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Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

Stoddard

1940

 

Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava

About a fortnight after my arrival in Germany I had an opportunity to secure two worth­while interviews away from Berlin. The first was with General Loehr, Commander­ in­ Chief of the Air­Arm 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 Air­Arm who was to be with me on the journey. A pleasant­faced Hanoverian in his mid­forties, he proved to be an agreeable companion.

Junker Ju 52 Trimotor

Junker Ju 52 transport plane

The tri­motored, slate­gray plane took off on schedule, and we soon rose above the ground­haze 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 cloud­sea, 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.

Map of Slovakia

Slovakia 1939

As we neared the hilly border between Bohemia and Austria, the cloud­belt 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 post­war 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.

Hotel in Vienna

Erzherzog Karl, on Kaerntner Strasse, Vienna

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 clothing­cards. My biggest surprise was when I saw perfectly respectable women and girls in a leading cafe casually take out their lipsticks and freshen their make­up.

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 graying­dark 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.

General Loehr

General Loehr

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 right­of­way, 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 double­track 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 co­ordination 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 groups.

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 blind­flying excellence, which he claimed was a German specialty. Caught unprepared, the Polish airfields were terribly mauled. To give one instance, twenty­five 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 Air­Arm 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 semi­code 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 fat­short wartime Germany, really good cooking is as unlikely as bricks made without straw.

Drei Husaren Restaurant Vienna

The Three Hussars

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 best­known 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 safety­valve.

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 rank­and­file, 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 heel­clicking 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 one­day trip in a “foreign” land.

Danube Valley

Danube Valley

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 top­flight 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 companions­in­arms. Thereafter, for some days, I understand that every frontier of the Reich was almost hermetically sealed.

Bratislava

Bratislava, capital of Slovakia

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 well­padded 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 eye­opener 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.

Tiso

Father Josef Tiso

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.

Tiso and Hitler

Hitler and Tiso meeting in 1943

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, folk­songs. For centuries we defended this cultural heritage against foreign rulers. And on those deep­laid foundations we propose to build our own national life.

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 non­Slovak 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 politically?

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 well­lighted streets with cheery shop­window 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.

 
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Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 

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Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

Stoddard

1940

 

Chapter 5: This Detested War

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 landscape.

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, Mittel­Europa 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.

Regions of Europe

Regions of Europe (click to enlarge)

Embattled Poland was the last local obstacle to Mittel­Europa. 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.

German and Soviet attack on Poland

German and Soviet attack on Poland 1939 (click to enlarge)

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 dog­fights, 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 strain.

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 trouble.

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 arch­enemy. 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.

Goebbels

Paul Joseph Goebbels – Reich Propaganda Minister

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.

Georges Clemenceau

Georges Clemenceau – French Prime Minister ( Nov 16, 1917 to Jan 20, 1920)

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.

David Lloyd George

David Lloyd Georges – British Prime Minister ( Dec 7, 1916 to Oct 22, 1922)

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 run.

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.

Goebbels in his office

Goebbels in his office

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.

 
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Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 

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Into the Darkness: Chapter 5 (PDF). >> Into the Darkness – Chap 05 – Ver 2
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If Hitler Won World War II We Would Have A Better, More Just World Today

By James Miller

 Hitler portrait

Legendary U.S. General George S. Patton realized late in the war that the United States fought the wrong country. Patton felt the U.S. should have sided with Germany to destroy Jewish Bolshevik/Communist USSR. This information comes from Patton’s diary entries, letters he wrote to his wife, and comments he made to military officers and staff.

World War II was incredibly complex. However, in the final analysis, WWII was essentially a war between two competing ideologies: Nationalism-vs-Jewish Internationalism/globalism. Adolf Hitler and his allies fought to preserve the concept of Nationalism, not just for Germans but for all peoples the world over. Nationalism really just means the sovereignty of an ethnic people and the right of such ethnic people/nationalists within their own bordered country to self-determination. What is meant by self-determination? Self-determination just means an ethnic people preserving their unique culture and heritage and pursuing their collective goals as a unique people.

On the other side of WWII was Jewish Bolshevik Internationalism (today we just call this globalism ). This is the Jewish worldview (or rather, plan) to eventually eliminate all nations except for a Jewish homeland… (what was later to be after WWII the nation of Israel in 1948). Jewish Internationalism/globalism seeks to eventually merge all peoples in the world into one globalist system with a global government, global bank, global currency, etc. In short, Jewish globalism (i.e., the weakening and eventual elimination of all nations) is the exact opposite of Nationalism (i.e., a world composed of nations). The Allied powers of WWII (led by Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, et al.) were tools of International Jewry and thus de facto fighting for the Jewish globalist worldview. After the (Jewish run) Allies won WWII in 1945, International Jewish forces were then free to exercise a Jewish Sphere of Influence over the greater Western World (and as we see today, increasingly over the rest of the world).

Alternatively, if Hitler had won World War II and then exercised a Nationalist Sphere of Influence over the greater Western World, we’d have a more just, fair, and moral Western World today. The rest of the world would have similarly benefited had the Germans been victorious since German influence would have surely spread elsewhere (ideas such as non-usurious banking and strong family oriented culture would likely have spread globally).

Had Hitler won World War II, what would be different in the post war world?

Here are a few examples:

1. No USSR (the Soviet government murdered millions of its own people during its 70 year reign to study this topic read the writings of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; Hitler would have liberated the USSR, though taking large parts of its Western region for lebensraum, living space ).

2. No cold war (because there would be no USSR).

3. No Communist Eastern Europe/Iron Curtain (when WWII ended, Eastern Europe fell to Communism this was part of Stalin’s spoils of war).

4. No Red China and Mao’s subsequent killing of 40 – 60 million Chinese (the USSR created favorable conditions for Mao’s Communists which ultimately led to Mao’s victory over Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists in 1949, thus if no USSR, no Mao victory).

5. No Communist North Vietnam (both the Soviet Union and Red China aided Ho Chi Minh).

6. No Communist Cambodia and Pol Pot’s slaughter of 2 million Cambodians (Red China aided Pol Pot).

7. No dividing Korea into North Korea and South Korea (the allies split Korea after WWII ended, with North Korea becoming Communist… another of Stalin’s spoils of war).

8. No Communist Cuba (given the previous, what support would Castro have had in the 1950s?)

9. No Communism anywhere (Hitler was the world’s most fervent anti — Communist).

10. Liberalism and multiculturalism wouldn’t dominate Western ethos (both are Jewish creations and both have always been heavily promoted/advanced by Jews; thus if no Jewish influence, then no liberalism and no multiculturalism… at least certainly nowhere near the degree we see today).

11. No Cultural Marxism and no political correctness (these are social engineering tools which came out of the Jewish think tank known as the Frankfurt School).

12. No third world immigration into Western nations (Jews wouldn’t be in power positions to craft and force through liberal immigration laws; Jews are responsible for each Western nation’s liberal immigration policy, as most were orchestrated by the World Jewish Congress).

13. No depraved filth on TV, in movies, etc. (because Jews wouldn’t run Hollywood).

14. No widespread pornography (Jewish lawyers and Jewish activists were the main challengers of anti-obscenity laws, under the guise of Freedom of Speech).

15. There would still be prayer in public schools (Jewish lawyers were instrumental in banning prayer in public schools under the guise of so-called separation of church and state, something that appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution).

16. No man-hating radical feminist movement (Jews such as Betty Friedan, Sonia Pressman, and Gloria Steinem, among others, were the key drivers of radical feminism).

17. No Israel and all the problems it has brought the USA and the immeasurable misery it has wrought on the Palestinians.

18. Jews would be living in Madagascar (perhaps) and would be carefully monitored (Madagascar was one place Hitler considered as a Jewish homeland).

Many reading this will ask, but what about the Holocaust?

The Holocaust has been grossly exaggerated by organized Jewry in order to create sympathy for Jews worldwide and thus help advance the Jewish agenda (i.e., people seen as victims tend to get their way). It is also used as a political weapon to justify Israeli militarism against the Palestinians. Hitler’s Final Solution (rebranded in the early 1970’s as the Holocaust ) was a plan to remove Jews from Europe, not to kill them. During WWII, just as the U.S. couldn’t trust Japanese Americans, thus causing FDR to round many of them up and place them in concentration camps, Hitler couldn’t trust Jews since many were partisans sympathetic to the USSR and hence they aided the USSR in various subversive, anti-German activities. Therefore the Nazis rounded up Jews and placed them in concentration camps.

Somewhere around one million Jews died during WWII (not six million) mostly due to disease and starvation in the final months of the war. Heavy Allied bombing of Germany and parts of German occupied Europe destroyed many roads, rail lines, and bridges making it impossible for Germany to adequately supply the camps with food and medicine. The result is that many Jews died of starvation and disease; and of course many non-Jews also died of starvation and disease (again, due to a massive Allied bombing campaign and its destruction of German transportation infrastructure). Lastly, there were no gas chambers. Much has been written about this. To study the gas chamber subject, read the research papers published by Germar Rudolf and Carlo Mattogno (there are many others as well). To get a broad overview of the Holocaust, read my article, What Was The Holocaust… What Actually Happened?

It should also be noted that Hitler never wanted to conquer the world. He simply wanted to safeguard Europe and the greater Western World from all manner of nefarious Jewish influence and, more broadly, safeguard the world-at-large specifically from;
1) usurious Jewish banking and,
2) Jewish-driven cultural degradation.

As previously stated, the Allied heads-of-State (Roosevelt, Churchill, et al.) were puppets of International Jewry; each sold his soul for power and prestige. Again, as earlier stated, World War II was a war between two competing ideologies: Nationalism-vs-Jewish Bolshevik Internationalism/globalism unfortunately International Jewry won.

Was World War II the good war? No, it was exactly the opposite. The Allied victory marked the beginning of the end of Western Civilization.

General Patton

US General George Patton eventually realized that America fought the wrong nation in World War II.

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Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

Stoddard

1940

 

Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany

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 war.

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.

Bus

1940s era German buses

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.

Autobahn

An Autobahn

Every few miles I noted a combined restaurant and filling­ station tastefully built. About mid­afternoon 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 machine­guns. Flanked by convoys of sputtering motorcycles, they thundered endlessly past. Everything was slate­ gray.

Autobahn map 1940s

The autobahn system in 1941 (click to enlarge)

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.

Map of Stoddard's Junket

Junketing through Germany

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.

Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle overlooking Eisenach, Thuringia

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, weather beaten 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.

Farmstead in Sauerland Mountains

Farmstead in the Sauerland Mountains

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.

Henkel factory 1941

Henkel factory, Dusseldorf

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. Food cards 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 dish!” He closed with an eloquent appeal to stand beside their inspired Fuehrer until complete and lasting victory had been won.

Dr Robert Ley

Dr. Robert Ley, leader of the German Labor Front (DAF)

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 goodnatured, 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.

Stength Through Joy poster

Strength Through Joy poster 1939

KdF Strength through Joy Symbol

Kraft durch Freude  (Strength Through Joy) symbol

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.

—————————-

Map of Germany today (click to enlarge)

Map of Germany Today with cities and States
 
 
 
 

 

Map of Germany expansion in the 1930s (click to enlarge).
 
German expansion 1930 to 1939 map
 
 
———————————-
 
 
Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 

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Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

Stoddard

1940

 

Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job

 

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 again. 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.

Havana 1940s postcard

Havana postcard, 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, Europe­bound. 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.

Wilhelmstraße 74-76- The Foreign Office

Wilhelmstraße 74-76: The Foreign Office

Monday noon found me at the Foreign Office, halfway 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 journalists.

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 laughter.

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.

Ministry of Propganada building

Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda

That same afternoon I attended another foreign press conference, this time at the Propaganda Ministry. These conferences, likewise held every weekday, 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 questioned.

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 substation 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 check­up 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 game.

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 explained.

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 trouble.

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 date­line 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.

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Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 

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Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

Stoddard

1940

 

[Readers’ note: Images not part of original text]

Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout

 

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 cowpunch­er’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 preempt 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.

Into the Darkness Chap 02 - Aldon Hotel

Adlon Hotel

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 food­coupons 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.

Into the Darkness Chap 01 - Food Coupon

Bezugschein food coupon

I needed to take along my food­cards 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.

Into the Darkness Chap 01 - Kaiserhof Hotel

Kaiserhof Hotel

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 weekday 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 hard­faced 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 background.

Into the Darkness Chap 01 - Nazi button

Party emblem button

My first meal in the Third Reich was a distinct success. As might have been expected in this preeminent 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.

Into the Darkness Chap 02 - New Chancellery

New Chancellery

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.

Into the Darkness Chapt 02 - Reich Chancellery

Reich Chancellery

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 re-passed, 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 storm­trooper 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 archenemy 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.

Into the Darkness Chap 02 - British Embassy Berlin

British Embassy in Berlin

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 make­up and seldom has her hair waved. Such beautifying is frowned upon by strict Nazis as unpatriotic.

Into the Darkness Chap 02 - A street scene in central Berlin

A street scene in central Berlin

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.

Into the Darkness Chap 02 - Hotel Adlon lobby

Hotel Adlon lobby

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 swing­doors 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 passers­by. 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 pinpoint 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 raincoat.

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 inefficiency.

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.

Into the Darkness Chap 02 - Brandenburger Tor (Gate)

Brandenburger Tor (Gate)

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.

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Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 

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Into the Darkness: Chapter 2 (PDF). >> Into the Darkness – Chap 02 – Ver 2
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Version 5: Nov 28, 2014. Added PDF file (Ver 2) of this post
 
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Version 2: Published May 10 2013 – Resized pics. Added Version History notes.
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Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

into the darkness Cover

Summary

Journalist Lothrop Stoddard’s even­handed account of his travels through war­time Germany (and surrounding countries) from 1939­-1940. His is a truthful report of the Third Reich; its leaders, political positions, and culture.

Stoddard was a renowned and well­respected journalist when he made this trip and subsequent report, because it recounts accurately (and not politically correctly), the events of the time, his name not to mention his report has all but disappeared from today’s “official” history concerning that period.

Stoddard

Lothrop Stoddard

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Shadow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    5

Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   17

Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .26

Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  34

Chapter 5: This Detested War .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . .   43

Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .   52

Chapter 7: Iron Rations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  63

Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market . . . . . . . . . . . .  .  74

Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  82

Chapter 10: The Labor Front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  98

Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   105

Chapter 12: Hitler Youth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  112

Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich . . . . . . .. . . . . .  .    120

Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  127

Chapter 15: Socialized Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   137

Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  144

Chapter 17: I See Hitler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  155

Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . .  164

Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174

Chapter 20: The Party . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  190

Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  204

Chapter 22: Closed Doors . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   215

Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  235

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Chapter 1: The Shadow 

 

 

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.

Into the Darkness Chap 01 - Rex

Italian liner “Rex

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 deck­hands 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 aloof.

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 Fatherland.

Gibraltar arial photo

Gibraltar

Passing the Straits of Gibraltar is always a memorable experience. This time it was especially impressive. We entered about mid afternoon. 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 run.

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 tightlipped 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 years.

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 paintbrush 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 paint­brush 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.

Into the Darkness Chap 01 - Genoa

Genoa, Italy

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 dead-wall. 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 become.” “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 postwar 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 food cards, 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 anti­-German.

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 Italianiza­tion, 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.

Into the Darkness Chap 01 - South Tyrol

South Tyrol, Italy

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:Bozen Italy

Bolzano

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 waterpower. 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.

benito-mussolini-italian-dictator-meeting-hitler-at-brennero-station-in-1940

BENITO MUSSOLINI Italian dictator meeting Hitler at Brennero station in 1940 

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 what 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 way.

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.

Hitler in Munich 1933

Hitler in Munich

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 oppressive.

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.

Anhalter Bahnhof Berlin 1940

Anhalter Bahnhof

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 
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PDF of this post. Click to view or download (0.8MB). >> Into the Darkness – Chap 01 – Ver 2
 

 

Knowledge is Power in Our Struggle for Racial Survival


(Information that should be shared with as many of our people as possible — do your part to counter Jewish control of the mainstream media — pass it on and spread the word) … Val Koinen

 

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Version History
 
Version 7: Jun 17, 2015. Formatting changes.
 
Version 6: Nov 28, 2014. Added PDF file (Ver 2) of this post
 
Version 5: Aug 31, 2014. Formatted pics. Updated chapter links.
 
Version 4: Thu, Jun 5, 2014. Added PDF file of this chapter for download
 
Version 3: Wed, Feb 26, 2014. Re-entered this chapter as it had been accidently deleted.
 
Version 2: Wed, Feb 5, 2014. Added Chapter links.
 
Version 1: Published April 30, 2013.

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