[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR] SIR,—I spent the period
March 3rd-16th at sea on a German cargo-boat, and with the two other passengers shared the
senior officers' mess and had the freedom of the ship, including the bridge. The close contact during those days with these kindly, friendly, intelligent men left a horrifying impression.
The extent to which German minds are impregnated and controlled by party-teaching and adoration for Hitler is almost inconceivable by an Englishman. Few Germans understand another language well enough to listen in to it, and they receive no news except through the party organisation, which they believe implicitly. In every detail of the Austrian annexation, except as regards the crowds which welcomed the Fiihrer, their wireless gave an account at variance with that of the International Agencies.
The attitude of England was not in the least anticipated, for party hypnotism—and it is nothing less—has made them incapable of conceiving the existence of another point of view. For instance, news direct from England was not available for some hours, and I was expected to believe the German announcement that England had said the matter was the domestic affair of Germany and Austria only.
Germany's intention to " jump on " Slovakia was repeatedly and jubilantly affirmed. The " ten million Germans " there must be liberated. In three months the " Spanish Bolsheviks " would be driven into the sea.
Every suggestion of opposition or even criticism is disposed of by the retort that it comes from the influence of Jews or Russia. " Eden is a Jew—Schuschnigg was supported by Ruisian money and has fled to Russia—the British Press is controlled by Jews, and the Cabinet contains too many," &c There is only one way of life and one possible salvation for the world, under the leadership of the Nazi.
Of war with England there is, among the elders, great dread and horror, but the suggestion that the present German path can lead to nothing else is scouted.
That the party saved Germany from revolutionary horrors, has rehabilitated the self-respect crushed and embittered by the Treaty, and is doing great things in every direction for the workers—an our old boat, for instance, the men's quarters had been made as good as the best described in your recent article—is ceaselessly impressed as part of the propaganda carried on day in, day out, almost hourly, with almost incon- ceivable thoroughness and a repetition nauseating and intolerable to an English mind.
Unassailable faith in a leader whose international morality is that of Hitler, tremendous force of arms, and great urgency for expansion, makes a terrible menace.
Hope seems to lie only in the fundamertal good-heartedness of the German, if it can be reached, and in the dread of war among those who remember the last.
There is a sincere desire for a " real League " which would have power to settle problems without intolerable delay.
One step is obvious and urgent. Broadcasting in German would reach at least a few.—I am, Sir, yours obediently,
Halcyon Club, London, S .1V r . R. WHITAKER.