, toning down in practice
the motor's dynamic urge. The Party urges ever: "Faster! Faster!" The
officials of the State Administration, however, charged as they are
with actual responsibilities and faced with practical problems, act as
a machine "governor," keeping progress within realistic bounds.

Dr. Robert Ley, head of the Labor Front, occupies the post of
Organization-Leader for the entire Party, and on this exalted phase of
his activities his views were enlightening.

"Dr. Ley," I asked him in an interview, "for a long time I've been
studying the various organizations you direct. I think I've learned
considerable about them, yet I know I haven't got the whole picture.
Will you explain to me briefly the basic principles underlying all of
them? And will you also explain their relations to both the Party and
the State?"

It was late afternoon. We were sitting in a cozy reception-room
adjacent to the Doctor's study, in the restful atmosphere of tea,
cakes, and sandwiches. For some moments, Dr. Ley sipped his tea

"Let's see how I'd best put it," he said finally. "As to our basic
ideas, they are very simple. First of all, the principle of natural
leadership. By this we mean the proved leader who by sheer merit has
fought his way up from below to supreme command. This is best
exemplified by Adolf Hitler, our Fuehrer, whom we believe to be an
inspired genius."

By this time Dr. Ley had fairly warmed to his subject.  His gray eyes
shone with enthusiasm.

"Our second principle," he went on, "is absolute loyalty and
obedience. So long as a plan is under discussion, it is carefully
weighed from every angle. Once debate is closed and a decision is
made, everyone gets behind it one hundred per cent. But behind both
those principles is a third which is even more fundamental.  This is
what we call the _Gemeinschaft_--the organic unity of a people,
founded on identity of blood. Germany is fortunate in being racially
united. That is the ultimate secret of our harmonious strength."
"Thanks for the explanation," said I. "Now would you mind going on and
telling me how, on those foundations, you have built up the various
organizations you direct, and how they stand to the Party and to the

"Before I do that," Dr. Ley answered, "let me make clear what the
Party and the State mean to each other.  The National Socialist Party,
as others have doubtless told you, may be likened to a motor which
supplies the energy by which an elaborate machine is run. To change
the simile, we may also compare the Party to the advance-guard of a
column of marching troops. Its duty is to pioneer, investigate, make
everything safe.  The State, on the other hand, is the main body which
occupies the ground won and puts everything in final order. One of the
outstanding features of the Third Reich is that the Party can, and
does, make all sorts of experiments which would be impossible for
State officials, tied down as they are by legal regulations and red

"Would you mind making that a bit more specific?" I ventured.

"All right," he said. "Take me, for example. I'm not a State official.
I'm purely a Party leader whose duty it is to prepare such experiments
and set them going.  Within my field, I have almost boundless freedom
of action. For instance, when the Fuehrer ordered me to put through
the People's Automobile (_Volkswagen_) Plan, I got the large sums
needed. Of course I am held rigidly responsible for results. If I
botched a job, I'd immediately be called to account. But so long as
things go right, I don't have to waste my time explaining to all sorts
of people just what I'm doing. With us, it's efficiency that counts."

"Do your experiments always succeed?" I asked.

"Not always," Dr. Ley admitted. "And when, after a full and fair
trial, they are found to be impracticable, we frankly give them up.
Sometimes, again, we find an idea to be theoretically sound but, for
one reason or another, premature. In that case we lay the idea aside,
to be tried again under more favorable circumstances.  But when an
experiment has proved sound and workable, the Party presently hands it
over to the State; which then, as it were, anchors it firmly into the
national life by giving it permanent legal status. That's what has
actually happened with the institution we call _Arbeitsdienst_--the
universal labor service required of young men and women. It started as
a social experiment run by the Party. Now, having proved itself out,
it is a regular State matter."

"Which means," I suggested, "that the Party is thereby free to take up
still other social experiments?"

"Exactly," he nodded. "And we have so many measures, not merely for
bettering life materially but for enriching it as well. We believe the
more work we give men to do, the more enjoyment we must give them too.
This applies to all grades of persons, with recreation furnished them
according to their abilities and tastes.  It is not a leveling
process--rather is it a grading process, putting people in their right

"To each man according to his abilities?" I remarked.

"Absolutely," said Dr. Ley. "We are always on the lookout for ability;
especially capacity for leadership (_Leitungsfaehigkeit_). That
precious quality confers upon an individual the right to an agreeable
life, a fine mansion, and many other good things. But the instant he
shows himself unworthy of his position, he loses them all and is cast
aside. National Socialism plays no favorites.  While princes and rich
men have not been deprived of their titles and wealth, none of them
have any prescriptive right to prominence in the Third Reich.  If a
prince in the Party (and we have them) shows capacity for leadership,
he goes ahead. Otherwise, he stays in the background."

So much for this exposition of Party principles, from its
organizational director--to be taken with the usual grain of salt
between theory and practice. Now a few words as to the growth and
character of Party membership, as gathered from various official

Down to January 30, 1933, the lists were open to all persons who cared
to join. Up to that time the Party was fighting for its very life and
every recruit was welcome.  On that epochal date, the triumph of
National Socialism became virtually assured. At the moment, its
membership totaled approximately 1,600,000. These veterans, who joined
while success was still doubtful and helped put it across, still enjoy
a certain prestige faintly reminiscent of the "Old Bolsheviks" in
Soviet Russia. The Nazi "Old Guard" hold most of the leading posts and
are generally regarded as most trustworthy.  This explains why one
sees relatively few aristocratic types in the upper ranks of the Party
today, because not many joined up before 1933.

Although a rush to get on the band-wagon began at once, the Party
welcomed new members until the following May, when its ranks had
swelled to 3,200,000--just 100 per cent. The lists were then closed to
individual joiners, but were still held open to members of certain
nationalistic organizations like the _Stahlhelm_ until 1936, when the
Party had 4,400,000 adherents.  Thenceforth, accessions were rigidly
scrutinized. In fact, applications were discouraged; the Party sought
the man, rather than the man the Party. The rule now is that
membership is earned only after two or three years' faithful service
in some form or other. It takes an outstanding act of merit in Party
eyes for a man or woman to be admitted in lesser time. Much of the
unpaid work of the country, such as volunteer service in NSV
(previously mentioned), Winter-Help drives, or food-card distribution,
is done with this in mind. Exceptionally distinguished activity is
required for such persons to rise high in the Party organization. Able
technicians may soon land good jobs, but that is different from
getting into the directing upper crust. I was told that less stringent
rules had been in force for candidates from Sudetenland and Poland
after the acquisition of those regions, and that the total membership
now approximates 6,000,000. After all, that is not a very large figure
in comparison with the 80,000,000 Germans who inhabit the Greater
Reich. The Party is thus still fairly exclusive, though if we add the
families of members, the Nazi bloc probably numbers close to

Theoretically, any young man or woman of unmixed "Aryan" blood is
eligible when they come of age, and it is from the ranks of youth that
the Party strives to recruit its membership. However, even here
candidates must have an unblemished record, from a Party standpoint,
in the Hitler Youth, and must be vouched for by their local Party
Group. Formal admission takes the form of a solemn oath taken in front
of the swastika flag, with the right arm upraised in the Nazi salute.
The oath consists of a pledge of unconditional obedience to Adolf
Hitler and the Party, after which the neophyte subscribes to a long
list of commandments, the first one being: _The Fuehrer is always

>From the rising generation, the Party thus selects for membership
those young men and women best conditioned for its purposes. And from
this already selected group is recruited the _Schutz Staffeln_
(Defense Detachments), commonly known as the S.S. This is the Party's
private army. Originally it was a relatively small elite section of
the Brown-Shirt Storm Troopers. But after the Party assumed power the
S.A. men were assigned mainly to routine patriotic duties such as
collecting for the Winter-Help. The S.S., on the contrary, became the
Party's mainstay in upholding its all-pervading influence and
authority. I was unable to learn its precise numbers, but I understand
its present strength to be at least 200,000, organized into regiments,
brigades, and divisions, just like the regular army itself.

Furthermore, the S.S. serves as a training school for both the
ordinary police force (_Schutz Polizei_) and the Political Secret
Police--the dread _Gestapo_. All three allied organizations are headed
by Heinrich Himmler, who built them up to their present efficiency and
thus wields a power in the Reich presumably second only to that of the
Fuehrer himself.

The typical S.S. man is tall and blond, young or in the prime of life,
with fine physique enhanced by careful athletic training. As Nora Wain
aptly puts it, he has "the daily-dozen-followed-by-a-cold-shower
look." As he strides along in his well-tailored black uniform with its
symbolic death's-head insignia, he is clearly cock-o'-the-walk--and he
knows it. It is interesting to observe how civilians instinctively
give him the right-of-way on the sidewalks or in subway trains.

These S.S. may in many ways be compared to the Janissary Corps of the
Old Ottoman Empire. To begin with they are picked men--picked for
fanatical loyalty to the Party, for health and strength, and for
unmixed "Aryan" blood. Before attaining full membership in the corps
they undergo rigorous training, Spartan in character, which is best
characterized by Nietzsche's famous dictum: _Be hard_! Well-poised
hardness both to self and to others is their outstanding attitude.
When discussing with foreign residents some harsh or ruthless aspect
of the Nazi regime, they would often say: "That's the S.S.  mentality
coming out."

As might be expected, the S.S. have a strong _esprit de corps_. Their
pride in themselves and their organization is unmistakable. Every
aspect of their private lives must conform to strict standards and is
carefully supervised.  For instance, when they marry (as they are
supposed to do in conformity with the Nazi eugenic program), the bride
must be equally "Aryan," must pass exacting physical tests, and is
expected to attend special courses in domestic and ideological
training. The pair are thus deemed well-fitted to play the role
required of them and to produce plenty of children for that biological
aristocracy which is destined to be the natural rulers of the Third
Reich. In return, S.S. families are well taken care of. Two of the
best housing developments I was shown in the Berlin suburbs were for
S.S. households.

I understand that the _Gestapo_, or Secret Police, are equally well
disciplined and looked after, but of course they are invisible to
ordinary view. I recall an amusing instance on this point. Some time
after my arrival in Berlin I was chatting with a high Nazi
acquaintance, who asked me casually: "By the way, how many _Gestapos_
have you seen since you got here?"

"None--that I could recognize," was my reply.

He laughed heartily. "A good answer," he said. "And you never
will--unless they want you to."

Well, there was one _Gestapo_ that I did want to see the Big Chief of
them all--Heinrich Himmler himself.  But I was told that seeing him
was almost as difficult as getting an audience with the Fuehrer,
because he systematically shuns publicity and is therefore
journalistically one of Germany's most inaccessible personalities.
Naturally, that made me all the more eager to interview him. I finally
did, the very day before I left Berlin. It was one of those
by-products from my enhanced popularity which I encountered when I
returned from Budapest, and which was undoubtedly due to my having
strictly kept my word regarding the Hitler audience. Journalistically,
this was a clear "scoop," for I was told by the Propaganda Ministry
that mine was the first interview Himmler had ever given a foreign

Like so many of my experiences in Nazi Germany, the whole affair was
quite different from what I had imagined. Off-hand, you would say that
the redoubtable Himmler's headquarters would have a mysterious or even
a sinister atmosphere. But it didn't. It is a stately old building,
made over into offices. You need a special pass to enter, but I went
with an official, so there was no delay. Ascending to the second story
by a broad stone stairway, we were quickly shown the Chiefs quarters,
and passed through a suite of offices, light, airy, and tastefully
businesslike. There, young men and women were busy with typewriters
and filing-cabinets.  If the men had not been in uniform, I might have
imagined myself about to meet a big corporation executive.  Certainly,
there was no "police" atmosphere about the place, secret or otherwise;
no obvious plainclothes-men, gimlet-eyed sleuths, or other
"properties" of a similar nature.

When I finally entered the inner sanctum I was met by a brisk-stepping
individual of medium height who greeted me pleasantly and offered me a
seat on a well-upholstered sofa. Heinrich Himmler is a South German
type, with close-cut dark hair, a Bavarian accent, and dark blue eyes
which look searchingly at you from behind rimless glasses. He is only
forty years of age-extraordinarily young for the man who heads the
whole police force of the Reich, commands the entire S.S., and has
charge of the vast resettlement program whereby hundreds of thousands
of Germans from the Baltic States, Russia, and Northern Italy are
coming back willy-nilly to their racial and cultural Fatherland.

Those are certainly three big jobs for one individual.  How he does it
all is hard to understand. But you get at least an inkling when you
meet and talk with him. The longer you are in his presence, the more
you become conscious of dynamic energy--restrained and unspectacular,
yet persistent and efficient to the last degree.

Also you begin to glimpse what lies behind his matter-of-fact
exterior. At first he impresses you as a rather strenuous bureaucrat.
But as he discusses his police duties, you notice that his mouth sets
in a thin line while his eyes take on a steely glint. Then you realize
how formidable he must be professionally.

It was this aspect of his activities that I first broached.  "I
certainly am glad to meet one of whom I have heard so much," was my
opening remark. "Perhaps you know that, in America, we hear rather
terrible things about the _Gestapo_. Indeed," I added with a smile,
"it is sometimes compared to the Russian Cheka, with you yourself,
Excellency, as a second Dzherzhinski!"

Himmler took this in good part. He laughed easily.  "I'm sure our
police organization isn't half as black as it's painted abroad," was
his reply. "We certainly do our best to combat crime of every sort,
and our criminal statistics imply that we are fairly successful.
Frankly, we believe that habitual offenders should not be at large to
plague society, so we keep them locked up.  Why, for instance, should
a sex-offender who has been sentenced three or four times be again set
free, to bring lasting sorrow to another decent home? We send all such
persons to a detention-camp and keep them there.  But I assure you
that their surroundings aren't bad. In fact, I know they are better
fed, clothed, and lodged than the miners of South Wales. Ever seen one
of our concentration-camps?"

"No," I answered, "I wasn't able to get permission."

"Too bad I didn't know about it," said Himmler.  "There you'd see the
sort of social scum we have shut away from society for its own good."

That was all very fine, but I felt that Himmler was hedging a bit. So
I proceeded: "You refer there to criminals in the general sense of the
term. But how about political offenders--say, old-fashioned liberals?
Is any political opposition tolerated?"

"What a person _thinks_ is none of our concern," shot back Himmler
quickly. "But when he acts upon his thoughts, perhaps to the point of
starting a conspiracy, then we take action. We believe in
extinguishing a fire while it is still small. It saves trouble and
averts much damage. Besides," he continued, "there isn't any need for
political opposition with us. If a man sees something he thinks is
wrong, let him come straight to us and talk the matter over. Let him
even write me personally.  Such letters always reach me. We welcome
new ideas and are only too glad to correct mistakes. Let me give you
an example. Suppose somebody sees traffic on a busy corner badly
handled. In other countries he could write a scathing letter to the
newspapers saying how stupidly and badly the police run things. A
hundred thousand people who may never have even seen that corner might
get all excited, and the prestige of both the police and the State
itself might suffer in consequence.  With us, all that man has to do
is to write us, and I assure you the matter will be quickly righted."

Feeling this traffic simile was a bit ingenuous, I tried to lead him
back to the point he knew I had in mind.  I nodded sympathetically and
said, "That sounds reasonable.  But how about a political matter? For
instance, take a man like Pastor Niemoeller?"

I felt that ought to bring some reaction, because the Pastor is
poison-ivy to most Nazis. Only a few days before, one fairly prominent
member of the Party had grown red in the face at the mention of
Niemoeller's name and had hissed: "The dirty traitor! If I had my way,
I'd order him put up against a wall and shot!"

Himmler took it more calmly. He merely raised a deprecating hand,
replying: "Please understand, it was a political controversy which got
him into trouble. We never interfere with matters of religious dogma."
Then, after a moment's pause, he added: "If foreign attacks upon us in
this affair would cease, perhaps he could be more leniently dealt

It was clear that Himmler didn't wish to discuss the subject further.
His eyes narrowed slightly and a frown appeared above the bridge of
his nose. Seeing there was nothing more to be gained on that line, I
took another tack.

"Tell me something about the basis of your S.S. organization?" was my
next question.

"The _Schutz-Staffel_," answered Himmler blandly, "represents the best
and soundest young manhood of our race. It is founded on the ideals of
self-sacrifice, loyalty, discipline, and all-round excellence. Besides
being soldiers, the S.S. has many cultural sides. For instance, we
have our own porcelain factory, make our own furniture, and do much
scholarly research. When you leave me, I shall have you taken to the
barracks of the _Leibstandart_ here in Berlin, the elite regiment
which guards the Fuehrer. There you will see the type of young manhood
of which the S.S. is so justly proud."

"And now, Excellency," I went on, "a few words, if you will, about
your resettlement policy?"

"That policy," replied Himmler, "can best be expressed in the words of
our Fuehrer: 'To give lasting peace to our eastern borders.' For
centuries, that region and others in Eastern Europe have been
chronically disturbed by jarring minorities hopelessly mixed up with
one another. What we are now trying to do is to separate these
quarreling elements in just, constructive fashion.  We have
voluntarily withdrawn our German minorities from places like the
Baltic States, and we shall do the same in Northern Italy. We are even
marking out a place for the Jews where they may live quietly unto
themselves. Between us and the Poles we seek to fashion a proper
racial boundary. Of course, we are going about it slowly--you can't
move multitudes of people with their livestock and personal belongings
like pawns on a chessboard. But that is the objective we ultimately
hope to attain."

Himmler talked further about his resettlement policies, carefully
avoiding the tragic aspects that they involve.  He then returned
briefly to the subject of his S.S. At that point, a smart young aide
entered and saluted.

"The motor is ready, sir," he announced.

"To see the Life-Guards," explained Himmler. "I certainly want you to
get a glimpse of my men before you leave."

So saying, the redoubtable head of the Gestapo gave me a muscular
handshake and wished me a pleasant homeward journey.

It was a wretched day in late January, cold as Greenland and with
swirling spits of snow to thicken the blanket already on the ground.
As Himmler's car reached the suburbs, it swerved and swayed ticklishly
in hard-packed snow-ruts. However, the S.S. man at the wheel was a
splendid driver and got us to our destination safely and with

Hitler's Life-Guards occupy the former Prussian Military Cadet School.
The buildings are old, though well kept up. The one exception is the
swimming-hall, a magnificent new building with a pool so large that I
judged nearly a thousand men could bathe together without too much
crowding. The Commandant--a hardbitten old soldier, small, wiry, and
dark-complexioned, in striking contrast to his young subordinates who
were all blonds of gigantic size--proudly told me how it happened to
be built.

It seems that the Fuehrer came out one day to see how his Life-Guards
were housed. At that time, the swimming-hall was an old structure
capable of accommodating only one company at a time. Hitler looked it
over and frowned. "This is no fit place for my _Leib-standart_ to
bathe," he announced. "Bring me pencil and paper!" Then and there he
sketched out his idea of what the new swimming-hall should be. And on
those lines it was actually built.

Such is the "Party" and such are the men who control its destinies.
What are we to think of this amazing organization and of its
aggressively dynamic creed which so uncompromisingly challenges our
world and its ideas?

One thing seems certain: The National Socialist upheaval that has
created the Third Reich goes far deeper than the Fascist regime in
Italy, and is perhaps a more defiant breach with the historic past
than ever the Communism of Soviet Russia. This the Nazis themselves
claim with no uncertain voice. Listen to what Otto Dietrich, one of
their outstanding spokesmen, has to say on this point:

"The National Socialist revolution is a totalitarian revolution.... It
embraces and revolutionizes not only our culture but our whole thought
and the concepts underlying it--in other words, our very manner of
thinking. Hence it becomes the starting point, the condition, and the
impelling force of all our actions.  ... We are crossing the threshold
of a new era. National Socialism is more than a renascence. It does
not signify the return to an old and antiquated world. On the
contrary, it constitutes the bridge to a new world!"

Outside of Germany, most persons seem inclined to think that the "new
world" envisioned by the Nazis would not be a very desirable abode.
However, that does not alter the fact that we are here confronted by a
revolution of the most radical kind, and that its leaders are
revolutionists from the ground up. Furthermore, though most of them
are still relatively young in years, they are all veterans hardened by
prolonged adversity and scarred from many battles. They are the
logical outcome of the quarter-century of hectic national life which
we have already discussed. In my opinion, therefore, both they and
their movement may be deemed _normal by-products of an abnormal

To give one instance of the grim school wherein they were fashioned,
let me cite an episode from my own experience. In mid-summer of the
year 1923, I sat in my room at the Hotel Adlon, discussing with a
German the deplorable position to which his country had then been
reduced. I had just come to Berlin from a trip through the Rhineland
and the Ruhr, where I had watched the passive-resistance campaign
against the French invaders, seen the black troops, and studied other
aspects of that tragic affair. Now, largely in consequence of that
desperate maneuver, the Mark was slipping fast to perdition, national
bankruptcy was at hand, and utter ruin loomed in the offing.

As my guest discussed the seemingly hopeless situation, he was visibly
in agony. Sweat stood out on his forehead. Suddenly, his mood changed
utterly. Flinging back his head, he burst into truly blood-curdling
laughter, best described by the German phrase
_galgenhumor_--gallows-humor.  Still shaking with his macabre mirth,
he leaned forward and tapped me on the knee.

"Millions of us have already died, on the battlefield and from the
British hunger blockade," he chuckled.  "Perhaps millions more of us
will perish, and we shall surely be ruined. No one can tell what
trials await us, and the world will do little to assuage our agony.
But, no matter what happens, it will be mainly the weak and soft who
will perish. Soon, the good-natured, easy-going, pot-bellied German
will be no more. Dr. Stoddard, let me make you a prophecy. If this
goes on, in about fifteen years you will see a New Germany, so lean,
so hard, so ruthless, that she can take on all comers--and beat them!"

The desperate spirit of the cornered man I talked to on a long-gone
summer day typifies merely one phase of the bitter schooling which
made Germany's present rulers what they are. In post-war Britain, a
phrase was coined to depict their English counterparts. That phrase
was: _The Lost Generation_. But if that were true of the war-scarred
youth of Britain, how infinitely truer was it of German youth! Well,
those war-youngsters are now in the saddle. So what we see in Germany
_is--the lost generation come to power_.

>From the moment I first looked at those rulers of the Third Reich, I
felt there was something about them which, from my American viewpoint,
was--queer. As I analyzed them, I realized that it was a sort of
twisted cynicism combined with a hard ruthlessness. And when I
listened to their life-stories, I saw it could scarcely be otherwise.
Most of them had entered the war as volunteers when they were mere
boys. One, I recall, was only fifteen at the time; others were not
much older. These burningly patriotic lads went through the hell of a
losing war, culminating in crushing defeat. Then their abased spirits
were given a savage tonic by joining the Free Corps formed to combat
the attempt at a "Spartakist" revolution. Joyously, they killed
Communists for a while. After that, some of them tried to go to
college or into business; but few of them could adapt themselves to
the life of the Weimar Republic which they hated and despised. Some of
them went abroad, adventuring; the rest sulked and brooded until their
ears heard a sudden trumpet-call. It was Nazidom's brazen clarion:
_Deutschland, Erwache_! "Germany, Awake!" They listened to Adolf
Hitler's oratory which stressed all the longings of their embittered
hearts--and they fell under his hypnotic spell. Into the ranks of the
Storm-Troops they went, with additional years of fighting as they
killed more Communists and "mastered the streets." Then, at last,
victory--and undisputed power.  Such, in a nutshell, are the Nazis, as
I analyzed them.  The rest, only war's awesome arbitrament can decide.


We have just surveyed the Party. in the light of what we there saw, we
can now more intelligently examine its relation to the State.
Furthermore, we may observe the relations of both State and Party to
certain aspects of German life not previously discussed, such as Law,
Crime, Finance, Business, and Religion.

Before so doing, however, I will venture a few words of caution. Much
of what I am about to say is so strange and so repellent to our mode
of thought that the reader will very likely find himself in a sort of
Alice-in-Wonderland realm of ideas, wherein almost everything seems
upside-down from his point of view. He will therefore be tempted to
dismiss the whole business as either hypocritical camouflage or arrant

That, however, would be a shortsighted attitude.

After months of intensive study and innumerable conversations with
representative Nazis, high and low in the Party scale, I am convinced
that the "Old Guard," at any rate, are for the most part, fanatical
zealots. If the Nazi thesis were a dialectic screen hiding mere lust
for power and pelf, it would never have converted so large a portion
of the traditionally honest, idealistic German people. If the Nazi
leaders were just a band of cynical adventurers, with tongue in cheek
and wholly "on the make," it would be far easier to deal with them.
Yet, whatever may be their aims, they are quite unscrupulous in their
methods. Hitler has proclaimed, times without number, that the end
justifies the means, and his disciples consistently follow that frank
gospel.  The Nazis are thoroughgoing propagandists--the cleverest I
have ever come up against. They have evolved a propaganda system which
is all-pervasive, and at its head stands Dr. Goebbels, generally
recognized as the greatest master of the subtle art that our epoch has
produced.  Nazi spokesmen will paint verbal pictures for you which may
sound alluring. When I listened to them, I kept firmly in the back of
my mind the thought that I must take nothing for granted. I knew in
advance that the speakers would not hesitate to overstress or
suppress, and that the upshot might be something which, though
literally true, would be a partial and distorted one.

However, just because they do not hesitate to present matters in
propagandist fashion, we should not jump to the conclusion that there
is nothing solid behind the presentation. There is clever intelligence
in the Party, and lots of painstaking thought has been devoted to
elaborating its program and perfecting the ideas upon which the
program is based. National Socialism is not a mere farrago of
nonsense; somehow it hangs together--_provided you accept its
premises_. That's the trouble with most argumentation. People ignore
or slide over premises and then wrangle bitterly over conclusions.

With this little _caveat_, or admonition, let us proceed.

Nazi political theory stems from an intimate union of four distinct
elements, each of which is conceived by them in a special (and, to us,
highly unfamiliar) sense.  They are: Folk, State, Party, and Leader.
We have already mentioned two of these basic factors: the
_Gemeinschaft_, the organic unity of a people founded on community of
blood; and the _Fuehrerprinzip_, the principle of Supreme Leadership,
incarnated in Adolf Hitler.

In Nazi eyes, the _Gemeinschaft_ concept is best expressed by the word
_Volksgemeinschaft_; literally, Folk-Community.  Note the difference
between this and our idea of a nation. To us, a nation means the
sum-total of all persons now living in the territory of a sovereign
State who owe allegiance to it. The Nazi Folk or People differs from
the traditional nation both in time and in space. Having a racial
basis, its living members are links in a vital chain which includes
both the dead and the unborn. Furthermore, all its blood-brothers are
organically members, even though they live far from the political
center of the Folk. Thus, persons of German blood throughout the world
are presumed to have a sort of mystic tie with the Third Reich, no
matter what their technical citizenship. On the other hand, resident
Jews are not, and cannot become, full-fledged Reich citizens. They are
merely Reich subjects.

As for the Party, it is officially denned as "the incorporation of the
German conception of the State and is indissolubly bound up with the
State." But note also this: "The Party does not owe its position to
the State; it exists in its own right. Actually the present State
existed ideally in the Party before it was established in fact."
Lastly, the Party is itself incarnated and sublimated in the person of
its supreme Fuehrer.

To Americans, these are, of course, strange concepts.  To show the
extent to which Nazi thinking differs from ours, take the title I have
given this chapter. To my mind, _The Totalitarian State_ is the best
way to characterize for American readers a regime which controls,
commands, and directs everybody and everything within its supreme
authority. But Nazis don't like the term, and Dr. Erich Schinnerer, a
specialist on Nazi jurisprudence, registers his objection as follows:
"The relation between People and State shows how false it is to
characterize the National Socialist State as a totalitarian State. A
State which itself works for an end and is not an end in itself cannot
in any sense be called a totalitarian State, in which the center of
gravity has been shifted to the disadvantage of the individual. In
such case the defenseless individual is confronted by an all-powerful
State. But the National Socialist State exists to serve the People and
therefore each member. Each German is a member of the whole and
therewith called upon to co-operate in the life of the State. The
term, totality, properly applies to the National Socialist
_Weltanschauung_, which is embodied in the whole people and activates
every branch of national existence."

How are we going to reconcile such assertions with self-evident facts?
As I see the matter, it is just one more instance of what I have
repeatedly pointed out in these pages: the wide discrepancy between
theory and practice in the Third Reich. And the reason for that is
clear. National Socialism is a _revolution_ which is still in the
emergency stage. Even though this emergency may have been largely
self-made, it nevertheless exists.  Unless conditions become easier,
we may expect a continued regime of practical martial law, with most
of the fine theories put away in moth-balls.

Anyhow, the Third Reich is a completely co-ordinated and utterly
unified State, wherein every trace of the old Federalism which existed
under the Empire and persisted in modified form under the Weimar
Republic has been swept away. The Federal States have been abolished.
In their place are _Gauen_, or provinces, which designedly cut across
State lines with the avowed intention of making the inhabitants forget
their historic local attachments. That was what the French
revolutionists did when they abolished the provinces of royal France
and cut the country up into Departments. This was done so arbitarily
that the French Departments have never developed much vitality. The
Nazis claim that they have avoided this mistake by laying out each
Province as a logical region based on a combination of history,
geography, economics, culture, and common sense.

Dr. Wilhelm Frick, Minister of the Interior, is responsible for the
transformation of Germany's internal administrative set-up which has
taken place under the Nazi regime. Dr. Frick is much older than his
colleagues, though he does not look his 63 years with his lithe, spare
body, and alert attitude. Furthermore, he has behind him a long career
in the Government service dating back to the Empire. The
administrative remolding of Germany is thus in experienced hands. His
motto is that of all Nazis: _One Folk, One Reich, One Fuehrer_!

The logical application of the basic principles just discussed is
perhaps most evident in the field of jurisprudence, especially on its
criminal side. All legal differences between different parts of
Germany were promptly abolished and a uniform procedure established.
Far more important was the change in the spirit and character of the
law itself. That profound change is well explained by its author, Dr.
Franz Guertner, Minister of Justice, who says:

"National Socialism looks upon the community of the nation as an
organization which has its own rights and duties, and whose interests
come before those of the individual. When we speak of the nation, we
do not confine ourselves to the generation to which we happen to
belong, but extend that term so as to comprise the sum-total of the
generations which have preceded us and those that will come after us.
This view has found expression in the National Socialist doctrine:
_Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz_--The Common Weal before individual
advantage. It dominates National Socialist policy, and its natural
corollary is that the rights of the individual must be subordinated to
those of the community.  The protection enjoyed by individuals is not
based on the assumption that their particular rights are sacrosanct
and inviolable, but rather on the fact that all of them are regarded
as valuable members of the national community, and therefore deserve
protection.  ... National Socialist ideas on justice thus differ
fundamentally from those which prevailed under the preceding regime."

Some Nazi ideas of justice do, indeed, seem to "differ fundamentally,"
not only from those in Germany under the Weimar Republic but from
those today in force elsewhere. In the world at large, the accepted
idea is that legal codes have two basic functions: to regulate human
relations and to protect the individual citizen against arbitrary
official action. The first is embodied in civil and criminal law, the
second in bills of rights.  Both of these Nazi jurisprudence throws
into the discard.  Any act deemed deserving of punishment may be dealt
with under the "unwritten law," described as "the healthy sense of
justice of the German people." The penalty is meted out "by analogy"
with those in the existing code. The aim is to replace the former
concept: "No punishment except through law," with the novel dictum:
"No crime without its punishment." Also, punishment may be
retroactive. This has been especially common in political cases, where
persons have been condemned by Nazi courts for acts done under the
Weimar Republic which were not then illegal. Likewise, the definition
of treason has been greatly expanded, and such cases are dealt with by
the dread "People's Tribunal," whose proceedings are secret and whose
judgments are usually the death penalty. In the Third Reich, political
offenses are deemed the greatest crimes, and are dealt with most
severely. No safeguards exist in such cases for the individual
citizen. The Nazi concept that the collectivity must at all costs be
safeguarded here attains its logical conclusion.

In the sphere of ordinary criminal law, Nazi justice, however severe,
has undoubtedly got noteworthy results.  Under the Weimar Republic,
crime was widespread.  Old American residents of Berlin have told me
about the conditions which then prevailed. Burglaries, holdups, and
petty thieving were common. The poorer quarters of Berlin were unsafe
for well-dressed pedestrians at night.

Today, Berlin is one of the safest cities in the world for even the
most prosperous-appearing person. The general blackout makes no
difference. I remember how Dr. Froelich laughed when I asked him about
this.  "You bet our streets are safe," he said. "And I'll tell you
why. Any holdup or robbery during the blackout hours is punished with
death. The case comes before a special court, and two hours after a
verdict of guilty, the offender's head is off on the guillotine!"

Scanning the papers for local items during my residence in Berlin, I
found that statement was no exaggeration.  During my entire stay, I
caught only a few instances of holdup cases, mostly bag-snatchings at
subway entrances by young hoodlums who were caught in every instance
save one. Holdup cases seem to be given a fair trial, judging by a
case I read about which concerned a drunken man who accosted
passers-by and ordered them to hand over their money. The first
"victim" laughingly pushed the wavering inebriate aside, thinking it a
bad joke. The second person accosted, a woman, screamed, and brought a
policeman promptly to the scene. At the trial, a specialist on
alcoholism reported that the culprit was too drunk to realize what he
was doing. So he got off with a prison sentence instead of losing his

One reason why there is so little wartime crime is that, the very
first day war broke out, the Government started a general round-up of
all persons with noteworthy criminal records, who were thereupon
removed from circulation in concentration-camps for the duration of
the war. This was merely an extension of the indeterminate detention
of habitual offenders which Himmler referred to when I interviewed
him. The Nazis see no reason why society should be plagued by persons
who have demonstrated their chronic inability to avoid committing
offenses. And they stay in concentration-camps for life, unless the
camp authorities are convinced that they are reformed.  The Nazis are
robust pragmatists.

Nazi achievements in finance and industry are generally regarded as
deep, dark mysteries abroad. To me, the answer is very simple: _An
absolute dictatorship over an industrious, resourceful people_. That
is the basis of everything that has happened. Let's see how it has
worked out in detail.

First, how did they get the money for a colossal rearmament program,
coupled with other expenditures on an equally lavish scale? Easy
enough. "Money," in the sense of a national currency as distinguished
from actual gold and silver, is anything a Government says it is-so
long as the people will accept it as such. The Nazi Government said
the Reichsmark was the sole legal tender, and the policeman on the
corner stood ready to enforce that decree in every case. There was no
alternative, because no German could legally export his marks and turn
them into foreign currencies; neither could he hoard dollars or pounds
sterling, because whatever foreign currency he held must be promptly
turned into the treasury in exchange for marks at the official rate.
Anyone trying to dodge those rules flirted with the death penalty.

The only way the rules could have been nullified would have been a
general popular refusal to accept the official tokens in ordinary
transactions. That would have spelled rebellion; and this in turn
could have occurred only through a general breakdown of confidence,
not merely in the value of the currency but also in the whole Nazi

An important factor which has predisposed Germans to retain confidence
in the Reichsmark is their general monetary attitude. The terrible
inflation of 1923 which reduced the value of the old mark to zero,
destroyed in German minds faith in money. Henceforth they regarded the
currency as a _token_ of value--what economists term "the right of
action" whereby desirable property of all kinds can be obtained.

Of all this the Nazi rulers were well aware. They knew that the one
thing which would immediately shake public confidence would be to
start the printing-presses and turn out a flood of money, thereby
precipitating a _currency_ inflation similar to that of 1923, which
remained a horror in German minds.

The Nazis foresaw another danger as soon as their huge spending
program got fairly under way. This was a _credit_ inflation. If the
economic law of supply and demand were allowed free play, prices would
go sky-high, and the Reichsmark's purchasing-power would drastically
decline. So they clamped on a complete price-system.  In previous
chapters we saw how wages, salaries, goods, and materials are kept in
line, and how everybody knows in advance just about how much they will
take in and pay out. So money and prices were both kept stable in
relation to each other.

How did the Nazis actually finance their ambitious projects with
neither currency nor price inflation? They did it in a number of ways.
Fluid capital was regimented and either invested according to orders
or diverted into Government loans. Profits were skimmed off by drastic
taxation. Above all, consumption was kept down and living standards
were lowered by what I have called a process of _reverse inflation_. I
have described the way Germans can find fewer and fewer desirable
things to buy with their money except life's bare necessities.

The upshot has been that the German people have themselves financed
astounding expenditures by literally taking it out of their own hides.
But a heavy price has naturally had to be paid, and this price has
become rapidly heavier, especially in the last two years. By 1938,
evidence accumulated that the furious pace of Nazi _Wehrwirtschaft_
(really War-Economy) was running into the economic law of diminishing
returns and was likewise entailing serious physical and psychological
overstrain in every class of society. We saw this in our surveys of
the peasantry, the industrial workers, women, and youth. We can
observe the same symptoms when we view another important figure, the
business man.

How the Nazis regard business and have fitted it into their
co-ordinated scheme is authoritatively set forth by Dr. Wilhelm Bauer,
one of the head officials in this field. He says:

"The basis for all Government intervention in business in Germany is
to be found in the National-Socialist conception of the relation
between business and the State. According to our theory, business is
subordinated to the State. Formerly, it was believed that the fate of
the State and of the nation lay in business, for it was said that
business was of such great importance and so powerful that it
controlled the State and determined State policies. In the
National-Socialist State the relation between business and State is
just the contrary.  Today the State or State policy controls or rules
business.  ... This means that the State is not concerned with
economic conditions as long as they do not conflict with the welfare
of the nation. The principle of private initiative has been
maintained. However, where it seems necessary to bring business into
line with the welfare of the nation, the State will not hesitate to
intervene and direct business into the desired channels.  In Germany,
contrary to the usual belief, we have no 'planned economy,' but rather
a 'directed' economy if I may use such an expression."

A "directed economy" seems to me a good phrase which well describes
the way things have gone with business in the Third Reich. Unlike
Communists, Nazis are not obsessed by dogma; neither are they enamored
of logic. Their aim is maximum efficiency for their cause, and they
will not hesitate to do seemingly inconsistent things if they think
this best calculated to get what they are after. They have no
theoretical objection to private business, and they realize it will
not function without profits. But only such business as benefits the
State by being privately run is allowed to remain in private hands. As
for dividends, they are limited to about 6 per cent. Taxation plus
price-controls make it hard for any business to pay more than that.
However, when a business does manage to jump those hurdles, excess
profits are either siphoned off into Government loans or reinvested as
officialdom directs. Meanwhile the average business man is so
regimented and so increasingly enmeshed in minute regulations and
general red-tape that he feels himself virtually a cog in a machine.
This trend has been greatly accentuated since the beginning of the
war. Like everyone else, the business man is "in the army now."

Business men obviously do not like either their present status or the
economic trend, which moves towards an ever-increasing degree of
socialization. But they feel helpless and are cagey in expressing
themselves. None of those I talked to would say very much. Here is a
sort of composite report on those conversations: "German business,
though closely controlled, still gives room for private initiative and
profit-making. Controlled capitalism best expresses what now exists in
the Third Reich.  That, however, probably represents an advanced stage
of a trend which is world-wide, since orthodox capitalism seems
everywhere in rapid decline. One good feature in Germany is that
class-antagonism has been greatly reduced; employers and workers both
have their rights, and are kept up to their respective duties and
responsibilities. The war is especially deplorable from the business
aspect. If long continued, it must involve a rapid sinking of
living-standards which will entail the gravest economic consequences.
However, a total collapse of the economic structure is unlikely,
because in Germany today everything is closely co-ordinated.  The
outlook for private business is thus not bright." It is a noteworthy
fact that I sensed much more latent discontent in business circles
than I did among workers and peasants. Fritz Thyssen's flight from the
Reich and his open breach with the Nazi regime may be symptomatic of
what other big business leaders inwardly feel.

However, I think it unlikely that they will follow Thyssen's example.
Most business men presumably share the belief, so general in Germany
today, that defeat in this war would spell the subjugation and ruin of
their country. Furthermore, they believe that defeat would be followed
by either Communism or chaos; and from both eventualities they have
everything to lose.  The impasse between the Government and the church
is inherently the most serious in German life today. It cuts very
deep, involving as it does a clash between two sharply contrasted
ideals. It far transcends ordinary policies. Among extremists in both
camps it arouses intense emotion and provokes attitudes which
seemingly cannot be reconciled.

Unfortunately I have little to say on this important subject, because
I had neither the time nor the opportunity to investigate it properly.
To be sure, I have read background literature, but to attempt a
discussion of the problem on that alone would not fall within the
purpose of this book.

There are, however, a few highlights on the struggle between the
Government and the church which I should like to mention. To begin
with, like other aspects of the Third Reich, little of the struggle
appears on the surface. The churches are open and are well-filled,
with no overt hindrance on attendance or services.  The official
attitude is that succinctly expressed by Herr Himmler in the interview
he accorded me: "We never interfere with matters of religious dogma."
Indeed, when you try to discuss the religious question with Nazis,
they are apt to wave it aside as an annoying issue precipitated by a
few incomprehensible fanatics. The average Nazi seems to be neither
anti-religious nor anticlerical; he thinks that the Church has its
place in his scheme of things. But, like everything else, it should
fit into the co-ordinated pattern of the Third Reich. Whoever dissents
from or opposes that must be broken!

That explains the intense anger of most Nazis toward Pastor
Niemoeller. He took direct issue with the whole Nazi regime, including
the Fuehrer himself; and when at first he was lightly dealt with, he
became still more vehement instead of falling silent. The cup of his
offending ran over when he received widespread support from bitter
opponents of the Third Reich in many foreign lands.

That's as far as you get with Nazis on the Church question. And
non-Nazis don't usually like to discuss the subject. If they are not
religious persons, it annoys them almost as much as it does members of
the Party.  If they have strong religious convictions, it is for them
a topic both personally painful and possibly risky to discuss with a


The foreign correspondent in wartime Germany often feels as though he
were living in a vast wizard's castle not especially well furnished
and with many inconveniences.  But he is hospitably received and well
treated. Furthermore, the house-rules are clearly explained to him by
the guest-warden who has him in charge. Over most of the premises he
is free to roam at will.

But, as he ranges its interminable corridors, he discovers certain
closed doors. Some of them are locked and bear notices strictly
forbidding entrance. The correspondent knows that any attempt to break
in will, at the very least, mean prompt expulsion from the castle.  He
will have committed a flagrant breach of those house-rules to which he
has agreed. Other doors, though shut, are not locked. If he peeks
inside, his action will be regarded with disfavor and he may become
suspect.  Still other doors may be opened to him on special request,
but the rooms within will be so shuttered and his inspection will be
so carefully supervised that he will probably get a very imperfect
glimpse of what is there. Finally, the guest-wardens will tell him
about certain rooms which he is not allowed to enter, though the
correspondent will have his doubts concerning the accuracy of such

Under these circumstances the correspondent will naturally not get a
complete picture of this wizard's castle and its contents, though if
he is observant and industrious he may see and hear quite a few things
not intended for his eyes and ears. He will also piece out his
fragmentary knowledge by chats with fellow-guests and by snatches of
gossip picked up or overheard from the servants. If he stays long
enough, he will acquire a fairly clear idea of what it is all about,
though there are a few mysteries that he presumably will never be able
to unravel.

The undertone of wartime Germany was grim. This was most evident in
Berlin and reached its climax at its official heart, in and about the
Wilhelmstrasse. At night, especially, the effect was eery. I know it
well, for I lived just around the corner and often traversed the
famous thoroughfare in the late hours. After nightfall the west side
of the interminably-long block between Vossstrasse and Unter den
Linden is closed to foot traffic. Red lights gave warning, backed by
police and military guards in front of the Chancery, the Fuehrer's
residence, and other official buildings, including the Foreign Office.
The east side, where walking was permitted, was also guarded. As I
walked warily in the blackout, I would often glimpse the looming
figure of a gigantic _Schupo_ standing motionless as a statue in some
recessed doorway. Across the street, sentries paced their beats with
heavy, rhythmic tread. For the rest, silence, save when a pair met.
Then I might catch an interchange of deep guttural salutations. Two or
three small blue lights, spaced at intervals, indicated the entrance
to Ministries. Closed motor-cars might be seen entering or leaving the
Residence by its semi-circular drive. Despite the stringent blackout,
an occasional ray of light from curtained windows revealed intense
activity going on far into the night.

The whole atmosphere of the place was uncannily mysterious. I sensed
that, like every passer-by, I was intently watched by many pairs of
hidden eyes. This I proved the first time I stopped for a moment to
bend down and tie a shoe-lace. Instantly, a beam of light from a
powerful electric torch shot out from across the way, to see what I
was up to. I purposely tried the same trick on subsequent occasions,
with the same result.  This sense of intent surveillance was hardly
pleasant.  I was glad to turn the corner onto the "Linden" and slip
into my hotel.

The doors most tightly barred to us correspondents were the military
and naval zones. This was natural, and nobody could legitimately
complain about what every nation does in wartime. During my entire
stay in Germany no correspondent was allowed to get anywhere near the
West-Wall, which is not a "wall" but what military men call a
"position in depth"--a fortified zone extending back many miles from
the frontier.

The other implacably closed door was that into the German-occupied
area known as the Gouvernement-General of Poland. Toward the close of
the September _Blitzkrieg_ campaign, a large party of journalists were
taken to Poland on a tour of observation which had its climax with
Hitler's triumphant entry into Warsaw.  Then the portals were slammed
shut and triple-barred.  One American special correspondent, Kenneth
Collings, did defy the rules and brought out an exciting story; but he
had a very rough time of it and nearly got shot as a spy. Also he had
to get out of Germany immediately thereafter.

Berlin buzzed with rumors about conditions in Poland, but I never
talked with anyone who had actually been in Poland except Dr. Junod,
the Red Cross official already mentioned, and a German whom I met
casually on the train from Berlin to Vienna in the Christmas season.
My chat with him was too brief to get much information, but he did
show me a whole sheaf of special permits he needed there as manager of
a factory which had been taken over by the Germans. They revealed an
incredibly regimented life. He needed a permit (_Ausweis_) to be on
the streets after 8.00 P.M.; to drive a car at all, and another to
drive at night; also at least a dozen others, some of these being to
get raw materials and shipping privileges. Jokingly, I asked him
whether he didn't need an _Ausweis_ to kiss his wife. He laughed and
said: "Not yet, but it may come to that!"

Some of the rumors around Berlin were very lurid.  One of the most
persistent which went the journalistic rounds was that the Nazis were
systematically killing off all troublesome Poles; that _Gestapo_ and
S.S. men went from village to village, rounding up those denounced by
resident secret agents and machine-gunning them into a common grave
which the victims had been previously forced to dig. I mention this,
not to assert its credibility, but to present a picture of the rumor
and gossip which are passed around when authentic news is
unobtainable. The general impression among foreign journalists in
Berlin was that rough work was going on in Poland. If that was an
unjust inference, it's the Nazis' own fault for keeping out reliable
neutral observers who could have written objective, unbiased accounts.

So much for locked doors. Now for those, normally shut, but which you
might enter under special circumstances.  Outstanding in this category
is the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia. You need a special card to go
there. I obtained one but never used it because I couldn't take the
time to make such a trip worth while.  Any journalist who arrives in
Prague chaperoned by the German authorities doesn't see or learn much.
He is thereby suspect, and no patriotic Czech will dare come near him.
Even when you have proper introductions you must proceed cautiously in
making your contacts, chiefly so as not to betray those you want to
meet.  And that means quite a long stay.

I got a certain amount of first-hand information from foreigners who
had been there and on whom I could rely. Naturally, I cannot disclose
their identity. They told me that the German army and regular civil
functionaries had behaved fairly well and wanted to reconcile the
Czech population by tactful treatment. Most of the troubles which
occurred were due to the Party, especially to young local Nazis, many
of whom grossly abused their authority. I was told that the student
riots of late October were repressed with excessive severity and much
cruelty. The number formally executed was probably not greatly in
excess of that officially announced, but many were so badly beaten up
by the S.S.  that they died in consequence, while the number of those
deported to concentration camps in Germany was very great.

I was likewise informed that the suppressed hatred of the Czechs,
especially toward the local Germans, was gruesome; that even the Czech
women kept carving knives sharp to stick into the bellies of Teutonic
neighbors if the right time ever came. My informants had heard that
large quantities of small-arms and machine-guns were safely hidden in
various parts of the Protectorate, making possible effective guerilla
warfare, should the German armies be defeated at the front and the
Reich show signs of cracking. However, the Czechs are a disciplined
people, too canny to rise prematurely and thereby expose themselves to
the terrible vengeance they know would be in store. Hence, though the
Protectorate may be a potentially eruptive volcano, the fires are well
banked and little should immediately take place.

Most interesting among the closed doors through which one may take a
peek are those labeled _Unrest_ and _Jews_. I have already remarked
that, while militant discontent with the Nazi regime undoubtedly
exists in Germany, it is probably not as widespread as is often
alleged by exiles. _Organized_ unrest has burrowed so deeply
underground that foreigners know almost nothing tangible about it. A
few long-resident journalists seem to have direct contacts, but of
course they cannot write on the subject; neither do they give out much
specific information. This is wise, both for their own sakes and to
avoid all possibility of implicating "inside" informants.

The most reliable information I got at first-hand on the condition of
the Jews was from two Jewish families to which I bore introductions.
One was formerly wealthy, the other had been well-off. Both were
living in reduced circumstances. Their properties were impounded and
managed by quasi-public institutions, though they received enough from
the incomes to manage decently. At one of these homes I was surprised
to meet "Aryans" of standing who expressed no apprehension in
consequence of having kept up friendly relations with my hosts.

I was told that, while the situation of the 20,000 Jews still in
Berlin was a hard and distressful one, there had been no organized
violence against them since the great synagogue-burning riots of
November, 1938. Jews were occasionally beaten up or otherwise
mistreated; several instances had occurred after the Munich attempt on
Hitler's life. But my informants said they thought such acts were due
to the initiative of Party subordinates rather than to official

The most difficult aspect of their existence arose from the continual
limitations and discriminations which they suffered. The majority of
stores, shops, and restaurants have entrance signs which read: _Jews
Not Wanted_, or _Jews Not Allowed to Enter_. These prohibitions are
widely enforced; so it is difficult for Jews to shop or get a meal
away from home. They are, however, allowed to register with local
tradesmen and legally to enter within certain hours. Jews are given
regular foodcards, but no clothing cards were issued to them while I
was in Berlin.

All Jews must carry about with them a special identity-card which must
be produced whenever required by anyone authorized to demand it. They
are not supposed to go to the central portions of the city, and I
never saw one on the Wilhelmstrasse, Unter den Linden, or adjacent
sections. Jews may not legally be out of their houses after 8.00 P.M.;
nor can they go to ordinary places of amusement at any time.

The Jews naturally find such a life intolerable and long to emigrate.
But that is most difficult because they can take almost no money or
property with them, and other countries will not receive them lest
they become public charges. Their greatest fear seemed to be that they
might be deported to the Jewish "reservation" in southern Poland which
the German Government is contemplating.

The average German seems disinclined to talk much to the foreign
visitor about this oppressed minority.  However, I gathered that the
general public does not approve of the violence and cruelty which Jews
have suffered. But I also got the impression that, while the average
German condemned such methods, he was not unwilling to see the Jews go
and would not wish them back again. I personally remember how
widespread anti-Semitism was under the Empire, and I encountered it in
far more noticeable form when I was in Germany during the inflation
period of 1923. The Nazis therefore seem to have had a popular
predisposition to work on when they preached their extreme
anti-Semitic doctrines.

The prevailing attitude toward the Jews in present-day Germany reminds
me strongly of the attitude toward the Christian Greeks and Armenians
in Turkey when I was there shortly after the World War. The Turks were
then in a fanatically nationalistic mood; and, rightly or wrongly,
they had made up their minds that the resident Greeks and Armenians
were unas-similable elements which must be expelled if they were to
realize their goal of a 100 per cent Turkish Nation-State.  To
accomplish this, they were willing to suffer temporary economic
difficulties of a serious kind. In traveling through Asia Minor I came
to towns and villages where business was at a standstill, houses stood
half-finished, and fruit lay rotting on the ground, because Greek or
Armenian traders, jobbers, and artisans had been driven out and there
were no Turks competent to replace them. When I got to Ankara, the new
Turkish capital in the heart of the Anatolian plateau, I took the
matter up with Mustapha Kemal and other Nationalist leaders. In all
cases, their answer was substantially the same.

Here was their line of argument: "We know what we are now undergoing,
and what bad repercussions our policy may have on world public
opinion. But we feel it is a vital national task. We believe that the
Greeks and Armenians are aggressively alien elements, who monopolize
many aspects of our national life. The more they prosper, the more
harmful they become. By suddenly driving them out, we may have to
suffer economically for ten, twenty, or even thirty years, until we
have produced from our own people competent artisans and business men.
What is that in the life of a nation? Under the circumstances, it is a
price we are ready to pay."

In Nationalist Turkey, the determination to eliminate the Greeks and
Armenians was motivated mainly by political and economic
considerations. In Nazi Germany, the resolve to eliminate the Jews is
further exacerbated by theories of race. The upshot, in Nazi circles,
is a most uncompromising attitude. If this is not oftener expressed,
the reason is because they feel that the issue is already decided in
principle and that elimination of the Jews will be completed within a
relatively short space of time. So, ordinarily, the subject does not
arise. But it crops up at unexpected moments. For-instance, I have
been stunned at a luncheon or dinner with Nazis, where the Jewish
question had not been even mentioned, to have somebody raise his glass
and casually give the toast: _Sterben Juden_!--"May the Jews Die!"

_Can Germany hold out_? That is the query endlessly debated whenever
foreign observers chat together in wartime Germany. It's a fascinating
topic because it probably holds the key to the vital riddle of who
will win the war. Germany lost the last war chiefly through the
strangling effects of the Allied blockade which starved both the
German people and German industry to the point of general collapse. If
the new blockade works equally well, Germany is doomed. But if history
does not repeat itself, then Germany may at the very least keep its
present supremacy over Central and Eastern Europe. And that, in turn,
spells a qualified German victory.

This isn't news. It is a simple statement of fact known to every
well-informed person. I certainly realized its importance when I went
to Germany to study the situation.  And throughout the months spent
there I did my best to get the answer. Among other things, I hobnobbed
with the best-informed neutral observers I could find--resident
journalists from various countries, diplomats, long-established
professional and business men.  Many of these foreign residents were
specialists with a wealth of technical information.

>From what those men told me, plus my own studies and observations, I
learned a lot. But I didn't get the conclusive answer I sought. The
evidence was usually fragmentary and often contradictory, while the
experts differed violently among themselves. Some said that Germany's
situation was getting desperate and its outlook almost hopeless;
others maintained that Germany could last indefinitely and had
virtually won the game.  Between the two extremes lay intermediate
viewpoints.  So I left Germany somewhat in the mood of Omar Khayyam
who came out by the same door wherein he went.

However, though unable to offer an assured Yes or No to the riddle of
German war-prospects, I think it is possible to state the elements of
the problem and fairly summarize the evidence. By setting forth what
is definitely known and what can logically be inferred from the known
facts, we will be in better position to draw reasonable conclusions
and interpret the meaning of current happenings as they take place.

Ever since Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Germany has been
rearming at an ever-quickening tempo.  The result has been the most
tremendous piling up of war material that the world has ever seen. But
even this huge rearmament program is only part of the story.
Germany's whole national life has been systematically put on a war
footing. The Nazis frankly call it _Wehrwirtschaft_--a military

An outstanding feature of war economics is secrecy.  As far as
possible, outsiders must be kept from finding out what goes on. So,
from the start, any disclosure of information affecting the national
interest has in Germany been deemed an act of treason, punishable by
death. Thus every phase of German preparedness, military or otherwise,
has been shrouded in mystery.

Under these circumstances we see how hard it is to get the facts. Such
statistics as have been published are notoriously partial and
unreliable. Take the available figures on German imports during recent
years. It is an open secret that vast quantities of strategic raw
materials and essential foodstuffs have been bought abroad for direct
army account and have never been reported in official trade tables. It
is likewise known that a large proportion of regular imports have gone
into special reserves; but how much has never been disclosed.

Of course, since the start of the war no figures whatever have been
published, so the mystery steadily deepens.  That is the main reason
why even the best-informed foreign residents in Germany come to such
widely differing conclusions on German ability to carry on the war
against the strangling effects of the British blockade.

Although we are thus faced with many unknown or partly known factors,
it seems nevertheless possible to reach conclusions which will hit
somewhere near the truth. Under these limitations, I shall try to
analyze Germany's war situation. The analysis naturally falls under
four main heads: (1) military; (2) industrial raw materials; (3)
foodstuffs; (4) national psychology, usually termed _morale_.

It is on the military factor that foreign observers in Germany are in
closest agreement. Nearly all of them are convinced that the German
army is highly efficient and splendidly equipped. They likewise were
agreed while I was there that so long as Germany continued to wage a
defensive war on one front, the West Wall appeared to be impregnable
to direct attack. That does not mean that the Allies could not drive
in deep salients by sacrificing enough men and metal.

Incidentally, while I was in Germany, its full manpower had obviously
not yet been mobilized. Everywhere I went, I noted great numbers of
fit individuals who were not in uniform. Also, the munitions plants
ran full blast throughout the quiet winter months--a fact I learned
from unimpeachable information. This continuous piling up of munitions
was a significant indication that reserves of essential raw materials
remained ample. Bearing in mind the rapidity with which war material
becomes obsolete, the munitions industry would have been unlikely to
carry on at that rate if there had been any immediate danger of vital
raw-material shortages. Unless, of course, those munitions were
earmarked for quick use on a major scale.

This brings us to one sharp difference of opinion I encountered on the
military situation. Some foreign residents thought that Germany was
strong enough to risk a great Western offensive in the spring or
summer of 1940, either directly at the French Maginot Line or down
through Holland and Belgium. That is certainly what high Nazis implied
when they boasted confidently of their ability to wage a short war
culminating in complete victory. However, most foreign observers told
me they thought the odds were distinctly against the success of such a
venture, especially in the war's first year.  Such an offensive, the
most tremendous military operation ever undertaken, would entail not
only prodigious loss of life but an equally prodigious consumption of
war material. These objectors did not think Germany as yet possessed
the economic reserves, especially of oil and steel, to carry through a
complete Western offensive to a successful conclusion. At best, it
would mean a supreme gamble, with speedy collapse as the penalty for
failure. They therefore concluded that, unless Germany was
economically in such bad shape that she could not hold out long even
on the defensive, the High Command would be unlikely to risk
everything on a single thunderstroke.

The obvious conclusion to be drawn from these conflicting viewpoints
was that, if Germany launched a Western offensive in the current year,
it would indicate either great strength or great weakness.

All this emphasizes the vital importance of the second
factor--industrial raw materials. The tragedy of Finland dramatically
shows that the finest army is helpless without abundant supplies of
every kind. In the same way, the German army would soon be defeated if
its sinews of war should be cut.

So far as industrial plant and equipment are concerned, Germany seems
amply able to supply its armies, maintain its civilian population
above the destitution-line, and do a considerable amount of foreign
trade.  An important part of Hitler's gigantic preparedness program
has been the systematic development of heavy industry, which is far
ahead of what it was in the last war. By including Austria and
Czechoslovakia, to say nothing of occupied Poland, we find that
Greater Germany's plant capacity is approximately 50 per cent greater
than in 1913.

Factories, however, can no more run without raw materials than armies
can fight without supplies. And modern industry needs a wide variety
of materials drawn literally from the ends of the earth. Foremost on
the list stand coal, iron, and oil.

Germany has plenty of coal within her borders, while the seizure of
Poland's rich coalfields, gives her a good surplus for export. But
iron is a grave problem, while oil is undoubtedly her greatest

Germany lost her only high-grade iron mines when she ceded
Alsace-Lorraine to France at the close of the last war. Recently the
Reich has been developing various low-grade iron deposits as part of
its famous Four Year Plan for industrial self-sufficiency.
Collectively known as the Hermann Goering Works, these enterprises are
economically wasteful; but since they are frankly a war measure, costs
are a minor matter. These new works are just getting into full
production. Details are a State secret, though it is believed their
output will be considerable. Still, they cannot supply more than a
portion of Germany's needs, and their product needs mixing with
high-grade ores to yield the best steel. A domestic source of
high-grade ore exists in Austria, but the field is too small to be of
major importance.

The German Government is combing the country for scrap. During my stay
in Berlin I often saw workmen removing iron railings even from the
fronts of private homes, while the public was told to turn over every
bit of old metal to official junk collectors. This does not prove that
Germany is today faced with a crucial iron shortage. It does mean,
however, that the Government is looking ahead and is taking no

There can be scant doubt that the Reich has built up large reserves of
iron, as of other vital raw materials.  Trade statistics show that,
during the three years before the war, imports of iron ore increased
notably, while imports of scrap and pig iron jumped 300 per cent.
Furthermore, as already remarked, there is the likelihood of large
purchases made abroad for direct official account which would not
appear on the commercial records. The chances are, therefore, that
Germany began the war with enough iron on hand to meet its needs for a
considerable time.

Still, Mars, the War God, has a voracious appetite for iron, while
German industry, running at top speed, requires much iron and steel
for replacements. This is especially true of the overworked German
railways.  Shortly before the war broke out, a large construction
program was started to remedy acute shortages of locomotives and
rolling-stock, and it is unlikely that this was entirely shelved.

Where is Germany to find the necessary iron supplies for all this?
Under the most optimistic estimates, the Reich cannot cover more than
half its needs from domestic sources. The balance must come from

With the British blockade barring the ocean lanes, the only accessible
large-scale foreign source is Sweden. Even before the war, Sweden's
extensive high-grade iron mines furnished Germany with nearly half of
its imported iron ore. Obviously, this vital source of supply must at
all costs be maintained. When I was in Germany, officials clearly
intimated that Germany would unquestionably go to any lengths if
Sweden stopped or notably lessened the flow of iron ore upon which
German industry and the German war-machine so largely depend. This is
a major factor in Germany's invasion of Scandinavia which began as
these pages are being written.

Perhaps, in the long run, Russia can help cover the Reich's iron
deficit, if German technicians succeed in putting Russia on an
efficiency basis, as is reported they are now doing. However, that is
what Germans call "future music," presumably some two years away.
Meanwhile, it is interesting to note that Germany still gets iron from
Luxemburg. Even more interesting are reports that some iron from
French Lorraine finds it way to the Reich, in exchange for German coke
which the French iron mines need for effective operation. This
contraband trade apparently runs through neutral Belgium and is winked
at by both sides. Though the French Government has denied these
reports, they are not improbable. Such exchanges occurred in the last
war, and are an historical commonplace. Even across the hottest
battle-lines, barter usually occurs when the mutual benefits are
sufficiently apparent.

Germany's iron and steel problem, though serious, does not seem to be
insoluble. Anyhow, an acute shortage is unlikely to develop in the
immediate future.

We now come to the crucial problem of oil, the weakest spot in
Germany's industrial armor. I understand that the Reich's normal
peacetime consumption of motor fuel averages between five and six
million tons.  During the past few years Germany has made herculean
efforts to reduce her dependence upon foreign supplies.  From
elaborate borings under Government subsidy, oil fields were discovered
which stepped up production of domestic natural crude by at least 300
per cent. Germany likewise produces large amounts of benzol, a
byproduct of coke. Most important of all, new chemical processes have
made possible large-scale extraction of oil from Germany's extensive
deposits of lignite, or brown coal. It is estimated that, from these
combined sources, Germany at the start of the war was producing motor
fuels to an annual total of something like three million tons--about
half her peacetime needs.

Germany is now at war, and if her war machine were operating at full
capacity, oil consumption would be stepped up to at least twelve
million tons per annum.

But, until the invasion of Scandinavia at least, the oil-devouring
_Blitzkrieg_ occurred only at the start and ceased when the brief
Polish campaign was over.  Thenceforth, the war became a _Sitzkrieg_,
which took very little oil. Meanwhile the most rigid economies have
been practiced. Private automobiles no longer run; buses and trucks
operate on a mixture containing some 30 per cent of potato alcohol,
while a vast fleet of laid-up merchant ships burns no liquid fuel
whatever. It is reliably estimated that, under such circumstances,
Germany's oil consumption ran below the normal peacetime level.

But this strange sit-down war could not go on indefinitely, so Germany
might at any moment be faced with oil consumption on a tremendous
scale. Is Germany prepared to meet the strain? The Reich has
undoubtedly accumulated large oil reserves. For years her imports have
notably exceeded current needs, bearing in mind her domestic output.
In 1936, imports totaled 4,200,000 tons; in 1937, 4,300,000; in 1938
they rose to nearly 5,000,000, and for the first half of 1939 they ran
over 2,700,000 tons, indicating that some 5,500,000 would have been
imported if war had not broken out in September.

Those are the official trade figures, which do not exclude the
possibility of further imports on direct official account. However, it
is improbable that these could have been very large. Oil is harder to
conceal and store than most other materials. While in Germany I heard
rumors of vast hidden pools, but I am inclined to disbelieve them.

Whatever the size of the Reich's oil reserves, the blockade dealt a
heavy blow by cutting off imports from North and South America, which
averaged 80 per cent of the total. It is interesting to note that, in
1938, Rumania supplied Germany with only 700,000 tons of oil, while
Russia contributed the insignificant item of 33,000 tons. Yet it is
precisely on those two countries that Germany must rely if she is to
avoid an oil famine that would probably be fatal.

Rumania, of itself, can hardly solve the problem. The Rumanian oil
fields are on the decline. In 1938, Rumanian oil exports to all
countries were less than 5,000,000 tons, and those exports were
allocated by definite agreements not merely with Germany but with
Britain, France, Italy, and Balkan countries as well. Despite much
strong-arm diplomacy, Germany has as yet been unable to get Rumania to
grant the Reich more than its agreed allotment of 1,200,000 tons.
Incidentally, very little Rumanian oil reached Germany during the
severe winter months when the Danube was frozen and barge navigation
became impossible.

Should Germany invade and conquer Rumania, its oil fields would be at
the Reich's disposal. Such an invasion, however, even though
successful, might on balance do Germany more harm than good. Oil wells
and refineries would presumably be destroyed long before the German
armies could seize them, and it is estimated that it would take a year
to get the wells into production again, while refineries might take
longer still. Besides, the whole Balkan region might be plunged into
war, which is the last thing Germany wants at the present time, since
she would thereby lose a major source of foodstuffs and raw materials,
at least for a considerable period.

The key to Germany's oil dilemma seems to lie in Russia. The Soviet's
Caspian oil fields centering around Baku are among the richest in the
world, with an average yield of thirty million tons. Most of this is
consumed in Russia itself, but there is a large surplus, much of which
might be shipped to Germany. The chief difficulty is transportation,
either across the Black Sea and up the Danube, or by rail overland a
vast distance and at great expense. There is also the possibility that
Anglo-French fleets and armies, allied to the Turks, may cut the Black
Sea route, and even destroy or capture the Caspian oil fields
themselves. That would indeed be a body-blow to German hopes. In that
case, their only feasible Russian source would be the Polish oil
fields of the Russian-occupied zone, whose annual output is a scant
500,000 tons.

Germany faces other problems in raw materials, though none so serious
as that of oil. Russia can furnish manganese ore in abundance--given
time. Copper, lead, chrome, and bauxite (the basis of aluminum) are
suppliable from Central Europe and the Balkans. Ample zinc has been
acquired with conquered Poland. Nickel, tin, and some rare alloys have
been irrevocably cut off by the Allied blockade, except the nickel
mines of northern Finland; but it is well-nigh certain that Germany
anticipated those contingencies by storing amounts sufficient for her
probable needs. A rubber shortage is largely averted by German
synthetic _buna_.

Thus, unless the German war-machine stalls for lack of oil, it looks
as though the Reich could weather the blockade, so far as industrial
war materials are concerned, until communications with Russia are
perfected and its huge eastern neighbor gets into fuller production a
year or two hence. Naturally, this implies that Russo-German relations
continue on their present footing.  Should Stalin abandon his
pro-German policy, the entire situation would change and Germany's
raw-material prospects would become dark indeed.

Now for the food factor. We have already covered that phase so fully
in preceding pages that little more need here be said. Reliable
information indicates that the almost unprecedented cold of the past
winter has damaged or spoiled a considerable proportion of the Reich's
stored supplies of potatoes, cabbage, and other vegetables. That is a
serious blow. Besides upsetting the schedule of food-rationing for
human beings, it will make far more difficult the maintenance of the
Reich's vast pig population, which is fed largely on a potato and
sugar-beet diet. If a large percentage of Germany's pigs has to be
slaughtered, that will in turn worsen the fat situation, which is
Germany's most acute dietary problem.

We now reach the fourth and final factor in our analysis of Germany's
war situation and prospects. This is the element of _morale_. It is
the most difficult of them all to assess, because national psychology
lies in the realm of the "imponderables" which can be neither
statistically weighed nor numerically tabulated. With so many unknown
or uncertain quantities to deal with, the best we can do would seem to
be the drawing up of a sort of balance-sheet, listing the respective
assets and liabilities.

To outward seeming, the Third Reich is as formidably prepared
psychologically as it is in arms. For seven long years, Adolf Hitler
and Paul Joseph Goebbels, acknowledged masters of propaganda, have
systematically forged a naturally disciplined people into an amazingly
responsive psychic unison. The result has been that, behind the
world's mightiest military machine, we discern an even more formidable
psychic mechanism--an entire people, 80,000,000 strong, welded into a
living juggernaut of Mars, wherein each individual has his designated
place and functions as a regimented unit in a complex synthesis such
as perhaps only Germans can devise and run. Human history has probably
never seen its equal--and its efficiency has already been dramatically
proven. No one can have studied wartime Germany at first-hand without
being deeply impressed. Yet mature reflection suggests that so
prodigious and intensive an effort cannot be without its price. That
price is psychic strain. The German people have been toughened and
hardened by a generation of adversity. In the last seven years they
have been psychologically trained down fine, like a boxer preparing
for a championship bout or a football squad for the big game of the
season.  The question is, Are they absolutely "in the pink," or are
they a bit overtrained? As I watched the average German's dull
reflexes, I could not help wondering whether I did not behold a people
physically still vigorous but spiritually tired.

What the answer is, I do not know. Probably the future alone can tell.
Personally, I think that German morale is strong--but brittle. To vary
the simile a bit, I believe it is like a rubber band, which can be
stretched a long way without showing a sign of weakness--and then

To show what I mean, let's see what happened in the last war. Down to
its very end, German psychology was extraordinary. To avoid any
appearance of partiality, let me quote a British writer who studied
this very matter during those crucial years.

Says Harold Nicolson: "I remember how, in the last war, the
magnificent morale of the German people as a whole rendered it
difficult for us at any given moment accurately to assess the state of
German public opinion.  A special branch of our Foreign Office was
created for the sole purpose of ascertaining the true conditions
within Germany. This branch interviewed neutral visitors, scanned
every organ of the German press, analyzed the letters from home that
were found on dead or captured Germans. Not only did these letters
contain no hints of any weakening in the national will, but the women
who wrote to their men at the front very rarely complained of the
fierce ordeal to which they were being subjected. It was only when the
final crash occurred that we learned how terrible the conditions had
really been. Throughout those four ghastly years the morale of the
German people was superb. Their trust in their leaders remained, unto
the very last moment, unshaken; their obedience to their government
was uniform; no word escaped them of the sufferings which they were
being made to endure." And Mr. Nicolson concludes: "It will be the
same during this war. I am not among those who believe in some sudden
uprising of the German people. It is not the width and depth of German
morale which we can question. What we can question is its duration."

I substantially agree with this British commentator as to the
existence of a definite and sudden breaking-point in German morale,
though I think it as yet far away. Where I disagree with him is in his
conclusion.  Mr. Nicolson believes that history will surely repeat
itself; that if the Germans are confronted with a hopeless situation,
they will throw up the sponge and surrender unconditionally, as they
did in 1918. This may, of course, occur. Yet, from my stay in Germany,
I envisage a more terrifying possibility.

As I traveled through Germany, I frequently saw a slogan painted on
factory dead-walls. It read: _Wir Kapitulieren Nie_! The English
whereof is: "No Surrender!"

In _Mein Kampf_, Adolf Hitler asserts that Germany's collapse in the
last war was due to a "stab in the back" struck by Communists,
pacifists, and others "unworthy the name of German." This historic
version has been hammered home until it is devoutly believed by all
Nazis, including virtually the whole rising generation.  They are
systematically taught that Germany is unbeatable.  Yet they are also
taught that if, by some almost inconceivable mischance, Germany goes
down, everything else should go down too, because life thereafter
would simply not be worth while.

This catastrophic doctrine can be best explained to American readers
as "The Policy of Samson." To Germans, it might be more intelligible
as "The Spirit of Hagen the Grim." Let me explain what I mean, first
by an episode from my own experience, and then from a sally into
Teutonic folklore.

In that depressing German summer of 1923 I met a group of men who gave
themselves the seemingly paradoxical title of "National Bolshevists."
They looked most unlikely candidates for the part, because they were
typical Prussian army officers, monocles and all. Yet they were dead
in earnest. Here, in substance, is what they told me, referring to the
"passive resistance" campaign then being waged against the French
invasion of the Ruhr: "We know what France wants--to smash the Reich.
And France may succeed. But even though the Reich vanishes, the German
people remains. And the Germans would then collectively become a
modern Samson; unable to free himself, yet strong enough to disrupt
and destroy. Should this modern Samson bring down the temple of
Europe, he will bury all European nations beneath its ruins."

I have not forgotten that conversation with desperate men. Neither do
I forget the _Niebelungenlied_, probably the clearest revelation of
the primitive Teutonic folk-soul.  Richard Wagner has immortalized it
in his _Ring_ operas, which Adolf Hitler has proclaimed the supreme
musical expression of Germanic genius. Now, in the _Niebelungenlied_,
the "front-stage" hero is Siegfried the Glorious. But there is another
outstanding figure, equally symbolic. This is Hagen the Grim. Hagen it
is who, from fanatic loyalty, kills Siegfried and ultimately
precipitates that general destruction termed _Goetterdaemmerung_--"The
Twilight of the Gods."

Whether, in the last extremity, the German people will, or can, loose
a general orgy of destruction, I do not know. But I think that it is
possible. I certainly gleaned some dread undertones during my stay in
the Third Reich. Two of the highest Nazis I interviewed hinted plainly
that if Germany found herself with her back to the wall, they would
not hesitate to precipitate general chaos.

However, despite this _furor Teutonicus_, there would seem to be some
method in the madness. Most Germans are unwilling to admit even the
possibility of defeat.  Those who do, couple it with remarks which
amount to some such phrase as: "If we don't win, there will be no
victor." What that means is about as follows: "If this war is fought
to the bitter end, all Europe will be plunged into chaotic ruin. Then,
with everybody down in the ditch together, we Germans, with our innate
sense of organization and discipline, willingness to work hard, and
knack of pulling together, can lift ourselves out of the ditch quicker
than anyone else." The moral whereof was, of course, that, no matter
what might immediately happen, the Germans were bound to win in the
long run.

Thus,'twould seem, hope springs eternal in the _Hagen_ breast!


Returning from wartime Europe to America is a journey from darkness
into light. Not until the war-torn Old World has sunk well below the
ocean's horizon do you breathe freely once more.

I came out of Europe the way I went in--via the Brenner Pass and
Italy. It was essentially the reverse process to my entrance four
months previous. The great difference was that, instead of mid-autumn,
it was now the coldest winter in many years. I left Berlin on an
evening of Arctic chill. The record cold wave was at its height.
Frozen switches, iced signals, clogged steam-pipes, and a defective
electric generator so disrupted the schedule of the usually
smooth-running Berlin-Rome Express that the trip was marked by extreme
discomfort and interminable delay.

Once over the Brenner, things went better. The great cold was left
behind the mighty barrier of the Alps; so was the worst of that grim
atmosphere of war whose depressing influence you do not fully realize
until it no longer envelops you. When I finally stepped from my train
at Genoa, my port of embarkation, I was greeted by a mild sea breeze.
The salty tang of it was a foretaste of my ocean path towards home.

Genoa is the port of embarkation now for nearly all Americans
returning homeward. Our neutrality law forbids American ships from
touching at French or British ports, so Northern Italy is the nearest
neutral exit from both Western and Central Europe. Accordingly, the
United States Lines has instituted a regular service between Genoa and
New York, and when I embarked on the _Washington_ I found myself among
compatriots who had been sojourning all the way from Britain to Russia
and the Balkans.

This gave me a fine chance to compare notes with fellow-Americans from
many European lands, especially from England and France, about which
countries I was most curious. The resident in wartime Germany is
hermetically sealed from contacts across the battle-lines.  So rigid
is the veil of censorship that, in Germany, one gets only a vague and
obviously distorted idea of the "other side." Now, for the first time,
I could discover how Englishmen and Frenchmen were talking and
feeling.  And I learned this, not from foreign propagandists, but from
my own people.

Aboard the _Washington_ every aspect of material living was balm to my
strictly rationed self, from the superabundant food to cherished
trifles like finding miniature cakes of soap in my bathroom and being
handed paper clips of matches with each purchase of cigarettes. There
are so many genial aspects of American life which we thoughtlessly
take for granted until we are suddenly deprived of them and are
plunged into alien surroundings where we have to fuss and plan and
almost fight to get the bare necessities of existence.  Even more
deeply satisfying is the sense that you are among your own kind who
are not worried and harassed and ulcerated by nationalistic hatreds.
Yes, it was great to be in the American atmosphere once more.

[page numbers deleted for this online edition]

Adolf Hitler Schools,

Agriculture, Nazi aim and policy

Amusement, German dependence

Arbeitsdienst. See National
Labor Service

Aristocracy, training for a new,

Army, fraternization in,

"Army of the Spade," the,

Asendorf, Werner,

Athletics, emphasis on, 

Balkans, the,

Barred zones,

Bauer, the German,

"Beautification of Labor," the,


Berlin,  .; Nazi architecture
in, ; Hitler residence, ;
impassivity among people,
go; clothes, ; taxis,
moving ordnance
through, ; blackout, , ,
subway, ; midwinter
in, ; Christmas


Bethlen, ExPremier,

Bettenaktion, the. See "BedAction"

Blackouts, , , , 

Bodily development, emphasis on, 

Boehme, Dr.,

BohemiaMoravia, surveillance
of correspondents in, ; conditions

Bohle, Wilhelm,



BrownShirt Storm Troopers,

Budapest, en route to, ;
New Year's Eve in, 

Business, Nazi control of, 

Camps, Youth, 

Cattle for Germany,

Christmas season in Berlin, 

Church, conflicts with, ,

Clinic service,

Clothing rations, , ;
WinterHelp distribution,

Coal for Germany,

Collings, Kenneth,

Correspondents, foreign, rules
for, ; telephone permits,
mail routine, ;
travel conditions, ; zones
barred to, , 

Crime, Nazi principles in relation
to,  .

Csaky, Count,

Czechs. See BohemiaMoravia

Darre", Walther, ; quoted on
foodcard system, ; agricultural

Day of National Solidarity, 

Domestic help, 


Eckhard, Dr. Tibor, ,

Educational policy, 

Elite Guard, the,

Employment, industrial,  .;


England, German hostility toward,

Eugenics, application of, 

Factories, modern, 

Fall, Dr. Andre,

Farmlands Law, Hereditary,

Farmstead, visit to, 

Fats, lack of, , ,

Finance, Nazi principles of,

Finland, German attitude toward,
foreign sympathy

Fischer, Dr. Eugen,

Flashlights, permitted use of,


Foodcards, ,  ., 

Food conditions, , ,

Food Estate, National, no

Foreign correspondents. See

Foreign press conferences. See
Press conferences

Fox, Albert Whiting,

France, attitude toward,

Frick, Dr. Wilhelm, ,

Froelich, Dr., ; quoted, 

Frontier inspection,

Fuehrerprinzip, the,

Gemeinschaft, the,

Gentlemen's agreement system,

Germany, press regulations in,
barred zones in, ,
attitude toward present
war, ; war preparations
in,  ; wartime industrial
problems, ;
wartime food problems,

Gestapo, the, , 

Goebbels, Dr. Paul Joseph, ,
; interview with, 

Goering, Hermann, ,

Grain crop, ,

Grantsinaid, family, 

Guenther, Dr. Hans, ;

Guertner, Dr. Franz, quoted,

Haasemann, Erich,

Health Service, 

Henkel Soap Products factory,

Hereditary Farmlands Law,

Hess, Rudolf,

Heuerling, a, 

Hewell, Herr, , , ,

Hierl, Col. Konstantin, ,

Himmler, Heinrich, , ,
; interview with, 

Hitler, Adolf, oicial residence,
Berlin, ; cited, , ,
, , , ; ideas concerning
women, , ; on
WinterHelp, ; on eugenics,
with, ; a Hungarian
view of, 

"Hitler Maid,"

"Hitler Youth," , 

Hogs for Germany,

Horthy, Admiral,

Housing service for workingmen,

Hungary,  .; social characteristics
in, ; domestic
peace in, ; relations
with Germany, ;
relations with Central
Europe, ; fear of
Russia, ; Italy and,
Germany's dependence

Industry, aim and policy,
 .; women in, , ;
Nazi control of, ;
wartime problems in, 

"Inner Front," trip to,  .

Iron for Germany, 

Italy, Hungarian dependence

Jews, German attitude toward,
; Nazi view concerning,
; conditions among, 

Journalists, routines,  .; life
of foreign, if. See also


Junod, Dr., ,

Jurisprudence, Nazi,

Kaiserhof, luncheon at the,

Kirk, Alexander,

Kraft durch Freude, , 

Kun, Bela,

Labor conditions, ; discontent
toward, ; improvement

Labor Front, the, .; funds,

Labor Service, National, ;
criticism of young
women in, 

Law, Nazi control of, 

Leadership, emphasis on, ,

Leibstandart, the. See LifeGuards

Lenz, Dr. Fritz,

Ley, Dr. Robert, , , ,
, , ; interview with,

LifeGuards, the, , 

Loehr, General, interview with,

Lottery, WinterHelp, 

Magyars, the,

Maierhof, a, 

Mail routine, correspondent,

Mark, values of the, 

Market Control Statute, no,

Marketing, an example in, 

Marriage, Nazi theory of,

Marriage Promotion Law, 

Military zones, bars to,

Milk, rationing of,

MittelEuropa, German aspiration
toward,  .

Money, exchange, ; Nazi
concept of,  .

Morale, wartime, 

Mother School, Wedding,

Mothers' Service, the,

Muetter dienst, the,


Mussolini, ; audience with,
comment on,

Mutter und Kind, the,

National Food Estate, no

National Labor Service, 

WorkersParty. See NSDAP

NationalSocialistOrder Casdes,

National Socialist Party, ee.

National Socialist People's Welfare,

National Socialist State,  .

Nationalsozialistischevolkswohlfahrt, the, 

Naval zones, bars to,

Nazi characteristics, 

Nazi political theory, 

Nicolson, Harold, quoted, 

Niemoeller, Pastor, , 

Nordic ideal, the, 

NSDAP, principles of organization,
membership in,
revolutionary character,

NSV, the, 

Oil, Germany's problem of,

Oldenburg, investigation trip

"Old Guard," Nazi, ,

OneDish Plan, the, 

Order of Knighthood,

Parents, opposition of, to
Youth Home,

Party and State, separation of,

People's Tribunal,

Poland, ; correspondents
barred from Germanoccupied,
, ; German
attitude toward, , ; air
campaign in, ; sanitary
work in, 

Population policy, 

Potato crop, ,

Poverty, relief of, . See

Press conferences, foreign, 

Press restrictions, 

Press Wireless permit,

Propaganda, ,

Propaganda Ministry, press
regulations by, ; trip to
"Inner Front" arranged by,

Public Health Service, 

Racebetterment, Hitler's views
on, ; German ideas

Rationing, system of, ;

Reichsfrauenfuehrung, the,

Religion, Nazi control of, 

Resettlement policy, 

Ribbentrop, Herr von, ,

Rosenberg, Alfred,

Rumania, problem of Hungary
and, ; Russia's enmity
toward, ; oil in,

Russia, problem of, ,  .;
attitude toward Bessarabia,
; iron from, ; oil

RussoFinnish War, correspondents'
attitudes during, 

Rust, Bernhard,


Sallett, Dr., , ,

Schinnerer, Dr. Erich,

Schirach, Baidur von,

Schmidt, Herr,

Schoenheit der Arbeit,

ScholtzKlink, Frau Gertrud,

School of Leadership,

Schools, Nazification of public,

Schramm, Dr. Otto, , ,

SchultzNaumburg, Dr. Paul,

Schutz Polizei, ,

Schutz Staeln. See S.S.

Security Police, ,

Servant problems, 

Slovakia, Republic of, , ,
; interview with President

Slums, improvements in, 

Soap, scarcity of,

Social fraternity philosophy,

Social service. See WinterHelp

Sohn, Dr. Friedrich,

"Soldiers of Labor,"

S.S., the, , ,

Stalin, Joseph, , , ,

State and Party, separation of,

Sterilization Law, the, 

Storm Troopers, ,

Stumm, Dr. Braun von,

Sweden, iron from,

Taxis in Berlin, , 

Teleky, Count,

Tenant farmer, visit to, 

Telephone permits, press correspondents',

"Ten Commandments for the
Choice of a Mate," 

Thyssen, Fritz,

Tiso, Father Joseph, interview

Totalitarian State,  .

Transportation, stoppage of inland

Transylvania, , ,

Tuberculosis, Nazi attitude toward,

Unger, Dr. Marta,

Uniforms, German, , , ,

Unrest, existence of, , 

Vegetables, , , ,

Venereal diseases, fight against,

Vienna, , 

War prospects, German,  .

Wartburg, the,


Westphalia, investigation trip

to,  .

WestWall, ; correspondents
barred from, ,

WinterHelp, ,

WinterHelp funds,  .

WinterHelp Lottery, 

Winterhilf. See WinterHelp

"Woman's Front," the,

Women organizations, 

Women's Labor Service, 

Youth Homes,  .


Youth camps, 

Zutt, Professor,


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