and Fury in Germany
Alice Hamilton, M.D.
Professor of Industrial Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Most of the social workers we met could only
deplore the effect of the Revolution and look forward with dread
to what the future would bring, but I was surprised to meet one
who was a convinced convert to Hitlerism. She wasăstill is, I
believeăin charge of the women's department in the office for
the unemployed in a large industrial city which has suffered terribly
from the depression. She said:
In this city the Nazi movement is
very welcome. The Communists were such an affliction. We social
workers had endless trouble with them, for they wanted evervthing
to fail, even the work we were doing for the unemployed. The Communist
girls who cooked in our school would sabotage and spoil the food,
although it was going to the frec lunches for their own class.
They wanted everything to fail because it came from a capitalistic
society. Now the Communist leaders are in camps and the followers
are turning to the Nazis. After all, it was only misery that made
them Communists. We are to be a united Germany now. On May 1 it
was so joyful, all of us marched together, employers and employes,
officials of the city, the higher with the lower, laborers with
white-collar men, for the first time in their lives. You see,
it is not as in America, we are not really democratic. Up to now
we have always had a wide separation of the classes and it is
the great achievement of Hitler's party to do away with classes
and make all Germans equal.
In contrast, let me quote a physician who
had just read Goebbels' declaration in Hamburg that from now on
all Germans who are not Nazis are to be treated as second-class
citizens, with no voice in the government and with inferior rights.
More and more, as winter comes on
and hunger is as bad as ever, they will divide us into two classes
as Russia did, and will take from those that are not Nazis to
give to those that are. People say, "If Hitler fails there will
be Bolshevism," but I say if he succeeds there will be Bolshevism,
for that is what we are getting now by degrees. They are not irrtelligent
enough to have a real econornic~program. When they say they will
abolish capitalism they do not know they are speaking of a system,
they mean only that they will take from some of the rich and give
to some of the poor, from the well-to-do of other parties to the
poor of their party.
When we were in Germany it was still possible
for Hitler's followers to say that they saw in his movement the
only hope for a real socialism. An ex-officer in Koenigsberg and
a landed proprietor of East Prussia both told me that they had
joined the Nazi party because they were disillusioned by the half-way
measures of the Republic and were convinced that the National
Socialists were at once truly national and truly socialistic.
A young man, a recent graduate from the university, spoke with
fervor on this subject:
Hitler has from the first preached the brotherhood
of man, the breaking away from class distinctions. That is his
greatest contribution. The Nazi Party is socialistic in that
it places the common good above the individual, in that it is
against the liberalism and laissezfaire of capitalism, but it
is not Marxist beeause it is against class warfare. The German
Nationalist Party is capitalistic and has always played behind
thc curtain in the former governments, the socalled socialistic.
What the union of German industrialists wanted always went.
Now we shall have real socialism, German socialism, all for
one and one for all. Hitler promises land to the peasants and
relief from their mortgages and debts. He promises to protect
the little shopkeeper from the competitiori of the department
stores, he is for the people.
There was indeed much to encourage this belief in the speeches
that were made by Hitler and his commissars, especially afier
the first Congress of Leaders which was held in Berlin on June
17 and 18. The Congress, which was not open to the public, must
have been very inspiring for the leaders emerged from it filled
with a new zeal for the Revolution and the announcements they
made caused joy to their followers but to most of our friends
only deep foreboding, even terror. Goering said, "What has happened
is nothing to what is to come." Rust said, "We have heard the
overture, now the opera begins." The Leaders' Congress had formulated
a five-plank platform which was published in the papers on June
19. The first plank called for the principle of "absolute totality"
to be carried out by the abolition of Marxism and the absorption
of all other parties; in the second, all internationalism was
to be driven out of Germany, including not only Marxism but Capitalism,
Jewry and Masonic lodges; third, the cleft must be closed between
different classes and different religions; fourth, the capitalistic-liberalistic
system must be abolished; fifth, the democratic-parliamentary
system must go.
This was more categorical than any official
announcement since the Revolution and it was a strong confirmation
of the socialistic bent of the Nazis. And yet, some three weeks
later, on July 11, came Hitler's proclamation that the Revolution
was over and Goering's threats against those who thought to carry
on as if it still continued. The management of industry was in
the hands of a committee of men like Thyssen and Krupp von Bohlen,
and though the conservative Hugenberg had had to resign from the
Cabinet, his successor was also a representative of big business.
The much heralded socialization of the land has been entrusted
to the Junkers of Pomerania and East Prussia.
What the convinced Socialists in Hitler's
following think of all this we cannot possibly learn, but to outsiders
it looks as if the great Revolution were mostly sound and fury;
the mountains have travailed and a little mouse has been born.
Corresponding Photo Essay