00011149.gif Interview with Staudinger New York City, April 23, 1943 Dr. Staudinger was Prussian Minister of Finance prior to Hitler's accession to power. It was his policy to assist private industries with government funds in exchange for nominal control. Hitler was opposed to this and in 1932 while Staudinger was manipulating the stocks of a large Prussian power company, Hitler took the occasion to visit him and voice his objections. According to Staudinger the transaction in question was a paper manipulation which was designed to save the solvency of the company in question and had nothing to do with the fundamental nature of the company. Nevertheless, Hitler objected violently to it on the grounds that it would sacrifice one of the traditions on which German life was based. According to him, the consequence of this transaction would be that all the natives of the district would be forced to leave the land which their ancestors had occupied for generations. Staudinger tried to point out that it was designed to do just the opposite, namely, to keep the company in business and save these people from being thrown out of work. Hitler brushed all of this aside and launched into a lengthy monologue. The gist of this was that Germany was based on the premise that peasants should remain peasants, miners remain miners, merchants remain merchants, and so on, and that it was the duty of the government to safeguard this state of affairs. Staudinger attempted to point out to Hitler the financial necessity behind the transaction but these were unavailing. He got the impression that Hitler knew nothing of this phase of business and didn't want to know anything about it. That his chief reason for coming was to appear in the role of the protector of the rights of the people and to give Staudinger a lesson for the future. Staudinger spoke at great length about the strange influence that Hitler had over people. This was not confined to the lowly and unintelligent but reached up into the highest ranks of the intellectuals. Many of his former assistants who were, on a rational level, completely opposed to Hitler and his theories and practices, succumbed, on an emotional level. Staudinger believes that this is partly due to Hitler's ability to discover the other person's "soft spots" and work on these through emotional appeals. He seems to have a gift for divining these in many people on very short acquaintanceship. When he first meets a person he tends to hold back in the hope that the other person will reveal a weakness which will be to his advantage. As an example, he quoted the case of a former associate who became an assistant to Schacht in the Reichsbank. Hitler 00011150.gif page 2 was in one of his building manias and submitted a request for a tremendous sum of money for the purpose of rebuilding a part of Berlin. The Reichsbank decided that the condition of the Treasury was so precarious that they could not possibly furnish the money for this purpose. It fell to Staudinger's assistant to notify Hitler of this decision. Hitler refused to accept this decision as final and sent a new request which was again rejected. Hitler requested that this person present himself at the Chancellery in order that they might discuss the project and the ways and means of raising the money. He knew of Hitler's reputation of swaying people and went to the Chancellor with the firm conviction that he must stand his ground and deny the request at all costs. When he reached the Chancellery he was shown to a second floor room. When the door opened there was Hitler lying on the floor with a number of toy buildings carefully arranged in front of him. These were the Berlin he fancied about. Hitler did not arise when his guest was announced but invited his guest to join him on the floor. His first remark was, "Isn't this beautiful? We must make Berlin the most beautiful city in the world." The finance officer agreed that it was beautiful but maintained that its realization at the moment was impossible because the Treasury could not possibly stand the outlay of money such a scheme would involve and had no way of raising it. Hitler became quite impetuous at this point, saying, "I know we haven;t got the money but there must be a way of raising it if you people will only look. Ever since I started the [unreadable} I have had to listen to the same story. Every time I want to do something they told me that we haven;t the necessary money and have no way of getting it and every time I insisted on going through with the plan on the grounds that it would be such a success that the money would be forthcoming to pat for it; then, sure enough, each time they succeeded in getting the money needed somewhere." The Finance Officer was unimpressed and tried to point out that this was a somewhat different matter from his Party undertakings. In the first place this involved a fabulous amount of money and in the second place, the Treasury had no means of obtaining money except through taxation and that taxation had just about reached the limit which the people could bear. Hitler raised other points but the Treasury official stood pat and produced figures to show that all these approaches were not feasible in the present situation. But Hitler was not defeated. He lay flat on his stomach staring at the models for a considerable period in silence. Suddenly he turned to his visitor and said, like a little child with tears in his voice, "But you can't take this away from me. I will be so unhappy. You must let me have it." He had struck his visitor's most vulnerable point. Unable to think of an answer to this appeal he tried to evade it by saying that he would see what could be done. Hitler knew that he had scored and followed up his advantage. He immediately became overjoyed, jumped up and thanked his visitor and regarded the matter closed. 00011151.gif Another one of Staudinger's assistants who was converted and was placed in a high post in the government told him that he was far from agreeing with all of Hitler's views but that he felt that Hitler was good for the German people and good for Germany. That he was the only man he knew who could put a [unreadable] to their spirit and that this is what they needed if Germany was to be saved. However, he added, the time will probably come when we will have to kill him for the good of Germany. Another assistant became a devoted disciple of Hitler personally. When Staudinger asked him what in the world he could see in Hitler since he lacked education, background, experience, etc., his former assistant replied, "He is amazing. No matter how difficult a situation may be or how impossible it might look, Hitler always finds a solution (unreadable - German text). Usually his solutions are simple and practical and yet nobody else seemed to be able to think of them." Another former assistant, in speaking of Hitler, commented on the fact that he always managed to think up some solution to a difficult problem. He added, however, that on these occasions two dangers were always involved; first, that Hitler might talk others into believing that this was the only right solution, and second, which was far graver, that he might talk himself into believing it. This according to the informant he does over and over again and created a situation which was extremely difficult to deal with.
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