Newspaper anti-Hitlerism is a mere psychosis, according to George Weiss Jr., who writes on “The Newest Psychosis” in the current issue of the American Spectator.
“The recrudescence of Germanophobia,” he writes, “differs from the war-time hysteria only in degree, not in nature, and it is far more prevalent among intellectuals than in any other stratum.
“The old familiar signs turn up with astonishing regularityâ€”especially in the metropolitan press. The New York Post and its distant contemporary, the Mirror, carry the color of their prejudice right into their two-inch headlines. The Times lines up its galaxy of foreign correspondents to demonstrate with wearisome iteration that Fascism a l’allemande is a reversion to Teutonic barbarism, that the average German is a dolt who loves banners and torchlight parades and that his woman has been condemned to a dull life in which obstetrics supplants self-expression.
“And count the day lost whose low descending sun doesn’t see in its New York journalistic namesake some brief editorial effecting a tie-up between the prevalence of hay-fever and the brutality of the Nazi philosophy.
“Strangest of all, however, is the zealous interest which many Americans are taking in the obscure phases of contemporary German life. For a people whose ignorance of foreign affairs is proverbial, we have developed an amazing sensitivity as regards the injustices perpetrated upon our German cousins. At first the Communists seize the watchword. Perhaps it is, ‘Free Pumpenheimer.’ The movement spreads to the cloak-and-suiters and the Arbeiter Rings. Then it commences to seep into the more elite circles. The Socialists take it up, and the liberals.
“ALL JOIN IN FIGHT”
“An American League to Free Pumpenheimer” blossoms into existence. The Christian clergy and the Jewish rabbinate are impelled to make statements about the unfortunate Pumpenheimer, who by now ‘represents the crystallization of the spirit of the German workers,’ or something similar. Mass meetings are held; funds are raised.
“If Pumpenheimer later should renounce his beliefs and exchange Marx for Hitler, the rain would descend and the floods come, and within twenty-four hour the erstwhile martyr would be dragged into the vile dust whence he had sprung, his cousin living in Philadelphia would require a police escort, and Americans would learn from their liberal mentors that the Magna Charta could not survive, unless Pumpenheimerism was squelched.”