00011016.gif Interview with Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe June 28, 1943 at Alien Detention Camp, Seagoville, Texas. The Princess spent a great deal of the interview in explaining her relationship to Lord Rothmere, English newspaper owner. These have nothing to do with the present study except insofar as she acted as Lord Rothmere's personal representative in his dealings with many European statesmen. This position she held for a period of seven years and during that time she was called upon to interview Hitler several times as well as Goering, Ribbentrop and other leading Nazis. According to her story, all of these contacts were in her official capacity. During all of these interviews she felt that Hitler was on his very best behavior and was doing his utmost to make a favorable impression on her in order that he might win the active collaboration of Lord Rothmere in England and the extensive publicity his chain of newspapers could provide. This differs markedly from the Hanfstaengl account of the relationship. According to him the Princess was frequently in Germany and was one of Hitler's favorites-- in fact so much so that Hanfstaengl had to caution him about his association with her on the grounds that it might start embarrassing gossip and complications because the Princess was half Jewish (her maiden name was Richter). Hanfstaengl says that Hitler refused to believe this and promised he would have her family investigated. Later when the subject came up again, Hitler said that the investigation showed that everything concerning her family was "in order." Hanfstaengl becomes very emotional when speaking of the Princess and was obviously jealous of her relationship with Hitler, whatever that might have been. No other account has been obtainable and we have our choice of believing Hanfstaengl who ranks it with Hitler's "affairs" or the Princess who claims that it was only of an official nature. The truth probably lies between them. The Princess does not deny her intimate friendship with Captain Wiedemann, who was Hitler's lieutenant during the war and later became his adjutant. Hanfstaengl claims that Wiedemann met the Princess at one of Hitler's parties and fell in love with her. When Hitler learned of this he became insanely jealous and sent Wiedemann to San Francisco as consul in order to punish him and get him out of the way. The Princess claims that she has known Wiedemann and his family for a great many years and that he facilitated some of her contacts with Hitler. Under theses circumstances, it seems reasonable to suppose that her contact with Hitler had a social as well as an official side. How far the social went is difficult to say unless further evidence is uncovered. In any case she claims that most of her information about Hitler has come to her through Wiedemann whose confidante she was. Taken by and large, it corroborates much of the material gained from numerous other sources. A few incidents she related may, however, throw further light on his character. 00011017.gif One of the most interesting of these is the peculiar relationship which existed as late as 1938 between Hitler and Goering. During one of her interviews, early in 1938, Hitler had occasion to mention Goering. Apropos of nothing he launched into a lengthy description of Goering's work, his undying loyalty and devotion. As he spoke the tears welled up in his eyes. "What would I ever do without him", he said, shuddering at the very thought and then added. "He had to promise me not to drive his car too wildly a long while ago and now I made him give up flying. It would be too dreadful to think..." there he broke off and shook his head as if to cast off a terrible vision which he could not endure. Some time later the Princess had occasion to tell Goering in private some of the compliments that Hitler had showered upon him. Goering was thrilled to the core. The Field Marshall's radiance and delight showed that such words from such lips meant more to him than even uniforms and jewels. He reciprocated wildly. It was a veritable explosion of loyalty, devotion and hero-worship. Hitler was undoubtedly the greatest German who ever lived. The Bavarian braggart and brute disappeared and a proud little boy came to the surface. The Princess is of the opinion that there are probably no other two men in the world who appreciate each other more ardently and sincerely and then added that although they are so vociferous as individuals they are probably tongue-tied when they try to say to each other what they think of each other. The relationship is even more peculiar when we remember that Goering is one of the first hundred registered members of the party; that he was an outstanding ace in the last war, comes from a respected family, was awarded the Pour le merite, etc. Yet he came under the domination of an unknown lance corporal without family or fame. And yet Goering tells us that although he was reluctant to hear Hitler speak and only did so to oblige some friends who wanted to go, that first speech completely captivated him and without hesitation the proud captain became the unconditional follower of the unknown lance corporal. But in spite of all this the two have never reached the intimate stage of bruderschaft where they address each other with the familiar "du." Goering was always very jealous because Hess had this privilege and held the title "Stellvertreter', but in spite of all his efforts he has not been rewarded with either. The Princess claims that there is only one Nazi besides Hess who has been granted that privilege and that, of all people, is Julius Streicher, editor of _Der Stuermer._ This, too, is a most peculiar relationship about which we know very little. It is quite certain that Streicher is one of the most hated of all the Nazis by all the other Nazis and yet Hitler has steadfastly resisted all pressure to remove or demote him. A strange bond seems to hold these two together. 00011018.gif In speaking of the inexplicable spell which Hitler threw over Goering the Princess remarked that she could never understand the magnetism of Hitler's oratory about which so many people have spoken. She described his voice as rasping, uncultured and displeasing to the ear. His diction and enunciation are unnatural and stilted, doubtless as a result of his effort to conceal the accent and dialect typical for Austrians of poor breeding and low estate. At another talk, shortly after the United States had cut off the supply of helium to Germany, Hitler was exuberant. The United States had played directly into his hands and had done him a great favor. It seems that Hitler was opposed to the Zeppelin as an instrument in modern warfare but had permitted some of his military men to work on its development partly to keep them quiet and partly because he was still restricted by the Versailles Treaty. In the course of the conversation, referring to the Zeppelin, he said: "If Almighty God wanted a sausage to fly he would have created one without our help." The refusal of the United States to supply Germany with helium gave him the excuse to drop the Zeppelin and develop the aeroplane more openly. The Princess believes, and one has the impression that this comes from Wiedemann, that Hitler is afraid of Roosevelt more than he is of Churchill. Hitler feels that he understands Churchill and can predict with a fair degree of accuracy what he will do under any given circumstances (as one gangster understands another). Roosevelt, however, is an enigma. He is a challenge to Hitler because he cannot understand his quiet, gentlemanly way of going about things. That he doesn't shout and call names is something Hitler cannot understand, especially since Roosevelt manages to sway public opinion with these tactics. She is under the impression that this challenge expresses itself in part in a competition with America. That Germany must have the biggest stadiums, the biggest buildings, etc. That Hitler was terribly envious when the biggest bridge in the world was built in San Francisco and he had no place in which to build a bigger one. The result was that he decided to build the widest bridge in the world in Hamburg (?) in order to soothe his hurt pride. According to the Princess Hitler plans everything to the last detail; that he would spend endless hours working out the decorations for the Party Congresses in Nurnberg--the size of the pillars, their positions, the kind of Nazi banner they should display, the stage and all its settings, etc. The same is true in all other matters of importance to him. Everything is planned to make the greatest possible impression on the person or group he wants to impress at the moment. He seems to take a particular delight in doing work of this kind. He is never content until the last detail is worked out to his complete satisfaction and then he waits in anxious anticipation to see whether it produces the effect in reality that he imagined it would in fantasy. 00011019.gif The following information is almost wholly from Captain Wiedemann. He told the Princess that Hitler was not the hot-headed, implacable and stubborn individual that he tried to make himself out to be. That his technique was to size the situation up very carefully beforehand and then make the decision that was expected of him or that he was reasonably sure he could get away with, and then put up the stubborn front. For example: Before Munich Hitler and Ribbentrop were bent on war while Goering, von Neurath and Wiedmann were opposed. Hitler ordered mobilization, nevertheless, and arranged it so that the troops would have to pass the Wilhelmstrasse under the windows and the famous balcony of Hitler. He had expected that the population would go wild in their enthusiasm. Hoffman, the official photographer, was there with all his equipment and it was planned that in the midst of the cheering Hitler would step out on the balcony and raise the pitch of the people even higher while Hoffman took pictures to be distributed to the domestic and foreign press. Hitler stood behind the curtain of his windows for hours awaiting the psychological moment to step out on the balcony. But the call never came. The crowds were stubbornly quiet, unenthusiastic and sullen. Hitler went into a rage. The crowd had not responded to his setting as he had planned and he could not make his pronouncement. The following day Goering received an urgent message from the British Ambassador. He rushed to the Reichskanzlei and was joined by von Neurath and with the aid of Wiedemann they forced their entrance into Hitler's presence. There Goering informed him of the British Ambassador's telephone call. Since Hitler did not comment Goering asked him to tell them what his intentions really were. At this point von Neurath interrupted and asked point blank: "Mein Fuehrer, do you want war? If you do, just tell us so!" Hitler was taken off guard by the bluntness of the question and answered very reluctantly, rubbing his hands as he often does when he is embarrassed: "No--no--!" Goering seized the opportunity and asked with great skill: "Why not call Poncet (the French Ambassador) and Attolico (the Italian Ambassador) and talk it over?" They were called and both came at once. The latter proposed and succeeded in establishing telephonic contact between Hitler and Mussolini. The Duce immediately declared himself willing to come himself. Goering, seeing that Hitler was flattered and pleased about Mussolini's willingness, then suggested: "Why not invite Daladier and Chamberlain as well?" To which Hitler replied: "Yes. why not?" Within an hour or two the invitations had gone out and were accepted. Around noon the news swept the globe that Hitler had consented to postpone general mobilization for forty-eight hours. This was all very dramatic and the German people received the news with wild enthusiasm. After Munich Hitler made his famous speech prophesying a long peace which it was clear that the German 00011020.gif people wanted. Had the crowd cheered the troops wildly or shown any enthusiasm the day Hitler stood behind his window the Munich Pact presumably never would have been signed. Another example of how he was influenced in his decisions: As the Danzig question became hotter several important generals were opposed to Hitler's course, fearing that it might lead to war before the army was really ready. Several times they sought an audience with Hitler and were refused rather brusquely. As the situation developed they became more and more disturbed and one day three of them arrived together and demanded an immediate audience. When Wiedemann informed Hitler he received them at once in his most gracious manner, practically told them what was in their minds and why they had come and assured them that their errand was unnecessary because he had no such intentions. That this was all psychological warfare and that he was sure that by his present tactics he could get Danzig without the intervention of the army. Nevertheless, he ordered a slowing down of the propaganda until the army could be more thoroughly prepared. A few other items are of interest. Wiedemann is of the opinion that Hitler is fundamentally courageous. Even in the case of the Putsch he always defended Hitler's courage and insisted that he had no choice; that he did not fall down when the bullets began to fly but that he was literally dragged down by his bodyguard who received several bullets through the head and died. By the time Hitler succeeded in extricating himself from the dead man the situation was already out of hand and there was nothing he could do except to escape as best he could. In the army during the last war he was considered courageous and Wiedemann is sure that the Iron Cross 1st class was awarded to him, although he cannot remember for what. On the other hand, Wiedemann could never understand why Hitler never attended a single Regimental Reunion although after he came to power all kinds of special invitations were sent to him and all kinds of inducements were offered to him. This is rather amazing especially in view of the fact that he called both Wiedemann and Amann to his aid and assigned them responsible positions in his growing movement. Hitler, according to Wiedemann, is attracted mostly if not entirely to young women who are slight and blonde. According to the same source Effie Braun was the real object of his affections and that she often spent the night in Hitler's bedroom. What transpired behind the closed doors he did not know. Also Hitler bought Effie a beautiful house outside Munich where he frequently visited and she was also a frequent visitor at Berchtesgaden. There was nothing much to the Unity Mitford relationship. Hitler was somewhat fascinated by her because she was English and because she had an extreme case of hero-worship. He played up to her because of her English connections and hoped to influence public opinion in 00011021.gif England through his association with her, The Princess is sure that he sent Unity away when the war broke out and that she shot herself out of disappointment. He also says that Hitler prepares all of his own speeches and that nobody sees then or has a chance to make suggestions before they are delivered. Hitler only seldom intimates directly what the topic or substance of the speech will be. Sometimes, however, he would dictate an important speech to one of the female secretaries and then read it off into a dictaphone or recording machine. He would then have it played back and make corrections in the script while also practicing the effect of different intonations. Despite his bold mien he has a great fear of the press and constantly checks up to see what they are saying about him. Often he will interrupt an important conference while he glances through the latest paper. He is very tender-hearted when it comes to animals and will figuratively weep over the fate of a fly while he is sacrificing untold numbers of humans. Nevertheless, he has s secret fear of people and on occasion has commissioned somebody else to discharge a person with whom he has just had lunch or an interview. According to the same source it was Hitler and not Goebbels who planned and instituted the November pogrom. He looked forward to it with the greatest relish and expected it would be a howling success among the German people and attract the attention of the entire world. When he discovered that the attention was not nearly as favorable as he had expected he gave the impression that it was Goebbels' doing and Goebbels could do nothing but accept the responsibility to a large degree.
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