“How Long Will Hitler Live?”
That is the question Fred C. Kelly, traveling correspondent of Today, attempts to answer in this week’s issue of the magazine edited by Raymond Moley, on the newsstands today. In the first of two articles on the subject, Mr. Kelly, who has spent considerable time in Germany lately and has just returned, ventures the opinion that “Hitler will stay in power for a long time.”
“After listening, day after day, to many points of view,” writes Kelly, “I incline to the belief that â€”barring the one chance of assassinationâ€”Hitler will stay in power for a long time. He is, for all practical purposes, an emperor, seemingly as well entrenched in his position as any emperor since the time of Augustus Caesar.”
Then Mr. Kelly makes the assertion that if Hitler doesn’t remain in power for the rest of his natural life, he won’t last more than a year.
HERE’S THE EVIDENCE
The evidence that Hitler can’t last more than a year that Mr. Kelly enumerates follows:
“From the fact that the number of people voting against Hitler, in the recent plebescite, was twice as great as in the national election last November, it looks as if enemies of his administration were increasing. Economic conditions rapidly are becoming worse. Already, food adulteration is going on, under force of necessity, on a grand scale. Even bread is adulterated. By government order, all flour must be one-third potato starch, or “shorts.” Clothing, too, is being reduced in quality. All wool cloth must contain shoddy.
“Germany cannot obtain various essentials, ordinarily imported, because of inability to pay for them. This inability to pay is due, of course, to inability to sell, which in turn is due, at least partly, to boycotts caused by unpopularity of Hitler policies, particularly his racial persecutions, and the withdrawal from the League of Nations. If Hitler is responsible for Germany’s economic troubles, this will be sensed by the German people, sooner or later, and they will revolt. He nipped one revolt attempted by persons near the top, but his wholesale murders, in putting down this revolt, only served to breed a spirit of revenge in friends of those murdered. Powerful forces will turn on him. There is known to be an underground organization of Communists who cannot be checked, and who are working just as diligently as Lenin and his associates worked in secret for the Russian revolution. Moreover, if Hitler’s policies are going to be ruinous to the big industrialists, who are mainly exporters, they too will turn against him. Surely, his days are numbered.”
Then supporting his favored thesis that Hitler is firmly entrenched in his position as Germany’s dictator, Kelly writes:
“First of all, it must not be overlooked that Hitler has a definite emotional appeal. After years of trouble in Germany, due to too many political parties, and discordant forces, a vast number of people think they are now on their way up, because they have a united front and one leader. No matter if 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 people did vote against Hitler, what are they going to do about it?
“Think what it means for a leader, once in power, to take complete control of all means of communication? It makes him hard to get rid of. If you write a letter or send a telegram in Germany, there always is the chance it may be opened and read by Nazi agents. If you make a telephone call, somebody listens to itâ€”at least, somebody overhears if there is the least suspicion about your activities.
“All foreign embassies in Berlin assume that everything they say by telephone is overheard. It is not easy to organize a nation-wide revolt, when you have no opportunity to use ordinary methods of communication.
TERROR IS SECRET OF POWER
“Hitler put down the uprising of June 30 by such terrorizing methods that it seems doubtful whether anybody will wish to attempt resistance soon. Since that time, Hitler has made terms with the national army, or Reichswehr. Every man in this professional army of 100,000 has held up his fist, with two fingers open, and solemnly pledged himself to take orders from the leader, Adolf Hitler, as national leader, even if this should mean death.
“It even seems possible that German economic conditions may not continue to grow worse indefinitely. German international financial tactics have been unscrupulous; but perhaps they will be successful, nevertheless. They refused to pay their international obligations and thus, by hurting their national credit, forced down the price of German bonds. Then, they used whatever money might have been available for paying debts, to buy up their depreciated bonds. They have bought bonds selling at from thirty to forty cents on the dollar, and paid for them with fifty-nine-cent dollars. Thus, they have been able to discharge obligations for as low as fifteen per cent of the money represented. When they have done as much of this sort of thing they care to, perhaps they then may put down the value of the mark, and again seek foreign business on a basis of the cheapness of their products.
“In other words, if Germany can patch up its economics well enough to carry on, without a complete collapse, then Hitler may not pass from the scene. So long as Hitler is there, the rest of Europe will remain uneasy; but the fact remains, whether one likes it or not, that his tenure may be long.”
NAZISM AS A RACKET
Despite his feeling that the Nazi regime of Herr Hitler will, like the poor, be long with us Mr. Kelly has little respect for the present German government. “The Nazi party,” he says, “is, of course, a gigantic racket. As an extreme example of the manner in which party affiliation is a prime requisite for good jobs in Dresden, I believe it was, a barber who happened to have a shop near the opera house was made director of the opera. He knew far more about barbering than about music, but he was a good party man.”