Adolf Hitler (1889-1945): "Today Germany, Tomorrow the World."
"Today Germany, Tomorrow the World."
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945): "Today Germany, Tomorrow the World." Based on 1-Andrew Nagorski, Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power, 2012. 2-William L. Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany, 1960, & Related Sources. Dialogue by Franklin and Betty Parker, email@example.com
Frank: We chose this Hitler topic when friend Alex Karter, refugee from Hitler’s Germany, read and praised Andrew Nagorski’s Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power.
Betty: Andrew Nagorski was former Newsweek bureau chief in Berlin and Bonn, Germany. His Hitlerland tells what key Americans in Germany between WW 1 and 2—journalists, U.S. Embassy staffs, important U.S. visitors—what they knew, saw, learned, about Hitler's Nazism; their warnings/failed warnings; what they got right/wrong.
Frank: Journalists then used Hitlerland to mean how Hitler's militarizing of Germany affected the U.S., Europe, and the world. ¶Nagorski begins with Chicago Tribune's woman reporter Sigrid Schultz. She interviewed in 1919 German naval officer Eric Raeder, who told her: “You Americans need not feel proud of yourselves. Within 25 years…your country and [mine] will be at war again. And this time we'll win, because we will be better prepared…”
Betty: Eric Raeder's bitterness, outrage, anger felt by most Germans--determined us first logically to explain defeated Germans' terrible sufferings under the punishing 1919 Versailles Treaty, sufferings that gave rise to Hitler.
Frank: We then trace Hitler's rise to power; tell why Germans backed him, why he wasn't stopped sooner, and show aspects of his megalomania. We end with Nagorski's Americans-in-Germany views on Hitler. Historical background is from prize winner William L. Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany.
Betty: World War I cost Germany millions of lives, loss of its colonies, plus vast destruction, upheaval, and misery. World War I winners France, Poland, USSR took Germany's most productive lands.
Frank: Poverty-stricken, half-starved, with 40% jobless, Germans endured high inflation, lost their life savings, could only pay high reparations through long term low interest U.S. loans.
Betty: Germans hated the Allied-imposed supposedly democratic Weimar Republic, 1919-33, 14 years. It was left-leaning, weak, faction-ridden, with leftists fighting rightists in the streets to change or end Weimar. Germans were humiliated, seeking salvation.
Frank: Hitler's Nazi party, born from these German sufferings, thrived during the 1930s world-wide depression. Hitler, dictator after 1933, ended Versailles demands, ended Weimar, created job security, built autobahns and affordable Volkswagens, re-awakened past German glories, re-militarized Nazi Germany, tied together youth groups and every aspect of German life toward world dominion.
Betty: Anything in Hitler's family background to explain his later cruelty? His father Alois, born illegitimately, was given his mother's maiden name, Schicklegruber:. When Alois Schicklegruber was age 5 (1842), his mother, Maria Anna Schicklegruber, married Johann Georg Hiedler. When Alois Schicklegruber, age 30, was a respected Austrian Civil Service Custom Inspector, a proud Hiedler uncle helped Alois change his last name legally, recorded as H-i-t-l-e-r.
Frank: Alois Hitler 13 years later fathered Adolf Hitler. Why significant? "Heil Schicklegruber" would have been laughed at. Later, to neglect the required "Heil Hitler" with upraised arm salute was to court arrest, a beating, or worse.
Betty: Alois Hitler's illegitimacy was little known. Few knew the rumor that his unmarried Schicklegruber mother worked for a rich Jewish family whose 19-year-old son might have made her pregnant.
Frank: Researchers never identified Hitler's paternal grandfather. Yet Hitler deliberately made the area where family records might exist into a military target practice area and wiped it out. Why? Hitler once said privately, "No one must know my past." Question: Was hiding family shame part of Hitler's cruelty? Maybe.
Betty: Hitler adored his loving mother Klara Hitler, hated his stern father who beat Adolf for wanting to be an artist-painter rather than follow in his father's footsteps as civil servant. Questions: Did Adolf later reflect his father's cold nature? Was Adolf's early rebellion part of his iron will as dictator? Was Adolf's cruelty a strike back at a cruel father? Maybe.
Frank: Adolf Hitler's mother was his father's third wife; the first two wives died. Adolf's siblings and step siblings died young. Question: Did Adolf, a sickly lone male survivor, later believe himself spared to Nazify/Aryanize Germany and the world? Maybe.
Betty: Adolf's elementary school grades: good; high school marks: poor, partly from clashes with his father; partly, he said, from bad teachers, except history teacher Leopold Poetsch, who inspired Adolf with German heroes, glories, with Germans as a master race once race-polluting Jews, Slavs, other inferiors were eliminated.
Frank: High school dropout at 16 and unskilled, Adolf loafed on a civil servant orphan's pension in Linz, Austria; read library books, watched/worshiped Richard Wagner's Germanic opera heroes. His only friend, August Kubezek, music student, said Adolf was high strung, opinionated, angry if corrected, sometimes violent.
Betty: They roomed together in Vienna, Austria, 1908-13, 4 years, Adolf aged 19-24. Adolf, twice rejected by the Vienna Academy of Art, then rejected by the School of Architecture for not having the required school-leaving certificate, was angry, vengeful. He read Darwinian survival of the fittest books; read eugenic tracts on eliminating the mentally handicapped and physically deformed.
Frank: Dependent on flop houses and soup kitchens, Hitler painted scenes of well-known Vienna buildings on postcards sold mainly in Jewish shops or hawked by Jewish flophouse acquaintances. His scapegoating of "Jewish-communist-betrayers-of-Germany," came later, when, as Nazi Party head, by stressing Jew hatred he won public notice, Nazi party members, and financial contributions. Question: Did Hitler sense by instinct that defeated Germans having no way to hit back at their Allied enemies, gained some satisfaction at hitting back at substitute ancient scapegoat, Jews? Did he unconsciously use historic Jew hatred, initially, because it bonded and bound German masses to him? And, did that anti-Semitism became part of his psyche? Maybe.
Betty: Leaving Austria for Munich, Germany, to avoid Austrian compulsory military service, Hitler loafed in Munich, 1913-14, 2 years, ages 24-25. Austrian authorities found him, gave him a physical exam, rejected him as too thin, too weak.
Frank: It was WW 1 that galvanized Hitler. With Army medical requirements lowered, he enlisted in a Bavarian branch of the German Army, served 4 years as a message runner behind trench lines, was twice wounded and twice awarded an iron cross. Questions: Did WW 1 patriotic emotions instill in Hitler his purpose to some day rebuild Germany into a Deutschland uber allus? Maybe. Did inevitable W.W. I kill-or-be-killed trench warfare harden Hitler later to kill, without remorse: Jews, Slavs, gypsies, political enemies? Maybe.
Betty: Germany's November 11, 1918, surrender shocked and angered Hitler. No Allied troops had occupied German soil; the German General Staff never surrendered. Hitler believed the Q"Stab in the Back"Q falsehood: that the 1918 Armistice was signed by left-wing German politicians paid to do so by Jewish-Russian Marxists. Hitler later called them "the November Criminals."
Frank: For food and lodging Hitler remained in the army 1919-1920, in a propaganda unit, lecturing mustering-out soldiers to be pro-German, anti-communist. His superior officer, impressed by Hitler's speeches, sent Hitler to see if a new small Munich German Workers' Party was pro-German or communist.
Betty: Attending this party's Sept. 12, 1919, meeting, Hitler spoke out against a remark that Bavaria should break away from Germany. His impromptu rebuttal impressed party co-founder Anton Drexler, who said: "He [Hitler] has the gift of gab; we need him." Drexler gave Hitler a pamphlet listing German Workers Party aims: pro-German nationalism, pro-military, anti-Communist, anti-Semitic, anti-Weimar government.
Frank: Hitler's hidden talents emerged amazingly: organizer, propagandist, mesmerizing speaker--he instinctively sensed and spoke to audiences' wants, needs, fears, hopes. Audiences, even hostile ones, warmed to him. He uncannily voiced their hopes, shared their prejudices, promised them a good, proud life. He pushed out weaker party leaders, became the party's leader, listed 25 party aims, broadened the party name to National Socialist Workers Party, popularized it as the Nazi Party, chose its striking swastika cross, its arresting red and black flag.
Betty: To oust communists and other hecklers, to intimidate and remove enemies, Hitler organized brown-shirted Storm Trooper thugs. Then, 1923 events led Hitler to attempt a Bavarian government takeover which failed, Nov. 8-9, 1923. What were these events?
Frank: Event 1-The German mark's sharp decline halted reparation payments. France seized Germany's rich industrial Ruhr Valley. Its German workers rebelled. Riots erupted against France and the Weimar government.
Betty: Event 2-Hitler's role model, Benito Mussolini, had marched on Rome to become Italy's dictator. Could Hitler do the same?
Frank: Event 3-Hitler's Storm Trooper rowdies wanted more power, pay, action. Event 4-Hitler's hidden ace was well-known WW I hero General Eric von Ludendorff, Nazi Party member, to co-lead the attempted Putsch.
Betty: Hitler secretly bribed 3 wavering Bavarian high officials to back his Nazi Party's seizure of Bavaria as a first step toward ending Weimar.
Frank: Nov. 8, 1923: the 3 Bavarian officials held a large beer hall political rally. Hitler barged in with armed Storm Troopers, fired his pistol for attention, declared a Bavarian revolution.
Betty: Herding the 3 Bavarian leaders into an anteroom, Hitler demanded their support. They hesitated. Hitler dashed back to the large audience, lied triumphantly: Bavarian officials support the Putsch! The waiting audience cheered.
Frank: News of the attempted coup quickly reached Weimar officials, who firmly ordered: stop the traitors; arrest them, jail them, try them, convict them.
Betty: Nov. 9, 1923: armed Bavarian military and police clashed with Hitler's Nazi marchers. Shots fired, 16 Nazis, 3 military/police killed. Hitler, dragged to the ground, escaped to a Nazi friend's home, Ernst Hanfstaengl.
Frank: Police arrived. Hitler put his gun to his head. Ernst Hanf/staengl's wife, Helen, pushed the gun aside, said: the Nazi Party needs you, saved Hitler to fulfill his destiny.
Betty: Tried for treason, Hitler's brilliant defense went something like this and spread his fame:
Frank: When a thief takes your money and you take it back, is that owner guilty? No. Never. Our Nazi Party and every German must take back what the criminals robbed us of: our land, resources, government, past glory. Tear up the criminal Versailles Treaty. End unworkable Weimar. Restore German honor, glory. Make Germany better Today, For Tomorrow we lead the World.
Betty: The judge, sympathetic, had to pronounce Hitler guilty; sentence, 5 year; early release recommended. Nine months in jail was Hitler's re-think, rebuild time. He told aides: We will hold our noses, compete legally to win Reichstag majority seats, gain power, and destroy Weimar.
Frank: Ten years later, 1933, those who laughed at his failed 1923 beer hall Putsch saw him become Chancellor, Fuehrer, dictator.
Betty: In jail Hitler dictated Mein Kampf (My Battle), a mix of sanitized autobiography plus a blueprint for a rebuilt Nazi Party aimed to win political power legally to end Weimar.
Frank: Now, we quicken our pace to dates, key events, from 1925 to Sept. 1, 1939, start of WW 2.
Betty: 1925-29 were better economic times with improved conditions. Nazi Party membership dwindled in good times. May 20, 1928. the Nazis won only 12 legislative seats in the then 491-seat legislature (Reichstag).
Frank: Oct. 29, 1929, date of the U.S. Wall Street crash. 1930s Great Depression, worldwide, with Germany hardest hit. Joblessness and despair returned. Misery across Germany was Hitler's golden opportunity. Nazism thrived on troubled times.
Betty: Sept. 14, 1930. National election. Nazis win 107 seats in a 577-seat legislature, making Nazis the second largest party.
Frank: Spring 1932: Weimar President Paul von Hindenberg, WW I commander/hero, age 85, near senile, up for re-election. Austrian-born Hitler wants to run against Pres. Hindenberg but he cannot. Hitler is not a German citizen. Then, as if by magic, or trickery, an official of Brunswick State, Germany, a Nazi party member, suddenly appoints Hitler envoy to Berlin, making Hitler automatically a German citizen. Hindenberg wins. But Hitler, runner up, is now a major political figure.
Betty: July 31, 1932. National election. Nazis win 230 seats in 608-seat legislature and are now Germany's largest party.
Frank: Jan. 4, 1933, the Secret Meeting That Made Hitler Chancellor. The then Chancellor Franz von Papen, weak, unable to govern, made this secret proposal to Pres. Hindenberg: appoint Hitler Chancellor, and himself (Papen) Vice Chancellor. Hitler to name only 3 of the 11 member Chancellor's Advisory committee; Papen to name 8 majority members. Why? Hitler was popular, Papen was not. Papen was sure he could control Hitler and wanted to so convince Pres. Hindenberg. Senile President Hindenberg reluctantly agreed. Papen's mistake made Hitler Chancellor of Germany. Hitler already had ways of making himself absolute ruler
Betty: Jan. 30, 1933. Hitler, now chancellor, soon pushed Papen aside, ousted him, later jailed him. Suddenly, as if by magic, Hitler, intent on dismantling the Weimar Republic, is aided by the Reichstag building fire, equivalent to the burning of our Washington, DC's Capitol Building. Accident? Or did Hitler make it happen?
Frank: Feb. 27, 1933, is the date of the Reichstag Fire, blamed on a half-witted 24-old-Dutch communist arsonist, hastily tried and hanged. Hitler immediately thundered publicly his big lie that Communists deliberately set the Reichstag Fire to begin a Communist takeover of Germany. Hitler's intent with the big lie was to win public approval for jailing communists, removing their leaders. Also, eliminating communists with impunity masked Hitler's eliminating hundreds of his other enemies. Suspicion persists that Nazis set the fire, scapegoated the half-wit Dutchman. Why? To eliminate enemies and strengthen Hitler's control.
Betty: March 23, 1933. After less than two months as Chancellor, Hitler won Reichstag approval for an Q"Enabling Act"Q that gave Hitler sole power to make all laws, a ruthless move for absolute rule.
Frank: July 14, 1933, the Nazi Storm Trooper Crisis. Stressing the Reichstag Fire as prelude to a planned Communist takeover, Hitler induced Pres. Hindenberg to suspend civil liberties. This allowed Chancellor Hitler to suppress all parties except the Nazi Party. Hitler's last hardest crisis problem was Nazi Storm Trooper head Capt. Ernst Röhm demanded that his Storm Troopers replace the Prussian Army. Prussian Generals thundered Never. They sharply ordered Hitler: remove Röhm and his lieutenants or the Prussian Army will crush and replace you with a Kaiser descendent. Hitler had to act.
Betty: June 30, 1934, was the "Night of the Long Knives." During a Storm Trooper night rally, Hitler's armed personal guards swooped down, murdered Röhm, his lieutenants, and over a thousand others who had opposed, angered, or posed a threat to Hitler.
Frank: July 13, 1934, Two weeks later, after much propaganda about putting down the "Röhm Attempted Revolution," Hitler justified the Röhm bloodbath to a Reichstag audience as follows: "In this [crisis] hour I was responsible for the fate of the German People. I became the Supreme Judge…" The audience cheered and applauded.
Betty: Aug. 2, 1934, Hindenberg Died. Learning that Hindenberg was dying, Hitler ordered his cabinet to combine the Presidency with his Chancellorship. He made all his military swear: "unconditional obedience to Hitler unto death."
Frank: Nov. 5, 1937. Lebensraum, Living Space. Now absolute dictator, Hitler secretly told his generals/admirals: prepare for war which might come anytime as he (Hitler), through peaceful ways (mostly threats and tricks), sought Lebensraum, living space, by absorbing neighboring Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland.
Betty: March 14, 1938, meeting with Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg, Hitler raved and ranted that Germans in Austria were ill-treated, abused (a deliberate lie). Hitler demanded that unless Schuschnigg signed a declaration of Austria-German union (Anschluss), German troops would march into Austria.
Frank: Taken aback, Schuschnigg insisted on a plebiscite (Austrians to vote yes or no). Before the plebiscite Hitler cunningly forestalled a most likely "no" vote. He had his Nazi agents line up crowds of cheering Austrians welcoming equally cheering friendly entering German troops. With no way to resist, Schuschnigg signed the Declaration of Union. Hitler absorbed Austria. No shot fired.
Betty: March 15, 1939, a year after Austria. In 1918 Czechoslovakia was granted Independence. It had 3.5 million Germans living in its Czech Sudetenland area. Again, Hitler, ranting and raving his lie about abused Germans, demanded that unless Sudetenland was ceded to Germany the German army would enter and take it. Britain's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, seeking peace at any price, convinced Czech leaders to cede Sudetenland to Germany.
Frank: Soon after March 15, 1939, wanting all of Czechoslovakia, Hitler raved and ranted his propaganda lie of Germans persecuted in Czechoslovakia to old-ailing Czech President Emile Hácha. Hitler's bluff worked. The Czech President signed all of Czechoslovakia to Hitler's Germany. No shot fired.
Betty: Aug. 23, 1939. Poland and the Hitler-Stalin Pact. Britain's PM Neville Chamberlain, finally seeing war was inevitable, said: if Germany invades Poland, Britain and France will fight Germany. Threatened, Hitler entered a secret pact with Stalin, whose communism Hitler hated: Germans attack Poland from the west; Russians from the east; Russia's reward: northern areas of Poland.
Frank: Aug. 31, 1939. Hitler needed a reason, to justify invading Poland, an incident. His faked incident: Nazis dressed in Polish uniforms attacked German frontier station and left scattered bullet-ridden German uniformed bodies (the dead bodies came secretly from a German concentration camp). Realistic Nazi propaganda film of the faked Polish massacre of Germans convinced many that it really happened.
Betty: Sept. 1, 1939. Hitler's army invaded Poland, clashed with Polish military. Deaths occurred. Britain/France declared war against Germany. WWII, which we do not cover, began.
Frank: Now we turn to Nagorski's Hitlerland to view Hitler's Nazism through the eyes of key U.S. journalists, U.S. Embassy staff, and U.S. visitors to Germany; their experiences and insights.
Betty: Some 50 U.S. news reporters between WW 1 and 2 covered Germany, stationed mostly in Berlin, which was then surprisingly the artistic-cultural-cabaret-song-and-dance center of Europe. Berlin, more than Paris, was the swinging-rocking-sin-city. Recall the 1972 musical Cabaret, with Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey
Frank: Besides being Europe's cultural hub Germany, Europe’s least expensive center, drew many tourists. The small overworked U.S. Embassy staff in Berlin, especially the Harvard-Yale Ivy League State Department professionals, kept publicly quiet about Nazi extremist politics. Not so U.S. journalists who aggressively with searching eyes and keen minds sent back to the U.S.A. searing reports on Hitler-Nazi misdeeds.
Betty: Newspapers were then numerous, avidly read, the main source of the ordinary person's view of the world. Still remembered U.S. journalists who covered the rise of Hitler include: H.V. Kaltenborn, William L. Shirer, Howard K. Smith, Dorothy Thompson. Less remembered top journalists were Chicago Tribune pioneer woman reporter Sigrid Schultz and Chicago Daily News reporter Edgar Ansel Mowrer. But first, the views of some prominent U.S. visitors to Germany.
Frank: In July 1933, then well known YMCA International Secretary Sherwood Eddy, on his l2th visit to Germany. Sherwood Eddy said publicly to a German audience: “In your country, injustice is committed every day, every hour,” a bold thing to say.
Betty: Visiting novelist Sinclair Lewis, then married to newswoman Dorothy Thompson, visited Germany summer 1934. He felt compelled to write his novel, It Can't Happen Here. Its Hitler-like dictator, claiming to solve all problems, abolished the U.S Congress and established a fascist U.S.A. Lewis's popular novel warned Americans to beware of home-grown Hitler-like fascist politicians.
Frank: African American sociologist and NAACP leader W.E.B. Dubois, had a six-month fellowship in Germany during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Nazis had efficiently removed all anti-Jewish propaganda signs temporarily. It was "Be Nice to Foreign Visitors During the Olympics" time. Black W.E.B. Dubois was treated with courtesy. Yet he did observe and did write that Nazi Germans' ugly campaigns of hatred against non-Nordic races and Jews: “surpasses in vindictive cruelty and public insult anything I have ever seen.”
Betty: H.V. Kaltenborn, American-born radio newsman of German heritage, at first thought warnings about Hitler overblown. Then in the summer of 1933 when Kaltenborn’s own son Rolfe was beaten by a storm trooper for failing to salute Nazi banners carried in a parade, Kaltenborn quickly saw his mistake.
Frank: Novelist Thomas Wolfe visited Germany in the mid-1920s, again in 1935 where he was lauded for his Look Homeward Angel, and also attended the 1936 Olympics. His loud cheering for African American runner Jesse Owen irritated Hitler who, sitting nearby, scowled at Wolfe's cheers.
Betty: Thomas Wolfe admired the German people and culture but he abhorred the Nazis. Wolfe described a German train ride as follows in You Can't Go Home Again, which the Nazis banned.
Frank: Wolfe was with talkative fellow train passengers enjoying themselves, when Nazi officials burst in and roughly hauled out one of the travelers as an escaping Jew. In the shocked silence that followed, a German woman in the group said to the others: "Those Jews. They make all the trouble. Germany has to protect herself.
Betty: Journalist Dorothy Thompson, in Berlin in the mid 1920s, again in 1931, met Hitler, misjudged him as insignificant, not to be taken seriously. Returning to Germany in 1934 with Hitler by then a menacing dictator, she reported devastating truths about his ruthless regime, was expelled, and back in the U.S.A., her expulsion made her an instant celebrity.
Frank: Howard K. Smith was in Berlin in from 1936 as a United Press junior reporter, later as TV commentator. Seeing how easily American visitors overlooked Hitler's threat, he was alarmed that the world had no idea of the danger Hitler posed.
Betty: Howard K. Smith identified 4 stages in U.S. visitors’ reactions to Nazi Germany: Stage 1-Admiration for spic-and-span, attractive Germany. Stage 2-Awareness of uniforms, guns, rearmament, parading soldiers. Stage 3-Awareness of swift preparation for war, of quick cold-blooded killing of regime critics. Stage 4: Alarm that Hitler's gathering military strength could crush and annihilate unprepared countries including the U.S.A. Most U.S. visitors on quick visits were stuck in stage 1-Admiration, and never saw ultimate dangers Hitler posed.
Frank: Now, a few experiences of journalist Sigrid Schultz, Chicago Tribune's newswoman, who in 1919 interviewed naval officer Eric Raeder. Chicago-born of Norwegian parents, well schooled in France and Germany, multilingual, Schultz in 1932 in a group of U.S. journalists met Hitler. Fascinated, she saw him as a consummate actor. He locked eyes with each journalist in turn, shook hands, was amiable even with journalists known to be hostile.
Betty: Schultz was among hastily assembled foreign reporters when Nazi Air Force Marshall Hermann Goering justified the June 30, 1934 "Night of the Long Knives" massacre. In his justification Goering said: we were forced to prevent a planned rebellion against Hitler. Looking directly, piercingly, at Schultz, who he knew to be a Nazi critic, he named a prominent German politician shot trying to escape. Schultz had the chilling sensation that Goering was telling her that the Nazis could do anything they wanted with impunity.
Frank: Schultz noted that the Nazis soon stopped expelling hostile reporters who back home only drew sympathetic attention. Instead, the Gestapo tried planting damaging evidence on critical journalists to arrest, try, and jail them. In April 1935 an envelope marked "Important Information" delivered to Schultz contained an airplane design. Seeing the agents outside who delivered the envelope, she loudly told them that she burned the envelope. Entering a cab in their presence she shouted to the cabbie for all to hear: "Take me to the U.S. Embassy." Schultz believed Goering tried several times to set her up as a spy to dispose of her.
Betty: When Poland was invaded, Sept. 1, 1939, Schultz's maid appeared red-eyed, teary. Asked why, she said her husband had seen pictures of uniformed Germans maimed and killed by Polish troops at a German military outpost near Poland. When Schultz told the maid that the incident was faked to justify Hitler's march into Poland, the maid, affronted, later reported to the Gestapo all of Schultz's phone calls, messages, and senders of mail received.
Frank: Schultz described this above incident to show how gullible and unquestioning most Germans were to follow their leader Hitler. He had given Germans jobs, security, restored their pride. Most Germans closed their eyes and minds to alleged Nazi atrocities, saying if Hitler only knew of abuses, he would stop them.
Betty: Schultz, at a reception of Nazi officials after Hitler invaded Poland, asked about reports of mass murders of Poles. A Nazi official answered her: I don't see why you get excited over the deaths of Poles. They are Slavs and only white on an inferior level. They outnumber us Germans, have a much higher birth rate, so killing them is justified. He concluded with: only those Slavs and Jews who work with us (meaning as slave underlings) will survive.
Frank: Army officer Truman Smith, U.S. Embassy junior Military Attaché, Nov. 20, 1922, first interviewed Hitler. To Smith Hitler admitted his intent to become dictator and to rid Germany of Jews. Army Lt. Smith from the first believed Hitler was dangerous but did not then conceive of Hitler becoming Germany's dictator or European conqueror or WW 2 initiator.
Betty: On Truman Smith's second 4-year tour in Berlin, 1935-39, as U.S. Senior Military Attaché, he was much more concerned about dictator Hitler's military build-up. Smith arranged famed aviator Charles Lindbergh's several visits to Germany, believing correctly that Nazis would be proud, especially Air Marshall Goering, to show Lindbergh their air force Luftwaffe advances. Lindbergh gathered information invaluable to U. S. Intelligence about Germany's massive military buildup. http://www.traces.org/charleslindbergh.html
Frank: Chicago Daily News reporter Edgar Ansel Mowrer, learning secretly from a Jewish doctor about Jews in concentration camps, warned his readers about Hitler, told Jewish friends, "Get out of Germany while you can."
Betty: When FDR in 1933 appointed University of Chicago historian William E. Dodd Ambassador to Germany, he told Dodd: "I want a liberal in Germany as an example." Dodd, disliked by State Department insiders, early saw and told his superiors that Hitler was a danger who must be stopped.
Frank: Author Nagorski concluded his Hitlerland by saying that the most insightful Americans in Germany helped the U.S. begin to recognize Hitler as an ominous threat, begin to abandon strong USA isolationism, begin to rearm to stop Hitler. They changed U.S. public opinion in these ways. That was their most important contribution. ¶Time to wind down with last thoughts. Your last thoughts, Betty?
Betty: I feel more strongly than ever the need for vigilance against fascism and racism. Hitler was an evil genius, wrote William L. Shirer, impossible to understand, except in the context of a defeated, desperate Germany which his megalomania led astray. Your last thoughts, Frank.
Frank: Democracy with all its faults is slow but safer and better than dictatorship. We had our demagogues: Huey P. Long, Joseph McCarthy, Father Coughlin of Detroit, others. They spouted, we listened, then repudiated them. It's better to jaw jaw than war war, said Winston Churchill. About our own considerable U.S. problems: Let debate flourish. Let thoughts contend. We need a return of civil compromise between political parties.
Betty: Frank, why were we afraid to do this topic?
Frank: Too big. Hitler defies understanding. His evil is incomprehensible.
Betty: Why are we glad we did it?
Frank: Because Hitler, starting WW 2, changed history in so many ways. His evil hastened the founding of the United Nations. He and WW. 2 changed all our lives, got me into the armed forces, to Berea College, KY, where we met and married, to Nashville's Vanderbilt University, to 40+ years teaching, to Uplands.
Betty We could not have done it without hubpages.com staff, writers, and readers Thank you all so much for being here. End.
***Footnotes in preparation, June 16, 2014.