Wickham Steed, former correspondent of the London Times at Berlin, Rome and Vienna, and finally its editor, explains the true nature of Hitlerism and to what extent it may be a menace to peace in his book, “Hitler, Whence and Whither?”
A series of articles, of which this is the last, has been published daily in the Jewish Daily Bulletin from the chapter, “Germanism and Jewry.”
In sober truth the Hitler indictment of the German Jews is colored by the blackest ingratitude. It leaves entirely out of account the persistent pro-German propaganda which was long carried on even after the War–and, as I think, misguidedly and short ??? sightedly — by Jews all over the world, In fact they have behaved as though Germany were their spiritual home, and her interests their interests. I personally have a ##recollection of the desperate efforts made by very influential Jews of German origin in London, at the end of July and the beginning of Aug-gust, 1914, to bring about British neutrality in the Great War, and to convince not only newspaper proprietors but Ministers that, should Great Britain venture to oppose Germany, the British Empire would swiftly be swept off the face of the earth!
In speaking of what I have called the misguided and short-sighted Jewish propaganda in favor of Germany since the War, I have in mind especially the pervasive campaign against the “war guilt lie” and for the revision of Peace Treaties, particularly for the abolition of the Polish Corridor This propaganda, and the echoes it stirred up in the United States, this country, and else-where, did not a little to convince the German people that their country had indeed been guiltless of all responsibility for the War, and was therefore the victim of outrageous injustice, The spread of this sense of injustice helped in its turn to foster in Germany the persecution mania which Hitler has known so well how to turn against the Jews themselves. The result, as Mr. Edgar Mowrer truly says, has been the conclusion that “since they (the Germans) lost the War, since they were poor and weary and bewildered, since they had been taught to believe themselves a wronged and humiliated nation, the question inevitably arose, how could such a situation come to be? No people likes to admit its own failings. Where, therefore, could the responsibility be put, if not on the Jew in their midst, the hateful foreign body in the otherwise flawless German organism? In short, the suffering German hated the Jew rather than see himself as he was.”
LITTLE HOPE FOR RELIEF
So things have come to the present pass. There seems little prospect that their course will be speedily reversed and that the Jews, who have been Killed, “suicided,” beaten, tortured, driven in large numbers from the professions they exercised and from the offices they held, and have been effectively deprived of equal citizen rights, will soon be restored to their former estate. Nazi Germanism has declared war upon them, and is waging it systematically and ruthlessly. Jewry, for its part, can hardly bow before the storm or find sufficient consolation in the thought that, as it has survived so many of its former persecutors, it will outlast the Hitlerites.
An issue really fundamental has been raised, an issue five hundred thousand times greater than that of the Dreyfus affair which convulsed France for years and stirred the whole world. Doubtless this issue is complicated by the fact that many Jews have been prominently associated with Russian Boishevism, beginning with Karl Marx as its prophet, and represented by Trotsky, Zinovieff, Litvinoff and a host of minor “comrades.” Some time ago an echo of a discussion between Hitler, Goebbels, and Goering upon this matter reached me through a channel that was certainly not tainted by anti-Nazi bias. According to my informant, who was in a position to know what the Nazi leaders believed or wished to have believed, this discussion took place in Berlin shortly before the Hitlerite drive against the Jews last March. Hiter is represented as having urged that, in view of Nazi propaganda, his followers would expect swift and drastic action against the Jews. Therefore, it would be necessary to hit the Jews quickly, and hard, and then to cease lest international complications occur.
STRIKE SWIFTLY AND HARD
Dr. Goebbels agreed, adding only that it would be necessary to hit the Jews very swiftly and very hard. Captain (now General) Goering demurred. He recommended that the Nazis should not only hit the Jews very swiftly and very hard but should go on hitting them. The Jews, he added, would never be able to disavow Russian Bolshevism, lest the Bolshevists also turn against them; and, Just as Mussolini had won widespread support by appearing to be the savior of Italy from Communism, so the Nazis would win approval, even for their campaign against the Jews, by claiming that their violence was necessary to save Germany and Western Europe from Jewish Bolshevism.
According to my informant, Goering’s arguments prevailed. It was all the easier for the Nazis to give this color to their persecution because Russian Bolshevism, however strong or weak Jewish influence upon it may have been, has not been precisely careful of individual human right, or tender towards the Russian upper and middle classes or even towards the Russian people and their religion. And it is a fact, which no impartial observer can gainsay, that a high proportion of Jewish journals and Jewish writers in other countries have shown marked sympathy with Russian Bolshevism and with Communism in general. Indeed, not a few Jews have seemed disposed to turn their backs upon the principles of Western liberal civilization, in the name of which they were emancipated during the nineteenth century, and to have allied themselves with systems or doctrines inspired by political or economic intolerance, Notable among such doctrines are those of “class warfare” and of “the dictatorship of the proletariat.”
These things should give the Jews, and the non-Jews who most abhor Hitlerism and all its works, much food for thought. Should this thought lead to the conclusion that there can be no safety for Europe, or for Western liberal civilization, save under systems built upon respect for individual human right, irrespective of class, race, or creed, and providing for the equality of all citizens before the law, the present conflict between Germanism and Jewry may yet foster human progress and redound to the welfare of Jewry itself.