Thursday 22 November 2012
(Photo: Paris, 1938, on the Right Bank of the Seine, likely the 8th Arrondisement. Scenes from Alan Furst's thrilling and shadowy "Mission to Paris." at 11 PM ET)
Notre Dame in the snows of early 1938, from the Left Bank of the Seine.)
905P: Gina Apostol, author, Gun Dealer’s Daughter, A Novel. 1 of 2.
“Philippine National Book Award–winner Apostol chronicles a country in political turmoil in her vertiginous American debut. ...Poetically told...Apostol offers an intriguing and significant view of Marcos-era Philippines in this complex and feverish novel.” (Publishers Weekly )
920P: Gina Apostol 2 of 2.
Soon after she leaves home for university in Manila, Soledad Soliman (Sol) transforms herself from bookish rich girl to communist rebel. But is her allegiance to the principles of Mao or to Jed, the comrade she’s in love with? Can she really be a part of the movement or is she just a “useful fool,” a spoiled brat playing at revolution? Far from the Philippines, in a mansion overlooking the Hudson River, Sol confesses her youthful indiscretions, unable to get past the fatal act of communist fervor that locked her memory in an endless loop. Rich with wordplay and unforgettable imagery, Gun Dealers’ Daughter combines the momentum of an amnesiac thriller with the intellectual delights of a Borgesian puzzle. In her American debut, award-winning author Gina Apostol delivers a riveting novel that illuminates the conflicted and little-known history of the Philippines, a country deeply entwined with our own.
"A glimpse into a frightening subculture unlike anything that a typical American has ever experienced. . . . With crackling prose, Faleiro provides an intense, disconcertingly entertaining [look] into the shadowy corners of a foreign culture; the fast-paced narrative, while undeniably journalistic, reads like a thriller. But what ultimately gives the book its resonance is Faleiro's empathy and love for her fully developed subjects. In lesser hands, these young people could have come off as clichés, but the author makes sure we care for them and root for them to survive a life that most will never understand. Gritty, gripping, and often heartbreaking—an impressive piece of narrative nonfiction."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
955P: Sonia Faleiro 2 of 2.
"In India, despite the staggering number of fabulous stories that are waiting to be told, we have been mostly deprived of good literary nonfiction - a genre which Edward Hume describes as one that combines 'the immediacy of journalism and the power of true accounts with the texture, read, drama, emotional punch, point of view and broad themes of a novel.' This is what Faleiro has achieved in her riveting story-telling, as she draws out the relationship between nineteen-year-old Leela and the dance bar, Night Lovers, with its golden pillars and Medusa heads."—Times of India
1005P: Buddy Guy, When I left Home: My Story, 1 of 2
Publishers Weekly, 4/16/12
“As mesmerizing a storyteller as a guitarist, Guy, writing with Ritz, regales readers with tales of growing up picking cotton in rural Alabama, of seeing his first guitar and standing transfixed in front of Lightning Slim for several hours just memorizing the movements of Slim’s hands, of his father’s friend buying his first guitar for him, and of his endless efforts to play the blues as he had heard and seen Slim and others play…Guy’s memoir is a joyous celebration of the blues, one of our greatest musical treasures.”
1020P: Buddy Guy 2 of 2
BluesPowR blog, 5/10/12
“When I Left Home covers an amazing amount of ground in its close to 300 pages…Relayed in a simple, conversational manner, the book does a terrific job of documenting the life of one of blues music's biggest living stars, making it a must-read for any fan of the blues…When I Left Home isn't, as the title indicates, just Buddy's story; in many respects, this is a story of the blues.”
Eiffel Tower, 1938
1035P: Buddy Guy 3 of 4
DownBeat, July 2012
“Buddy Guy is a stellar storyteller…The guitarist relates the fascinating story of his life in the well-organized, speedily read When I Left Home…Guy weighs in on the blues experience, good and bad, maintaining a warmth of spirit…Guy gives his two cents on blues Chicago without lapsing into romanticizing…Buddy Guy’s smile on the cover of When I Left Home is every but a lasting image for modern blues.”
1050P: Buddy Guy, 4 of 4
Buddy Guy was born in 1936 in Lettsworth, Louisiana. He is considered among the best blues guitarists alive today. He lives in Chicago. David Ritz is the coauthor of many bestselling autobiographies of musicians, including Ray Charles, Etta James, Scott Weiland, Grandmaster Flash, and more. He is the author of Divided Soul, the definitive biography of Marvin Gaye, and lives in Los Angeles.
Marlene Dietrich in Paris, 1938, likely like the Fall, with husband Rudy Sieber.)
1105P: 1 of 2 Alan Furst, Mission to Paris, A Novel
“Alan Furst’s writing reminds me of a swim in perfect water on a perfect day, fluid and exquisite. One wants the feeling to go on forever, the book to never end … Like Graham Greene, Furst creates believable characters caught up, with varying degrees of willingness, in the parade of political life. And because they care, the reader does, too … Furst is one of the finest spy novelists working today, and, from boudoir to the beach, Mission to Paris is perfect summer reading.”
1120P: Alan Furst 2 of 2
“This is the romantic Paris to make a tourist weep … The brilliant historical flourishes seem to create – or recreate – a world … In Furst’s densely populated books, hundred of minor characters – clerks, chauffeurs, soldiers, whores – all whirl around his heroes in perfect focus for a page or two, then dot by dot, face by face, they vanish, leaving a heartbreaking sense of the vast Homeric epic that was World War II and the smallness of almost every life that was caught up in it.”
—The New York Times Book Review
1135P: Ismet Prcic, Shards, A Novel, 1 of 2
"Experimental and brutal and heart-wrenching . . . You just give in to it, as you do when reading someone like Faulkner. . . . What makes Shards so compelling is, first of all, the language . . . which has an almost ferocious beauty. Secondly, and as important, is the organization of the book, which gives it a sense of urgency. . . . Ismet's confusion is so vivid that it becomes ours, making us participants in this story. . . . To have had such a life when you are so young is hard to convey without becoming sentimental or pathetic, yet Prcic has done it brilliantly."
—The Arts Fus
May Day, 1938, in Berlin.
1150P: Ismet Prcic, Shards, A Novel, 2 of 2
"Brilliant . . . With verbal glee, Prcic serves up a darkly comic vision of the terrors and misunderstandings of immigration. Tight, glorious little tales-within-tales abound, rattled off with a quick, artless naturalism. . . . The writing is packed with one original metaphor after another, language that's almost drunk with colorful, startling images. . . . Brimming with scraps of memory, regrets, and rationalizations, Shards leaves an indelible scar on the reader's imagination. Prcic has pieced together a young man's story from the torn and exploded remains of his former life, and the sheer power of his language leaves the reader shaken."
1205A:, Gina Apostol, author, Gun Dealer’s Daughter, A Novel. 1 of 2
Gina Apostol won the Philippine National Book Award for her first two novels, Bibliolepsy and The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata. She teaches at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
1220A: Gina Apostol, author, Gun Dealer’s Daughter, A Novel. 2 of 2
"As a first person narrator who makes her presence felt only occasionally, Faleiro presents what is revealed to her without judgement or heavy-handed emotion. She has collected a wonderful set of characters to act as our guides in Beautiful Thing. Aside from Leela, there’s Aunty, who runs a brothel in Aksa Beach; Masti, a rare example of a hijra accepted by her family; Shetty, the owner of a dance bar; Priya, Leela’s friend; Apsara, Leela’s mother; and a Dubai-based fixer who claims to be Abu Salem’s right hand man. Well-paced, sharply-observed and full of respectful curiosity, Beautiful Thing is difficult to put down."—Mumbai Boss
"In a fast-paced, conversational, high-octance circumstantial style, the contradictions of Leela's hedonistic, heartbreaking life as a badass Lolita crossed with a naively knowing Sweet Charity are thoroughly and empathetically explored. Her rich character is sparked to vivid life in a highly colored work of brilliant literary reportage."—The Times (UK)
February 20, 1938, at the Reichstag, with the Dictator.
My Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag!
I know that you, and with you the German Volk, expected to be called together for a commemoration of the fifth anniversary of our take-over that you, as the duly elected representatives of the Reich, might commemorate with me that so memory-laden beginning of a new historic departure of our Volk.
The decision to convene the Reichstag today instead was made for two reasons:
1. I held it to be fitting to make a number of personnel changes not prior to, but after January 30; and
2. I felt it was necessary to bring about beforehand an urgently required clarification regarding a certain aspect of our foreign relations.
For you all have good reason to expect that such a day will provide not only a retrospective on the past, but also a glimpse into the future. Both of these shall be the objective and the content of my speech to you today.
When, at noon of January 30 five years ago, Reich President and Field Marshal von Hindenburg entrusted to me the chancellorship and hence the leadership of the Reich, we National Socialists perceived this to constitute a turning point for the fate of Germany.
The day I entered the building on the Wilhelmsplatz as the head of the largest opposition party and emerged as the Fuhrer and Chancellor of the nation was a turning point in the history of our Volk, then, now, and for all time to come.
Hitler and Speer Poring over Plans for Berlin, 1938, Germany
When in a country hundreds of thousands of peasants are faced with the loss of their buildings and land-when hundreds of thousands of industrial workers lose their daily bread-when tens of thousands of companies are forced to close their gates, and their staff and workers are dismissed-when an army of more than six million unemployed, which is steadily increasing, weighs ever heavier on the finances of the Reich, the Lander and the communities, and in spite of this support can scarcely afford the bare necessities of life-when a spiritual proletariat evolves for which the education they have enjoyed turns out to be more a curse than a blessing when old, flourishing industrial cities decay, and large sectors virtually begin to become extinct for lack of markets for their products-when in others, the children do not have teeth at three or four years old as a result of horrendous poverty and its ensuing undernourishment-when neither bread nor milk can be procured for them-when the remark of a hardhearted foe to the effect that twenty million people too many are living in our German Volk is nearly proven true by the horrors of reality, then such a Volk will not cry out for journalistic scribes or parliamentary gabblers; it will not cry out for investigation committees, for international debates, for ridiculous referenda, or for the shallow clichés of foreign and domestic socalled “statesmen!” No! It cries out for the action that will bring salvation, beyond talk and stupid newspaper articles. It has no interest in the literary treatises of drawing-room-Bolshevist international correspondents; its interest lies solely in the help which will jerk it back from the outermost edge! And above all: he who feels himself called upon to take on the task of leading a Volk in such an hour is not responsible to the laws of parliamentary procedure, nor is he under obligation to a certain democratic standpoint; he is bound exclusively to the mission assigned to him. And he who interferes with this mission is an enemy of the people-regardless of whether he attempts to interfere as a Bolshevist, a democrat, a revolutionary terrorist, or a reactionary dreamer.
In such a time of crisis, he who lazily meanders across the land quoting the Bible and spending the live-long day either doing nothing or criticizing the actions of others, is not acting in the name of God; instead, it is he who lends his prayer the most sacred form which connects a man to his God: labor! And when today I account for myself before the German Volk, I can proudly and openly face all those hundreds of thousands and millions who arc forced to work themselves to earn their daily bread in the city and the country.
Hitler visiting Great German Art Exhibition, 1938, Germany
In these past five years, I too have been a worker. Yet my personal concerns were multiplied by the concern for the existence and the future of sixty-eight million others. And just as these others rightly refuse to tolerate that their work is disrupted by good-for-nothings or layabouts, I too refused to tolerate that my work be obstructed by good-for-nothings, n’er-do-wells, or malicious or lazy elements.
I had a right here to turn against anyone who, instead of doing his part, regarded his mission as consisting solely in the critical observation and appraisal of our work. Neither does faith relieve one of the obligation to fall into line with the work of those who are accomplishing the salvation of a nation. The fact that I had a right to protect my work and the work of all of us from such public troublemakers is something I would now like to document in the fruits of this work. They are undisputed, yet above all: they are all the more remarkable because, in most cases, I did not have the models of past achievements to rely upon as examples; I had only my own sound common sense and the earnest desire to never capitulate before obstacles, but instead to spite them with courage and bravery.
At this time I would also like to make another observation: if today Germany has in fact been rescued economically, the German Volk owes this solely to its own leadership and its own effort. Foreign countries have had no part in this at all. With the exception of hate-filled rejection or a stupid knowall manner, we are aware of nothing which could even be seen as a positive interest for Germany, not to mention help.
Hitler and Hungary's Admiral Horthy at a performance of Wagner's "Lohengrin" in Berlin in August 1938. The performance had been deemed a "gala" performance in honor of Horthy's state visit.
Allow me now to give you a short excerpt from our economic life which proves in plain figures whether and to what extent National Socialism has solved these problems.
And when I now round out this picture of the upswing of German life which I wish to show you, using only very few proofs and figures taken from the huge number available, I can find no closing more splendid than the one illustrated in our increasing number of births! In the year 1932, 970,000 children were born. This figure was increasing annually and reached the mark of 1,270,000 in 1937. All told, since National Socialism took power, approximately 1,160,000 more children have been bestowed upon the German Volk! Not only are they a reason for us to be proud of our German women; they are also a reason to be grateful to our Providence. To enable the nation to accomplish its incomparable work in peace, 1,160,000 young new Volksgenossen were bestowed upon it in the space of five years, living proof of the tremendous work of the National Socialist uplifting of our Volk and the blessing of our Lord God
My Deputies! Men of the Reichstag! In this very brief excerpt, I have attempted, by presenting stark and plain figures, to lay before you and the German Volk documentary evidence for the work of construction, a work which is unique in terms both of its dimensions and its effect. My entire staff and I myself-and with us the entire German Volk-can be proud of five years in which such gigantic achievements were accomplished in every area of our economic life. How ridiculous, in comparison, is the criticism of all those who have nothing to offer in the face of the National Socialist work of reconstruction other than the mumbling (Gestammel) of their stupidity or their spitefulness!
In the past few weeks, you have been hearing certain foreign journalists with their, for us, simply incomprehensible talk, in which they claim-in 1938-that the influence of National Socialism has just spread to the Foreign Office, or that at present there is a struggle going on between the Reichswehr- the fact that, in the meantime, there is a German Wehrmacht is something these miserable wretches (armselige Tropfe) have apparently missed out on- and the Party, or that the National Socialist “wing” is about to draw the economy into its sphere of influence, and more of the same nonsense. How little they understand the essence of our National Socialist Revolution!
Thus within the space of but a few years, National Socialism has compensated for what centuries before it had omitted, and put right what countless generations before it had done wrong.
Erler, Berlin, 1938.
One of these accomplishments [of National Socialism] is above all the formation of a leadership of the Volk and State that is as far removed from parliamentary democracy as it is from a military dictatorship. In National Socialism, the Volk has been given the leadership which, as a party, has not only mobilized but also organized the nation, and organized it such that the supremely natural principle of selection would appear to indicate that the continued existence of a secure political leadership is guaranteed. And this is perhaps one of the proudest chapters in the history of the past five years.
Contrary to what a small international scribe perhaps believes, National Socialism did not conquer the Foreign Ministry in Germany on February 4; it has possessed Germany in its entirety since that day I emerged from the building on the Wilhelmsplatz five years ago as Reich is Chancellor, and possessed it totally and without exception. There is not a single institution in this state which is not National Socialist. [-] In terms of leadership, the greatest safeguard of the National Socialist Revolution at home and abroad lies in the fact that the National Socialist Party encompasses, in a comprehensive sense, the Reich and all its facilities and institutions. The Reich’s protection against the world, on the other hand, lies in the new National Socialist Wehrmacht.
Party Comrades! At this time eighteen years ago I first announced the program of the Party.
Back then, in the time of utter German humiliation, of the greatest impotence and unimaginable misery, I proclaimed the goal of the National Socialist Party as being, among other things, the elimination of the mercenary army forced upon us by the Treaty of Versailles, and the formation of a great, strong German Volksheer.
It was as an unknown German soldier at the front that I put together this bold program, fighting for it for fourteen years in opposition to a world of domestic foes and foreign haters, and in the space of five years I have now turned it into reality! I do not need to go into detail on this, the greatest accomplishment of the new Reich. I only want to announce the following: The German peace army has been assembled! A tremendous German Luftwaffe is protecting our homeland! A new power at sea is protecting our shores! In the midst of a gigantic increase in our general production, it has been possible to build up an armament beyond compare! If it serves as an inner comfort to the wise men abroad, then as far as we are concerned, let them believe that there are God knows how many disputes between the Wehrmacht and National Socialism in Germany. We would be the last to deprive them of this type of inner self-satisfaction. Yet if they should ever come to other conclusions beyond these, let them be told the following: In Germany there is no such thing as the problem of the National Socialist State and the National Socialist Party, nor of the National Socialist Party and the National Socialist Wehrmacht. In this Reich, everyone who holds any type of responsible position is a National Socialist! Every man wears the sovereign symbol of National Socialism on his brow. Every institution in the Reich is under the command of the supreme political leadership, and all the institutions of this Reich are sworn to and united in the will and the resolve to represent this National Socialist Germany and, if necessary, to defend it to their last breath. May you not be persuaded to believe otherwise by those elements who have already revealed themselves in Germany to be the worst prophets. The Party is leading the Reich politically and the Wehrmacht is defending this Reich militarily. Every institution in this Reich has its appointed task, and there is no one in any responsible position in this state who has any doubt that I am the authorized leader of this Reich and that the nation has given me a mandate, by virtue of its trust, to represent it at all times and at all places.
Just as the German Wehrmacht is dedicated to this National Socialist State in blind faith and blind obedience, this National Socialist State and its leading Party are likewise proud of and pleased with our Wehrmacht. In it we see the crowning glory of a National Socialist education which captivates the German man from youth onwards. What he learns in the political organizations and in his political and spiritual attitude is supplemented here by the training and education to become a soldier. In this hour I cannot help paying tribute to those men who, as trustees of the Wehrmacht, the Army, the Navy, and the Luftwaffe, have helped me to shape this magnificent instrument.
I was forced to respect the wish of Field Marshal von Blomberg that, upon the completion of the first great phase of formation, his weakened health [!] be spared, now that there have been so many aggravations in his private life.
However, at this time I would like to express my thanks and the thanks of the German Volk for the so infinitely faithful and loyal work this soldier has accomplished for the new Reich and its Wehrmacht. In history, this work will never again be able to be divorced as such from the history of the founding of this Reich. The same applies to the work and outstanding achievements of Colonel General Fritsch. And of all those who, in an utterly noble spirit, placed their positions at the disposal of younger political and military personnel within the scope of the rejuvenation of our political and military leadership corps.
CBS Columbia Square opening on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, 1938
We know what the 100,000-man army of the former Reichswehr accomplished in the way of prerequisites for the so very swift rearmament of the German Wehrmacht. Yet we also know that, to accomplish the new and tremendous tasks, an ever-replenished stream of young men is required. And above all we know that the tasks of the future will necessitate a stronger consolidation of the political and military power of the Reich than was perhaps requisite in the past. Therefore my decision, following Field Marshal von Blomberg’s retirement, to exercise my power of command over the three branches of the Wehrnacht first-hand and put the Wehrmacht Office, as the Highest Command of the Wehrmacht, under my personal control, is one which I hope will enable us to achieve within the shortest space of time that reinforcement of our military instrument of power which the general circumstances of our time indicate to be advisable today.
There is one promise I would like to make before the German Volk today as its elected Fuhrer: as much as we are attached to peace, we are just as attached to our honor and the inalienable rights of our Volk. As much as I advocate peace, I will just as strongly ensure that never again will that instrument of our Volk be weakened or much less taken away which, in my opinion, is the only means which can most safely and successfully preserve the peace in these so troubled times! And as much as I can convey to the world the promise of the German Volk’s sincere and deep love for peace, 1 am just as determined not to leave any doubt that this love of peace has nothing to do with either limp surrender or dishonorable cowardice.
If ever the international smear campaign and well-poisoning should attempt to disrupt the peace of our Reich, steel and iron shall stand up for the German Volk and the German homeland. And then the world will instantly (blitzschnell) see how very much this Reich-Volk, Party, and Wehrmacht-is filled with one spirit and zealously fanaticized in one will. In other respects, it is not my intention to take a special stand for the honorable German Officers’ Corps against the slander of a certain international journalism. Moreover, there is no reason to do so. For journalists happen to be divided into two different types of people: those who love the truth, and on the other hand hypocritical, inferior swindlers, traitors to the peoples, and warmongers. But there is only one type of German officer!
Malibu Colony, photo by Eisenstadt, 1938
Our reason for not being in the League of Nations lies in our belief that it is not an institution of justice, but more an institution for the defense of the injustice of Versailles. [-] Were the League of Nations to last for one hundred years, this would lead- because it is obviously incapable of grasping historic or economic necessities and of meeting the resultant demands; and conversely because the interests of the peoples, as far as concerns their existence or non-existence, are ultimately stronger than formal considerations-to a strange situation in the world.
For in the year 2036, new nations might very easily have been established or others become things of the past without Geneva having been capable of registering this new state of affairs.
Germany was once forced, by virtue of its membership in the League of Nations, to take part in one such unreasonable action. In what threatened to become the second such case, it was able, as a result of its withdrawal from the League-thanks and praise be to God-to act in accordance with reason and fairness. However, gentlemen, today I wish to inform you that I have now resolved to make the necessary correction dictated by history in the first case as well. Germany will recognize Manchukuo. I have decided to take this step in order to here, too, draw the final line between a policy of the fantastically inconceivable and one of sober respect for the facts of reality.
Hence, in Summary I would like to declare once more that Germany-and above all following Italy’s withdrawal from the League of Nations-has no further intention whatsoever to ever return to this institution.
We perceive Bolshevism, even more than in the past, as the incarnation of the human drive for destruction.
Since Great Britain quite frequently proclaims through the mouthpieces of its responsible statesmen that it is interested in maintaining the status quo in the world, then this should also apply there.
Every Bolshevization of a European country constitutes a change in this status quo. For these Bolshevized territories are then no longer autocratic states with a national life of their own, but sections in the Muscovite Center of Revolution. I am aware that Mr. Eden does not share this view. Mr. Stalin shares it, and openly admits it, and in my opinion, at present Mr. Stalin is personally a more reliable expert on and interpreter of Bolshevist ideas and intentions than a British minister!
No matter when and no matter how the events in the Far East come to their ultimate conclusion, in its position of defense against Communism, Germany will always regard and value Japan as a safeguarding factor-namely, in safeguarding human civilization. [-] The friendship between Germany and Italy has gradually evolved for certain reasons to become a factor serving to stabilize European peace. The relations of both states to Japan comprises the largest obstacle by far to a further penetration of Russian Bolshevist violence.
Hollywood, by Eisenstadt, 1938.
I am also no longer prepared to sit idle and tolerate that unrestrained method of constantly denigrating and insulting our country and our Volk. From now on we will respond, and respond with National Socialist thoroughness. What has been strewn about only these past few weeks in the way of altogether crazy, stupid and reckless allegations about Germany is simply outrageous. What can one possibly say, when Reuters invents attacks on my life, and English newspapers talk about huge waves of arrests in Germany, about the closing of the German borders to Switzerland, Belgium, France, etc.; when yet other newspapers report that the Crown Prince has fled Germany, or that a military putsch has taken place in Germany; that German generals have been taken prisoner, and on the other hand that German generals have stationed themselves with their regiments in front of the Reich Chancellery; that a quarrel has broken out between Himmler and Goring on the Jewish question, and as a result I am in a difficult predicament; that a German general has established contact with Daladier via intermediaries; that a regiment has mutinied in Stolp; that 2,000 officers have been dismissed from the army; that the entire German industrial sector has just received orders to mobilize for war; that there are extremely strong differences between the Government and private industry; that twenty German officers and three generals have fled to Salzburg; that fourteen generals have fled to Prague with Ludendorff’s corpse; and that I have completely lost my voice, and the resourceful Dr. Goebbels is presently on the lookout for a man capable of imitating my voice to allow me to speak from gramophone records from now on. I take it that tomorrow this journalistic zealot of truth will either contest that I am really here today or claim that I had only made gestures, while behind me the Reich Minister of Propaganda ran the gramophone.
In a recent speech, Mr. Eden waxed eloquently on the various liberties in his country. However, one particular liberty was left out: the liberty of journalists to insult and slander other peoples, their institutions, men and governments without reprimand or restriction! One thing which increased-if this is even possible-our liking for Italy is the fact that there, the leadership of state and the policies of the press go hand in hand, instead of letting the leadership of state talk about understanding while the press is launching a smear campaign in the other direction! This chapter on the disruption of international relations should also include the audacity to write letters to a foreign head of state with the request for information on court judgments. I recommend that the deputies of the British House of Commons concern themselves with the verdicts of British courts-martial in Jerusalem instead of with the judgments of German people’s courts. While we might be able to understand an interest in German traitors, it does not help to improve the relations between England and Germany.
Hollywood Hills, by Eisenstadt, 1938.
Furthermore, let no one delude himself that he might be able to influence German courts or the German penal system by such tactless meddling. In any case, I will not allow deputies of the German Reichstag to worry themselves with the affairs of British justice. The interests of the British world empire are certainly quite extensive, and we recognize them as such. But as regards the concerns of the German Volk and Reich, the German Reichstag and I myself as the delegate of the Reichstag decide, and not a delegation of English letterwriters.
I think it would be a commendable deed were one able to internationally outlaw not only the dropping of toxic, incendiary, and explosive bombs on the civilian population, but above all to ban the distribution of newspapers which have a worse effect on the relations between the states than toxic or incendiary bombs could ever have.
Since this international smear campaign of the press must naturally be interpreted not as a reconciling element, but as one presenting a threat to international peace, I have resolved to undertake the reinforcements of the German Wehrmacht which will lend us the certainty that this wild threat of war against Germany will not one day be transformed into a bloody reality.
These measures have been in progress since February 4 of this year and will he continued with speed and determination.
The strong yearning for true neutrality which we have been able to observe in a number of European states fills us with deep and sincere satisfaction. We believe that we can interpret this as a sign of increasing reconciliation and hence increasing security. Yet on the other hand, we are also aware of the painful consequences of the confusion introduced to the European map and the economic and political constellation of the peoples by the insane act of Versailles. Two of the states at our borders alone encompass a mass of over ten million Germans. Until 1866, they were still united with the German race as a whole in a political federation. Until 1918, they fought shoulder to shoulder with the soldiers of the German Empire in the Great War. Against their own free will, they were prevented from uniting with the Reich by virtue of the peace treaties. This is painful enough in and of itself. Yet let there be no doubt in our minds about one thing. The separation from the Reich under public law must not lead to a situation in which the races are deprived of rights; in other words, the general rights of volkisch self-determination-which, incidentally, were solemnly guaranteed to us in Wilson’s Fourteen Points as a prerequisite for the Armistice-cannot simply be ignored because this is a case concerning Germans! In the long run, it is unbearable for a world power to know that there arc Volksgenossen at its side being constantly subjected to the most severe suffering because of their sympathy or affiliation with their race, its fate, and its world view! We well know that it is scarcely possible to establish borders in Europe which will satisfy everyone. Hence it would be all the more important to avoid unnecessarily tormenting national minorities in order not to add to the pain of political separation the further pain of persecution for belonging to a certain Volkstum. The fact that it is possible, given good intentions, to find ways to achieve a balance or lessen the tension, has been proven.
Yet he who wields force in attempting to prevent a balance from being achieved in Europe in that the tensions are lessened will at some point inevitably call violence into play between the peoples. It cannot be denied that, as long as Germany was powerless and defenseless, it had no choice but to tolerate this unremitting prosecution of German beings at its borders. However, just as England looks after its interests in every corner of the earth, modern Germany, too, shall know how to look after and protect its-albeit much more limited-interests. And these interests of the German Reich include protecting those German Volksgenossen who are not, of their own power, in a position to secure for themselves on our borders the right to general human, political, and weltatnschaulich freedom! In the fifth year following the first great foreign policy agreement of the Reich, it fills us with true satisfaction to be able to say that, particularly as regards our relations with the state with which we would perhaps have the greatest differences, not only have tensions lessened; moreover, in the course of these past years, an ever friendlier rapprochement has come about. I well know that this was due first and foremost to the fact that, at the time, Warsaw did not have a Western parliamentarianism but a Polish Marshal who, being an outstanding figure, sensed how very significant a lessening of German-Polish tensions was for Europe. The work of that time, which many questioned, has proven itself in the interim; and I may well say that, when the League of Nations finally abandoned its unremitting attempts to cause disruption in Danzig and furthermore appointed a new commissioner who was a man of personal stature, this very spot that presented the greatest threat to European peace lost its dangerous significance.
Beverly Hills, by Eisenstadt, 1938.
The Polish nation respects the national conditions in this state, and this city and Germany both respect Polish rights. Hence it was possible to pave the way for an understanding which, starting with Danzig, has been capable of completely removing the poison from the relationship between Germany and Poland, transforming it into one of truly friendly cooperation-despite the attempts of troublemakers here and there.
I am pleased to be able to tell you, gentlemen, that within the past few days a further settlement has been reached with the country with which we have a special affinity for various reasons. Not only is it the same Volk; it also has a long, kindred history and a shared culture which link the Reich and German-Austria.
The difficulties arising in connection with the execution of the July 11 agreement necessitated that the attempt be made to do away with misunderstandings and obstacles to a final reconciliation. For it was obvious that a situation that had become intolerable in and of itself would one day, with or without premeditation, be capable of evolving into a very grave catastrophe. It is usually no longer within the power of human beings to bring the wheels of fortune to a halt once they have been put in motion by neglect or lack of circumspection! I am happy to be able to note that these ideas also coincided with the views of the Austrian Chancellor, whom I had invited to see me. The idea and intention were to bring about a lessening of the tensions in our relations by granting to that part of the German-Austrian Volk which is National Socialist in terms of its views and Weltanschauung those rights within the limits of the law which are the same as those to which other citizens are entitled.
In this context, a great pacification shall come about in the form of a general amnesty and a better understanding between the two states, prompted by closer amicable relations in the various sectors of political, personal and concrete economic cooperation-all of which is a supplement to the agreement of July 11. At this time, I would like to express before the German Volk my sincere gratitude to the Austrian Chancellor for the great consideration and warm-hearted readiness with which he accepted my invitation and endeavored, with me, to find a solution doing equal justice to the interests of both countries and the interests of the German race as a whole, that German race whose sons we all are, no matter where the cradle of our homeland stood. I believe that we have thereby also made a contribution to European peace.
The most conclusive proof for the accuracy of this assertion lies in the outraged anger of those democratic world citizens who, although they are always talking about peace, never miss an opportunity to agitate for war. They are infuriated and incensed by this act of reconciliation. Hence one has every reason to assume that it is good and right.
Chamberlain with Hitler at Munich, September 29, 1938.
Perhaps this example may serve to bring about a gradual lessening of tension in Europe on a larger scale. Germany in any case, supported by its friendships, will do everything to preserve that possession which constitutes the prerequisite for the tasks we envision for the future: peace.
My Party Comrades, I may assure you here once more that our relations with the other European and nonEuropean states are either good and normal or very friendly. I need only draw attention to our altogether warm friendship with, for instance, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and many other states. Our foreign trade balance has given you a vivid picture of the magnitude of our economic cooperation with other peoples. The main emphasis lies on our cooperation with the two major powers which, like Germany, have recognized Bolshevism to be a world menace and are thus resolved to counter the Comintern movement with a united defense. It is my utmost desire that this cooperation with Italy and Japan may grow ever more intense. In other respects, we gladly welcome any lessening of tension that can be brought about in the general political situation.
For no matter how great the achievements of our Volk, we have no doubt that the positive effects for the well-being of all might be increased if international cooperation could be intensified. With every shred of its being, the German Volk is not a warlike, but a soldierly Volk; i.e. it does not desire war, yet it does not fear it, either. It loves peace, but it equally cherishes its honor and its liberty. Fifteen terrible years which lie behind us are both a warning and a lesson which, in my opinion, the German nation will forever heed and never again forget.
Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in the plaza outside Munich’s Central Train Station in September 1938.
My Party Comrades! Deputies! Men of the Reichstag! It is to you who once established for me the foundation for my work by ratifying the Enabling Act, that I have accounted for five historic years in the life of the German Volk. I cannot conclude without having assured you of how great my confidence is in the future of the Volk and Reich we all so dearly love.
What once moved me as an unknown soldier to take up the battle for the German resurrection was, at the very bottom, faith in the German Volk. A faith not in its institutions, nor in its societal order and social classes, in its parties, in its governmental or political power, but a faith in the eternal inner values of this Volk. And above all, a faith in those millions of individual men and women who-just as I was in the past-are merely nameless pillars upon which rests the community of our life and Volk. It was for it, too, that I endeavored to build up this new Reich. For this Reich shall belong neither to a certain class, nor to a certain rank: it shall be the sole property of the German Volk. The Reich shall help it to more easily find its life-path on this earth and enable it to make its existence more pleasant. What I summoned to life during this time does not claim to be an end in itself. Nothing is or ever will be immortal. What remains for us is the body of flesh and blood called the German Volk. The Party, the State, the Wehrmacht, and the economy are all institutions and functions which are valuable only as being a means to an end.
In the eyes of history, they will be judged on the basis of the services they performed toward this goal.
Yet their goal is always the Volk. They are short-lived phenomena compared to those which alone are everlasting. To serve these latter with all my might has been and continues to be my life’s good fortune. To me, it is a pleasurable duty to thank the many outstanding members of my staff without whom this work could never have been accomplished. In this hour I would like only to ask the Lord God that, in the years to come as well, He might bestow His blessings upon our work and our actions, our insight and our resolve; that He might allow us to find the straight and narrow path which He, in His wisdom, has assigned to the German Volk; and that He might always grant us the courage to do what is right and never to falter or retreat from any form of force or danger.
Long live the National Socialist Movement, long live the National Socialist Army, long live our German Reich!