Goebbels Fires Opening Shot in Referendum

Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda, tonight officially launched a six-day campaign of oratorical bombast that is certain to culminate on Aug. 19 in an overwhelming majority vote approving Adolf Hitler’s seizure of presidential powers following the death of Paul von Hindenburg.

In his speech the Propaganda Minister declared that next Sunday’s plebiscite must be regarded as a demonstration to foreign countries of German unity. Dr. Goebbels spoke at the Neukoeln stadium, which is on the outskirts of Berlin.

He emphasized the necessity for all Germans to present a solid front behind Der Fuehrer in order the more effectively to face the world’s ill-will toward Germany.

The Goebbels keynote speech of the drive was preceded during the day by a host of three-minute orators who swarmed over the city and suburbs and from soap boxes and hall rostrums harangued the public with arguments to influence them into voting “ja” in next Sunday’s national referendum.

While Goebbels is speaking over a nationwide network from Berlin, General Hermann Wilhelm Goering, Premier of Prussia, will take the stump in Munich. At Breslau, Rudolph Hess, second in command to Hitler in Nazi Party leadership, will speak. Dr. Wilhelm Frick, Minister of the Interior, will speak in Cologne.

HITLER PICKS FRIDAY

The grand climax of the referendum campaign is scheduled for Friday night, when Hitler himself will address the nation.

While the Nazi leaders and underlings were oiling the oratorical steam roller to pave the way for Hitler’s approval by the populace, the government appeared to be up to its neck in difficulties with rebellious Protestant pastors.

It was reported that many ministers who had objected from their pulpits to the government’s interference with secular activities were arrested. The pastors voiced vigorous defiance of the laws railroaded through the National Synod last Thursday, which gave dictatorial powers to Reichsbishop Ludwig Mueller, powerful Hitler adherent. Swearing an oath of fealty to Hitler was a prominent part of the Mueller program and has evoked a furore of protest from the clergy.

STORM TROOPS WATCHED

Whether this tempest precipitated by the pastors will have any appreciable effect on the referendum next Sunday is problematical.

In the meantime another possible source of friction in the referendum is being looked after by the Nazi leaders. This is the attitude of the Storm Troops, which, since the June 30 “purge” in which many of their former idols lost their lives, has been of a decidedly uncertain temper.

An attempt to renew the troops’ weakened morale was made yesterday by Dietrich von Jagow, leader of the Berlin-Brandenburg Storm Troop Legion, who addressed 18,000 of his men at Tempelhof airdrome.

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