Onward Christian Soldiers
This new version of Onward Christian Soldiers that I’ve compiled consists of the original contents published by Noontide Press in 1982 plus the “missing” text that, for reasons explained below, was in the Swedish version published in 1942.
I’ve also included some supplementary texts here giving the history of the missing parts of Day’s book. Also book reviews by Revilo Oliver and Amazon readers (see Part 1).
Maps of Northern Europe & the Baltic States
THE REST OF DONALD DAY by Paul Knutson — 1984
EDITORIAL NOTE by Liberty Bell
The Resurrection of Donald Day — A review by Revilo P. Oliver. The Liberty Bell — January 1983
TWO KINDS OF COURAGE by Revilo P. Oliver. The Liberty Bell — October 1986
ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS
Permit Me To Introduce Myself * (all new)
1 Why I did not go Home *………………………………. 1
2 The United States *………………………………………. 7
3 Latvia ………………………………………………………… 21
4 Meet the Bolsheviks *………………………………….. 41
5 Alliance with the Bear *……………………………….. 53
6 Poland ……………………………………………………….. 63
7 Trips ………………………………………………………….. 85
8 The Downfall of Democracy * ………………………. 93
9 Jews …………………………………………………………… 101
10 Russia *………………………………………………………. 115
11 Lithuania * ………………………………………………….. 131
12 Danzig ……………………………………………………….. 145
13 Estonia ……………………………………………………….. 151
14 Sweden ………………………………………………………. 159
15 Norway ………………………………………………………. 169
16 Finland ………………………………………………………. 183
17 England *……………………………………………………. 197
18 Europe *…………………………………………………….. 201
19 Epilogue *…………………………………………………… 204
Index of Names ………………………………………………….. 205
* Contains new material (dark blue text) missing from original Noontide edition.
of Northern Europe 1920s (click to enlarge in new window)
of Baltic States 1920s (click to enlarge in new window)
LIBERTY BELL PUBLICATIONS
THE REST OF
Donald Day, who had been for many years the foreign correspondent of the Chicago Tribune in northern Europe, wrote a record of his observations, Onward, Christian Soldiers, in 1942. His English text was first published as a book in 1982. It was printed by William Morrison and appeared under the imprint of the Noontide Press of Torrance, California, As Professor Oliver pointed out in his review of that book in Liberty Bell for January, 1983, the text had been copied, with some omissions and minor changes, from an anonymously issued mimeographed transcription of a defective carbon copy of the author’s manuscript, which had been brought to the United States in someway, despite the vigilance of Franklin Roosevelt’s surreptitious thought-police.
That was not the first publication of Day’s book. A Swedish translation, Framat Krististridsman, was published by Europa Edition in Stockholm in 1944. (That paper cover, printed in red, green, and black, is reproduced in black-and-white on the following page.)
Copies of this book still survive in Sweden and are even found in some public libraries. There may still be a copy in the Library of Congress, where, however, it was catalogued and buried among the very numerous books of a different Donald Day, a very prolific writer who midwifed the autobiography of Will Rogers and produced book after book on such various subjects as American humorists, the folk-lore of the Southwest, the tourist-attractions of Texas, and probably anything for which he saw a market, including a mendacious screed entitled Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Own Story. By a supreme irony, the Library concealed Framat Kristi stridsman in its catalogue by placing it between the other Day’s Evolution of Love and his propaganda piece for the unspeakably vile monster whose millions of victims included one of the last honest journalists.
The Swedish translation contains some long and important passages that do not appear in the book published in California and are not found in the mimeographed copy. By translating these back into English, I can restore Donald Day’s meaning, but, of course, I cannot hope to reproduce exactly the words and style of his original manuscript. I can also restore from the Swedish the deficiencies of the mimeographed transcript.
It seems impossible to determine now whether the parts of Day’s work that are preserved only in the Swedish were deleted by him to shorten his text when he sent a typewritten copy to the United States or were added by him before he turned his manuscript over to the Swedish translator at about the same time. At all events, the Swedish now alone provides us with some significant parts of bay‘s book and many Americans will want to have Day’s Work complete and entire.
For the convenience of the reader, I have, by arrangement with the publisher of Liberty Bell, included corrections of the printed English text where it departs, through negligence or misunderstanding, from the mimeographed text from which it was copied. I have passed over obvious typographical errors in the printed book, and omitted small and relatively unimportant corrections. For example, near the end of p. 44 of the printed book, the sentence should read, “All reported that the officials of the Cheka, later known as the GPU and NKVD, were Jews.”
Day did not use footnotes, so the reader will understand what all the footnotes [indicated by the symbol *] on the following pages are my own explanations of the text.
The supplements below are arranged in the order of pages of the printed book, as shown by the note in the small type that precedes each section, The three sources are discriminated typographically thus; Italics show what is copied from the printed text to give continuity.
Ordinary Roman type is used for what is in the mimeographed copy but was omitted from the printed version. This, of course, is precisely what Day wrote in English.
What I have translated back from the Swedish appears in this style of type. These passages, as I have said, convey Day’s meaning without necessarily restoring exactly the words he used in his English original, from which the Swedish version was made.
With the foregoing supplements, we have at last as accurate a text of Donald Day’s Onward, Christian Soldiers as we are likely to have, barring the remote possibility that the manuscript Day gave to his Swedish translator may yet be discovered.
The Swedish translation is pedestrian, as indeed is Day’s English style, but a comparison of the Swedish with the extant parts of the English assures me of the translator’s general competence. In one passage, which we have only in the Swedish, in which Day reports his refusal to become a well-paid and dignified member of our Diplomatic Service with a “little Morgenthau” as an “adviser” to tell him what to do, the translator was evidently confused by the irony of some English phrase such as “executive for a Jew” and reversed Day’s obvious meaning;, this was corrected in the foregoing text.
The mimeographed version is evidently a transcription from Day’s carbon copy, with only such errors as only the most expert typists can entirely avoid. There is, however, one very odd error in the mimeographed version corresponding to our printed page 4 above; it reads “the Great Rocky mountains of the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.” That is geographically absurd, of course, and the Swedish (stora Rijkiga Bergen) shows that Day wrote “Great Smoky mountains,” as we have, printed above. It is probably only a coincidence that the Swedish word for “Smoky” could have suggested, to a person who knew no Swedish, the error made by the typist in California who copied Day’s carbon copy.
When Day relies on his recollection of what he was told years before, his memory is sometimes faulty, and we have naturally made no changes in what he wrote. He makes an obvious error on our page 4, where he says that the Cherokees were driven from their lands and moved to Indian Territory “toward the end of the last century.” Actually, the expulsion of the Cherokee Nation by an American army took place in 1838. The Cherokees, by the way, were the most nearly civilized of all the Indian tribes in the territory that is now the United States and Canada, and it is true that their expulsion from the lands that had been guaranteed to them by treaty inflicted great hardships on them: they lost most of their property, including their negro slaves, and large numbers of them perished as they were quite brutally herded from the Appalachians almost half way across the continent to what is now the southern border of Arkansas.
Ethnologists who have made intensive studies of the Indians of North America (e.g., Peter Farb) regard Sequoyah (Sequoia) as perhaps “the greatest intellect the Indians produced.” He was the son of a Cherokee woman by an unidentified white trader, and, growing up with the mother’s people, regarded himself as a Cherokee. He, however, was an exception to what Day says about half-breeds. Day may have been confused about the date of the expulsion because a few of the Cherokees succeeded in hiding from the perquisition in the wilds of the Great Smokies and were eventually given the small reservation they now occupy east of Bryson City in the toe of North Carolina. There was some agitation about them “near the end of the last century.”
The circumstances in which Day’s carbon copy was smuggled into the United States remain obscure. When the mimeographed transcription was made and first issued, it contained a prefatory page on which an anonymous writer said,
“It is my understanding that this book was published in; 1942, and then merely made an appearance at the book-sellers, when all copies were immediately withdrawn and destroyed without a single copy escaping the book-burners, I was also told that Mr. Day died shortly after this incident.”
The page was presumably withdrawn when its author learned that Day was still alive at that time and an exile in Helsinki, since the Jews who rule the United States would not permit him to return to his native land.
It is curious that the man who made the transcription, which did effectively preserve Day’s work for the future, and who was evidently a resident of California, had heard a somewhat less plausible version of the rumor that was current in Washington in 1943. (See the review by Professor Oliver in Liberty Bell, January 1983, p. 27). It is quite possible that the source of both rumors was an effort by the apparatus of the great War Criminal in the White House to prevent the publication of the Swedish translation, which, as Day tells us in the last item in our supplements, was delayed in the press for two years by a “paper shortage” and it is noteworthy that the paper for it was finally obtained in Finland, not Sweden,* Until the book was finally published in 1944, the enemies of mankind could have imagined that their pressures on Sweden had effectively prevented Day’s exposure of one phase of their activity from ever appearing in print.
[* Day’s book was published by Europa Edition in Stockholm, which, however, had to have the printing done by Mercators Tryckeri in Helsinki. Although copies of the Swedish book have been preserved, Day’s work would not now be generally known — and would be supposed lost by Americans who heard of it — if the anonymous gentleman in California had not issued his mimeographed transcription.]
KATANA — The Liberty Bell article continues with a list of text to be added or amended to the Noontide edition. All these changes (indicated by the dark blue text) have been entered in this expanded version of Onward Christian Soldiers.
Word Totals for the Additional Text
Introduction – –
Permit Me To Introduce Myself – 5,738 (all new)
Chapter 1 – 23
Chapter 2 – 307
Chapter 3 – –
Chapter 4 – 653
Chapter 5 – 1,225
Chapter 6 – –
Chapter 7 – –
Chapter 8 – 408
Chapter 9 – –
Chapter 10 – 907
Chapter 11 – 6
Chapter 12 – –
Chapter 13 – –
Chapter 14 – –
Chapter 15 – –
Chapter 16 – –
Chapter 17 – 2,167
Chapter 18 – 1,179
Chapter 19 – 89
Total words in original = 85,311
Total additional words = 12,702
Total words in expanded version = 98,013
1920-1942: Propaganda, Censorship
and One Man’s Struggle to Herald the Truth
Suppressed reports of a 20-year Chicago Tribune
correspondent in eastern Europe from 1921
With an introduction by Walter Trohan,
former chief of the Tribune’s Washington bureau
THE NOONTIDE PRESS
In 1918 when Lithuania began her career as an independent nation she faced problems, many of which were similar to those confronting the Polish government. As in Poland the majority of Lithuania’s peasantry were illiterate. Like Poland this much smaller country had her minorities led by aggressive, unscrupulous Jews who fought hard to retain their monopolistic grasp upon trade, industry and to continue to function as the professional. Like Poland, Lithuania had to fight against the reactionary Roman Catholic Church. In this fight they had more success than the Poles. Lithuania’s educated class was even smaller than that of Poland. National consciousness was at a low ebb. Religion and nationality meant the same thing to the majority of the population.
Lithuania had not prospered under Czarist Russian rule. The living and cultural standards under the Russian administration, Polish nobility and Catholic church were miserably low. In the more northern Baltic provinces, Latvia and Estonia, the peasantry also felt suppressed. However these districts were Lutheran. It was not so difficult for an Estonian or Latvian to change his Lutheran religion to the Russian Orthodox Church in order to obtain a university education and the possibility of a career in Russia. Therefore, Estonian and Latvian migration was directed towards Russia. Many migrants obtained high posts in Russia. Those who followed a military career were permitted to study at the Russian military academy and occupy posts on the general staff. Poles were denied this latter honor. Out in western Siberia where many of these people settled, they introduced dairy farming. This industry which was developing rapidly up to the world war had been largely organized by Danish enterprise and capital. Other migrants from the Baltic provinces managed large estates or entered trade and industry.
Catholics rarely change their religion so the Lithuanians emigrated to the United States and brought their priests with them. Their efforts to resist assimilation into American life have thus far been just as successful as those of the Poles. They maintain their own parochial schools, cultural societies and newspapers. And when the world war ended this Lithuanian racial group became active. So did the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Jews and other minority groups in America. The American delegation to the peace conference in Paris found themselves representing claims to national existence of a number of nations which would have disappeared more or less completely if the world had remained at peace another century. The Lithuanians did not halt at Paris. Many returned to their homeland where they played an important part in the foundation and organization of the Lithuanian republic.
In 1923, when I visited Lithuania, I discovered many officials had an American passport in one pocket and a Lithuanian passport in another. I wrote a sarcastic story how “Americans” were helping to organize a new nation in Europe. The result was painful for these people. They were called into the American consulate and told they must surrender their American passport and claim to citizenship or return home immediately.
Some returned, others remained.
When the Lithuanian state was carved from a corner of the cadaver of Imperial Russia, the town of Vilna was alloted to Lithuania. Once-upon-a-time, Vilna was the residence of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes. It is still regarded by the Lithuanians as their capital. Vilna was also coveted by the Poles.
The town was in the center of a poverty-stricken, illiterate, over-populated province whose sandy soil was barely able to provide a meager existence for a mongrelized population of Jews, Poles, Russians, Ruthenians and a few thousand Lithuanians. Poland’s appetite for other nations’ property equalled her ambitions. General Zellgowski seized the Vilna province by a putsch and presented it to Marshal Pilsudski. Warsaw also wanted a large chunk of Latvian territory around Daugavpils (Dvinsk). She failed to get it.
The Lithuanians never forgot nor forgave this theft. Vilna became the theme song of their national propaganda. Vilna became Lithuania’s most profitable article of export. Every year the government sent agitators to the United States to collect money to strengthen the Lithuanian state for the approaching day when Lithuania would seize her ancient capital.
Remittances from Lithuanian-Americans averaged around four million dollars annually while contributions to various state projects brought in more money. In Polish hands Vilna helped to make Lithuania prosperous.
In Riga I had heard reports of the activities of the Lithuanian-Americans and in January 1923, when a group of so-called Lithuanian guerrillas appeared on the border of Memelland I telephoned John Dored, a Latvian friend who was a cinematographer representing Pathe News Weekly, that a story was developing and we boarded the train that night for Memel.
We awoke in the morning to find the door of our coupe guarded by a Lithuanian soldier. The car was empty. It had been detached from the train and placed on a siding at Krettingen. We ate our breakfast and I told John not to speak a word of anything but English and I would disarm the soldier and we would compel him to bring us to the commandant of the station.
When I took the soldier’s gun he was too astonished to resist, and when we presented ourselves before the commandant, I profanely protested against this treatment. The youthful Lithuanian captain listened to my outburst with delight. He apologized for not knowing we were Americans, explaining he was an American himself and pulled out a passport to prove it. I asked him why he was wearing a Lithuanian uniform. It appeared he had been a sergeant in the American expeditionary force to France and had decided to visit the country of his parents before he went home. In Kaunas he had been offered a commission in the Lithuanian army and had decided to remain awhile in service. I told him he must let us cross the frontier and join the forces of the Lithuanian insurgents who were marching on Memel. He agreed, and we found the commander and staff of the insurgents in the railroad station at Bajoren having breakfast.
Budrys, who led the putsch, was a former sergeant in the German river police. He said his attack upon Memel had come to a halt because the French garrisons were offering resistance. The Lithuanians did not want to fight the French, who had armed the German policemen in Memel and placed them in advanced positions ordering them to resist the Lithuanian attacks or they would be shot from behind.
I told Budrys if he wanted to capture Memel he didn’t have much time left, as both England and France were sending warships there and it was up to him to seize the town before they arrived. I also said we should like to go forward with the advancing troops, promising that the Lithuanian government should receive a copy of the film showing “this heroic exploit” and the million Lithuanians in the United States should read of his successful campaign. Some hours later we rejoined Budrys and his staff outside Memel. He told us he had decided to order an immediate attack, asking if we wanted to go along. I heard some prisoners had been captured in the fighting on the previous day and asked him to delay the operation until we had taken pictures of the prisoners.
He obligingly ordered them brought out from the cellar of the farm where they had been confined and we placed them in the center of a platoon of his irregulars and staged a march-by while Dored filmed this historic scene from the top of a woodshed. There were four tall, husky built German policemen in their khaki uniforms and ten tough little French soldiers. This was the first time in generations that Germans and French have been captured fighting against a common foe.
Then we entered an old Ford car and accompanied the Lithuanians in the battle of Memel; total casualties 8 killed and 15 wounded. The French garrison, consisting of two companies of infantry, withdrew to the western suburb of the town and dug some trenches around their barracks.
The Lithuanians left them alone. That night, in order to dispatch my cable to Chicago, I journeyed in a car to Libau returning to Memel in the early hours of the morning.
The insurgents were a most miserably clad army. Dressed in the tattered garb of Lithuanian peasants, many wearing sandals made of birch-bark and legs bound with strips of linen, they were supposed to represent a spontaneous uprising of the Lithuanian inhabitants of the Memel territory. However, in reality they were Lithuanian peasants carrying army rifles and there were a number of heavy machine guns.
Commander Budrys reviewed his troops on the Memel market place in the morning. The masquerade of the march on Memel when the “insurgents” straggled along the road with only a pretense of military formation, was over. The soldiers marched by in good formation. I complimented Budrys, telling him he was the most remarkable military man I had ever met; that overnight he had been able to transform his horde of Lithuanian peasants,
“who were only motivated by burning patriotism and who with their chosen leaders had decided to capture Memland for the Fatherland,”
into trained troops with complete discipline. Budrys smiled.
President Smetona came to Memel. His chief qualification for the post of President of Lithuania was his wife, but we’ll go into that later. There also arrived some mysterious Catholic priests dressed in civilian clothes who were very active.
A few days later the town was thrilled and the Lithuanians were scared by the arrival of the British cruiser Caladon. Budrys called me in and asked for more suggestions. He had never been confronted with such a situation and I saw an opportunity to get Dored another good action picture. Dored and myself watched the arrival of the Caladon from the lighthouse which towered out of the custom yard. The big warship came slowly up the harbor and as she maneuvered over to the quay her guns swung slowly around, trained the whole time on the town. She was cleared for action.
I suggested to Budrys that as soon as the cruiser made fast he should stage a little parade of his troops along the quayside. Dored was able to get a film of the shabbily clad Lithuanian forces as they marched down the dock alongside and past the British ship and disappeared around the comer of some warehouses. In order to impress the newcomers properly with their numbers, the infantry marched past twice but their single troop of cavalry appeared only once as I was afraid the horses, which were strikingly bad, might even be recognized by the sailors as being the same nags.
The British decided to negotiate and Consul General Fry arrived in Memel from Danzig. He demanded Budrys should withdraw his troops from Memel. This was refused. Later I was asked to visit Fry at the British consulate. When the consul general said the situation in Memel was quite unbearable, and it was shocking that the Lithuanian insurgents should defy the League of Nations and the Guarantors of the Memel Convention, I told him, with the confidence of truth that the solution seemed simple. I said I could arrange with the Lithuanians that they would remove their troops back across the little river which flows through the town. This would enable the Caladon to land a detachment of marines who could patrol the western half from the river to the barracks where the French were entrenched. After the expected French destroyers arrived, the French troops could embark, then after a face-saving interval, the British marines could embark and the town could be left in the hands of the Lithuanians. Fry did not seem to welcome this idea and stalked from the room. Some ten days later this very scheme was carried through and I cabled the entire story to The Tribune which published it under the headline:
“TRIBUNE MAN MEMEL PEACEMAKER.”
With the departure of the French High Commissioner Petisnex, Consul General Fry and the British and French war vessels, the troubles of the Lithuanians began, for they had undertaken to give autonomous rule to the Memelanders whose culture and living standard were far higher than their own.
A very large percentage of the Memelanders were of Lithuanian origin.
Before the war they had petitioned the Kaiser asking that church service be held in their language, which was a Lithuanian dialect. At the time of the putsch the Memellanders were so demoralized by the inflation of the German mark they did not realize what was happening. The only Memellanders involved in the putsch were a few Lithuanians whose motives may have been purely patriotic but who were certainly most anxious to obtain good jobs for themselves in the new government. The inflation was tragic. The mark was falling so rapidly that storekeepers kept their premises open only two hours each day. But even then they could not replace the goods they sold with the receipts from their sales. People carried about handbags full of money with which they tried to buy something. Life’s savings were wiped out. People who sold property could buy little or nothing with the money they received. With the value of money gone, other values seemed to disappear.
Many Memelanders welcomed the introduction of Lithuanian currency for it, at least, was stabilized and normal life could be resumed. I was never in Germany during the inflation period, but the few weeks I experienced the ruin of the mark in Memel was enough to give me a deep horror of inflation and the terrible demoralization which comes with it. At the time of the Memel putsch Germany was prostrate. Berlin could do nothing to protect this territory. The world war peace proved a curse to Germany.
I harbored the foolish idea that the Lithuanian government had some common sense. That with the acquisition of the Memelland they would cease their clamor for the return of Vilna from Poland and open relations with the Warsaw government, thus removing the chief obstacle to a close federation with their northern neighbors, Latvia and Estonia.
At the expressed invitation of the Lithuanian government I paid a short visit to Kaunas (Kovno) before I returned to Riga.
Before the world war Kaunas was a dirty little Russian garrison town.
There was no canalization, water supply or paved streets, and the only imposing buildings were the churches. The army had prohibited the erection of buildings more than three stories high.
The Lithuanians set to work to organize their government and modernize their capital with all the energy and vitality of a small nation which thought at last they had achieved their place in the sun. On the day of my arrival, the government-subsidized Vilna League held a mass meeting at the grave of Lithuania’s unknown soldier. Agitators spoke some hours in a bitter frost. I heard Vilna frequently mentioned and my interpreter said the speakers were proclaiming that now that Memel had been captured, the next step was the capture of Vilna and the nation must work with this end in view.
It was evident the Lithuanians were not satisfied. It appeared they had enough to do to put their own house in order before they acquired any more real estate. Kaunas had only two miserable dirty hotels and one restaurant. This eating place was so filthy I told the manager unless he cleaned it immediately I was going to engage some scrub woman and superintend the cleaning myself. The next morning three women were at work. I ordered the removal of the lampshades from the table and the dirty hangings above the Zakuska table and saw they were placed in the garbage can before I went to the foreign office. They were black with fly specks denoting they had been cleaned only before the previous summer and not since then.
The Lithuanian government was then headed by E. Galvanauskas, leader of the nonpartisan party. He attempted to inform me the Memel putsch had been a spontaneous uprising of the inhabitants of the Memel district who revolted and overthrew the German directorate. I informed him this was a ridiculous statement since I had accompanied the disguised regular troops of the Lithuanian army in their attack upon Memel and had met the handful of Memelland Lithuanians who had helped the putschers. The Premier, who also held the post of minister of foreign affairs, said Lithuania was not appeased by the annexation of Memelland and would continue to maintain its claim to Vilna and would refuse to open normal diplomatic relations with Poland.
On the wall of Galvanauska’ s cabinet hung a map of the Baltic region. I noticed the towns of Memel, Vilna, Tilsit, Koenigsberg and Libau were marked with small Lithuanian flags and asked what claim could Lithuania possibly have to Libau. The Premier said Libau contained a Lithuanian colony. I told him he might as well put a Lithuanian flag to mark the cities of Riga and Leningrad since the iszoschiki (cabmen) in those two centers were also almost exclusively Lithuanians and also he might put up a large map and mark the cities of Pittsburg and Chicago with Lithuanian flags since many Lithuanians worked in the steel mills, slaughterhouses and other large industries in those American cities. The next time I visited the Premier I noticed the map had been removed from the wall.
After sending a number of cables reporting on Lithuanian affairs to my newspaper to Riga where I wrote a long letter to my editors, Colonel R.R. McCormick and Captain J .M. Patterson, I began by reporting that once upon a time the Lithuanians had been a great tribe of people, but they had not progressed much farther than the tribal stage. In describing my experiences in Memel and Lithuania, I reported the Lithuanians had as much right to govern the Memelland as the Apache Indians had to govern Arizona. They played a mean trick on me and published this private letter under my name on the first page of the paper and spoiled my relations with the Lithuanian government for several years. Unfortunately for me this article was mailed to a member of the staff of the American consulate in Kaunas who mimeographed it and circulated it among the diplomats and foreign businessmen as a piece of humor.
But my expose had results. The foreign office immediately bought a hotel, rebuilt a portion of it. They also moved the restaurant to a better location and began to modernize and clean up the town. In my experience as a foreign correspondent I have noticed that governments are not grateful and neither do they pay attention when you write articles reflecting favorably on their activities. They seem to consider this their just due. But when an unfavorable story appears they neither forget nor forgive. I have informed many foreign ministers they should be grateful to foreign newspapermen for what they do not write, rather than complain if an unpleasant story appears.
On 17 February 1923 the Ambassador’s conference handed over the sovereignty of Memelland to Lithuania. The so-called Klaipeda (Memel) convention was signed in Paris on 8 May 1924. This made the road clear for Lithuania to begin a foolish and shortsighted policy of forcing the Memellanders to become 100% Lithuanians which in the end cost them the Memel district.
Lithuania’s greatest mistake was to ignore the advice and reject the assistance proffered by the Memelland Lithuanians. Those men were better educated and equipped to govern the Memel district than the Lithuanians. Here again the Roman Catholic Church played its politics for it was determined to absorb the Lutheran Memellanders into the Catholic Church by fair means or foul, mostly foul. To digress for a moment, perhaps others have also noticed how the Catholic Church seems to be able to give its followers that assurance and self-confidence which other people acquire by hard work.
Ignorant, incompetent, uncultured and half-educated Lithuanian Roman Catholic officials were appointed to important posts in Memelland.
Lithuania, (the church was here largely to blame) tried to direct the education of the children, to enforce the use of the Lithuanian language to supplant German and local Lithuanian dialect, and gradually oust the Memelland Directorate and supplant it with a Lithuanian administration.
During the years Lithuania pursued this policy I visited Memelland a number of times, talking with all classes of the population and interviewing Memelland officials and the Lithuanian governor. When I asked these various governors why they didn’t arrange a weekly meeting with the directorate officials and try and reach agreement or a friendly compromise on the many different questions they were perpetually quareling about, they admitted to me they were not permitted to do this. The Kaunas government, they said, was determined to force through its policy and individually they could do nothing about it.
As Germany’s internal position continued to improve and real progress was achieved by the National Socialist administration, the Memellanders became more and more dissatisfied. All their pre-world-war and postwar ideas about guarding their own precious dialect were forgotten in their desire to become Germans again.
I was in Danzig when I heard of the intention of the German government to re-annex the Memel territory. I joined forces with Porter of The Associated Press and we engaged an automobile and drove all night.
Between Koenigsberg and Tilsit, we passed many detachments of the German army on the march and fully equipped. Germany never does anything half way. We managed to pass the army and cross into Memelland at Tilsit before the troops arrived. The police director of Tilsit issued me a remarkable pass entitled:
“Unbedenklichkeitsbascheinigung No. 1,”
which gave me freedom of movement in the occupied Memelland. We continued the journey to Memel.
En route I saw an inn where a crowd of brownshirted SA men had gathered. We halted and I bought them a round of beer and asked what they had been doing. From the talk of some it seemed they had been busy all night beating up Lithuanian officials, but I kept asking questions until I discovered that in this entire district they had beaten two Lithuanians.
From other meetings it seemed probable that quite a few Lithuanian officials had aroused the hatred of the local population by their actions but I found no evidence of anyone being killed. So far as we could discover, the occupation came off without a single fatality.
In Memel we discovered the Hotel Victoria had been taken over by the Gestapo. We could not even get a cup of coffee so I demanded we be billeted in a private home where we could eat, wash up and rest. They directed us to the home of a local shipbuilder, Herr Lindenauer, who mournfully showed me a cellar full of German wines he had imported a few weeks previously, paying the exorbitant Lithuanian customs duties.
Our host took good care of us.
It was announced that morning that Hitler would address a mass meeting. The crowd waited hours before he appeared. Memel not only contained many Lithuanians, but there were also many Jews and communists in the town, enemies of Nazism. Despite this, Hitler stood up in an open car which passed slowly through the narrow streets. I stood on the sidewalk and was only six feet from him when the car passed. He did not look well. His short address also revealed something was wrong.
Two days later in the Park Hotel in Koenigsberg, the head waiter who had journeyed to Memel to serve the standup luncheon attended by Hitler and his entourage told me the Fuhrer had been stricken with influenza on his first sea journey and the doctors forbade his landing. But he was not dissuaded and although he had a high fever he spoke to the Memellanders and after attending the luncheon returned to the warship and went to bed.
All afternoon and evening the correspondents sat by the telephone waiting for their calls to come through from Berlin. Porter and I scooped them by motoring back to Tilsit and phoning our stories from there. The Memelland chapter was closed. Memel became again a small unimportant German provincial town, but its culture and economic future is secured.
If Lithuania had had a culture equal, or higher, than that of Memelland, and had displayed more common sense and consideration in ruling this territory, perhaps this historical development would have been different.
As it was, the Lithuanian government was the first of the new states in Europe to collapse into a dictatorship. In 1926 the quarrels between the political parties became so bitter that Professor Augustinas Waldemaras staged a bloodless putsch and seized power. But the professor did not want to become president. He stuttered. Anatonas Smetona, who after his term of president ended got a small job in a small bank, was called upon by Waldemaras to reoccupy this post. He moved into the Kaunas White House, located next door to the ghetto, and continued to. consume large quantities of cognac and took up horseback riding while his wife took over the job of president.
Madame Smetona was an extremely capable woman with an aptitude for political intrigue. She loved to play bridge all night until it was time for her to attend the six o’clock mass in the morning. Her regularity at mass won for her the sympathy of the uncultured Lithuanian element, which was rather large, and the support of the Catholic church, which was considerable.
However Madame Smetona had a sweetheart, a Jesuit priest of dubious reputation who went about in civilian clothes and who was otherwise a very worldly person of promiscuous morals and acquisitive ideals. This love affair continued unmolested until the Vatican sent a new Papal Nuncio, Msg. Bartoli. shortly after his arrival, the Nuncio discovered the clandestine relations between the President’s wife and the Jesuit priest.
He acted with more energy than sense, sending the priest to a monastery distant from Kaunas, ordering him to get his head properly tonsured and measured for the garments of his calling. Deprived of her companion, Madame Smetona acted with equal energy. The Kaunas chief of police called upon the Papal Nuncio, assisted him in packing his belongings, brought him in a car to the east Prussian frontier, and unceremoniously deposited him outside the sovereign frontiers of Lithuania, ordering him to get back to the Vatican and forget about this country. The Vatican broke off diplomatic relations and the Jesuit priest came out of retirement. He never went back.
I reported this fascinating scandal to The Tribune and enough of the story was published to call forth more recriminations.
Professor Waldemaras, who was the brains of the government, was not very popular with the Catholic church. He foiled two plots to overthrow his dictatorship. He had used the pampered officers of the air force to stage his putsch by promising them some new airplanes. His enemies, a few years later, attempted to use the same tactics. I happened to be in Kaunas on one of these occasions. A delegation of officers called on Waldemaras informing him he must resign. He told them he was conducting important diplomatic negotiation with several governments and he must first inform them of the details before he could formally resign and submit to arrest.
His buffet was well stocked with drinks and a few hours later, when all the officers were drunk, he went into the next room, called up his friend the chief of police, and had them locked up. Waldemaras told me how he had outwitted his enemies with enjoyment. He was a resourceful man, small in stature, and I called him a “hard boiled bantam egg.” In American slang a hard-boiled egg is a rough, uncompromising person. We were friends and I had many interesting interviews with him.
At one time I thought I would try my hand at some diplomacy. I told Waldemaras I was going to Warsaw and would there visit the Polish Foreign Minister Zaleski. I asked him what were Lithuania’s minimum terms for a compromise peace and the opening of diplomatic relations with Poland. He thought awhile and suggested I tell Zaleski that Lithuania would be satisfied if Poland would cede the Suvalki region, a small district in the neighborhood where the frontiers of Poland, Lithuania and east Prussia touch, and Svencionys, a village northeast of Vilna solidly inhabited by Lithuanians. The professor admitted Lithuania didn’t want back Vilna and wouldn’t know what to do with it if the Poles did give it back.
A week later I was closeted with Zaleski in the Polish foreign office telling him of my conversation with Waldemaras. Zaleski sighed. He said he would like to agree but he knew the Polish government would not. He explained too many ministers thought if Poland should make a territorial concession to Lithuania they might be asked to make another to the Germans in the Danzig corridor. A short time later enough foreign political pressure had been applied to Lithuania to compel Waldemaras to meet meet with Zaleski in a conference held in Koenigsberg in an effort to settle Lithuanian-Polish differences. The conference failed.
Zaleski told me how when he first met Waldemaras at the peace conference of Paris they arranged a private meeting and Zaleski invited him to make his claims. Waldemaras wanted Suvalki. Zaleski agreed. He wanted Vilna. Zaleski agreed. Waldemaras was about to mention Grodno when he suddenly stopped, recalling that if the Poles gave him all the Lithuanians asked for then they would be a minority in their own country.
That was Zaleski’s plan.
One reason why Waldemaras was unpopular with the Catholic church was Madame Waldemaras. She was a French woman of petit bourgeoise origin to whom Waldemaras had been united by a civil ceremony which, in the eyes of the prurient church, does not sanctify cohabitation. Madame Waldemaras had a biting tongue and became jealous of Madame Smetona who led Kaunas Society affairs with her usual ability and success. Gossip spread and Madame Smetona ordered her husband to remonstrate with the professor. Waldemaras said although he could speak twenty different languages he could not control the tongue of his wife. There was another putsch, this time successful, and Waldemaras was deposed. He had staged so many successful political comebacks that Madame Smetona took no chances and his brutal and rigorous imprisonment affected his health. Later he was permitted to go abroad. He remained an exile until the Soviets took Lithuania when he returned.
Smetona and his wife fled from the country. They are now living in Chicago which contains a large number of unassimilated Lithuanians.
After Waldemaras was removed, the chief power behind the Lithuanian government was the Catholic Church which provided Madame Smetona with her lover and used her as a tool to control the country. The church kept its firm grip on the ministry of foreign affairs, whose officials were all under its influence.
Scandals make interesting reading and it would be very wrong to permit them to obscure the fact that Lithuania made really tremendous progress during its short term of independence. Most of this progress however, was made despite the Catholic church rather than because of its efforts. The Lithuanian government carried through a real land reform. In Poland, they talked about it for years. Lithuania had a good system of cooperatives while Poland established her first small Polish farmers’ cooperative in 1933. The old cooperatives in Poland were either of German or Ukrainian origin.
The average Lithuanian peasant, although he was far behind the farmers of Latvia and Estonia, still ate better food, clothed himself better and was better housed than the average Polish peasant. Lithuania, however, was handicapped by a ruthless, grafting church organization and by an equally ruthless and grasping horde of rapacious Jews. She also had the same landlord caste which cared nothing about their peasantry or holdings, and many of whom permitted their estates to be managed by plenipotentiaries. She also began her national life without a middle class and only a small group of people with higher education.
Yes, Lithuania started at scratch with Poland but in her short race for life as a nation she accomplished far more than the Poles, who looked down upon the Lithuanians with that contempt born of egoism and ignorance.
As a reporter covering northeastern Europe, I faithfully chronicled progress. But her political leaders intrigued with the Soviet government and quarreled with Poland and Germany. In the end the Bolsheviks, who Prime Minister Tubelis told me would come to help Lithuania if she became involved in serious difficulties with Poland or Germany, invaded his country and massacred and exiled those leaders and the better elements of the population.
As a nation I found the Lithuanians had more sound qualities than the Poles. They were better organizers, more reliable and have a big portion of that indomitable trait of stubborness which is. one of the chief characteristics of the East Prussians who have partly inherited it from the Borussians, a Lithuanian tribe assimilated by the Germans in their conquest of East Prussia. Students of ethnology may make many interesting discoveries in the Baltic.
The revolution now sweeping Europe might also be regarded as a new Nordic conquest of Europe. It certainly embodies a fight for survival of Nordic ideals. Important results are already evident. Jewish culture and ideals have been cauterized from Europe. Slav culture has been expelled eastwards. The decadent Latin ideals represented and defended by French culture have been so weakened that recovery will require generations if it comes at all. The political power once wielded incompetently and selfishly by the Roman Catholic Church has been destroyed in many countries and weakened in others.
Europe today is passing through a new reformation period. What will evolve from its gigantic and desperate struggle for survival in a world threatened by Jewish control is too early to say. For one, I always have been an optimist about Europe’s future. European culture is too great and heroic to die and it most certainly will not perish at the hands of the kosher butcher who enslaved Russia and who is now engaged in a struggle to enslave the United States and the rest of the world.
In America our struggle has yet to come. It will come.
* Images (maps, photos, etc.) have also been added that were not part of the original Noontide edition.
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 at KOINEN’S CORNER
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 1: Reviews; Background Information
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 2: Introduction; Permit Me to Introduce Myself
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 3: Why I Did Not Go Home; The U.S.
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 4: Lativa
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 5: Meet the Bolsheviks
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 6: Alliance With the Bear
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 7: Poland
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 8: Trips; The Downfall of Democracy
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 9: Jews
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 10: Russia
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 11: Lithuania
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 12: Danzig; Lithuania
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 13: Sweden; Norway
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 14: Finland
Click to go to >> OCS – Part 15 (last) : England; Europe; Epilogue; Index of Names
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