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in order to make him lose himself in an oration. He was no 
good at argumentation. In fact, Hitler was an extremely easy 
person to know well. I once wrote an 800-word interview, 
discretely worded but containing what I thought were the 
aims and ultimate purposes of the Nazi movement -- 
European domination. He sent the interview back with a 
note of apology for changing one word.


Much has been written concerning Hitler's being a teetotaler, 
a non-smoker and a vegetarian. He at that time slept not more 
than four or five hours a night, are sparingly and seemed to 
live on his nerves, or better said, on his spirit. Flying frightened 
him yet he put up with it because it was the only way he could 
get around quickly to all the out-of-the-way corners of 
Germany. He couldn't bear to look down out of the windows 
and always sat in the middle because he thought it safest. 
On these tours he spoke an average of five times a day, a 
total of at least six hours. His lunch, usually at an airdrome 
restaurant, consisted of two slices of buttered bread and a 
glass of milk. Since he ate in ten minutes, all other members 
of the party had to stuff their pockets with sandwiches.

At lunchtime in Kiel in August, 1932, the local Nazis presented 
the party with a small wooden case of smoked spratts. The 
ever-hungry Brueckner lost no time in prying open the lid as 
the airplane was taking off. He handed the box first to Hitler. 
The Fuehrer peered at the artistically-arranged fish and 
asked what they were. Brueckner assured him that the fish 
were the original famous Kieler Sprotten. "How am I 
supposed to eat them?" "Why," gasped the astonished 
Brueckner, "you take one

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of the wooden forks on top, spear a fish and eat it." Hitler's 
face turned positively green. "You mean to suggest," he said,  
"that I am to eat head, tails ad entrails of these things?" 
"Of course," laughed Brueckner, "they are considered a great 
delicacy in these parts." Hitler shook his head and passed 
the box back to me.

Hitler's aversion to the smell of tobacco was so intense 
that nobody was allowed to smoke in any room he might 
perchance enter. If there was a wait on airdromes, Press 
Chief Dietrich used to lead me off by the arm, away from 
the main group as if he wanted a few confidential words. 
Several hundred yards away he drew out his cigaret case 
and offered me a smoke. If the wind was in Hitler's 
direction, we moved round. In the beer cellar of the 
Brown House in Munich, hearing Prussian election returns 
one Sunday night, in the fall of 1932, Hitler noticed that 
many of the same people went out every hour or so. He 
asked why. Goebbels assured the Fuehrer that they went 
to the toilet. Actually they went for a smoke.

If he was a celibate, as all the members of his entourage 
averred, it was, I should say, because he never gave women 
a thought. Women were a distraction. In his youth he was 
most likely too shy to go out with girls, and in his 
manhood he was far too busy. Neither was he a homosexual.

Nothing demonstrated the quality of his person -- the 
character self-made for the people to follow and the 
grown-up boy who just couldn't fit into society -- better 
than his relationship with his entourage, that is to say, 
with about fifty members of the "old guard" from Hess 
and Goering and Rosenberg down to his bodyguard and 
chuaffeur [sic]. To them he very wisely never attempted 
to play the role of the God-sent savior. He always 
assumed that they knew the game that he was playing 
and had to play to gain  

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power. His attitude towards them was comradely, rarely 
convivial. He never seemed to trust any one of them 
implicitly. He knew that they were an inchoate group of 
thugs, gangsters and high-minded idealists, each of whom 
he exploited for the benefit of the cause because he felt 
he he needed thugs to kill the opposition and idealists to 
win over the meek. Each one of them was pigeon-holed in 
his mind for a particular job. He picked them for a particular 
purpose, they swore an oath of personal allegiance to him 
and if they did their jobs well they remained . Murder and 
robbery were not evils in themselves. The cause counted. 
Personal likes and dislikes were never taken into 
consideration. He didn't care for friendship; he wanted 
loyalty and ability. Nor did he like flunkies. Fulsome praise 
to his face from one of his followers would have made him 
suspicious. If they praised him as the son of God to the 
masses, that was another matter, but even then he never 
bothered so much about what they said as about its 
effectiveness -- whether the people believed it.

In conference Hitler always respected others' superior 
specialized knowledge, technical training or education. 
If, for example, his pilot said that the weather reports 
were unfavorable and a flight would be dangerous, Hitler 
never insisted on taking off. Formal conferences on matters 
of policy and tactics were at times exceedingly stormy. But 
Hitler held his tongue until rivals had argued themselves out 
and the participants became rather bored. Then he had the 
last word, not in any oracular sense but as an impartial 
judge who had listened to all the arguments. As likely as not     


he would say, "Let's come back to this subject another time." 
He seemed oblivious to incessant intrigues between individuals 
and groups. Possibly he affected this aloofness in order to 
remain unsullied. He never seemed to bother about personal 
quarrels as long as they did not take the form of a conspiracy 
against him or against the party. He seemed to have no particular 
favorite, [unreadable] listened more to the advice of some. 
But his [unreadable] 

The attitude of his followers towards him was remote from 
hero worship or religious adoration. They had staked their 
fortunes and future on his success and they believed that his 
gifts would lead the party to power in Germany and Germany 
to power in the world. Their faith in victory was at times 
sorely tried as in August, 1932, after Hindenburg for the first 
time had refused to appoint Hitler chancellor and Hitler refused 
the demand of Roehm and others for a coup d'etat. His followers 
were always cynical about the circuses and fireworks of giant 
mass meetings. They never seemed impressed by Hitler's speeches, 
except in the sense of the speeches being effective or ineffective. 
The talk after a meeting always concerned its success or 
failure -- size of the crowd, enthusiasm, number of persons 
who fainted, whether Hitler put over well this point or that 
point, what line of argument seemed to create the deepest 
impression, number of flags, uniformed detachments, the 
liveliness of the military band, etc.

Brueckner used to time on his watch the moment "the holy 
ghost would enter Hitler's body." He meant the time when Hitler 
would begin shout-

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ing and gesticulating after a rather slow and hushed beginning. 
Brueckner said the time averaged about three minutes from 
the beginning of the speech.

Once Brueckner, seated on the platform, showed me his 
watch at the moment Hitler began speaking and asked me 
to note the time. About three and one-half minutes later 
Brueckner nudged me. Hitler had pushed both hands, fingers 
extended, upwards along the side of his head and started 
bellowing for reasons wholly unrelated to the context of 
his speech. "See," whispered Brueckner, "the holy ghost has 
taken hold of him." That was also the moment when men 
and women began to faint and were carried off by stormtroop 
stretcher bearers.

Hitler always seemed pleased at the plaudits of the crowd 
but never without smirking as if to say, "the poor saps are 
being taken in." He despised the masses as so many sheep. 
They have always in his mind been led for causes almost 
always profane, but whatever the cause the leader must 
never forget to impress upon the masses that God has thus 
commanded and molded him in His image, though the truth be 
the reverse. The secret of Hitler is found not in him, but in history.

February 1943

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