Main Hitler's table talk, 1941-1944: his private conversations
You may be interested in Powered by Rec2Me
Most frequently terms
Fick juden. Tod für Juden. Tod für Israel.
06 August 2021 (20:04)
The guy above me is very basado
21 September 2021 (17:56)
The guys above me need to go to sleep its past their bedtime
05 December 2021 (00:30)
What a bunch of loser psychotics.
21 December 2021 (04:15)
The guys above me though..
25 February 2022 (02:23)
U.S. $32.00 HITLER'S TABLE TALK 1941-1944 "This book remains the only complete and consecutive presentation of an important historical document...the official record of Hitler's 'table talk' as uttered at the height of his success. I'm glad to see this book back in print. It is surely necessary reading for students of Nazism and the Second World War. " HUGH TREVOR-ROPER OXFORD, SPRING 2000 One of the most significant documents of recent history, Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944 records the private, off the record, informal conversations of a man, who, more than anyone else, came close to destroying the Western world. Here is a startling account of Hitler freely talking about his enemies, his friends, his ambitions, his failures, his secret dreams voicing his thoughts to his intimate associates as the sun set at the end of each day of the war. We see here a conversational Hitler letting down his guard to his trusted henchmen. Miraculously, Martin Bormann persuaded Hitler to let these talks be taken down by a team of specially picked shorthand writers. Hitler had intended, after his infamous tyranny, to use these notes as source material for the books he planned to write about the glory of the "Thousand-Year Reich." continued on back flap Now they have come to us, indisputably authentic, a raw, fascinating, unretouched look at the inner recesses of the mind of Adolf Hitler. Der Führer's mind was crude and narrow; he had little education and, as we see here, no humanity; but we can also see that he was (as he himself knew) a political genius, a "terrible simplifier," a man who, with no equipment except his own will power, personality and ideas, attemted to bring mankind into a terrible darkness. As Trevor-Roper says in his brilliant introduction..."if we are to discover the mind of Hitler, we must penetrate behind the thick curtains of superficial evidence which conceal it - the repellant character which formed its expression, and for which no power of thought can compensat; e, and the unreliable intermediaries who have commented upon it. We must go directly to Hitler's personal utterances: not indeed to his letters and speeches - these, so valuable, are too public, too formalized for such purposes - to his secret conversations, his table talk." It is here, in Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944, that the mind of this extraordinary historical figure is remarkably revealed. Printed in Canada. Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944 His Private Conversations "This book remains the only complete and consecutive presentation of an important historical document...the official record of Hitler's 'table talk' as uttered at the height of his success. I'm glad to see this book back in print. It is surely necessary reading for students of Nazism and the Second World War." HUGH TREVOR-ROPER OXFORD, SPRING 2000 On Martin Bormann's instructions the secret conversations at Hitler's headquarters from July 1941 to November 1944 were all recorded. This extraordinary document is the result. In the relaxed atmosphere of his inner circle, Hitler talked freely about his aims, his early life and his plans for further conquest and a new German empire. The full text of Hitler's Table Talk preserved by Bormann, is presented here. This book is the most significant record of Hitler's mind and character in existence. Revealing, for instance, his thoughts on the English language which he thought inferior to German as it 'lacks the ability to express thoughts that surpass the order of concrete things', and his hatred of idealism, 'he found it quite normal that the bodies of his political prisoners should be burnt and their ashes used by his SS guards to manure their gardens'. A compelling and frequently repellent read. Hugh Trevor-Roper provides an Introduction on 'The Mind of Adolf Hitler' and a new preface. Cover photograph: Adolf Hitler at his mountain retreat at Berchtesgarten, March 3, 1933. © Hulton Getty Printed in Canada. Cover design: Andrea Purdie ENIGMA BOOKS NON-FICTION/HISTORY www.enigmabooks.com 9 781929 631056 ISBN 1-929631-05-7 HITLER'S TABLE TALK, 1941-1944 His Private Conversations Hugh Trevor-Roper is an historian and scholar noted for his works on aspects of the Second World War and on Elizabethan history. He graduated from Christ Church College, Oxford, in 1936, and during the Second World War worked in intelligence: his official investigation into Adolf Hitler's death was later published as The Last Days of Hitler. From 1946 to 1957 he taught history at Christ Church. During this period he wrote several articles about Hitler, stirring controversy by contending that Hitler was not only a systematic thinker but a genius as well. In 1957 he was appointed Regius Professor of Modern History and Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. He remained at this post until 1980, when he was appointed Master of Peterhouse College, Cambridge, where he stayed until 1987. He was created a life peer in 1979. A L S O BY HUGH T R E V O R - R O P E R The Last Days of Hitler The Gentry, Historical Essays Hider's War Directives, 1939^1945 Religion, the Reformation and Social Change, and Other Essays The Philby Affair: Espionage, Treason, and Secret Services Princes and Artists: Patronage and Ideology at Four Habsburg Courts, 1517^1633 The Goebbels Diaries Catholics, Anglicans and Puritans HITLER'S TABLE TALK 1941-1944 His Private Conversations Translated by Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens Introduced and with a new Preface by H.R. Trevor-Roper enigma books NEW YORK CITY Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944 Introduction and Preface by Hugh Trevor-Roper Copyright © Enigma Books 2000 First published in Great Britain by Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd, London a division of the Orion Publishing Company Introductory Essay 'The Mind of Hitler' and Preface © 2000 by H.R. Trevor-Roper English translation copyright © 1953 by Weidenfeld and Nicolson The moral right of H.R. Trevor-Roper to be identified as the author of the introductory essay 'The Mind of Hitler' and the Preface has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Enigma Books, Inc. 580 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018 www.enigmabooks.com Second Printing Printed and bound in Canada ISBN 1-929631-05-7 CONTENTS INTRODUCTION BY H. R. TREVOR-ROPER Preface to third edition vii The Mind of Adolf Hitler xi PART ONE 5th July—31st December 1941 1942 1st PART TWO January—5th February i 161 1942 PART THREE 6th February—7th September 297 1943 PART FOUR 13th June—24th June 701 1944 PART FIVE 13th March—29th-30th November 713 INDEX 723 PREFACE TO THIRD EDITION This book, which was first published in 1953, has remained since then the only complete and consecutive presentation of an important historical document, the so-called Bormann-Vermerke, the official record of Hitler's 'table talk' as uttered at the height of his success, in the first year of his war of aggression against Russia. With total victory in sight, he then looked forward to the realisation of all those ambitious plans which he had first adumbrated sixteen years before in Mein Kampf. In my essay 'The Mind of Adolf Hitler', which was printed in the first edition of this book, and is reprinted here, I set out the context and examined the content of the document. In this preface I shall give some account of the document itself and of the curious history of its publication (or non-publication) in the last half-century. The document, as I have explained in my essay, was compiled on the initiative, and by the orders, of Martin Bormann, head of the Party Chancellery, who in May 1941 had succeeded Rudolf Hess (by then a prisoner in England) as Secretary to the Führer. Just as Hess, in 1924—5, imprisoned with Hitler in the fortress of Landsberg in Bavaria, had taken down, from his lips, the philosophy and programme to be set out in Mein Kampf, so now, insulated with Hitler in the fortified Führerhauptquartier in East Prussia or the Ukraine, Hess's successor would ensure that the triumphant completion of that work, and the realisation of that philosophy, would be similarly recorded for the guidance of posterity. The record was to be made, as exactly as possible, by an experienced Party official on Bormann's personal staff, a lawyer with the rank of Ministerialrat Heinrich Heim. Heim began his record on 5 July 1941 and kept it regularly for over eight months; but in mid March 1942 he was seconded for other duties, and for the next four months his duties as recorder of the Table Talk were assigned to a deputy, Dr Henry Picker. Heim returned to his duties as recorder on i August 1942. However, he did not continue them for long, for in September, in circumstances which I have described in my essay, the record vii VUl PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION itself was discontinued. Both Heim and Picker were sound Party members, personally known to Hitler and trusted by him, and there can be no doubt that die record was conscientiously made. The final texts, as approved by Bormann, were sent consecutively to Frau Bormann in Obersalzberg, where Bormann had an official residence in the complex built by him for Hitler. There were two copies of them: one was passed to the Party archives in Munich; the other was to be kept by her as Bormann's personal copy. Of these two copies the former perished when the Führerbau in Munich was destroyed by fire towards the end of the war. Later, on 25 April 1945, the remaining copy narrowly escaped the same fate when much of the Obersalzberg complex was destroyed by an Allied air-attack. Frau Bormann diereupon moved, and took it with her, to a safe house in die former Austrian, now Italian, South Tyrol; but becoming terminally ill with cancer of the bowels, she passed it to the former Gauleiter of Tyrol, from whom it came ultimately, by purchase, into the hands of an enterprising Swiss citizen, François Genoud. François Genoud, an elusive and somewhat mysterious person, had once, at the age of 16, heard Hider speak in Freiburg-im-Breisgau, and from diat moment till his death by suicide in 1998 he remained an unwavering devotee. After the fall of the Third Reich he made it his business—one of his businesses—-to salvage the texts and buy up the presumed copyrights of important personal documents of die Nazi élite and thus, at die same time, both relieve die sudden poverty of the owners and acquire for himself a potentially marketable asset. The unique official record of the Bormann- Vermerke was such an asset, the prize object of his collection, and having bought up the presumed copyrights of Hitler and Bormann he waited for die opportunity to realise it. Unfortunately for him, and for the convenience of historians, he had reckoned widiout Dr Picker. For Dr Picker, during die four months when he had deputised for Heim as recorder of die Führer's table talk, had made a surreptitious private copy of his record: he had also copied several of Heim's records to which he had had access; and in 1951 he forestalled M. Genoud by publishing, in Germany, a volume entided Hitlers Tischgespräche. P R E F A C E TO THE THIRD E D I T I O N IX This consisted of substantial passages from his private texts, arranged not consecutively or chronologically but under general subject-headings—foreign affairs, war, propaganda, religion, women, etc: in fact a kind of anthology of the universal wisdom of the Führer, comparable, as he himself put it, with Eckermann's account of the conversation of Goethe. Trusting in his presumed copyrights, M. Genoud sued Dr Picker in a German court, which however found against him. He thereupon decided on no account to expose his German text (which of course, being complete, was much more substantial than Picker's) to other predators, but instead to hurry out a French translation in order to establish his copyright abroad. So, in 1952, he would publish in Paris the first volume of his translation, Adolf Hitler: Libres Propos sur la Guerre et la Paix. Dr Picker attempted to block this publication in the French courts, but failed. It was while Dr Picker, with his furtive but protected half-text, and M. Genoud, with his purchased but unprotected full text of the German original, were battling in the courts that I called on M. Genoud in Lausanne and suggested that he allow the publication of an English version, and thus secure the English copyright. He readily agreed, and so did Mr George Weidenfeld, to whom I recommended the project. This was the origin of the first edition of the book. To German historians, eager to read the original text, and to read it whole, it was frustrating to have to rely either on a foreign translation or on Dr Picker's devout and partial anthology. But between M. Genoud, resolutely refusing access to what his competitors termed his 'plunder', and Dr Picker, stoutly defending his legalised monopoly, any collation of texts was impossible. Competition, not collaboration, was the only way forward. In 1964 two distinguished German historians, Percy Schramm and Andreas Hillgruber, surrendered to Dr Picker. They produced a scholarly edition of his material, swollen with 36 entries quietly appropriated from Ministerialrat Heim's record, learned commentaries, and some extraneous matter. Meanwhile other scholars and publishers kept up the pressure on M. Genoud. They found it hard work—'very wearying', as one of them told me in 1968. Finally M. Genoud surrendered, rather cautiously, to the Hamburg publisher Albrecht Knaus and in 1980 there X PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION appeared at last the German text of the Bormann- Vermerke under the title Adolf Hitler: Monologe im Führerhauptquartier, that is - as far as it goes - the German original of this book. I say 'as far as it goes' because there is one substantial omission in the published German text. Between 12 March and i September 1942 - that is, in the period when Heim was absent and Picker acted as his deputy—the Bormann- Vermerke contain 100 entries. None of these are printed in Monologe: a last victory for the adamantine Eckermann Dr Picker. The Thirty Years War in Germany between Dr Picker and M. Genoud over the text of Hitler's Table Talk—the lawsuits and swashing blows of the protagonists and the neat academic stiletto-work in the editorial footnotes, may irritate or divert German readers, but English-speaking readers will probably find all they want in this compact and complete edition, and I am glad to see the book back in print. It is surely necessary reading for students of Nazism and the Second World War. In respect of my own essay on 'The Mind of Adolf Hitler' I will only ask the reader to remember that it was written in 1952 and was, at that timCj a pioneering work. At certain points it may need modification. I would not now endorse so cheerfully the authority of Hermann Rauschning which has been dented by Wolfgang Hanel,1 but I would not reject it altogether. Rauschning may have yielded at times to journalistic temptations, but he had opportunities to record Hitler's conversations and the general tenor of his record too exactly forestalls Hitler's later utterances to be dismissed as fabrication. It is not to be dismissed like Josef Greiner's book, which I mention tangentially but is now discredited as a source on Hitler's life in Vienna. With these reservations I am happy to reprint the essay as it appeared in 1953. If it is held to be worth reprinting, it can bear the evidence of its date. 1 Wolfgang Hanel, Hermann Rauschnings 'Gespräche mit Hitler'—eine Geschichtsfälschung (Ingolstadt, 1984) THE MIND OF ADOLF HITLER by H. R. Trevor-Roper WHO was Hitler? The history of his political career is abundantly documented and we cannot escape from its terrible effects. A whole generation may well be named in history after him and we shall speak of the Age of Hitler as we speak of the Age of Napoleon or the Age of Charlemagne. And yet, for all the harsh obviousness of its imprint on the world, how elusive his character remains! What he did is clear; every detail of his political activity is now—thanks to a seizure and exploitation of documents unparalleled in history—historically established; his daily life and personal behaviour have been examined and exposed. But still, when asked not what he did but how he did it, or rather how he was able to do it, historians evade the question, sliding away behind unplausible answers. To the Marxists—most old-fashioned of all—he was simply a pawn, the creature of a dying capitalism in its last stages. Others have seen him as a charlatan profiting by a series of accidents, a consummate actor and hypocrite, a sly, cheating peasant, or a hypnotist who seduced the wits of men by a sorcerer's charms. Even Sir Lewis Namier endorses the account of him given by a disgusted German official as a mere illiterate, illogical, unsystematic bluffer and smatterer. Even Mr. Bullock seems content to regard him as a diabolical adventurer animated solely by an unlimited lust for personal power. And yet, we may object, could a mere adventurer, a shifty, scatterbrained charlatan, have done what Hitler did, who, starting from nothing, a solitary plebeian in a great cosmopolitan city, survived and commanded all the dark forces he had mobilised and, by commanding them, nearly conquered the whole world? So we ask, but we seldom receive an answer: the historians have turned away, and like antique heroes we only know that we have been talking with the immortals from the fact that they are no longer there. Now this problem is, I think, a real problem, and it is worth xi XU INTRODUCTION while to emphasise rather than to evade it. Let us consider for a moment Hitler's achievement. The son of a petty official in rural Austria, himself of meagre education and no fixed background, by all accounts a shiftless, feckless, unemployable neurotic living from hand to mouth in the slums of Vienna, he appeared in Germany, as a foreigner, and, in the years of its most abject condition, declared that the German people could, by its own efforts, and against the wishes of its victors, not only recover its lost provinces, but add to them, and conquer and dominate the whole of Europe. Further, he declared that he personally could achieve this miracle. Twenty years later he had so nearly succeeded that the rest of the world thought it another miracle when he was at last resisted. To historians there are no miracles. Whatever has happened they explain and it becomes to them, in retrospect, inevitable. But it is salutary sometimes to see events from their startingpoint, not from their conclusion, and to judge thereby the prospect, not the issue, of success. Only thus can we appreciate the character of those who foresaw them. We rightly regard it as one sign of the greatness of Mr. Churchill that, from 1933, he appreciated, as few others did, the real danger of a new German Empire. We should, I think, recognise it as one sign of the genius of Hitler that he, twelve years earlier, when it seemed far more improbable, appreciated the hope of such an empire and believed—correctly as it proved—both that it could be built and that he, though then a solitary demobilised corporal, could be its builder. I have laboured this point because I wish to maintain—contrary, as it appears, to all received opinion— that Hitler had a mind. It seems to me that whereas a mere visionary might, in 1920, have dreamed of such a revolution, and whereas a mere adventurer might, in the 19303, have exploited such a revolution (as Napoleon exploited the French Revolution which others had made), any man who both envisaged and himself created both a revolution as a means to empire and an empire after revolution, and who, in failure and imprisonment, published in advance a complete blueprint of his intended achievement, in no significant point different from its ultimate actual form, simply cannot be regarded as either a mere visionary or a mere adventurer. He was a systematic THE M I N D OF A D O L F H I T L E R Xlll thinker and his mind is, to the historian, as important a problem as the mind of Bismarck or Lenin. Why then do his historians tell us so little of Hitler's mind, often dismissing it as non-existent? Partly, no doubt, because of its repellent character. Interesting minds are minds that are sensitive, lucid, rich, versatile, humane. The minds of many despotic statesmen and formidable doctrinaires, with whose aims we may have little sympathy, are nevertheless rendered interesting, perhaps even sympathetic, to us by these qualities : as the mind of Richelieu attracts us by its lucidity, that of St. Augustine by its richness, that of Cromwell by its lumbering humanity. But Hitler's mind had no such engaging character. It was coarse, turbid, narrow, rigid, cruel. It had nothing to recommend it but its power; and mental power, though important, is not by itself attractive. There is also, I think, another reason why Hitler's mind has been so undervalued by historians. It lies in the evidence they have used, which is largely the published evidence of those Germans who came into contact with him because they served him and served him long. These men were necessarily literate men, and as such keenly aware of the vulgarity, the inelasticity, of their master's mind—qualities which, in their writings, they have duly emphasised. But they were also servants who, after the war, found it necessary to excuse their service to that discredited master; and how could they better excuse it than by representing themselves as the innocent dupes of a superhuman dissembler, a hypocrite who, by his superlative hypocrisy, contrived to deceive even such virtuous and intelligent men as themselves? Such excuses are common form in the history of unsuccessful revolutions. Those who had compromised themselves in the service of Oliver Cromwell similarly represented him as a master of machiavellian hypocrisy and diabolical deceit, and for two hundred years—until Carlyle published Cromwell's letters and speeches—this doctrine was accepted. This is the price always paid for catastrophic failure. No doubt, if Adam and Eve had not been caught out in their crucial transgression, the Serpent (if indeed he had been allowed any credit for their discovery) would have been commemorated as a useful mouthpiece, articulating the general will of the people XIV INTRODUCTION of Paradise; it was to save their reputation after a catastrophic common failure that they gave him his diabolical reputation. Thus, if we are to discover the mind of Hitler, we must penetrate behind the thick curtains of superficial evidence which conceal it—the repellent character which formed its expression, and for which no power of thought can compensate, and the unreliable intermediaries who have commented upon it. We must go direct to Hitler's personal utterances : not indeed to his letters and speeches—these, though valuable, are too public, too formalised for such purposes—but to his private conversation, his Table-Talk. Table-talk, like notebooks, reveals the mind of a man far more completely, more intimately, than any formal utterance; and whenever we happen to possess it, we find it indispensable. The diaries of Dr. Göbbels, being written for publication, have scant historical value; how much more vividly the mind of that most intellectual of the Nazis emerges from the table-talk recorded by Rudolf Semler ! * Hitler's own tabletalk in the crucial years of the Machtergreifung (1932-34), as briefly recorded by Hermann Rauschning,2 so startled the world (which could not even in 1939 credit him with either such ruthlessness or such ambitions) that it was for long regarded as spurious. It is now, I think, accepted. If any still doubt its genuineness, they will hardly do so after reading the volume now published. For here is the official, authentic record of Hitler's Table-Talk almost exactly ten years after the conversations recorded by Rauschning. What a difference had occurred in those ten years! In 1932, when Rauschning began his record, Hitler had achieved the first stage of his revolution. Ten years before that, he had made his appearance as a revolutionary party-leader in Germany only to experience humiliation and defeat and to find himself in a Bavarian prison, his political career apparently broken and finished. Now the Kampfzeit, those years of struggle to which afterwards he so often and enthusiastically referred, was over; already he stood on the threshold of power in Germany, and 1 Rudolf Semler, Saadan vor Goebbels (Copenhagen 1947: English translation, Goebbels the Man next to Hitler, London 1947). * Hermann Rauschning, Hitler Speaks (London 1939). THE MIND OF A D O L F H I T L E R XV already, while in public he appeased his conservative allies and masters with respectable utterances, he was privately describing, with confident relish, the next stage of the revolution. Hearing it, Rauschning himself—for he was himself a conservative, an East Prussian Junker appalled at such millennial ambitions— drew the consequences. In 1934 he detached himself from the Juggernaut whose maniacal driver he had thus overheard, and fled abroad. Thus the window into Hitler's mind which Rauschning soon afterwards opened to the West (but how few looked into it or believed what they there saw!) was suddenly closed again; and for the next decade the table-talk at the Fuehrer's Headquarters became, as it had always been meant to be, private. How is it, then, that in 1941, when Hitler had completed the second stage of his revolution and stood poised for his final, crowning ambition—the conquest of the East—that window was suddenly reopened; reopened, moreover, not by an accident like the desertion of Rauschning ten years before, but ' deliberately, by the institution of an official record? To answer this question we must consider for a while the circumstances in which these conversations took place. Hitler's life, during the war, was spent, in general, at his military headquarters. At first, during the Polish campaign, these headquarters were in his special train, stationed near Gogolin; later during the same campaign he transferred them to a hotel in Zoppot. At the beginning of the Western campaign his headquarters were in a cramped bunker near Bad Nauheim, which he called Felsennest, or "Eyrie" ; later, as victory followed victory, he moved to Bruly-de-Pesche on the FrancoBelgian frontier, near Roczoi. His quarters there were named Wolfsschlucht—"Wolf's lair" (he had an old liking for the name Wolf, which he had himself assumed when in hiding in the days of Kampfzeit] ; It was at Wolfsschlucht that he heard the news of the fall of France and performed his famous jig. Thereafter he divided his time between a new headquarters in the Black Forest ( Tannenberg) and his special train. Then in July 1941 he moved to East Prussia to direct the greatest of all his campaigns, the knock-out blow in the East. For over three years his headquarters remained in the East, generally in East Prussia, once (during the trium- XVI INTRODUCTION phant advance in the summer of 1942) in Russia itself. Then, in November 1944, Field-Marshal Keitel at last persuaded him to leave that insalubrious spot, among dreary pine-forests, in which he had so nearly been assassinated and in which he had lived, for the last year, night and day, a troglodyte existence underground. This East Prussian headquarters was at Rastenburg, and Hitler called it Wolfschanze, "Fort Wolf". His temporary Russian headquarters was at Winnitza in the Ukraine, and was called Werwolf. It was at Wolfschamy or at Werwolf that all the conversations recorded in this book took place. They took place at meal-times: sometimes at his luncheon, sometimes at supper, more often at his last, most sociable meal, the long succession of tea and cakes which—generally long after midnight—closed the working day. Then Hitler would expand. A passionate talker, he seems by his voice as well as by his eyes —though it was a harsh voice and though they were dull eyes— to have fascinated his hearers; for his informal talk, unlike his formal oratory, was—all hearers agree—fresh, flexible, sometimes even gay. Of course it was largely a monologue— although Hitler welcomed stimulative interruptions—and of course he often repeated himself. Nevertheless his intimate circle—for it was only his intimate circle, and occasional reliable guests, who attended these functions—seem to have delighted in it. They saw in it the whole mind of the Fuehrer— autobiographical details from his undocumented early life, the secret history of the glorious Kampfzeit, the terrible but exciting philosophy thanks to which he had already achieved threequarters of his vast programme and was now, it seemed, about to achieve the rest. Why, they asked, could not these authentic sayings of the Master be recorded for posterity? Particularly Martin Bormann asked this question, the literal-minded evangelist of the movement, Hitler's indispensable secretary, infallible agent, and, at the end, trusted executor. But Hitler always refused. He hated the thought of recording instruments, or even of recording agents, in his hour of rest, while he was thus spontaneously, unadvisedly, even gaily delivering himself. Then, quite suddenly, in July 1941, when the apocalyptic moment had arrived and the great Eastern triumph was about THE M I N D OF A D O L F H I T L E R XV11 to begin, he yielded. He still refused to admit any mechanised recorder to the room, and he insisted that no obtrusive figure or obvious gestures must disconcert him while he talked, or inhibit his large freedom of discourse; but he agreed that an official of the Party might be admitted to his meals, who might, in a retired corner, unobtrusively take a few notes—notes whose final form was to be corrected and approved and preserved by the only reliable interpreter of the Fuehrer's thought, Martin Bormann. Bormann at once made the necessary arrangements. A Party official was appointed and, from yth July 1941, was duly admitted to Hitler's presence at meal-times. His name was Heinrich Heim. All through the monologue he would sit discreetly apart, taking brief shorthand notes; then he would retire and, on the basis of those notes, dictate to one of Bormann's stenographers his record of the conversation. The typescript was then handed to Bormann, who read it through, sometimes correcting it or adding elucidatory comments, initialled and filed it. Heim continued to take these notes until nth March 1942, when he was sent away for four months on a special mission to Paris ; during these four months, another official, Dr. Henry Picker, deputised for him. Both Heim and Picker, however, were mere subordinate officials, acting under the instructions and control of Bormann, who alone, as Hitler's secretary, was responsible for the preparation, the accuracy and the preservation of the records. Sometimes, on intimate occasions, Bormann himself took the notes. Whoever took them, they were officially known as Bormann-Vermerke, Bormann-notes; and at the head of the 1,045 typed pages which they ultimately filled, and which Bormann kept in his personal custody, he wrote with his own hand the words, "Notes of fundamental interest for the future. To be preserved with the greatest care." When Heim returned, on 1st August 1942, to resume his duties as court-reporter at Hitler's headquarters, he found that he was not destined to stay for long. For already Hitler's Annus Mirabilis was drawing to its close. In the summer of 1942 Hitler's strategy in the East—in particular his weakening of Paulus' 6th Army at Stalingrad in order to strike at yet more distant prizes in the Caucasus—led to violent opposition from XVÜi INTRODUCTION the Army General Staff. General Haider, Chief of that Staff, still gobbles on remembering those scenes. Hitler's decision, he says, "ceased to have anything in common with the principles of strategy and operation as they had been recognised for generations past. They were the product of a violent nature following its momentary impulses", morbid megalomania, criminal irresponsibility. Hitler denounced the General Staff officers as cowards whose minds were "fossilised in obsolete habits of thought", and, when an officer read out figures of Russian strength, "flew at him with clenched fists and foam in the corners of his mouth, and forbade the reading of such idiotic twaddle".1 On the point of strategy Hitler won, and we know the sequel. As a by-product of these explosions, in September 1942, Haider was dismissed. At the same time Hitler made an end of his informal meals with members of the General Staff, whom he now regarded as his enemies, "the only freemasonry which I have failed to break". His routine was broken; the petty-bourgeois gaiety, the sanguinary confidence, the inflammable imagination ebbed away from his utterance; and the Bormann-Vermerke, at least as a regular institution, ceased. Occasional records were still taken, and are printed here, but they were intermittent, exceptional and few. They were not recorded by Heim, but either by Bormann or by a third reporter who succeeded Heim. The monologues, of course, did not cease; but they changed their character, and they were addressed to a more limited audience. At first, in the deep, almost maniacal depression, which overcame Hitler after Stalingrad, he withdrew into absolute solitude and for several months ate alone with his Alsatian dog. When that solitude began to bore him, he decided once again to invite occasional officers to his meals; but finding it impossible, in their company, to avoid military topics, he soon abandoned the experiment. In the end he settled down to a regular but often bored or uncomprehending audience of his female secretaries, varied occasionally by his hard-drinking, trouble-making adjutant, his quack-doctor, and —after July 1944, when he was afraid of being poisoned unless 1 Franz Haider, Hitler als Feldherr (Munich, 1949); English translation, Hitler as War Lord (London, 1950), pp. 55-7. THE M I N D OF A D O L F H I T L E R XIX he showed her exaggerated attention—his vegetarian-cook.1 One of his secretaries has given a melancholy account of these later functions. "After Stalingrad," she writes, "Hitler could not listen to music any more, and every evening we had to listen to his monologues instead. But his table-talk was by now as overplayed as his gramophone-records. It was always the same : his early days in Vienna, the Kampfzeit, the History of Man, the Microcosm and the Macrocosm. On every subject we all knew in advance what he would say. In course of time these monologues bored us. But world affairs and events at the front were never mentioned: everything to do with the war was taboo." "In 1944 I sometimes found myself still sitting up with Hitler at 8.0 a.m., listening with feigned attention to his words . . . I still wonder why he thus sacrificed his nightly rest in order to expound his theories to an audience most of whom would have preferred to be sleeping." Eva Braun, who was also sometimes present, took less trouble to conceal her boredom: she would occasionally cast at Hitler a disapproving glance or loudly ask the time. Then Hitler would cut short his monologue, make his excuses, and break up the table.2 With these last, most dispiriting conversations this book is not concerned, nor, of course, does it contain the complete record of what must often have been, even in the best times, repetitive discourse. It contains only those parts of Hitler's Table-Talk which Bormann thought worth recording. Even so, much of it is naturally repetitive. Much of it also reflects the coarseness and crudity, the dogmatism, the hysteria, the triviality of Hitler's mind. But cluttered as it is with much tedious and much disgusting matter, it also contains the kernel of his thinking; it is the mirror of his hideous genius: a genius which, I believe, it is both possible and essential to disengage. 1 Hitler had four personal secretaries during the war : Frl. Johanna Wolf, Frl. Christa Schröder, Frl. Gerda Daranowski (who, towards the end of the war, married General Christian) and Frau Traudl Junge. The first three of these are occasionally mentioned by their initials, J. W., C. S. (or Chr. Sehr.), G. D., as participants in the Table-Talk. Hitler's adjutant was Julius Schaub, his2 doctor Prof. Theodor Morell, his vegetarian-cook Frl. Manzialy. A. Zoller, Hitler Privat (Düsseldorf, 1949), pp. 44-5, 97, 146-7. The real author of this valuable book (whose accuracy is now confirmed by the Table-Talk) appears from internal evidence to be Frl. Schröder. XX INTRODUCTION Hitler saw himself as the man of centuries, almost (although he himself expressly disclaimed so religious a title) the Messiah. He believed that he alone—or almost alone—both understood the crisis of our time and could correct it. For to him the defeat of Germany in the first World War was not merely a crisis of Germany : it was—as it had been to Oswald Spengler—a crisis of civilisation, the kind of crisis that occurs only at rare moments of history, can only be understood by those who have studied past history in terms of centuries, and can only be remedied by those who are prepared to launch and able to control those cataclysms and convulsions in which historic ages perish or are born. This cataclysmic view of history was an essential part of Hitler's ideas, and it is essential for us to understand it: for it was within this framework that he saw himself and the mission with which he credited himself, against this background that he judged other men, both in the present and in history. One of the clearest expressions of this view was uttered by him not in 1941, when it might easily be ascribed to the intoxication of power, but in 1924-5, when he was apparently finally defeated, and in prison. It is a passage which I have already quoted once;1 but since Mein Kampf, though a book of fundamental importance, is, in general, both unreadable and unread, I shall make no excuse for quoting it again. "At long intervals of human history", he then wrote, "it may occasionally happen that the practical politician and the political philosopher are one. The more intimate the union, the greater are his political difficulties. Such a man does not labour to satisfy demands that are obvious to every philistine; he reaches forward towards ends that are comprehensible only to the few. Therefore his life is torn between hatred and love. The protest of the present generation, which does not understand him, wrestles with the recognition of posterity, for which he also works."2 By 1941 Hitler's success had naturally confirmed him in this view that he both understood and could control the course of centuries. More and more his mind ranged over the history of mankind, its crucial stages, and the great men who had been the architects of its change. "A man who has no sense of history", he said, "is like a man 1 The Last Days of Hitler (2nd ed., 1950), p. 46. * Mein Kampf (English translation, London, 1939), p. 183. THE M I N D OF A D O L F H I T L E R XXI who has no ears or no eyes. He can live, of course, but what is that?" What was Hitler's interpretation of history? It was crude but clear, and—like all his views—buttressed by a vast array of arbitrarily selected facts stored in his astonishing memory and arranged in preconceived patterns by his restless, rigid, systematic mind. Further, although experience added new details and new illustrations to it, it remained, from at least 1923, absolutely clear and consistent. Hitler, like Spengler, saw history as a succession of human ages which could be defined by their "cultures", the totality of their social organisation and ideas. There was the ancient culture of Greece and Rome for which he expressed great enthusiasm—although, as Albert Speer has drily observed, "his conceptions on this subject were not based on any profound historical studies"; there was the "Germanic" Medieval culture which had been eclipsed at the Renaissance by the modern "capitalist" society of Western Europe; and there was that modern society which, again like Spengler, he believed to be in its turn sick unto death. How was it, he asked, that these cultures had so sickened or died? "I often wonder", he said, "why the Ancient World collapsed"; and his mind ranged over a series of possible answers to this perplexing question. Was it a decline of population? or climate? or was the Roman Empire rotted from within by Jewish Christianity? These were not academic questions, for their answers, to him, contained the answer to the great practical problem which he had long ago decided to solve. For just as the Roman Empire had sickened before the German barbarians fell upon it and destroyed it, so the civilisation of the West, he believed, was now sickening and would slowly die. Or would it be allowed to die? Would it not rather, like the Roman Empire, be conquered and absorbed by the new barbarian power which would ultimately replace it? But what would that new barbarian power be? On this topic also Hitler had brooded long, and, following "the iron law of historical development",1 thought that he had found the answer. First of all, it was clear that the new power, whatever it was, must be a land-power. This was determined by technical fact. 1 Hitler Speaks, p. 47. XX11 INTRODUCTION The day of maritime empires such as the empires of Portugal, Holland and Britain, was, in his opinion, over. In old times, indeed, the sea had provided the only smooth and cheap communications with the distant parts of the earth, and great landmasses had been the barriers, not the means of travel; but now, thanks to roads and railways, motor-power and air-power, that was reversed: the new empire, which would conquer and absorb and replace the society of Western Europe, must be a great land empire, bound together not by ships and trade but by giant roads and massive armies, the real nexus of the new age. Hitler was naturally a landsman : he came not from the Baltic or the Mediterranean but from the heart of Europe, and he had probably seldom seen the sea. Certainly he never understood sea-power; and distant colonies, which depended on sea-power, he altogether rejected. It was continents, not islands, that interested him. So he brooded over maps and planned vast roads and studied the new science of "geopolitics" which, inspired by Sir Haiford Mackinder in 1919, had found a more sympathetic reception in Central Europe than in its native England. Hitler's obsession with roads and land-armies and the conquest of great spaces is often evident in his Table-Talk; but it was older than that also. "No two men", he once confessed, "interested me more in my youth than Nansen and Sven Hedin"; and even in the middle of the war he would turn aside from politics and strategy to receive a devout but disreputable pilgrim, the aged Sven Hedin, and together they would discuss those empires of the steppes which the one had once explored and the other now sought to conquer.1 Similarly, his mind often dwelt on great roads, "the beginnings of every civilisation", the nerves which must animate a land-empire. He would imagine the roads of the past—Roman roads in Europe, Inca roads in Peru, and the roads of the future—German Reichsautobahnen "from Klagenfürt to Trondhjem and from Hamburg to the Crimea" ; and when he recollected, as he so often did, the exhilarating days of the Kampfzeit, it was in the endless motor-journeys along "the beautiful, broad, white Autobahnen" that that recollection seemed to him most concentrated. But if the new age was to be the age of a great land-empire 1 See Som Hedin's German Diary (Dublin, 1951). THE M I N D OF A D O L F H I T L E R xxiii dominating what Sir Haiford Mackinder had called "the Heartland", "the Citadel of the World Empire"—the area, that is, invulnerable to sea-power in Central Europe and Asia— what people, what government could claim this empire? Clearly it could not be any of the old maritime peoples—and in them therefore Hitler was fundamentally uninterested : it must be—if it were to be a European people—either the Germans or the Russians, for these peoples alone had the land-armies, the land-ambitions, the "geopolitical" outlook for such an achievement. The German geopoliticians, on the whole, had assumed that it would be the Russians, who were, after all, both more numerous and already there; and they had advocated, for Germany, rather an alliance with Russia than an attempt to conquer it. And yet, Hitler asked himself, was that really inevitable? Were not the Germans the real Kulturträger, the culture-bearers of Europe? Was it not the Germans who, when the Roman Empire had been rotted inwardly by Jewish Christianity and a declining population, had conquered and inherited it? The Germanic Middle Ages had indeed been frustrated by the "Christian" Renaissance, the rise of the plutocratic capitalist civilisation of Western Europe; but now that that plutocratic capitalist civilisation was in its turn decaying, might not the Germans reawake and, awakened, resume and redirect their splendid mission? The old German Emperors, for good technical reasons, had looked south to Italy; the new German Reich, for similar reasons, must look east. Might it not, even now, by some heroic effort, wrest from the Russians their dominion and impose upon the Heartland a German instead of a Russian Empire? It is true, the Russians were more numerous; but had not minorities often before, by skill and determination, conquered and enslaved great nations? It is true, the Germans had just been defeated in war and Germany was now amputated, unarmed and helpless ; but had not Russia also been defeated in war, had it not lost, in the West, its richest provinces, had it not been ravaged by civil war ? It is true, the Germans were politically incompetent— Dickschädel, Querschädel, Dummköpfe—desperate blockheads and ninnies incapable of political sense or action; but "even stupid races can accomplish something, given good leadership" XXIV INTRODUCTION Genghiz Khan, by his "unique genius for organisation", had united the Tartars; Charlemagne, "one of the greatest men in world-history", had by force united even the thick-headed Germans. What force and leadership had done once, force and leadership could do again. It is true, Germany had already failed to conquer Russia in the past; but the Germany that had failed was the byzantine, cosmopolitan, traditionalist, Jewridden Hohenzollern monarchy, and while "monarchies are at best able to keep conquests, it is by revolutionary powers that World-Empires are created"; what if there were to be a revolution in Germany, a revolution which would release the inhibited and frustrated energies of the real Germany, the nationalist and proletarian Germany which an anti-national upper class had hitherto divided and enslaved? It is true, the Russians had already had their revolution and were to that extent better placed, and the geopolitical prophets easily acquiesced in the inevitability of Russian domination; but against the defeatist doctrine of inevitability Hitler advanced a more inspiring doctrine, a doctrine which, to the depressed and desolate Germany of the 19203, seemed an evangel of human hope against the dismal, mechanical pessimism of his contemporaries : the doctrine of the ultimate sovereignty of the human will. Had not Nietzsche and Schopenhauer declared this doctrine? Had not Mussolini, "that unparalleled statesman", proved its truth by his example? Hitler's genuine personal reverence for Mussolini, which so exasperated some of his more clear-sighted followers— a reverence first expressed in Mein Kampf and sustained until 1944, when Hitler discovered with chagrin what Mussolini had been saying about him—sprang primarily from this fact: Mussolini had shown that a seemingly inevitable decay could in fact be resisted and reversed; "the March on Rome was a turning-point in history: the mere fact that it could be done gave us our inspiration". Of Hitler's own almost incredible will-power all witnesses have borne testimony, and he himself claimed, with some justice, to have the strongest will in centuries : to the very end, even when all physical power had gone, he exercised, by mere will-power, an absolute authority over a whole people. Nevertheless, it was not by will-power alone that Hitler hoped to reverse the seeming inevitability of history : THE M I N D OF A D O L F H I T L E R XXV he planned to do it by thought also. With his coarse, powerful mind he raked and combed the centuries of human history and thrust and forced the reluctant facts into a brutal, uncritical, systematic philosophy for the fulfilment of his vast designs. How is a social revolution carried out? he asked. How is a great empire conquered by a relatively small people? How is an empire, once established, rendered permanent? To all these questions history—if read with the selective faith of a Spengler or a Toynbee—supplies the answer. All revolutions depend for their success on the capture of power by an elite, and the formation of such an élite was the function of National Socialism : the Germans were to be the élite of Europe and to be themselves governed by a German elite, the Party. A Germanic people, thus mobilised, could easily, given the will to power and dynamic leadership, conquer an Empire. Look at the English, another "purely Germanic nation", and their achievement, under their natural aristocracy—those princely, self-confident "Lords" whose vast estates (Hitler asserted) covered all England, making military manoeuvres impossible. A few thousand Englishmen had conquered and governed four hundred million Indians. Again and again Hitler's mind reverted to the example of the English conquest of India, the origin of that maddening English self-confidence. "What India was for England", he said, "the spaces of the East will be for us"; and then he would allow his mind to roam erroneously over the history of England and of India, subjects of which he knew nothing, but of which Ribbentrop, the great master of English affairs, and himself so like an English lord, had often informed him. But could such a conquest be made permanent? Of course it could. Modern science, modern power, modern propaganda, made that possible. Revolution by subject peoples against a self-confident master-race, he wpuld declare, was now quite out of the question; and again and again he would describe, in hideous detail, the methods whereby a conquered empire could be preserved. The ruling power must recognise that subjects have no rights: "Who has, has"—that is the sum of human morality in politics; and to give arms to a subject people is even more criminal than to give them freedom : "History teaches us that all master-races have declined once they consented to arm XXVI INTRODUCTION the peoples they had conquered". As for education, let subject peoples learn German, so that they cannot pretend not to understand the orders of their masters, let them learn so much of geography as to know that Berlin is the capital of the world, and otherwise let them practise contraception (even if it means sending the Jews there to teach them) to reduce their birthrate, and be denied hospitals to increase their death rate, so that the German colonists, secure in their new strategic cities and linked with the centres of power by vast Autobahnen, need never fear a rising of their Helots. Such, said Hitler, is the iron rule of imperialism. When that had been established by victory, the remaining tasks would be easy. Pockets of resistance, tolerated hitherto, would be eliminated : Hitler would carry out "the Final Solution" of the Jewish problem; the old European aristocracies, the "upper-class mafia" 'of frivolous cosmopolitan reactionaries—the same people who had corrupted German diplomacy for so long and still sabotaged the Duce in Italy— would be liquidated; the Churches, by their own methods, would be supplanted (Hitler always expressed admiration for the methods, though he detested the doctrines, of the Roman Church); Christianity, with its disgusting equalitarianism, would be extirpated; and at the first report of mutiny in the Reich "the whole anti-social rabble", "a few hundred thousand men" conveniently kept in concentration camps for the purpose, would be led out to execution. Thus the German millennium would be secured. A barbarous millennium! Hitler would not have denied it; for barbarism, he maintained, was the first basis of all culture, the only means whereby a new civilisation could replace an old. The German conquerors of the Roman Empire had been barbarians; but they had replaced an old and rotten society by the basis of a new and vigorous civilisation. Similarly, the Nazis, must be barbarians to replace with their millennium the dying culture of the West. "Yes", he had declared in 1933, "we are barbarians! We want to be barbarians! It is an honourable title. We shall rejuvenate the world. This world is near its end." By "historical necessity" barbarian forces must break up decaying civilisations and "snatch the torch of life from their dying fires". The last fifteen hundred years, he casually in- THE MIND OF ADOLF HITLER XXV11 formed Mussolini—the years between Attila and himself, the whole span of Christian civilisation—had been a mere interruption of human development, which "is now about to resume its former character". As for culture, that, he declared in Mein Kampf, must wait till its basis has been established by a barbarian heroic age, as the culture of Athens and Rome throve on the basis of the Persian and Punic Wars.1 . . . But what, we may ask, was the new Germanic culture to be like, whose institution was to justify these barbaric methods? Alas, the answer is clear. Hitler, the artist, was always willing to develop his ideas on culture. This book is full of them; narrow, materialist, trivial, half-baked, disgusting. No more words need be wasted on them. The hundred million self-confident German masters were to be brutally installed in Europe, and secured in power by a monopoly of technical civilisation and the slave-labour of a dwindling native population of neglected, diseased, illiterate cretins, in order that they might have leisure to buzz along infinite Autobahnen, admire the Strength-throughJoy Hostel, the Party headquarters, the Military Museum and the Planetarium which their Fuehrer would have built in Linz (his new Hitleropolis), trot round local picture-galleries, and listen over their cream-buns to endless recordings of The Merry Widow. This was to be the German Millennium, from which even the imagination was to have no means of escape. "After National Socialism has lasted for some time, it will be impossible to imagine a form of life different from ours." But before that could happen, was victory certain? All depended on that essential condition. For the struggle between Germany and Russia was to be the decisive battle of the world, like the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields between Rome and the Huns, or certain other battles which Hitler as erroneously supposed to have been decisive in history. If the Germans were to win, the millennium would indeed be theirs, but if they were to be defeated, then their defeat would also be for a millennium. For in Russia was there not another secular genius, der geniale Stalin, who had also carried through a great revolution, who had also imposed a new élite on his subject people, who had also liquidated his enemies by millions, preached a new religion to 1 Mein Kampf, p. 499. XXV111 INTRODUCTION intoxicate or enslave his peoples, and aspired to the dominion of Eurasia and the world? In his hatred of "Jewish Bolshevism", his contempt for the Slavonic sub-man, Hitler never lost his admiration for that other barbarian of genius, "the crafty Caucasian", whom he saw as his only worthy enemy "a tremendous personality", "a beast, but a beast on the grand scale", "half beast, half giant"—nor indeed for the communist credo and method, an ideology as powerful as his own. He preferred communists to aristocrats, Spanish Reds to the worthless Franco, that renegade creature of dukes and priests whom, in the end, out of utter contempt, he refused even to mention.1 For this war, the war which Hitler was planning, the war between Germany and Russia, between Hitler and Stalin, between ideology and ideology, was to be no mere dynastic or economic war, it was to be a war of life and death, empire or annihilation, deciding the fate of centuries; a war not against the past—that was already dead—but between two Titans disputing its inheritance. For the dead world, and for the neuters who contracted out of the World's Debate, Hitler had only contempt; for the other Titan, as for an equal, he had some respect. But this did not mean that he would give him any quarter. In the battle for empire quarter would be neither sought nor given. In the hour of his imagined triumph Hitler declared that Russia was to be utterly destroyed, Moscow and Leningrad to be levelled with the ground, and their names and record to be for ever blotted out of geography and history alike;2 in the hour of his ultimate failure he was prepared himself to destroy Germany: "If the war is to be lost, the nation also will perish. There is no need to consider the basis even of the most primitive existence. On the contrary, it is better to destroy it, and to destroy it ourselves. The future belongs solely to the stronger Eastern nation."3 Such was the crucial struggle, a struggle for the history of centuries, in which Hitler saw himself as the incarnation of historical change. He had seen this problem—seen it at least since 1919; he had created the form in which it now faced the 1 2 3 Zoller, p. 162. Zoller, p. 143 ; cf. below pp. 5, 617, 621-2. This statement was made to Speer in March 1945 (see The Last Days of Hitler, p. 92). THE MIND OF A D O L F H I T L E R XXIX world, demanding solution; by his heroic efforts he had made a German solution of it possible; and he naturally believed that only he could carry through "that Cyclopean task which the building of an Empire means for a single man". That meant that it must be carried through quickly, while Germany had the advantage, before Russia was ready, and, above all, while he himself was alive. "No one knows how long I shall live. Therefore", he had said in 1937, "let us have war now."1 It was his "irrevocable decision", he declared, "to solve the problem of German living-space" before 1945 at the latest. In 1941 he duly launched his armies to the East, and the Russian armies rolled back before that terrible impact. What wonder if, at such a moment, Hitler saw all his prophecies fulfilled, the German millennium in sight, and himself so clearly established by history as the demiurge of centuries that he could write to his revered ally and exemplar, Benito Mussolini, as Titan to Titan in the birth-pangs of an age: "What I am for Germany, Duce, you are for Italy; but what we shall both be for Europe, only posterity will one day be able to judge" ?2 He had been just in time—"another ten or fifteen years and Russia would have been the mightiest state in the world and two or three centuries would have to pass before any new change"; but now he had carried it off: it was the German, not the Russian millennium that had come. How trivial an adventurer Napoleon now seemed to him in comparison with himself! Napoleon had surrendered to tradition, had made himself Emperor and his relatives kings, had proved himself "only a man, not a world-phenomenon". Hitler would never do that : he would never forget that he was "the practical politician and the political philosopher in one", not just Spengler or Napoleon, but Spengler and Napoleon, a "world-phenomenon"; and for a world-phenomenon suddenly "to drive through the streets of Munich as Emperor in a gilded coach" would be merely ridiculous. Compared with this great problem—the conquest of the East and the establishment thereby of a millennial German Empire with a new racial religion to confirm its rule for ever—all other 1 Trial of the Major War Criminals, Proceedings of I.M.T. Nuremberg, 1946, I., 160, 172-3, and cf. below p. 661. * Hitler e Mussolini, Lettere e Documenti (Milan, 1946), p. 140. XXX INTRODUCTION problems seemed to Hitler secondary. Even the war with the West was secondary. Long ago he had formulated his attitude to the West. The West, in spite of its victory in 1918—achieved only through the famous "Stab in the Back"—and though still powerful at this crucial moment, was, when seen in the long perspective of history, clearly in decline. It could be left to decline. Fundamentally Hitler had no interest in it. For England, indeed, he had some admiration, mixed with envy and hatred. He admired the British as a "pure Germanic people" and a conquering people. On the other hand he envied England as an upstart, self-confident world-power—what right had England to claim a history on the basis of its beggarly three hundred years compared with the thousand-year German Reich?—and he hated it, as so many German nationalists have hated it, as the great Carthage which by trade had colonised the world and sought to strangle the honest land-empire of Germany. But since England and the West were anyway destined ultimately to fall behind, Hitler was content to ignore them if they would keep out of the immediate battle, the great land-struggle now pending in the East. England would surely keep out, for what interest had England in the Ukraine? Hitler was anyway, in his benevolent moods, prepared to "guarantee" the British Empire as an element of stability in the irrelevant maritime world. France, it is true, might have to be knocked out—for France, in the days when Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, was the centre of a system of Eastern alliances. But by 1940 those alliances had gone and France was crushed. Only England was left to lick its wounds, recognise the facts, contract out of the world-struggle, and either moulder quietly away in its Atlantic corner or accept, like the rest of Europe, German patronage. Ultimately the "best" elements in Western civilisation—that is, those elements which were acceptable to Hitler—would be preserved by such patronage, just as Greek culture was preserved by the Roman Empire. . . . Unfortunately this did not happen. England, the England of Winston Churchill, continued obstinately to fight, and, fighting, to inflame the otherwise conquered and quiescent West. To Hitler this was unintelligible, irresponsible, intolerable: it involved him in a naval war which he did not understand and in Mediterranean politics which he could not control, THE M I N D OF A D O L F HITLER XXXI and it fatally interfered with his Eastern project, the be-all and end-all of his war. In the end, English obstinacy was his ruin. Hence the violent hatred with which Hitler pursued the name of Mr. Churchill. He could not respect him as he respected his frontal enemy, Stalin. Stalin, after all, had understood the problem of the twentieth century in the same terms as Hitler—he too was a new Genghiz Khan; Churchill had not: therefore he was simply an unscrupulous adventurer, a drunkard, the grave-digger of England, ' 'and also, in his private life, not a gentleman' '. When the West was reinforced by the American declaration of war, this hysterical abuse was of course extended from England to America, from "toper Churchill" to "criminal Roosevelt". England, America, India, art, music, architecture, the Aryan Jesus, the Bolshevik St. Paul, the Pharaohs, the Maccabees, Julian the Apostate, King Farouk, Viking vegetarianism, the Ptolemaic system, the Ice Age, Shinto, prehistoric dogs, Spartan soup—there was no subject on which, however ignorant, Hitler was not prepared to dogmatise, and it is often difficult to see, through the utter rubbish which surrounds it, the vulgarity with which it is expressed, and the disgusting cruelty which enflâmes it, the hard kernel of Hitler's personal thought. Nevertheless, I think, that hard kernel is there, and can be defined as I have defined it here; and who can say that it has not, in spite of all its hideous and vulgar features, a terrible cohesion, a grim correspondency with the reality which it almost created? It is surprising to me that no historian, as far as I know, has sought to discover the history of Hitler's mind, the impulse which drove him to seek and systematise these formidable ideas, or the sources from which he drew them. What books did Hitler read? What were the numerous volumes, finely bound by Hess's sister, which filled his "large library" in Munich?1 We are not told: his biographers, having dismissed him as an illiterate smatterer, have not thought it worth while to ask such a question. But if he was not a mere smatterer—if, as I have suggested, he was rather a powerful systématiser of ideas, one of those "terrible simplifiers"—he would not him1 2 Hitler Speaks, p. 255. "I have the gift", Hitler said in 1932,' 'of reducing all problems to their simplest foundations". (Hitler Speaks, p. 16.) XXX11 INTRODUCTION self have disclaimed the title2—whose advent on the political scene was so prophetically announced by one of the greatest and profoundest of nineteenth-century historians, then surely we must ask this question. For Hitler's miraculous career is not to be explained by the mere enumeration of his actions, or the registration of his personal behaviour: it is to be explained, if at all, by the mental power which, at some time of his life, he directed to the basic questions of history and politics, revolution and ideology, strategy and power. It was because his views on these subjects were so compulsive that he was able to draw around him, as willing accomplices, not only that nucleus of devoted and fanatical revolutionaries who provided him with his élite, but also those millions of ordinary Germans who, recognising in him the prophet and executor of their half-formulated and since disowned ambitions, followed him readily, even gladly, even to the end, in his monstrous attempt to impose upon the world a barbarian German domination. When did Hitler think out these problems? Since his historians give us no help, and since his early life is so illdocumented (although there are untapped living sources who could perhaps inform us) I shall not seek a firm answer to that question here. Perhaps it was in those early days in Vienna which seemed to their contemporary observers so wasted and trivial—we are told diat he was even then a great client of the lending-libraries and brought home from them "readingmatter by the kilo"—not novels, which (as he tells us) he never read, but books on history and religion, on geography and technology, art-history and architecture.1 He himself claimed to have devoured all five hundred volumes in a Viennese book-store;2 and we know how he read, glancing first at the end, then in the middle, then—when he had some idea of its content—working systematically through it. But accumulation and memorisation is not necessarily thought, and we cannot be sure that Hitler in Vienna did more than accumulate the matter which his powerful mind afterwards arranged in a grim, erroneous system. More probably this stage came later, during 1 Josef Greiner, 2 Zoller, p. 36. Das Ende des Hitler Mythos (Vienna, 1947), p. 83. THE MIND OF A D O L F H I T L E R XXXU1 the war when, as he tells us, he carried the works of Schopenhauer, the philosopher of nihilism and will-power, regularly in his pocket and "learned a great deal" from them. We know, from his secretary, that he could quote Schopenhauer by the page ; and the other German philosopher of will-power, Nietzsche, whose works he afterwards presented to Mussolini, was also often on his lips. The war was certainly an important experience in his life, the only period when, as he afterwards said, he had no material worries, and therefore was free to think. It is probable that his views on Eastern conquest were also formed in the war. Certainly they were at least partially formed by 1920, when he was declaring to one of his earliest audiences that the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, by which Germany had taken from Russia some fifty per cent of its productive capacity, was, compared with the wicked Treaty of Versailles, "infinitely humane".1 Probably it was during the war also that he acquired his interest both in Frederick the Great, the type of heroic will-power, whom by 1933 he recognised as his "great exemplar",2 and in Garlyle, the prophet of hero-worship. Appropriately, in his last defiant stronghold, the besieged Fuehrerbunker in Berlin, Hitler sat beneath the portrait of Frederick the Great and listened to passages from Carlyle's biography of him. Nor was Frederick the Great only a military hero to Hitler: Frederick's cynical letters about religion and his Theological Controversies were also among his favourite reading. From his schooldays Hitler had expressed a neurotic, indeed cheap, detestation of religion, which he often afterwards, with pitiful complacency, delighted to recall, and in his Table-Talk he would praise the "Solomon's wisdom" of Frederick's gibes and recommend them—they had already been selected and published in 1940'—as compulsory reading for the notoriously religious class of generals and admirals. Hider's views on strategy—and already in 1932 eight years before his achievements seemed to justify the hyperbolical title of "the greatest war-lord of all times", he regarded himself as "a great strategist of a new kind, a future war-lord in a sense and to a 1 3 Mein Kampf, p. 389. 2 Hitler Speaks, p. 258. By the Nordland Publishing House, Berlin, which made a speciality of anti-clerical works. XXXIV INTRODUCTION 1 degree hitherto unknown" —were, we know, largely based on Clausewitz, whose works he studied constantly in his military headquarters; but his first studies of Clausewitz had also been made before 1923, no doubt during the war. By the same time he had also read The Protocols of the Elders of %ion, the intellectual justification of his anti-semitism, and Houston Stewart Chamberlain's Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, the avowed and recognisable basis of his racial doctrines.8 Rosenberg's Myth of the Twentieth Century, on the other hand, had negligible influence on Hitler, who admits that he had never been able to read it. It anyway was not published till 1930 when Hitler's mind was formed and fixed. In these ideological matters Hitler was more practical than his own doctrinaire followers: his attitude was that of the layman in religion—he believed the general truth of the doctrine but had no patience with the theological niceties of the priests. Himmler and Rosenberg both had the outlook of priests, and Hitler laughed at them both. But if, as seems probable, Hitler's thinking was nourished in the years of the war, it was, I suggest, in 1924—5 that it was finally crystallised in the systematic form deducible from this Table-Talk. For in 1923-24 Hitler spent a year in prison, and passed his time there not only keeping control over his temporarily disjointed party but also reading and writing. He read, above all, history. He himself, in Mein Kampf, ascribed his original interest in history to his school-teacher at Linz, Dr. Leopold Pötsch, to whom he paid an eloquent but apparently unrequited tribute.3 Others have dismissed this statement as a mere retrospective rationalisation of an interest which Hitler in fact acquired later.4 However this may be, it seems certain that in prison Hitler either plunged or re-plunged into historical reading. It was then, he afterwards said, "that I had leisure to give a historical basis to my philosophy", then that he "deepened various notions previously based on instinct only", then that he 1 Hitler Sfeaks, pp. 17, 19. * Mein Kampf, pp. 544-5, 258 (cf. Hitler Speaks, pp. 235-18), 227. * According to Thomas Orr, Dos war Hitler (Revue, Munich, No. 41/1952). Dr. Pötsch, on receiving two handsome, personally inscribed copies of Mein Kampf from Hitler, acknowledged them formally and gave them away to 4a monastery library. Greiner, p. 53. THE M I N D OF A D O L F HITLER XXXV discovered his mission, his "fearless faith and unshakeable confidence in our destiny", then that, by a study (as he admitted) of Marxist methods, he evolved the plan which he afterwards so skilfully executed, of a coup d'état from within. Schopenhauer's doctrine of the will, Lenin's theory of the capture of power, and Dr. Pötsch's teaching of history were all fused together into a consistent philosophy during that year of imprisonment—a year, like the years in the Army, free from material worries—during which the Wagnerians also solaced the prisoner and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the son-inlaw of Wagner and prophet of racialism, wrote "so kindly" to him. Nor was this the only personal solace he received in that crucial year. Earlier in 1923 he had met for the first time a devoted disciple who now shared his cell and with whom he must often have discussed, and in discussion formulated, his ideas : Rudolf Hess. Now Rudolf Hess did not only come to Hitler as a companion, an amanuensis, a disciple : he was also, in some sense, a teacher. For Hess had lately been studying at Munich University and had been the pupil and friend and enthusiastic follower—he was afterwards to be the assistant—of Professor Karl Haushofer; and Haushofer, as head of the new Geopolitical Institute at Munich, had taken up and was now popularising in Germany those doctrines of Eurasian landpower which, derived from Mackinder, and advanced as the basis of Russo-German agreement, were soon found applicable to a very different purpose: a German conquest of Russia. The result of Hitler's period of intellectual gestation in prison and his association with Hess was, first, Mein Kampf, which Hitler dictated and Hess wrote down and, secondly, an unpublished book by Hitler on foreign policy of which the text has not seen the light but which, we know, advocated peace with England and therefore probably war with Russia, and which Hitler evidently showed to one man only, Rudolf Hess.1 That Hess was a channel whereby Haushofer's geopolitical ideas were conveyed to Hitler's mind, there to be transformed into the doctrine of Eastern Lebensraum, seems to me almost 1 Zoller, pp. 155-6. The book (which was written in 1925) is mentioned by Hitler, below, p. 314. [Since this preface was written, the text has been found and published as Hitler's Zweite Buch, Stuttgart 1961.] XXXVI INTRODUCTION certain. That doctrine, fully developed, was placed, as a "political testament", at the end of Mein Kampf. It remained Hitler's political testament to the end. The last words he is recorded as having written, the valedictory words which he addressed to the German Armed Forces while he was preparing for death in the Berlin Bunker and the Russians were at the gates, were an exhortation "to win territory for the German people in the East". And in 1941, when Hess flew to Scotland with a Tibetan amulet from Sven Hedin in his pocket and an allegorical dream by Professor Haushofer in his mind,1 it was, according to one authority,2 the knowledge of Hitler's mind as revealed in the secret manuscript on foreign policy that drove him to undertake that perilous, idealist, lunatic adventure. This, then, was the positive character of Hitler's mind. But it had a negative side also, and no account or analysis of it can be complete without reference to the yawning emptiness which, on certain sides, bounded its hard, clear, monolithic structure. For if we know some of the books that Hitler read, and the subjects which he studied, and from which he built his monstrous, but, to many Germans, compelling philosophy, equally we know—and it is almost as important—some of the books which he did not read, some of the subjects which never engaged his otherwise roving, predatory, gluttonous mind. "A man", said Bishop Berkeley, "who hath not much meditated upon God, the human mind and the summum bonum, may possibly make a thriving earthworm, but will most indubitably make a sorry patriot and a sorry statesman." Hitler was a patriot and a statesman of this sorry kind. He never meditated on these things. No word he ever uttered even so much as touched the human spirit. His views on art were worthless. He did not know the meaning of humanity. Weakness he despised, and pity (being sympathy with weakness) he despised also. It was Humanitätsduselei, humanitarian stupidity. And if he despised physical weakness he also, in others, hated moral strength. What he admired in Stalin was only the craft, the cruelty and the success which he discovered in that rival 1 1. R. Rces, The Case of Rudolf Hess (London, 1947), pp. 16,18-19. Zoller, pp. 155-6. 2 THE M I N D OF A D O L F HITLER XXXV11 revolutionary career; the British refusal to be defeated simply drove him into paroxysms of petulant hatred. Only his own strength, his own will, his own faith had for him any merit: the qualities themselves, to him, were valueless. Love meant nothing to him—it was simply a competition in which the most Nazi of he-Germans deserved the most conventionally well-proportioned of she-Germans,1 and there is something repulsive in his conception of it, not cynical, nor coarse, but simply mean, mechanical, inhuman. Children were to him merely the continually replaceable (and therefore continually expendable) means of conquest and colonisation. He had views indeed on Nature and often spoke of his "communion" with it, but it was a hideous Nature, the devouring Nature whose cruelty justified his own : not a sociable pagan Nature of nymphhaunted woods and populated streams, but a romantic Wagnerian Nature of horrid Alps in whose intoxicating solitude he could best hatch his own equally violent and implacable interventions. And as for the purpose of human life, that futile quest which nevertheless is an index of humanity, it was for him merely that Germans should be the masters of the world. The mind goes back to earlier conquerors and colonists, as brutal no doubt as the Germans—the Arab armies, the Prankish crusaders, the Spanish conquistadors. They too murdered and destroyed, oppressed and enslaved, burnt and desolated. But always—erroneously, no doubt—they subordinated their most violent actions to an impersonal end, which, when the dust of battle and conquest had settled, imposed humility even on the conquerors, so that now, looking back, we forget the incidental cruelties and see only churches and mosques, hospitals and schools, built not merely for the convenience of the victors, but for the service ofthat abstract God or that concrete humanity to which they also felt themselves subject. To Hitler all this was completely alien; and it is for this reason, I think, that his ultimate conception of German culture is so utterly revolting. To him it was simply a question of more cakes for Germans and less for non-Germans. He was a complete and rigid materialist, without sympathy or even tolerance for those immaterial hopes or fears or imaginations or illusions which, however absurdly, 1 See, on this subject, Zoller, Hitler Privat, pp. 105, 115. XXXViii INTRODUCTION cast a faint ennobling gleam on the actions of mankind. To Hitler all this immaterial world was simply Mumpitz. Moral values—the whole scale of better or worse—since they depend on immaterial criteria, simply did not exist for him: "I have not come into the world", he would say, "to make men better, but to make use of their weaknesses", and, like Shakespeare's Caesar, he expressed an open preference for corrupt men, whose weaknesses he could so use, over "ascetics with rings under their eyes"—those "lean and hungry" men who "think too much", and whom alone he feared. And to what end did he wish to use the weaknesses that he thus preferred? So that the Germans, whom he despised, might eat more than those whom he despised even more. And when they had eaten enough, what then? Achilles gave back the body of Hector. The Christian crusader rests on his sculptured tomb, the priests sing for his soul, and by his will an almshouse is founded to relief of lazars and weak age of indigent faint souls past corporal toil ; an illusion is perhaps perpetuated, but humanity is served and art prolonged. To Hitler such a world was not only unintelligible but inconceivable: "hating all idealism, he found it quite normal that the bodies of his political prisoners should be burnt and their ashes used by his SS-guards to manure their gardens". Naturally such a man, in his reading and talking, felt no need of the humanities. "Though he ranged over almost every field of human thought", says his secretary, "I nevertheless felt that something was missing. Even now I cannot exactly define it. But it seems to me that his spate of words lacked the human note, the spiritual quality of a cultivated man. In his library he had no classic work, no single book on which the human spirit had left its trace."1 And yet this spiritual dustbowl, this earthbound, ignoble cynic, called himself an artist, fancied that the cultivated Popes of the Renaissance would have found him a congenial companion, and uttered his pert and trivial dogmas on the works of the spirit as if he had returned from meditation on Helicon. Such, then,—if we can see past the decomposing intellectual 1 Zoller, p. 115,49. THE M I N D OF A D O L F HITLER XXXix litter around it—was Hitler's mind, as it emerged from the crystallising experiences of his year in the Landsberg prison, such its ruthless systematising power, such its dreadful human nakedness. From that date, as it seems to me, it was fixed: in the next twenty years it expressed itself in action. The experience of the Kampfzeit, the wider range of activity both before and after the Machtergreifung of January 1933, must have added illustrative detail; contact with the clear organising intelligence of Goebbels—whom Hitler had first met in 1922—no doubt sharpened its outlines and perhaps supplied a more intellectual basis to his social thinking; the mere practice of these soliloquies must also have supplied many missing links and greased, as it were, the working of his ideas; but substantially, in its basic philosophy and its ultimate aims, the mind remained constant : a terrible phenomenon, imposing indeed in its granitic harshness and yet infinitely squalid in its miscellaneous cumber —like some huge barbarian monolith, the expression of giant strength and savage genius, surrounded by a festering heap of refuse—old tins and dead vermin, ashes and eggshells and ordure—the intellectual detritus of centuries. Every glimpse that we have of it in those years—in Mein Kampf in 1924, in Rauschning's versions of the Table-Talk of 1933, in occasional secret speeches of which the record has survived, and now in this full record of the Table-Talk of 1941-44—shows its consistency. Clearest of all, by reason of its range and the triumphant circumstances of its delivery, is this Table-Talk: the selfrevelation of the most formidable among the "terrible simplifiers" of history, the most systematic, the most historical, the most philosophical, and yet the coarsest, cruellest, least magnanimous conqueror the world has ever known. i6th March 1953 Christ Church, Oxford PART ONE 1941 5th July—31st December 3 I Saturday, 5th July 1941 Aryans and Russians—Necessity of the mailed fist in Russia—Deterioration of soil. What we need is a collective view of people's wish to live and manner of living. We must distinguish between the Fascist popular movement and the popular movement in Russia. The Fascist movement is a spontaneous return to the traditions of ancient Rome. The Russian movement has an essential tendency towards anarchy. By instinct, the Russian does not incline towards a higher form of society. Certain peoples can live in such a way that with them a collection of family units does not make a whole; and although Russia has set up a social system which, judged by Western standards, qualifies for the designation " State ", it is not, in fact, a system which is either congenial or natural to her. It is true that, in a sense, every product of human culture, every work gifted with beauty can be born only of the effect of the constraint which we call education. The Aryan peoples are peoples who are particularly active. A man like Krümel works from morning to night; such-andsuch another person never stops thinking. In the same way, the Italian is as diligent as an ant (bienenfleissig). In the eyes of the Russian, the principal support of civilisation is vodka. His ideal consists in never doing anything but the indispensable. Our conception of work (work, and then more of it!) is one that he submits to as if it were a real curse. It is doubtful whether anything at all can be done in Russia without the help of the Orthodox priest. It's the priest who has been able to reconcile the Russian to the fatal necessity of work —by promising him more happiness in another world. The Russian will never make up his mind to work except under compulsion from outside, for he is incapable of organising himself. And if, despite everything, he is apt to have organisation thrust upon him, that is thanks to the drop of Aryan blood in his veins. It's only because of this drop that the Russian people has created something and possesses an organised State, It takes energy to rule Russia. The corollary is that, the 4 COAL AND P E T R O L E U M R E S E R V E S tougher a country's régime, the more appropriate it is that equity and justice should be practised there. The horse that is not kept constantly under control forgets in the wink of an eye the rudiments of training that have been inculcated into it. In the same way, with the Russian, there is an instinctive force that invariably leads him back to the state of nature. People sometimes quote the case of the horses that escaped from a ranch in America, and by some ten years later had formed huge herds of wild horses. It is so easy for an animal to go back to its origins ! For the Russian, the return to the state of nature is a return to primitive forms of life. The family exists, the female looks after her children, like the female of the hare, with all the feelings of a mother. But the Russian doesn't want anything more. His reaction against the constraint of the organised State (which is always a constraint, since it limits the liberty of the individual) is brutal and savage, like all feminine reactions. When he collapses and should yield, the Russian bursts into lamentations. This will to return to the state of nature is exhibited in his revolutions. For the Russian, the typical form of revolution is nihilism. I think there's still petroleum in thousands of places. As for coal, we know we're reducing the natural reserves, and that in so doing we are creating gaps in the sub-soil. But as for petroleum, it may be that the lakes from which we are drawing are constantly renewed from invisible reservoirs. Without doubt, man is the most dangerous microbe imaginable. He exploits the ground beneath his feet without ever asking whether he is disposing thus of products that would perhaps be indispensable to the life of other regions. If one examined the problem closely, one would probably find here the origin of the catastrophes that occur periodically in the earth's surface. 2 Night of 5th-6th July 1941, 11.30 p.m.-i.so a.m. The shortening of space by roads—The frontier of the Urals—Moscow must disappear—The treasures of the Hermitage. The beauties of the Crimea, which we shall make accessible by means of an autobahn—for us Germans, that will be our H O L I D A Y S IN THE NEW E U R O P E 5 Riviera. Crete is scorching and dry. Cyprus would be lovely, but we can reach the Crimea by road. Along that road lies Kiev! And Croatia, too, a tourists' paradise for us. I expect that after the war there will be a great upsurge of rejoicing. Better than the railway, which has something impersonal about it, it's the road that will bring peoples together. What progress in the direction of the New Europe! Just as the autobahn has caused the inner frontiers of Germany to disappear, so it will abolish the frontiers of the countries of Europe. To those who ask me whether it will be enough to reach the Urals as a frontier, I reply that for the present it is enough for the frontier to be drawn back as far as that. What matters is that Bolshevism must be exterminated. In case of necessity, we shall renew our advance wherever a new centre of resistance is formed. Moscow, as the centre of the doctrine, must disappear from the earth's surface, as soon as its riches have been brought to shelter. There's no question of our collaborating with the Muscovite proletariat. Anyhow, St. Petersburg, as a city, is incomparably more beautiful than Moscow. Probably the treasures of the Hermitage have not been stored at the Kremlin, as they were during the first World War, but in the country-houses—unless they've been shifted to the cities east of Moscow, or still further by river. 3 Night of 11 th-12 th July 1941 The natural piety of man—Russian atheists know how to die—No atheistical education. I think the man who contemplates the universe with his eyes wide open is the man with the greatest amount of natural piety: not in the religious sense, but in the sense of an intimate harmony with things. At the end of the last century the progress of science and technique led liberalism astray into proclaiming man's mastery of nature, and announcing that he would soon have dominion over space. But a simple storm is enough—and everything collapses like a pack of cards! In any case, we shall learn to become familiar with the laws by which life is governed, and acquaintance with the laws of THE NATURE OF GOD nature will guide us on the path of progress. As for the why of these laws, we shall never know anything about it. A thing is so, and our understanding cannot conceive of other schemes. Man has discovered in nature the wonderful notion of that all-mighty being whose law he worships. Fundamentally in everyone there is the feeling for this allmighty, which we call God (that is to say, the dominion of natural laws throughout the whole universe). The priests, who have always succeeded in exploiting this feeling, threaten punishments for the man who refuses to accept the creed they impose. When one provokes in a child a fear of the dark, one awakens in him a feeling of atavistic dread. Thus this child will be ruled all his life by this dread, whereas another child, who has been intelligently brought up, will be free of it. It's said that every man needs a refuge where he can find consolation and help in unhappiness. I don't believe it! If humanity follows that path, it's solely a matter of tradition and habit. That's a lesson, by the way, that can be drawn from the Bolshevik front. The Russians have no God, and that doesn't prevent them from being able to face death. We don't want to educate anyone in atheism. 4 Nightofii th- is th July 1941 National Socialism and religion cannot exist together—No persecution of religions, let them wither of themselves— Bolshevism, the illegitimate child of Christianity—Origin of the Spartan gruel—The Latvian morons—Stalin, one of history's most remarkable figures. When National Socialism has ruled long enough, it will no longer be possible to conceive of a form of life different from ours. In the long run, National Socialism and religion will no longer be able to exist together. On a question from C. S., whether this antagonism might mean a war, the Fuehrer continued: No, it does not mean a war. The ideal solution would be to leave the religions to devour themselves, without persecutions. CHRISTIANITY, ISLAM, ROMAN EMPIRE J But in that case we must not replace the Church by something equivalent. That would be terrifying! It goes without saying that the whole thing needs a lot of thought. Everything will occur in due time. It is a simple question of honesty, that's what it will finally boil down to. In England, the status of the individual in relation to the Church is governed by considerations of State. In America, it's all purely a matter of conformism. The German people's especial quality is patience; and it's the only one of the peoples capable of undertaking a revolution in this sphere. It could do it, if only for the reason that only the German people has made moral law the governing principle of action. The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity's illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity. Bolshevism practises a lie of the same nature, when it claims to bring liberty to men, whereas in reality it seeks only to enslave them. In the ancient world, the relations between men and gods were founded on an instinctive respect. It was a world enlightened by the idea of tolerance. Christianity was the first creed in the world to exterminate its adversaries in the name of love. Its key-note is intolerance. Without Christianity, we should not have had Islam. The Roman Empire, under Germanic influence, would have developed in the direction of world-domination, and humanity would not have extinguished fifteen centuries of civilisation at a single stroke. Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things. The result of the collapse of the Roman Empire was a night that lasted for centuries. The Romans had no dislike of the Germans. This is shown by the mere fact that blond hair was fashionable with them. Amongst the Goths there were many men with dark hair. The Italian, Spanish, French and English dialects were created by mixtures of local languages with the linguistic 8 STALIN'S BUREAUCRATIC GOVERNMENT elements imported by the migrant peoples. At first they were mere vernaculars, until a poet was found who forged the nation's language. It takes five or six centuries for a language to be born. The conqueror of a country is forced to adapt himself to the local language. That is why language is not the immovable monument on which a people's characteristics are inscribed. A people's way of eating, for example, is racially more typical— for every man remains persuaded in his heart that his mother is the best cook. When I tasted the soup of the people of SchleswigHolstein, it occurred to me that the gruel of the Spartans cannot have been very different. In the time of the great migrations, the tribes were the product of ceaseless mixtures. The men who arrived in the South were not the same as those who went away. One can imagine two hundred young Friesians setting out for the South, like a tank setting out across country, and carrying with them men belonging to other tribes. The Groats are certainly more Germanic than Slav. The Esthonians, too, have a lot of Germanic blood. The Esthonians are the élite of the Baltic peoples. Then come the Lithuanians, and lastly the Latvians. Stalin used Latvians for the executions which the Russians found disgusting. They're the same people who used to have the job of executioners in the old empire of the Tsars. Stalin is one of the most extraordinary figures in world history. He began as a small clerk, and he has never stopped being a clerk. Stalin owes nothing to rhetoric. He governs from his office, thanks to a bureaucracy that obeys his every nod and gesture. It's striking that Russian propaganda, in the criticisms it makes of us, always holds itself within certain limits. Stalin, that cunning Caucasian, is apparently quite ready to abandon European Russia, if he thinks that a failure to solve her problems would cause him to lose everything. Let nobody think Stalin might reconquer Europe from the Urals! It is as if I were installed in Slovakia, and could set out from there and reconquer the Reich. This is the catastrophe that will cause the loss of the Soviet Empire. L U T H E R , D A N T E AND M U S S O L I N I 5 9 Night of 21st-22nd July 1941 Gratitude to the Jesuits—Protestant fanaticism—Similarities between Germany and Italy—Dante and Luther—The Duce is one of the Caesars—The march on Rome—a turningpoint in history—Delightful Italian towns—Rome and Paris. When all's said, we should be grateful to the Jesuits. Who knows if, but for them, we might have abandoned Gothic architecture for the light, airy, bright architecture of the Counter-Reformation? In the face of Luther's efforts to lead an upper clergy that had acquired profane habits back to mysticism, the Jesuits restored to the world the joy of the senses. It's certain that Luther had no desire to mould humanity to the letter of the Scriptures. He has a whole series of reflections in which he clearly sets himself against the Bible. He recognises that it contains a lot of bad things. Fanaticism is a matter of climate—for Protestantism, too, has burnt its witches. Nothing ofthat sort in Italy, The Southerner has a lighter attitude towards matters of faith. The Frenchman has personally an easy way of behaving in his churches. With us, it's enough not to kneel to attract attention. But Luther had the merit of rising against the Pope and the organisation of the Church. It was the first of the great revolutions. And thanks to his translation of the Bible, Luther replaced our dialects by the great German language! It's remarkable to observe the resemblances between the evolution of Germany and that of Italy. The creators of the language, Dante and Luther, rose against the oecumenical desires of the papacy. Each of the two nations was led to unity, against the dynastic interests, by one man. They achieved their unity against the will of the Pope. I must say, I always enjoy meeting the Duce. He's a great personality. It's curious to think that, at the same period as myself, he was working in the building trade in Germany. Our programme was worked out in 1919, and at that time I knew nothing about him. Our doctrines are based on the foundations IO ART T R E A S U R E S IN E U R O P E A N CITIES proper to each of them, but every man's way of thinking is a result. Don't suppose that events in Italy had no influence on us. The brown shirt would probably not have existed without the black shirt. The march on Rome, in 1922, was one of the turning-points of history. The mere fact that anything of the sort could be attempted, and could succeed, gave us an impetus. A few weeks after the march on Rome, I was received by the Minister Schweyer. That would never have happened otherwise. If Mussolini had been outdistanced by Marxism, I don't know whether we could have succeeded in holding out. At that period National Socialism was a very fragile growth. If the Duce were to die, it would be a great misfortune for Italy. As I walked with him in the gardens of the Villa Borghese, I could easily compare his profile with that of the Roman busts, and I realised he was one of the Caesars. There's no doubt at all that Mussolini is the heir of the great men of that period. Despite their weaknesses, the Italians have so many qualities that make us like them. Italy is the country where intelligence created the notion of the State. The Roman Empire is a great political creation, the greatest of all. The Italian people's musical sense, its liking for harmonious proportions, the beauty of its race! The Renaissance was the dawn of a new era, in which Aryan man found himself anew. There's also our own past on Italian soil. A man who is indifferent to history is a man without hearing, without sight. Such a man can live, of course—but what a life? The magic of Florence and Rome, of Ravenna, Siena, Perugia! Tuscany and Umbria, how lovely they are! The smallest palazzo in Florence or Rome is worth more than all Windsor Castle. If the English destroy anything in Florence or Rome, it will be a crime. In Moscow, it wouldn't do any great harm; nor in Berlin, unfortunately. I've seen Rome and Paris, and I must say that Paris, with the exception of the Arc de Triomphe, has nothing on the scale of the Coliseum, or the Castle of San Angelo, or St. Peter's. These monuments, which are the product of a collective effort, have WISH TO W A N D E R AS P A I N T E R IN ITALY 11 ceased to be on the scale of the individual. There's something queer about the Paris buildings, whether it's those bull's-eye windows, so badly proportioned, or those gables that obliterate whole façades. If I compare the Pantheon in Rome with the Pantheon in Paris, what a poor building—and what sculptures ! What I saw in Paris has disappeared from my memory : Rome really seized hold of me. When the Duce came to Berlin, we gave him a magnificent reception. But our journey in Italy, that was something else! The reception when we arrived, with all the ceremonial. The visit to the Quirinal. Naples, apart from the castle, might be anywhere in South America. But there's always the courtyard of the royal palace. What nobility of proportions ! My dearest wish would be to be able to wander about in Italy as an unknown painter. 6 Night of the 22nd-23rd July 1941 British arrogance—The birth of German industry—Trade competition with Britain—Steps towards a durable understanding between Germany and Britain—Dearth of philosophic and artistic sense of the British. The Englishman is superior to the German in one respect— that of pride. Only the man who knows how to give orders has pride. Everywhere in the world, Germans are working without getting the wages they deserve. Their abilities are r