“Putzy” is gone and the United States is the loser.
He leaves behind him an aura of inconsequentiality which surely has done more for the cause of anti-Nazism than all the thunder-and-lightning recriminations heaped upon the Hitlerite heads by their fiercest enemies.
How peculiarly apt, in Adolf’s case, is that old Italian proverb, “God preserve me from my friends. From my enemies I will preserve myself.”
A brutal tyrant, provided he has a certain incommensurable occult power to inspire the hysterical blind enthusiasm of the masses, can sometimes crack the whip for a protracted period and get away with it.
But when he is surrounded with a bevy of inane and equally brutal cohorts such as clutter up the ranks of Nazism, his apparent status of reinforced strength, paradoxical enough, invariably dooms him.
Fascism, in all its connotations, is inevitably repellent to the national psychology which pervades the American scene.
Without attempting to judge Mussolini or what he stands for, one must admit that II Duce holds sway in his own country and that if there is a weak spot in his solid wall of dominance, it has not yet appeared.
The theory is advanced here that Mussolini is able to retain his iron grip on Italy by virtue of the fact that he towers so far above his subordinates that he stands, for all practical purposes, alone.
Not so Adolf. This strutting little poseur has his “Putzy” Hanfstaengl, his Hermann Goering, his Paul Joseph Goebbels, his Julius Streicher. There are many others, and there were still more until a couple of week-ends ago, when the insane apoplectic used gun powder in a frenzied and somewhat pitiful effort to cauterize a few of the cancer spots in a disease-rotted Reich body politic.
Well, “Putzy” is gone, but while he was here we all had a lot of fun. Doesn’t it seem silly, now that you look back, that some of us tried to bar this large lump of flesh from the shores of the United States?
Authenticated stories of cruel barbarism on which Hitler’s piano-caressing gentleman nurse has smiled and in which he even has participated take on a new meaning in the light of “Putzy’s” doltish demeanor while he was here.
This Nazi bogey man, we suddenly realize with beautiful new understanding, is no diabolical super-fiend, endowed with the powers of Mephistopheles and the intelligently directed force for evil of the Black Angel.
He is, instead, a cackling candidate for the violent ward of a home for the feeble-minded.
The above characterization goes for the entire clique of which “Putzy” is a member. And while this thought is not a new one, nevertheless it is lent new strength and new power of conviction as a result of the practical demonstration afforded by Hanfstaengl while he was here.
There is, perhaps, little consolation in the thought that your would-be murderer is a “nut” rather than a super-man. Either can butcher you just as effectively.
But in the specific case of Nazism there is room for comfort in the recognition of its madness. While it is perfectly possible for a clique of maniacs to wreak havoc on the populace at large for a limited period, this state of affairs can’t go on indefinitely.
After not too long a period, when the group has sufficiently “purged” its own ranks, it suddenly will find itself subject to a little “purging” from without.
Then, perhaps, if they have not already been “liquidated,” and if they find themselves in the care of a liberal keeper, “Putzy” and Adolf will be given a room together, with wall nicely padded, so that the mountainous moron’s piano playing will not give birth to harsh echoesâ€”nor disturb the other inmates.
A. J. B.