HITLER: TIME'S MAN OF THE YEAR, 1938

Excerpts from Time website, July 30, 2004. <http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/archive/stories/1938.html>

Time cover
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"The man most responsible for this world tragedy is a moody, brooding, unprepossessing, 49-year-old Austrian-born ascetic with a Charlie Chaplin mustache. The son of an Austrian petty customs official, Adolf Hitler was raised as a spoiled child by a doting mother. Consistently failing to pass even the most elementary studies, he grew up a half-educated young man, untrained for any trade or profession, seemingly doomed to failure. Brilliant, charming, cosmopolitan Vienna he learned to loathe for what he called its Semitism; more to his liking was homogeneous Munich, his real home after 1912. To this man of no trade and few interests the Great War was a welcome event which gave him some purpose in life. Hitler took part in 48 engagements, won the German Iron Cross (first class), was wounded once and gassed once, was in a hospital when the Armistice of November 11, 1918 was declared.....

The situation which gave rise to this demagogic, ignorant, desperate movement was inherent in the German Republic's birth and in the craving of large sections of the politically immature German people for strong, masterful leadership. Democracy in Germany was conceived in the womb of military defeat. It was the Republic which put its signature (unwillingly) to the humiliating Versailles Treaty, a brand of shame which it never lived down in German minds.

That the German people love uniforms, parades, military formations, and submit easily to authority is no secret. Fuhrer Hitler's own hero is Frederick the Great. That admiration stems undoubtedly from Frederick's military prowess and autocratic rule rather than from Frederick's love of French culture and his hatred of Prussian boorishness. But unlike the polished Frederick, Fuhrer Hitler, whose reading has always been very limited, invites few great minds to visit him, nor would Fuhrer Hitler agree with Frederick's contention that he was "tired of ruling over slaves." (Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor, also complained of the submissiveness of German character.)"....

What Adolf Hitler & Co. did to the German people in that time left civilized men and women aghast. Civil rights and liberties have disappeared. Opposition to the Nazi regime has become tantamount to suicide or worse. Free speech and free assembly are anachronisms. The reputations of the once-vaunted German centres of learning have vanished. Education has been reduced to a National Socialist catechism....

Germany's 700,000 Jews have been tortured physically, robbed of homes and properties, denied a chance to earn a living, chased off the streets. Now they are being held for "ransom," a gangster trick through the ages. But not only Jews have suffered. Out of Germany has come a steady, ever- swelling stream of refugees, Jews and Gentiles, liberals and conservatives, Catholics as well as Protestants, who could stand Naziism no longer. TIME's cover, showing Organist Adolf Hitler playing his hymn of hate in a desecrated cathedral while victims dangle on a St. Catherine's wheel and the Nazi hierarchy looks on, was drawn by Baron Rudolph Charles von Ripper, a Catholic who found Germany intolerable....

To those who watched the closing events of the year it seemed more than probable that the Man of 1938 may make 1939 a year to be remembered."