by Friedrich Christian Prince of Schaumburg-Lippe
Part 3 – The “Dictator”
What kind of people were those who started the world-wide campaign of slander, and continue to disseminate lies to this very day? One can only begin to understand this matter if one asks: what is needed in order to slander someone on such a large scale? Unfortunately the answer can only be: a great deal of money, and unscrupulousness without compare.
People with a great deal of money and unscrupulousness can never live in their own homeland for very long. They would soon become known, attract attention, and get into trouble. Why should these people carry out their activities in exactly the place where they could most easily be watched?
No, such activities are the work of people who wanted to (or had to) leave their homeland for political reasons and who take revenge on the people of their native land by vilifying them whom they had to leave behind and whom they secretly envy. They suddenly discover that their old homeland wasn’t really their home. And then they are free of any second thoughts.
The more they run down the land of their birth abroad, in conversation and soon in the press as well, the more they realize that such a “policy” can be lucrative, perhaps even very much so! It is just a matter of finding those who also have an interest in defaming the people from which they come.
Who was, and continues to be, the most sensitive towards German export trade? Without a doubt it is England and the United States, and in earlier days, France as well. Therefore there was no place where anti-German propaganda could be as profitably accommodated and even sold as in England and the United States. It is self-evident that of these two nations, the United States were and are much more attractive in this context. Only in the United States is there enough money available for such endeavours, only in the United States are there experts in worldwide operations of this sort, and only in the United States can one find the absolutely unscrupulous profiteers necessary for such an enterprise. And there are probably more emigrants in the USA than anywhere else in the world. Added to this is the fact that, especially since the Second World War, we Germans accord grotesquely inflated importance to anything and everything that comes to us from the United States.
In qualification I must add that those Americans with whom the Germans are so taken are generally those who have next to no connections with those social circles which have had prominence ever since the United States were founded – in other words, those to whom the United States owes her meteoric rise and hence her power and status in the global community.
Thanks to several trips to the States, I am very familiar with these conservative social circles of the South – and I hold them in high regard. They have nothing in common with the Roosevelts and the Kennedys, the Schlesingers, the Kissingers and the Rockefellers – no matter how wealthy these are, and how successful they have long been in their own way.
Wasn’t it General Eisenhower who spent a fortune in buying up one of the most perfidious anti-German hate publications, and then distributed it to the senior members of the United States Army?
The last time I visited with some very conservative Americans near Lake Erie, a highly respected newspaper publisher said in his table talk at a luncheon given in honour of the famous Mr. Krips and myself:
“My dear Prince, when you have returned home again, tell your German fellow-countrymen that we Americans never had anything against the Germans. We never hated them – not even in war. But if your Germans continue to sit placidly by while being defamed so horribly, if they continue to do nothing to refute all those lies and to silence the liars, if, in short, they continue to do nothing to preserve the German nation’s honour, then soon the Germans will no longer have a friend in the world!!!”
On the occasion of this same visit, a particularly popular minister, the head of a large parish – a former army chaplain in Nuremberg at the time of my detention there by the International Military Tribunal – invited me to give the sermon in his large, splendid church the following Sunday. When I asked which topic I would speak on – for in order to be able to speak in English without notes I would have to prepare – he said: “The topic I have announced is: ‘The Injustice of Nuremberg’.” I would have spoken on this topic only with the consent of my country’s Embassy. He, the minister, had had to witness the hanging of our comrades in the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg, and had always been against the injustice perpetrated there. His family was originally from Germany. –
In the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, as I was being led to the interrogation room, a tall Negro from the guards spoke to me on the sly, and said: “You, Prince – you’re a slave and I’m a slave – we’ve got to stick together!”
We understood that it was not “the Americans” who were to blame, but rather a very specific kind of American citizen. These were emigrants to a man, most of them of Jewish extraction and many of these from Germany. Many of them worked as interrogators etc. in the offices of the IMT. The slanderers came and went freely there. When lies take on an official character, they can very easily turn into verdicts – even death sentences! Let’s quote le Bon one last time:
“The nature of crimes committed by the mob is clear.“A typical example is the murder of du Launay, the warden of the Bastille. After the capture of this fortress, the warden was attacked from all sides by the furious crowd surrounding him. Hang him, they shriek, behead him, or tie him to the tail of a horse! In his struggles to free himself, the warden accidentally kicks one of those closest to him. Immediately someone suggests – and the crowd cheers the suggestion – that the kicked man should cut the warden’s throat.
“This man, an unemployed cook who had come to the Bastille half out of mere curiosity to see what was going on there, thinks, because this is the general public opinion, that this deed would be patriotic, and even believes he deserves a medal for killing a monster. He is handed a sabre, with which he slashes at the warden’s bare throat. But since the sabre is blunt and will not cut, he now draws a small black-handled knife from his pocket and (since as cook he knows how to cut meat) finishes the job successfully.”
The sum total of the victims of the Inquisition in Spain, Italy and France, of the British Revolution, the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution, as well as of the Marxist uprisings in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria and Germany in the days of the Weimar Republic can only be roughly estimated – but it may be assumed to exceed nine million. If we add to this all those Germans – men, women and children – who were killed by the various occupation forces in Italy, Poland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the entire Reich territory etc., then this additional figure probably makes up far more than another 600,000.
After the armistice had been concluded, more than 10,000 mostly very young men from the Waffen-SS were killed without any trial, for no other reason than that they had their blood group tattooed on their arm, so that in case of injury the correct medical supplies could be used without delay. The “Chief Justice of the Waffen-SS and Police” already told me in Nuremberg, where I met him, that their number in fact probably exceeded the 50,000 mark. The testimony of this Chief Justice, Dr. Reinecke, at the IMT at Nuremberg was so damning for the victors that the Nuremberg Trial was suspended, until the order to proceed came from the United States. Unfortunately there were not enough Reineckes in Nuremberg, otherwise that great trial and the many others following in its wake could never have been carried out, since they were based to a considerable extent on the so-called incriminating evidence provided by German traitors only intent on saving their own skin.
Sometimes, when we were taken to be interrogated in Nuremberg, we happened to catch a glimpse of some of these “gentlemen”; they were former officials and diplomats who had at one time sworn allegiance to Adolf Hitler and had always been oh-so-eager to prove their “loyalty”.
From several statements that Hitler made in the small circle of his closest friends, I know that he attached extraordinarily great value to a sworn oath. It was inconceivable to him that German officials or soldiers could break their oath. That is also why he would never have forced anyone to swear an oath. Furthermore, it was always made very clear to everyone that an oath sworn to the Führer was always also synonymous with an oath sworn to the Reich. So anyone who later deliberately broke his oath to the Fhrer also at the same time broke the oath he had sworn to the German Reich. This corresponded to the tradition of the former oath sworn to “the Kaiser and the German Empire”.
There were also security reasons for not wanting to bind the validity of an oath to only one human life. Those who broke their oaths thus also betrayed the Reich, and in my opinion that has a great deal to do with the division of Germany. It is time for all Germans to remember this, and to take steps against the defamation of our people from this point of view as well.
And with this we have reached the heart of the problem, for the worldwide defamation of all things German did not by any means begin only in Hitler’s time. It is not true that he, his Party, his plans and actions were what gave rise to it. The truth is that the defamation of the German Empire and people already began when the Idea of a unified Germany, inspired by Otto von Bismarck with the Prussian virtues of integrity, honesty, modesty etc., offered all German people a tremendous opportunity. The more the slanderers concentrated their hatred on the Emperor and his Princes – and later on Adolf Hitler and his Movement – the more it became their great and single goal to shatter the Reich and to strip the German people of all power.
The methodology of their slander shows this clearly time and again. Why else would these very same groups never so much as bat an eyelash when other nations, other political powers, other people do things much, much worse than the worst that has ever been imputed to our people?!
The history of the Germans contains nothing even remotely comparable to the Inquisition, the British and the French Revolutions, the Russian revolutions and all that was done to us Germans by certain victorious powers after the armistice – at which point I must stress that in my opinion even these victorious powers are not the ones to blame; rather, the guilty party is almost always that more or less anonymous power that fights its battles exclusively by means of calumny and incitement, and has done so for more than a century!
This is the power that works systematically, never for one country and from one country, but always internationally. The boundless abuses of democracy that take place in a great many nations on earth afford that international gang of agitators and calumniators every opportunity to terrorize large parts of the world’s population, to the point where soon there will no longer be any individual nations, just “mankind as a mass” which will let itself be sold off at will.
Because our people were so good and capable and highly esteemed, they have been at the top of the slander hit list for decades. Europe without the German Reich is no longer “the Occident”, but that is exactly what increasingly materialistic mankind needs.
“It is possible that the German may yet be swept from the world’s stage; for he has all the qualities necessary for attaining Heaven, but not a single one for asserting himself on Earth, and all the nations hate him like the Evil One hates Good. But if they should ever really succeed in driving him out, conditions will ensue that will make them wish that they could dig him out of his grave again, even if it be with their bare and bleeding fingers.
“Hebbel, Diaries, January 4, 1860
And that brings me to Hitler the “dictator”. Today, thanks to enemy propaganda, he is considered the prototype of a dictator, an “autocrat”. A dictatorship, wrote the Bertelsmann Encyclopaedia after 1945, may be exercised by one individual or by a group (party dictatorship):
“In accordance with its origins, which are to be found in the Roman Republic, a dictatorship is a valid form of government as a means of eliminating certain crises (war, civil war). Its duration is thus temporary and its implementation is bound by certain rules….“In recent history, dictatorships are closely tied to the establishment of modern-day constitutions. In the British Revolution of 1642-49 as well as in the French of 1789-99, the originally liberal popular movements ended in dictatorships, which in these cases were exercised, not by individuals, but by certain groups, and not as authorized delegates, but high-handedly and with reference to religious motives or the right of popular sovereignty. In these cases as well, the dictatorships were originally regarded as a temporary measure for the establishment of a new ruling class and the eradication of the old, corrupt generation, but ended up as absolute dictatorship under a Cromwell or a Napoleon.
“…the fact is frequently overlooked that even modern Criminal Codes recognize temporary dictatorship as emergency measure. The Weimar Constitution (§ 48) is an example of this, also the Enabling Act….
“…a type of state in which the exercise of supreme authority is concentrated in one organ of the state – (e.g.) in the case of the Third Reich, initially in the State Cabinet, later in the Head of State; in the case of the Soviet Union, in the Parliament – in which a separation of powers is enacted for organizational reasons, although the principle of a restriction of power is not put into effect;….
“…Dictatorship is always totalitarian, but rarely absolute in modern times; rather, constitutional dictatorship predominates.”
If in Hitler’s case one could even speak of a “dictatorship”, then in my opinion only of a constitutional dictatorship, since especially in important matters he never acted entirely on his own; on the contrary, in by far the most cases his actions were guided by pertinent laws and by agreement with the government of the Reich. It is known that in particularly pregnant cases (e.g. the Saarland, succession of Hindenburg, Enabling Act), he let the people themselves decide, and then acted according to the wishes they had expressed – either by plebiscite or through the Reichstag.
There is no doubt that he could have gained power in the Reichstag in 1933 even without a vote. But he subordinated himself and his government to the decision of the old Reichstag, and he received the vote of many a one who, like Theodor Heuss (later to become Federal President) and Federal Chancellor Adenauer, no doubt had good intentions and voted for Hitler without being a member of the NSDAP.
Hitler himself never felt that he had the power of a dictator. The comment he once made during the war – “…if one of us has the power of a dictator, then it’s Roosevelt, he has a much greater say in his country than I have in mine…” – says a lot, I think. And he considered Stalin to be far more powerful than even Roosevelt.
When Hitler moved into the Reich Presidential Palace, he ordered some architectural improvements. What bothered him the most was Hindenburg’s terribly old-fashioned bathroom. He had the facilities modernized, and without running up a noteworthy bill for it. The Auditor-General’s Office then told him that he would have to pay for the renovations himself and, furthermore, that he had not been authorized to effect the changes. – Hitler offered his opinion that the ancient bathroom facilities would have had to be replaced one way or another, and further, that surely the Führer and Chancellor of the Reich ought to be able to make an independent decision on the fate of an old bathtub so as not to waste the state’s time. As far as I know, he then proceeded to pay the bill out of his personal funds. The Palace was, after all, state property.
This happened at about the same time that Hitler showed my wife and myself his bedroom, on our own request. It was a dark and somewhat plainly furnished room with a somewhat old-fashioned bed that could not have been very comfortable. On the wall above it hung a picture of his mother, which he had had painted, probably from a photograph. He said that it was a good likeness and one of his very few keepsakes from his family; it was very dear to him and not a day went by that he wasn’t glad to have it. This rather spartan room was definitely no setting for excesses and debauchery such as unscrupulous profiteers have imputed to Hitler.
In the years from 1922 to 1935 my wife and I frequently visited him in his private residence, the so-called New Reich Chancellery, often at least one or two evenings a week. The residence was roomy but impersonal. He didn’t like it. Company gathered at a large, low, round table, in easy or regular chairs, was served tea and biscuits and small sandwiches.
It is often claimed today that he never let others get a word in edgeways. In truth it was quite the opposite. He asked the others to speak, to recount events from their lives etc. He made jokes to liven up the conversation and to get others to join in. Only when all this failed and the others finally insisted that he should speak himself, as this would be much more interesting in many ways – then he would relent, and could talk for hours. And I must say that this was often a great experience, for this man had already lived a most interesting life. Speaking retrospectively, he viewed everything with incredible objectivity and, hence, amazing modesty.
I know that many will not believe me – but these are facts and I can’t change them. I am not writing in order to do someone a favour, but rather to serve the purpose of truth. Can I help never having met the evil Hitler? Should I invent a worse man? Whom would that serve? Certainly not my people, and in the long run not our enemies either.
I was personally acquainted with a great many well-known and even famous artists, politicians, statesmen, several reigning monarchs – I could almost say, “around the world”. I was friends with many of them – just as good friends as with many completely unknown labourers, farmers and soldiers. But – in my opinion there was never another man even remotely like Adolf Hitler.
It is very difficult to write about this without being laughed at or even suspected; but if I want to be completely honest – and that is my only aim, anything else would be not only pointless, but also evil – then I must say that he was certainly a most extraordinary person. I have often asked myself whether this man can even be compared with other people, or whether he must be considered from a completely different perspective.
In a large old villa outside the gates of Vienna, overlooking the vineyards of the Kahlenberg, there is a cosy wine cellar where the higher-ranking American officers liked to get together of an evening after the Second World War. One might call it a tavern, with designs painted among the timberwork all round.
The proprietess, beautiful Princess Wittgenstein, showed me in and asked me to give a critical opinion on the paintings, and only afterwards to read the calligraphic inscriptions between them. I looked closely at everything and then said, without knowing anything further about it: “It seems to me that the artist had a feeling for architecture, especially for certain laws of nature, such as the ‘golden section’, since all of it goes together so well.” – “That’s very interesting,” said the Princess, “and now read the inscriptions.”
I read – and I cannot recall it verbatim, but the essence of it is still perfectly clear in my mind: “I know that my life will be an exceptional, an extraordinary one, but its end will be a catastrophe!” – The Princess, who was by no means a National-Socialist, then told me: “That was painted and written by an apprentice. Even the words, astonishing as they are, are his and his alone. And this is the receipted bill that I found among the old papers and which confirms that all work was done by a painter’s apprentice by the name of Adolf Hitler.”
These were ornaments, words and thoughts that have not the slightest bit to do with violence – they were the expression of a very deep emotional life or, to call it what it truly was: it was an element of the Faustian (Faustian: searching, striving, brilliant) in this man who ever remained an enigma.
Once, when a conversation between him and Dr. Goebbels happened to end up in a dispute about the “Faustian” quality in the German as a type, Hitler grew very solemn and almost melancholy, as I had never seen him before. A statement of Dr. Goebbels’ came to mind: “Sometimes he’s uncanny – as if he weren’t of this world – and strangely enough, that’s when he is the most fascinating. I’ll never completely understand him – he is more than just a person. There is nobody who has studied him like I have. But who takes the time to really get to know this man – who? Who knows anything of his outstanding qualities, of his modesty towards fate – who even suspects any of it? No-one! If they realized that he does not wish to become their idol, not even their god, but that he lives solely for his mission that is not entirely ‘of this world’ – then they would fear him, because they do not understand the reality.”
I have done my utmost to repeat Goebbels’ words as accurately as possible from memory, and did not write them down until they were as vivid to me again as though I had heard him speak them then and there. Of course, the fact that in those days this topic interested me like no other, helped considerably.
In his Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, vol. 1, chapter “The Heirs”, Sir Houston Chamberlain wrote: “Asceticism increases the intellectual capacities and culminates, when carried out with absolute consistency, in the complete conquest of the senses; these may then continue, so to speak, as material for the imagination, to serve the mystical devotion of a Saint Theresa or the mystical metaphysics of the author of Chandogya; from that time forth they are senses rendered subject to will, elevated and purified by the power of the mind, and this the Hindoo teacher expresses when he writes: ‘the man of understanding is already in his lifetime bodiless.'”
Elsewhere, Chamberlain wrote about this same topic: “The greatness of every extraordinary man lies not in that which he wanted to do, but in that which he had to do.” What compelled the young painter’s apprentice, Hitler, to inscribe those words amongst the decorations in the cellar bar of the Villa Kahlenberg? It would have been pointless to do that if he had not had to. Only a higher power could have given him the courage and determination for it. That he, the young Hitler, was the one who did that work is expressly confirmed on the bill by his master.
And these thoughts, which are so to the point in the case in question, draw attention to the fact that every true genius at least approximates to being a universal genius.
I myself witnessed how Hitler dominated in purely technical discussions with leading men of the Mercedes-Benz factory, in other words, was absolutely superior to an elite of engineers.
I also witnessed how, in a conversation with the Italian Minister of Justice who had attempted to precisely describe the Parthenon, Hitler disputed his architectural details. The point at issue was that Hitler had pointed out the mathematical perfection of the Parthenon’s beauty, whereas the Minister would not concede it. Finally, Hitler asked me to bring him a sketch pad, ruler, and pencils – he declined an eraser.
A short time later he interrupted his conversation with the Minister in order to make a very rapid but detailed sketch of the Parthenon – off the top of his head, without any aids and completely without prior preparation, since nobody could have known that the conversation with the Italian would lead to this topic. When the sketch was finished, an encyclopedia was procured, in which the Parthenon’s dimensions were given. Once converted to metric, they were identical with those indicated on Hitler’s sketch. And then it was an easy matter for Hitler to prove to the Italian Minister the way in which the law of nature known as the “golden section” finds expression in the beauty of that glorious structure, the Parthenon.
In terms of business or politics I was certainly nothing special to Hitler. But in social terms, I believe, he liked us, my first wife Alexandra Countess of Castell-Rüdenhausen and myself, very much – until others kept us at a distance from him. –