holds life-and-death rule over all Germany.
Within a few hours after announcement of von Hindenburg’s death, his cabinet, which had been in continuous session since the aged Reichspresident had been stricken, declared Hitler both Chancellor and President.
But Hitler later spurned the title of President, issuing orders that he was to be addressed only as “Der Fuehrer and Chancellor.” He said the designation of President belonged to von Hindenburg only, and ordered a plebiscite to be held, it is expected, some time during the week of Aug. 19.
Almost immediately thereafter, the moot question as to the Reichswehr’s attitude in the event the Chancellor assumed the dead leader’s post was also answered.
General Werner von Blomberg, Minister of Defense, whose loyalty to Hitler before the bloody events of June 30 was considered doubtful at best by many observers, proclaimed that every soldier in the army of which he is the commander must swear the following oath:
“I swear by God this holy oath: That I will give unqualified obedience to the leader of the German government and the German people, Adolf Hitler, as Commander-in-Chief of the army, and that as a courageous soldier I am ready at any time to place my life at stake for this oath.”
That this, for the time being at least, sets at rest all doubts as to the Reichswehr’s stand on Hitler’s ascendancy to the presidency is considered certain, since the regular army has always been noted for its blind obedience to whoever is in immediate command.
What part the army will play in the political future of Germany may rest with Hitler himself and how he uses the added power the army gives him. It is felt in certain quarters here that if Der Fuehrer attempts to enforce the Nazi principles on the army, which von Hindenburg frowned upon, there may be considerable friction that may eventually flare into open rebellion.
Knowing this, it is believed Hitler will proceed with any contemplated revision in the Reichswehr command and principles with extreme caution.
With the passing of one whom they felt to be a staunch friend, Jews of Germany today were mourning sincerely von Hindenberg’s death. Jewish leaders throughout the Reich were unstinting in their eulogistic comment. Mingled with the eulogies was the unmistakable feeling, although not expressed, that his death is a greater blow to Reich Jewry than even the most pessimistic believe. It has long been felt that the beloved soldier was the last bulwark that stood between Jewry and a completely unbridled anti-Semitic campaign.