Hitler's Reich

The First Phase

Hitler with his staff at his "Wolf's Lair" field headquarters in 1940.   Wikipedia Commons

A PEOPLE has disappeared. Almost every German whose name the world knew as a master of government or business in the Republic of the past fourteen years is gone. There are exceptions; but the waves are swiftly cutting the sand from beneath them, and day by day, one by one, these last specimens of another age, another folk, topple over into the Nazi sea. So completely has the Republic been wiped out that the Nazis find it difficult to believe that it ever existed, at any rate as more than a bad dream from which they were awakened by the sound of their own shouts of command, their own marching feet. To them it signifies nothing that this or that compatriot shouldered more than his share of the load in the long uphill struggle to establish Germany's prestige and means of existence in the black years after the military collapse, or that his German nationalism and patriotic devotion were, according to the lights of that day, beyond question. The measure of his right to any sort of present consideration is first of all whether or not he was a Nazi. If he was not, he is wiped out, usually even though he might now wish to swallow his past and accept Adolf Hitler's leadership.

Not merely is he wiped out, but the memory of him is wiped out. It is pretended that he never was. His name is not mentioned, even in scorn. If one asks about him, a vague answer is given: "Oh yes -- but is he still alive? Maybe he is abroad. Or is he in a nursing home?" This does not merely apply to Jews and Communists, fled or imprisoned or detained "for their own protection" in barbed-wire concentration camps. It applies to men like Otto Braun, leader of the great Social Democratic Party, perennial Premier of Prussia, the strong man of whom Germans used to say: "When Hindenburg dies, we have him." Ill and broken, he

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