00011340.gif [title page] _HITLER'S SPEECH OF APRIL 26, 1942_ May 13, 1942 00011341.gif page 2 _HITLER'S SPEECH OF APRIL 26, 1942_ In his speech of April 26, 1942, Hitler requested the Reichstag to grant him extraordinary powers to curb special privilege and to punish the slackers impeding Germany's war effort. Most American press commentators have viewed this request as an indication that Hitler feels threatened by internal disintegration. The validity of this interpretation is open to serious doubt. The present level of German war production would not indicate any effective decline in German morale, not is there any sign that Germany's lack of enthusiasm, present ever since the outbreak of war, has noticeably increased. Moreover, Hitler's request for more power must have impressed the German citizen as essentially meaningless. No German is so naive as to assume that Hitler has held, for at least six years, anything less than complete power. Even the courts of law, which Hitler particularly assails in his speech as defenders of unwarranted privilege, have long since been subject to the will of the Party. An examination of Hitler's new appeal in the broader context of Germany's domestic propaganda line suggests a different interpretation of its meaning. Ever since the outbreak of war, the apathy of the German people was been widely recognized. In order to overcome 00011342.gif page 3 the feeling of deep foreboding which was so widespread among Germans to whom the sufferings of the past war were still a living memory, Nazi propaganda concentrated on assuring the home front that it would not suffer in this war as it did in the last. The prosperity of the German citizen has been repeatedly contrasted to the smaller rations of the English and to the utter frightfulness of the Russian citizen's life. Although this propaganda probably helped to encourage the civilian population, there is reason to believe that it has had a contrary effect in the rank and file of the Army. The German press, particularly the _Schwarze Korps_, which enjoys a wide circulation in the Army, has lately been replete with articles condemning the home front for not assuming its full share of the burden. Even State and party officials have not been spared by the _Schwarze Korps_ in its criticisms of life behind the front. It is apparent that the "home-front-prosperity" line has gone too far, and is proving a boomerang. It may have been cheering to the new recruit to know that folks back home were being cared for, but the soldier who is going through the hell of the Russian campaign can find little cheer in the assurance that life is relatively normal on the home front. The dogged assistance rendered 00011343.gif page 4 by the Russian civilian population to the Red Army showed the German soldier what a "home" front could do it total war. The articles in the _Schwarze Korps_ and elsewhere have represented his point of view. Hitler himself is now taking up the cudgels for the common soldier. In his speech he describes at length the sufferings of the Army in the Russian campaign, in comparison with which the inconveniences on the home front are as naught. He went to the front partly to show the soldiers that he was sharing their sacrifice. Now he is demanding on their behalf that the civilian population do the same. When the nation was growing anxious about the reversal in Russia, Hitler took over personal; responsibility from the generals. He is now reassuring the Army by assuming full responsibility for the conduct of the home front, a responsibility previously assigned to the Party. Hitler's request for new powers means that Germany will have to tighten its belt. It is no sign, however, that internal disintegration is setting in. Hitler is simply trying to overcome the effects of his earlier "home-prosperity" propaganda, and to apply in Germany some of the lessons in total warfare which the Russian home front has taught him. 00011344.gif page 5 Profoundly conscious of his role as a "world historical personality," Hitler rarely speaks to the world without discussing at length upon the meaning of the War. His interpretations of the War, however, change with its course. At the outbreak he had conceived the meaning of the conflict in terms of issues which were essentially national in character. The solution of the English Corridor problem, the rectification of the last of the wrongs of Versailles; there were the reasons Hitler advanced for going to war. After the entrance of the Italians into the conflict, he explained the war as a struggle of the Have Not's against the Have's for an equal share in the wealth of the world. In the present speech the latter interpretation is only alluded to in passing; the former is totally ignored. Hitler speaks now not simply as the leader of the Germans, not simply as the leader of the Have Not's but as the leader of Europe. The emphasis he places on the necessity for European solidarity indicates that the "New Order" concept has assured a new centrality in his thinking. this centrality clearly derives from his realization that without the full mobilization of Europe, he cannot successfully wage the two front war which threatens him. Hitler took the gamble of being able to defeat his foes one at a 00011345.gif page 6 time. The fact that Russia's armies are still intact, and that the United States is now a full participant presents him with the live possibility of the very two front situation which he sought to avoid. One may deduce from his high compliments to all the European nations which have aided him that he is well aware that the resources and manpower of Europe as well as those of Germany will be even more necessary when both fronts become a reality. At the same time Hitler does not openly recognize the existence of a two front situation. In order to arouse his European followers, he concentrates exclusively on the Russian menace. He belittles the role of England in the war, and argues that she no longer represents a force in European politics. He implies, however, that the only hope for the survival of her Empire lies in cooperation with unified Europe. He ignores entirely the prowess of the United States. Our participation in the war is to him totally incomprehensible, since he "does not see" how the interests of the United States are in any way involved in the conflict . He likewise argues that the United States will be the inheritor of the British Empire. This may be his last effort to divide the American people from its leaders and at the same time from its British Allies. 00011346.gif page 7 The cardinal sin of Great Britain and the United States, according to Hitler, is that they are abettors of the Communist revolution. He tries to show that both these powers are pursuing a policy contrary to their own interests as well as to that of civilization in general. It is in this effort that he arrives at a newly unified philosophy if the war designed to appeal to the middle class the world over. He casts his argument in terms of the Marxian dialectic, with which middle class European thought has been so largely tinctured. The Jews occupy the center of the stage in Hitler's new theory. Their aim is, of course, to achieve world domination. Democracy provides them with the opportunity. In the democracies the Jews, at the expense of the indigenous population, are able to arrogate most of the wealth. They thus create a large oppressed proletariat which the Jews then exploit to subvert the existing social order. When revolution comes, the dialectic process reaches its final phase, in which the Jews take over political and economic power completely and exploit the enslaved peoples. Great Britain and the United States therefore represent the first phase of the Jewish-inspired class conflict. Under their Jewish leaders they are misguidedly fighting simply to preserve the possibility for world revolution. Hence it is entirely natural that they should be fighting at Russia's side. 00011347.gif page 8 So intent is Hitler upon convincing the world that the war is to be viewed as a gigantic Communist plot, that he professes to see no meaning in the war before the outbreak of the Russian phase. He must be convinced that he has the definitive argument for Germany's present enterprise, for he does not, even by refutation, allude to the charges of oppression made against him. His entire effort is to obliterate from the European memory the nationalist issues which played such a large role in his original rationale of the war. The propaganda of the United Nations, therefore, should take particular pains to keep before the European peoples the nature of the tie which binds them against Hitler despite their differing conceptions of social order.
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