After more than eighty years after the succession of Adolf Hitler in 1933, it is hard to imagine that anyone at the time could have imagined, let alone predicted, the horrors of a National Socialist Germany. Critics there were, opponents there were still many, but for one man to provide a point by point summative warning, that is what it most surprising when reading in the twenty-first century. In the March 1932 edition of The Atlantic, Nicolas Fairweather wrote a stirring indictment concerning the head of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. His ten point assessment of Hitler makes for fascinating reading, not only because it was so alarmist but that it was also incredibly accurate.
The ten point critique follows in full:
- His violent racial nationalism, which springs from his conviction that the Aryan stocks in general, and the Germans in particular, are a chosen people in whose victorious survival the divine purposes are bound up.
- His violent animosity to Marxian Socialism as in essence opposed to his ideal of a nationally minded people and a racial state. ...
- His violent hatred of the Jews as the racial enemies of all Aryans, the subtle corrupters of pure Aryan states. These parasites, says Hitler, have made Marxian Socialism, which they invented, the principal tool by which they insinuate themselves into healthy, pure blooded, racial states in order to debase simultaneously the national ideals and the national blood. Destroyers of Aryan civilizations, they remain impotent to create a civilization of their own.
- His concern for social betterment ('true Socialism') as a necessary prerequisite to the acceptance of his ideals by the masses.
- His contempt for the intelligence of the ordinary man and for a democracy based on faith in his development to higher levels.
- His contempt for parliamentary institutions as the organs of such a democracy, which substitutes for the decision of a competent leader the majority vote of the incompetent. A parliament, moreover, says Hitler, is the natural field of operations for the Jewish Socialist enemy.
- His insistence on the power of personality and on the entire concentration of authority in the hands of one leader (up to now, himself).
- His economic nationalism, with its distrust of international capital and its preference for small, locally controlled business organizations. Hitler fears the banks and all newfangled ideas for controlling credit. He objects to stock companies and stresses the value of personal ownership. In short, he believes in the ruthless subordination of economic interests and economic leaders to racial and national considerations.
- His insistence that Germany must acquire more land in Europe as a vital requirement for national expansion and progress (after the present corruption of the national blood and the national ideals has been stopped).
- His insistence that France is the archenemy. France, he urges, must be broken before Germany can undertake to conquer land from Russia (the only possible source).
In his assessment of Hitler, Fairweather asserted that he was a man with an utter obsession for German racial purity and the rights to land and dominion to which Germany was entitled. His article makes it perfectly clear that Hitler owed his success to the “weakness of the mass mind” and the delusions of a post war, economically stricken and aspirational German Volk. Fairweather elaborated further, calling Hitler “a genuine demagogue – honest, no doubt, in believing that what he does is for the general good, but a demagogue just the same.” The manner in which this journalist has foreshadowed the looming events of a National Socialist Germany is unparalleled. The article captures the true personality of the man which would personally lead the Third Reich along the road of military belligerence, and, ultimately, towards utter ruin.
Nicolas Fairweather, “Hitler and Hitlerism: A Man of Destiny,” The Atlantic, vol. 149, no. 3, March 1932. Copyright © The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.
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