“Hitler Over Europe” would be an astonishing piece of work if it were pure fiction. Coming to us as the statement of a situation, it has the characteristic of nightmare; it is, in effect, a fantasia of fact. Whoever the author, Ernst Henri, may be, his painfully annotated statement reduces all the novels that have been written around Hitlerism to so many mounds of cold beans. This is the truth that out-fictions fiction.
The publisher of the American edition, Simon & Schuster, had planned to bring out “Hitler Over Europe” some time in August. Hitler’s blood-purge of the left elements among the Brown Shirts put forward the publication date. In the light of that blood-purge, this book reads like prophecy already fulfilled, at least in part.
The world believes, and even Germany believes, that the Hitler revolution is the upsurge of the lower middle classes. Ernst Henri tells us that the power behind the throne of Hitler is none other than Fritz Thyssen, the coal master and iron-monger of the Ruhr, the heir of Stinnes. He is the man who furnished Hitler with his sinews of power, with his election fundsâ€”earned by a rise in the price of coal throughout Germany â€” and with such intermediaries of intrigue as Hugenberg and von Papen. It is Fritz Thyssen, more than any other individual, or group. who is getting his in return for favors granted, getting his against rival groups of bankers and industrialists, Jews and Catholics mainly; getting his against the lower middle class which now must pay vastly more for its subsistence requirements; getting his against his army of laborers who are being made into helots and whose labor union safeguards have long been scrapped; getting his also in international trade, through the attempts being made, through Rosenberg’s foreign office, to Nazify Central Europe, from the Rhine to Russia, from Switzerland to Sweden.
I may say, in passing, that I am always suspicious of large movements, propelled by dozens of motivations, being reduced to the dimensions of a plot, or an intrigue. But I think that recent events have substantiated the basic contention of the author of “Hitler Over Europe,” namely, that while the middle classes supplied the man-power for the revolution, the beneficiaries belong to that clique of bankers and industrialists of which Thyssen is the head.
These, writes Ernst Henri, are the fundamental aims of the Thyssen clique:
“1. To save the Steel Trust for his own group;
“2. To save the great coal and steel syndicates, the basis of the entire capitalist system of monopolies in Germany;
“3. To eliminate the Catholic-Jewish rival groups and to capture the whole industrial machine for the extreme reactionary fraction of heavy industry in Germany;
“4. To crush the Socialist workers and to abolish the trade unions, so as to strengthen German competition on the world market against the great rivals England and the U. S. A. and by means of further wage reductions, intensifying of physical exploitation, etc.;
“5. To increase the chances of inflation, in order to devaluate the debts of big industry (a repetition of the astute transaction invented by Stinnes in 1923); and finally
“6. To initiate a pronouncedly aggressive imperialist tendency in foreign affairs in order to appease the powerful urge for expansion in Ruhr capital.”
There is more data in this book than can easily be summarized in a review of thrice the space. Mr. Henri says that “All these points have been fulfilled already in the Hitler government.” With the exception of the fifth point, that dealing with inflation, I think that the Thyssen program has become fulfilled, but even if it hasn’t, there is no doubt that the steel master has been more than amply rewarded by the degradation of the status of labor which Hitler has achieved.
There are many reasons for buying and for reading this book, but if you read only the section entitled “The Transformation of the Working Class Into a Sub-Human Race,” you will have acquired more enlightenment on the German situation than the Minister for Propaganda and Enlightenment must have bargained for.
For this section tells you how Hitler is “solving” the unemployment problem. He is solving it by refusing to acknowledge the existence of several millions of unemployed who are Socialists, or Communists, vagabonds or Jews, human beings who have no official existence, are entitled neither to work, or unemployment relief. He is solving it by making an unemployed man, and a worker together, take less than either received, as wage or dole. He is solving it by creating a slave-army which toils for starvation rations and a pitifully nominal wage, who have nothing to say as to where they shall work, or for whom, or how long; who have no leisure hours and no freedom of choice in any respect. In brief, the man who works today earns less than was received by the man who got a dole yesterday. The benefactors of this new system have been the Thyssens and, in harvest times, the Junker land owners who have got their harvest help so cheaply that they have been able to wipe out their debts with the sweat of this labor.
WAGES LOWER, PRICES HIGHER
The Thyssens, great and small, have benefited also from the Hitler revolution through the steady rise in prices of every necessity. The New York Times of last Monday, on its front page, eloquently verified this, and brought it up to date. In short, not only is German labor’s wage the lowest on the Continent, but the prices it pays are the highest. Mr. Henri gives us eloquent statistics showing in how many ways the wages of the working class and the lower middle class are being bombarded.
Mr. Henri tells us also, in detail, the program and the policy of the Nazi International, how the push for power beyond the boundaries of the Third Reich is responsible for the creation of Nazi groups in more than a dozen countries and how imperative it is for the fruition of these plans that Austria shall succumb, whatever promises Hitler may make to Mussolini. There is also a revealing section, and it seems logical, although a little harder to verify, revealing the inner schism between the Napoleonic Goering and the (comparatively) conservative Hitler.
“Hitler Over Europe” is one of the most astonishing revelations of German madness that has been published. â€”H. S.
The Community Reform Temple will continue its regular services in the Community Building, East Seventeenth street and Kings highway, Brooklyn, but the Kings Highway Congregational Church will be used for the holiday services, it was announced Friday.