Tuesday, December 27, 2016

5. Waging War against His People

I'm reading through Konrad Heiden's 1944 book, Der Fuehrer. The first five chapters were:
1. The chapter this week roughly covers the period till 1923. We have been flying around this period in the last few chapters. It is the period when Röhm's "patriotic murder clubs" were going around murdering people while the leadership of Bavaria was turning a blind eye. These were the "storm troopers" (SA). Meanwhile, Hitler's rallies were meant to work the German people up into a frenzy.

It was a civil war of sorts. You had these bands of angry men conducting war against their own people. Locally, they made "enemies" of their Germany disappear. Nationally, they meant to get rid of the democratic government, which they thought allowed for communism and was controlled by Jews.

Hitler said in 1922, "We want nothing to do with parliaments. Anyone who goes into a swamp sinks into the muck... A minority suffices to overthrow a state when the majority of the population has gone soft and lost its direction... We do not want the thing they call unity" (112). He compared himself to Jesus going into the temple with a whip, and he thought of himself in such grandiose terms.

In a time of chaos, public opinion is the true source of power. Hitler expressed the speechless panic of the masses. "His speeches are day-dreams of this mass soul; they are chaotic, full of contradictions" (106).

2. One of the leaders of Germany as a whole, for a short while, was actually Jewish--Walter Rathenau. He was actually making strong inroads to decreasing dramatically the amount of war reparations the Allies were expecting from Germany. He was killed by some petty racists in a drive by. If he had lived, perhaps Germany would have turned around.

There were some laws passed as a result against extreme agitation from the right. After a change in the administration of Bavaria, Hitler himself was put in jail for a month for beating a speaker off a platform with a club. His greatest fear was deportation, since he was an Austrian and not a German by citizenship. Deportation was what he feared the worst.

In all of his agitation, Hitler was obsessed with the Jews, calling on Aryans and anti-Semites of all nations to unite in a struggle against the Jewish race, whom he saw as exploiters and oppressors.

3. As a final note, we are introduced to Hermann Göring in this chapter, who would become Hitler's second in command. At the time Hitler met him, he was a morphine addict.


David Drury said...

Continuing to track with each of these. Brings back memories to when i read this 5 years ago or so. Part of what I loved about this book is it never "rushed to WW2" since it was written during WW2, with Hitler living... so it really dwells on the early shaping moments in Germany and in Hitler himself. Fascinating and instructive.. Thanks for this work--a real gift to us all--I hope others read this obscure volume too

John Smith said...

Thank you for your time in sharing this. I find this account troubling and even depressing. Yet... there is deep wisdom to be gained here. If Germany had been offered forgiveness, friendship, and the dignity of reconciliation, would Hitler and his ilk have had any chance to bloom as they did? Is all of this disaster a consequence of the failure to forgive? By the Western allies failing to forgive and restore dignity to Germany, it seems that the devils of hell found a vast playground and playmates to create chaos and havoc and death. This account causes me to pause and consider more deeply the meaning and consequences of Jesus' command to forgive and to work toward reconciliation.