The sensational memorandum presented by Alfred Hugenberg, leader of the now disbanded German National party and ex-minister of Agriculture in the Hitler Government, has produced wide repercussions in the European press in spite of the energetic efforts of the German Foreign Office to represent it as the personal scheme of Herr Hugenberg. Anyone who has followed German polities during the last decade knows that the idea of expansion at the expense of Russia and of reconquest of colonies in Africa which were expressed by Hugenberg are ideas dear to Schacht, Rosenberg and Hitler.
Hugenberg was the unhappy scapegoat upon whom the blame was laid for a tactless ‘faux-pas’ when Schacht and Hitler saw that Italy would not stand for the official publication of the memorandum. It will perhaps be remembered that very little was made of the memorandum in the New York Times, while the Italian correspondents were invited not to mention the episode at all.
The memorandum was, of course, only a resume of that revived “Drang nach Osten” movement which was expounded by Rosenberg in his “Future Path of German Foreign Policy.” The idea of pressing forward in the Slavic East and creating “colonies” in Poland, Russia and the Baltic states has a strong and ancient appeal for the German imagination. The first civilizers of the Baltic regions were the Knights of the Teutonic Order who, like the Nazis, had a mystical philosophy in which race and religious emotion played a large part. In this connection it must also be remembered that a White Russian faction, largely German Baltic in race, whose ancestors had long held official positions of authority in the Russian empire, played a large part in the formation of the ideology of the National Socialists.
TRAINING WHITE RUSSIANS
That Hitler still sees an intimate connection between the White Russians and Germany’s “pacific enterprises” and “civilizing mission” in Russia, is proven by the fact, reported in the London Daily Herald, that at the present moment Nazi officers are training 2,000 White Russians (who will eventually have Russian officers). This division will probably be enlarged to 12,000. What it might be used for is perhaps explained by the following excerpt from Hitler’s “My Struggle”: “If we wanted more land in Europe we could only get it at Russia’s expense. In that case the Reich would have to take the trail blazed long ago by the Teutonic Knights, and by the force of the German sword give land to German ploughs and bread to German folk.”
Further light is cast upon the memorandum of Hugenberg by the Manchester Guardian. The English paper recalls the German program expressed by Dr. Schacht at the European Congress held in Rome under the auspices of the Royal Italian Academy in honor of the scientist Volta. The subject of the discussions was the future of Europe. Each delegation expounded its country’s aspirations. Speaking for German, Schacht said that Germany needed economic independence, a colonial empire in Africa, and “establishments in certain under-developed European countries which would aid the consumption of German manufactures. We know from Rosenberg’s writings that the countries in mind are Russia, Poland and the Baltic States.
The Manchester Guardian also remarks that Hugenberg’s allusion to Spengler was not a far-flung fantasy but a reference to a well-known factor of present-day German ideology: Spengler’s belief that all the ills of the world derive from the defeat of the energetic young German race at the hands of the decadent French and English.
Another proof of the seriousness with which the memorandum was taken in Europe is the note of energetic protest sent by the Soviet to the German Government. It was reprinted in Izvestia and rejects Hugenberg’s assertion that the modern chaos was born in Russia.
The Paris Temps also took up the question of German Drang Nach Osten and Rosenberg’s favorite dream of establishing an independent Germanized Ukraine, with its immense wealth of wheat, iron and coal all turned to the benefit of Germany, in opposition to Russia. In Paris the chief interest was in the Italian aspect of such a plan that is, the profit that Italy might derive, in concert with Germany, from having Russia cut off from the Balkans.
Leon Trotsky published two extraordinary articles in the Manchester Guardian, in which he states with certitude that Hitler is preparing for a future war of expanpansian.