23 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 8



I T is impossible to sum up the present prevailing mood in Germany in a word. Among the masses there exists a state of depression and apathy, mingled with illusions .and hopes, while the higher bureaucracy, the officer class and party circles fluctuate between pessimism and optimism. Very few are out-and-out pessimists, but all realise that foreign and domestic difficulties are on the increase for Ger- many, and that unless she forces a decision this year the advantage will go to the enemy. In critical circles an effort is being made to prove that the attitude in England and France has changed, the war being looked upon as a war no longer against the Hitler regime only, but against the whole German people, which still tolerates this regime despite growing discontent and opposition. In consequence, there is a growing fear of a new and worse Versailles, if the Allies win.

The German opposition is thus now split into two camps. The one, and smaller, camp wants the collapse of the system in war. But thi.; section lacks outstanding political brains and its connexion with the political emigres abroad is getting looser every day. The other, and larger, camp wants to post- pone inner differences until later, and to get rid only of the worst defects of the system. It aims at union with the more moderate members of the party, whose leader, Goering, comes more and more to the fore. Among the higher leaders of the party tremendous fights are going on, which are directed mainly against Ribbentrop, Goebbels and Himmler. These struggles are directed by Goering, who enjoys the support inside the party of Rudolf Hess, the Fiihrer's deputy, Reich Minister of the Interior Frick, and others. The majority of the Generals, too, stand behind Goering, who has won over the leaders of industry and finance, and the intelli- gentsia. Since Goering is also the most popular Nazi leader' among the masses, he is considered in all these circles as the man who alone can unite the German people. He also has sufficient force of character not to hesitate before any decision or responsibility, and can therefore see to it that internal reforms are brought about, and the abuses of the system removed.

It is an interesting fact that in Berlin political circles today the main question is not what Hitler will do, but primarily what Goering wants, and whether he can succeed. Every- where it is considered important to be on good terms with Goering, and an attempt is made to support him in his efforts to win the really dominant influence in foreign and home politics, since he has become the sole dictator of Germany in the economic sphere.

What does Goering want now? In foreign policy he stands for a re-vitalising of the German-Italian policy, and is opposed to the Gernaan-Russian friendship policy of Ribben- trop. The illusions of Hitler's Foreign Minister both as to the striking power of the Russian Army and to Russian economic help have been destroyed even in Germany by the events of the last few months. The sacrifice of Finland to Soviet Russia was reached by Ribbentrop during his Moscow conversations, and occurred without consultation with the military or naval chiefs or even with Goering. Only Hitler knew of it. Goering has never forgiven the Foreign Minister for this, and since then has been his open and most dangerous enemy. Goering is working for Ribbentrop's fall from power. This enmity is further strengthened by the fact that Ribbentrop, it has now become known, while in Moscow abandoned not only Finland, but also Norway, to Stalin, in return for corresponding Soviet guarantees in South-East Europe and support against Britain. In North Europe, Ribbentrop earmarked only Denmark and Sweden as exclu- sive German spheres of influence.

Ribbentrop has assured German support for these aims of Stalin, i.e., to secure the Norwegian sea-coast by the Finnish frontier, and Spitzbergen, so as to give Russia a sea-base on the Atlantic Ocean, because he aims at overthrowing British world domination with Russia's help. This fact is only now made known, and only through an interesting Press cam- paign in the Nachtausgabe (afternoon paper in Berlin), in which Dr. Kriegh, on Goering's orders, has brought this struggle behind the scenes into the light of day. Ribbentrop was furious about it, Goebbels denied it, but Goering had succeeded in letting the Ribbentrop-Stalin plans be known both at home and abroad.

But it would be a mistake to imagine that Goering is a friend of Britain's. Since Hitler's former love for Britain has changed to a fanatical hatred, no one can now be found in official circles who dare to advocate a compromise with Britain. The masses are being driven by propaganda into an anti-British attitude. Perhaps this is only on the surface, but it is to be seen everywhere. The anti-British song, by the poet, Hermann Loens, who fell in the last war, " For we are sailing against England," is the song most often heard, and is being distributed by Goebbels in thousands of gramophone records everywhere in the Reich and at the Front. Goering, in the struggle against England, wants above all to make sure of Italian help and support, and represents the opinion that Germany has to choose now between Italy and Russia ; there is only an " either . . . or " in this, and no " and also." He is further convinced that his efforts to use Hungary and the Balkan countries more and more for the German war economy can only succeed if Italy too supports them, and Herr von Clodius recently went from Bucharest to Rome, after having received from Goering personally very definite and far-reaching instructions before leaving Berlin. It is, moreover, not without interest that a special emissary from Goering was latterly in Italy, Prince Philip of Hesse. What Prince Philip, who, as is known, is a son-in-law of the Italian King, discussed in Italy has not become known.

In home politics, it is now being said of Goering that he wants to remove Goebbels, Himmler and Heydrich, and to settle the Church question. Goering and Goebbels are old enemies, and the enmity of Goering towards Himmler and Heydrich is to be found less in the fact that Goering is an opponent of the brutal Gestapo methods than that he sees danger for himself and his political plans in the increasing power of Himmler, who, after Hitler himself (leaving the army aside), is the most powerful man in the Reich. Just as Goering on June 3oth, 1934, with the help of the army, brutally destroyed the power of the S.A. and of its leader, Roehm, so he now plans the removal of Himmler, because he stands in his way. A stroke against this, the most hated man in Germany, would not only increase Goering's popu- larity with the masses, but also with the officer corps. Himmler and Heydrich, since the Gestapo's outrageous treat- ment of the Poles and Jews, which was even worse than the most horrible methods of the G.P.U., are being systematic- ally boycotted by the officer corps. There is only an official contact with them, and they avoid every social and private intercourse. This showed itself for the first time during Hitler's entry into Warsaw. Himmler stood there quite isolated. All the high officers in Hitler's entourage had deliberately moved away from him, in order to show openly their opposition to the Gestapo. Goering is utilising this strong opposition of the army to Himmler for his own ends.

Since it is known that Goering has often appealed for the release of Pastor Niemoeller from the Sachsenhausen Con- centration camp, that he was against the terrible Jewish pogrom of November 9th-loth, 1938, and that he deposed the infamous Julius Streicher at the beginning of the war, it is hoped that he may be able to do much in the Church struggle and in the Jewish question. The aim of Goering is to become German Reichskanzler with the help of the army, and to have dictatorial powers, not only in economic but also in the entire foreign and home policy of the Reich. Hitler under such conditions would become simply the titulary head of the State. Towards Hitler himself Goering has always shown absolute loyalty, thus giving no cause for anxiety and offering his opponents no scope for suspicion.

Hitler himself oscillates in his relationship with Goering between confidence and mistrust. Since, however, one of his most prominent characteristics in his relationship with his closest colleagues is an ever-recurring suspicion, Hitler does not want to alter the present power-relationships very much. Rivalries among the leaders of the party and the State are welcome to him, since by means of them the various leaders exhaust themselves and thus assure his own supremacy.