Perhaps the most salient feature of the “Second Revolution” is the fact that Hitler has learned at last a lesson well known to all revolutionists, a rule that one cannot gain and maintain power by the same means. Hitler has been brought to see that he can not make administrational policies of his personal fetishes. His enlightenment, somewhat more sudden than that of his aides, particularly those whose deaths were brought about Saturday, was accompanied by the execution of some of his dearest friends. Roehm and Heines were close personal friends to Hitler, and they are dead. Julius Streicher, another intimate of the Chancellor since long before Hitler aspired to power over Germany, is reported arrested.
HUNDRED AND TEN PERCENTERS
Most of those who fell before Hitler’s sudden thrust were of the “hundred and ten percenters”â€”the ultra-Nazis. There remain many “two hundred per centers.” Whether it will require a “Third Revolution” to bring them to sanity is yet to be seen. Uneasy must rest the heads of Paul Joseph Goebbels and his extremist school of thought.
One year ago it was my pleasure to have lunch with Julius Streicher, Prince August Wilhelm, Baldur von Schirach, Lieutenant Obernitz. Nuremberg district leader of the storm troops, and one or two others. We had just watched 60,000 Franconian youth from 6 to 20 parade through the crooked streets of that city. They marched with the precision of an army, and the Nazis expressed pleasure with the performance.
Streicher, who had arranged the demonstration, glowed. He is a squat, impetuous individual, boisterous under the influence of beerâ€”and there was plenty of it. He told me how he had worked with Hitler for fifteen years for this day, which he considered the crowning event of his career. He told me how he had beaten down public opinion and official resistance to put the “Jewish case” before the people. He indicated that in solution of the “Jewish case” rested Germany’s salvation, and he made no bones about the fact that the “solution” must come about forcibly. He sent an attendant to his office to fetch numbers of his notorious publication, “Der Stuermer,” to give me documentary evidence of his “solution.”
COULD NOT SEE FUTURE
Streicher, at the peak of his success, did not realize that there might be a sheer descent into the chasm of oblivion. On that afternoon his thoughts and speech concerned themselves mainly with the fact that he had arrived. He did not doubt that he had arrived to stay. He was a bosom friend of Hitler, and in this, he assured himself, was insurance against all evil.
Streicher, two days previously, had marched into the public square almost two hundred Jews, the most prominent in Nuremberg. There he held “choir practice,” forcing the unfortunates to sing Nazi songs, drill, climb trees, and, some said, chew grass. He told me he had merely gathered them together for questioning with regard to an alleged Communist plot. Streicher, as so many other Jew-baiters have since told me, said that he personally was not anti-Semitic.
Where Prince August Wilhelm, Germany’s favorite of all the Hohenzollerns, is today, reports do not say. Von Schleicher, recognized as having plotted for the restoration of the monarchy, is in no position to tell. Some reports have it that all members of the royal family fled when von Schleicher’s coup proved abortive.
On that day in Nuremburg I asked the fourth son of the Kaiser his opinion as to the return of the monarchy. We spoke in English, a tongue unintelligible to the rest at the table. He looked about him furtively for a moment and then whispered, “We haven’t begun to consider it.”
He had no stomach to discuss the matter further, but I gathered from his general conversation that he believed monarchial restoration would heal many Nazi ailments, including the anti-Semitic.
Edmund Heines I met twice in Breslau, where he served as police president and district leader of the storm troops. He was one of the most remarkable characters I have ever met. Tall, broad shouldered, powerful and lithe, he appeared every inch a man. Press reports carrying insinuations of his abnormal sexual behavior are the first intimations I have had of such, although I have heard many stories of a different nature about the man.
Heines during the war was an outstanding soldier. His patriotism at the time is taken today as a standard of patriotism in Silesia, which he ruled with an iron hand. At the close of the war he was a leader of the famous Fehme Mordâ€”bands of German troops that refused to recognize Armistice. He continued fighting, ambushing former enemy troops at first, and later looting what had been enemy territory. Eventually the Fehme Mord degenerated into troops of renegade bandits who robbed the hungry German people of their sustenance.
Heines smiled as I was introduced to him. “I am one of the famous Fehme Mord,” he said jokingly, taking his cue perhaps by the look of curiosity I must have given him. He was as amiable as Streicher, and decidedly more personable. His hands, the size of hams but somewhat more sensitive, his blue eyes, flashing good humor, and his curt but curteous manner, were impressive.
When I mentioned the German-Jewish situation his smile fell as though a lead weight had suddenly been attached to his features. His eyes were possibly the coldest I have ever seen. His features became hard.
“What you hear,” he said, “about the Jews is lies. I personally am not anti-Semitic, and I do not punish Jews unless they are Communists, as many of them are.” He ended that interview abruptly.
Heines was master of all he surveyed. Early in July, 1933, members of his stormtroop organization plotted against him and his superiors. The nuclear group of conspirators consisted of four former army officers. Learning of the plot, Heines summoned the leaders to his office, dismissed the attendants, locked the door, pocketed the key, and without further ado got down to business. Single-handed he pummelled the rebels until they were no longer able to stand. He then sent them to the hospital for treatment, and rebellion in the vicinity of Breslau had never since shown itself
Heines had the reputation of handling many party and criminal disturbances himself. He is said to have kept fit by beating up miscreants.
PUBLIC ATTITUDE DIVIDED
The public attitude toward the police department and leader of the stormtroops appeared to be sharply divided. Where he was not openly loved he was secretly and bitterly hated. Some would have it that he commanded more respect in his particular part of the country than Hitler; and in this there may be a key as to his sudden demise.