29 OCTOBER 1937, Page 26


THIS careful and well-informed review of contemporary Germany is the work of an Australian professor who has visited Germany more than once since the War, and who spent the greater part of the year 1936 there making an intensive study of the regime. Save for his " general approach," which is that

of a " democratic individualist," Professor Roberts claims to have maintained impartiality ; and this claim may be readily conceded. He pays a tribute to the Nazi authorities who " did everything possible to aid my investigations," and refused him nothing that he asked except access to their stores of banned literature, most of which, as he remarks, is easily accessible in the British Museum.

The book opens .with as good an attempt as has been made anywhere to elucidate the puzzle of Herr Hitler's personality. For Professor Roberts, he is " primarily a dreamer, a visionary," living in an unreal world into which he was perhaps originally driven by his own thwarted ambitions and the shame of Germany's defeat.

" I heard him make the famous speech when he spoke of absorbing the Ukraine and Siberia. Under the cold analysis of foreign news- paper reporters, this speech read like a declaration of Germany's Eastern Imperialism. Actually it was nothing of the kind. Hitler merely forgot his audience and wandered off into a dream-world of his own. . . . He can say different things in successive moments and believe in each with the same degree of fervour."

It is perhaps his temperament rather than his circumstances which cut him off from " any real contacts " and make of him so curiously detached a figure—an embodiment of mass emotion

rather than a man. This able and illuminating sketch of the Fiihrer is followed by appreciations of the other Nazi leaders, including some who are scarcely heard of outside Germany.

The following section on the structure of the regime contains a valuable analysis of another enigma—the relationship between

the leader, the party and the State. Professor Roberts has given what is the best account available in English of that amazing bureaucratic duplication, of which the most conspicuous, but by no means the only, examples are the three offices dealing with foreign affairs—the orthodox Foreign Office, the " Ribbentrop bureau " which confronts it across the Wilhelm- strasse, and Herr Rosenberg's department.which, though quies- cent for the moment, might at any moment be galvanised into activity by some new turn of the wheel. The Party created prior to the Revolution, and has retained ever since, what is virtually a duplicate State organisation. But it has remained a shadow bureaucracy existing side by side with, but not sup- planting, the old bureaucracy. It is, as Professor Roberts remarks in another connexion, " like a bad dream of a lecturer in administration." It can be explained only as a compromise between the old and the new. The old machine, backed by the army, retained its identity and much of its authority. But

jobs had all the salve to be found for .thoie,Party _enthusiasts who had hoped to make a complete sweep of everything that was not Nazi in the administration. 'It Seems incredible- that this flagrantly uneconomic system can last.

The economic chapters are brief but good, and show clearly how little Germany, of all countries, can achieve self-sufficiency and how far she has drawn on her financial, economic and moral reserves during the past four years. " The Drive for a Common Mentality " is ably summarised, though there are one or two points of detail which might be criticised. In speaking of the isolation of Germany from the rest of the world, Professor Roberts seems to forget that a good many foreign newspapers, including The Times and the Manchester Guardian, circulate quite widely ; and the German intelligentsia are quite well aware of trends of opinion and policy abroad. (This is one contrast between Germany and Soviet Russia, where all foreign newspapers are rigorously excluded.) It is no doubt true that " at each of the thirteen hundred camps in Germany, every boy will be doing the same thing at a given time." But the same is true, or was until recently, of every school in France, the most individualist country in the world. There is no necessary connexion between external uniformity and intel- lecnial standardisation.

The chapters on foreign affairs are (curiously enough—for most_ people in this country feel that there is more to be said for Herr Hitler's foreign than for his domestic policy) the least sympathetic and least satisfactory in the book. " Logically," argues Professor Roberts, " either the success or the failure of Hitlerism brings war in its train." But he seems to forget the thesis_ of the first chapter that neither logic nor Herr Hitler's own pronouncements are any guide to Herr Hitler's actions. Moreover, Professor Roberts emphasises elsewhere the present unpreparedness of the German army for a serious war, and the economic weakness which makes such a war at the present time unthinkable. If one thing is clearer than another in German foreign policy, it is a determination to avoid any clash of arms which might bring with it the risk of military defeat. In this respect, Herr Hitler gives the outside world less cause for anxiety than Signor Mussolini. The main conclusion of the Last chapter is that the regime will come more and more under military control and revert more and more to the " Old Geimanyf But this begs the how far the army . influence. If itself has already been transformed by Nazi influence. If ffie future, as Professor Roberts thinks, holds in store an " Army State " rather than a " Party State," it will certainly be a very, different thing from the " Army State " of Wilhelm II.

E. H. CARR.1