The death of President Hindenburg gives Hitler the opportunity he sought for sometime. He assumes the leadership of Germany without the restraining influence of the one German who still enjoyed prestige both in Germany and abroad. While Hindenburg’s restraining influence was insignificant of late, the symbol of the old Field Marshal was outwardly respected even by Hitler.
Hindenburg was the typical Prussian militarist, possessing the characteristic virtues and faults of the Junker. He was honest, brave and loyal. He was loyal to the Kaiser. He remained loyal to Kaiserism even after Wilhelm had fled from Germany. When he was elected President, he became loyal to the Republic and took the oath to maintain the constitution. He was loyal to the Weimar Constitution until he was finally persuaded by von Papen to make Hitler the chancellor. Then he saw the flag of the Republic lowered and replaced by the Imperial flag and the Nazi swastika flag. He then became loyal to the Nazis, although he endeavored at first to exercise a faint measure of restraint in the Nazi excesses.
Hindenburg, the ideal of the German masses during the war, remained their idol even after Germany had lost the war. He enjoyed the distinction of being the only General who had lost a great war and who still retained popularity with the people. Hindenburg had favored the submarine warfare. In his memoirs, written several years after the end of the war, he sharply criticized President Wilson and questioned the sincerity and fairness of his peace efforts before the United States had entered the war. He expressed his loyalty to Kaiserism in his memoirs published in 1921.
Hindenburg was a great soldier but a mediocre statesman. He was a man of unquestioned personal integrity and devotion to the idea of a great Germany. But he lacked vision and when he became President, he was too old and too fixed in his ideas to adapt himself to the task of re-moulding the new Republican Germany. It is believed that Hindenburg was not in favor of the anti-Jewish policies of the Nazis, and that he was particularly opposed to any wrongs committed against German Jews who had served the Fatherland faithfully during the war. He is said to have asserted his authority in order to curb anti-Jewish discrimination against Jewish war veterans. But when he made Hitler chancellor, he knew well that anti-Semitism was the major part of the Nazi program and there has been no evidence of his resisting or discouraging it.
Now Adolf Hitler, abolishing the title of President, has assumed the complete leadership of Germany as the sole Fuehrer and Chancellor. He thus becomes the first head of a great nation who has forced himself into power as a demagogue advocating and practicing religious and racial hatred, and who personally ordered and supervised the butchery of hundreds of people without trial.
During his term as chancellor, Hitler has led Germany to economic ruin, moral degradation and political isolation, and almost precipitated a new European war by encouraging an attempt to force Nazism upon Austria, which resulted in the assassination of Chancellor Dollfuss.
The new head of the German people has the most unenviable record, stained with blood and savage persecutions. It is inconceivable that Hitler will be able to retain his power much longer while Germany is crumbling under the criminal and destructive follies of Hitlerism.
THE JEWISH BALANCE SHEET II.
After analyzing the sacrifices made by the Jewish people during the war and depicting the penalties imposed upon the vanquished nations, Dr. Max Nordau, the brilliant philosopher and Zionist leader pointed out the consequences of the World War as far as the victorious nations were concerned and described the tragic plight of Jewry in the aftermath and the hope of Israel through the rehabilitation of Palestine. Some of his statements made to me in 1921 were truly prophetic.
Dr. Nordau said:
“The victors in the struggle have good reason to be satisfied. The United States has the proud consciousness of having fought with sublime disinterestedness for justice, right and freedom, of having been the glorious champion of the noblest causes, of having saved civilization.
“England has crushed the most dangerous rival she ever encountered in her way, and destroyed the naval power which disputed the rule of the seas. France has regained her lost provinces, immensely augmented her colonial empire and vindicated her ancient world position. Italy has completed her national unity and stretched her frontiers beyond Trieste, to the long-coveted Trentino and Fiume. Poland has been re-established to an extent she never would have dared dream of in these last 150 years.
“A swarm of small nations have been called into existence and they are beginning, full of glee and high expectations, a new political and cultural life. They have obviously paid a big price for this achievement, but they have attained it and cannot in all fairness complain of the bargain.
“But how are we Jews rewarded for our sacrifices? What have we gained for our super-human efforts? What are our assets against our dead, our maimed, against the destruction of the health and property of an appalling number of our brothers in all the warring countries?
“Even in the victorious states of Western Europe, with the exception of Italy, which forms an admirable contrast to her neighbors and allies (that was before Fascism had come into power), a deep ground wave of anti-Semitism is welling up furiously and is threatening to drown us.
“In France there is perhaps no open discrimination against the native Jew; but the foreign Jew is ever surrounded by an atmosphere of suspicion and contempt; he is the permanent object of police vexations, and in some parts of the country and protectorates, even the native Jew has to suffer ignominous treatment.
“In Germany they are made the scapegoat of all national crimes and follies. It is charged that they undermined the army, that they caused the cowardly flight of the former Emperor, the downfall of the Empire, the domination of the Socialists, the Communist troubles, the famine, the depreciation of the German currency. They must be expelled from the Fatherland, or, better still, exterminated on the spot.
“In Austria bitter hatred of the Jew vents itself on every occasion. In Hungary pogroms of the most frightful character have occurred in dozens of places. The horrors of Poland, Russia and, above all, the Ukraine are too well known, alas! Millions of Jews are condemned to perish miserably. Their only chance is rapid flight.
“But whither? Even America, the land of refuge, the haven of salute, the Mother that has ever opened her arms to human beings suffering persecution, even America takes on a sternly hostile mien and extinguishes the welcoming torch of the gigantic statue of Liberty enlightening the world.
“There would be no redeeming point in this desolate picture of the present unparalleled distress of our race, but for one event which I would unhesitatingly call a miracle if I were inclined to use mystic language. England, with the consent of the Allies and Associated Powers, has promised the Jewish people Palestine, to establish there their national home.
“Interpret this term as you like, at all events it means that England will throw Palestine open to us, so that our threatened, ill-treated, ruined, famished, despairing masses may find a spot on the face of God’s earth where they may know rest, peace, security and comfort, perhaps even the joy of life again.
“The blessed land where the shade of Rachel will welcome with maternal tenderness her returning children and where the hallowed memories of our great ancestors will inspire and guide them, will hold out before them bright hopes and magnificent ideals.
“The most tragic, the most burning problem is that of East European Jewry. They are unprotected and rightless. Even if they are theoretically recognized as citizens of their birth-land, they are practically outlaws. They are treated as pariahs. Governments cruelly discriminate against them. They bear all the burdens of the state, but enjoy none of its benefits. Their Christian countrymen look at them with contempt and hatred, constantly threatening their personal security and often actually their life and property. The respect of the human personality, the dignity of free men are brutally denied them and they must ever tremble before the whims of the hostile ruling class and the sanguinary instincts of the mob.
“The problem of the Western Jew is of a different character. It is mainly a moral problem. If they methodically shut their eyes, they may dream themselves in a fool’s paradise. But those among them that have reached a higher degree of mental development, that are sensitive, that strive after unit and harmony of feeling, have their hearts rent and their souls torn. They persuade themselves that they are legitimate sons of their country, they are proud of their political nationality, they are the most loyal, the most enthusiastic patriots, often to the point of vicious chauvinism, but they experience permanently the mortification to be faced by the undeniable fact that their Christian fellow-citizens consider them as half strangers, if not total aliens. They distrust the sincerity of their attachment to their homeland, do not think of identifying them with their own breed and nationality, and do not credit them with the same emotions, the same trend of thought, the same views of the world and life, the same motives of action, the same ideals which they imagine themselves to possess.
“The notion of this abnormality, of this strange aloofness of their Christian environments, inflicts on the cultured Jews an uneasiness which, in too many instances, reaches the stage of despondency and even despair and destroys the equilibrium of their being. Some are prompted to become contemptible renegades, others degrade themselves to turning into rabid anti-Semites, many make desperate efforts to overcome their innermost nature and change the deepest foundations of their sentimental and intellectual structure, with the result that they become enigmatic, suspicious and antipathetic to Christians and loathsome, or at best an object of pity, to Jews.
“The problem of East European Jewry seems the more urgent of the two just now. It is a question of life and honor.
“What is the solution? I see only oneâ€”emigration! It is difficult to move millions? Undoubtedly. It is much easier to let them perish on the spot without lifting a finger to save them. But where shall they go? There is the rub. America and Australia, where there is still room for some two or three hundred millions of human beings, will not consent at present to receive our unhappy wandering brothers in search of a new home. So they must stay and submit to the awful conditions of their present existence. But I am still on optimist, in spite of the actual ghastly aspect of the world. I still believe in progress.
“At the root of the hostile attitude of the non-Jews lies the new-fangled preposterous theory of the superiority of the so-called Aryan races, which condemns the Jew, on the ground of inferiority, to the role of a pariah. For this problem there is also a solution, and only oneâ€”the existence of a Jewish nation, recognized formally as such, received on terms of equality in the League of Nations, qualified by this status to claim the treatment of peers by all the other nations of the world.
“Zionism is the only solution of the Jewish problem.”
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