“Adolph Hitler made the mistake of his life when he laid his hands roughly upon the Church and that policy has added to the growing doubt among thoughtful Germans as to the greatness of Hitler’s leadership.”
That was the declaration made at the New York Rotary Club’s noon luncheon meeting at the Hotel Commodore yesterday by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. Minister of the Marble Collegiate Church here. Dr. Peale recently returned after a long stay in Europe.
“I found that Germans are not as unanimous in their support of the Leader as I had been led to believe before going to Germany this Summer,” he said. “This observation was substantiated by the decline of Hitler’s vote in the recent election from ninety-three per cent to eighty-six per cent of the votes cast As one business man said to me, ‘What else are we to do? Hitler is in power. We must go along with him until a better way is found.’
“I felt in Germany a spirit of sadness quite the opposite from the buoyancy I expected. True, they are marching and singing but I had the feeling it lacked spontaneity. They marched and sang, many of them as people who were ordered to do so. But, while saying this, it must also be said that the youth in particular are quite genuine in their support of Hitlerism, seeing in it something of a great cause to be served and, of course, the marching and parading appeal to them.
“Business men everywhere privately expressed grave concern over Germany’s economic future. Stores and hotels are empty and evidences of economic stagnation are very apparent. One has a depressing sense of poverty.
“Hitler made the mistake of his life when he laid his hands roughly upon the Church. It is still true that no temporal ruler can bend the Church to his will. It is even yet the strongest single influence in the world and will not permit political dictation in the realm of spiritual matters. Hitler may have wrecked himself on the Church question.”