John Elliott, the Berlin correspondent of the Herald Tribune, cables that “the recent decision of the World Jewish Conference at Geneva to continue its anti-German boycott against the Third Reich is deplorable, in the opinion of most foreign observers in Germany.”
“While this boycott may make life harder for the German people,” he writes, “and while it may result in lowering the German standard of living. as a measure for regaining for the German Jews their rights as equal citizens in the Reich it is not merely futile, it is ludicrous. The boycott is a double-edged weapon, for it not only stirs anti-Semitic feeling within Germany, but it serves to stimulate anti-Semitism in other countries. And when Hitler declared, ‘National Socialism will never capitulate, and the bigger the distress the greater German obstinacy and resistance will be,’ and when the Reichsbank president, Hjalmar Schacht, warns, “Certain circles abroad are waiting, watch in hand, for the collapse of Germany, but the vital force of the German people is not to be so easily destroyed,’ it is wrong to think that these leaders are merely talking through their hats.”
The Berlin correspondent also quotes Dorothy Thompson as having said on the eve of her expulsion from Germany, “I personally have consistently opposed all organized attempts, such as the boycott, which are aimed to reform this government from without.”
And his conclusion is that “with the exception of the calamity of a foreign war, the Hitlerites can only be overthrown by the German people themselves, from within,” and that “so long as these proud and high-spirited people are convinced that an organized conspiracy is being concocted abroad to dictate to them how they should manage their own affairs, they will stand behind Hitler and the Nazi regime through thick and thin.”
This Berlin observer contradicts himself, however, when he presents his own views as to how Hitler could be defeated. Thus he writes:
“The only way to beat Nazism is to give it plenty of rope to hang itself. When the German people once become convinced of the hollowness of the Nazi promises to lead them into the promised land of prosperity, and the emptiness of the Hitler program, they will force their leader either to return to the constitutional government or abdicate.”
But how can the German people become convinced of the hollowness of the Nazi promises, if the press in Germany is completely muzzled, if the Nazi propaganda machine keeps grinding out falsehoods for daily consumption at home and abroad? Just as the German people were deceived during the World War by being told that theirs was only a defensive war, that the whole world was bent on crushing the German people, so now the Nazi regime is deceiving the German people by telling them daily that there is an international conspiracy to crush them merely because they wish to live their own life under their own form of government. The German people know nothing of the indignation in civilized lands against the brutalities and horrors perpetrated by the Nazi leaders upon certain elements of the German people.
The anti-German boycott is not a Jewish boycott, even though the Nazi regime is making the German people believe that it is. A Jewish boycott alone could not have been as effective as it is. The political and economic isolation of Germany, which is causing suffering to the German people, is called forth by the arrogance and stupidity of the present rulers of Germany, who not only torture portions of their own people but who also defy world public opinion and violate international goodwill.
The Jews of the world would be unworthy of respect and sympathy if they did not join the anti-German boycott instituted by non-Jews in various lands as an expression of protest against Nazi misdeeds and as the only means of making the German people realize that their present rulers are responsible for Germany’s degradation and economic distress. It is not an attempt to overthrow the Nazi regime from without, but it is an attempt to open the eyes of the German people to their crimes that are being committed in their name.
It will be recalled how the late President Woodrow Wilson interpreted the struggle against Prussian militarism and Kaiserism during the World War and how effectively he differentiated between the German people and the German government.
In his masterly reply to Pope Benedict’s peace proposal, President Wilson wrote:
“The object of this war is to deliver the free peoples of the world from the menace and the actual power of a vast military establishment controlled by an irresponsible government, which, having secretly planned to dominate the world, proceeded to carry the plan out without regard either to the sacred obligations of treaty or the long established practices and long cherished principles of international action and honor; which chose its own time for the war, delivered its blow fiercely and suddenly, stopped at no barrier, either of law or of mercy; swept a whole continent within the tide of bloodâ€”not the blood of soldiers only, but the blood of innocent women and children also and of the helpless poorâ€”and now stands balked but not defeated, the enemy of four-fifths of the world.
“This power is not the German people. It is the ruthless master of the German people.”
What Woodrow Wilson said of the German people and of the masters of the German people during the war could be just as aptly applied to the German people and its ruthless Nazi mast### now.