18 AUGUST 1939, Page 21


Sta,—I have lately come across a German history primer, published last year, some notes on which may interest your readers. The author, Herr Walther Gehl, entitles his book German History in Headlines (Deutsche Geschichte in Stichworten, Breslau, 1938), which means that the short para- graphs into which it is divided are each of them headed by a title or caption, the wording of the paragraph itself being abbreviated down to the limits of intelligibility. The book is for the teacher, rather than the pupil, and gives him scarcely more than the bare facts on which he is to expatiate. Into some zoo pages the whole course of German—or, rather, Germanic —history is compressed, from " Heidelberg Man " to 1938. Allowing for the purpose with which it is compiled, the author has produced a very competent piece of work ; the Nazi Press has acclaimed it, and it has been accepted into the official list of approved school-books. That such a manual must see history from the orthodox " racial " standpoint is inevitable, and, indeed, from the start all that allows of it (and not a little that does not) is Germanised and envisaged from a per- sistently "nordic " angle. Unfamiliar German forms of names —Wirten for Verdun, Beulen for Bouillon, Nanzig for Nancy, Naugart for Novgorod, Kortryk for Courtrai—are, in the circumstances, to be expected ; but " Bonn " for Cromagnon, "Briinn " for Aurignac, are merely confusing.

The "nordic " mania obtrudes itself at every turn. Prehistoric nordic domination emerges in the leading Indogermanic races —the Romans, for instance, are but a nordic peasant folk. Even the Berbers can boast a strongly nordic (Vandal) strain. Nordic hordes dominate the Russian Slays ; Normans (" North Germans ") refresh the nordic blood of England ; nordic adventurers reach America, while, in the Crusades, nordic blood is shed to subserve papal ambitions. We are reminded that North America was colonised by nordic (this time, English) settlers. We learn that the Hugenots were pre- dominantly nordic, Shakespeare the greatest nordic dramatist. The French Revolution shows us a nordic aristocracy at the mercy of a non-nordic rabble. In the nineteenth century emigration robs Germany of precious nordic blood, to the advantage of foreign peoples—" America, the common grave of Germanism "—while at home the gradual infiltration of the Slav weakens the nordic fibre of the working class.

What Germans claim to have done in the world those taught history from Herr Gehl's book will not be allowed to forget. From Caesar to Bliicher German troops are natur- ally to the fore ; the German part in the defeat of the Huns and of the Mongols, the decisive German element in Justinian's armies, and, in modern times, when Germans beat the French at Blenheim (Eugene's battle, Marlborough not named), take Gibraltar for the English, and play a leading part in the conquests of Canada and India—Swiss, indeed, in the latter case, but Swiss, Dutch and Flemings count throughout the book as merely separatist Germans—while American inde- pendence was won mainly through the prowess of the German colonists. Even in the last War countless Germans fought in the American army, while in the American Civil War 48 Germans had been among the Federalist generals.

As befits a primer sanctioned by the present government, Jew and Freemason are ubiquitous, from the day when the first Jewish trader showed himself in the Romanised Rhine- land, and when, ages later, Freemasons took a hand in eighteenth-century politics. Germany's aspirations after unity, her prospects of economic prosperity, and of maintaining race purity, have, throughout the ages, been thwarted, either by the

agency of Jews and Freemasons, or of Liberals and Catholics, none of whom sympathised with the German ideal of an all- embracing Reich, founded on " blood and soil." The fatal effects of Freemasonry are to be traced in the policies of Haugwitz and of Hardenberg, in our own day of Bethman- Hollweg, Stresemann, and Max of Baden, not to speak of leading " masons " among the enemy : Edward VII, Austen Chamberlain, Lloyd George, Wilson, Poincare, Clemenceau, Briand. Jews such as Frederick the Great's Ephraim, the Rothschilds (" invisible rulers of Europe "), Gambetta, Disraeli, Kurt Eisner, Rathenau and their malign influence upon German history are not overlooked. On the other hand, bold claims are made to Teutonic ancestry: Copernicus, Amerigo (Ermanrich) Vespucci, Calvin, Charles XII (a Wittelsbach), Abraham Lincoln (Linkhorn), Roosevelt, Hoover, President Kruger. Others, again, not at present in popular favour, must content themselves with anonymity ; St. Adalbert of Prague, whose shrine a German emperor had the bad taste to visit ; John Sobieski, the saviour of Vienna ; Ressel, the Austrian inventor of the screw propeller (since the Peace of 1815 Austria can no longer be reckoned a German State, the policy of " Habsburg " being thenceforth selfish and unnational), the chemist Haber, to whom Germany owed so much in the last War.

Neither for antidemocratic or antisemitic eloquence, nor for National-Socialist propaganda is there much room in a primer such as this, but now and then a little of the latter is intro- duced. We learn, for instance, that the Fiihrer, dependent as he is upon the people's confidence, is no dictator—recent election figures are solemnly displayed ; that German leadership rests upon the moral strength of the Leader's personality ; that the Nazi conception of the State is based upon folk and race, and on respect for others ; it involves no Germanising aims. To Hitler himself there are two or three, as it were, prophetic references, when his otherwise eminently insignifi- cant birthplace, Braunau, is dragged into the chronicle. An admirable feature of the book is the series of 6o maps, in the style of those with which Mr. Horobin has familiarised us, illustrating every aspect of German, or "nordic," history. No. 19, should it catch an English reader's eye, might momentarily surprise him, for it shows this country as a fief of the German empire—as, in fact, it was, for a short time, under Richard I.

That should suffice to give an idea of national history, as taught today to Hitler youth. I have not attempted to check all the statements here quoted ; I give them as they stand in Herr Gehl's significant book.—Yours truly,