The French weekly, Vu, employing the American technique of the “Inquiring Reporter,” brought out some interesting facts as to the ignorance of the average Frenchman on foreign affairs. Questioning an assorted group of ten persons regarding Adolf Hitler and Germany, the paper collected an amazing series of answers.
The questionsâ€”Who is Hitler? How long has he been in power? Who are Goering and Goebbels? What is the Reichswehr? Who is Krupp? What is the Anschluss?â€” were answered by a barber, the manager of a large restaurant, a fireman, a taxi driver, a cabinet maker, a mannequin, a society girl, an usher in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a house painter.
The barber thought that Hitler came from Hungary, the manicurist from Russia, the fireman that he was of Czechoslovakian birth and had worked at Strasbourg. The society girl thought he was a Jew. Both she and the usher at the Foreign Ministry thought he had been in power for five years.
The manicurist had not heard of Goebbels or Goering. The fireman thought they were anti-Nazis, as did the mannequin. The society girl thought Goering was a friend of Hitler, and Goebbels an opponent. The usher had never seen their names. The house painter thought that Goering, like Hitler, had been a house painter.
Three of those questioned knew that the Reichswehr was the German army. The restaurant manager thought that it was Hitler’s following; the fireman, the taxi driver, the usher and the barber thought that it was the police force, the society girl that it was a bank, and the manicurist the German Parliament.
Hindenburg was known to some as a General in the last war; to others as the President, but to few as both.
Krupp was better known, and was usually defined as the German “Creusot” or the German “Schneider.”
The restaurant manager thought that the Anschluss was a German prayer to God for blessing on their country; the mannequin that it was just another “peace treaty”; the usher that it was “an arrangement for imposing your will. I do not know exactly how”; while the house painter thought it was something like the Angelus.
The “Corridor” was described as “Poland,” “a territory in Germany,” “a territory between Russia and Poland.” The usher sagely remarked, “Obviously it is a passage between countries.”
All those questioned gave the names of the newspapers they read, which proved in every case to be papers giving a very full account of events in Germany. The house painter, alone thought that the average German, having been in one war would not want another.