Gareth Jones

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THE WESTERN MAIL & SOUTH WALES NEWS, Tuesday 6th 1933   

(Germany Under Hitler - Second Article) 

GERMANY WAS NOT READY FOR DEMOCRACY

LACKED EXPERIENCE IN SELF­GOVERNMENT 

ENSLAVED BY THE NEW SYSTEM

By GARETH JONES   

“Why do you support the Nazis?” I asked a German professor who had great experience of foreign travel, and who was a gentleman in every way. 

He replied, “I support the Nazis because I am tired to death of all the little parties which have been squabbling over the spoils of political warfare.  I am for Hitler because he has put an end to fourteen years of democratic government which divided our people into camps bitterly loathing each other.  I am for Hitler because he has revealed the corruption on which the old party bosses thrived.” 

This German professor put his finger on one of the chief causes of the national revolution.  It is a revolt against German democracy.  When the war ended Germany became a republic based on principles of Parliamentarism. 

A country which had always been accustomed to obey the dictates of an Emperor and his generals suddenly became self-governing and, lacking the experience of real parliamentary rule, fell into the worst errors of democracy. 

CONFUSED POLITICS 

Never had Germany known such political freedom as in the republican years after 1918, but never had politics been so confused, and never had the Germans longed so much for a firm guiding hand.  A people for centuries drilled and disciplined by Prussian generals or dominated by princelings and kings suddenly put its destiny into the hands of dozens d parties, each with its slogans. 

In one general election 37 different parties appealed for the votes of the electorate, and then the parliament was elected the views represented by the parties clashed vehemently that not for many months could a Government be formed. 

Under the German Republic corruption began to creep into sections of public life, which before had been remarkably pure.  The pre-war German Civil Service, though badly paid, was admirable for honesty and for its high sense of duty.  After the war certain financial scandals in Government circles aroused the hatred of the people for the new régime, and a cry for more honesty in public service arose, which the Nazis immediately seized for their party platform. 

REGIME OF OLD MEN 

Moreover, the German democracy of 1918-1933 was, in the eyes of young Germany, a régime of old men.  The proportional representation system, adapted by Germany, led to many abuses, for Germans did not vote for “Mr. Schmidt” or “Mr. Braun,” but for a list of party potentates, which was usually composed of elderly men who had made big subscriptions to party funds. 

“Make way for youth,” became the slogan of young people, and they determined to overthrow this republic which had so little room for them. 

Propelled entirely by deep feeling and by an instinctive hatred of self-government, the young Germans forgot some of the fine features of German democracy: its freedom of thought, its social services, and its housing schemes, and painted it as a corrupt Jewish invention, to enslave the German people. 

Young Germans not only felt themselves enslaved by their system at home, but also longed to break the shackles of the Treaty of Versailles.  They were, not willing to admit that they had been defeated in the war, but attributed their debacle to a Socialist “stab in the back” in November, 1918. 

Every humiliation which Germany has suffered since the war made nationalist feeling flare up, until by 1933 it burst forth in the flames of the National Revolution. 

A PROUD PEOPLE 

The Germans are a proud people and are as sensitive as the Welsh in matters of nationality, resenting any attack on their nation.  Everything which the Allies have done since 1918 has increased the nationalist passion of the Germans. 

The War Guilt Clause, the sending of black troops into the Rhineland by the, French, the refusal to admit Germany into the League of Nations until 1926, the inferiority in armaments, the need to pay £100,000,000 a year in reparations-all these made the forces mount up which were to break out in revolution in 1933. 

But what rankled most in the German mind was the taking away from Germany of lands inhabited by Germans and placing them under peoples like the Poles, whom they despised.  Millions grew up with the conviction that they would willingly die on the battlefield to, win back for Germany the Polish Corridor and other parts which they longed to see re-united to the Fatherland. 

This urge to shatter the yoke of Versailles and to set up a greater Germany, where all those of German origin should live, led to the fiery nationalistic revolution of 1933. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany.

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