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Full text of "Berlin diary; the journal of a foreign correspondent, 1934-1941"

BOOKS FOR WAR TIME 



I SAW ENGLAND 

by Ben Robertson 

EUROPE IN THE SPRING 

by Clare Boothe 

HOW TO WIN THE WAK 

by An Englishman 

THE NEW WORLD ORDER 

by H. G. Wells 

THE NAZI DICTATORSHIP 
EUROPE ON THE EVE 
NIGHT OVER EUROPE 

by Frederick L. Schuman 



These are Borzoi Books, published by 
Alfred • A • Knopf 



Berlin Diary 



BERLIN 



DIARY 



The JOURNAL 
of a Foreign Correspondent 



WILLIAM L. 8HIRER 



New York 

ALPEED A. KNOPF 

19 4 2 



Copyright 1940, 1941 by William L. Shirer 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any 

form without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a 

reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a 

magazine or newspaper. 

Manufactured in the United States of America. 

PUBLISHED JUNE 20, 1941 

Published simultaneously in Canada by The Byerson Press 



To TESS 
Who Shared So Much 



FOREWORD 



Most diaries, it may well be, are written with no 
thought of publication. They have no reader's eye in 
view. They are personal, intimate, confidential, a part 
of oneself that is better hidden from the crass outside 
world. 

This journal makes no pretence to being of that kind. 
It was recorded for my own pleasure and peace of mind, 
to be sure, but also — to be perfectly frank — with the 
idea that one day most of it might be published, if any 
publisher cared to commit it to print. Obviously this 
was not because I deemed for one second that I and the 
life I led were of the slightest importance or even of any 
particular interest to the public. The only justification 
in my own mind was that chance, and the kind of job 
I had, appeared to be giving me a somewhat unusual 
opportunity to set down from day to day a first-hand 
account of a Europe that was already in agony and 
that, as the months and years unfolded, slipped inexo- 
rably towards the abyss of war and self-destruction. 

The subject of this diary therefore is not, except in- 
cidentally, its keeper, but this Europe which he watched 
with increasing fascination and horror plunge madly 
down the road to Armageddon in the last half of the 
1930's. The primary cause of the Continent's upheaval 



VI FOEEWOED 

was one country, Germany, and one man, Adolf Hitler. 
Most of my years abroad were spent in that country in 
proximity to that man. It was from this vantage point 
that I saw the European democracies falter and crack 
and, their confidence and judgment and will paralysed, 
retreat from one bastion to another until they could no 
longer, with the exception of Britain, make a stand. 
From within that totalitarian citadel I could observe 
too how Hitler, acting with a cynicism, brutality, de- 
cisiveness, and clarity of mind and purpose which the 
Continent had not seen since Napoleon, went from vic- 
tory to victory, unifying Germany, rearming it, smash- 
ing and annexing its neighbours until he had made the 
Third Reich the militant master of the Continent, and 
most of its unhappy peoples his slaves. 

I jotted down these things from day to day. Unfor- 
tunately some of my original notes were lost ; others I 
burned rather than risk them and myself to the tender 
mercies of the Gestapo ; a few things I dared not write 
down, attempting to imprint them in my memory to be 
recorded at a later and safer date. But the bulk of my 
notes and copies of all my broadcasts, before they were 
censored, I was able to smuggle out. Where there are 
lapses, I have drawn freely upon my dispatches and 
radio scripts. In a few cases I have been forced to re- 
constitute from memory the happenings of the day, con- 
scious of the pitfalls of such a method and the demands 
of ruthless honesty. 

And, finally, certain names of persons in Germany 
or with relatives in Germany have been disguised or 
simply indicated by a letter which has no relation to 
their real names. The Gestapo will find no clues. 

Chappaqua, New York 
April 1941 



CONTEXTS 

PART I. Prelude to War 1 

PART II. The War 195 



PAET I 
Prelude to War 



WLS 



Llobet de Mab, Spain, January 11, 1934 

Our money is gone. Day after tomorrow I 
must go back to work. We had not thought much 
about it. A wire came. An offer. A bad offer from the 
Paris Herald. But it will keep the wolf away until I 
can get something better. 

Thus ends the best, the happiest, the most unevent- 
ful year we have ever lived. It has been our " year off," 
our sabbatical year, and we have lived it in this little 
Spanish fishing village exactly as we dreamed and 
planned, beautifully independent of the rest of the 
world, of events, of men, bosses, publishers, editors, 
relatives, and friends. It couldn't have gone on for 
ever. We wouldn't have wanted it to, though if the 
thousand dollars we had saved for it had not been sud- 
denly reduced to six hundred by the fall of the dollar, 
we might have stretched the year until a better job 
turned up. It was a good time to lay off, I think. I've 
regained the health I lost in India and Afghanistan in 
1930—1 from malaria and dysentery. I've recovered 
from the shock of the skiing accident in the Alps in the 
spring of 1932, which for a time threatened me with a 
total blindness but which, happily, in the end, robbed 
me of the sight of only one eye. 

And the year just past, 1933, may very well have 



^ 1934 Lioeet de Mae, January 11 

been one not only of transition for us personally, but 
for all Europe and America. What Roosevelt is doing 
at home seems to smack almost of social and economic 
revolution. Hitler and the Nazis have lasted out a 
whole year in Germany and our friends in Vienna write 
that fascism, both of a local clerical brand and of the 
Berlin type, is rapidly gaining ground in Austria. 
Here in Spain the revolution has gone sour and the 
Right government of Gil Robles and Alexander Ler- 
roux seems bent on either restoring the monarchy or 
setting up a fascist state on the model of Italy — per- 
haps both. The Paris that I came to in 1925 at the 
tender age of twenty-one and loved, as you love a 
woman, is no longer the Paris that I will find day after 
tomorrow — I have no illusions about that. It almost 
seems as though the world we are plunging back into 
is already a different one from that we left just a year 
ago when we packed our clothes and books in Vienna 
and set off for Spain. 

We stumbled across Lloret de Mar on a hike up the 
coast from Barcelona. It was five miles from the rail- 
road, set in the half-moon of a wide, sandy beach under 
the foot-hills of the Pyrenees. Tess liked it at once. 
So did I. We found a furnished house on the beach — 
three storeys, ten rooms, two baths, central heating. 
When the proprietor said the price would be fifteen 
dollars a month, we paid the rent for a year. Our ex- 
penses, including rent, have averaged sixty dollars a 
month. 

What have we done these past twelve months? Not 
too much. No great " accomplishments." We've swum, 
four or five times a day, from April to Christmas. 
We've hiked up and around the lower reaches of the 
Pyrenees that slope down to the village and the sea, 
past a thousand olive groves, a hundred cork-oak 



1934< Lioiet de Mar, January 11 5 

forests, and the cool whitewashed walls of the peasants' 
houses, putting off until tomorrow and for ever the 
climb we were always going to make to the peaks that 
were covered with snow late in the spring and early in 
the fall. We've read — a few of the books for which 
there was never time in the days when you had a nightly 
cable to file and were being shunted from one capital 
to another — from Paris and London to Delhi. My- 
self: some history, some philosophy, and Spengler's 
Decline of the West; Trotsky's History of the Russian 
Revolution; War and Peace; Celine's Voyage au bout 
de la nuit, the most original French novel since the war ; 
and most or all of Wells, Shaw, Ellis, Beard, Heming- 
way, Dos Passos, and Dreiser. A few friends came and 
stayed: the Jay Aliens, Russell and Pat Strauss, and 
Luis Quintanilla, one of the most promising of the 
younger Spanish painters and a red-hot republican. 
Andres Segovia lived next door and came over in the 
evening to talk or to play Bach or Albeniz on his guitar. 

This year we had time to know each other, to loaf 
and play, to wine and eat, to see the bull-fights in the 
afternoon and Barcelona's gaudy Barrio Chino at 
night ; time to sense the colours, the olive green of the 
hills, the incomparable blues of the Mediterranean in 
the spring, and the wondrous, bleak, grey-white skies 
above Madrid; time too to know the Spanish peasant 
and worker and fisherman, men of great dignity and 
guts and integrity despite their miserable, half -starved 
lives; and at the Prado and Toledo just a little time 
for Greco, whose sweeping form and colour all but 
smote us down and made all the Renaissance painting 
we had seen in Italy, even the da Vincis, Raphaels, 
Titians, Botticellis, seem pale and anaemic. 

It has been a good year. 



1934 Paeis, February 7 



Pakis, February 7 

A little dazed still from last night. About 
five p.m. yesterday I was twiddling my thumbs in the 
Herald office wondering whether to go down to the 
Chamber, where the new premier, Edouard Daladier, 
was supposed to read his ministerial declaration, when 
we got a tip that there was trouble at the Place de la 
Concorde. I grabbed a taxi and went down to see. I 
found nothing untoward. A few royalist Camelots du 
Roi, Jeunesses Patriotes of Deputy Pierre Taittinger, 
and Solidarite Francaise thugs of Perfumer Francois 
Coty — all right-wing youths or gangsters — had at- 
tempted to break through to the Chamber, but had been 
dispersed by the police. The Place was normal. I tel- 
ephoned the Herald, but Eric Hawkins, managing 
editor, advised me to grab a bite of dinner near by and 
take another look a little later. About seven p.m. I 
returned to the Place de la Concorde. Something ob- 
viously was up. Mounted steel-helmeted Mobile Guards 
were clearing the square. Over by the obelisk in the 
centre a bus was on fire. I worked my way over through 
the Mobile Guards, who were slashing away with their 
sabres, to the Tuileries side. Up on the terrace was a 
mob of several thousand and, mingling with them, I 
soon found they were not fascists, but Communists. 
When the police tried to drive them back, they unleashed 
a barrage of stones and bricks. Over on the bridge lead- 
ing from the Place to the Chamber across the Seine, I 
found a solid mass of Mobile Guards nervously finger- 
ing their rifles, backed up by ordinary police and a fire- 
brigade. A couple of small groups attempted to advance 
to the bridge from the quay leading up from the Louvre, 
but two fire-hoses put them to flight. About eight 
o'clock a couple of thousand U.N.C. ( Union Nationale 



1934 Paris, February 7 



des Combattants *) war veterans paraded into the Place, 
having marched down the Champs-Elysees from the 
Rond-Point. They Game in good order behind a mass 
of tricoloured flags. They were stopped at the bridge 
and their leaders began talking with police officials. I 
went over to the Crillon and up to the third-floor bal- 
cony overlooking the square. It was jammed with peo- 
ple. The first shots we didn't hear. The first we knew 
of the shooting was when a woman about twenty feet 
away suddenly slumped to the floor with a bullet-hole 
in her forehead. She was standing next to Melvin 
Whiteleather of the A.P. Now we could hear the shoot- 
ing, coming from the bridge and the far side of the 
Seine. Automatic rifles they seemed to be using. The 
mob's reaction was to storm into the square. Soon it 
was dotted with fires. To the left, smoke started pouring 
out of the Ministry of Marine. Hoses were brought 
into play, but the mob got close enough to cut them. 
I went down to the lobby to phone the office. Several 
wounded were laid out and were being given first aid. 
The shooting continued until about midnight, when 
the Mobile Guards began to get the upper hand. Sev- 
eral times the Place de la Concorde changed hands, but 
towards midnight the police were in control. Once — > 
about ten o'clock it must have been — the mob, which 
by this time was incensed, but obviously lacked leader- 
ship, tried to storm the bridge, some coming up along 
the quais, whose trees offered them considerable pro- 
tection, and others charging madly across the Place. 
" If they get across the bridge," I thought, " they'll 
kill every deputy in the Chamber." But a deadly fire 
— it sounded this time like machine-guns — stopped 

i A right-wing organization of some eight hundred thousand mem- 
bers. France's other four million war veterans were organized in the 
FidAration des Anciens Combattants. 



8 1934 Paris, February 7 

them and in a few minutes they were scattering in all 
directions. 

Soon there was only scattered firing and about ten 
minutes after twelve I started sprinting up the Champs- 
Elysees towards the office to write my story. Near the 
President's Elysee Palace I noticed several companies 
of regular troops on guard, the first I had seen. It is 
almost a mile up hill along the Champs-Elysees to the 
Herald office and I arrived badly out of breath, but 
managed to write a couple of columns before deadline. 
Officially : sixteen dead, several hundred wounded. 

Later. — Daladier, who posed as a strong 
man, has resigned. He gives out this statement : " The 
government, which has the responsibility for order and 
security, refuses to assure it by exceptional means which 
might bring about further bloodshed. It does not de- 
sire to employ soldiers against demonstrators. I have 
therefore handed to the President of the Republic the 
resignation of the Cabinet." 

Imagine Stalin or Mussolini or Hitler hesitating to 
employ troops against a mob trying to overthrow their 
regimes ! It's true perhaps that last night's rioting had 
as its immediate cause the Stavisky scandal. But the 
Stavisky swindles merely demonstrate the rottenness 
and the weakness of French democracy. Daladier and 
his Minister of the Interior, Eugene Frot, actually gave 
the U.N.C. permission to demonstrate. They should 
have refused it. They should have had enough Mobile 
Guards on hand early in the evening to disperse the 
mob before it could gather strength. But to resign now, 
after putting down a fascist coup — for that's what it 
was — is either sheer cowardice or stupidity. Impor- 
tant too is the way the Communists fought on the same 



1934 Paris, February 12 



side of the barricades last night as the fascists. I do not 
like that. 

Paris, February 8 

Old " Papa " Doumergue is to head the gov- 
ernment of " national union." They've dragged him 
from his village of Tournefeuille, where he had retired 
with his mistress, whom he married shortly after step- 
ping down from the presidency. He says he will form 
a cabinet of former premiers and chiefs of parties, but 
it will be Rightish and reactionary. Still, the moderate 
Left — men like Chautemps, Daladier, Herriot — have 
shown they can't govern, or won't. 

Paris, February 12 

A general strike today, but not very effective, 
and there's been no trouble. 

Later. — Dollfuss has struck at the Social 
Democrats in Austria, the only organized group (forty 
per cent of the population) which can save him from 
being swallowed up by the Nazis. Communications with 
Vienna were cut most of the day, but tonight the story 
started coming through to the office. It is civil war. The 
Socialists are entrenched in the great municipal houses 
they built after the war — models for the whole world 
— the Karl Marx Hof , the Goethe Hof , and so on. But 
Dollfuss and the Heimwehr under Prince Starhemberg, 
a play-boy ignoramus, and Major Fey, a hatchet-faced 
and brutal reactionary, have control of the rest of the 
city. With their tanks and artillery, they will win — 
unless the Socialists get help from the Czechs, from 
near-by Bratislava. 



10 1934 Paris, February 15 

This, then, is what Fey meant yesterday. I was struck 
by a report of his speech which Havas carried last night : 
" During the last few days I have made certain that 
Chancellor Dollfuss is a man of the Heimwehr. Tomor- 
row we shall start to make a clean breast of things in 
Austria." But I put it down to his usual loud-mouthed- 
ness. And what a role for little Dollf uss ! It's only a 
little more than a year ago that I, with John Gunther 
and Eric Gedye, had a long talk with him after a lunch- 
eon which the Anglo-American Press Club tendered him. 
I found him a timid little fellow, still a little dazed that 
he, the illegitimate son of a peasant, should have gone 
so far. But give the little men a lot of power and they 
can be dangerous. I weep for my Social Democrat 
friends, the most decent men and women I've known in 
Europe. How many of them are being slaughtered to- 
night, I wonder. And there goes democracy in Austria, 
one more state gone. Remained at the office until the 
paper was put to bed at one thirty a.m., but feel too 
weary and depressed by the news to sleep. 

Paris, February 15 

The fighting in Vienna ended today, the dis- 
patches say. Dollfuss finished off the last workers with 
artillery and then went off to pray. Well, at least the 
Austrian Social Democrats fought, which is more than 
their comrades in Germany did. Apparently Otto 
Bauer and Julius Deutsch got safely over the Czech 
frontier. A good thing, or Dollfuss would have hanged 
them. 

February 23 

My birthday. Thirty. And with the worst 
job I've ever had. Tess prepared a great birthday ban- 



1934 Paris, July 14 11 

quet and afterwards we went out to a concert. How the 
French slide over Beethoven ! Elliot Paul used to say 
that if the French musicians would stop reading L'ln- 
transigeant or Paris-Soir during a performance they 
would do better. Must see Shakespeare's Coriolamis a\ 
the Comedie Francaise, which the Left people charge 
has some anti-democratic lines. Heard today that Doll 
fuss had hanged Koloman Wallisch, the Social Demo- 
crat mayor of Bruck an der Mur. Claude Cockburn, 
who should know better, came out the other day in 
Week with an absurd account of the February 6 riots. 
Described them as a " working class " protest. Curi- 
ously enough, his description of that night reads sus- 
piciously like that which Trotsky has written of the 
first uprising in Petrograd in 1917 in his History of the 
Russian Revolution. The fact is that February 6 was 
an attempted fascist coup which the Communists, wit- 
tingly or not, helped. 

Paris, June 30 

Berlin was cut off for several hours today, but 
late this afternoon telephone communication was re- 
established. And what a story ! Hitler and Goring have 
purged the S.A., shooting many of its leaders. Rohm, 
arrested by Hitler himself, was allowed to commit suicide 
in a Munich jail, according to one agency report. The 
French are pleased. They think this is the beginning 
of the end for the Nazis. Wish I could get a post in 
Berlin. It's a story I'd like to cover. 

Paris, July 14 

My sister is here, and the three of us cele- 
brated Bastille Day a little tonight. We took her around 



12 1934 Paris, July 25 

to the cafes to watch the people dance. Later we ended 
up at Cafe Flore where I introduced her to some of 
the Latin Quarterites. Alex Small was in great form. 
When Alex started to fight the Battle of Verdun again, 
I dragged the family away, having heard it many times 
over the years. 

It now develops that Hitler's purge was more drastic 
than first reported. Rohm did not kill himself, but was 
shot on the orders of Hitler. Other dead: Hemes, no- 
torious Nazi boss of Silesia, Dr. Erich Klausner, leader 
of the " Catholic Action " in Germany, Fritz von Bose 
and Edgar Jung, two of Papen's secretaries (Papen 
himself narrowly escaped with his life) , Gregor Stras- 
ser, who used to be second in importance to Hitler in 
the Nazi Party, and General von Schleicher and his 
wife, the latter two murdered in cold blood. I see 
von Kahr is on the list, the man who balked Hitler's 
Beer House Putsch in 1923. Hitler has thus taken his 
personal revenge. Yesterday, on Friday the 13th, Hit- 
ler got away with his explanation in the Reichstag. 
When he screamed : " The supreme court of the German 
people during these twenty-four hours consisted of my- 
self ! " the deputies rose and cheered. One had almost 
forgotten how strong sadism and masochism are in the 
German people. 

Paris, July 25 

Dollfuss is dead, murdered by the Nazis, who 
today seized control of the Chancellery and the radio 
station in Vienna. Apparently their coup has failed 
and Miklas and Dr. Schuschnigg are in control. I do 
not like murder, and Nazi murder least of all. But I 
cannot weep for Dollfuss after his cold-blooded slaugh- 
ter of the Social Democrats last February. Fey seems 



1934 Paris, August 11 IS 

to have played a curious role, according to the dis- 
patches. He was in the Chancellery with Dollfuss and 
kept coming to the balcony to ask for Rintelen, whom 
the Nazis had named as their first Chancellor. Appar- 
ently he thought the Nazi coup had succeeded and was 

ready to join. A bad hatchet-face, this Fey. 

■ * =5 

Paris, August 2 

Hindenburg died this morning. Who can be 
president now? What will Hitler do ? 

Paris, August 3 

Hitler did what no one expected. He made 
himself both President and Chancellor. Any doubts 
about the loyalty of the army were done away with 
before the old field-marshal's body was hardly cold. 
Hitler had the army swear an oath of unconditional 
obedience to him personally. The man is resourceful. 

Paris, August 9 

Dosch-Fleurot rang me at the office this after- 
noon from Berlin and offered me a job with Universal 
Service there. I said yes at once, we agreed on a salary, 
and he said he would let me know after talking with 
New York. 

Paris, August 11 

Larry Hills, editor and manager of the Her- 
ald, whined a bit this evening about my going, but 
finally overcame his ill temper and we went over to the 
bar of the Hotel California and had a drink. Must 
brush up my German. 



IJf. 1934 Berlin, August 25 

Berlin, August 25 

Our introduction to Hitler's Third Reich this 
evening was probably typical. Taking the day train 
from Paris so as to see a little of the country, we ar- 
rived at the Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof at about ten this 
evening. The first persons to greet us on the platform 
were two agents of the secret police. I had expected to 
meet the secret police sooner or later, but not quite so 
soon. Two plain-clothes men grabbed me as I stepped 
off the train, led me a little away, and asked me if I 
were Herr So-and-So — I could not for the life of me 
catch the name. I said no. One of them asked again 
and again and finally I showed him my passport. He 
scanned it for several minutes, finally looked at me sus- 
piciously, and said : " So. . . . You are not Herr So- 
and-So, then. You are Herr Shirer." " None other," 
I replied, " as you can see by the passport." He gave 
me one more suspicious glance, winked at his fellow 
dick, saluted stiifly, and made off. Tess and I walked 
over to the Hotel Continental and engaged an enormous 
room. Tomorrow begins a new chapter for me. I 
thought of a bad pun : " I'm going from bad to Hearst." 

Berlin, August 26 

Knickerbocker tells me Dorothy Thompson 
departed from the Friedrichstrasse station shortly 
before we arrived yesterday. She had been given 
twenty-four hours to get out — apparently the work 
of Putzi Hanfstangl, who could not forgive her for 
her book I Saw Hitler, which, at that, badly under- 
estimated the man. Knick's own position here is pre- 
carious apparently because of some of his past and 
present writings. Goebbels, who used to like him, has 



1934 Berlin, September 2 15 

fallen afoul of him. He's going down to see Hearst at 
Bad Nauheim about it in a day or two. 



Berlin, September 2 

In the throes of a severe case of depression. 
I miss the old Berlin of the Republic, the care-free, 
emancipated, civilized air, the snubnosed young women 
with short-bobbed hair and the young men with either 
cropped or long hair — it made no difference — who 
sat up all night with you and discussed anything with 
intelligence and passion. The constant He'tl Hitler's, 
clicking of heels, and brown-shirted storm troopers or 
black-coated S.S. guards marching up and down the 
street grate me, though the old-timers say there are not 
nearly so many brown-shirts about since the purge. 
Gillie, former Morning Post correspondent here and 
now stationed in Paris, is, perversely, spending part of 
his vacation here. We've had some walks and twice have 
had to duck into stores to keep from either having to 
salute the standard of some passing S.A. or S.S. bat- 
talion or facing the probability of getting beaten up 
for not doing so. Day before yesterday Gillie took me 
to lunch at a pub in the lower part of the Friedrich- 
strasse. Coming back he pointed out a building where 
a year ago for days on end, he said, you could hear 
the yells of the Jews being tortured. I noticed a sign. 
It was still the headquarters of some S.A. Standarte. 
Tess tried to cheer me up by taking me to the Zoo yester- 
day. It was a lovely, hot day and after watching the 
monkeys and elephants we lunched on the shaded ter- 
race of the restaurant there. Called on the Ambassador, 
Professor William E. Dodd. He struck me as a blunt, 
honest, liberal man with the kind of integrity an Amer j 
ican ambassador needs here. He seemed a little dis- 



16 1934s Nubembeug, September 4i 

pleased at my saying I did not mourn the death of 
Dollfuss and may have interpreted it as meaning I 
liked the Nazis, though I hope not. Also called on the 
counsellor of Embassy, J. C. White, who appears to 
be the more formal type of State Department career 
diplomat. He promptly sent cards, nicely creased, to 
the hotel, but since I do not understand the creased- 
card business of diplomacy I shall do nothing about it. 
Am going to cover the annual Nazi Party rally at 
Nuremberg day after tomorrow. It should provide a 
thorough introduction to Nazi Germany. 

Nuremberg, September 4 

Like a Roman emperor Hitler rode into this 
mediaeval town at sundown today past solid phalanxes 
of wildly cheering Nazis who packed the narrow streets 
that once saw Hans Sachs and the Meistersinger. Tens 
of thousands of Swastika flags blot out the Gothic beau- 
ties of the place, the facades of the old houses, the 
gabled roofs. The streets, hardly wider than alleys, are 
a sea of brown and black uniforms. I got my first 
glimpse of Hitler as he drove by our hotel, the Wurt- 
temberger Hof, to his headquarters down the street at 
the Deutscher Hof, a favourite old hotel of his, which 
has been remodelled for him. He fumbled his cap with 
his left hand as he stood in his car acknowledging the 
delirious welcome with somewhat feeble Nazi salutes 
from his right arm. He was clad in a rather worn gaber- 
dine trench-coat, his face had no particular expression 
at all — I expected it to be stronger — and for the life 
of me I could not quite comprehend what hidden springs 
he undoubtedly unloosed in the hysterical mob which 
was greeting him so wildly. He does not stand before 
the crowd with that theatrical imperiousness which I 



1934 Nueembekg, September 4 17 

have seen Mussolini use. I was glad to see that he did 
not poke out his chin and throw his head back as does 
the Duce nor make his eyes glassy — though there is 
something glassy in his eyes, the strongest thing in his 
face. He almost seemed to be affecting a modesty in 
his bearing. I doubt if it's genuine. 

This evening at the beautiful old Rathaus Hitler 
formally opened this, the fourth party rally. He spoke 
for only three minutes, probably thinking to save his 
voice for the six big speeches he is scheduled to make 
during the next five days. Putzi Hanfstangl, an im- 
mense, high-strung, incoherent clown who does not often 
fail to remind us that he is part American and gradu- 
ated from Harvard, made the main speech of the day 
in his capacity of foreign press chief of the party. Ob- 
viously trying to please his boss, he had the crust to ask 
us to " report on affairs in Germany without at- 
tempting to interpret them." " History alone," Putzi 
shouted, " can evaluate the events now taking place 
under Hitler." What he meant, and what Goebbels and 
Rosenberg mean, is that we should jump on the band- 
wagon of Nazi propaganda. I fear Putzi's words fell 
on deaf, if good-humoured, ears among the American 
and British correspondents, who rather like him despite 
his clownish stupidity. 

About ten o'clock tonight I got caught in a mob of 
ten thousand hysterics who jammed the moat in front 
of Hitler's hotel, shouting: " We want our Fiihrer." 1 
was a little shocked at the faces, especially those of the 
women, when Hitler finally appeared on the balcony 
for a moment. They reminded me of the crazed expres- 
sions I saw once in the back country of Louisiana on 
the faces of some Holy Rollers who were about to hit 
the trail. They looked up at him as if he were a Messiah, 
their faces transformed into something positively in- 



18 1934 Nueembeeg, September 5 

human. If he had remained in sight for more than a 
few moments, I think many of the women would have 
swooned from excitement. 

Later I pushed my way into the lobby of the 
Deutscher Hof. I recognized Julius Streicher, whom 
they call here the Uncrowned Czar of Franconia. In 
Berlin he is known more as the number-one Jew-baiter 
and editor of the vulgar and pornographic anti- 
Semitic sheet the Stiirmer. His head was shaved, and 
this seemed to augment the sadism of his face. As he 
walked about, he brandished a short whip. 

Knick arrived today. He will cover for INS and I 
for Universal. 

Nuremberg*, September 5 

I'm beginning to comprehend, I think, some 
of the reasons for Hitler's astounding success. Borrow- 
ing a chapter from the Roman church, he is restoring 
pageantry and colour and mysticism to the drab lives 
of twentieth-century Germans. This morning's open- 
ing meeting in the Luitpold Hall on the outskirts of 
Nuremberg was more than a gorgeous show; it also 
had something of the mysticism and religious fervour 
of an Easter or Christmas Mass in a great Gothic ca- 
thedral. The hall was a sea of brightly coloured flags. 
Even Hitler's arrival was made dramatic. The band 
stopped playing. There was a hush over the thirty 
thousand people packed in the hall. Then the band 
struck up the Badervweiler March, a very catchy tune, 
and used only, I'm told, when Hitler makes his big en- 
tries. Hitler appeared in the back of the auditorium, 
and followed by his aides, Goring, Goebbels, Hess, 
Himmler, and the others, he strode slowly down the 
long centre aisle while thirty thousand hands were 



1934 Nun em be kg, September 5 19 

raised in salute. It is a ritual, the old-timers say, which, 
is always followed. Then an immense symphony or- 
chestra played Beethoven's Egmont Overture. Great 
Klieg lights played on the stage, where Hitler sat sur- 
rounded by a hundred party officials and officers of the 
army and navy. Behind them the " blood flag," the one 
carried down the streets of Munich in the ill-fated 
putsch. Behind this, four or five hundred S.A. stand- 
ards. When the music was over, Rudolf Hess, Hitler's 
closest confidant, rose and slowly read the names of the 
Nazi " martyrs " — brown-shirts who had been killed 
in the struggle for power — a roll-call of the dead, and 
the thirty thousand seemed very moved. 

In such an atmosphere no wonder, then, that every 
word dropped by Hitler seemed like an inspired Word 
from on high. Man's — or at least the German's — 
critical faculty is swept away at such moments, and 
every lie pronounced is accepted as high truth itself. 
It was while the crowd — all Nazi officials — were in 
this mood that the Fuhrer's proclamation was sprung 
on them. He did not read it himself. It was read by 
Gauleiter Wagner of Bavaria, who, curiously, has a 
voice and manner of speaking so like Hitler's that some 
of the correspondents who were listening back at the 
hotel on the radio thought it was Hitler. 

As to the proclamation, it contained such statements 
as these, all wildly applauded as if they were new truths : 
" The German form of life is definitely determined for 
the next thousand years. For us, the nervous nineteenth 
century has finally ended. There will be no revolution 
in Germany for the next one thousand years ! " 

Or : " Germany has done everything possible to as- 
sure world peace. If war comes to Europe it will come 
only because of Communist chaos." Later before a 
" Kidtur " meeting he added : " Only brainless dwarfs 



20 1934 Nuremberg, September 6 

cannot realize that Germany has been the breakwater 
against Communist floods which would have drowned 
Europe and its culture." 

Hitler also referred to the fight now going on against 
his attempt to Nazify the Protestant church. " I am 
striving to unify it. I am convinced that Luther would 
have done the same and would have thought of unified 
Germany first and last." 

Nuremberg, September 6 

Hitler sprang his Arbeitsdienst, his Labour 
Service Corps, on the public for the first time today and 
it turned out to be a highly trained, semi-military group 
of fanatical Nazi youths. Standing there in the early 
morning sunlight which sparkled on their shiny spades, 
fifty thousand of them, with the first thousand bared 
above the waist, suddenly made the German spectators 
go mad with joy when, without warning, they broke 
into a perfect goose-step. Now, the goose-step has al- 
ways seemed to me to be an outlandish exhibition of the 
human being in his most undignified and stupid state, 
but I felt for the first time this morning what an inner 
chord it strikes in the strange soul of the German peo- 
ple. Spontaneously they jumped up and shouted their 
applause. There was a ritual even for the Labour Serv- 
ice boys. They formed an immense Sprechchor — a 
chanting chorus — and with one voice intoned such 
words as these : " We want one Leader ! Nothing for us ! 
Everything for Germany ! Heil Hitler! " 

Curious that none of the relatives or friends of the 
S.A. leaders or, say, of General von Schleicher have 
tried to get Hitler or Goring or Himmler this week. 
Though Hitler is certainly closely guarded by the S.S., 
it is nonsense to hold that he cannot be killed. Yester- 



1934 Nuremberg, September 7 21 

day we speculated on the matter, Pat Murphy of the 
Daily Express, a burly but very funny and amusing 
Irishman, Christopher Holmes of Reuter's, who looks 
like a poet and perhaps is, Knick, and I. We were in 
Pat's room, overlooking the moat. Hitler drove by, re- 
turning from some meeting. And we all agreed how 
easy it would be for someone in a room like this to toss 
a bomb on his car, rush down to the street, and escape 
in the crowd. But there has been no sign of an attempt 
yet, though some of the Nazis are slightly worried about 
Sunday, when he reviews the S.A. 

Nuremberg, September 7 

Another great pageant tonight. Two hun- 
dred thousand party officials packed in the Zeppelin 
Wiese with their twenty-one thousand flags unfurled 
in the searchlights like a forest of weird trees. " We are 
strong and will get stronger," Hitler shouted at them 
through the microphone, his words echoing across the 
hushed field from the loud-speakers. And there, in the 
flood-lit night, jammed together like sardines, in one 
mass formation, the little men of Germany who have 
made Nazism possible achieved the highest state of be- 
ing the Germanic man knows: the shedding of their 
individual souls and minds — with the personal respon- 
sibilities and doubts and problems — until under the 
mystic lights and at the sound of the magic words of 
the Austrian they were merged completely in the Ger- 
manic herd. Later they recovered enough — fifteen 
thousand of them — to stage a torchlight parade 
through Nuremberg's ancient streets, Hitler taking the 
salute in front of the station across from our hotel. 
Von Papen arrived today and stood alone in a car be- 
hind Hitler tonight, the first public appearance he has 



£8 1934 Nukembeeg, September 9 

made, I think, since he narrowly escaped being mur- 
dered by Goring on June 30. He did not look happy. 



Nukembeeg, September 9 

Hitler faced his S.A. storm troopers today for 
the first time since the bloody purge. In a harangue to 
fifty thousand of them he " absolved " them from blame 
for the Rohm " revolt." There was considerable tension 
in the stadium and I noticed that Hitler's own S.S. 
bodyguard was drawn up in force in front of him, sepa- 
rating him from the mass of the brown-shirts. We 
wondered if just one of those fifty thousand brown- 
shirts wouldn't pull a revolver, but not one did. Viktor 
Lutze, Rohm's successor as chief of the S.A., also spoke. 
He has a shrill, unpleasant voice, and the S.A. boys 
received him coolly, I thought. Hitler had in a few of 
the foreign correspondents for breakfast this morning, 
but I was not invited. 



Nuremberg, September 10 

Today the army had its day, fighting a very 
realistic sham battle in the Zeppelin Meadow. It is dif- 
ficult to exaggerate the frenzy of the three hundred 
thousand German spectators when they saw their sol- 
diers go into action, heard the thunder of the guns, 
and smelt the powder. I feel that all those Americans 
and English (among others) who thought that German 
militarism was merely a product of the Hohenzollerns 
— from Frederick the Great to Kaiser Wilhelm II — 
made a mistake. It is rather something deeply ingrained 
in all Germans. They acted today like children playing 
with tin soldiers. The Reichswehr " fought " today only 
with the " defensive " weapons allowed them by Ver- 



1934 Be eli n, October 9 



sailles, but everybody knows they've got the rest — 
tanks, heavy artillery, and probably airplanes. 

Later. — After seven days of almost cease- 
less goose-stepping, speech-making, and pageantry, the 
party rally came to an end tonight. And though dead 
tired and rapidly developing a bad case of crowd- 
phobia, I'm glad I came. You have to go through one 
of these to understand Hitler's hold on the people, to 
feel the dynamic in the movement he's unleashed and 
the sheer, disciplined strength the Germans possess. 
And now — as Hitler told the correspondents yesterday 
in explaining his technique — the half-million men 
who've been here during the week will go back to their 
towns and villages and preach the new gospel with new 
fanaticism./ Shall sleep late tomorrow and take the 
night train back to Berlin. 

Berlin, October 9 

We've taken a comfortable studio flat in the 
Tauenzienstrasse. The owner, a Jewish sculptor, says 
he is getting off for England while the getting is good 
— probably a wise man. He left us a fine German li- 
brary, which I hope I will get time to use. We get a 
little tired of living in flats or houses that other people 
have furnished, but the migrant life we lead makes it 
impossible to have our own things. We were lucky to 
get this place, which is furnished modernly and with 
good taste. Most of the middle-class homes we've seen 
in Berlin are furnished in atrocious style, littered with 
junk and knick-knacks. 

Later. — On my eight o'clock call to the 
Paris office tonight, they told me that the King of Yugo- 
slavia had been assassinated at Marseille this afternoon 



£4- 1934 Beelin, November 15 

and that Louis Barthou, the French Foreign Minister, 
had been badly wounded. Berlin will not be greatly dis- 
appointed, as King Alexander seemed disposed to work 
more closely with the French bloc against Germany, 
and Barthou had been doing some good work in 
strengthening French alliances in eastern Europe and 
in attempting to bring Russia in on an Eastern Lo- 
carno. 



Beklin, November 15 

Not much news these days. Have been cover- 
ing the fight in the Protestant church. A section of the 
Protestants seem to be showing more guts in the face 
of Gleichschaltung (co-ordination) than the Socialists 
or Communists did. But I think Hitler will get them 
in the end and gradually force on the country a brand 
of early German paganism which the " intellectuals " 
like Rosenberg are hatching up. Went tonight to one 
of Rosenberg's Bierabends which he gives for the diplo- 
mats and the foreign correspondents once a month. 
Rosenberg was one of Hitler's " spiritual " and " intel- 
lectual " mentors, though like most Baits I have met 
he strikes me as extremely incoherent and his book My- 
ihus of the Twentieth Century, which sells second only 
to Mein Kampf in this country, impresses me as a hodge- 
podge of historical nonsense. Some of his enemies, like 
Hanf stangl, say he narrowly missed being a good Rus- 
sian Bolshevist, having been in Moscow as a student 
during the revolution, but that he ran out on it because 
the Bolshies mistrusted him and wouldn't give him a 
big job. He speaks with a strong Baltic accent which 
makes his German difficult for me to understand. He 
had Ambassador Dodd at his table of honour tonight, 
and the professor looked most unhappy. Bernhard 



1934 Berlin, December 2 25 

Rust, the Nazi Minister of Education, was the speaker, 
but my mind wandered during his speech. Rust is not 
without ability and is completely Nazifying the schools. 
This includes new Nazi textbooks falsifying history — 
sometimes ludicrously. 

Berlin, November 28 

Much talk here that Germany is secretly arm- 
ing, though it is difficult to get definite dope, and if 
you did get it and sent it, you'd probably be expelled. 
Sir Eric Phipps, the British Ambassador, whom I used 
to see occasionally in Vienna when he was Minister there 
(he looks like a Hungarian dandy, with a perfect poker 
face) , but whom I have not seen here yet, returned from 
London yesterday and is reported to have asked the 
Wilhelmstrasse about it. Went out to a cheap store in 
the Tauenzienstrasse today and bought a comical- 
looking ready-made suit of " tails " for our foreign 
press ball at the Adlon Saturday night. A dinner 
jacket, I was told, was not enough. 

Berlin, December 2 

The ball all right. Tess had a new dress and 
looked fine. Goebbels, Sir Eric Phipps, Francois Pon- 
cet, Dodd, and General von Reichenau, the nearest thing 
to a Nazi general the Reichswehr has and on very good 
terms with most of the American correspondents, were 
among those present. Von Neurath was supposed to be 
there, but there was some talk of his being displeased 
with the seating arrangements — a problem with the 
Germans every time you give a party — and I didn't 
see him all evening. We danced and wined until about 
three, ending up with an early breakfast of bacon and 
eggs in the Adlon bar. 



1935 Berlin, January 14 



Beklin, January 14, 1935 

The good Catholics and workers of the Saar 
voted themselves back into the Reich yesterday. Some 
ninety per cent voted for reunion — more than we had 
expected, though no doubt many were afraid that they 
would be found out and punished unless they cast their 
ballot for Hitler. Well, at least one cause of European 
tension disappears. Hitler has said, and repeated in a 
broadcast yesterday, that the Saar was the last ter- 
ritorial bone of contention with France. We shall 
see. . . . 

Beklin, February 25 

Diplomatic circles and most of the corre- 
spondents are growing optimistic over a general settle- 
ment that will ensure peace. Sir John Simon, the British 
Foreign Minister, is coming to Berlin. A few days ago 
Laval and Flandin met the British in London. What 
they offer is to free Germany from the disarmament 
provisions of the peace treaty (though Hitler secretly 
is rapidly freeing himself) in return for German prom- 
ises to respect the independence of Austria and all 
the other little countries. The French here point out, 
though, that Hitler has cleverly separated Paris and 
London by inviting the British to come here for talks, 
but not the French. And simple Simon has fallen for 
the bait. 

Saakbkucken, March 1 

The Germans formally occupied the Saar to- 
day. There has been a pouring rain all day, but it has 
not dampened the enthusiasm of the local inhabitants. 



1935 Beelin, March 5 07 

They do have the Nazi bug, badly. But I shall come 
back here in a couple of years to see how they like it 
then — the Catholics and the workers, who form the 
great majority of the population. Hitler strode in this 
afternoon and reviewed the S.S. and the troops. Be- 
fore the parade started, I stood in the stand next to 
Werner von Fritsch, commander-in-chief of the Reichs- 
wehr and the brains of the growing German army. I 
was a little surprised at his talk. He kept up a running 
fire of very sarcastic remarks — about the S.S., the 
party, and various party leaders as they appeared. He 
was full of contempt for them all. When Hitler's car? 
arrived, he grunted and went over and took his place 
just behind the Fiihrer for the review. 



Berlin, March 5 

Something has gone wrong with the drive for 
a general settlement. Simon was supposed to arrive here 
day after tomorrow for his talks with the Germans, but 
this morning von Neurath told the British that Hitler 
had a cold and asked Simon to postpone his trip. A 
little investigation in the Wilhelmstrasse this afternoon 
revealed it's a " cold diplomatique." The Germans are 
sore at the publication in London yesterday of a Parlia- 
mentary White Paper initialled by Prime Minister Mac- 
Donald and commenting on the growing rearmament 
of Germany in the air. The Germans are especially 
peeved at this passage which they say is in the paper : 
" This [German air force] rearmament, if continued 
at the present rate, unabated and uncontrolled, will 
aggravate the existing anxieties oi me neighbours of 
Germany and may consequently produce a situation 
where peace will be in peril. His Majesty's government 
have noted and welcomed the declarations of the leaders 



1935 Berlin, March 15 



of Germany that they desire peace. They cannot, how- 
ever, fail to recognize that not only the forces but the 
spirit in which the population, and especially the youth 
of the country, are being organized, lend colour to, and 
substantiate, the general f eeling of insecurity which has 
already been incontestably generated." 

All of which is true enough, but the Nazis are furious 
and Hitler refuses to see Simon. 



Berlin, March 15 

Simon, it's now announced, will come here 
March 24. But all is not well. Goring has told the 
Daily Mail, which through Lord Rothermere, its owner, 
and Ward Price, its roving correspondent — both pro- 
Nazi — has become a wonderful Nazi mouthpiece and 
sounding-board, that Germany is building up a military 
air force. This is the first time he has publicly admitted 
it. Today it was stated here that Goring as Minister 
of Air will be under von Blomberg, Minister of Defence, 
thus putting the stamp of approval of the army on his 
job of creating a new German air force. Tonight the 
Wilhelmstrasse people protested against France's in- 
creasing the period of conscription for the French 
army. 

Berlin, March 16 

At about three o'clock this afternoon the 
Propaganda Ministry called excitedly and asked me to 
come at five to a press conference at which Dr. Goebbels 
would make a statement of the "utmost importance." 
When I got there about a hundred foreign correspond- 
ents were crowded into the conference room, all a little 
high strung, but none knowing why we had been con- 



1935 Berlin, March 16 



voked. Finally Goebbels limped in, looking very im- 
portant and grave. He began immediately to read in, a 
loud voice the text of a new law. 1 He read too fast to 
take it down in long-hand but there was no need for 
that. Hitler had of his own accord wiped out the mili- 
tary sections of the Versailles Treaty, restored uni- 
versal military service and proclaimed the formation of 
a conscript army of twelve army corps or thirty-six 
divisions. Louis Lochner of A.P., Ed Beattie of U.P., 
Pierre Huss of INS, and Gordon Young of Reuter's 
leaped to their feet and made for the telephones in the 
hall, not waiting for the rest of Dr. Goebbels's words. 
Finally the little Dohtor finished. Two or three officials 
remained to answer questions, but it was plain they 
were afraid to say any more than was contained in the 
official communique. How many men would the new 
army have ? Thirty-six divisions, they said. How many 
men in a German division? That depends, they said. 
And so on. 

I walked up the Wilhelmstrasse with Norman Eb- 
butt of the London Times, by far the best-informed 
foreign correspondent here, and Pat Murphy of the 
Daily Express. Ebbutt seemed a little stunned by the 
news, but kept insisting that after all it was not new, 
that the Germans had been building up their army for 
more than a year. I hurried to my office in the Dorothe- 
enstrasse, made some calls, and then sat down to write 

i The text: Law for the Re-Creation of the National Defence 
Forces. 

The Reich government has decreed the following law, which is 
herewith proclaimed: 

1. Service in the defence forces is based on universal military 
service. 

2. The German peace army, inclusive of police units Incorporated 
therein, comprises twelve corps commands and thirty-six divisions. 

3. Supplementary laws for regulating universal military service 
will be drafted and presented to the Reich Cabinet by the Reich Minis- 
ter of Defence. 



30 1935 Beelin, March 16 

my head off. It was Saturday and at home the Sunday 
morning papers go to bed early. 

Later. — Finished my story about ten p.m. 
and waited around the office to answer queries from New 
York. Hitler, I learn, acted with lightning speed, ap- 
parently on the inspiration that now was the time — if 
ever — to act and get by with it, and it looks as though 
he will. The Paris office told me tonight that the French 
were excited and were trying to get the British to do 
something, but that London was holding back. Hitler 
returned from his mountain retreat at Berchtesga- 
den early last evening and immediately convoked the 
Cabinet and the military leaders. The decision was 
made then, or rather communicated by Hitler to the 
others. There seems, so far as I can learn, to have been 
no hesitation by anyone, or if so, it was not expressed. 
Experts went to work to draft the law, and Hitler and 
Goebbels began to draw up two proclamations, one from 
the party, the other by the Fiihrer to the German 
people. 

At one p.m. this afternoon Hitler again convoked the 
Cabinet and the military people and read to them the 
texts of the law and the two proclamations. According 
to one informant, the Cabinet members embraced one 
another after Hitler's magic voice had died down. Grey- 
haired General von Blomberg then led all present in 
three lusty cheers for Hitler. It must have been one of 
the most undignified Cabinet meetings in German his- 
tory. But these Nazis don't rest on dignity — if they 
can get results. And the Junkers who are running the 
army will forget a lot — and swallow a lot — now that 
Hitler has given them what they want. A big crowd 
gathered in the Wilhelmplatz in front of the Chancel- 



1935 Berlin, March 17 31 

lery this evening and cheered Hitler until he appeared 
at a window and saluted. Today's creation of a con- 
script army in open defiance of Versailles will greatly 
enhance his domestic position, for there are few Ger- 
mans, regardless of how much they hate the Nazis, who 
will not support it wholeheartedly. The great majority 
will like the way he has thumbed his nose at Versailles, 
which they all resented, and, being militarists at heart, 
they welcome the rebirth of the army. 

It is a terrible blow to the Allies — to France, 
Britain, Italy, who fought the war and wrote the peace 
to destroy Germany's military power and to keep it 
down. What will London and Paris do? They could 
fight a " preventive " war and that would be the end of 
Hitler. The Poles here say Pilsudski is willing to help. 
But first reactions tonight — at least according to our 
Paris office — are all against it. We shall see. 

To bed tired, and sick at this Nazi triumph, but 
somehow professionally pleased at having had a big 
story to handle, Dosch being away, which left the job 
to me alone. 



Berlin, March 17 

The first paragraph of my dispatch tonight 
sums up this extraordinary day : " This Heroes Memo- 
rial Day in memory of Germany's two million war dead 
was observed today amid scenes unequalled since 1914s 
as rebirth of Germany's military power brought forth 
professions of peace mixed with defiance." The Ger- 
mans call the day Heldengedenktag, and it corresponds 
to our Decoration Day. The main ceremony was at the 
Staatsoper at noon and it was conducted with all the 
colour which the Nazis know how to utilize. The ground 



1935 Berlin, March 17 



floor of the Opera House was a sea of military uniforms, 
with a surprising number of old army officers who over- 
night must have dusted off their fading grey uniforms 
and shined up their quaint pre-war spiked helmets, 
which were much in evidence. Strong stage lights 
played on a platoon of Reichswehr men standing like 
marble statues and holding flowing war flags. Above 
them on a vast curtain was hung an immense silver and 
black Iron Cross. The proper atmosphere was created 
at once when the orchestra played Beethoven's Funeral 
March, a moving piece, and one that seems to awaken 
the very soul of the German. Hitler and his henchmen 
were in the royal box, but he himself did not speak. 
General von Blomberg spoke for him, though it seemed 
to me that he was uttering words certainly penned by 
the Fiihrer. Said Blomberg : " The world has been made 
to realize that Germany did not die of its defeat in the 
World War. Germany will again take the place she 
deserves among the nations. We pledge ourselves to a 
Germany which will never surrender and never again 
sign a treaty which cannot be fulfilled. We do not need 
revenge because we have gathered glory enough through 
the centuries." As Hitler looked on approvingly, the 
general continued : " We do not want to be dragged into 
another world war. Europe has become too small for 
another world-war battlefield. Because all nations have 
equal means at their disposal for war, the future war 
would mean only self -mutilation for all. We want peace 
with equal rights and security for all. We seek no 
more." 

Clever words, and meant not only to assure the Ger- 
man people, who certainly don't want war, but the 
French and British as well. For the French, the refer- 
ence to " security " — a word that haunts the Quai 
d'Orsay. Hitler had Field Marshal von Mackensen, the 



1935 Beblin, March 17 



only surviving field-marshal of the old army, at his side, 
the old man having dressed himself up in his Death- 
Head Hussars uniform. Present also, I noticed, was 
Crown Prince Wilhelm, though Hitler was careful not 
to have him in his box. Dodd was the only ambassador 
present, the British, French, Italian, and Russian en- 
voys being conspicuous by their absence. Not even the 
Jap showed up. Dodd looked rather uncomfortable. 

After the opera " service " Hitler reviewed a contin^ 
gent of troops. Not lacking was a battalion of air-force 
men in sky-blue uniforms who goose-stepped like the 
veterans they undoubtedly are — but are not supposed 
to be. 

It is worth noting, I think, the two proclamations 
issued yesterday, which, on re-reading in the Sunday 
morning newspapers, impress me more than ever in 
showing Hitler's skill in presenting his fait accompli 
in the most favourable light to his own people while at 
the same time impressing outside world opinion not only 
that he is justified in doing what he has done, but that 
he is a man of peace. For example the pronouncement 
of the party: ". . . With the present day the honour 
of the German nation has been restored. We stand erect 
as a free people among nations. As a sovereign state 
we are free to negotiate, and propose to co-operate in 
the organization of peace." 

Or Hitler's own proclamation to the German people. 
It begins with the story he has told many times : Wilson's 
Fourteen Points, the unfair peace treaty, Germany's 
complete disarmament in a world where all the others 
are fully armed, Germany's repeated attempt to reach 
an agreement with the others, and so on. And then: 
" In so doing [in proclaiming conscription] it pro- 
ceeded from the same premises which Mr. Baldwin in his 
last speech so truthfully expressed : ' A country which 



34 1935 Bbelin, March 17 

is not willing to adopt the necessary preventive measures 
for its own defence will never enjoy any power in this 
world, either moral or material.' " 

Then, to France : " Germany has finally given France 
the solemn assurance that Germany, after the adjust- 
ment of the Saar question, now no longer will make 
territorial demands upon France." 

Finally, to Germans and the whole world: ". . . In 
this hour the German government renews before the 
German people and before the entire world its assurance 
of its determination never to proceed beyond the safe- 
guarding of German honour and the freedom of the 
Reich, and especially it does not intend in rearming 
Germany to create any instrument for warlike attack, 
but, on the contrary, exclusively for defence and thereby 
for the maintenance of peace. In so doing, the Reich 
government expresses the confident hope that the Ger- 
man people, having again obtained their own honour, 
may be privileged in independent equality to make their 
contribution towards the pacification of the world in 
free and open co-operation with other nations." 

Every German I've talked to today has applauded 
these lines. One of the Germans in my office, no Nazi, 
said: " Can the world expect a fairer offer of peace? " 
I admit it sounds good, but Ebbutt keeps warning me 
to be very sceptical, which I hope I am. 

Talked to both our London and Paris offices tonight 
on the phone. They said the French and British are 
still trying to make up their minds. London said Gar- 
vin came out in the Observer with an editorial saying 
Hitler's action occasioned no surprise and calling on 
Simon to go ahead with his Berlin visit. Beaverbrook's 
Sunday Express warned against threatening Germany 
with force. Tomorrow, according to our office, the 



1935 Berlin, April 9 



Times will take a conciliatory line. My guess is that 
Hitler has got away with it. 

Berlin, March 18 (at the office) 

A squadron of Goring's bombers just flew 
over our roof in formation — the first time they have 
appeared in public. They kept their formation well. 

Berlin, March 26 

Simon and Eden have been here for the last 
couple of days conferring with Hitler and Neurath and 
this afternoon the two British envoys received us at the 
dilapidated old British Embassy to tell us — nothing. 
Simon struck me as a very vain man. Eden, who looked 
and acted like a schoolboy, kept pacing up and down the 
stage — we were in the ballroom, which has a stage — 
prompting his chief and occasionally whispering to him 
when we asked an embarrassing question. The only 
thing Simon said worth reporting is that he and Hitler 
found themselves in " disagreement on almost every- 
thing." Apparently — at least the Germans say so — 
Hitler put on a big song and dance against Russia and 
the proposed Eastern Locarno, which would bring in 
Russia in a defence system on Germany's eastern fron- 
tiers. The Wilhelmstrasse scarcely hides the fact that 
Hitler did all the talking, Simon all the listening. Eden 
goes on to Warsaw and Moscow ; Simon home. 

Berlin, April 9 

A gala reception at the Opera tonight on the 
occasion of Goring's wedding. He has married a pro- 
vincial actress, Emmy Sonnemann. I received an invi- 



36 ■ 1935 Bee lin, April 11 

tation, but did not go. Party people tell me Goebbels 
is in a rage at his arch-enemy's lavish displays, of which 
tonight was only one example, and that he's told the 
press it can comment sarcastically. Not many editors 
will dare to, I think. 

Berlin, April 11 

Dr. S., a successful Jewish lawyer who served 
his country at the front in the war, suddenly appeared 
at our apartment today after having spent some months 
in the Gestapo jail, Columbia House. Tess was at home 
and reports he was in a bad state, a little out of his head, 
but apparently aware of his condition, because he was 
afraid to go home and face his family. Tess fortified 
him with some whisky, cheered him up, and sent him 
home. His wife has been on the verge of nervous pros- 
tration for a long time. He said no charges had been 
preferred against him other than that he was a Jew 
or a half-Jew and one of several lawyers who had offered 
to help defend Thalmann. Many Jews come to us these 
days for advice or help in getting to England or 
America, but unfortunately there is little we can do for 
them. 

Bad Saarow, April 21 {Easter) 

Taking the Easter week-end off. The hotel 
mainly filled with Jews and we are a little surprised to 
see so many of them still prospering and apparently un- ' 
afraid. I think they are unduly optimistic. 

Berlin, May 1 

A blizzard today pretty well spoiled the big 
Labour Day show at Tempelhof. Dosch insisted on 



1935 Berlin, May 21 37 

going out to cover it despite his bad health. Hitler had 
nothing particular to say and seemed to be depressed. 
Thousands of workers being marched to Tempelhof for 
the meeting took advantage of the blizzard to slip out 
of ranks and make for the nearest pub. There were a 
surprising number of drunks on the street tonight — 
unusual for Berlin. The talk around town is that the 
British are going to negotiate a naval agreement with 
Hitler, thus helping him to break another shackle of 
Versailles. 



Berlin, May 21 

Hitler made a grandiose " peace " speech in 
the Reichstag this evening and I fear it will impress 
world opinion and especially British opinion more than 
it should. The man is truly a superb orator and in the 
atmosphere of the hand-picked Reichstag, with its six 
hundred or so sausage-necked, shaved-headed, brown- 
clad yes-men, who rise and shout almost every time 
Hitler pauses for breath, I suppose he is convincing to 
Germans who listen to him. Anyway, tonight he was in 
great form and his program — of thirteen points — 
will convince a lot of people. It's rather an amazing 
program, at that ; very astutely drawn up. 

Leading up to it, Hitler screamed : " Germany needs 
peace. . . . Germany wants peace. . . . No one of us 
means to threaten anybody." As to Austria : " Ger- 
many neither intends nor wishes to interfere in the in- 
ternal affairs of Austria, to annex Austria, or to con- 
clude an Anschluss." 

Then he launched into his thirteen-point program. 

1. Germany cannot return to Geneva unless the 
Treaty and the Covenant are separated. 

2. Germany will respect all other provisions of the 



88 1935 Beblin, May 21 

Treaty of Versailles, including the territorial provi- 
sions. 

3. Germany will scrupulously maintain every treaty 
voluntarily signed. In particular it will uphold and 
fulfil all obligations arising out of the Locarno Treaty. 
... In respecting the demilitarized zone, the German 
government considers its action as a contribution to the 
appeasement of Europe. . . . 

4. Germany is ready to co-operate in a collective sys^ 
tem for safeguarding European peace. . . . 

5. Unilateral imposition of conditions cannot prov 
mote collaboration. Step-by-step negotiations are in- 
dispensable. 

6. The German government is ready in principle to 
conclude pacts of non-aggression with its neighbours, 
and to supplement these pacts with all provisions that 
aim at isolating the war-maker and isolating the area 
of war. 

7. The German government is ready to supplement 
the Locarno Treaty with an air agreement. 

8. Germany is ready to limit armaments on the basis 
of aerial parity with the individual big powers of the 
West, and naval tonnage equal to thirty-five per cent 
of the British. 

9. Germany desires the outlawing of weapons and 
methods of warfare contrary to the Geneva Red Cross 
convention. Here the German government has in mind 
all those arms which bring death and destruction not so 
much to the fighting soldiers as to non-combatant 
women and children. It believes it is possible to pro- 
scribe the use of certain arms as contrary to inter- 
national law and to outlaw those nations still using 
them. For example, there might be a prohibition of the 
dropping of gas, incendiary, and explosive bombs out- 
side the real battle zone. This limitation could then be 



1935 Berlin, June 3 39 

extended to complete international outlawing of all 
bombing. 

10. Germany desires the abolition of the heaviest 
arms, especially heavy artillery and heavy tanks. 

11. Germany will accept any limitation whatsoever 
of the calibre of artillery, the size of warships, and the 
tonnage of submarines, or even the complete abolition 
of submarines, by agreement. 

12. Something should be done to prohibit the poison- 
ing of public opinion among the nations by irrespon- 
sible elements orally or in writing, and in the theatre 
or the cinema. 

13. Germany is ready at any time to reach an inter- 
national agreement which shall effectively prevent all 
attempts at outside interference in the affairs of other 
states. 

What could be more sweet or reasonable — if he 
means it? Hitler spoke until nearly ten o'clock. He was 
in an easy, confident mood. The diplomatic box was 
jammed, the ambassadors of France, Britain, Italy, 
Japan, and Poland being in the front row. Dodd sat in 
the third row — a typical Nazi diplomatic slight to 
America, it seemed to me. Filed several thousand words, 
and then to bed, tired and a little puzzled by the speech, 
which some of the British and French correspondents 
at the Taverne tonight thought might really after all 
pave the way to several years of Peace. 

Berlin, June 3 

We've moved again, this time to Tempelhof, 
our studio place in the Tauenzienstrasse, which was 
just under the roof, proving too warm. We've taken the 
apartment of Captain Koehl, a German flying ace in 
the World War, and the first man (with two friends) to 



lf.0 1935 Berlin, June 7 

fly the Atlantic from east to west. He and his wife, 
pretty, dark, great friends of the Knicks. He is one of 
the few men in Germany with enough courage not to 
knuckle down to Goring and the Nazis. As a result he 
is completely out, having even lost his job with Luft- 
hansa. A fervent Catholic and a man of strong charac- 
ter, he prefers to retire to his little farm in the south of 
Germany rather than curry Nazi favour. He is one of 
a very few. I've taken a great liking to him. 

Berlin, June 7 

The ticker brings in this news : Baldwin suc- 
ceeds MacDonald as British Prime Minister. There will 
be few tears for MacDonald, who betrayed the British 
labour movement and who in the last five years has be- 
come a vain and foolish man. Ribbentrop is in London 
negotiating a naval treaty which will give Germany 
thirty-five per cent of Britain's tonnage. The Nazis 
here say it's in the bag. 

Berlin, June 18 

It's in the bag, signed today in London. The 
Wilhelmstrasse quite elated. Germany gets a U-boat 
tonnage equal to Britain's. Why the British have 
agreed to this is beyond me. German submarines al- 
most beat them in the last war, and may in the next. 
Ended up at the Taverne, as on so many nights. The 
Taverne, a Ristorante Italiano, run by Willy Lehman, 
a big, bluff German with nothing Italian about him, 
and his wife, a slim, timid Belgian woman, has become 
an institution for the British and American correspond- 
ents here, helping us to retain some sanity and afford- 
ing an opportunity to get together informally and talk 



1935 Be a lin, June 18 £1 

shop — without which no foreign correspondent could 
long live. We have a Stammtisch — a table always re- 
served for us in the corner — and from about ten p.m. 
until three or four in the morning it is usually filled. 
Usually Norman Ebbutt presides, sucking at an old 
pipe the night long, talking and arguing in a weak, 
high-pitched voice, imparting wisdom, for he has been 
here a long time, has contacts throughout the govern- 
ment, party, churches, and army, and has a keen intelli- 
gence. Of late he has complained to me in private that 
the Times does not print all he sends, that it does not 
want to hear too much of the bad side of Nazi Germany 
and apparently has been captured by the pro-Nazis in 
London. He is discouraged and talks of quitting. Next 
to him sits Mrs. Holmes, a beak-nosed woman of un- 
doubted intelligence. She swallows her words so, how- 
ever, that I find difficulty in understanding what she 
says. Other habitues of the Stammtisch are Ed Beattie 
of U.P., with a moon-faced Churchillian countenance 
behind which is a nimble wit and a great store of funny 
stories and songs ; Fred Oechsner of U.P. and his wife, 
Dorothy, he a quiet type but an able correspondent, she 
blonde, pretty, ebullient, with a low, hoarse voice ; Pierre 
Huss of INS, slick, debonair, ambitious, and on better 
terms with Nazi officials than almost any other ; Guido 
Enderis of the New York Times, aging in his sixties but 
sporting invariably a gaudy race-track suit with a loud 
red necktie, minding the Nazis less than most — a man 
who achieved the distinction once of working here as an 
American correspondent even after we got into the war ; 
Al Ross, his assistant, bulky, sleepy, slow-going, and 
lovable ; Wally Deuel of the Chicago Daily News, youth- 
ful, quiet, studious, extremely intelligent; his wife, 
Mary Deuel, much the same as he is, with large, pretty 
eyes, they both very much in love ; Sigrid Schultz of the 



J$ 1935 New Yoik, September 9 

Chicago Tribune, the only woman correspondent in our 
ranks, buoyant, cheerful, and always well informed; 
and Otto Tolischus, who though not head of the bureau 
of the New York Times is its chief prop, complicated, 
profound, studious, with a fine penchant for getting at 
the bottom of things. Present often is Martha Dodd, 
daughter of the Ambassador, pretty, vivacious, a 
mighty arguer. Two American correspondents come 
rarely if at all, Louis Lochner of A.P. and John Elliott 
of the New York Herald Tribime, John, who is a very 
able and learned correspondent, being a teetotaller and 
non-smoker and much addicted — as we should all be — 
to his books. 



New York, September 9 

Home for a brief vacation, and New York 
looks awfully good though I find most of the good peo- 
ple much too optimistic about European affairs. Every- 
one here, I find, has very positive knowledge and opin- 
ions. 

New York, September 16 

Week-end with Nicholas Roosevelt out on 
Long Island. Had not seen him since he was Minister 
in Budapest. He was too preoccupied with Franklin 
Roosevelt's " dictatorship " — as he called it — to al- 
low for much time to argue European affairs. He 
seemed deeply resentful that the New Deal would not 
allow him to grow potatoes in his garden, and went into 
the matter in some detail, though I'm afraid I did not 
follow. I kept thinking of Ethiopia and the chances 
of war. A very intelligent man, though. Have had a 
good visit — but much too short — with my family. 



1935 Berlin, December 30 Jfi 

Mother, despite her age and recent illnesses, seemed to 
be looking quite pert. The office insists I return at once 
to Berlin because of the Abyssinian situation. Dosch 
is to go to Rome and I am to have the Buro. 

Berlin, October 4 

Mussolini has begun his conquest of Abys- 
sinia. According to an Italian communique, the Duce's 
troops crossed the frontier yesterday " in order to re- 
pulse an imminent threat from the Ethiopians." The 
Wilhelmstrasse is delighted. Either Mussolini will 
stumble and get himself so heavily involved in Africa 
that he will be greatly weakened in Europe, whereupon 
Hitler can seize Austria, hitherto protected by the 
Duce ; or he will win, defying France and Britain, and 
thereupon be ripe for a tie-up with Hitler against the 
Western democracies. Either way Hitler wins. The 
League has provided a sorry spectacle, and its failure 
now, after the Manchurian debacle, certainly kills it. 
At Geneva they talk of sanctions. It's a last hope. 

Berlin, December 30 

Dodd called us in today for a talk with Wil- 
liam Phillips, Under Secretary of State, who is visiting 
here. We asked him what action Washington would 
take if the Nazis began expelling us. He gave an honest 
answer. He said: None. Our point was that if the 
Wilhelmstrasse knew that for every American corre- 
spondent expelled, a German newspaperman at home 
would be kicked out, perhaps the Nazis would think 
twice before acting against us. But the Secretary said 
the State Department was without law to act in such a 
case — a lovely example of one of our democratic weak' 
nesses. 



-44 1936 Berlin, January 4 

Berlin, January 4, 1936 

The afternoon press, especially the Borsen 
Zeitung and the Angriff, very angry at Roosevelt's de- 
nunciation of dictatorships and aggression, obviously 
directed mostly against Mussolini, but also meant for 
Berlin. Incidentally, an item I forgot to record : X of 
the Borsen Zeitung is not to be executed. His death 
sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment. His 
offence: he occasionally saw that some of us received 
copies of Goebbels's secret daily orders to the press. 
They made rich reading, ordering daily suppression of 
this truth and the substitution of that lie. He was given 
away, I hear, by a Polish diplomat, a fellow I never 
trusted. The German people, unless they can read 
foreign newspapers (the London Times has an immense 
circulation here now), are terribly cut off from events 
in the outside world and of course are told nothing of 
what is happening behind the scenes in their own coun- 
try. For a while they stormed the news-stands to buy 
the Baseler Nachrichten, a Swiss German-language 
paper, which sold more copies in Germany than it did 
in Switzerland. But that paper has now been banned. 



Berlin, January 23 

An unpleasant day. A telephone call awak- 
ened me this morning — I work late and sleep late 
— and it turned out to be Wilfred Bade, a fanatical 
Nazi careerist at the moment in charge of the Foreign 
Press in the Propaganda Ministry. He began : " Have 
you been in Garmisch recently? " I said : " No." Then 
he began to shout: " I see, you haven't been there and 
yet you have the dishonesty to write a fake story about 
the Jews there. . . ." " Wait a minute," I said, " you 



1936 Berlin, January 23 Jf5 

can't call me dishonest . . ." but he had hung up. 

At noon Tess turned on the radio for the news just, 
in time for us to hear a ringing personal attack on me, 
implying that I was a dirty Jew and was trying to 
torpedo the winter Olympic Games at Garmisch (which 
begin in a few days) with false stories about the Jews 
and Nazi officials there. When I got to the office after 
lunch, the front pages of the afternoon papers were 
full of typically hysterical Nazi denunciations of me. 
The Germans at the office expected the Gestapo to come 
to get me at any moment. Actually, I had written in a 
mail series, some time ago, that the Nazis at Garmisch 
had pulled down all the signs saying that Jews were un- 
wanted (they're all over Germany) and that the Olym- 
pic visitors would thus be spared any signs of the kind 
of treatment meted out to Jews in this country. I had 
also remarked, in passing, that Nazi officials had taken 
all the good hotels for themselves and had put the press 
in inconvenient pensions, which was true. 

Every time the office boy brought in a new paper dur- 
ing the afternoon I grew more indignant. Most of my 
friends called up to advise me to ignore the whole affair v 
saying that if I fought it I'd probably be thrown out. 
But the stories were so exaggerated and so libellous \ 
could not control my temper. I called up Bade's office 
and demanded to see him. He was out. I kept calling. 
Finally a secretary said he was out and would not be 
coming back. About nine p.m. I could contain myself 
no further. I went over to the Propaganda Ministry, 
brushed by a guard and burst into Bade's office. As I 
suspected, he was there, sitting at his desk. Uninvited, 
I sat down opposite him and before he could recover 
from his surprise demanded an apology and a correc- 
tion in the German press and radio. He started to roar 
at me. I roared back, though in moments of excitement 



£6 1936 Gaemisch-Paetenkiechen, Feb. 

I lose what German I speak and I probably was most 
incoherent. Our shouting apparently alarmed a couple 
of flunkeys outside, because they opened the door and 
looked in. Bade bade them shut the door and we went 
after each other again. He started to pound on the 
table. I pounded back. The door was hurriedly opened 
and one of the flunkeys came in, ostensibly to offer his 
chief some cigarettes. I lit one of my own. Twice again 
our pounding brought in the flunkey, once with more 
cigarettes, once with a pitcher of water. But I began 
to realize, what I should have known, that I was getting 
nowhere, that no one, and Bade least of all, had the 
power or the decency ever to correct a piece of Nazi 
propaganda once it had been launched, regardless of 
how big the lie. In the end, he grew quiet, even sugary. 
He said they had decided not to expel me as first 
planned. I flared up again and dared him to expel me, 
but he did not react and finally I stumped out. Much 
too wrought up, I fear. 

Gaemisch-Paetenkiechen, February 

This has been a more pleasant interlude than 
I expected. Much hard work for Tess and myself from 
dawn to midnight, covering the Winter Olympics, too 
many S.S. troops and military about (not only for me 
but especially for Westbrook Pegler!), but the scenery 
of the Bavarian Alps, particularly at sunrise and sun- 
set, superb, the mountain air exhilarating, the rosy- 
cheeked girls in their skiing outfits generally attrac- 
tive, the games exciting, especially the bone-breaking 
ski-jumping, the bob-races (also bone-breaking and 
sometimes actually "death-defying"), the hockey 
matches, and Sonja Henie. And on the whole the Nazis 



1936 Gaemisch-Paetenkibchen, Feb. Jfl 

have done a wonderful propaganda job. They've 
greatly impressed most of the visiting foreigners with 
the lavish but smooth way in which they've run the 
games and with their kind manners, which to us who 
came from Berlin of course seemed staged. I was so 
alarmed at this that I gave a luncheon for some of our 
businessmen and invited Douglas Miller, our commer- 
cial attache in Berlin, and the best-informed man on 
Germany we have in our Embassy, to enlighten them 
a little. But they told him what things were like, and 
Doug scarcely got a word in. It has been fun being 
with Pegler, whose sharp, acid tongue has had a field 
day here. He and Gallico and I were continually hav- 
ing a run-in with the S.S. guards, who, whenever Hitler 
was at the stadium, surrounded it and tried to keep 
us from entering. Most of the correspondents a little 
peeved at a piece in the Volkische Beobachter quoting 
Birchall of the New York Times to the effect that there 
has been nothing military about these games and that 
correspondents who so reported were inaccurate. Peg 
especially resented this. Tonight he seemed a little con- 
cerned that the Gestapo might pick him up for what 
he has written, but I don't think so. The " Olympic 
spirit " wll prevail for a fortnight or so more, by which 
time he will be in Italy. Tess and I have seen a great 
deal of Paul Gallico. He's at an interesting cross-road. 
He has deliberately thrown up his job as the highest- 
paid sports-writer in New York, said farewell to sports, 
and is going to settle down in the English countryside 
to see if he can make his living as a free-lance writer. 
It's a decision that few would have the guts to make. 
Back to Berlin tomorrow to the grind of covering Nazi 
politics. Tess is going over to the Tyrol to get a rest 
from the Nazis and do some skiing. 



b8 1936 Berlin, February 25 

Berlin, February 25 

Learn that Lord Londonderry was here 
around the first of the month, saw Hitler, Goring, and 
most of the others. He is an all-out pro-Nazi. Fear he 
has not been up to any good. 

Berlin, February 28 

The French Chamber has approved the Soviet 
pact by a big majority. Much indignation in the Wil- 
helmstrasse. Fred Oechsner says that when he and Roy 
Howard saw Hitler day before yesterday, he seemed 
to be very preoccupied about something. 

Berlin, March 5 

Party circles say Hitler is convoking the 
Reichstag for March 13, the date they expect the 
French Senate to approve the Soviet pact. Very ugly 
atmosphere in the Wilhelmstrasse today, but difficult 
to get to the bottom of it. 

Berlin, March 6, midnight 

This has been a day of the wildest rumours. 
Definite, however, is that Hitler has convoked the Reichs- 
tag for noon tomorrow and summoned the ambassadors 
of Britain, France, Italy, and Belgium for tomorrow 
morning. Since these are the four Locarno powers, it is 
obvious from that and from what little information I 
could pry out of party circles that Hitler intends to 
denounce the Locarno Treaty, which only a year ago 
this month he said Germany would " scrupulously re- 
spect." My guess too, based on what I've heard today, 
is that Hitler will also make an end of the demilitarized 



1936 Berlin, March 7 £9 

zone in the Rhineland, though the Wilhelmstrasse 
savagely denies this. Whether he will send the Reichs- 
wehr in is not sure. This seems too big a risk in view 
of the fact that the French army could easily drive it 
out. Much friction in the Cabinet reported today, with 
von Neurath, Schacht, and the generals supposedly 
advising Hitler to go slow. One informant told me to- 
night that Hitler would not send in troops, but merely 
declare the strong police force he now has in the Rhine- 
land as part of the army, thus giving practical effect 
to ending its demilitarization. Hitler's lightning move, 
according to one man in the Wilhelmstrasse, came after 
he'd received reports from his Embassy in Paris tha\ 
the French Senate is sure to vote the Soviet pact in 
a day or two. Berlin tonight full of Nazi leaders hur- 
riedly convoked for the Reichstag meeting. Saw a lot 
of them at the Kaiserhof and they seemed in a very 
cocky mood. Was on the phone several times to Dr. 
Aschmann, press chief at the Foreign Office, who kept 
giving the most categorical denials that German troops 
would march into the Rhineland tomorrow. That would 
mean war, he said. Wrote a dispatch which may have 
been a little on the careful side. But we shall know by 
tomorrow. 



Berlin, March 7 

A little on the careful side is right ! Hitler on 
this day has torn up the Locarno Treaty and sent in 
the Reichswehr to occupy the demilitarized zone of the 
Rhineland! A few diplomats on the pessimistic side 
think it means war. Most think he will get by with it. 
The important thing is that the French army has not 
budged. Tonight for the first time since 1870 grey- 
clad German soldiers and blue-clad French troops 



50 1936 Beeiin, March 7 

face each other across the upper Rhine. But I talked 
to Karlsruhe on the phone an hour ago ; there have been 
no shots. I've had our Paris office on the line all eve- 
ning, filing my dispatch. They say the French are not 
mobilizing — yet, at least — though the Cabinet is in 
session with the General Staff. London — as a year ago 
— seems to be holding back. The Reichswehr generals 
are still nervous, but not so nervous as they were thia 
morning. 

To describe this day, if I can : 

At ten o'clock this morning Neurath handed the am- 
bassadors of France, Britain, Belgium, and Italy a long 
memorandum. For once we got a break on the news 
because Dr. Dieckhoff, the State Secretary in the 
Foreign Office, called in Freddy Mayer, our counsellor 
of Embassy, and gave him a copy of the memorandum, 
apparently suggesting he give it to the American corre- 
spondents, since the American Embassy rarely gives us 
a lift like this of its own accord. Huss, who needed an 
early report for the INS, hurried over to the Embassy, 
and I walked over to the Reichstag, which was meeting 
at noon in the Kroll Opera House. The memorandum, 
however, along with Neurath's oral remarks to the am- 
bassadors that German troops had marched into the 
Rhineland at dawn this morning, told the whole story. 

It argued that the Locarno pact had been rendered 
" extinct " by the Franco-Soviet pact, that Germany 
therefore no longer regarded itself as bound by it, and 
that the " German Government has therefore, as from 
today, restored the full and unrestricted sovereignty of 
the Reich in the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland." 
There followed then another beautiful attempt by Hit- 
ler — and who can say he won't succeed, after May 21 
last? — to throw sand in the eyes of the " peace-loving " 
men of the West, men like Londonderry, the Astors, 



1936 Berlin, March 7 51 

Lord Lothian, Lord Rothermere. He proposed a seven- 
point program of " Peace " in order, as the memo puts 
it, " to prevent any doubt as to its [the Reich govern- 
ment's] intentions, and to make clear the purely de- 
fensive character of this measure, as well as to give 
expression to its lasting desire for the true pacification 
of Europe. . . ." The proposal is a pure fraud, and 
if I had any guts, or American journalism had any, I 
would have said so in my dispatch tonight. But I am 
not supposed to be " editorial." 

In this latest " peace proposal " Hitler offers to sign 
a twenty-five-year non-aggression pact with Belgium 
and France, to be guaranteed by Britain and Italy ; to 
propose to Belgium and France that both sides of their 
frontiers with Germany be demilitarized ; to sign an air 
nact ; to conclude non-aggression pacts with her eastern 
neighbours; and, finally, to return to the League of 
Nations. The quality of Hitler's sincerity may be meas- 
ured by his proposal to demilitarize both sides of the 
frontiers, thus forcing France to scrap her Maginot 
Line, now her last protection against a German attack. 

The Reichstag, more tense than I have ever felt it 
(apparently the hand-picked deputies on the main floor 
had not yet been told what had happened, though they 
knew something was afoot), began promptly at noon. 
The French, British, Belgian, and Polish ambassadors 
were absent, but the Italian was there and Dodd. Gen- 
eral von Blomberg, the War Minister, sitting with the 
Cabinet on the left side of the stage, was as white as a 
sheet and fumbled the top of the bench nervously with 
his fingers. I have never seen him in such a state. Hitler 
began with a long harangue which he has often given 
before, but never tires of repeating, about the injustices 
of the Versailles Treaty and the peacefulness of Ger- 
mans. Then his voice, which had been low and hoarse 



5£ 1936 Berlin, March 7 

at the beginning, rose to a shrill, hysterical scream as 
he raged against Bolshevism. 

" I will not have the gruesome Communist interna- 
tional dictatorship of hate descend upon the German 
people! This destructive Asiatic Weltanschauung 
strikes at all values ! I tremble for Europe at the 
thought of what would happen should this destructive 
Asiatic conception of life, this chaos of the Bolshevist 
revolution, prove successful!" (Wild applause.) 

Then, in a more reasoned voice, his argument that 
Prance's pact with Russia had invalidated the Locarno 
Treaty. A slight pause and : 

" Germany no longer feels bound by the Locarno 
Treaty. In the interest of the primitive rights of its 
people to the security of their frontier and the safe- 
guarding of their defence, the German Government has 
re-established, as from today, the absolute and unre- 
stricted sovereignty of the Reich in the demilitarized 



zone 



I » 



Now the six hundred deputies, personal appointees 
all of Hitler, little men with big bodies and bulging 
necks and cropped hair and pouched bellies and brown 
uniforms and heavy boots, little men of clay in his fine 
hands, leap to their feet like automatons, their right 
arms upstretched in the Nazi salute, and scream 
" Hell's," the first two or three wildly, the next twenty- 
five in unison, like a college yell. Hitler raises his hand 
for silence. It comes slowly. Slowly the automatons 
sit down. Hitler now has them in his claws. He appears 
to sense it. He says in a deep, resonant voice : " Men of 
the German Reichstag ! " The silence is utter. 

" In this historic hour, when in the Reich's western 
provinces German troops are at this minute marching 
into their future peace-time garrisons, we all unite in 
two sacred vows." 



1936 Beelin, March 7 



He can go no further. It is news to this hysterical 
" parliamentary " mob that German soldiers are al- 
ready on the move into the Rhineland. All the mili- 
tarism in their German blood surges to their heads. 
They spring, yelling and crying, to their feet. The 
audience in the galleries does the same, all except a few 
diplomats and about fifty of us correspondents. Their 
hands are raised in slavish salute, their faces now con- 
torted with hysteria, their mouths wide open, shouting, 
shouting, their eyes, burning with fanaticism, glued on 
the new god, the Messiah. The Messiah plays his role 
superbly. His head lowered as if in all humbleness, he 
waits patiently for silence. Then, his voice still low, 
but choking with emotion, utters the two vows : 

" First, we swear to yield to no force whatever in the 
restoration of the honour of our people, preferring to 
succumb with honour to the severest hardships rather 
than to capitulate. Secondly, we pledge that now, more 
than ever, we shall strive for an understanding between 
European peoples, especially for one with our western 
neighbour nations. . . . We have no territorial de- 
mands to make in Europe! . . . Germany will never 
break the peace." 

It was a long time before the cheering stopped. Down 
in the lobby the deputies were still under the magic spell, 
gushing over one another. A few generals made their 
way out. Behind their smiles, however, you could not 
help detecting a nervousness. We waited in front of 
the Opera until Hitler and the other bigwigs had driven 
away and the S.S. guards would let us through. I 
walked through the Tiergarten with John Elliott to the 
Adlon, where we lunched. We were too taken aback to 
say much. 

There is to be an " election " on March 29, " so the 
German people may pass judgment on my leadership," 



i>4- 1936 Berlin, March 7 

as Hitler puts it. The result, of course, is a foregone 
conclusion, but it was announced tonight that Hitler 
will make a dozen " campaign " speeches starting to- 
morrow. 

He cleverly tried to reassure Poland in his speech 
today. His words were : " I wish the German people to 
understand that although it affects us painfully that an 
access to the sea for a nation of thirty-five million peo- 
ple should cut through German territory, it is unreason- 
able to deny such a great nation that access." 

After lunch I took a stroll alone through the Tier- 
garten to collect my thoughts. Near the Skagerakplatz 
I ran into General von Blomberg walking along with 
two dogs on the leash. His face was still white, his 
cheeks twitching. " Has anything gone wrong? " I won- 
dered. Then to the office, where I pounded my head off 
all afternoon, stopping to telephone to Paris my story 
every time I had three or four hundred words. Remem- 
bered it was Saturday when New York came through 
by cable hollering for early copy for the Sunday morn- 
ingers. Saturday is Hitler's day all right: the blood 
purge, conscription, today — all Saturday affairs. 

Tonight as I finished my story, I could see from my 
office window which looks down the Wilhelmstrasse end- 
less columns of storm troopers parading down the street 
past the Chancellery in torchlight procession. Sent 
Hermann down to take a look. He phoned that Hitler 
was taking the salute from his balcony, Streicher (of 
all people) at his side. The DNB claims there are torch- 
light processions all over the Reich tonight. 

Our Cologne correspondent phoned several times to 
give a description of the occupation. According to him, 
the German troops have been given delirious receptions 
everywhere, the women strewing their line of march with 
flowers. He says the air force landed bombers and fight- 



1936 Berlin, March 8 55 

ers at the Diisseldorf airdrome and several other fields. 
How many troops the Germans have sent into the 
Rhineland today nobody knows. Francis Poncet (the 
French Ambassador) told a friend of mine tonight that 
he had been lied to three times by the German Foreign 
Office on the subject in the course of the day. The Ger- 
mans first announced 2,000 troops, then later 9,500 
with " thirteen detachments of artillery." My informa- 
tion is that they've sent in four divisions — about 
50,000 men. 

And so goes the main pillar of the European peace 
structure, Locarno. It was freely signed by Germany, 
it was not a Dictat, and Hitler more than once solemnly 
swore to respect it. At the Taverne tonight one of the 
French correspondents cheered us up by stating posi- 
tively that the French army would march tomorrow but 
after what our Paris office said tonight I doubt it. Why 
it doesn't march, I don't understand. Certainly it is 
more than a match for the Reichswehr. And if it does, 
that's the end of Hitler. He's staked all on the success 
of his move and cannot survive if the French humiliate 
him by occupying the west bank of the Rhine. Around 
the Taverne's Stammtisch most of us agreed on this. 
Much beer and two plates of spaghetti until three a.m., 
and then home. Must get up in time to attend another 
Heroes Memorial Day service at the Opera tomorrow. 
It should be even better than last year — unless the 
French — 



Berlin, March 8 

Hitler has got away with it! France is not 
marching. Instead it is appealing to the League ! No 
wonder the faces of Hitler and Goring and Blomberg 
and Fritsch were all smiles this noon as they sat in the 



66 1936 Berlin, March 8 

royal box at the State Opera and for the second time 
in two years celebrated in a most military fashion Heroes 
Memorial Day, which is supposed to mark the memory 
of the two million Germans slain in the last war. 

Oh, the stupidity (or is it paralysis?) of the French ! 
I learned today on absolute authority that the German 
troops which marched into the demilitarized zone of the 
Rhineland yesterday had strict orders to beat a hasty 
retreat if the French army opposed them in any way. 
They were not prepared or equipped to fight a regular 
army. That probably explains Blomberg's white face 
yesterday. Apparently Fritsch (commander-in-chief 
of the Reichswehr) and most of the generals opposed 
the move, but Blomberg, who has a blind faith in the 
Fiihrer and his judgment, talked them into it. It may be 
that Fritsch, who loves neither Hitler nor the Nazi 
regime, consented to go along on the theory that if the 
coup failed, that would be the end of Hitler ; if it suc- 
ceeded, then one of his main military problems was 
solved. 

Another weird story today. The French Embassy 
says — and I believe it — that Poncet called on Hitler 
a few days ago and asked him to propose his terms for 
a Franco-German rapprochement. The Fiihrer asked 
for a few days to think it over. This seemed reasonable 
enough to the Ambassador, but he was puzzled at Hit- 
ler's insistence that no word leak out to the public of 
this visit. He is no longer puzzled. It would have 
spoiled Hitler's excuse that France was to blame for 
his tearing up the Locarno Treaty if the world had 
known that France, which after all had not yet ratified 
the Soviet pact, was willing to negotiate with him — 
indeed, had asked to negotiate. 

The memorial services at the Opera this noon were 



1936 Berlin, March 8 57 

conducted in a Wagnerian setting (Wagner's influence 
on Nazism, on Hitler, has never been grasped abroad), 
the flood-lit stage full of steel-helmeted soldiers bearing 
war flags against a background of evergreen and a huge 
silver and black Iron Cross. The lower floor and bal- 
conies dotted with the old Imperial army uniforms and 
spiked helmets. Hitler sitting proudly in the Imperial 
box surrounded by Germany's war leaders, past and 
present: Field-Marshal von Mackensen in his Death- 
Head Hussars uniform, Goring in a resplendent scarlet 
and blue uniform of an air-force general, General von 
Seekt, creator of the Reichswehr, General von Fritsch, 
its present leader, Admiral von Raeder, chief of the 
rapidly growing navy, and General von Krausz in the 
uniform of the old Austro-Hungarian army, his face 
adorned with vast side-whiskers a la Franz Josef. Ab- 
sent only was Ludendorff, who declines to make his peace 
with his former corporal and who has turned down an 
offer of a field-marshalship ; and the Crown Prince. 

General von Blomberg delivered the address, a curi- 
ous mixture of bluff, defiance, and glorification of mili- 
tarism. " We do not want an offensive war," he said, 
" but we do not fear a defensive war." Though every- 
one here — if not in Paris or London — knows that he 
does, and that yesterday he was terrified that it might 
come off. Blomberg, obviously on Hitler's orders, went 
out of his way in a most unsoldierly way to silence 
rumours that the Reichswehr generals opposed the 
Rhineland occupation and have little sympathy for 
Nazism. I could almost see Fritsch wince when his chief 
denounced the " whispers in the outside world about re- 
lations between the Nazi Party and the army." Said the 
general with some emphasis : " We in the army are 
National Socialists. The party and the army are now 



58 1936 Berlin, March 8 

closer together." He went on to tell why. " The Na- 
tional Socialist revolution instead of destroying the old 
army, as other revolutions have always done, has re- 
created it. The National Socialist state places at our 
disposal its entire economic strength, its people, its en- 
tire male youth." And then a hint of the future : " An 
enormous responsibility rests upon our shoulders. It is 
all the more heavy because we may be placed before new 
tasks." 

As Blomberg spoke, Goebbels had his spotlights and 
movie cameras grinding away, first at the stage, then at 
the box where the Leader sat. After the " service " the 
usual military parade, but I had had enough and was 
hungry and went off to Habel's excellent little wine shop 
down the Linden and had lunch washed down by some 
Deidesheimer. 

Later. — Dosch-Fleurot had an interesting 
story tonight from the Rhineland, where he's been 
watching the German occupation. He reports that 
Catholic priests met the German troops at the Rhine 
bridges and conferred blessings on them. In Cologne 
Cathedral Cardinal Schulte, he says, praised Hitler for 
" sending back our army." Quickly forgotten is the 
Nazi persecution of the church. Dosch says the Rhine 
wine is flowing freely down there tonight. 

And the French are appealing to Geneva! I called 
our London office to see what the British are going to 
do. They laughed, and read me a few extracts from the 
Sunday press. Garvin's Sunday Observer and Rother- 
mere's Sunday Dispatch are delighted at Hitler's move. 
The British are now busy restraining the French ! The 
Foreign Office here, which kept open tonight to watch 
the reaction from Paris and London, is in high spirits. 
No wonder ! 



1936 March 29 59 

Karlsruhe, March 13 

Here, within artillery range of the Maginot 
Line, Hitler made his first " election " speech tonight. 
Special trains poured in all day from surrounding 
towns, bringing the faithful and those ordered to come. 
The meeting was held in a huge tent and the atmosphere 
was so suffocating that I left before Hitler arrived, re- 
turning to my hotel, where over a good dinner and a 
bottle of wine, with most of the other correspondents, I 
listened to the speech by radio. Nothing new in it, 
though he drummed away nicely about his desire for 
friendship with France. Certainly these Rhinelanders 
don't want another war with France, but this reoccupa- 
tion by German troops has inculcated them with the 
Nazi bug. They're as hysterical as the rest of the Ger- 
mans. Later went out to a Kne'ipe with a taxi-driver 
who had driven me around during the day and had a few 
Schnaps. He turned out to be a Communist, waxed 
bitter about the Nazis, and predicted their early col- 
lapse. It was a relief to find one German here against 
the regime. He said there are a lot of others, but I 
sometimes wonder. 



March 29 

A fine early spring day for the " election " 
and according to Goebbels's figures ninety-five per cent 
of the German people have approved the reoccupation 
of the Rhineland. Some of the correspondents who 
visited the polling-booths today reported irregularities. 
But there's no doubt, I think, that a substantial major- 
ity of the people applaud the Rhineland coup regard- 
less of whether they're Nazis or not. It's also true that 
few dare to vote against Hitler for fear of being found 



60 1936 Bee lin, April (undated) 

out. Learned tonight that in Neukolln and Wedding, 
former Communist strongholds in Berlin, the " No " 
vote rah as high as twenty per cent and that the people 
there are going to catch it in the next few days. 

The new Zeppelin — to be called the Hinderiburg — 
soared gracefully over our office yesterday. I was down 
to Friedrichshafen the other day to inspect it and it's 
a marvel of German engineering genius. Yesterday it 
was doing " election " propaganda, dropping leaflets 
exhorting the populace to vote " J a." Dr. Hugo Ecke- 
ner, who is getting it ready for its maiden flight to 
Brazil, strenuously objected to putting it in the air this 
week-end on the ground it was not yet fully tested, but 
Dr. Goebbels insisted. Eckener, no friend of the regime, 
refused to take it up himself, though he allowed Captain 
Lehmann to. The Dohtor is reported howling mad and 
determined to get Eckener. 

Beklin, April (undated) 

An amusing lunch today at the Dodds'. 
Eckener, who is off to America soon to ask Roosevelt 
personally for enough helium to fill his new balloon 
(there seems to be some opposition to this at home) , was 
the guest of honour. He told one joke after another on 
Goebbels, for whom he has nothing but contempt. 
Someone asked him about the balloting on the Hinden- 
burg, which was taken while it was still aloft. " Goeb- 
bels hung up a new record," he fired back. " There were 
forty persons on the Hindenburg. Forty-two Ja votes 
were counted." Goebbels has forbidden the press to 
mention Eckener's name. 



1936 Rag usa, June 20 61 

Berlin", May 2 

The Italians entered Addis Ababa today. 
The Negus has fled. Mussolini has triumphed — - 
largely with mustard gas. That's how he's beaten the 
Ethiopians. He's also triumphed over the League, by 
bluff. That's how he kept off oil sanctions, which might 
have stopped him. We picked up a broadcast of him 
shouting from the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia in 
Rome. Much boloney about thirty centuries of history, 
Roman civilization, and triumph over barbarism. 
Whose barbarism? 



Ragtjsa, Yugoslavia, June 18 

Having a glorious Dalmatian holiday. This 
place has everything : sea, sun, mountains, flowers, good 
wine, good food, pleasant people. The Knickerbockers, 
back from Addis Ababa, vacationing with us. Agnes to 
have a baby in a few months. Knick full of weird tales 
of how the correspondents scrapped and fought each 
other in Addis ; of how poor Bill Barbour of the Chicago 
Tribune died and was buried there ; of the bombing of 
Dessye ; of a nightmarish disorderly house full of lepers 
in Jibouti, and so on. We loaf and swim and chatter and 
read all day, going down to the cafe in the old port in 
the evening for drink, food, and dancing. Finished 
Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain, a tremendous novel ; 
and a book of Chekov's plays, which I much liked, as I 
do his short stories. 

Ragtjsa, June 20 

A bad scare today. While Knick, Agnes, and 
I were still eating breakfast on the terrace of the hotel, 



1936 Ragusa, June 20 



which is a half-mile or so up the coast from town, Tess 
went off to town to snap some photographs. A couple 
of army bombers suddenly appeared and started to do 
acrobatics over Ragusa, a curious thing because they 
were much too cumbersome for stunting. Then one went 
into a long dive right over the centre of town. Agnes 
looked away. It failed to come out of it entirely, or 
rather seemed to fall apart in the air, as it was coming 
out, just over the house-tops. Then there was an ex- 
plosion and flames. I thought of Tess. The flames were 
leaping up from just next to the Cathedral. That's 
where she mentioned she wanted some " shots." I had on 
only shorts and a shirt and beach shoes. I must have got 
away automatically. I sprinted up the road to town. 
Something told me she was in it. Several houses were 
on fire when I got to the little square in front of the 
cathedral. Police were carrying away blanketed forms 
on stretchers. I started to look under the blankets, then 
held myself back. I darted in and around the jam of 
people in the streets. No sign of Tess. Hysterical I 
became. I started asking for the mayor, the governor, 
anyone who could tell me. In the end there was a nudge. 
" Get out of my way, I want to get that." Tess was 
squinting through her Leica. She had been a hundred 
yards distant, she said after she finished her photo- 
graphing, when the plane crashed. 

Later. — It seems that the two pilots met 
a pair of dazzling girls in town last night and to further 
their romantic adventure told them to be on their bal- 
conies at eight this morning, promising them some- 
thing " exciting." The death-roll ten, including the 
pilot and observer. 



1936 Berlin, July 23 63 

Ragtjsa, June 22 

Took a steamer to a little town fifteen miles 
up the coast today to see a chapel which Mestrovich 
designed and in which he has placed some of the most 
exciting sculptured works I've ever seen. It's a magnifi- 
cent thing, the architecture, the reliefs, the figures, 
blending in a beautiful harmony. Since the day I set 
eyes on El Greco in the Prado in Madrid I haven't 
seen a work of art which has stirred me so. 

Berlin, July 15 

Have started, God help me, a novel. The 
scene : India. I was there twice, in 1930 and 1931, dur- 
ing Gandhi's Civil Disobedience movement, and I can- 
not get India out of my system. 

Berlin, July 18 

Trouble in Spain. A right-wing revolt. 
Fighting in Madrid, Barcelona, and other places. 

Berlin, July 23 

The Lindberghs are here, and the Nazis, led 
by Goring, are making a great play for them. Today at 
a luncheon given him by the Air Ministry he spoke out 
somewhat, warning that the airplane had become such a 
deadly instrument of destruction that unless those " who 
are in aviation " face their heavy responsibilities and 
achieve a " new security founded on intelligence," the 
world and especially Europe are in for irreparable dam- 
age. It was a well-timed little thrust, for Goring is un- 
doubtedly building up the deadliest air force in Europe. 
The DNB was moved to remark this afternoon that 



H 1936 Beeiin, July 27 

Lindbergh's remarks " created a strong impression," 
though I doubt it. " Annoyance " would be a more ac- 
curate word. 

This afternoon the Lufthansa company invited 
some of us correspondents to a tea-party at Tempelhof 
for the Lindberghs, apparently not informing them that 
we would be there, for fear they would object, their 
phobia about the press being what it is. It was the first 
time I had seen him since 1927 when I covered his arrival 
at Le Bourget. Surprised how little he had changed, 
except that he seemed more self-confident. Later we 
went for a ride in Germany's largest land plane, 
the Field-Marshal von Hindenburg. Somewhere over 
Wannsee Lindbergh took the controls himself and 
treated us to some very steep banks, considering the size 
of the plane, and other little manoeuvres, which terrified 
most of the passengers. The talk is that the Lindberghs 
have been favourably impressed by what the Nazis have 
shown them. He has shown no enthusiasm for meeting 
the foreign correspondents, who have a perverse liking 
for enlightening visitors on the Third Reich, as they 
see it, and we have not pressed for an interview. 

Berlin, July 27 

The Spanish government seems to be getting 
the upper hand. Has quelled the revolt in Barcelona 
and Madrid, Spain's two most important cities. But 
it's a much more serious affair than it seemed a week 
ago. The Nazis are against the Spanish government, 
and party circles are beginning to talk of help for the 
rebels. Tragic land! And just when there seemed such 
hope for the Republic. But interest here is concentrated 
on the Olympic Games opening next week, with the 
Nazis outdoing themselves to create a favourable im- 



1936 Beelin, August 16 65 

pression on foreign visitors. They've built a magnifi- 
cent sport-field, with a stadium for a hundred thousand, 
a swimming stadium for ten thousand, and so forth. 
Gallico here, and a pleasant dinner with him and 
Eleanor Holm Jarrett, an American swimming phe- 
nomenon with a very pretty face, who, it seems, is being 
thrown off the team for alleged imbibing of champagne 
on the boat coming over. 



Berlin, August 16 

The Olympic Games finally came to an end 
today. I got a kick out of the track and field, the swim- 
ming, the rowing, and the basket-ball, but they were a 
headache to us as a job. Hitler and Goring and the 
others showed up this afternoon for the finale, which 
dragged on until after dark. Huss and I had to use our 
wits to smuggle in Mrs. William Randolph Hearst, a 
woman friend of hers, and the Adolphe Menjous, who 
arrived in town last night after all tickets had been sold. 
We lost Menjou in the scuffle, but he showed up after a 
few minutes. We had to pack them in our already 
crowded press cabin, but we finally prevailed on some 
S.S. guards to let them sit in the seats reserved for 
diplomats where they could get a good view of Hitler. 
Afterwards they seemed quite thrilled at the experience. 
I'm afraid the Nazis have succeeded with their propa- 
ganda. First, the Nazis have run the games on a lavish 
scale never before experienced, and this has appealed to 
the athletes. Second, the Nazis have put up a very good 
front for the general visitors, especially the big business- 
men. Ralph Barnes and I were asked in to meet some 
of the American ones a few years ago. They said 
frankly they were favourably impressed by the Nazi 
" set-up." They had talked with Goring, they said, and 



66 1936 Bee lin, August 25 

he had told them that we American correspondents were 
unfair to the Nazis. 

" Did he tell you about Nazi suppression, say, of the 
churches ? " I asked. 

" He did," one of the men spoke up, " and he assured 
us there was no truth in what you fellows write about 
persecution of religion here." 

Whereupon, I'm afraid, Ralph and I unduly flared 
up. But I don't think we convinced them. 

Berlin, August 25 

Press now quite open in its attacks on the 
Spanish government. And I learn from a dependable 
source that the first German airplanes have already 
been dispatched to the rebels. Same source says the 
Italians are also shooting planes. Seems to me if the 
French had any sense they could send in a few troops, 
disguised as volunteers, and some arms, and squelch the 
rebellion for Madrid. But Blum, though a Socialist, 
seems to be taking a non-intervention line out of fear 
of what Germany and Italy may do. 

Berlin, September 4 

Got out of covering the party congress at 
Nuremberg beginning next week. After the Olympic 
crowds, don't think I could have survived it. 

Berlin, September (undated) 

Lunched with Tom Wolfe. Martha Dodd 
suggested we meet, as I'd often expressed enthusiasm 
about his work. We found a quiet corner table at 
Habel's. An immense fellow physically, boiling with 



1936 London, October 67 

energy, he developed a Gargantuan appetite, ordering 
a second main dish of meat and vegetables, and more 
bottles of Pfalzer wine than were good for us — or at 
least for me. I liked him immediately and we had much 
good talk — about American writing and why most 
American writers — Lewis and Dreiser and Anderson, 
for example — either stopped writing or fell off from 
their best work just at the prime of their lives — a time 
when the Europeans usually produce their greatest 
novels and plays. A subject I'd often pondered about 
and discussed once with Lewis in Vienna. Wolfe is 
somewhat conscious of not being politically minded at 
a time when most writers are and indeed, we agreed, 
should be. He admitted the deficiency, but said he was 
learning. " I'm supporting Roosevelt for re-election," 
he said. Curious thing: Wolfe translates excellently 
into German and Look Homeward, Angel has had a big 
success here, I believe. We parted, promising to meet in 
New York. A very genuine person and more promis- 
ing, if he can integrate himself, than any other young 
novelist we have. 



Berlin, September 9 

Hitler at Nuremberg announces a Four- Year 
Plan to make Germany self-sufficient in raw materials. 
Goring to be in charge. Obviously a war plan, but of 
course the Germans deny it. Party rally mostly con- 
cerned this year with attacking Bolshevism and the 
Soviets. There is talk of a break in diplomatic relations. 



London, October 

A pleasant week, seeing old friends, blowing 
myself to two new suits in Savile Row, and, best of all, 



68 1936 London, October 

five days at Salcombe in Devonshire with Squire Gallico, 
who has bought a place there. We had some fantastic 
fishing (Tess's first experience, and she outfished both 
Paul and me) , superb walks along the wind-blown cliffs, 
and much good talk. Paul's gamble has been well worth 
while. He's written and sold three short stories and got 
a handsome movie royalty from one of them. Funny: 
he's scared stiff of his butler, who looks as though he 
had just stepped off the stage and completely runs the 
place. 

Returning to Berlin tomorrow. Pleasant visits with 
the Newell Rogerses, the Strausses, Jennie Lee, who is 
very Scotch, very pretty, very witty, and really should 
be back in Parliament, from which she was ousted in the 
last elections, her husband, Aneurin Bevan, M.P. from 
a Wales mining district, himself a former miner, keen- 
minded, slightly impish, a grand guy. This afternoon 
we had tea with Bill Stoneman, who has just replaced 
John Gunther as Chicago Daily News correspondent 
here, and Maj Lis (his wife) . Bill was terribly wrought 
up about something, nervous as an old hen — so much 
so that in a moment of exasperation I said : " Why don't 
you come out with it, Bill, whatever it is ? Maybe you'll 
feel better." Whereupon he produced from his pocket 
a cablegram and tossed it to me. It was a ten-line dis- 
patch to his paper this afternoon. I scanned it. It said : 
" Mrs. E. A. Simpson has filed suit for divorce against 
Mr. E. A. Simpson at the Ipswich Assizes. Case to be 
heard ..." A detail or two about when the case would 
be heard. That was all. 

It's a tremendous scoop and should blow the story 
sky-high. Obviously the King intends to marry the 
woman now and make her Queen. 



1936 Berlin, November 25 



Berlin, November 18 

The Wilhelmstrasse announced today that 
Germany (with Italy) has recognized Franco. General 
Faupel, who has done good work for Germany in South 
America and Spain, is to be Hitler's Ambassador to 
Salamanca. Apparently today's decision was timed to 
offset Franco's failure to take Madrid just as he seemed 
to have it in his grasp. At first, I'm told, recognition 
was to coincide with Franco's entry into Madrid, which 
the Germans expected ten days ago. Dodd tells me our 
consulate in Hamburg reported this week the departure 
from there of three German ships loaded with arms for 
Spain. In the meantime the comedy of " non-interven- 
tion " goes on in London. For two years now the policies 
of London and Paris have ceased making sense to me, 
judged by their own vital interests. They did nothing 
on March 16, 1935 and on March 7 this year, and 
they're doing nothing about Spain now. Is my judg- 
ment becoming warped after two years in this hysterical 
Nazi land? Is it absurd or isn't it absurd to conclude 
that Blum and Baldwin don't know their own interests ? 



Berlin", November 25 

We were summoned to the Propaganda 
Ministry today for an " important " announcement. 
Wondered what Hitler was up to, but it turned out to 
be merely the signing of an anti-Comintern pact be- 
tween Germany and Japan. Ribbentrop, who signed for 
Germany, strutted in and harangued us for a quarter 
of an hour about the pact's meaning, if any. He said 
it meant, among other things, that Germany and Japan 
had joined together to defend " Western civilization." 
This was such a novel idea, for Japan at least, that at 



70 1936 Berlin, December 25 

the end of his talk one ol' the British correspondents 
asked him if he had understood him correctly. Ribben- 
trop, who has no sense of humour, then repeated the 
silly statement, without batting an eye. It seems ob- 
vious that Japan and Germany have drawn up at the 
same time a secret military treaty calling for joint ac- 
tion against Russia should one of them get involved in 
war with the Soviets. 

Berlin, December 25 

A pleasant Christmas dinner, and American 
at that, even to mince pie, with Ralph and Esther 
Barnes and their children. Ralph and I had to get up 
in the middle of it, though, to check on queries from 
New York about a sensational A.P. report that the 
Germans had landed a large body of troops in Morocco 
to help Franco. There was no one in the Wilhelm- 
strasse, as all officials are out of town over the holidays, 
so we were unable to get a confirmation or denial. 
Sounds like a fake, though. 

Berlin, April 8, 1937 

April here and no Hitler surprise this spring 
yet. This may be a year of Nazi consolidation, build- 
ing up the armed forces, assuring Franco victory in 
Spain, cementing relations with Italy (support for the 
Duce in Spain and the Mediterranean in return for his 
giving Germany a free hand in Austria and the Bal- 
kans), and giving the nerves of the German people a 
little rest. 

Berlin, April 14 

Have bought a sailboat for four hundred 
marks from a broken-down boxer who needed the cash. 



1937 Beelin, May 3 71 

It has a cabin with two bunks and Tess and I can week- 
end on it, if we ever get a week-end free. Know nothing 
about sailing, but with the help of some hastily scrawled 
diagrams on the back of an envelope telling what to do 
with the wind behind you or against you or from the 
side which one of the Germans at the office did for me, 
and with much luck, we managed to sail ten miles down 
the Wannsee to where the Barneses have taken a house 
for the summer. Had some difficulty in docking it there, 
as the wind was blowing towards shore and I didn't 
know what to do. The little boat-house owner raised an 
awful howl, claiming I'd damaged his dock, but a five- 
mark piece quieted him. 

Berlin, April 20 

Hitler's birthday. He gets more and more 
like a Caesar. Today a public holiday with sickening 
adulation from all the party hacks, delegations from all 
over the Reich bearing gifts, and a great military pa- 
rade. The Reichswehr revealed a little of what it has : 
heavy artillery, tanks, and magnificently trained men. 
Hitler stood on the reviewing stand in front of the 
Technische Hochschule, as happy as a child with tin sol- 
diers, standing there more than two hours and saluting 
every tank and gun. The military attaches of France, 
Britain, and Russia, I hear, were impressed. So were 
ours. 

Berlin, May 3 

Gordon Young of Reuter's and I ran into 
Lord Lothian about midnight in the lobby of the Adlon. 
He arrived here suddenly yesterday to confer with Nazi 
leaders. Young asked him why he had come. " Oh, 



72 1937 Berlin, May 7 

Goring asked me to," he replied. He is probably the 
most intelligent of the Tories taken in by Hitler, Goring, 
and Ribbentrop. We wanted to ask him since when he 
was under orders from Goring, but refrained. 



Berlin, May 7 

Hillman awakened me with a phone call from 
London about four a.m. today to inform me that the 
Zeppelin Hindenburg had crashed at Lakehurst with 
the loss of several lives. I immediately phoned one of 
the men who designed it, at Friedrichshafen. He re- 
fused to believe my words. I telephoned London and 
gave them a little story for the late editions. I had 
hardly gone back to sleep when Claire Trask of the 
Columbia Broadcasting System phoned to ask me to do 
a broadcast on the German reaction to the disaster. I 
was a bit ill-tempered, I'm afraid, at being awakened 
so early. I told her I couldn't do it and suggested two 
or three other correspondents. About ten she called 
back again and insisted I do it. I finally agreed, though 
I had never broadcast in my life. 

Kept thinking all morning of how first I and then 
Tess were invited to make this trip on the Hindenburg, 
and almost accepted. For some reason there were sev- 
eral places they could not sell, so about ten days before 
it was due to leave, the press agent of the Zeppelin 
Reederei phoned me and offered a free passage to New 
York. It was impossible for me, as I was holding down 
the office alone. The next day he called up and asked 
if Tess would like to go. For reasons which are a little 
obscure — or maybe not so obscure, though I do not 
think it is honest to say I had a feeling that something 
might happen — I did not mention the matter to Tess 
and politely declined on her behalf the next day. 



1937 Beklin, May 30 73 

Wrote out my broadcast this afternoon between dis- 
patches to New York, Claire Trask taking it page by 
page to the Air Ministry for censorship. Was a little 
surprised to find that there was Nazi censorship of radio, 
as we have none as newspaper correspondents, but Miss 
Trask explained it was just for this time. I arrived at 
the studio a quarter of an hour before the time set to 
begin, as nervous as an old hen. With about five minutes 
to go, Miss Trask arrived with the script. The censors 
had cut out my references to Nazi suspicion that there 
had been sabotage, though I had cabled this early in 
the afternoon in a dispatch. So nervous when I began 
my broadcast that my voice skipped up and down the 
scale and my lips and throat grew parched, but after 
the first page gradually lost my fright. Fear I will 
never make a broadcaster, but felt rekeved I did not 
have microphone fright, which I understand makes 
some people speechless before a microphone. 



Berlin, May 10 

Finished the Indian novel, or at least the first 
draft. A great load off my mind. 



Berlin, May 30 

I have rarely seen such indignation in the 
Wilhelmstrasse as today. Every official I saw was fum- 
ing. The Spanish republicans yesterday bombed the 
pocket-battleship Deutschland at Ibitza with good re- 
sult, killing, according to the Germans, some twenty 
officers and men and wounding eighty. One informant 
tells me Hitler has been screaming with rage all day 
and wants to declare war on Spain. The army and 
navy are trying to restrain him. 



74 1937 Berlin, May 31 

Berlin, May 31 

I feel like screaming with rage myself. The 
Germans this day have done a typical thing. They have 
bombarded the Spanish town of Almeria with their war- 
ships as reprisal for the bombing of the Deutschland. 
Thus Hitler has his cheap revenge and a few more 
Spanish women and children are dead. The Wilhelm- 
strasse also announced Germany's (and Italy's) with- 
drawal from the Spanish naval patrol and from the 
non-intervention talks. Dr. Aschmann called us to the 
Foreign Office about ten a.m. to give us the news. He 
was very pious about it all. I was too outraged to ask 
questions, but Enderis and Lochner asked a few. Per- 
haps today's action will end the farce of " non-inter- 
vention," a trick by which Britain and France, for 
some strange reason, are allowing Hitler and Mussolini 
to triumph in Spain. 



Berlin, June 4 

Helmut Hirsch, a Jewish youth of twenty who 
was technically an American citizen though he had never 
been to America, was axed at dawn this morning. Am- 
bassador Dodd fought for a month to save his life, but to 
no avail. It was a sad case, a typical tragedy of these 
days. He was convicted by the dreaded People's Court, 
a court of inquisition set up by the Nazis a couple of 
years ago, of planning to murder Julius Streicher, the 
Nuremberger Jew-baiter. What kind of trial it was — 
no American or outside representatives were present — 
can only be imagined. I've seen a few trials before this 
court, though most of them are in camera, and a man 
scarcely has a chance, four of the five judges being 



1937 Bee lin, June 4 75 

Nazi party boys (the fifth is a regular judge) who do 
what they're expected to do. 

Actually, the Nazis had something on poor Hirsch. 
A student at Prague University, he was put up to the 
job either by Otto Strasser or some of Strasser's fol- 
lowers or supposed followers in Prague. Among Stras- 
ser's " followers " there was certainly a Gestapo agent, 
and Hirsch was doomed from the outset. As far as I 
can piece the story together, Hirsch was provided with 
a suitcase full of bombs and a revolver and dispatched 
to Germany to get someone. The Nazis claim it was 
Streicher. Hirsch himself never seems to have admitted 
who. The Gestapo agent in Prague tipped off Himm- 
ler's people here, and Hirsch, with his incriminating 
suitcase, was nabbed as soon as he set foot in Germany. 
It may well be, as Hirsch's lawyer in Prague suggests, 
that the young man was merely bringing the weapons 
to Germany for someone else, already here, to do the 
job, and that he may not have known, even, of the con- 
tents of his luggage. We shall never know. Perhaps 
he was simply framed by the Gestapo. He was arrested, 
tried, and, this morning, executed. I had a long talk 
with Dodd this morning about the case. He told me he 
had appealed to Hitler himself to commute the sentence 
and read me the text of his moving letter. The Fiihrer's 
reply was a flat negative. When Dodd tried to get a 
personal interview with Hitler to plead the case in per- 
son, he was rebuffed. 

This afternoon I received from Hirsch's lawyer in 
Prague a copy of the last letter the young man wrote. 
He wrote it in his death cell and it was addressed to his 
sister, for whom he obviously had a deep attachment. I 
have never read in all my life braver words. He had 
just been informed that his final appeal had been re- 



76. 1937 Beelin, June 15 

jected and that there was no more hope. " I am to die, 
then," he says. " Please do not be afraid. I do not feel 
afraid. I feel released, after the agony of not quite 
knowing." He sketches his life and finds meaning in it 
despite all the mistakes and its brief duration — - " less 
than twenty-one years." I confess to tears before I had 
finished reading. He was a braver and more decent man 
than his killers. 



Beelin, June 15 

Five more Protestant pastors arrested yester- 
day, including Jacobi from the big Gedachtniskirche. 
Hardly keep up with the church war any more since 
they arrested my informant, a young pastor ; have no 
wish to endanger the life of another one. 

Berlin, June 21 

Blum out in Paris, and that's the end of the 
Popular Front. Curious how a man as intelligent as 
Blum could have made the blunders he's made with his 
non-intervention policy in Spain, whose Popular Front 
he has also helped to ruin. 

Berlin, July 5 

The Austrian Minister tells me that the new 
British Ambassador here, Sir Nevile Henderson, has 
told Goring, with whom he is on very chummy terms, 
that Hitler can have his Austria so far as he, Hender- 
son, is concerned. Henderson strikes me as being very 
" pro." 



1937 Berlin, August 14 77 

London, July {undated) 

Dinner with Knick at Simpson's, and then out 
to his house, where Jay Allen and Carroll Binder, for- 
eign editor of the Chicago Daily News, joined us. We 
chinned until about two a.m. Jay had said that Binder 
was supposed to take me aside and offer me a job on the 
News (Colonel Knox in Berlin had asked me if I wanted 
one) , but he did nothing of the kind. Jay also gave me 
a card to Ed Murrow, who, he said, was connected with 
CBS, but I shall not have time to see him as Knick 
and I leave tomorrow morning for Salcombe, where 
Tess and Agnes already are installed at Gallico's. From 
there Tess and I cross to France without returning to 
London. 



Paeis, July (undated) 

The Van Goghs at the Paris Exposition well 
worth the price of admission. Have had little time to 
see anything else. Saw Berkson, chief of Universal 
Service in New York. He assure/1 me there was nothing 
to the rumours about Universal closing down and that 
in fact for the first time in history it was actually mak- 
ing money. So, reassured about my job, we leave for the 
Riviera tomorrow for some sun and swimming, Tess to 
remain there until fall on account of — we are to have 
a baby ! 



Berlin, August 14 

Universal Service has folded after all. Hearst 
is cutting his losses. I am to remain here with INS, but 
as second man, which I do not like. 



78 1937 Berlin, August 16 

Berlin, August 16 

Norman Ebbutt of the London Times, by far 
the best correspondent here, left this evening. He was 
expelled, following British action in kicking out two or 
three Nazi correspondents in London, the Nazis seizing 
the opportunity to get rid of a man they've hated and 
feared for years because of his exhaustive knowledge 
of this country and of what was going on behind the 
scenes. The Times, which has played along with the 
pro-Nazi Cliveden set, never gave him much support 
and published only half of what he wrote, and indeed 
is leaving Ebbutt's assistant, Jimmy Holburn, to con- 
tinue with the office here. We gave Norman a great 
send-off at the Charlottenburger station, about fifty of 
the foreign correspondents of all nations being on the 
platform despite a tip from Nazi circles that our pres- 
ence would be considered an unfriendly act to Germany ! 
Amusing to note the correspondents who were afraid 
to show up, including two well-known Americans. The 
platform full of Gestapo agents noting down our names 
and photographing us. Ebbutt terribly high-strung, 
but moved by our sincere, if boisterous, demonstration 
of farewell. 



Berlin, August {undated) 

A little depressed tonight. I'm without a job. 
About ten o'clock this evening I ceased being employed. 
I was in my office writing a dispatch. The office boy 
came in with a cable. There was something about his 
face. It was a brief wire, hot off the ticker. It was from 
New York. It said — oh, something about INS being 
unable to retain all the old Universal Service corre- 



1937 Berlin, August 20 79 

spondents and that I was getting the usual two weeks' 
notice. 

I guess I was a little stunned. I guess it was a little 
sudden. Who was it the other night — one of the 
English correspondents — who jokingly observed that 
it was bad to be getting a baby in your family be- 
cause it invariably coincided with your getting fired? 
Well, maybe we shouldn't have had a baby now. 
Maybe you shouldn't ever have a baby if you're in this 
business. Maybe the French girl in Paris many years 
ago was right. She said: " Put a baby into this world? 
Pas mot! " 

I finished my dispatch (what was it about?) and went 
out for a breath of air, strolling along the river Spree 
down behind the Reichstag. It was a beautiful, warm, 
starlit August night, and the Spree making its soft 
curve just before it gets to the Reichstag, I noticed, and 
a launch going .by, filled with noisy holiday-makers back 
from a Havel Rundfdhrt. No ideas came to me, as ex- 
pected. I went back to the office. 

On the desk I noticed a wire that had come in ten 
minutes before the fatal one. It was from Salzburg, a 
baroque town of great charm where I used to go to hear 
some Mozart. It was signed : " Murrow, Columbia 
Broadcasting." I dimly remembered the name, but 
could not place it beyond his company. " Will you have 
dinner with me at the Adlon Friday night? " it said. I 
wired: "Delighted." 



Berlin, August 20 

I have a job. I am to go to work for the 
Columbia Broadcasting System. That is, if. . . . And 
what an if it is ! It is this way : It is crazy. I have the 



SO 1937 Berlin, August 20 

job if my voice is all right. That's the catch. Who ever 
heard of an adult with no pretentions to being a singer 
or any other kind of artist being dependent for a good, 
interesting job on his voice? And mine is terrible. I'm 
positive of it. But that's my situation tonight. 

It has been quite an evening. I met Edward R. Mur- 
row, European manager of CBS, in the lobby of the 
Adlon at seven o'clock. As I walked up to him I was a 
little taken aback by his handsome face. Just what you 
would expect from radio, I thought. He had asked me 
for dinner, I considered, to pump me for dope for a 
radio talk he must make from Berlin. We walked into 
the bar and there was something in his talk that began 
disarming me. Something in his eyes that was not 
Hollywood. We sat down. We ordered two Martinis. 
The cocktails came. I wondered why he had asked me. 
We had friends in common, Ferdy Kuhn, Raymond 
Gram Swing. . . . We discussed them. Apparently 
he was not here to do a broadcast, then. 

" You must come sailing with me tomorrow or Sun- 
day," I said. 

"Swell. I'd like to." 

The waiter gathered up the empty cocktail glasses 
and laid two menus before us. 

" Just a minute before we order," Murrow broke in. 
'* I've got something on my mind." 

That's the way it was. He said he had something on 
his mind. He said he was looking for an experienced 
foreign correspondent to open a CBS office on the Con- 
tinent. He could not cover all of Europe from London. 
I began to feel better, though I said nothing. 

" Are you interested? " he asked. 

" Well, yes," I said, trying to down my feelings. 

" How much have you been making? " 

I toW him. 



1937 Be klin, September 5 81 

" Good. We'll pay you the same." 

" Fine," I said. 

" It's a deal," he said, and reached for the Speise- 
karte. We ordered dinner. We talked of America, 
Europe, the music at Salzburg he had just heard. We 
had coffee. We had brandy. It was getting late. 

" Oh, there's one little thing I forgot to mention," he 
said. " The voice . . ." 

"The what?" 

" Your voice." 

" Bad," I said, " as you can see." 

" Perhaps not. But, you see, in broadcasting it's a 
factor. And our directors and numerous vice-presidents 
will want to hear your voice first. We'll arrange a 
broadcast. You give a talk, say, on the coming party 
rally. I'm sure it'll work out all right." 

Beblin, September 5 

Did my trial broadcast this Sabbath day. 
Just before it began I was very nervous, thinking of 
what was at stake and that all depended upon what a 
silly little microphone and an amplifier and the ether 
between Berlin and New York did to my voice. Kept 
thinking also of all those CBS vice-presidents sniffing 
at what they heard. Everything went wrong at first. 
Claire Trask, fifteen minutes before the start, discovered 
she had left the script of her introduction at a cafe 
where we'd met. She dashed madly out of the studio, 
returning only a few minutes before we were to begin. 
At the last minute the microphone which apparently 
had been set for a man at least eight feet tall wouldn't 
come down. " It is stuck, mein Herr," said the German 
engineer. He advised me to point my head towards the 
ceiling. I tried it, but it so constricted my vocal cords 



82 1937 Nuremberg, September 11 

that only a squeak came out when I started to talk. 

" One minute to go," shouted the engineer. 

" I can't go on with that mike," I protested. 

I espied some packing-cases in the corner just be- 
hind the microphone. I had an idea. 

" Boost me up on those, will you ? " 

" Wie, bitte? What you say? " 

" Give me a lift." And in a second I was atop the 
boxes, my legs dangling nicely, my mouth just opposite 
the level of the microphone. We all laughed. 

** Quiet," the engineer shouted, giving us the red 
light. I had no time to get nervous again. 

And now I must wait for the verdict. In the mean- 
time leaving for Nuremberg tonight to do the Party 
Congress for the U.P. Webb Miller and Fred Oechsner 
were rather insistent that I help them out. It's better, 
at that, to have some distraction in the next few days 
while I wait. Wrote Tess we probably won't starve. 

Nuremberg, September 11 

A week now and no word from Murrow. My 
voice apparently was pretty lousy. Birchall of the New 
York Times talks of giving me a job, but won't pay 
much. Returning to Berlin day after tomorrow. 

Nuremberg, September 13 

Murrow called and said I'm hired. Start 
October 1. Wired Tess. Celebrated a little tonight, I 
fear, on the very potent local Franconian wine. Pren- 
tiss Gilbert, our counsellor of Embassy, has been here, 
the first American diplomat to attend a Nazi Party 
Congress. Ambassador Dodd, who is in America, 
strongly disapproves, though Prentiss, a swell guy, 



1937 Berlin, September 27 83 

says he was forced into it by Henderson, the pro-Nazi 
British Ambassador, and Poncet, who used to be " pro " 
but is probably so no longer. The congress duller this 
year and many are asking if Hitler is slowing up. I hope 
so. Constance Peckham, a nice young lady from Time 
magazine has been here. She thinks we " veterans " are 
much too blase about this party show, which appears to 
have given her a tremendous kick. Much good talk and 
drink with her, Jimmy Holburn, and George Kidd this 
night. Appropriate, I suppose, that I should begin and 
end my newspaper sojourn in Germany at this mad- 
house which is the party rally. Three years. They've 
gone quickly. Germany has gone places. What will 
radio be like? 



Berlin, September 27 

Tess back, feeling fine, and we're packing 
We are to make our headquarters in Vienna, a neutral 
and central spot for me to work from. Most of our old 
friends have left — the Gunthers, the Whit Burnetts 
— but it is always that way in this game. Go to Lon- 
don next week, then Paris, Geneva, and Rome to meet 
the radio people, renew contacts with the newspaper 
offices, and, in Rome, to find out if the Pope is really 
dying, as reported. We are glad to be leaving Berlin. 
To sum up these three years : Personally, they have 
not been unhappy ones, though the shadow of Nazi 
fanaticism, sadism, persecution, regimentation, terror, 
brutality, suppression, militarism, and preparation for 
war has hung over all our lives, like a dark, brooding 
cloud that never clears. Often we have tried to segre- 
gate ourselves from it all. We have found three refuges : 
Ourselves and our books ; the " foreign colony," small, 
limited, somewhat narrow, but normal, and containing 



8 J/. 1937 Be BLiN, September 27 

our friends — the Barneses, the Robsons, the Ebbuttses, 
the Dodds, the Deuels, the Oechsners, Gordon Young, 
Doug Miller, Sigrid Schultz, Leverich, Jake Beam, 
and others ; thirdly, the lakes and woods around Berlin, 
where you could romp and play and sail and swim, 
forgetting so much. The theatre has remained good 
when it has stuck to the classics or pre- Nazi plays, and 
the opera and the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, 
despite the purging of the Jews and the year's disci- 
plining of Fuertwangler (who has now made his peace 
with Satan), have given us the best music we've ever 
heard outside of New York and Vienna. Personally too 
there was the excitement of working here, the " Satur- 
day surprises," the deeper story of this great land in 
evil ferment. 

Somehow I feel that, despite our work as reporters, 
there is little understanding of the Third Reich, what 
it is, what it is up to, where it is going, either at home 
or elsewhere abroad. It is a complex picture and it may 
be that we have given only a few strong, uncoordinated 
strokes of the brush, leaving the canvas as confusing 
and meaningless as an early Picasso. Certainly the 
British and the French do not understand Hitler's 
Germany. Perhaps, as the Nazis say, the Western 
democracies have become sick, decadent, and have 
reached that stage of decline which Spengler predicted. 
But Spengler included Germany in the decline of the 
West, and indeed the Nazi reversion to the ancient, 
primitive, Germanic myths is a sign of her retrogres- 
sion, as is her burning of books and suppression of lib- 
erty and learning. 

But Germany is stronger than her enemies realize. 
True, it is a poor country in raw materials and agricul- 
ture ; but it is making up for this poverty in aggressive- 
ness of spirit, ruthless state planning, concentrated 



1937 Beblin, September 27 86 

direction of effort, and the building up of a mighty mili- 
tary machine with which it can back up its aggressive 
spirit. True, too, that this past winter we have seen 
long lines of sullen people before the food shops, that 
there is a shortage of meat and butter and fruit and 
fats, that whipped cream is verboten, that men's suits 
and women's dresses are increasingly being made out 
of wood pulp, gasoline out of coal, rubber out of coal 
and lime ; that there is no gold coverage for the Reichs- 
mark or for anything else, not even for vital imports. 
Weaknesses, most of them, certainly, and in our dis- 
patches we have advertised them. 

It has been more difficult to point out the sources of 
strength ; to tell of the feverish efforts to make Germany 
self-sufficient under the Four- Year Plan, which is no 
joke at all, but a deadly serious war plan; to explain 
that the majority of Germans, despite their dislike of 
much in Nazism, are behind Hitler and believe in him. 
It is not easy to put in words the dynamics of this move- 
ment, the hidden springs that are driving the Germans 
on, the ruthlessness of the long-term ideas of Hitler or 
even the complicated and revolutionary way in which 
the land is being mobilized for Total War (though 
Ludendorff has written the primer for Total War) . 

Much of what is going on and will go on could be 
learned by the outside world from Mein Kcumpf, the 
Bible and Koran together of the Third Reich. But — 
amazingly — there is no decent translation of it in Eng- 
lish or French, and Hitler will not allow one to be made, 
which is understandable, for it would shock many in the 
West. How many visiting butter-and-egg men have I 
told that the Nazi goal is domination ! They laughed. 
But Hitler frankly admits it. He says in Mein Kcumpf: 
" A state which in an age of racial pollution devotes 
itself to cultivation of its best racial elements must some 



86 1937 Berlin, September 27 

day become master of the earth. . . . We all sense that 
in a far future mankind may face problems which can 
be surmounted only by a supreme Master Race sup- 
ported by the means and resources of the entire globe." 

When the visiting firemen from London, Paris, and 
New York come, Hitler babbles only of peace. Wasn't 
he in the trenches of the last war? He knows what war 
is. Never will he condemn mankind to that. Peace? 
Read Mein Kampf, brothers. Read this : " Indeed, the 
pacifist-humane idea is perhaps quite good whenever 
the man of the highest standard has previously con- 
quered and subjected the world to a degree that makes 
him the only master of the globe. . . . Therefore first 
fight and then one may see what can be done. . . . For 
oppressed countries will not be brought back into the 
bosom of a common Reich by means of fiery protests, 
but by a mighty sword. . . . One must be quite clear 
about the fact that the recovery of the lost regions will 
not come about through solemn appeals to the dear Lord 
or through pious hopes in a League of Nations, but 
only by force of arms. . . . We must take up an 
active policy and throw ourselves into a final and de- 
cisive fight with France. . . ." 

France is to be annihilated, says Hitler, and then the 
great drive to the eastward is to begin. 

Peace, brothers? Do you know what the Deutsche 
Wehr, which speaks for the military in this country, 
remarked two years ago? "Every human and social 
activity is justified only if it helps prepare for war. 
The new human being is completely possessed by the 
thought of war. He must not and cannot think of any- 
thing else." 

And how will it be? Again the Deutsche Wehr; 
" Total war means the complete and final disappear- 
ance of the vanquished from the stasje of history ! " 



1937 Paris, October 12 87 

This, according to Hitler, is Germany's road. The 
strain on the life of the people and on the economic 
structure of the state already is tremendous. Both may 
well crack. But the youth, led by the S.S., is fanatic. 
So are the middle-class alte Kampfer, the " old fight- 
ers " who brawled in the streets for Hitler in the early 
days and have now been awarded the good jobs, au- 
thority, power, money. The bankers and industrialists, 
not so enthusiastic now as when I arrived in Germany, 
go along. They must. It is either that or the concen- 
tration camp. The workers too. After all, six million 
of them have been re-employed and they too begin to 
see that Germany is going places, and they with it. 

I leave Germany in this autumn of 1937 with the 
words of a Nazi marching song still dinning in my ears : 

Today we own Germany, 
Tomorrow the whole world. 



London, October 7 

Murrow will be a grand guy to work with. 
One disappointing thing about the job, though: Mur' 
row and I are not supposed to do any talking on the 
radio ourselves. New York wants us to hire newspaper 
correspondents for that. We just arrange broadcasts. 
Since I know as much about Europe as most newspaper 
correspondents, and a bit more than the younger ones, 
who lack languages and background, I don't get the 
point. 



Paris, October 12 

Suppered with Blanche Knopf. She urged 
me to get along with the revision of the Indian novel. 



88 1937 Geneva, October 15 

Geneva, October 15 

The Bise blowing, and something dead and 
sad about this town. 



Rome, October 18 

Saw the Pope today and he seemed most 
sprightly for a man who is said to have one foot in the 
grave. Frank Gervasi got me into an audience at Castel 
Gondolfo, the summer residence. The Pope was receiv- 
ing a delegation of Austrian mayors, which made it nice 
for me because he spoke in German and I could under- 
stand him. He fairly bubbled over with energy. Made 
elaborate arrangements for radio coverage in the event 
of the Pope's death (it will be the first time radio has 
ever had a chance to cover it), but did not hire Mon- 
signor Pucci, a sly, colourful man who works for every 
correspondent and most of the embassies in town. 

Munich, October (undated) 

Rushed up here to get acquainted with the 
Duke of Windsor with instructions to stick to him, ac- 
company him to America, and arrange for him to broad- 
cast there. He's been touring Germany to study " la- 
bour conditions," being taken around by one of the 
real Nazi ruffians, Dr. Ley. Had my first view of Mrs. 
Simpson today and she seemed quite pretty and attrac- 
tive. Randolph Churchill, who looks like his father 
but does not think like him — at least, not yet — has 
been most helpful. A curious thing for the Duke to do, 
to come to Germany, where the labour unions have been 
smashed, just before he goes to America. He has been 
badly advised. 



1937 Vienna, December 25 89 

Brussels, November 11 

Armistice Day, cold and grey and drizzly, but 
no greyer than the prospects of the Nine-Power Confer- 
ence now in session here to try to straighten out Japan's 
war in China. This is my first actual broadcasting as- 
signment and not very exciting. Have put on or am 
putting on Norman Davis, Wellington Koo, whom I 
like immensely, and other delegates. Litvinov refuses 
to broadcast and seems worried by news from Moscow 
that his private secretary has been arrested by the 
Ogpu; Eden declines too. Silly, this CBS policy that 
I must not do any reporting, only hire others to do it. 
Edgar Mowrer, Bob Pell, Chip Bohlan, John Elliott, 
Vernon Bartlett here to chatter with about the sad state 
of the world; and a pleasant evening with Anne and 
Mark Somerhausen, she as pretty and brilliant as ever, 
he quieter and much occupied in Parliament, where he 
sits as a Social Democrat deputy. The Nine-Power 
Conference so far an awful farce. 



Vienna, December 25 

Christmased this afternoon with the Wileys ; 
John our charge d'affaires here now. Walter Duranty 
there, as always, the Fodors, etc. Chip Bohlan, on leave 
from the Moscow Embassy, came with me to the studio 
of the Austrian Broadcasting Company to help me 
shepherd the youngsters of the American colony 
through a Christmas broadcast. A childish job and one 
that I do not like, being too much interested in the 
political situation at present. 

We are nicely installed in an apartment in the 
Ploesslgasse, next door to the Rothschild palace. The 
owners, being Jewish, have removed themselves to 



90 



1937 Vienna, December 25 



Czechoslovakia for greater safety, though Schuschnigg 
seems to have the situation fairly well in hand here. 
Vienna, though, is terribly poor and depressing com- 
pared to our last sojourn here, from 1929 to 1932. The 
workers are sullen, even those who have jobs, and one 
sees beggars on every street corner. A few people have 
money and splash it at the night-clubs and a few 
fashionable restaurants such as the Drei Husaren and 
Am Franziskanerplatz. The contrast is sickening and 
the regime is resented by the masses, who are either re- 
verting to their old Socialist Party, which is fairly 
strong underground, or going over to Nazism. The 
great mistake of this clerical dictatorship is not to have 
a social program. Hitler and Mussolini have not made 
that mistake. Still, there is more to eat here than in 
Germany, and the dictatorship is much milder — the 
difference between Prussians and Austrians! Next to 
Paris I love this town, even now, more than any other 
in Europe, the Gemiitlichkeit, charm, and intelligence 
of its people, the baroque of its architecture, the good 
taste, the love of art and life, the softness of the accent, 
the very mild quality of the whole atmosphere. A great 
deal of anti-Semitism here, which plays nicely into the 
hands of the Nazis, but then there always was — ever 
since the days of Mayor Karl Lueger, Hitler's first 
mentor on the subject when he was down and out in this 
city. Have had much good talk with Duranty, who is 
living here for a few months; the Fodors, she lovable 
as before, he a walking dictionary on central Europe 
and generous in telling what he knows ; Emil Vadnai of 
the New York Times, a Hungarian of great charm, 
knowledge, and intelligence. Had Duranty broadcast 
the other day, though New York was afraid his voice 
was too high. Came a cable the same evening from Chi- 



1938 Vienna, February 7 91 

cago : " . . . your clear, bell-like voice . . ." signed by 
Mary Garden, who ought to know. 

We wait for the baby, due in seven weeks now, argu- 
ing the while over names. 



Vienna, February 5, 1938 

Doings in Berlin. Today's papers say Blom- 
berg and Fritsch, the two men who have built up the 
German army, are out. Hitler himself becomes a sort 
of " Supreme War-Lord," assuming the powers of the 
Minister of Defence. Two new generals appear: Wil- 
helm Keitel as chief of the High Command, and Wal- 
ther von Brauchitsch as commander-in-chief of the 
army in place of Fritsch. Neurath is out as Foreign 
Minister, replaced by Ribbentrop. Schacht is out, re- 
placed by Walther Funk. Goring — strange ! — is 
made a field-marshal. What's back of all this? The 
meeting of the Reichstag which had been set for Janu- 
ary 30 and then postponed is now to be held February 
20, when we shall probably know. 

Vienna, February 7 

Fodor tells me a strange tale. He says Aus- 
trian police raided Nazi headquarters in the Teinfalt- 
strasse the other day and found a plan initialled by 
Rudolph Hess, Hitler's deputy, for a new Putsch. Idea 
was, says Fodor, to organize a riot in front of the Ger- 
man Embassy in the Metternichstrasse, have someone 
shoot Papen and the German military attache, and thus 
give Hitler an excuse to march in. 



92 1938 Vienna, February 13 

Vienna, February 13 

Much tension here this Sabbath. Schusch- 
nigg has had a secret meeting with Hitler at Berchtes- 
gaden, but we don't know what happened. 

Vienna, February 16 

A terrible thing has happened. We learned 
day before yesterday about Berchtesgaden. Hitler 
took Schuschnigg for a ride, demanded he appoint sev- 
eral Nazis led by Seyss-Inquart to the Cabinet, amnesty 
all Nazi prisoners, and restore the political rights of the 
Nazi Party — or invasion by the Reichswehr. Presi- 
dent Miklas seems to have balked at this. Then yester- 
day Hitler dispatched an ultimatum : Either carry out 
the terms of the Berchtesgaden " agreement," or the 
Reichswehr marches. A little after midnight this morn- 
ing Schuschnigg and Miklas surrendered. The new 
Cabinet was announced, Seyss-Inquart is in the key post 
of Minister of the Interior, and there is an amnesty for 
all Nazis. Douglas Reed when I saw him today so 
indignant he could hardly talk. He's given the London 
Times the complete story of what happened at Berchtes- 
gaden. Perhaps it will do some good. I dropped by the 
Legation this evening. John Wiley was pacing the floor. 
" It's the end of Austria," he said. 

Vienna, February 20 

Tess, Ed Taylor, and I sat glumly around the 
radio on this Sunday afternoon listening to Hitler 
thunder before his Reichstag in Berlin. Today he came 
out in the open with his theory that Germany will her- 
self protect the ten million Germans living outside the 



1938 Vienna, February 26 93 

Reich's borders — meaning, though he did not say so, 
the seven millions in Austria and the three million 
Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia. He even pro- 
claimed their right to " racial self-determination." His 
words : " There must be no doubt about one thing. 
Political separation from the Reich may not lead to 
deprivation of rights — that is, the general rights of 
self-determination. In the long run it is unbearable for 
a world power to know there are racial comrades at its 
side who are constantly being afflicted with the severest 
suffering for their sympathy or unity with the whole 
nation, its destiny, and its Weltanschautmg. To the 
interests of the German Reich belong the protection of 
those German peoples who are not in a position to se- 
cure along our frontiers their political and spiritual 
freedom by their own efforts." 

Later. — A New York broadcast says Eden 
has resigned. It almost seems as though at the bidding 
of Hitler, who singled him out for attack in his speech 
this afternoon. The Ballhausplatz very worried. 

Vienna, February 22 

The baby is due, but has not yet come. I must 
leave tonight for a broadcast in Sofia. My bad luck to 
miss the event, but perhaps I shall get back in time. 

Vienna, February 26 

When I stepped off the train at four p.m., 
Ed Taylor was on the platform and I could tell by his 
face it had happened. 

" Congratulations ! " he said, but I could see he was 
forcing his smile. 



94 1938 Vienna, March 2 

"AndTess?" 

He hesitated, swallowed. " She had a bit of a hard 
time, I'm afraid. Caesarean. But she's better now." 

I told the taxi-driver to hurry to the hospital. 

" Aren't you going to ask the sex? " Ed said. 

"What is it?" 

" A girl," he said. 

It was a sweet girl I saw a few minutes later, not 
discoloured and deformed as in the books, but white- 
skinned and well-shaped and full of beans, but her birth 
had almost cost the life of her mother. In the nick of 
time, the operation, early this morning. 

" The danger is past. Your wife will recover. And 
the baby is fine," the doctor said. A little resentful, he 
seemed, that I had taken so long in showing up. 

A bit too excited tonight to sleep, I fear. 

Vienna, March 2 

Tess and the baby doing well considering 
everything. I spending most of my time at the hospital. 
Tension growing here daily. Hear Schuschnigg is now 
negotiating with the workers, whom his colleague Doll- 
fuss shot down so cold-bloodedly just four years ago. 
They are asking for little, but the negotiations with 
these stupid reactionaries go slowly. Still the workers 
prefer what they can undoubtedly get now from 
Schuschnigg to the Nazis. I feel a little empty, being 
here on the scene but doing no actual reporting. Curi- 
ous radio doesn't want a first-hand report. But New 
York hasn't asked for anything, being chiefly concerned 
with an educational broadcast I must do from Ljubl- 
jana in a few days — a chorus of schoolchildren or 
something! Goring made a nice gentle speech yester- 
day, according to the local press. He said : " We [the 



1938 Vienna, March 11-12 95 

German air force] will be the terror of our enemies. . . . 
I want in this army iron men with a will to action. . . . 
When the Fiihrer in his Reichstag speech said that we 
would no longer tolerate the suppression of ten million 
German comrades beyond our borders, then you know 
as soldiers of the air force that, if it is to be, you must 
back these words of the Fiihrer to the limit. We are 
burning to prove our invincibility." 

Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, March 10 

Here is a town to shame the whole world. It is 
full of statues and not one of them of a soldier. Only 
poets and thinkers have been so honoured. Put on a 
chorus of coal-miners' kids for a Columbia School of 
the Air program. They sang magnificently, like Welsh 
coal-miners. Afterwards at the station, waiting for the 
Vienna train, much good Slovene wine with the local 
priests, Slovenia being a strong Catholic province. 
Without news of the world for two days while here. 

Vienna, March 11-12 (4 a.m.) 

The worst has happened! Schuschnigg is 
out. The Nazis are in. The Reichswehr is invading 
Austria. Hitler has broken a dozen solemn promises, 
pledges, treaties. And Austria is finished. Beautiful, 
tragic, civilized Austria! Gone. Done to death in the 
brief moment of an afternoon. This afternoon. Im- 
possible to sleep, so will write. Must write something. 
The Nazis will not let me broadcast. Here I sit on one 
of the biggest stories of my life. I am the only broad- 
caster in town. Max Jordan of NBC, my only com- 
petitor, has not yet arrived. Yet I cannot talk. The 
Nazis have blocked me all night. I have argued, 



96 1938 Vienna, March 11-12 

pleaded, fought. An hour ago they ushered me out 
with bayonets. 

To begin at the beginning of this day of nightmare, 
if I can : 

The sun was out and spring was in the air when my 
train got into the Siidbahnhof at eight this morning. 
I felt good. Driving to Ploesslgasse I noticed the streets 
littered with paper. Overhead two planes were dropping 
leaflets. 

" What is it? " I asked the taxi-driver. 

" Plebiscite." 

"What plebiscite?" 

" The one Schuschnigg ordered." He did not trust 
me and would say no more. 

I climbed the stairs to our apartment puzzled. I 
asked the maid. She handed me a stack of newspapers 
for the last three days. Over breakfast I caught up on 
the news. On Wednesday night (March 9) Schusch- 
nigg, speaking at Innsbruck, had suddenly ordered a 
plebiscite. For this Sunday. The question : " Are you 
for an independent, social, Christian, German, united 
Austria? J a oder Nein." 

Breakfast over, I hurried to the hospital. Tess was 
not so good. Fever, and the doctor afraid of phle- 
bitis in the left leg. A blood clot. A hell of a thing, 
after the other. I stayed with her for two hours until 
she dozed off. About eleven a.m. I took a taxi into town 
and went to the Schwarzenberg Cafe on the Schwarzen- 
bergplatz to see what was up. Fodor and Taylor and 
some Austrian newspapermen were there. They were a 
little tense, but hopeful. The plebiscite would go off 
peacefully, they thought. And Schuschnigg, assured 
of the support of the workers, would win, hands down. 
That would hold Hitler for a while. I felt better. Some- 
one turned on the radio. The announcer was reading a 



1938 Vienna, March 11-12 9? 

proclamation calling up the class of 1915 to active serv- 
ice. That's merely to police the election, we agreed. One 
of the Austrians was called to the phone. When he came 
back he said something about the Nazis having just 
smashed the windows of the Monarchist offices near the 
Stef ansplatz. For some reason, I remember now, every- 
one laughed. I had in mind to phone Colonel Wolf, 
the Legitimist leader, with whom I've been negotiating 
for a broadcast by Otto von Habsburg. But I didn't. 

Shortly before four p.m. I set out for the hospital to 
see if Tess was any better. Crossing the Karlsplatz to 
catch a subway train I was stopped by a crowd of about 
a thousand people. They were Nazis and it was a bit 
comical. One lone policeman was yelling and gesticu- 
lating at them. And they were giving ground ! " If 
that's all the guts the Nazis have, Schuschnigg will win, 
hands down," I mused. " And he's arming the workers. 
That'll take care of the Nazi toughs." I hurried along 
to my train. 

About six o'clock, returning from the hospital, I 
emerged from the subway to the Karlsplatz. What had 
happened? Something! Before I knew it I was being 
swept along in a shouting, hysterical Nazi mob, past 
the Ring, past the Opera, up the Karntnerstrasse to 
the offices of the German " Tourist " Bureau, which, 
with its immense flower-draped portrait of Hitler, has 
been a Nazi shrine for months. The faces ! I had seen 
these before at Nuremberg — the fanatical eyes, the 
gaping mouths, the hysteria. And now they were shout- 
ing like Holy Rollers: " Sieg Heil! Sieg Heill Sieg 
Heill Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler! Hang 
Schuschnigg! Hang Schuschnigg! Hang Schusch- 
nigg! Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fiihrer! " And the 
police! They were looking on, grinning. What had 
happened? I was still in the dark. I shouted my ques- 



98 1938 Vienna, March 11-12 

tion into the ears of three or four jammed against me. 
No response. Couldn't hear. Finally a middle-aged 
woman seemed to get me. " The plebiscite ! " she yelled. 
"Called off!" 

There was no need to learn more. That was the end 
of Austria. I extricated myself from the swirling der- 
vishes and made my way down the Ring to the Hotel 
Bristol. Taylor was there. He introduced me to his 
wife, Vreni, pretty, brunette, intelligent-looking, who 
had just arrived. He confirmed the news. It had been 
announced an hour before on the radio, he said. We 
took a taxi to the American Legation. John Wiley was 
standing before his desk, clutching his invariable long 
cigarette-holder, a queer smile on his face — the smile 
of someone who has just been defeated and knows it. 

" It's all over," he said quietly. There had been an 
ultimatum from Berlin. No plebiscite, or the German 
army marches. Schuschnigg had capitulated. 

" You'll hear more on the radio shortly," John said. 
" Stick around." 

I left to put in a call for Murrow, who's in Warsaw. 
Going out of the Legation I stumbled into Gedye, very 
excited. Home, I put in a call for Ed, my radio playing 
softly a Viennese waltz. Hateful, it sounded. It stopped 
abruptly. " Attention ! Attention ! " a voice said. " In 
a few minutes you will hear an important announce- 
ment." Then the ticking of a metronome, the Ravag's 
identification signal. Maddening, it sounded. Tick 
. . . tick . . . tick . . . tick. I turned it down. Then 
a voice — Schuschnigg's, I recognized — without intro- 
duction, y 

" This day has placed us in a tragic and decisive situ- 
ation. I have to give my Austrian fellow countrymen 
the details of the events of today. 

" The German Government today handed to Presi- 



1938 Vienna, March 11-12 99 

dent Miklas an ultimatum, with a time limit, ordering 
him to nominate as chancellor a person designated by 
the German Government and to appoint members of a 
cabinet on the orders of the German Government ; other- 
wise German troops would invade Austria. 

" I declare before the world that the reports launched 
in Germany concerning disorders by the workers, the 
shedding of streams of blood, and the creation of a 
situation beyond the control of the Austrian Govern- 
ment are lies from A to Z. President Miklas has asked 
me to tell the people of Austria that we have yielded to 
force since we are not prepared even in this terrible 
situation to shed blood. We have decided to order the 
troops to offer no resistance. 

" So I take leave of the Austrian people with a Ger- 
man word of farewell uttered from the depth of my 
heart : God protect Austria." 

Towards the end you feel his voice will break ; that 
there will be sobbing. But he controls it to the last. 
There is a second silence. And then the national anthem 
played from an old record. It is the tune of Deutschland 
iiber Alles, only in the original and slightly different 
version as Haydn first composed it. That is all. That is 
the end. 

The rest of this evening? A little later the rasping 
voice of Judas. Dr. Seyss-Inquart is saying something, 
saying he considers himself responsible for order, say- 
ing the Austrian army is not to offer resistance. This is 
the first we hear of the German invasion. The ulti- 
matum, Schuschnigg says, said capitulate or invasion. 
Now Hitler has broken even the terms of his own ultima- 
tum. 

I cannot get Ed in Warsaw. His hotel keeps saying 
he's out. It is still early. I call the Austrian Broad- 
casting System to see about my broadcast. No answer. 



100 1938 Vienna, March 11-12 

I start downtown. In the Karlsplatz there's a tremen- 
dous crowd. Someone is shouting a speech from the steps 
of the Karlskirche. " Hess and Buerckel," a storm 
trooper near me whispers. His uniform gave off a 
stench of moth balls. " Hess and Buerckel ! They're 
here." But I could not get near enough to see. 

I fought my way out of the crowd towards the 
Karntnerstrasse. Crowds moving about all the way. 
Singing now. Singing Nazi songs. A few policemen 
standing around good-naturedly. What's that on their 
arm? A red-black-white Swastika arm-band! So 
they've gone over too ! I worked my way up Karntner- 
strasse towards the Graben. Young toughs were heav- 
ing paving blocks into the windows of the Jewish shops. 
The crowd roared with delight. 

Over at the Cafe Louvre Bob Best of U.P. is sitting 
at the same table he has occupied every night for the 
last ten years. Around him a crowd of foreign corre- 
spondents, male and female, American, English, Hun- 
garian, Serb. All but Best in a great state of excite- 
ment, running to the phone every five minutes to get 
some news or give it. The most fantastic rumours. Bob 
reads over to me his dispatches. He is called away to 
the phone. He comes back. Sehuschnigg has been re- 
called as chancellor and the Nazis are out, he says. He 
is optimistic; things are not over yet. A few minutes 
later : it's a false report. The Nazis have taken over at 
the Ballhausplatz. We sprint over to the Ballhausplatz, 
Metternich's Ballhausplatz . . . Congress of Vienna. 
. . . Twenty storm troopers are standing on one an- 
other before the building, forming a human pyramid. 
A little fellow scampers to the top of the heap, clutching 
a huge Swastika flag. He pulls himself up to the bal- 
cony, the same balcony where four years ago Major 



1938 Vienna, March 11-12 101 

Fey, held prisoner by the Nazis after Dollf uss was shot, 
parleyed with the Schuschnigg people. He unfurls the 
flag from the balcony and the Platz rings with cheers. 

Back to the Louvre. Martha Fodor is there, fighting 
to keep back the tears, every few minutes phoning the 
news to Fodor. Emil Maass, my former assistant, an 
Austro- American, who has long posed as an anti-Nazi, 
struts in, stops before the table. " Well, meine Damen 
und Herren," he smirks, " it was about time." And he 
turns over his coat lapel, unpins his hidden Swastika 
button, and repins it on the outside over the button- 
hole. Two or three women shriek : " Shame ! " at him. 
Major Goldschmidt, Legitimist, Catholic, but half 
Jewish, who has been sitting quietly at the table, rises. 
" I will go home and get my revolver," he says. Some- 
one rushes in. Seyss-Inquart is forming a Nazi govern- 
ment. It is a little after eleven p.m. Time to go over 
to Broadcasting House. Five p.m. in New York. 

In the Johannesgasse, before the Ravag building, 
men in field-grey uniforms stand guard with fixed bayo- 
nets. I explain who I am. After a long wait they let 
me in. The vestibule and corridor are full of young men 
in army uniforms, in S.S. and S.A. uniforms, brandish- 
ing revolvers, playing with bayonets. Two or three 
stop me, but taking my courage in my hand I bark at 
them and make my way into the main hall, around 
which are the studios. Czeja, the General-Direktor of 
Ravag, and Erich Kunsti, program director, old 
friends, stand in the middle of the room, surrounded by 
excited, chattering Nazi boys. One glance. They are 
prisoners. I manage to get in a word with Kunsti. 

" How soon can I go on the air? " I say. 

He shrugs his shoulders. " I've ceased to exist around 
here," he laughs. He beckons towards a scar-faced chap 



10% 1938 Vienna, March 11-12 

who seems to be the boss, for the moment anyway. I ex- 
plain my wants. No impression. I do it again. He 
doesn't get me. 

" Let me talk to your chiefs in Berlin," I say. " I 
know them. They'll want me to broadcast." 

" Can't get through to Berlin," he says. 

" But you will, some time tonight," I say. 

" Well, maybe later. You can come back." 

" Not a chance," Kunsti whispers. A couple of 
guards, fingering their revolvers, edge me out. I wait 
outside in the hall, barging in every so often to see if 
Scarface has Berlin on the phone. Around midnight a 
broadcast comes through from the Ballhausplatz. A 
new government is to be announced soon. I dash over 
there. Spotlights (from where?) play on the balcony. 
A dozen men are standing there. I make out Seyss- 
Inquart, Glaise-Horstenau. . . . Judas is reading his 
new Cabinet list. He himself is Chancellor. 

Back to Ravag. Wait. Argument. Wait. Argu- 
ment. They cannot get Berlin. There is no wire. No 
broadcast possible. Sorry. More arguments. Threats. 
In the end I'm escorted out. No argument with bayo- 
nets. Out in the Johannesgasse I look at my watch. 
Three a.m. I go up to the Karntnerstrasse once more. 
Deserted now. Home then. 

The phone rings. It is Ed in Warsaw. I tell him the 
news. And our bad news. Even if I remain here to- 
morrow and do get facilities, we'll be under strict Nazi 
censorship, I say. 

" Fly to London, why don't you? " Ed suggests. 
" You can get there by tomorrow evening and give the 
first uncensored eyewitness account. And I'll come down 
to Vienna." 

A phone call to the Aspern airport. All planes 
booked tomorrow. What time do the London and Ber- 



1938 Amstekdam-London, March 12 103 

lin planes leave? Seven a.m.; eight a.m. Thank you. 
I forget I have not spoken to Fodor on this night. The 
Nazis don't like him. Maybe. ... I phone. " I'm all 
right, Bill," he says. He's sobbing. A line to Tess ex- 
plaining why she will not see me for a few days. Now 
to bed. An hour of sleep. 

In a Dutch plane between Amsterdam and 
London, March 12 

Have just finished scrawling out a script. 
Can go on the air as soon as we get into London. Went 
to work on it just after we took off from Tempelhof in 
Berlin, Amsterdam being the next stop and so no dan- 
ger of a Nazi censor. I've had luck today. I was at the 
Aspern airport at seven a.m. The Gestapo had taken 
over. At first they said no planes would be allowed to 
take off. Then they cleared the London plane. But I 
could not get on. I offered fantastic sums to several 
passengers for their places. Most of them were Jews 
and I could not blame them for turning me down. Next 
was the plane to Berlin. I got on that. 

Vienna was scarcely recognizable this morning. 
Swastika flags flying from nearly every house. Where 
did they get them so fast? Another piece of news at 
Aspern from a police official I had known slightly. 
Schuschnigg has not fled, he insisted. Refused, though 
they kept an airplane waiting until midnight for him. 
Guts. The airfield at Aspern already crowded with 
German war planes when we took off. We came down at 
Prague and Dresden and it was noon before we arrived 
in Berlin. More luck. A seat on a Dutch plane straight 
through to London. I had an hour for lunch. I bought 
the morning Berlin newspapers. Amazing! Goebbels 
at his best, or worst! Hitler's own newspaper, the 



104- 1938 London, March 14 

Volkische Beobachter, on my lap here. Its screaming 
banner-line across page one: GERMAN-AUSTRIA 
SAVED FROM CHAOS. And an incredible story out 
of Goebbels's evil but fertile brain describing violent 
Red disorders in the main streets of Vienna yesterday, 
fighting, shooting, pillaging. It is a complete lie. But 
how will the German people know it's a lie ? The DNB 
also has a story today that sounds phony. It claims 
Seyss-Inquart last night telegraphed to Hitler to send 
troops to protect Austria from armed Socialists and 
Communists. Since there were no " armed Socialists 
and Communists " in Vienna last night, this obviously 
is also a lie. But interesting to note Hitler's technique. 
The same which was used to justify the June 30 purge. 
Any lie will do. Croydon now just ahead of us. 

Later, London. — Broadcast at eleven 
thirty p.m. And now for some sleep. 

London, March 14 

At one a.m. this morning (eight p.m. yester- 
day, New York time) we did our first European radio 
round-up. It came off like this. 

About five o'clock yesterday afternoon my telephone 
rang. Paul W. White, Columbia's director of public 
affairs, was calling from New York. He said : " We 
want a European round-up tonight. One a.m. your 
time. We want you and some member of Parliament 
from London, Ed Murrow of course from Vienna, and 
American newspaper correspondents from Berlin, 
Paris, and Rome. A half -hour show, and I'll telephone 
you the exact time for each capital in about an hour. 
Can you and Murrow do it? " 

I said yes, and we hung up. The truth is I didn't 



1938 London, March 14 105 

have the faintest idea how to do it — in eight hours, any- 
way. We had done one or two of these, but there had 
been months of fussing over technical arrangements be 
fore each one. I put in a long-distance call to Murrow 
in Vienna. And as valuable minutes ticked away I con- 
sidered what to do. The more I thought about it, the 
simpler it became. Murrow and I have newspaper 
friends, American correspondents, in every capital in 
Europe. We also know personally the directors and 
chief engineers of the various European broadcasting 
systems whose technical facilities we must use. I called 
Edgar Mowrer in Paris, Frank Gervasi in Rome, Pierre 
Huss in Berlin, and the directors and chief engineers 
of PTT in Paris, EIAR in Turin, and the RRG in 
Berlin. 

Murrow came through from Vienna ; he undertook to 
arrange the Berlin as well as the Vienna end and gave 
me a badly needed technical lesson as to how the entire 
job could be done. For each capital we needed a power- 
ful short-wave transmitter that would carry a voice 
clearly to New York. Rome had one, but its availability 
was doubtful. Paris had none. In that case we must 
order telephone lines to the nearest short-wave trans* 
mitting station. Before long my three telephones were 
buzzing, and in four languages: English, German, 
French, and Italian. The first three I know fairly well, 
but my Italian scarcely exists. Still, I understood 
enough from Turin to get the idea that no executives 
of the Italian Broadcasting Company could be reached 
at the moment. Alas, it was Sunday. I still had Rome 
coming in. Perhaps I could arrange matters with the 
branch office there. Berlin came through. The Reichs- 
Rundfunk-Gesellschaft would do its best. Only, they 
explained, the one line to Vienna was in the hands of 
the army and therefore doubtful. 



10b' 1938 London, March 14 

As the evening wore on, the broadcast began to take 
shape. New York telephoned again with the exact times 
scheduled for each capital. New York's brazen serenity, 
its confidence that the broadcast would come off all 
right, encouraged me. My newspaper friends started 
to come through. Edgar Mowrer, Paris correspondent 
of the Chicago Daily News, was spending Sunday in the 
country. Much urging to persuade him to return to 
town to broadcast. But Edgar couldn't fool me. No 
man, I knew, felt more intensely than he what had hap- 
pened in Austria. Gervasi in Rome and Huss in Berlin 
came through. They would broadcast if their New York 
office agreed. Not much time to inquire at the New York 
newpaper offices, especially on Sunday afternoon. An- 
other call to Columbia in New York: Get permission 
for Gervasi and Huss to talk. And by the way, New 
York said, what transmitters and wave-lengths are Ber- 
lin and Rome using? I had forgotten about that. An- 
other call to Berlin. The station would be DJZ, 25.2 
metres, 11,870 kilocycles. An urgent cable carried the 
information to the CBS control room in New York. 

Time was getting short. I remembered that I roust 
also write out a talk for the London end of the show. 
What was Britain going to do about Hitler's invasion 
of Austria? I telephoned around town for material. 
Britain wasn't going to do anything. New York also 
wanted a member of Parliament, I suddenly recalled, 
to discuss British official reaction to the Anschluss. I 
called two or three M.P. friends. They were all enjoy- 
ing the English week-end. I called Ellen Wilkinson, 
Labour M.P. So was she. 

" How long will it take you to drive to the BBC? " I 
asked her. 

" About an hour," she said. 



1938 London, March 14 107- 

I looked at my watch. We had a little more than two 
hours to go. She agreed to talk. 

Gervasi's voice from Rome was on the line. " The 
Italians can't arrange it on such short notice," he said. 
"What shall I do?" 

I wondered myself. " We'll take you over Geneva," 
I finally said. " And if that's impossible, phone me back 
in an hour with your story and I'll read it from here." 

Sitting alone in a small studio in Broadcasting 
House, I had a final check-up with New York three 
minutes before one a.m. We went over the exact timings 
of each talk and checked the cues which would be the 
signals for the speakers in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, and 
London to begin and end their talks. Rome was out, 
I told our control room in New York, but Gervasi was on 
the telephone this minute, dictating his story to a 
stenographer. We agreed upon a second switchback to 
London from New York so that I could read it. One 
a.m. came, and through my earphones I could hear on 
our transatlantic " feedback " the smooth voice of Bob 
Trout announcing the broadcast from our New York 
studio. Our part went off all right, I think. Edgar and 
Ed were especially good. Ellen Wilkinson, flaunting 
her red hair, arrived in good time. New York said on 
the " feedback " afterwards that it was a success. They 
want another one tonight. 

Hitler, say the dispatches, entered Vienna in triumph 
this afternoon. Nobody fired. Chamberlain has just 
spoken in the House. He is not going to do anything. 
" The hard fact is," he says, " that nothing could have 
arrested what has actually happened — unless this 
country and other countries had been prepared to use 
force." There will be no war. Britain and France have 
retreated one step more before the rising Nazi power. 



108 1938 London, March 15 

r i— — """—" ■' ■ i ■ . ■ ,- — 

Later. — Albion Ross of the New York 
Times staff in Berlin had an interesting line in his talk 
on our round-up tonight. He said the Berliners had 
taken the Anschluss with " phlegmatic calm." 



London, March 15 

Hitler, speaking in Vienna from the balcony 
of the Hofburg, palace of the once mighty Habsburgs, 
today proclaimed the incorporation of Austria in the 
German Reich. Still another promise broken. He could 
not even wait for the plebiscite, scheduled for April 10. 
Talked with Winston Churchill on the phone this morn- 
ing. He will do a fifteen-minute broadcast, but wants 
five hundred dollars. 



London, March 16 

Ed telephoned from Vienna. He said Major 
Emil Fey has committed suicide after putting bullets 
through his wife and nineteen-year-old son. He was a 
sinister man. Undoubtedly he feared the Nazis would 
murder him for having double-crossed them in 1934 
when Dollfuss was shot. I return to Vienna day after 
tomorrow. The crisis is over. I think we've found some- 
thing, though, for radio with these round-ups. 

Vienna, March 19 

Ed met me at Aspern airport last evening. 
When we arrived at dusk before my house in the Ploessl- 
gasse, S.S. guards in steel helmets and with fixed bayo- 
nets were standing before my door. A glance up the 
street showed they were guarding all doors, especially 
that of the Rothschild palace next to us. Ed and I 



1938 Vienna, March 19 109 

started into our place, but the Nazi guards prodded us 
back. 

" I live here," I said, suddenly angry. 

" Makes no difference. You can't go in," one of the 
guards countered. 

" I said I lived here ! " 

" Sorry. Strict orders. No one can enter or leave." 
He was an Austrian lad, his accent showed, and polite, 
and my anger subsided. 

" Where can I find your commandant? " I asked. 

" In the Rothschild palace." 

He gave us a towering S.S. man, who escorted us 
into the gardener's house which adjoined our building 
and where Rothschild had actually resided the last year. 
As we entered we almost collided with some S.S. officers 
who were carting up silver and other loot from the base- 
ment. One had a gold-framed picture under his arm. 
One was the commandant. His arms were loaded with 
silver knives and forks, but he was not embarrassed. 
I explained my business and our nationality. He 
chuckled and told the guard to escort us to my door. 

" But you'll have to stay there for a while," he 
laughed. 

We stayed until after dinner. Then wishing to go 
downtown we crept down the stairs, waited until our 
guard had paced several steps away from the door, and 
sneaked out on tiptoe in the darkness. We found a 
quiet bar off the Karntnerstrasse for a talk. Ed was a 
little nervous. 

" Let's go to another place," he suggested. 

"Why?" 

" I was here last night about this time," he said. " A 
Jewish-looking fellow was standing at that bar. After 
a while he took an old-fashioned razor from his pocket 
and slashed his throat." 



110 1938 Vienna, March 20 

Tess none too well. The phlebitis still critical. And 
her nerves not exactly soothed by the shock of what has 
been happening and the noise of Goring's bombers over 
the hospital all day long. Ed flies back to London in 
the morning. 



Vienna, March 20 

Broadcast this morning. Described how Vi- 
enna has been completely Nazified in a week — a 
terrifying thing. One of the American radio networks 
had emphasized all week that its correspondent was not 
censored in what he said from here. But when he ar- 
rived at the studio to go on the air just after me, the 
Nazis demanded his script as well as mine and gave it a 
going-over. 

Vienna, March 22 

Tess's condition still critical. And the atmos- 
phere in the hospital has not helped. First, Tess says, 
there was a Jewish lady whose brother-in-law committed 
suicide the day Hitler entered town. She screamed all 
the first night. Today she left in black mourning clothes 
and veil, clutching her baby. There was a second Jewish 
lady. No one in her family was murdered, but the S.A., 
after taking over her husband's business, proceeded to 
their home and looted it. She fears her husband will be 
killed or arrested, and weeps all night long. 

On the streets today gangs of Jews, with jeering 
storm troopers standing over them and taunting crowds 
around them, on their hands and knees scrubbing the 
Schuschnigg signs off the sidewalks. Many Jews kill- 
ing themselves. All sorts of reports of Nazi sadism, 
and from the Austrians it surprises me. Jewish men 



1938 Vienna, March 25 111 

and women made to clean latrines. Hundreds of them 
just picked at random off the streets to clean the toilets 
of the Nazi boys. The lucky ones get off with merely 
cleaning cars — the thousands of automobiles which 
have been stolen from the Jews and " enemies " of the 
regime. The wife of a diplomat, a Jewess, told me to- 
day she dared not leave her home for fear of being 
picked up and put to " scrubbing things." 

Vienna, March 25 

Went with Gillie to see the synagogue in the 
Seitenstattengasse, which was also the headquarters of 
the Jewish Kidtusgemeinde. We had been told that the 
Jews had been made to scrub out toilets with the sacred 
praying-bands, the Tefillin. But the S.S. guards 
wouldn't let us in. Inside we could see the guards lolling 
about smoking pipes. On our way to lunch in a little 
Italian restaurant back of the Cathedral, Gillie had a 
run-in with some storm troopers who took him for 
a Jew though he is the purest of Scots. Very annoying 
and we drowned our feelings in Chianti. Knick here, and 
Agnes, though Knick will depart shortly as he is barred 
from Germany and is not supposed to be here. Huss 
here trying to get the local INS correspondent, Alfred 
Tyrnauer, out of jail. His wife most frantic when I 
talked with her on the phone. The Fodors have gone to 
Bratislava, taken there on the initiative of John Wiley, 
who sent them out in a Legation car. Schuschnigg 
under arrest, and the story is that the Nazis torture him 
by keeping the radio in his room on night and day. 



112 1938 Vienna, April 8 

Vienna, April 8 

Tess and baby at last home from the hospital. 
I carried her upstairs from the car this morning and it 
will be some time before she can walk. But the worst 
is over. 

Vienna, April 10 {Palm Sunday) 

The " plebiscite " passed off today in a weird 
sort of holiday atmosphere. The Austrians, according 
to Goebbels's count, have voted ninety-nine per cent J a. 
Maybe so. It took a brave Austrian to vote No, as 
everyone felt the Nazis had some way of checking up 
on how they voted. This afternoon I visited a polling 
station in the Hofburg. The room, I imagine, had once 
been occupied by the Emperor's guard. I went inside 
one of the booths. Pasted on the wall in front of you 
was a sample ballot showing you how to mark yours 
with a Yes. There was also a wide slit in the corner of 
the booth which gave the election committee sitting a 
few feet away a pretty good view of how you voted ! 
Broadcast for fifteen minutes at seven thirty p.m., and 
though the polls had just closed, I said the Austrians 
were voting ninety-nine per cent Yes. A Nazi official 
told me so just as I went on the air and I assumed he 
knew. Probably he knew yesterday. And so Austria to- 
day " votes " away its centuries-old independence and 
joins the Greater Reich. Finis Austria! 

Vienna, April 12 

This crisis has done one thing for us. I think 
radio talks by Ed and me are now established. Birth of 
the " radio foreign correspondent," so to speak. 



1938 Peague, April 16 113 

Vienna, April 14 

Czechoslovakia will certainly be next on Hit- 
ler's list. Militarily it is doomed now that Germany has 
it flanked on the south as well as the north. All our 
broadcasts from Prague now must go by telephone line 
through Germany, even if we take them via Geneva. 
That will be bad in case of trouble. Must ask the Czechs 
about their new short-wave transmitter when I go to 
Prague tomorrow. 

Prague, April 16 

Put on President Benes and Miss Alice 
Masaryk in a broadcast to America tonight. Yesterday 
I expressed the hope that Dr. Benes would say some- 
thing about the German question, though their theme 
tonight was ostensibly the Red Cross. Dr. Benes obliged 
me beautifully, though his language was moderate and 
reasonable. Strange, then, that when he got to the Ger- 
man question he was badly faded out. Unfortunately 
New York booked the show via the German short-wave 
station at Zeesen instead of through Geneva as I had 
asked. I suspect the Germans faded out Benes on pur- 
pose, though Berlin denied it when I spoke with the 
people there on the phone after the broadcast. They 
said the fault was here in Prague. The Czechs deny it. 
I had a long talk tonight with Svoboda, chief engineer 
of the Czech Broadcasting System, urging him to rush 
work on his new short-wave transmitter, explaining 
that if the Germans got tough, that would be Prague's 
only outlet. Promised our co-operation in making 
transatlantic tests. A good-natured fellow, he does not 
think the Germans will do anything until they've di- 
gested Austria, which he thinks will take years. But he 
promised to get along with the new Sender. 



11^ !938 Vienna, April 17 

Vienna, April 17 {Easter) 

Got home this morning. Tess better and we 
presented the baby with a giant Easter egg I had 
bought in Prague yesterday. Much fun. 



Rome, May 2 

Some time during the night S.S. Black 
Guards at the Austro-Italian border got me out of bed 
in my wagons-lits compartment and seized all my money. 
They argued a long time among themselves about ar- 
resting me, but finally desisted. Hitler arriving this 
evening at sundown. I'm broadcasting from the roof of 
the royal stables overlooking the entrance to the Qui- 
rinale Palace and have it timed for the moment the King 
and the Fiihrer are due to arrive. 

Later. — Unfortunately for me, the horses 
pulling Hitler's carriage galloped faster than we all 
anticipated. When I went on the air this evening, he 
had arrived, entered the palace, come out and bowed to 
the populace, disappeared, and as my microphone 
opened there was nothing left to describe. I had made 
dotes, however, about the background of the visit and 
had received descriptive reports in German by radio of 
his dramatic ride up the Triumphal Way, past the 
splendid ruins of ancient Rome, past the Colosseum, 
from whose archways columns of red fire flamed, to the 
palace. But it was pitch-dark when I went on the air, 
and the electric light attached to the mike suddenly 
failed. I could not make out a word of my notes. The 
only thing was to speak ad lib. from memory, but after 
standing on the wind-swept roof for five hours I dis- 
covered that the light in my memory had gone out too. 



1938 Florence, May — ? 115 

There was a row of torches burning near by on the roof 
in honour of Hitler's arrival. I motioned to an Italian 
engineer to fetch one. It flickered badly, but gave just 
enough light to enable me to make out a few key points 
in my scribbled notes. Feel, however, that I talked 
badly. 



Kome, May 3 

A cable of congratulations from Paul White 
on last night's talk, which cheers me up. The town full 
of dicks — fifty thousand of them, they say, German 
and Italian, to protect the two great men. All the for- 
eign Jews here have been jailed or banished for the 
duration of the visit. The Italians hardly hide their 
hostility to the Germans. They watch them walk by, 
and then spit contemptuously. The Eternal City lovely 
in this springtime. Wandered down to the Piazza di 
Spagna, full of superb flowers stacked against the stair- 
ways leading up to the baroque church. I shall spend 
these days wandering about. 



Florence, May — % 

Followed Hitler up here, but did not have to 
broadcast. New York wanted me to look up some sing- 
ing birds — of all things ! — for a broadcast, but could 
not find them. Spent the day at the Uffizi, but somehow 
the Leonardos, Raphaels, Titians, even the Botticellis, 
pale a little after the Grecos in Spain. Walked along 
the Arno. Remembered the magnificent view from 
Fiesole, an old Etruscan town five miles up in the hills 
from here, but no time to revisit it. Back to Vienna to- 
morrow. 



116 1938 Vienna, May 20 

Vienna, May 20 

While Tess and I were dining tonight with 
Charles Dimont (of Reuter's) and his dark, beautiful 
wife in a little Hungarian restaurant near the Opera, he 
was called away to the phone. He came back greatly 
excited. London had called. German troops were re- 
ported marching on Czechoslovakia. He decided to hire 
a car and run up towards Bratislava and take a look. 
I decided to remain in town and get on the phone to 
Prague, Berlin, and London before jumping one way 
or the other. 

Vienna, May 21 

Leaving tonight for Prague. The story is 
that Hitler has mobilized ten divisions along the Czech 
frontier. The Czechs have called up one class and have 
manned their " Maginot Line." Had hoped to remain 
here a few days since Tess must have another operation 
day after tomorrow. If there's no war in Czecho we 
hope to leave here definitely June 10 for our new head- 
quarters in Geneva. Tess's Swiss visa expires then and 
it will be a long job to get another if we don't get away 
under the deadline. Have picked Geneva because it's no 
longer possible to do my job from here, what with the 
currency restrictions, the Nazi censorship and snoop- 
ing, and all. 

Vienna, June 9 

Leaving tomorrow. The Gestapo have been 
here for two days checking over my books and effects, 
but they were Austrian fellows and much beer and 
plenty of sausage made them agreeable and reasonable. 
Tess in no shape to travel, all bound up in bandages 
still, but we are going by air. 



1938 Geneva, June 10 117 

Geneva, June 10 

A day ! But we're here. Three bad moments. 
First, when I went to collect five hundred marks owed 
me by the manager of one of the shipping companies. 
The Gestapo have been arresting people right and left 
for " illegal " exchange transactions. Any passing of 
money is suspect. When I walked into the manager's 
inner office, X, a Nazi spy who had long posed here as 
an anti-Nazi emigrant, stood there grinning at me. I 
thought for a second it was a trap. But the manager, 
an Englishman, walked down the Ring with me and 
gave me the money. Still, X is probably out to get me, 
I thought, and I was glad our plane was leaving in two 
hours. 

At the Aspern airport they behaved very suspiciously. 
I explained to the Gestapo chief that Tess was too weak 
to stand up and I would go over the luggage with him. 
I had laid Tess out on a bench in the waiting-room. He 
demanded that she stand up and explain things during 
the customs examination. Otherwise we couldn't leave. 
I tried to hold her up. Then a police official led me 
away. I left the nurse to help as best she could. In a 
little room two police officials went through my pocket- 
book and my pockets. Everything was in order. They 
then led me into a side room. " Wait here," they said. 
I said I wanted to go back to help with the baggage in- 
spection, that my wife was in a critical state ; but they 
shut the door. I heard the lock turn. I was locked in. 
Five, ten, fifteen minutes. Pacing the floor. Time for 
the airplane to leave. Past time. Then I heard Tess 
shout : " Bill, they're taking me away to strip me!" I 
had spoken with the Gestapo chief about that, explained 
that she was heavily bandaged, the danger of infection 
... I pounded on the door. No result. Through the 



^^•■p 



118 1938 Lausanne, June (undated) 

window I could hear and see the Swiss racing the two 
motors of their Douglas plane, impatient to get away. 
After a half -hour I was led out to a corridor connecting 
the waiting-room with the airfield. I tried to get into 
the waiting-room, but the door was locked. Finally 
Tess came, the nurse supporting her with one arm and 
holding the baby in the other. 

" Hurry, there," snapped an official. " You've kept 
the plane waiting a half -hour." I held my tongue and 
grabbed Tess. 

She was gritting her teeth, as angry as I've ever seen 
her. " They stripped me, the . . ." she kept saying. I 
thought she was going to turn and scratch at the official 
following us. We hurried across the runway to the 
plane. I wondered what could happen in the next sec- 
onds before we were in the plane and safe. Maybe X 
would come running out and demand my arrest. Then 
we were in the plane and it was racing across the field. 

Flew blind in storm clouds along the Alps all the way 
from Vienna to Zurich, the plane pitching and tossing 
and most of the passengers sick and scared. Then there 
was Zurich down there, Switzerland, sanity, civilization 
again. 

Lausanne, June (undated) 

We came up the lake on a paddle-steamer, 
Tess and Ed Murrow and I, on this glorious June after- 
noon, the water blue like the Mediterranean, the shores 
splashing green, the Jura mountains to the left, a deep, 
smoky blue, the Alps to the right, pink and white under 
the snow and sun. It was almost overwhelming. Ed and 
I here for the semi-annual conference of the Interna- 
tional Broadcasting Union. As associate instead of 
regular members we refrain from the scraps of the Euro- 



1938 Evian-les-Bains, July 7 119 

pean broadcasters and merely observe, which gives us 
time for extra-curricular activities. The Broadcasting 
Union, at that, is one of the few examples of real Euro- 
pean co-operation. Reason: if the broadcasters don't 
co-operate, especially in the matter of wave-lengths, 
there won't be any European radio. The Czechs and 
some of the English here much exercised about an edi- 
torial in the London Times on June 3 advising the 
Czechs to hold a plebiscite for the Sudeten Germans and 
if they want to join the Reich to let them. The Times 
argues that if this is done, Germany would lose any 
claim to interfere in the affairs of Czechoslovakia. The 
Old Lady simply won't learn. Ed and Dick Marriot of 
BBC, an intelligent and courageous young man, very 
pessimistic about the strength and designs of the " ap- 
peasement " crowd in London. Major Atkinson of 
BBC, whose English translation of Spengler's Decline 
of the West is even better than the original — one of 
the few great translations from the German, an almost 
untranslatable language — and who is also a terrific 
expert on the American Civil War, came charging up 
to me this evening on the terrace where we were having 
coffee, a bottle of red Burgundy in one hand and a large 
globular glass in the other, and said : " Shirer, what 
would have happened at Gettysburg if Lee had . . ." 
and he went into some complicated military problem. I 
see we shall be fighting the Civil War over here. And 
these English military chaps know much more about it 
than any American civilian. 

Evian-les-Bains, July 7 

Delegates from thirty-two states here, on 
Roosevelt's initiative, to discuss doing something about 
refugees from the Third Reich. Myron C. Taylor, 



1W 1938 Prague, August 4 

heading the American delegation, elected permanent 
president of the committee today. I doubt if much will 
be done. The British, French, and Americans seem too 
anxious not to do anything to offend Hitler. It's an 
absurd situation. They want to appease the man who is 
responsible for their problem. The Nazis of course will 
welcome the democracies' taking the Jews off their hands 
at the democracies' expense. I guess I was a little hasty 
thinking the " radio foreign correspondent " had been 
born at the time of the Anschluss. I've put on Taylor 
for a broadcast, but have no invitation from New York 
to talk myself on the program of this conference. We 
are not really covering it at all. Stumbled into Jimmy 
Sheean, whom I have not seen since our Paris days ten 
years ago. We had a big reunion at the Casino last 
night, Robert Dell of the Manchester Guardian, a grand 
old man, joining us. Jimmy broke the bank at the 
baccarat table while I was winning a couple of thousand 
francs more laboriously at roulette, Dell, who is in his 
sixties, remaining in the hall to dance. Dinah Sheean 
joined us during the evening, she beautiful with large 
intelligent eyes. Renewing acquaintance with other old 
friends, Bob Pell of the American delegation, John 
Elliott, and others. Should mention John Winant, 
whom I met a month ago in Geneva and who has been 
here, a very likable person, liberal, awkward in manner, 
a bit Lincolnesque. 



Prague, August 4 

Lord Runciman arrived today to gum up the 
works and sell the Czechs short if he can. He and his 
Lady and staff, with piles of baggage, proceeded to the 
town's swankiest hotel, the Alcron, where they have al- 



1938 Peague, August 4 121 

most a whole floor. Later Runciman, a taciturn thin- 
lipped little man with a bald head so round it looks like 
a mis-shapen egg, received us — about three hundred 
Czech and foreign reporters — in the reception hall. I 
thought he went out of his way to thank the Sudeten 
leaders, who, along with Czech Cabinet members, turned 
out to meet him at the station, for their presence. 

Runciman's whole mission smells. He says he has 
come here to mediate between the Czech government and 
the Sudeten party of Konrad Henlein. But Henlein is 
not a free agent. He cannot negotiate. He is com- 
pletely under the orders of Hitler. The dispute is be- 
tween Prague and Berlin. The Czechs know that Cham- 
berlain personally wants Czechoslovakia to give in to 
Hitler's wishes. These wishes we know : incorporation of 
all Germans within the Greater Reich. Someone to- 
night — Walter Kerr, I think, of the Herald Tribune, 
produced a clipping from his paper of a dispatch 
written by its London correspondent, Joseph Driscoll, 
after he had participated in a luncheon with Chamber- 
lain given by Lady Astor. It dates back to last May, 
but makes it clear that the Tory government goes so 
far as to favour Czecho ceding the Sudetenland out- 
right to Germany. Before the Czechs do this, I'm con- 
vinced, they'll fight. For it would mean giving up their 
natural defences and their Maginot Line. It would 
mean their end. They're willing to give the Sudetens 
practical autonomy. But Henlein demands the right to 
set up a little Sudeten Nazi state within the state. Once 
he has this, of course, he will secede to Germany. 

Dined tonight at the Baarandov, overlooking the 
lovely Moldau, with Jeff Cox of the Daily Express and 
Kerr. Prague, with its Gothic and baroque architec- 
ture, its winding little streets, its magnificent Charles 



122 1938 P HAGUE, August 14 

Bridge across the Moldau, and the bluffs on one side 
on which perches the Hradshin castle built by the Habs- 
burgs, has more character than almost any other city 
in Europe. 

Testing daily with Czech radio engineers their new 
short-wave transmitter. Our engineers in New York, 
working with RCA, sending a daily report now of recep- 
tion there. Sunday we will try it out for the first time 
with a broadcast of some Czech army manoeuvres. 
Svoboda does not think it will carry well to New York. 



Prague, August 14 

A few minutes before we went on the air this 
afternoon, while the troops on the ground and the air 
force in the air were rehearsing a grand show, a Skoda 
fighter diving from ten thousand feet failed to come 
fully out of its dive. It crashed in front of my micro- 
phone and skidded a couple of hundred feet past me. 
When it came to a stop it was a mass of twisted metal. 
I was talking at the time, describing the dive. Phoebe 
Packard of U.P., who was helping in the broadcast, say's 
I kept on shouting into the mike when it crashed, but I 
do not remember. The pilot and his observer were still 
alive when we extricated them from the wreckage, but 
I fear they will not live this day out. Four or five sol- 
diers lying in a skirmish line in front of us were badly 
hurt when the plane skidded over them. We were all a 
bit paralysed and I offered to call off the broadcast, but 
the commanding general said we would go on. Phoebe, 
large, a bit masculine, and the only woman correspond- 
ent to go through both the Ethiopian and the Spanish 
wars, which have hardened her to such things, remained 
very calm, though obviously affected. 

CBS engineers afterwards said there had been a little 



1938 Berlin, August 25 123 

too much gunfire for an ideal broadcast, but they were 
enthusiastic about the new Czech transmitter. It gives 
us an independent outlet now if the Germans cut the 
telephone lines. 

Prague, August 24 

Runciman still fussing about, asking the 
Czechs to make all the concessions. He has the govern- 
ment busy now working out a plan of cantonal govern- 
ment a la Suisse. The situation being momentarily 
. (Juiet, am going to Berlin tomorrow to take a look at the 
military parade Hitler is putting on for Horthy, Re- 
gent of Hungary. 

Berlin, August 25 

The military attaches are still a little bit pop- 
eyed tonight. Among other things which the Reichs- 
wehr showed Horthy (and the world) in the big mili^ 
tary parade was an enormous field-gun, at least an 
eleven-inch affair, hauled in four pieces on motor trucks. 
There were other big guns and new big tanks and the 
infantry goose-stepped very well. But the big motor- 
ized Bertha was the sensation of the day. No one has 
ever seen a cannon that big outside of a battleship, ex- 
cept for the railroad guns. And how the spectators 
applauded it ! As if it were not inanimate, a cold piece 
of steel. When I called at the Embassy after the parade, 
our military experts were busy working out sketches of 
the gun from memory. No photographing was allowed, 
except for one or two official shots which did not show 
much. Ralph [Barnes] as excited as a cat. Some of the 
American correspondents, more friendly than others to 
the Nazis, laughed at me at the Taverne tonight when 
I maintained the Czechs would fight. 



19b 1938 Geneva, September 9 

Geneva, September 9 

One last fleeting visit with the family before 
the war clouds break. In Berlin the best opinion is 
that Hitler has made up his mind for war if it is neces- 
sary to get back his Sudetens. I doubt it for two rea- 
sons : first, the German army is not ready ; secondly, 
the people are dead against war. The radio has been 
saying all day that Great Britain has told Germany she 
will fight if Czecho is invaded. Perhaps so, but you can- 
not forget the Times leader of three days ago invitinjf 
the Czechs to become a more " homogeneous state " by 
handing the Sudetens over to Hitler. 

The atmosphere here in Geneva is delightfully un- 
real. On Monday the 102nd meeting of the League 
Council and the 19th meeting of the Assembly open and 
all the internationalists are convening here to do noth- 
ing. The Czech situation is not even on the agenda, and 
won't be. Who was it put it so well the other day as we 
were walking along Lake Geneva and the great League 
Secretariat building came into view ? Someone. " A 
beautiful granite sepulchre! Let us admire its beauty 
against the green hills and the mountains. There, my 
friend, are buried the dead hopes of peace for our gen- 
eration." 

Tess, with baby, off to America towards the end of 
the month to establish residence for her citizenship. I 
off to Prague tomorrow by plane to cover the peace or 
the war. Have almost convinced CBS they should let 
me talk five minutes daily — revolutionary in the broad- 
casting business ! 



1938 Prague, September 10 125 

Prague, September 10 

All Europe waiting for Hitler's final word to 
be pronounced at the wind-up of the Nazi Party rally at 
Nuremberg day after tomorrow. In the meantime we 
had two speeches today, one by President Benes here ; 
the other by Goring at Nuremberg, where all week the 
Nazis have been thundering threats against Czecho- 
slovakia. Benes, who spoke from the studio of the Czech 
Broadcasting System, was calm and reasonable — too 
much so, I thought, though he was obviously trying to 
please the British. He said : " I firmly believe that noth- 
ing other than moral force, goodwill, and mutual trust 
will be needed. . . . Should we, in peace, solve our na- 
tionality affairs . . . our country will be one of the 
most beautiful, best administered, worthiest, and most 
equitable countries in the world. ... I do not speak 
through fear of the future. I have never been afraid in 
my life. I have always been an optimist, and my opti- 
mism is stronger today than at any other time. . . . 
Let us all preserve calmness . . . but let us be optimis- 
tic .. . and, above all, let us not forget that faith and 
goodwill move mountains. . . ." 

Dr. Benes delivered it in both Czech and German, so 
that I understood it, and running into him in the hall 
of the Broadcasting House when he had finished, I 
wanted to rush up and say : " But you are dealing with 
gangsters, with Hitler and Goring ! " But I did not 
have the nerve and merely nodded good-evening and he 
walked on, a brave little Czech peasant's son who has 
made many mistakes in the last two decades, but who, 
when all is said and done, stands for the democratic de- 
cencies that Hitler is out to destroy. His face was grave, 
not nearly so optimistic as his words, and I doubt not he 
knows the terrible position he is in. 



186 1938 Prague, September 11 

The other speech, Goring's, as given out by Reuter's 
here : " A petty segment of Europe is harassing human 
beings. . . . This miserable pygmy race [the Czechs] 
without culture — no one knows where it came from — 
is oppressing a cultured people and behind it is Moscow 
and the eternal mask of the Jew devil. . . ." 



Prague, September 11 

All quiet here, but you can cut the tension 
with a knife. Reports that the Germans have massed 
two hundred thousand troops on the Austro-Czech bor- 
der. In London continuous conferences in Downing 
Street. In Paris Daladier conferring with Gamelin. 
But all awaiting Hitler's speech tomorrow. CBS finally 
okays a five-minute daily report from here, but asks me 
to cable beforehand when I think the news does not war- 
rant my taking the time. 

Prague, September 12 

The Great Man has spoken. And there's no 
war, at least not for the moment. That is Czechoslova- 
kia's first reaction to Hitler's speech at Nuremberg to- 
night. Hitler hurled insults and threats at Prague. But 
he did not demand that the Sudetens be handed over 
to him outright. He did not even demand a plebiscite. 
He insisted, however, on " self-determination " for 
the Sudetens. I listened to the broadcast of the speech 
in the apartment of Bill and Mary Morrell overlooking 
Wilson station. The smoke-filled room was full of corre- 
spondents — Kerr, Cox, Maurice Hindus, and so on. 
I have never heard the Adolf quite so full of hate, his 
audience quite so on the borders of bedlam. What poi- 
son in his voice when at the beginning of his long recital 



1938 Prague, September 12 197 

of alleged wrongs to the Sudeteners he paused : " Ich 
spreche von der Czechoslovakei! " His words, his tone, 
dripping with venom. 

Everyone in Czechoslovakia seems to have listened to 
the speech, the streets being deserted tonight from eight 
to ten. An extraordinary meeting of the Inner Cabinet 
Council was convoked immediately afterwards, but 
Benes did not attend. Morrell and I put in calls to 
Karlsbad and Reichenberg to see if the three and a half 
million Sudeteners had gone berserk after the speech. 
Fortunately there had been a pouring rain throughout 
the country. Some six thousand Henlein enthusiasts, 
wearing Swastika arm bands, paraded the streets of 
Karlsbad afterwards shouting : " Down with the Czechs 
and Jews ! We want a plebiscite ! " But there was no 
clash. Same story at Reichenberg. 

Prague on this day when war and peace have appar- 
ently hung in the balance has been dark and dismal, 
with a cold, biting, soaking rain. I roamed through the 
old streets most of the day trying to see how a people 
react with war and invasion staring them in the face and 
when you know that in twenty-one minutes from the mo- 
ment of declaration of war, if there is a declaration of 
war, the bombs may come raining down on you. The 
Czechs were going about their business as usual, not 
gloomy, not depressed, not frightened. Either they 
haven't any nerves at all, or perhaps they're the people 
with the iron nerves. 

The Russians — perhaps aided by the Czechs — did 
a beautiful job of jamming Hitler's speech tonight. 
Konigsberg, Breslau, Vienna — all the stations in the 
east — were unintelligible. We had to go way over to 
Cologne before we could get a decent reception. 



1<28 1938 Pa ague, September 13-14 

Prague, September 13-14 (3 a.m.) 

War very near, and since midnight we've been 
waiting for the German bombers, but so far no sign. 
Much shooting up in the Sudetenland, at Eger, Elbo- 
gen, Falkenau, Habersbirk. A few Sudeteners and 
Czechs killed and the Germans have been plundering 
Czech and Jewish shops. So the Czechs very rightly 
proclaimed martial law this morning in five Sudeten 
districts. About seven this evening we learned that Hen- 
lein had sent a six-hour ultimatum to the government. 
It was delivered at six p.m., expired at midnight. It de- 
manded: repeal of martial law, withdrawal of Czech 
police from the Sudetenland, " separation " of military 
barracks from the civilian population. Whether it is 
backed by Hitler we do not know, though after his 
Nuremberg speech there seems little doubt that it is. 
Anyway, the Czech government has turned it down. It 
could not have done otherwise. It has made its choice. 
It will fight. We wait now for Hitler's move. 

The tension and confusion this night in the lobby of 
the Ambassador Hotel, where the diplomats and corre- 
spondents gather, has been indescribable. Fascinating 
to watch the reactions of people suddenly seized by 
fear. Some can't take it. They let themselves go to a 
point of hysteria, then in panic flee to — God knows 
where. Most take it, with various degrees of courage 
and coolness. In the lobby tonight : the newspapermen 
milling around trying to get telephone calls through the 
one lone operator. Jews excitedly trying to book on the 
last plane or train. The wildest rumours coming in with 
every new person that steps through the revolving door 
from outside, all of us gathering around to listen, be- 
lieving or disbelieving according to our feelings. Go- 
ring's bombers will come at midnight — unless the 



1938 Prague, September 13-14 129 

Czechs accept the ultimatum. They will use gas. How 
can a man get a gas-mask? There are none. What do 
you do then? Benes will accept the ultimatum. He 
must! The newspapermen racing up and down, furi- 
ous about the telephones, about the Germans, keeping 
an ear cocked for the first bomb. Packard and Beattie 
of U.P., Steinkopf of A.P., Red Knickerbocker of INS, 
Whitaker and Fodor of the Chicago Daily News, Alex 
Small of the Chicago Tribune, Walter Kerr of the New 
York Herald Tribime, Gedye and Vadnay of the New 
York Times, and the English correspondents. 

An element of comedy helps break the tension. Alex, 
behind a large beer, Phoebe Packard behind another, 
frown at a cable Alex has just received. It is from his 
boss, Colonel McCormick, instructing him with military 
precision how to cover the war. " Wars always start at 
dawn. Be there at dawn," cables the colonel, Alex says. 

A timid American businessman creeps up to our table, 
introduces himself. " I'm getting a big kick out of this 
evening," he says. " You newspaper people certainly 
lead interesting lives." 

" What'll you drink, sir? " someone asks him. We go 
on with our talk, shout for a telephone. 

Midnight nears. Deadline for the ultimatum. An 
official from the Foreign Office comes in, his face grave. 
" Abgelehnt," he says in German. "Turned down." 
The ultimatum is turned down. The correspondents fly 
again to the telephone. Several Jews scurry out. The 
press agent of the Sudeten party, a big jovial fellow 
who usually drops in at this time to give us his news, 
comes in as usual. He is not jovial. " Have they turned 
it down? " he asks. He hardly waits for the answer. 
Grabbing a small bag he has left in the corner, he dis- 
appears through the door. 

Packard or someone finally gets through to the 



180 1938 P Hague, September 14 

Sudetenland. They are fighting there with rifles, hand- 
grenades, machine-guns, tanks. It is war, everyone 
agrees. Bill Morrell comes through on the phone from 
Habersbirk. Will I pass his story on to the Daily Ex- 
press? Yes, what is it? He is talking from the police 
station there, he says. In the corner of the room a few 
feet away, he says, under a sheet lie the bodies of four 
Czech gendarmes and one German. The Germans have 
shot dead all four gendarmes in the town, but Czech 
reinforcements have arrived and the government is now 
in control. I call up Mary, his wife, about to become a 
mother, and tell her Bill is all right. Time for my 
broadcast. I race up the street to Broadcasting House. 
Out in the street, I must say, I felt just a little 
ashamed. The people in the street were quiet, unexcited. 
No troops, no police to be seen anywhere. Everybody 
going home to bed just as they always have. Broadcast, 
but we could not hear New York and I fear atmos- 
pherics. And so to bed. 

Pkagtte, September 14 (morning) 

A discouraging cable from Paul White. My 
broadcast last night failed to get through. Atmos- 
pherics or sun spots, he says. Off now for a drive 
through the Sudetenland to take a look at the fighting, 
with Hindus, Cox, Morrell. 

Evening. — Drove two hundred miles 
through Sudetenland. The fighting is all over. The re- 
volt, inspired from Germany with German arms, has 
been put down. And the Czech police and military, act- 
ing with a restraint that is incredible, have suffered more 
casualties than the Sudeten Germans. Unless Hitler 
ngain interferes, the crisis has passed its peak. The 



1938 Prague, September 15 131 

Sudeteners I talked to today very puzzled. They ex- 
pected the German army to march in Monday night 
after Hitler's speech, and when it didnt arrive, but 
the Czech army did, their spirits dropped. Only at 
Schwaderbach are the Henleinists holding out, and 
that's because the Czechs can't fire into the town with- 
out their bullets hitting Reich territory. Henlein an- 
nounces this afternoon from Asch the dissolution of 
the committee which had been negotiating here with 
the government. Ernst Kundt, his chief delegate, a 
swarthy, passionate man and the most decent of the lot, 
tells me he's remaining in Prague " if they don't kill 
me." 

Some time after dinner a newsboy rushed into the 
lobby of the Ambassador with extra editions of a Ger- 
man-language paper, the only one I can read since I 
do not know Czech. The headlines said: Chamberlain 
to fly to Berchtesgaden tomorrow to see Hitler! The 
Czechs are dumbfounded. They suspect a sell-out and 
I'm afraid they're right. On the way to broadcast to- 
night, Hindus, who was with me and understands Czech, 
stopped to listen to what the newsboys were shouting. 
They were yelling, he said : " Extra ! Extra ! Read all 
about how the mighty head of the British Empire 
goes begging to Hitler ! " I have not heard a better 
comment this evening. Broadcast again, but fear we 
did not get through. Mighty powerful sun spots at 
work against us. 

Prague, September 15 

Feel a little frustrated. New York cables 
again that I failed to get through. Tonight I shall 
cable my piece to be read. Henlein today issued a 
proclamation demanding outright Anschluss, after 



1938 Prague, September 16 



which he fled to Germany. The government has or- 
dered his arrest as a traitor. Ed Beattie of U.P. tele- 
phoned this morning from Eger, and though he is an 
American to the core, Packard could not understand a 
word he said. Pack came running to me. " Beattie's 
gone nuts. Speaks in some strange language. Will you 
talk to him? " I got on the line. Ed explained in Ger- 
man he was speaking from a Czech police station, that 
the Czechs understood German and no English and had 
given him a line on condition he file his story in German 
so that they could check him. I took it down. Six killed 
there last night when Czech police stormed Henlein's 
headquarters in the Hotel Victoria. 

Czechs, like everyone else, kept their eyes focused on 
Berchtesgaden today. Tonight they're asking if the 
peace which Mr. Chamberlain is trying to extract from 
Hitler does not call for them to make all the concessions. 
Government circles very gloomy. Murrow called from 
London and suggested I get off immediately to Berchtes- 
gaden. Don't know whether I can. Czech trains have 
stopped running across the border and I can't find a 
Czech driver who will take his car across the frontier. 

Later. — Ed called to say Chamberlain was 
returning to London in the morning. My Berchtes- 
gaden trip is off. Relieved. Prefer to cover this war 
from the Czech side. 

Prague, September 16 

Another cable from New York. For the third 
successive day they could not hear me, but read my piece 
which arrived by cable. This is bad luck for radio. Ber- 
lin reports Hitler has demanded — and Chamberlain 
more or less accepted — a plebiscite for the Sudeteners. 



1938 Prague, September 18 



The government here says it is out of the question. But 
they are afraid that is what happened at Berchtesgaden. 
In other words that Mr. Chamberlain has sold them 
down the river. I say in my broadcast tonight : " Will 
the Czechs consent to breaking up their state and sacri- 
ficing their strategic mountain border which has pro- 
tected Bohemia for a thousand years? ... I get the 
impression they will not lie down and trust their fate 
even to a conference of the four big western powers. 
. . . The Czechs say : Supposing even that a plebiscite 
were accepted and the Sudetens turned over to Ger- 
many. As compensation Mr. Chamberlain, they think, 
would give them a guarantee against aggression, 
solemnly signed by Great Britain, France, Germany, 
Italy. But what, they ask, would another treaty be 
worth? " 

Later. — Hoorah ! Heard New York per- 
fectly on the feedback tonight and they heard me 
equally well. After four days of being blotted out, and 
these four days ! Runciman has left for London, skip- 
ping out very quietly, unloved, unhonoured, unsung. 

Pkagtje, September 18 

The Czechs are stiffening as it becomes evi- 
dent that Chamberlain is ready to support Hitler's de- 
mands for taking over Sudetenland and indeed, in effect, 
Czechoslovakia. Milo Hodza, the Premier, broadcast 
to the world today and uttered a definite no to the propo- 
sition of a plebiscite. " It is unacceptable. It will solve 
nothing," he said. Hodza, unlike most Slovaks, struck 
me as being very high-strung and nervous when I saw 
him at Broadcasting House after he finished talking. 
He showed visibly the strain of the last days. Is he talk- 
ing strong, but weakening, I wonder. 



134 1938 Berlin, September 19 

Later. — I must go to Germany. At mid- 
night Murrow phoned from London with the news. The 
British and French have decided they will not fight for 
Czechoslovakia and are asking Prague to surrender un- 
conditionally to Hitler and turn over Sudetenland to 
Germany. I protested to Ed that the Czechs wouldn't 
accept it, that they'd fight alone. . . . 

" Maybe so. I hope you're right. But in the mean- 
time Mr. Chamberlain is meeting Hitler at Godesberg 
on Wednesday and we want you to cover that. If there's 
a war, then you can go back to Prague." 

" All right," I said. 

I don't care where I go now. I finally collected my- 
self and went over and routed Maurice Hindus out of 
bed, telling him the news, which he refused to believe. 
We telephoned to two or three friends in the Foreign 
Office. By the tone of their voices they had heard the 
news too, though they said not. They said it was too 
" fantastic " to believe, which of course it is. Maurice 
and I took a walk. People were going home from the 
cafes but they did not seem unduly excited and it was 
obvious they had not heard the reports from London. 

Maurice is to broadcast while I'm away. I take a 
plane to Berlin in the morning. To bed, four a.m., 
weary and disgusted. 

Berlin, September 19 

The Nazis, and quite rightly too, are jubilant 
over what they consider Hitler's greatest triumph up 
to date. " And without bloodshed, like all the others," 
they kept rubbing it in to me today. As for the good 
people in the street, they're immensely relieved. They 
do not want war. The Nazi press full of hysterical head- 
lines. All lies. Some examples : WOMEN AND CHIL- 



1938 B ERLiN-G ode sb ei g, September 20 185 

DREN MOWED DOWN BY CZECH ARMOURED 
CARS, or BLOODY REGIME -NEW CZECH 
MURDERS OF GERMANS. The Borsen Zeitung 
takes the prize : POISON-GAS ATTACK ON AUSSIG? 
The Hamburger Zeitung is pretty good: EXTORTION, 
PLUNDERING, SHOOTING - CZECH TERROR 
IN SUDETEN GERMAN LAND GROWS WORSE 
FROM DAY TO DAY! 

No word from Prague tonight as to whether the 
Czechs will accept Chamberlain's ultimatum. I still 
hope against hope they will fight. For if they do, then 
there's a European war and Hitler can't win it. Ended 
my broadcast tonight thus : " One thing is certain : Mr. 
Chamberlain will certainly get a warm welcome at 
Godesberg. In fact, I got the impression in Berlin to- 
day that Mr. Chamberlain is a pretty popular figure 
around here." 



On the train, Berlin-Godesberg, September 20 

A weird broadcast we've just done. Paul 
White phoned from New York at six p.m. just as I was 
packing my bags. I told him he'd have to cancel my 
regular talk at ten thirty tonight as our train for Godes- 
berg left at ten thirty. He suggested a broadcast from 
the train, interviewing the correspondents on the 
chances for peace or war at Godesberg. A phone call to 
the Reichs Rundfunk. Impossible to do it from the 
train. How about doing it from the Friedrichstrasse 
station, I asked. Will do, said Dr. Harald Diettrich, 
youthful, enterprising acting-head of the German 
short-wave department. A telephone call to New York. 
White delighted. When I arrived at the station five min- 
utes before ten, when the broadcast was due to begin, 
the microphone was there and working. 



136 1938 Godesbekg, September 22 

But there were no American correspondents. The 
platform was empty. At ten I started to chat away ad 
lib. The only news I had was that the Hungarians and 
the Poles had been down to Berchtesgaden during the 
day to demand, like jackals, their share of the Czech 
spoils. This subject exhausted, I took to reading the 
headlines from the evening papers. The usual lies, but 
if I said so, the Nazis would cut me off. Headlines like 
this: CZECH SOLDIERS ATTACK GERMAN EM- 
PIRE! I looked around. Still no correspondents. I 
hoped they would all miss the train. I talked along 
about the Czech minorities, I think it was. Finally 
Huss showed up. I grabbed him by the coat-tails and 
before he knew it he was on the air. The rest of the news- 
papermen finally arrived, but they seemed busy sorting 
out their luggage. Huss began to make frantic signs. 
God knows how the rest of the show sounded. I put on 
two or three Englishmen, then Sigrid Schultz, Webb 
Miller, Ralph Barnes. Philippo Boiano of the Popolo 
d'ltalia motioned he wanted to speak. I knew how se- 
cretly he hated the Nazis, but I wasn't sure of his Eng- 
lish. It was wonderful. No stage accent could have been 
half so good. Jouve of Havas wanted to talk too. Be- 
fore I could ask him if he spoke English he was talking 
— in French. I started to translate what he had said, 
and then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the train 
moving. My finishing sentence was not smooth, but I 
made the train. Fear the show was a flop at home, but 
there are more important things to think of now. 

GrODESBERG, September 22 

The Swastika and the British Union Jack 
flying side by side in this lovely Rhine town — very 
appropriate, I find. Very appropriate, too, to hold your 



1938 Godesberg, September 22 137 

meeting in a Wagnerian town, for it is here, they say, 
that Wotan, Thor, and the other gods of the early 
Teutons used to frolic. 

This morning I noticed something very interesting. I 
was having breakfast in the garden of the Dreesen 
Hotel, where Hitler is stopping, when the great man 
suddenly appeared, strode past me, and went down to 
the edge of the Rhine to inspect his river yacht. X, one 
of Germany's leading editors, who secretly despises the 
regime, nudged me : " Look at his walk ! " On inspection 
it was a very curious walk indeed. In the first place, 
it was very ladylike. Dainty little steps. In the second 
place, every few steps he cocked his right shoulder nerv- 
ously, his left leg snapping up as he did so. I watched 
him closely as he came back past us. The same nervous 
tic. He had ugly black patches under his eyes. I think 
the man is on the edge of a nervous breakdown. And 
now I understand the meaning of an expression the 
party hacks were using when we sat around drinking in 
the Dreesen last night. They kept talking about the 
" Teppichfresser," the " carpet-eater." At first I 
didn't get it, and then someone explained it in a whisper. 
They said Hitler has been having some of his nervous 
crises lately and that in recent days they've taken a 
strange form. Whenever he goes on a rampage about 
Benes or the Czechs he flings himself to the floor and 
chews the edges of the carpet, hence the Teppichfresser. 
After seeing him this morning, I can believe it. 

Chamberlain and Hitler had a three-hour talk this 
afternoon and will have another tomorrow. Just as I 
was broadcasting from a little studio we've fixed up in 
the porter's lodge of the hotel, the two men after their 
conference stepped out right before my window. Hitler 
was all graciousness indeed and Chamberlain, looking 
the image of an owl, was smiling and apparently highly 



138 1938 Godesbebg, September 23-4 

pleased in his vain way with some manufactured ap- 
plause by a company of S.S. guards before the door. 
Chamberlain, I hear, proposed an international com- 
mission to superintend the withdrawal of the Czechs 
from Sudetenland and an international guarantee for 
what is left of Czechoslovakia. New York cables our 
Friedrichstrassebahnhof show last night was a knock- 
out. Strange. New Cabinet in Prague. New Premier : 
one-eyed, hard-boiled General Jan Syrovy, Inspector- 
General of the army. The Czechs may fight yet. 

Godesberg, September 23-4, 4 a.m. 

War seems very near after this strange day. 
All the British and French correspondents and Birchall 
of the New York Times, who is an English subject, 
scurrying off at dawn — in about an hour now — for 
the French, Belgian, or Dutch frontier. It seems that 
Hitler has given Chamberlain the double-cross. And 
the old owl is hurt. All day long he sulked in his rooms 
at the Petershof up on the Petersberg on the other side 
of the Rhine, refusing to come over and talk with the 
dictator. At five p.m. he sent Sir Horace Wilson, his 
" confidential " adviser, and Sir Nevile Henderson, the 
British Ambassador in Berlin (both of whom, we feel, 
would sell out Czecho for five cents), over the river to 
see Ribbentrop. Result: Chamberlain and Hitler met 
at ten thirty p.m. This meeting, which is the last, broke 
up at one thirty a.m. without agreement and now it 
looks like war, though from my " studio " in the porter's 
lodge twenty-five feet away I could not discern any 
strain or particular displeasure in Chamberlain's birdy 
face as he said his farewell to Hitler, who also was smil- 
ing and gracious. Still the Germans are plunged in deep 
gloom tonight, as if they really are afraid of war now 



1938 Godesbebg, September 23-4 139 

that it's facing them. They are gloomy and yet fever- 
ishly excited. Just as I was about to go on the air at 
two a.m. with the day's story and the official com- 
munique, Goebbels and Hadamovsky, the latter Nazi 
boss of German radio, came rushing in and forbade Jor- 
dan and me to say anything over the air except to read 
the official communique. Later I grabbed a bit of supper 
in the Dreesen lobby. Goebbels, Ribbentrop, Goring, 
Keitel, and others walked in and out, all of them looking 
as if they had been hit over the head with a sledge- 
hammer. This rather surprised me, since it's a war of 
their making. The communique merely says that Cham- 
berlain has undertaken to deliver to Prague a German 
memorandum containing Germany's " final attitude " 
concerning the Sudeten question. The point is that 
Chamberlain came here all prepared to turn over Sude- 
tenland to Hitler, but in a " British " way — with an 
international commission to supervise the business. He 
found Hitler's appetite had increased. Hitler wants to 
take over his way — that is, right away, with no non- 
sense of an international commission. Actually, it's not 
an important point for either, but they seem to have 
stuck to their positions. 1 

In meantime, word that the Czechs have at last 
ordered mobilization. 

Five a.m. now. Shall lie down on a table here in the 
lobby, as I must be off at six for Cologne to catch the 
Berlin plane. 

i Sir Nevile Henderson in Failure of a Mission has told us since 
that during the first talk after Chamberlain had outlined his plan of 
complete surrender to Hitler, the Fiihrer looked at him and said: " Es 
tut mir furchtbar leid, aber das geht nicht mehr (I'm awfully sorry, 
but that won't do any more)." Chamberlain, says Henderson, ex- 
pressed his " surprise and indignation." 



140 1938 Berlin, September 24 

Berlin, September 24 

Today's story is in my broadcast made at 
midnight tonight. I said : " There was some confusion 
among us all at Godesberg this morning . . . but to- 
night, as seen from Berlin, the position is this: Hitler 
has demanded that Czechoslovakia not later than Satur- 
day, October 1, agree to the handing over of Sudeten- 
land to Germany. Mr. Chamberlain has agreed to con- 
vey this demand to the Czechoslovak Government. The 
very fact that he, with all the authority of a man who is 
political leader of the British Empire, has taken upon 
himself this task is accepted here, and I believe else- 
where, as meaning that Mr. Chamberlain backs Hitler 
up. 

" That's why the German people I talked with in the 
streets of Cologne this morning, and in Berlin this eve- 
ning, believe there'll be peace. As a matter of fact, what 
do you think the new slogan in Berlin is tonight? It's 
in the evening papers. It's this : ' With Hitler and 
Chamberlain for peace ! ' And the Angriff. adds : ' Hit- 
ler and Chamberlain are working night and day for 
peace.' " 

So Berlin is optimistic tonight for peace. Unable to 
telephone or wire Hindus in Prague tonight to give him 
his time schedule. All communication with Prague cut 
off. Thank God for that Czech transmitter. 1 



Berlin, September 25 

Hitler to make a speech tomorrow evening at 
the Sportpalast. Seems he is furious at the reports 

i In the next days it furnished the only means of communica- 
tion between Prague and the outside world. 



1938 Be a lin, September 26 1^1 

from Prague, Paris, and London that his Godesberg 
Memorandum goes beyond his original agreement with 
Chamberlain at Berchtesgaden. He claims not. No war 
fever, not even any anti-Czech feeling, discernible here 
on this quiet Sabbath day. In the old days on the eve 
of wars, I believe, crowds used to demonstrate angrily 
before the embassies of the enemy countries. Today I 
walked past the Czech Legation. Not a soul outside, not 
even a policeman. Warm and sunny, the last summer 
Sunday of the year probably, and half the population 
of Berlin seems to have spent it at the near-by lakes or in 
the woods of the Grunewald. Hard to believe there will 
be war. 



Berlin, September 26 

Hitler has finally burned his last bridges, 
Shouting and shrieking in the worst state of excite^ 
ment I've ever seen him in, he stated in the Sportpalast 
tonight that he would have his Sudetenland by October 
1 — next Saturday, today being Monday. If Benes 
doesn't hand it over to him he will go to war, this Sat- 
urday. Curious audience, the fifteen thousand party 
Bonzen packed into the hall. They applauded his words 
with the usual enthusiasm. Yet there was no war fever. 
The crowd was good-natured, as if it didn't realize whai 
his words meant. The old man full of more venom than 
even he has ever shown, hurling personal insults at 
Benes. Twice Hitler screamed that this is absolutely 
his last territorial demand in Europe. Speaking of his 
assurances to Chamberlain, he said : " I further assured 
him that when the Czechs have reconciled themselves 
with their other minorities, the Czech state no longer in- 
terests me and that, if you please. I would give him an- 



H2 1938 Bee lin, September 27 

other guarantee : We do not want any Czechs." At the 
end Hitler had the impudence to place responsibility for 
peace or war exclusively on Benes! 

I broadcast the scene from a seat in the balcony just 
above Hitler. He's still got that nervous tic. All dur- 
ing his speech he kept cocking his shoulder, and the 
opposite leg from the knee down would bounce up. 
Audience couldn't see it, but I could. As a matter of 
fact, for the first time in all the years I've observed him 
he seemed tonight to have completely lost control of 
himself. When he sat down after his talk, Goebbels 
sprang up and shouted : " One thing is sure : 1918 will 
never be repeated ! " Hitler looked up to him, a wild, 
eager expression in his eyes, as if those were the words 
which he had been searching for all evening and hadn't 
quite found. He leaped to his feet and with a fanatical 
fire in his eyes that I shall never forget brought his right 
hand, after a grand sweep, pounding down on the table 
and yelled with all the power in his mighty lungs: 
" J a! " Then he slumped into his chair exhausted. 

Berlin, September 27 

A motorized division rolled through the city's 
streets just at dusk this evening in the direction of the 
Czech frontier. I went out to the corner of the Linden 
where the column was turning down the Wilhelmstrasse, 
expecting to see a tremendous demonstration. I pic- 
tured the scenes I had read of in 1914 when the cheer- 
ing throngs on this same street tossed flowers at the 
marching soldiers, and the girls ran up and kissed them. 
The hour was undoubtedly chosen today to catch the 
hundreds of thousands of Berliners pouring out of their 
offices at the end of the day's work. But they ducked 
into the subways, refused to look on, and the handful 



1938 Berlin, September 28 1J^3 

that did stood at the curb in utter silence unable to find 
a word of cheer for the flower of their youth going away 
to the glorious war. It has been the most striking 
demonstration against war I've ever seen. Hitler him- 
self reported furious. I had not been standing long at 
the corner when ^. policeman came up the Wilhelm- 
strasse from the direction of the Chancellery and 
shouted to the few of us standing at the curb that the 
Fiihrer was on his balcony reviewing the troops. Few 
moved. I went down to have a look. Hitler stood there 4 
and there weren't two hundred people in the street or 
the great square of the Wilhelmsplatz. Hitler looked 
grim, then angry, and soon went inside, leaving his 
troops to parade by unreviewed. What I've seen tonight 
almost rekindles a little faith in the German people. 
They are dead set against war. 

Tess, with baby, off today from Cherbourg for 
America on a voyage she had booked months ago. On 
the phone last night from Paris she said that France 
was mobilizing and it was not sure the boat train would 
go. No word today, so suppose it did. 

Beklin, September 28 

There is to be no war! Hitler has invited 
Mussolini, Chamberlain, and Daladier to meet him in 
Munich tomorrow. The latter three will rescue Hitler 
from his limb and he will get his Sudetenland without 
war, if a couple of days later than he boasted. The peo- 
ple in the streets greatly relieved, and if I judge cor- 
rectly, the people in the Wilhelmstrasse and the Bend- 
lerstrasse (War Department) also. Leaving right after 
my broadcast tonight for Munich. 



144 1938 Munich, September 30 

Munich, September 30 

It's all over. At twelve thirty this morning 
— thirty minutes after midnight — Hitler, Mussolini, 
Chamberlain, and Daladier signed a pact turning over 
Sudetenland to Germany. The German occupation be- 
gins tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, and will be com- 
pleted by October 10. Thus the two " democracies " 
even assent to letting Hitler get by with his Sportpalast 
boast that he would get his Sudetenland by October 1. 
He gets everything he wanted, except that he has to 
wait a few days longer for all of it. His waiting ten 
short days has saved the peace of Europe — a curious 
commentary on this sick, decadent continent. 

So far as I've been able to observe during these last, 
strangely unreal twenty-four hours, Daladier and 
Chamberlain never pressed for a single concession from 
Hitler. They never got together alone once and made 
no effort to present some kind of common " democratic " 
front to the two Caesars. Hitler met Mussolini early 
yesterday morning at Kufstein and they made their 
plans. Daladier and Chamberlain arrived by separate 
planes and didn't even deem it useful to lunch together 
yesterday to map out their strategy, though the two 
dictators did. 

Czechoslovakia, which is asked to make all the sacri- 
fices so that Europe may have peace, was not consulted 
here at any stage of the talks. Their two representa- 
tives, Dr. Mastny, the intelligent and honest Czech 
Minister in Berlin, and a Dr. Masaryk of the Prague 
Foreign Office, were told at one thirty a.m. that Czecho- 
slovakia would have to accept, told not by Hitler, but by 
Chamberlain and Daladier! Their protests, we hear, 
were practically laughed off by the elder statesman. 
Chamberlain, looking more like some bird — like the 



1938 Mtjnich, September 30 llfi 

black vultures I've seen over the Parsi dead in Bombay 
— looked particularly pleased with himself when he 
returned to the Regina Palace Hotel after the signing 
early this morning, though he was a bit sleepy, pleas- 
antly sleepy. 

Daladier, on the other hand, looked a completely 
beaten and broken man. He came over to the Regina to 
say good-bye to Chamberlain. A bunch of us were wait- 
ing as he came down the stairs. Someone asked, or 
started to ask : " Monsieur le President, are you satis- 
fied with the agreement? . . ." He turned as if to say 
something, but he was too tired and defeated and the 
words did not come out and he stumbled out the door 
in silence. The French say he fears to return to Paris, 
thinks a hostile mob will get him. Can only hope they're 
right. For France has sacrificed her whole Continental 
position and lost her main prop in eastern Europe. For 
France this day has been disastrous. 

How different Hitler at two this morning ! After be- 
ing blocked from the Fiihrerhaus all evening, I finally 
broke in just as he was leaving. Followed by Goring, 
Ribbentrop, Goebbels, Hess, and Keitel, he brushed past 
me like the conqueror he is this morning. I noticed his 
swagger. The tic was gone ! As for Mussolini, he pulled 
out early, cocky as a rooster. 

Incidentally, I've been badly scooped this night. 
Max Jordan of NBC got on the air a full hour ahead of 
me with the text of the agreement — one of the worst 
beatings I've ever taken. Because of his company's 
special position in Germany, he was allowed exclusive 
use of Hitler's radio studio in the Fiihrerhaus, wherf 
the conference has been taking place. Wiegand, who 
also was in the house, tells me Max cornered Sir Horace 
Wilson of the British delegation as he stepped out of 
the conference room, procured an English text from 



1J.6 1938 Munich, September 30 

him, rushed to the Fuhrer's studio, and in a few moments 
was on the air. Unable to use this studio on the spot, 
I stayed close to the only other outlet, the studio of the 
Munich station, and arranged with several English and 
American friends to get me the document, if possible 
immediately after the meeting itself, if not from one 
of the delegations. Demaree Bess was first to arrive with 
a copy, but, alas, we were late. New York kindly phoned 
about two thirty this morning to tell me not to mind — 
damned decent of them. Actually at eleven thirty p.m. 
I had gone on the air announcing that an agreement 
had been reached. I gave them all the essential details 
of the accord, stating that the occupation would begin 
Saturday, that it would be completed in ten days, et 
cetera. But I should have greatly liked to have had the 
official text first. Fortunately for CBS, Ed Murrow in 
London was the first to flash the official news to America 
that the agreement had been signed thirty minutes after 
midnight. He picked it up from the Munich radio sta- 
tion in the midst of a talk. 



Later. — Chamberlain, apparently realiz- 
ing his diplomatic annihilation, has pulled a very clever 
face-saving stunt. He saw Hitler again this morning 
before leaving and afterwards a joint communique was 
issued. Essential part : " We regard the agreement 
signed last night and the Anglo-German naval accord 
as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go 
to war with one another again." And a final paragraph 
saying they will consult about further questions which 
may concern the two countries and are " determined to 
continue our efforts to remove possible sources of dif- 
ference and thus to contribute to the assurance of peace 
in Europe." 



1938 Munich, September 30 l]fl 

Later. On Train, Munich-Berlm. — Most 
of the leading German editors on the train and toss- 
ing down the champagne and not trying to disguise 
any more their elation over Hitler's terrific victory over 
Britain and France. On the diner Halfeld of the Ham- 
burger Fremdenblatt, Otto Kriegk of the Nachtaus- 
gabe, Dr. Boehmer, the foreign press chief of the 
Propaganda Ministry, gloating over it, buying out all 
the champagne in the diner, gloating, boasting, brag- 
ging. . . . When a German feels big he feels big. 
Shall have two hours in Berlin this evening to get my 
army passes and a bath and then off by night train to 
Passau to go into Sudetenland with the German army 
— a sad assignment for me. 

[Later. — And Chamberlain will go back to London 
and from the balcony of 10 Downing Street that night 
will boast : " My good friends, this is the second time in 
our history " (do the crowds shouting: " Good old Nev- 
ille " and singing " For he's a jolly good fellow " re- 
member Disraeli, the Congress of Berlin, 1878?) " that 
there has come back from Germany to Downing Street 
peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time." 
Peace with honour! And Czechoslovakia? And only 
Duff Cooper will resign from the Cabinet, saying : " It 
was not for Serbia or Belgium we fought in 1914 . . . 
but ... in order that one great power should not be 
allowed, in disregard of treaty obligations and the laws 
of nations and against all morality, to dominate by 
brutal force the continent of Europe. . . . Through- 
out these days the Prime Minister has believed in ad- 
dressing Herr Hitler with the language of sweet reason- 
ableness. I have believed he was more open to the 
language of the mailed fist. . . ." Only Winston 
Churchill, a voice in the wilderness all these years, will 



14.8 1938 Regensbttrg-Berlin, October 2 

say, addressing the Commons : " We have sustained a 
total, unmitigated defeat. . . . Do not let us blind our- 
selves. We must expect that all the countries of central 
and eastern Europe will make the best terms they can 
with the triumphant Nazi power. . . . The road down 
the Danube . . . the road to the Black Sea and Tur- 
key, has been broken. It seems to me that all the coun- 
tries of Mittel Europa and the Danube Valley, one after 
the other, will be drawn into the vast system of Nazi 
politics, not only power military politics, but power 
economic politics, radiating from Berlin." Churchill 
— the lone, unheeded prophet in the British land.] 

On train, Eegensburg-Berlin, October 2 

At Regensburg before dawn yesterday, then 
by bus to Passau on the Danube, and from there by car 
with a German General Staff major following the troops 
picnic-marching into Zone I of the Sudetenland. Back 
after dark last night in a pouring rain to Passau, where 
the military censors refused to let me broadcast ; a train 
to Regensburg arriving there at midnight and filing my 
story by telephone to Press Wireless in Paris to be read 
in New York, since the RRG in Berlin says the military 
have put a Verbot on all broadcasts, including their 
own, of the occupation. No plane to Berlin, so this train 
and will broadcast from there tonight. 

Berlin. Later. — Military had not yet 
lifted their Verbot, so had to read another piece I had 
written on train on the political significance of Hitler's 
great victory at Munich, quoting an editorial by Rudolf 
Kircher, the only intelligent and courageous editor left 
in Nazi Germany, in this morning's Frankfurter Zei- 
tung wherein he frankly states the advantages of threat- 



1938 Berlin, October 3 11$ 

ening force and war and how Hitler knew all the time 
that the democracies were afraid of war. When I re- 
turned to the hotel, some general in charge of the mili- 
tary censorship at the German radio was on the phone 
saying he had just read my piece on the occupation, 
that he liked it, that he had had to suppress all the ac- 
counts of the German radio reporters so far, but that I 
could now broadcast mine. Called Paul White in New 
York, but he said the crisis was over and that people at 
home wanted to forget it and to take a rest. Which is 
all right with me. Can stand some sleep and a change 
from these Germans, so truculent and impossible now. 

Berlin, October 3 

Phoned Ed Murrow in London. He as de- 
pressed as am I. We shall drown our sorrows in Paris 
day after tomorrow. From my window in the Adlon I 
see them dismantling the anti-aircraft gun on the roof 
of the I. G. Farben company across the Linden. Thus 
ends the crisis. Little things to remember: the charac- 
ters in the drama: the dignity of Benes throughout; 
Hitler the five times I saw him ; the bird, Chamberlain ; 
the broken little man, Daladier, who seems destined to 
fall down (as on February 6, 1934) each time he is in a 
hole. To remember too: the mine at a bridge over a 
little creek near Krumau which might have blown us to 
bits had our German army car gone two feet farther; 
the bravery of the Czechs in Prague the night war and 
bombs at dawn seemed certain; the look of fear in the 
faces of the German burghers in the Wilhelmstrasse the 
night the motorized division swept by and war seemed 
certain to them, and then the delirious joy of the citi- 
zens in Munich — and Berlin — when they learned on 
Friday that it was not only peace but victory; the 



150 1938 Paris, October 8 

beaten look of the Sudeten Germans after the Czechs 
put down their uprising, and the change in their faces 
a fortnight later when the Reichswehr marched in ; and 
the burgomaster of the Sudeten town of Unterwaldau, 
Herr Schwarzbauer (Mr. Black Peasant), taking me 
aside from the German officers and my saying : " What 
is the worst thing the Czechs did to you, Herr Burgo- 
master? " and his saying it was frightful, unbelievable, 
that the Czechs had taken away his radio so he couldn't 
hear the Fiihrer's words and could any crime be more 
terrible ! 



Paris, October 8 

Paris a frightful place, completely surren- 
dered to defeatism with no inkling of what has hap- 
pened to France. At Fouquet's, at Maxim's, fat bank- 
ers and businessmen toasting Peace with rivers of 
champagne. But even the waiters, taxi-drivers, who 
used to be sound, gushing about how wonderful it is that 
war has been avoided, that it would have been a crime, 
that they fought in one war and that was enough. That 
would be okay if the Germans, who also fought in one 
war, felt the same way, but they don't. The guts of 
France — France of the Marne and Verdun — where 
are they? Outside of Pierre Comer, no one at the Quai 
d'Orsay with any idea at all of the real Germany. The 
French Socialists, shot through with pacifism; the 
French Right, with the exception of a few like Henri de 
Kerillis, either fascists or defeatists. France makes no 
sense to me any more. 

Ed Murrow as gloomy as I am. We try to get it out 
of our systems by talking all night and popping cham- 
pagne bottles and tramping the streets, but it will take 
more time, I guess. We agree on these things : that war 



1938 Geneva, November 6 151 

is now more probable than ever, that it is likely to come 
after the next harvest, that Poland is obviously next on 
Hitler's list (the blind stupidity of the Poles in this 
crisis, helping to carve up Czechoslovakia!), that we 
must get Warsaw to rig up a more powerful short-wave 
transmitter if they want the world to hear their side, 
and that we ought to build up a staff of American radio 
reporters. But honestly we have little head for business. 
Ed says American radio has done a superb job in re- 
porting this crisis, but we don't much care — about 
anything — and soon even the champagne becomes 
sickening. We depart. 

Run into Gallico. He is off on a tour of the capitals 
for material for his stories. I give him letters to the 
correspondents in each place, we dine at Maxim's, but I 
cannot stand it any longer. Off in the morning for 
Geneva. Almost the first chance in a year to get reac- 
quainted with Tess and Eileen. But they are off in 
America. 



Geneva, November 6 

Lovely Indian summer here for a month, but 
now the snow is creeping down on the Alps and this 
morning the Juras across the lake were also coated 
white. Soon we can ski. A month of the worst mental 
and spiritual depression of my life. I'm still in such a 
state that I've done two crazy things : started a play ; 
and taken up — at my age, thirty-four ! — golf. Per- 
haps they'll restore sanity. There is a beautiful course 
at Divonne in the foot-hills of the Juras from which 
you can look over the lake and see Mont Blanc in all its 
snowy pink splendour about the time the sun is setting. 
Arthur Burrows, English, fifty-two, secretary of the 
International Broadcasting Union, and I fool around 



152 1938 Warsaw, November 11 

over the links, tearing up the turf, soon losing count 
of the scores, if any, knocking off after the first nine 
holes to go down to Divonne village, which is on the 
French side of the frontier, for a magnificent nine- 
course lunch washed down by two bottles of Burgundy, 
and return, feeling mellow and good, for the last nine 
holes. The play is called : " Foreign Correspondent." 
It is affording me much relief. 



Waesaw, November 11 

Broadcast a half -hour program for the twen- 
tieth anniversary of the Polish Republic. The show got 
hopelessly tangled up for some reason. Sitting in the 
Palace I began by saying : " Ladies and gentlemen, the 
Polish anthem . . ." which was to be played by a band 
in a studio in the other part of town. Instead of the 
band, President Mosieski started to speak. He had 
promised to speak in English, but through the ear- 
phones I could make out only Polish. I dashed down 
the Palace corridors to his room to inquire. A tall adju- 
tant stopped me at the door. " The President promised 
to speak English," I said. He looked at me curiously, 
opening the door slightly. " He is speaking English, 
sir," he protested. Dashed back to my room to intro- 
duce Ambassador Tony Biddle, who was to say a few 
well-chosen words. He started blabbing and, thinking 
he had suddenly become a victim of " mike fright," I 
moved to cut him off. Then he motioned to his script. 
It was a mass of hieroglyphics. " Polish ! " he whis- 
pered. " Phonetic. . . ." He was giving a little mes- 
sage in Polish. When he had finished we laughed so 
hard the Poles in the Palace became a little uneasy. 

Afterwards met Duranty, and it was one of his " Rus- 
sian nights," he insisting on talking Russian to the 



1938 Bktjssels, November 20 158 

droshky-driver and insisting we be taken to a Russian 
cafe. The wind from Duranty's Russian steppes was 
whipping the snow in our faces, and after what seemed 
an age the driver finally pulled his dying nag up before 
a decrepit old building. 

" Cafe Rusky ? " Walter shouted. We could not see 
the driver through the curtain of snow. No, it was not 
a Russian cafe. It was a Polish institution, a disorderly 
house. Then in the blizzard a long argument in Rus- 
sian between the Moscow correspondent of the New 
York Times and the Polish driver of a dilapidated horse 
and buggy. The snow piled up on us. Long after mid- 
night we found a Russian cafe. It was full of rather 
plump girls who spoke Russian and who Walter said 
were echt Rwsisch and there was much vodka and 
balalaika-playing and singing and the girls would warm 
their backs against a great porcelain stove, getting a 
little more tired and sleepy each time, a little sadder, I 
thought. 

The Poles a delightful, utterly romantic people, and 
I have had much good food and drink and music with 
them. But they are horribly unrealistic. In their trust 
of Hitler, for instance. Polskie Radio promises to get 
along with their new short-wave transmitter. I ex- 
plained to them our experience with the Czechs. 

Brussels, November 20 

Here as observer for an international radio 
conference to draw up new wave-lengths. As there is 
nothing for me to do, have shut myself in my room for 
a week and finished the play. 



15%. 1938 Belgrade, November 26 

Belgrade, November 26 

Here for another " anniversary " broadcast 
like the one at Warsaw. 

Later. On train to Rome. — Miss Campbell 
from our London office phoned at six p.m. to tell me the 
Pope was dying. I caught young Sulzberger of the 
New York Times at a cocktail party, induced him to do 
my broadcast Sunday, explained how, and caught this 
train at nine p.m. for Rome. 

Rome, November 29 

The Pope has once again fought off death 
after a severe heart attack on Tuesday. Arranged with 
Father Delaney, a brilliant and extremely pleasant 
young Jesuit from New York attached to Vatican 
Radio, to help us in the elaborate coverage I've arranged 
for the Pope's death. Conferences yesterday and today 
with the Vatican authorities on the matter, which of 
course is extremely delicate since he is still alive. But we 
all agreed we must make our preparations. The Italians 
are putting in extra lines for us from St. Peter's to 
their studios. Much good talk and spaghetti and Chi- 
anti and to Paris by plane tomorrow though an 
Italian friend of mine who is also a close friend of 
Ciano ? s tipped me off I ought to stay for tomorrow's 
meeting of the Fascist Chamber. But an urgent matter 
of ours with the French government needs straighten- 
ing out. 

Paris, December 1 

My friend was trying to do me a favour. The 
Fascists in the Chamber yesterday staged a big demon- 



1938 Pa bis, December 6 155 

stration against France yelling : " Tunis ! Savoy ! 
Nice ! Jibouti ! " But the Quai d'Orsay here claims 
Daladier will say no. Munich was enough for the mo- 
ment. A German refugee and his wife, he a former 
trades-union official, she a novelist of sorts, came to my 
hotel an hour after I arrived last evening (my Italian 
plane had a narrow escape when a strut broke between 
Rome and Genoa, and I was still a little nervous) and 
told me they were going to jump off a bridge over the 
Seine and end their lives. I took them around the corner 
for a good meal at Le Petit Riche and they calmed 
down. I hope I've persuaded them not to jump into the 
Seine. They had received an order of expulsion from 
France effective next week, though he has been doing 
some work for the French government. Shall try to 
intervene at the Quai d'Orsay for them. 

Paris, December 6 

Bonnet, one of the chief architects of Munich 
and a sinister figure in French politics, today signed a 
" good neighbour " declaration with Ribbentrop, an- 
other sinister one, at the Quai d'Orsay. Paris, I find, 
has somewhat recovered from its defeatist panic of the 
Munich days. When Ribbentrop drove through the 
streets from the Gare d'Orsay, they were completely 
deserted. Several Cabinet members and many leading 
figures here have refused to attend the social functions 
being accorded him. On the other hand Ribbentrop's 
French admirers run high up in political, business, and 
social circles. Today's agreement states that the two 
countries solemnly declare that no territorial or border 
question now exists and that they will consult in case 
of future disagreement. What a farce ! 



156 1938 Paris, December 15 

Paris, December 15 

Tess and baby back today on the Queen 
Mary. Off to Geneva for the Christmas holidays. 

Gstaad, Switzerland, December 26 

One of the most beautiful mountain spots I've 
ever seen and the snow so grand I've taken up skiing 
again for the first time since my accident six years ago. 
The wealthy English and French here in force and 
inanely oblivious of Europe's state. Last night at the 
big Christmas ball I found the merry-makers so nause- 
ating that we left early. This has been a year — the 
baby, the Anschltiss, the Czech crisis, and Munich. As 
usual Tess and I wonder where we'll be a year from 
now, and what the year will bring. 



Rome, January 11, 1939 

Chamberlain and Halifax arrived today to 
appease the Duce. At the station Chamberlain, looking 
more birdlike and vain than when I last saw him at 
Munich, walked, umbrella in hand, up and down the 
platform nodding to a motley crowd of British local 
residents whom Mussolini had slyly invited to greet him. 
Mussolini and Ciano, in black Fascist uniforms, saun- 
tered along behind the two ridiculous-looking English- 
men, Musso displaying a fine smirk on his face the whole 
time. When he passed me he was joking under his 
breath with his son-in-law, passing wise-cracks. He 
looks much older, much more vulgar than he used to, 
his face having grown fat. My local spies tell me he is 
much taken with a blonde young lady of nineteen whom 
he's installed in a villa across from his residence and that 



1939 Rome, February 12 157 

the old vigour and concentration on business is begin- 
ning to weaken. Chamberlain, we're told, much affected 
by the warmth of the greeting he got at the stations 
along the way to Rome. Can it be he doesn't know how 
they're arranged? 



Geneva, January 19 

The League in its last death-throes has been a 
sorry sight the last four days. Bonnet and Halifax 
here to see that there is no nonsense to delay Franco's 
victory. Del Vayo yesterday made a dignified speech 
before the Council. Halifax, to show his colours, got up 
in the middle of it and ostentatiously strode out. Had a 
long talk with Del Vayo tonight. He was depressed, dis- 
couraged, and though he did not say so, I gathered it 
is all up with the Republic. Franco, with his Germans 
and Italians, is at the gates of Barcelona. Lunch with 
Edgar [Mowrer], Knick, Harry Masdyck, and Mme. 
Tabouis. Much talk, but our side has lost. 

Rome, February 12 

Friday morning about six fifteen Cortesi 
phoned me at Geneva from Rome to say the Pope had 
died. There was a train for Milan at seven two a.m. I 
aroused Tess and she helped me catch it. Today, Sun- 
day, broadcast from the piazza in front of St. Peter's, 
stopping people who were filing out of the church after 
viewing Pius XI's remains as they lay in state, and in- 
terviewing them. As I am not a Catholic and there is 
much about the church and the Vatican that I do not 
know — though I've been studying countless books for 
a year — I am getting churchmen to do most of the 
broadcasts. 



158 1939 Rome, February (undated) 

Rome, February {undated) 

Pius XI was buried today, the service beauti- 
ful, but St. Peter's very cold, and there was a long 
hitch, due, it seems, to the fact that the mechanics who 
were to seal the casket before it was lowered to the vault 
below ran out of solder. An SOS call was sent out for 
some, but as most of the workshops in Rome had closed 
for the day, it was some time before a sufficient quantity 
could be found. Father Delaney, broadcasting the serv- 
ice for us from atop one of the pillars, did a magnifi- 
cent job, filling in beautifully the hour or so that 
elapsed while they were hunting the solder. 

Rome, March 3 

Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli is the new Pope, 
elected yesterday, and a very popular choice all around 
except perhaps in Germany. We had great luck with 
broadcasting the news a few moments after the election, 
though earlier in the day it looked disastrous for us. 
Suffering from the flu when I left Lausanne the day be- 
fore, I had such a violent attack of it by the time I 
reached Milan that I had to go to a hotel there and take 
to bed. I managed to get to the train somehow, but was 
completely out when I arrived in Rome yesterday morn- 
ing. Tom Grandin, our Paris correspondent, intelli- 
gent, but green at radio, having just been hired, arrived 
from Paris about noon, but he tells me I was completely 
out of my head and that in my delirium my instructions 
on what to do made no sense. He did gather that I had 
arranged a broadcast from the balustrade around St. 
Peter's during the afternoon. He got there, found 
Father Delaney, who was talking for us, and just as 



1939 Geneva, March 14 159 

they were signing off, they got a message through their 
earphones from inside the Vatican to stand by, passed 
it on to New York, who understood. In a moment they 
were announcing the name of the new pontiff. 

Rome, March 9 

A storm brewing in what is left of poor 
Czechoslovakia. Dr. Hacha, the weak little President 
— successor to the great Masaryk and the able Benes — 
has proclaimed martial law in Slovakia and dismissed 
Father Tiso and the Slovak Cabinet. But Tiso, I know, 
is Berlin's man. Strange — maybe not? — that Ger- 
many and Italy have never given rump Czecho the 
guarantee they promised at Munich. The Italian For- 
eign Office people admit London and Paris have been 
pressing Hitler for the guarantee, but they say Hitler 
considers Prague still too " Jewish and Bolshevik and 
democratic." I don't recall any reservations about that 
at Munich. 

Still in bed with flu and must wait here for the Pope's 
coronation Sunday. 

Geneva, March 14 

The radio reports Slovakia has declared its 
" independence." There goes the remains of Czechoslo- 
vakia. Should go to Prague, but I haven't the heart. 
Am I growing too soft-hearted, too sentimental to be a 
good reporter? I don't mind so much the killings, blood- 
shed — I've seen and got over quite a little of that in the 
last fourteen years — but Prague now — I can't face it. 
The radio says [Czech President] Hacha and [Foreign 
Minister] Chvalkovsky arrived in Berlin tonight. To 
save the pieces ? 



160 1939 Taeis, March 15 

Pakis, March 15 

The German army has occupied Bohemia and 
Moravia on this blizzardy day of spring, and Hitler in 
a cheap theatrical gesture from the Hradshin castle 
above the Moldau in Prague has proclaimed their an- 
nexation to the Third Reich. It is almost banal to re- 
cord his breaking another solemn treaty. But since I 
was personally present at Munich, I cannot help recall- 
ing how Chamberlain said it not only had saved the peace 
but had really saved Czechoslovakia. 

Complete apathy in Paris tonight about Hitler's 
latest coup. France will not move a finger. Indeed, 
Bonnet told the Chamber's Foreign Affairs Committee 
today that the Munich guarantee had " not yet become 
effective " and therefore France had no obligation to do 
anything. Ed Murrow telephones that the reaction in 
London is the same — that Chamberlain in Commons 
this afternoon even went so far as to say that he refused 
to associate himself with any charges of a breach of faith 
by Hitler. Good God! 

Should have gone to Prague or Berlin today, I sup- 
pose, but talked it over with Murrow from Geneva early 
this morning and we decided the Nazi censorship in both 
places would be complete and that, with what inside stuff 
I could pick up here and knowing the background, I 
could tell a better story from Paris. I was relieved. My 
Paris plane, after getting iced up and lost in a snow- 
storm near the Bellegarde Pass shortly after we left 
Geneva, turned round and finally got us back to the air- 
port. I took the noon train. Bonnet has laid down a 
radio censorship and I fought with his hirelings until 
long after midnight tonight over my script. 



1939 Pakis, March 22 161 

Paris, March 22 

Someone — I think it was Pertinax, who is 
just back from London — told me yesterday a weird 
tale of how Chamberlain suddenly reversed his whole 
position last Friday in his Birmingham speech. Two 
days before, he had told Commons that he would not 
charge Hitler with bad faith. In Birmingham he se- 
verely denounced Hitler for " treaty-breaking." Per- 
tinax says that Sir Horace Wilson, the dark little man 
behind the scenes at Godesberg and Munich had actu- 
ally drafted the Birmingham speech for the Prime Min- 
ister along the appeasement lines of his remarks in the 
House, but that half the Cabinet and most of the leading 
London newspaper editors were so up in arms when they 
heard of it that Chamberlain suddenly felt forced to re- 
verse his whole policy and actually wrote most of his new 
speech on the train en route to Birmingham. 

How shoddy Paris has become in the last ten years ! 
Some Frenchmen point to the neon signs, the gaudy 
movie palaces, the automobile sales windows, the cheap 
bars which now dominate the once beautiful Champs- 
Elysees, and say : " That is what America has done to 
us." Perhaps so, but I think it is what France has done 
to herself. France has lost something she had when I ar- 
rived here fourteen years ago : her taste, part of her soul, 
the sense of her historical mission. Corruption every- 
where, class selfishness partout and political confusion 
complete. My decent friends have about given up. 
They say : " Je m'en fous (To hell with it) ." This leads 
to the sort of defeatist, anarchistic je m'en fousism which 
a writer like Celine is spreading. 



168 1939 Geneva, March 29 

Geneva, March 29 

Madrid surrendered yesterday, the rest of re- 
publican Spain today. There are no words to express 
what I feel tonight. Franco's butchery will be terrible. 

Berlin, April 1 

Just as Hitler began his broadcast at Wil- 
helmshaven this afternoon, an order came through to the 
RRG control room where I was standing by, to stop the 
broadcast from getting abroad. For a moment there was 
great confusion in the control room. I protested ve- 
hemently to the Germans about cutting us off, once 
Hitler had started to speak. But orders from Wilhelms- 
haven were explicit. They came from Hitler himself , 
just before he started speaking. The speech was also 
not being broadcast directly in Germany, but only from 
recordings later. This and our being cut off meant Hit- 
ler wanted to reflect on what he said in the heat of the 
moment before giving his words wider circulation. You 
can always edit recordings. I suggested to Dr. Ratke, 
head of the short-wave department, he should announce 
to our network in America that the speech of Hitler had 
been shut off owing to a misunderstanding and that the 
Fiihrer was actually talking at this moment. A very ex- 
citable man, he refused. Instead he ordered some silly 
music records played. Just what I expected happened. 
Within fifteen minutes, Paul White was urgently on the 
line from New York. Why was Hitler cut off ? Reports 
in New York he has been assassinated. He hasn't been 
killed? How do you know? Because I can hear him this 
moment on the telephone circuit to Wilhelmshaven. The 
Germans are recording the speech. 

I could not go on the air afterwards until the Germans 



1939 Warsaw, April 6 163 

had received the approved version of Hitler's speech, 
which, as a matter of fact, differed not at all from the 
original. Hitler very 'bellicose today, obviously in a rage 
against Chamberlain, who in the House yesterday enun- 
ciated at last a complete change in British foreign policy 
and announced that Britain would go to the aid of Po- 
land if Polish independence were threatened. Off to 
Warsaw tomorrow to see when the German attack is ex- 
pected. 

Warsaw, April 2 

Attended a pitiful air-show this Sunday after- 
noon, my Polish friends apologizing for the cumbersome 
slow bombers and the double-decker fighters — all obso- 
lete. They showed a half-dozen modern fighters that 
looked fast enough, but that was all. How can Poland 
fight Germany with such an air force ? 

Warsaw, April 6 

Beck [the Polish Foreign Minister] , who com- 
mitted this country to a pro-Nazi, anti-French policy 
for so many years, has been in London and tonight we 
have an Anglo-Polish communique announcing that the 
two countries will sign a permanent agreement provid- 
ing for mutual assistance in case of an attack on either 
of them by a third power. I think this will halt Hitler 
for the time being, since force is something he under- 
stands and respects and there is no doubt in my mind 
after a week here that the Poles will fight and that if 
Britain and France fight too, he is in a hole. I feel un- 
easy about three things only : Poland's terrible strategic 
position since Germany (with Poland's help and encour- 
agement!) moved her army into the Protectorate and 
Slovakia, thus flanking this country on the south (it is 



161,. 1939 Warsaw, April 6 

already flanked on the north by East Prussia) ; the West 
Wall, which, when completed next winter, will discour- 
age France and Britain from attacking Germany in the 
west and thereby aiding Poland ; and, finally, Russia. I 
have dined and drunk with a dozen Poles this week — 
from the Foreign Office, the army, and the old Pilsudski 
legionnaires who run Polskie Radio — and they will not 
bring themselves to realize that they cannot afford the 
luxury of being enemies of both Russia and Germany 
and that they must choose and that if they bring in 
Russia along with France and Britain they are saved. 
They reach for another piece of this wonderful smoked 
Vistula salmon they have here and wash it down with one 
of the fifty-seven varieties of vodka and point out the 
dangers of Russian help. To be sure, there is danger. 
There is the danger that the Red army, once on Polish 
soil, will not leave, that it will Bolshevize the country 
with its propaganda (this country has been so misruled 
by the colonels that no doubt it does offer fertile ground 
for the Bolsheviks), and so on. True. Then make your 
peace with the Nazis. Give them Danzig and the Corri- 
dor. Never ! they say. 

Still, on this spring day after the British guarantee 
we all feel better. Fodor, who leaves by boat tonight for 
Easter holidays in England (he's barred from crossing 
Germany), optimistic. The Embassy people, Biddle 
and the military, happy. Only Second Secretary Lan- 
dreth Harrison is sceptical. He keeps pointing out the 
weaknesses of the Poles to the point of exasperation. He 
is a man of prejudices, though intelligent. 

Rumours today of German troop movements, but the 
Poles discount them. Polskie Radio still stalling on their 
new short-wave transmitter. Bad. Off to Paris tomor^ 
row morning for an Easter broadcast, then to Geneva 
for Easter Monday. 



1939 Berlin, April 28 165 

Berlin, April 7 . 

When the Orient Express pulled into the 
Schlesischer Bahnhof here this evening, the first thing I 
saw was Huss's face on the platform and I knew there 
was bad news. He said London had phoned to get me off 
the train as the British had reports of German troop 
movements on the Polish frontier. I had watched for 
these as we came across the border, but saw nothing. 
London was nervous about Albania, he said. " What's 
happened there ? " I asked. The Italians went in there 
this morning, he said. Today. Good Friday. Have sat- 
isfied myself the Germans are not contemplating any- 
thing against Poland this Easter, so will take the plane 
to Paris tomorrow morning. 

London, April 23 

Broadcast with Lord Strabolgi, my main 
point being that the whole life of Germany was now 
geared to war, but that there were signs of economic 
cracking. Iron was so short they were tearing down the 
iron fences of the Reich. And the nerves of the German 
people were becoming frayed and they were against 
going to war. Strabolgi so cheered by my news he asked 
me to come down and address a committee meeting at the 
House of Lords, but I declined. Flying back to Berlin 
for the Reichstag, April 28. 

Berlin, April 28 

Hitler in the Reichstag today denounced a 
couple more treaties (I could hardly repress a chuckle 
at this part of his speech) and answered Roosevelt's plea 
that he give assurance that he will not attack the rest of 



166 1939 Bee lin, April 28 

the independent nations of Europe. His answer to the 
President rather shrewd, I think, in that it was designed 
to play on the sympathies of the appeasers and anti- 
New-Dealers at home and the former in Britain and 
France. He claimed he had asked the nations which 
Roosevelt thought threatened whether they so consid- 
ered themselves and " in all cases the reply was nega- 
tive." States like Syria, he said, he could not ask be- 
cause " they are at present not in possession of their 
freedom, but are occupied and consequently deprived of 
their rights by the military agents of democratic coun- 
tries." And " the fact has obviously escaped Mr. Roose- 
velt's notice that Palestine is at present occupied not by 
German troops but by the English." And so on in this 
sarcastic manner, from which, with a masterly touch — 
Hitler was a superb actor today — he drew every 
last drop of irony. America champions the conference 
method of settling disputes? he asked. But was it not 
the first nation to shrink from participation in the 
League? " It was not until many years later that I re- 
solved to follow the example of America and likewise 
leave the largest conference in the world." 

In the end, however, Hitler agreed to give each of the 
states listed by the President " an assurance of the kind 
desired by Mr. Roosevelt." But of course this was just 
a little Nazi hokum. The sausage-necked deputies be- 
low us rocked with raucous laughter throughout the 
session, which was just what Hitler desired. It was a su- 
perb example of his technique of laughing off embar- 
rassing questions, for Roosevelt's proposal was a reason- 
able one after all. 

The breaking of two more treaties was loudly ap- 
plauded by the rubber-stamp " parliamentarians." 
Hitler denounces the naval accord with Britain on the 
grounds that London's " encirclement policy " has put 



1939 Washington, July 3 167 

it out of force — a flimsy excuse ; of course no excuse at 
all. The second treaty denounced, the 1934s pact with 
Poland, is more serious, the excuse, incidentally, being 
the same. Hitler in his speech reveals the content of his 
" offer " to Poland : Danzig to be returned to Germany, 
and the Reich given an extra-territorial road through 
the corridor to East Prussia. To scare the Poles he says 
the offer was made " only once." That is, his terms are 
higher today. Still much doubt here among the in- 
formed whether Hitler has made up his mind to begin 
a world war for the sake of Danzig. My guess is he hopes 
to get it by the Munich method. 



London, June (undated) 

Leaving tomorrow on the maiden voyage of 
the new Mauretania for home. Tess cables she has just 
been granted her citizenship by a Virginia court. 



Aboard Mauretania (undated) 

A dull voyage. Sir Percy Bate, chairman of 
Cunard, assures me there will be no war. 



Washington, July 3 

Hope I can stay a little while in my native 
land. It takes some getting used to again after being 
almost continuously away since the age of twenty-one. 
Little awareness here or in New York of the European 
crisis, and Tess says I'm making myself most unpopular 
by taking such a pessimistic view. The trouble is every- 
one here knows all the answers. They know there will 
be no war. I wish I knew it. But I think there will be war 
unless Germany backs down, and I'm not certain at all 



168 1939 New York, July 4 

she will, though of course it's a possibility. Congress 
here in a hopeless muddle. Dominated by the Ham 
Fishes, Borahs, Hiram Johnsons, who stand for no for- 
eign policy at all, it insists on maintaining the embargo 
on arms as if it were immaterial to this Republic who 
wins a war between the western democracies and the 
Axis. Roosevelt's hands absolutely tied by Congress — 
a situation like that which confronted Lincoln at the be- 
ginning of his first term, except that he did something 
about it, and Roosevelt, they say here, is discouraged 
and won't. He sees the European situation correctly, 
but because he does, because he sees the danger, the 
Borahs and Fishes call him a war-monger. 

Oh well, it's pleasant to be here with the family and 
loaf and relax for a few fleeting days. 

New York, July 4 

A pleasant afternoon at the Fair with the Bill 
Lewises. We must start back to Europe tomorrow. 
Alarming news from Danzig, and the office worried I 
won't get back in time. Hans Kaltenborn so sure there 
will be no war, he is sending his son off on his honey- 
moon to the Mediterranean, he tells me tonight. 

Aboard Queen Mary, July 9 

Much good company aboard. Paul Robeson, 
whom I have not seen since he stormed London in Show 
Boat ten years or so ago. In the evening we sit and 
argue, Robeson, Constantine Oumansky, Soviet Ambas- 
sador in Washington, Tess, and I. Oumansky tells me 
he has been down to third class to lecture to some Ameri- 
can students on " Soviet Democracy." But he takes my 



1939 London, July 14 169 

kidding good-naturedly. Soviet democracy! I do not 
envy him his job. His predecessor in Washington is now 
in the dog-house. I have known many Soviet diplomats, 
but they have all been liquidated sooner or later. Ou- 
mansky thinks the Soviets will line up with Britain and 
France in a democratic front against fascist aggression 
if Paris and London show they mean business and are 
not merely trying to manoeuvre Russia into a war alone 
(or alone with Poland) against Germany. So far, he 
says, the British and French have done nothing but stall 
in their negotiations with the Kremlin. 

Much wild ping-pong with Tess on this voyage. 

London, July 14 

Paul White from New York and our " Euro- 
pean staff," consisting of Murrow, Tom Grandin from 
Paris, and myself here conferring on war coverage. We 
worked out technical matters such as transmission lines 
and short-wave transmitters and arranged to build up a 
staff of Americans (the New York Times, for example, 
has several Englishmen on its foreign staff) as regular 
staff correspondents, figuring that the American press 
associations and newspapers will not allow their men to 
broadcast, once the war starts. We hear our rival net- 
work plans to engage a number of big-name foreigners 
such as Churchill here, Flandin in France, Gayda in 
Italy, et cetera, but we think our plan is better. Ameri- 
can listeners will want news, not foreign propaganda, if 
war comes. We distressed at the failure of the Poles to 
rush their new short-wave transmitter to completion, as 
this may leave us in a hole. A wild game of golf with 
Ed and it was good — after listening to my Labour 
friends in Parliament curse conscription and the Con- 



170 1939 Pa it is {undated) 

servatives express hopes for further appeasement — to 
hear my caddy say in a thick cockney : " Seems as 'ow 
we'll have to give that bloke Hitler a damned good 
beatin' one o' these days. . . ." 

Paris (undated) 

John Elliott, formerly Berlin, now Paris cor- 
respondent of the Herald Tribune, tells me that in all 
the years he has been writing the day-to-day history of 
Europe for his paper he has received but a dozen or so 
letters from readers who were interested enough in what 
he had written to write him. But after two or three 
broadcasts from Paris during the March 15 Prague oc- 
cupation he received scores of letters, praising, protest- 
ing, inquiring. 

G-hneva, July 28 

Fodor and Gunther dropped in tonight and 
we argued and talked most of the night through. John 
fairly optimistic about peace. Fodor, a trained engi- 
neer himself, had a lot of material about Germany's lack 
of iron. You can't store much iron ore, Fodor says. 
John's latest, Inside Asia, going blazes. We argued a 
little about India, on which subject, I fear, I'm a crank. 
John not so impressed by Gandhi as I was. 

Geneva, August 3 

Much golf, including a comical game with 
Joe Phillips, and tramps in the near-by mountains, and 
swims in the lake with my family, with whom I'm begin- 
ning to get acquainted again. From a personal view- 
point it will be nice if there's no war. But must get off to 
Danzig next week to see. 



1939 Berlin, August 9 171 

Berlin, August 9 

The people in the train coming up from Basel 
last night looked clean and decent, the kind that made 
us like the Germans, as people, before the Nazis. For 
breakfast in the Adlon this morning I asked for a glass 
of orange juice, if they had any. 

" Certainly we have oranges," the waiter said, haugh- 
tily. But when he brought the breakfast there was no 
orange juice. " Not a one in the hotel," he admitted 
sheepishly. 

A discussion this day with Captain D. A World War 
officer of proved patriotism, he was against war during 
the Munich crisis, but changed, I noticed, after April 
28^ when Hitler denounced the Polish and British 
treaties. He became violent today at the very mention 
of the Poles and British. He thundered : " Why do the 
English butt in on Danzig and threaten war over the 
return of a German city? Why do the Poles [sic] pro- 
voke us? Haven't we the right to a German city like 
Danzig? " 

" Have you a right to a Czech city like Prague? " I 
asked. Silence. No answer. That vacant stare you get 
on Germans. 

" Why didn't the Poles accept the generous offer of 
the Fiihrer ? " he began again. 

" Because they feared another Sudetenland, Cap- 
tain." 

" You mean they don't trust the Fiihrer? " 

" Not much since March 15," I said, looking care- 
fully around before I spoke such blasphemy to see I was 
not being overheard. Again the vacant German stare. 

Lunch with Major Eliot and his wife. He has just 
come from London and Paris and thinks highly of the 
French army and the British air-force, which was good 



172 1939 Berlin, August 10 

news to me. Met Joe Barnes {Herald Tribune) at the 
Taverne at midnight. He just back from Danzig and 
Poland. His theory is that if Hitler waits nine months 
he'll have Danzig and perhaps more without much 
trouble and certainly without war. He thinks Polish re- 
sistance to Hitler's demands would collapse, that Poland 
simply couldn't afford to stay mobilized any longer 
than that. I argued that Britain and France could af- 
ford to foot the bill for the Poles. Joe didn't think they 
would. I won't say he's dead wrong, but think he under- 
estimates the change in France and Britain. Joe's de- 
scription of the backwardness of the Poles very impres- 
sive. He and Maurice Hindus visited the villages. Only 
two million people in Poland read any kind of news- 
paper, he reports, and many villages are without a single 
radio. 



Berlin, August 10 

How completely isolated a world the German 
people live in. A glance at the newspapers yesterday 
and today reminds you of it. Whereas all the rest of the 
world considers that the peace is about to be broken by 
Germany, that it is Germany that is threatening to at- 
tack Poland over Danzig, here in Germany, in the world 
the local newspapers create, the very reverse is being 
maintained. (Not that it surprises me, but when you 
are away for a while, you forget.) What the Nazi 
papers are proclaiming is this : that it is Poland which is 
disturbing the peace of Europe ; Poland which is threat- 
ening Germany with armed invasion, and so forth. This 
is the Germany of last September when the steam was 
turned on Czechoslovakia. 

"POLAND? LOOK OUT!" warns the B.Z. headline, 
adding: "ANSWER TO POLAND, THE RUNNER- 



1939 Berlin, August 10 173 

AMOK (AMOKLAUFER) AGAINST PEACE AND 
RIGHT IN EUROPE!" 

Or the headline in Der Fiihrer, daily paper of 
Karlsruhe, which I bought on the train: "WARSAW 
THREATENS BOMBARDMENT OF DANZIG -UN- 
BELIEVABLE AGITATION OF THE POLISH ARCH- 
MADNESS (POLNISCHEN GROSSENWAHNS)!" 

For perverse perversion of the truth, this is good. 
You ask : But the German people can't possibly believe 
these lies? Then you talk to them. So many do. 

But so far the press limits itself to Danzig. Will the 
Germans keep their real designs under cover until later? 
Any fool knows they don't give a damn about Danzig. 
It's just a pretext. The Nazi position, freely admitted 
in party circles, is that Germany cannot afford to have 
a strong military power on her eastern frontier, that 
therefore Poland as it is today must be liquidated, not 
only Danzig, which is Poland's life-line, taken, but also 
the Corridor, Posen, and Upper Silesia. And Poland 
left a rump state, a vassal of Germany. Then when 
Hungary and Rumania and Yugoslavia have been simi- 
larly reduced (Hungary practically is already), Ger- 
many will be economically and agriculturally independ- 
ent, and the great fear of Anglo-French blockade, which 
won the last war and at the moment probably could win 
the next, will be done away with. Germany can then 
turn on the West and probably beat her. 

Struck by the ugliness of the German women on the 
streets and in restaurants and cafes. As a race they are 
certainly the least attractive in Europe. They have no 
ankles. They walk badly. They dress worse than Eng- 
lish women used to. Off to Danzig tonight. 



171,. 1939 Danzig, August 11 

Danzig, August 11 

For a place where the war is supposed to be 
about to break out, Danzig does not quite live up to its 
part. Like the people in Berlin, the local inhabitants 
don't think it will come to war. They have a blind faith 
in Hitler that he will effect their return to the Reich 
without war. The Free City is being rapidly milita- 
rized, German military cars and trucks — with Danzig 
licence plates ! — dash through the streets. My hotel, 
the Danzigerhof, full of German army officers. The 
roads leading in from Poland are blocked with tank- 
traps and log-barriers. They remind me of Sudeten- 
land just a year ago. The two strategic hills of Bi- 
schof sberg and Hagelberg have been fortified. And a 
lot of arms are being run under cover of night across 
the Nogat River from East Prussia. They are mostly 
machine-guns, anti-tank and air-guns and light artil- 
lery. Apparently they have not been able to bring in 
any heavy artillery. Most of the arms are of Czech 
manufacture. 

The town completely Nazified. Supreme boss is Al- 
bert Forster, the Nazi Gauleiter, who is not even a 
Danziger, but a Bavarian. Herr Greiser, the President 
of the Senate, is a more moderate man, but takes his 
orders from Forster. Among the population, much less 
tension than I'd expected. The people want to be joined 
to Germany. But not at the cost of war or the loss of 
their position as an outlet for Polish trade. Without 
the latter, reduced though it is since the building of the 
purely Polish port of Gdynia, twelve miles west of here, 
they starve, unless Germany conquers Poland. Like all 
Germans they want it both ways. 

Danzig is a pleasing town to look at. I like the heavy 
Baltic-German towers, the Gothic Hanseatic steep- 



1939 Danzig, August 12 175 

gabled houses with the heavily ornamented facades. Re- 
minds me of the other Hanseatic towns • — -Bremen, 
Liibeck, Bruges. Walked around the port. Very dead- 
looking. Few ships. More drunkenness here in Danzig 
than I've seen outside of America. The Schnapps — 
they call it " Danzig goldwater " because of the little 
golden particles floating in it — is right good and 
strong. 

Lunch with our consul, Mr. Kuykendahl, who is help- 
ful and aware of his key position. John Gunther turns 
up from nowhere for lunch. Afterwards John and I 
taxi over to Zoppot, the Baltic's leading summer resort, 
whiling away the afternoon and evening on the pier, the 
beach, in the gaming rooms of the Casino (where we 
both lose at roulette) , talking a blue streak, settling the 
world's problems. Towards midnight he dashes off for 
Gdynia to catch the night express for Warsaw. 

Danzig, August 12 

I have more and more the feeling that Danzig 
is not the issue and I'm wasting my time here. The 
issue is the independence of Poland or German domina- 
tion of it. I must push on to Warsaw. Have been on 
the phone to Berlin several times today. The Berlin 
radio people are stalling on facilities for my broadcast 
from here tomorrow. Will phone Polskie Radio in War- 
saw to see if they have a microphone at Gdynia. I could 
do my talk from there. I don't like the idea of the Ger- 
mans keeping me from talking altogether since I've 
come all this way and have something to say. The local 
Nazis very cool to me. 



176 1939 Gdynia-Waesav, August 13 

In a wagonlit, Gdynia-Warsaw, August 13, 
midnight 

I did my broadcast to New York from Gdynia 
instead of Danzig. The Germans in Berlin wouldn't 
say yes or no. The Poles in Warsaw pitched in gal- 
lantly. Pleased at defeating Nazi efforts to silence me. 
I had planned to drive the twelve miles from Danzig 
to Gdynia, but my German chauffeur got cold feet, said 
we'd be shot at by the Poles in a Danzig car. I dashed 
down to the station and caught a train. A devil of a 
time finding the radio studio in Gdynia. No one knew 
where it was. It was not in the phone book. The tele- 
phone central didn't know. The army — the navy — 
the police — none knew. Finally, after I'd given up 
hope of broadcasting at all, we discovered it in the Post 
Office building. The radio telephone circuit with Lon- 
don, from where the talk was short-waved to New York, 
was completed only at the last minute. But reception, 
London said, was good. Chatted with two Polish radio 
engineers who had driven over from Thurn to do the 
broadcast. They were calm, confident. They said: 
" We're ready. We will fight. We were born under 
German rule in this neighbourhood and we'd rather be 
dead than go through it again." 

After dinner, waiting for the Warsaw Express, I had 
time to look at this port town. The Poles, with French 
backing, have done a magnificent job. Fifteen years 
ago, Gdynia was a sleepy fishing village of 400 souls. 
Today it's the largest port in the Baltic, with a popu- 
lation of over 100,000. Lacking natural facilities, the 
Poles have simply pushed piers out into the sea. The 
city itself looks like a mushroom growth, much like some 
of our Western towns thirty-five years ago. It is one 
of the promises of Poland. 



1939 Warsaw, August 20 177 

Later. — A point about the Danzig situa- 
tion: Hitler is not yet ready for a showdown. Other- 
wise the Danzig Senate would not have backed down a 
week ago when, after informing Poland that the Polish 
customs officials in Danzig must cease their functions, 
it gave in to a Polish ultimatum and withdrew the order. 
But this may be only a temporary German setback. 

Waesaw, August 16 

Much excitement in official Polish circles to- 
day. Conferences between Smigly-Rydz, Beck, and the 
generals. A Polish soldier has been shot on the Danzig 
frontier. Result: an order tonight instructing Polish 
troops to shoot anyone crossing the Danzig border on 
sight and without challenge. Lunch at Ambassador 
Biddle's. He is full of enthusiasm for his job and chock- 
full of good information, though I do not always agree 
with his conclusions. He is very pro-Polish, which is 
natural, and all right with me. Biddle is afraid the 
French and British are going to try appeasement again 
and suggests that Professor Burkhardt, the League 
High Commissioner in Danzig, and a Swiss, who saw 
Hitler at Berchtesgaden last week-end, may turn out 
to be another Runciman. 

Waesaw, August 20 

Broadcast to America at four a.m. today. 
Walking home to the hotel at dawn, the air was soft 
and fresh and the quiet soothing. Getting off to Berlin 
tonight on orders from New York — my fate always to 
get caught, I fear, on the wrong side. All in all, the 
Poles are calm and confident and Berlin's gibes and 
Goebbels's terrific press campaign of lies and invented 
incidents leave them cold. But they are too romantic, 



178 1939 Beelin, August 23 

too confident. You ask them, as I've asked a score of 
officials in the Foreign Office and the army this past 
week, about Russia and they shrug their shoulders. 
Russia does not count for them. But it ought to. I 
think the Poles will fight. I know I said that, wrongly, 
about the Czechs a year ago. But I say it again about 
the Poles. Our Embassy is divided. Most think Poland 
will give a good account of itself. Our military attache" 
thinks the Poles can hold out alone against Germany for 
six months. Harrison, on the other hand, thinks the 
country will crack up. Major Eliot here. Thinks the 
Polish army is pretty good, but not sufficiently armed 
nor fully aware of its awful strategic position. To re- 
cord: a riotous dinner John [Gunther] gave — much 
vodka, smoked salmon, and talk; lunch today with 
young Richard Mowrer, the very image of his father, 
Paul Scott Mowrer, and with his bride, who is most at- 
tractive. And last night before my broadcast a tramp 
through Warsaw with Maurice Hindus. Polskie Radio 
new short-wave transmitter not yet ready, which worries 
me. 



Berlin, August 23 

Hans Kaltenborn, our star foreign-news com- 
mentator, was turned back by the secret police when 
he arrived at Tempelhof from London this afternoon. 
We have been nicely double-crossed by the Nazis. On 
orders from New York, I had inquired in official circles 
about his coming and had been told that there was no 
objection to his visiting here though he could not broad- 
cast from Germany nor see any officials. I became sus- 
picious when the passport officials continued to hold him 
after all the other passengers had been cleared. His 
wife, several German relatives of hers, and I waited pa- 



1939 Berlin, August 23 179 

tiently beyond the brass railing which separated us from 
him. It was sultry and hot, and as it became evident 
what was up, we all perspired profusely. The German 
relatives, who were exposing themselves to possible ar- 
rest by merely being there, remained bravely at the rail. 
I finally complained to a Gestapo man about keeping us 
standing so long, and after much heated argument he 
allowed Hans to accompany us all to the terrace of the 
airport cafe, where we ordered beer. Hans had arrived 
at three forty-five p.m. At quarter to six a Gestapo 
officer came up and announced that Hans would be 
taking the six o'clock plane back to London. 

" Why, he's just come from there," I spoke up. 

" And he's returning there now," the officer said. 

" May I ask why ? " Hans said, boiling inside but 
cool outside, though beads of sweat bubbled out on his 
forehead. 

The officer had a ready answer. Looking in his note- 
book, he said with tremendous seriousness : " Herr Kal- 
tenborn, on such and such a date in Oklahoma City you 
made a speech insulting the Fvihrer." 

" Let me see the text of that, please," Hans spoke up. 
But you do not argue with the Gestapo. There was no 
answer. Hans rushed out to get in the plane, but there 
was no room after all, and he came back and joined our 
table. I asked the Gestapo if he couldn't take the night 
train to Poland. By now I was afraid he might have 
to spend the night in jail. I said I would get the Amer- 
ican Embassy to guarantee that he wouldn't jump off 
the train in Germany. Finally, reluctantly, they con- 
sented. I called Consul Geist. He would play the game. 
We adjourned again to our beers. Then the Gestapo 
man came running up out of breath. There was doch 
a place on the plane for the culprit. They had thrown 
someone off. And Hans was hustled out. As he got 



180 1939 Berlin, August 23 

beyond the railing he remembered his pockets stuffed 
with American tobacco for me. He started to toss some 
of it to me, but a Gestapo agent stopped him. Verbot en. 
Then he disappeared. 

Later (Four hours after midnight). — ■ 
Great excitement at the Taverne tonight. About 
two a.m. we get the terms of the Russian-German pact. 
It goes much further than anyone dreamed. It's a 
virtual alliance and Stalin, the supposed arch-enemy 
of Nazism and aggression, by its terms invites Germany 
to go in and clean up Poland. The friends of the Bolos 
are consternated. Several German editors — Half eld, 
Kriegk, Silex — who only day before yesterday were 
Writing hysterically about the Bolo peril, now come in, 
order champagne, and reveal themselves as old friends 
of the Soviets! That Stalin would play such crude 
power politics and also play into the hands of the Nazis 
overwhelms the rest of us. The correspondents, espe- 
cially the British, take to champagne or cognac to drown 
their feelings. Stalin's step should kill world Commu- 
nism. Will a French Communist, say, who has been 
taught for six years to hate Nazism above all else, swal- 
low Moscow's embracing of Hitler? Maybe, though, 
Stalin is smart. His aim: to bring on a war between 
Germany and the West which will result in chaos, after 
which the Bolsheviks step in and Communism comes to 
these countries or what is left of them. Maybe, too, he's 
not smart. Hitler has broken every international agree- 
ment he ever made. When he has used Russia, as he 
once used Poland, with whom in 1934 he made a similar 
agreement, then good-bye Russia. Joe [Barnes] , who 
is shaken by the news though he is the only one here 
who really knows Russia, and I argue the points. We 
sit down with the German editors. They are gloating, 



1939 Berlin, August 24 181 

boasting, sputtering that Britain won't dare to fight 
now, denying everything they have been told to say 
these last six years by their Nazi lords. We throw it 
into their faces, Joe and I. The argument gets nasty. 
Joe is nervous, depressed. So am I. Pretty soon we get 
nauseated. Something will happen if we don't get out. 
. . . Mrs. Kaltenborn comes in. I had made a date with 
her here for three a.m. I apologize. I have to go. Joe 
has to go. Sorry. We wander through the Tiergarten 
until we cool off and the night starts to fade. 

Beklin, August 24, seven p.m. 

It looks like war tonight. Across the street 
from my room they're installing an anti-aircraft gun 
on the roof of I. G. Farben. I suppose it's the same one 
I saw there last September. German bombers have been 
flying over the city all day. It may well be that Hitler 
will go into Poland tonight. Many think so. But I 
think that depends upon Britain and France. If they 
emphasize they will honour their word with Poland, 
Hitler may wait. And get what he wants without war. 
Went over to INS to get the text of Chamberlain's 
statement to the house. It sounds firm. Ed telephoned 
from London an hour ago and said he was in Commons 
and it was firm. Hitler certainly seems to be standing 
firm. Yesterday the British Ambassador, Henderson, 
flew down to Berchtesgaden to see him. He told him the 
British would honour their pledge to help Poland if 
Germany attacked, regardless of the Russo-German 
treaty. Hitler replied no British guarantee could make 
Germany " forsake her Lebensrecht." 

With Russia in his bag, Hitler is not compromising, 
apparently. Russia in his bag! What a turn events 
have taken in the last forty-eight hours. Bolshevik Rus- 



182 1939 Berlin, August 24 

sia and Nazi Germany, the arch-enemies of this earth, 
suddenly turning the other cheek and becoming friends 
and concluding what, to one's consternation, looks like 
an alliance. 

It all broke Monday night (August 21 ) at eleven p.m. 
The German radio suddenly stopped in the middle of a 
musical program and a voice announced that Germany 
and Russia had decided to conclude a non-aggression 
pact. I missed it. I was at the Herald Tribune office 
chewing the rag with Joe [Barnes] until five minutes 
to eleven. No inkling of it then, except — I remembered 
later — a vague hint from the Wilhelmstrasse that there 
might be a story later that evening. Fatty, a German 
newspaperman, I think, mentioned it. Actually I got 
the news from London when Ed Murrow called at mid- 
night. The BJRG would not let me broadcast that night. 
Apparently they were waiting for " editorial " orders. 
The day before, on Sunday, there had been a hint of 
something with the announcement of a new trade agree- 
ment between Russia and Germany. The friendly words 
about this in the local press, which until then had been 
violent in its denunciation of Russia and Bolshevism, 
should have warned me, but didn't. The announcement 
was as much of a bomb-shell for most of the big Nazis 
as for the rest of the world. Not more than a dozen 
persons were in on Hitler's secret. 

The German press the next day (Tuesday, Au- 
gust 22) was wonderful to behold. Dr. Goebbels's An- 
griff, the most ferocious Red-baiter of them all, wrote : 
" The world stands before a towering fact : two peoples 
have placed themselves on the basis of a common foreign 
policy which during a long and traditional friendship 
produced a foundation for a common understanding " ! 
(Exclamation point mine, not Angriff's.) And Dr. 
Karl Silex, once an honest foreign correspondent and 



1939 Bee lin, August 24 183 

now cringing editor of the Deutsche Allgemeine Zei- 
tung, in a front-page editorial called the new agree- 
ment a " natural partnership." For years — since he 
became a Nazi slave — he has been violently attacking 
Bolshevism and Soviet Russia. 

There's no doubt that Hitler's amazing move is popu- 
lar among the masses. On Tuesday I made a point of 
riding around on the subway, elevated, street-cars, and 
buses. Everyone was reading the story in his news- 
paper. From their faces, from their talk, you could see 
they liked the news. Why? Because it means to them 
that the dreaded nightmare of encirclement — war on 
two fronts — apparently has been destroyed. Yester- 
day it was there. Today it is gone. There will be no 
long front against Russia to hold this time. 

The last of the English correspondents left tonight 
for the nearest frontier — the Danish — on orders from 
their Embassy. Selkirk Panton of the Daily Express 
rushed in to ask me if I would take over his car until 
the scare was over and he came back. 1 He thought he 
would be back in ten days, he said. Another Munich, 
you know. The Adlon bar very lonely tonight with the 
English gone. Much talk that Hitler has ordered the 
Germans to march into Poland at dawn. I doubt it. 
The German people haven't yet been sufficiently worked 
up for war. No " cause " yet. No slogan. The papers 
haven't yet written a word that war is imminent. The 
people in the streets are still confident Hitler will pull 
it off again without war. I cannot see war being popu- 
lar among the masses as in 1914. 

i Panton was arrested in Copenhagen in April 1940, when the 
Germans marched in, and interned on a Danish island. The French 
Minister in Copenhagen insisted on taking out all French and Polish 
correspondents caught there by the Germans. The British Minister 
made no effort to and the four English journalists there were all ar- 
rested and interned. 



184 1939 Berlin, August 25 

Berlin, August 25 

Someone in New York insisting we go ahead 
with a program planned several weeks ago to be called 
" Europe Dances " — pick-ups from night-clubs in 
London, Paris, Berlin. I'm arranging one from St. 
Pauli's, a so-called "Hamburger Lokal," but wired 
Murrow today suggesting we call it off. War's too im- 
minent for that sort of thing. Much uneasiness tonight 
because all afternoon and evening telephones and tele- 
graph communications with the outside world were cut. 
When I arrived at the Rundfunk to do my broadcast 
tonight at one a.m., I had little hope of getting through, 
but the officials said nothing and I went ahead. Ap- 
parently it was the first word America had had from 
Berlin all day, and judging from what we heard on 
the feedback, there was some relief in New York when 
I reported all calm here and no war yet. Radio has a 
role to play, I think. Henderson saw Hitler twice today, 
and early this morning is flying to London. As long 
as they find something to negotiate about, there will be 
no war. 



Berlin, August 26 

With Henderson off to London this morning 
and not expected back before tomorrow (Sunday) 
night. I think we're in for a breathing-spell over the 
week-end. There is certainly no sign that Hitler is weak- 
ening. But the Wilhelmstrasse still hopes that Cham- 
berlain will weaken. Our Embassy today issued a formal 
circular to all Americans here asking those whose pres- 
ence was not absolutely necessary to leave. Most of the 
correspondents and businessmen have already sent out 
their wives and children. The big Nazi rally at Tan- 



1939 Berlin, August 26 185 

nenberg scheduled for tomorrow, at which Hitler was 
to have spoken, has been cancelled because of the 
"gravity of the situation," so I shall not have to go 
there. Talked with Murrow on phone and he readily 
agreed we should cancel our "Europe Dances" pro- 
gram. Some choice headlines in the German press to- 
day: The B.Z.: "COMPLETE CHAOS IN POLAND. 
—GERMAN FAMILIES FLEE — POLISH SOLDIERS 
PUSH TO EDGE OF GERMAN BORDER!" The 
12-UhrBlatt:" THIS PLAYING WITH FIRE GOING 
TOO FAR— THREE GERMAN PASSENGER PLANES 
SHOT AT BY POLES — IN CORRIDOR MANY 
GERMAN FARMHOUSES IN FLAMES! " 

Another hot day and most of the Ber liners betook 
themselves to the lakes around the city, oblivious of the 
threat of war. 

Later. One thirty a.m. — Broadcast shortly 
after midnight. Have been trying not to be a prophet, 
but did say this : " I don't know whether we're going to 
have war or not. But I can tell you that in Berlin to- 
night the feeling is that it will be war unless Germany's 
demands against Poland are fulfilled." Tomorrow 
morning's (Sunday's) papers reveal for the first time 
that Hitler is demanding now not only Danzig and the 
Corridor but everything Germany lost in 1918, which 
means Posen and Silesia. Just before I went on the air 
DNB informed me that rationing will be instituted be- 
ginning Monday. There will be ration cards for food, 
soap, shoes, textiles, and coal. This will wake up the 
German people to their situation! It is just possible, 
however, that Hitler is doing this to impress London and 
Paris. The Nazi Party rally at Nuremberg was called 
off tonight. This will also arouse the people from their 
apathy. Tomorrow morning's papers will steep up the 



186 1939 Berlin, August 27 

tension. Headline in Volkische Beobachter, Hitler's 
own newspaper: "WHOLE OF POLAND IN WAR 
FEVER! l,5oo,ooo MEN MOBILIZED! UNINTER- 
RUPTED TROOP TRANSPORT TOWARD THE 
FRONTIER! CHAOS IN UPPER SILESIA!" 

No mention of any German mobilization, of course, 
though the Germans have been mobilized for a fort- 
night. 

Berlin, August 27 {Sunday) 

Hot and sultry today > which makes for an in- 
crease in tension. Henderson failed to return today as 
expected, causing the Wilhelmstrasse to accuse the 
British of stalling. (In another fortnight the rains 
start in Poland, making the roads impassable.) Some 
Nazis, however, think Henderson's delay in London 
means the British are giving in. Tomorrow's Volkische 
Beobachter will ask the people to be patient : " The 
Fiihrer is still demanding patience from you because 
he wants to exhaust even the last possibilities for a 
peaceful solution of the crisis. That means a bloodless 
fulfilment of the irreducible German demands." This 
is a nice build-up to convince the people that if war 
does come, the Fiihrer did everything possible to avoid 
it. The V.B. ends by saying that Germany, however, 
will not renounce her demands. " The individual, as 
well as the nation, can renounce only those things which 
are not vital." There you have German character 
stripped to the bone. A German cannot renounce vital 
things, but he expects the other fellow to. Hitler this 
afternoon addressed the members of the Reichstag in 
the Chancellery, though it was not a regular session. No 
report of his speech available. A DNB communique 
merely says the Fiihrer " outlined the gravity of the 



1939 Berlin, August 27 187 

situation." This is the first time the German people 
have been told by Hitler that the " situation is grave." 

Food rations were fixed today and I heard many Ger- 
mans grumbling at their size. Some : meat, 700 grams 
per week; sugar, 280 grams; marmalade, 110 grams; 
coffee or substitute, one eighth of a pound per week. As 
to soap, 125 grams are allotted to each person for the 
next four weeks. News of rationing has come as a heavy 
blow to the people. 

Representative Ham Fish, who seems to have been 
taken in completely by Ribbentrop, who gave him an 
airplane to rush him to the inter-parliamentary meet- 
ing in Scandinavia the other day to tell the assembled 
democrats how serious was the situation, arrived today 
and struck us as very anxious to continue on his way. 
Joe [Barnes] and I observed him talking very seriously 
at lunch in the Adlon courtyard with Dr. Zallatt, a 
minor and unimportant official of the Foreign Office 
who is supposed to be in charge of American press mat- 
ters there, but whom no American correspondent both- 
ers with because he knows nothing. Later, after keeping 
the press corps waiting an hour, Fish emerged from 
lunch and in a grave tone said : " Excuse me, gentlemen, 
for being late, but I have just been having a talk with 
an important official of the German government." The 
boys suppressed their laughter only with difficulty. 
Fish left this afternoon on the first train. Geoffrey 
Parsons, chief editorial writer of the Herald Tribune, 
calm, intelligent, tolerant, profound, left last night for 
Paris. He had seen Churchill last week and believes it 
will be war. 

Despite everything the odds in the Wilhelmstrasse 
today are still for peace. 



188 1939 Berlin, August 28 

Berlin, August 28 

They're all putting themselves way out on 
o limb. Difficult for any of Europe's leaders to retreat 
now. At two this morning we get the text of letters ex- 
changed Saturday and Sunday between Daladier and 
Hitler. Daladier in a noble tone asks that Hitler hold 
back from war, says that there is no question which 
cannot be solved peacefully, reminds Hitler that Poland 
after all is a sovereign nation, and claims that France 
will honour its obligations to Poland. Hitler regrets 
that France intends to fight to " maintain a wrong." 
And then for the first time he reveals his demands. Dan- 
zig and the Corridor must be returned to Germany, 
he says. He realizes full well the consequences of war, 
he claims, but concludes that Poland will fare worse than 
anyone else. 

There was a fine line in Daladier's letter, the last sen- 
tence : " If French and German blood is now to be 
spilled, as it was twenty-five years ago . . . then each 
of the two peoples will fight confident of its own victory. 
But surely Destruction and Barbarism will be the real 
victors." 

Ed [Murrow] phones from London at one thirty p.m. 
He is tired, but in good spirits. We are both broad- 
casting four or five times a day — from noon until 
four a.m. Ed disagrees with what Bill Stoneman told 
me on the phone last night from London : namely, that 
the British were selling out. Ed says they can't now. 
He thinks Henderson, who is returning to Berlin from 
London this afternoon, will bring an answer to Hitler 
" that will shock him." Announcement of food cards 
and the publication of the text of the letters of Hitler 
and Daladier seem to have made the people in the street 
at last realize the seriousness of the situation, judging 



1939 Be a lin, August 29 189 

by their looks. An old German reading the letters said 
to me : " J a, they forget what war is like. But I don't. 
I remember." 

Troops, east-bound, pouring through the streets to- 
day. No crack units these. They were being trans- 
ported in moving-vans, grocery trucks, et cetera. Ger- 
many has assured Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg, and 
Switzerland that it will respect their neutrality in case 
of war. 



Later. — Henderson arrived back by plane 
at eight thirty p.m., went to the Chancellery at ten 
thirty p.m., and stayed until eleven forty. No reliable 
news about this crucial meeting, though the official line 
at the Wilhelmstrasse at midnight was by no means 
pessimistic. 



Berlin, August 29 

The average German today looks dejected. 
He can't get over the blow of the ration cards, which to 
him spells war. Last night when Henderson flew back 
with London's answer to Hitler's demands — on a night 
when everyone knew the issue of war or peace might be 
decided — I was amazed to see that less than 500 peo- 
ple out of a population of 5,000,000 turned out in 
front of the Chancellery. These few stood there grim: 
and silent. Almost a defeatism discernible in the people. 
One man remarked to me last night : " The Corridor ?' 
Hell, we haven't heard about that for twenty years. 
Why bring it up now? " 

Later. Three a.m. — At seven fifteen to- 
night Hitler gave Henderson his reply to the British 



190 1939 Beelin, August 30 

proposals. 1 To the surprise of the Wilhelmstrasse, the 
British Ambassador did not fly off to London with it, 
though the Germans had a plane ready for him at 
Tempelhof . He merely filed it in the regular diplomatic 
way. It looks as though the British were getting tough 
at last. Some of the correspondents, including myself, 
at the Taverne tonight had the feeling that the British 
had the corporal on the run. The German editors were 
not so boastful tonight at the Taverne. The truth is, 
Hitler is hesitating. Many ardent Nazis think he should 
have moved last Friday. If it's true that the British 
have him on the run, will the English conservatives still 
make a deal to save him? I dropped into the British 
Embassy this evening to see an old friend. The halls 
were full of luggage. " We're all packed," he laughed. 



Beblin, August 30 

The British reply to Hitler's latest came 
bouncing back to Berlin tonight. With what result, we 
don't know. Henderson has seen Ribbentrop again, but 
no news of it. Tonight may well be decisive. DNB [the 
German news agency] has announced it will be issuing 
news all night tonight. This sounds ominous. The 
Wilhelmstrasse took pains this evening to point out to 
us that the non-aggression pact with Russia is also a 
consultative pact and that this part of it had been put 
into operation the last few days. This puzzles me, but 
I said in my broadcast tonight : " That would seem to 

i Only on the night of August 31, nine hours before the war 
started, did we learn that the reply contained a demand that Poland 
send a representative invested with plenipotentiary powers on 
Wednesday, August 30 — that is, within twenty- four hours. Hender- 
son remarked to Hitler : " That sounds like an ultimatum," but the 
Great Man denied it. Throughout this period the correspondents were 
kept largely in the dark about the negotiations, with the Wilhelm- 
strasse tipping us (falsely) to take " an optimistic line." 



1939 Berlin, August 31 191 

mean — and, indeed, informed circles in the Wilhelm- 
strasse leave no doubt about it — that the Germans and 
Soviets also have been doing some talking the last few 
days, and, as one writer says tonight, ' talking about 
Poland.' In this connection the German press tonight 
does not omit to mention a dispatch from Moscow to the 
effect that not only has Russia not withdrawn her three 
hundred thousand men from its western frontier, as re- 
ported, but on the contrary has strengthened her forces 
there — that is, on the Polish border. I don't know the 
significance of that. I only know that it's given some 
prominence here." 

Later. — Poles ordered general mobilization 
at two thirty p.m. today. It isn't terribly important, 
because Poland has already mobilized about as many 
men as it has guns and shoes for. But the story gives 
the German press an excuse to hail Poland as the ag- 
gressor. (Germany has mobilized too, though not for- 
mally. ) Since Hitler now has publicly demanded the re- 
turn of Danzig and the Corridor, the German people 
ought to know who the aggressor is liable to be. But 
they are swallowing Dr. Goebbels's pills, I fear. 

At midnight Hitler announces formation of a War 
Cabinet — to be called a Ministerial Council for the 
Defence of the Reich. Goring to preside; other mem- 
bers are Frick, Funk, Lammers, and General Keitel. 

The sands are running fast tonight. 

Berlin, August 31 {morning) 

Everybody against the war. People talking 
openly. How can a country go into a major war with 
a population so dead against it? People also kicking 
about being kept in the dark. A German said to me 
last night : " We know nothing. Why don't they tell us 



198 1939 Berlin, August 31 

what's up ? " Optimism in official circles melting away 
this morning, I thought. Huss thinks Hitler may have 
one great card left, an agreement with Stalin to attack 
the Poles in the back. I highly doubt it, but after the 
Russo-German pact anything is possible. Some think 
the Big Boy is trying to get off the limb now — but 
how? 

Later. — Broadcast at seven forty-five p.m. 
Said : " The situation tonight is very critical. Hitler 
has not yet answered the British note of last night. . . . 
An answer may not be necessary. . . . The new De- 
fence Council sat all day. The Wilhelmstrasse has been 
seething with activity. . . . There has been no contact 
between the German and British governments. Instead 
. . . between Russia and Germany. Berlin expects the 
Soviets to ratify the Russo-German pact this evening. 
• . . The British Ambassador did not visit the Wil- 
helmstrasse. He had a talk with his French colleague, 
M. Coulondre. Then he saw the Polish Ambassador, 
M. Lipski. Bags at these three embassies are all 
packed. . . ." 

Later. Three thirty a.m. — A typical Hit- 
ler swindle was sprung this evening. At nine p.m. the 
German radio stopped its ordinary program and broad- 
cast the terms of German " proposals " to Poland. I 
was taken aback by their reasonableness, and having to 
translate them for our American listeners immediately, 
as we were on the air, I missed the catch. This is that 
Hitler demanded that a Polish plenipotentiary be sent 
to Berlin to " discuss " them by last night, though they 
were only given to Henderson the night before. 1 An 

1 Even this was not true. Henderson revealed later that Ribben- 
trop — in a most insolent mood — read the sixteen points to him so 
rapidly that he could not grasp tliem. When he asked for a copy of 
them, the German Foreign Minister refused ! 



1939 Beelin, September 1 193 

official German statement (very neat) complains that 
the Poles would not even come to Berlin to discuss them. 
Obviously, they didn't have time. And why should Hit- 
ler set a time limit to a sovereign power? The " pro- 
posals " — obviously never meant seriously — read like 
sweet reason, almost. They contain sixteen points, but 
the essential ones are four: (1) Return of Danzig to 
Germany. (2) A plebiscite to determine who shall have 
the Corridor. (3) An exchange of minority popula- 
tions. (4) Gdynia to remain Polish even if the Corridor 
votes to return to Germany. 

Tonight the great armies, navies, and air forces are 
all mobilized. Each country is shut off from the other. 
We have not been able today to get through to Paris 
or London, or of course to Warsaw, though I did talk 
to Tess in Geneva. At that, no precipitate action is 
expected tonight. Berlin is quite normal in appearance 
this evening. There has been no evacuation of the 
women and children, not even any sandbagging of the 
windows. We'll have to wait through still another night, 
it appears, before we know. And so to bed, almost at 
dawn. 



Beelin, September 1 

At six a.m. Sigrid Schultz ■ — - bless her heart 
— phoned. She said : " It's happened." I was very 
sleepy — my body and mind numbed, paralysed. I 
mumbled : " Thanks, Sigrid," and tumbled out of bed. 

The war is on ! 



PART II 
The War 



WLS 



Beblin, September 1, later 

It's a " counter-attack " ! At dawn this morn- 
ing Hitler moved against Poland. It's a flagrant, in- 
excusable, unprovoked act of aggression. But Hitler 
and the High Command call it a " counter-attack." A 
grey morning with overhanging clouds. The people in 
the street were apathetic when I drove to the Rimdfunk 
for my first broadcast at eight fifteen a.m. Across from 
the Adlon the morning shift of workers was busy on the 
new I. G. Farben building just as if nothing had hap- 
pened. None of the men bought the Extras which the 
newsboys were shouting. Along the east-west axis the 
Luftwaffe were mounting five big anti-aircraft guns to 
protect Hitler when he addresses the Reichstag at ten 
a.m. Jordan and I had to remain at the radio to handle 
Hitler's speech for America. Throughout the speech, I 
thought as I listened, ran a curious strain, as though 
Hitler himself were dazed at the fix he had got himself 
into and felt a little desperate about it. Somehow he 
did not carry conviction and there was much less cheer- 
ing in the Reichstag than on previous, less important oc- 
casions. Jordan must have reacted the same way. As we 
waited to translate the speech for America, he whis- 
pered : " Sounds like his swan song." It really did. He 
sounded discouraged when he told the Reichstag that 



198 1939 Bee lin, September 1, later 

Italy would not be coming into the war because " we 
are unwilling to call in outside help for this struggle. 
We will fulfil this task by ourselves." And yet Para- 
graph 3 of the Axis military alliance calls for imme- 
diate, automatic Italian support with " all its military 
resources on land, at sea, and in the air." What about 
that? He sounded desperate when, referring to Molo- 
tov's speech of yesterday at the Russian ratification of 
the Nazi-Soviet accord, he said : " I can only underline 
every word of Foreign Commissar Molotov's speech." 

Tomorrow Britain and France probably will come in 
and you have your second World War. The British 
and French tonight sent an ultimatum to Hitler to with- 
draw his troops from Poland or their ambassadors will 
ask for their passports. Presumably they will get their 
passports. 

Later. Two thirty a.m. — Almost through 
our first black-out. The city is completely darkened. 
It takes a little getting used to. You grope around the 
pitch-black streets and pretty soon your eyes get used 
to it. You can make out the whitewashed curbstones. 
We had our first air-raid alarm at seven p.m. I was at 
the radio just beginning my script for a broadcast at 
eight fifteen. The lights went out, and all the German 
employees grabbed their gas-masks and, not a little 
frightened, rushed for the shelter. No one offered me 
a mask, but the wardens insisted that I go to the cellar. 
In the darkness and confusion I escaped outside and 
went down to the studios, where I found a small room 
in which a candle was burning on a table. There I 
scribbled out my notes. No planes came over. But with 
the English and French in, it may be different tomor- 
row. I shall then be in the by no means pleasant predica- 
ment of hoping they bomb the hell out of this town 



1939 Beeiin, September 3 199 

without getting me. The ugly shrill of the sirens, the 
rushing to a cellar with your gas-mask (if you have 
one) , the utter darkness of the night — how will human 
nerves stand that for long? 

One curious thing about Berlin on this first night of 
the war: the cafes, restaurants, and beer-halls were 
packed. The people just a bit apprehensive after the 
air-raid, I felt. Finished broadcasting at one thirty 
a.m., stumbled a half-mile down the Kaiserdamm in the 
dark, and finally found a taxi. But another pedestrian 
appeared out of the dark and jumped in first. We 
finally shared it, he very drunk and the driver drunker, 
and both cursing the darkness and the war. 

The isolation from the outside world that you feel on 
a night like this is increased by a new decree issued 
tonight prohibiting the listening to foreign broadcasts. 
Who's afraid of the truth? And no wonder. Curious 
that not a single Polish bomber got through tonight. 
But will it be the same with the British and French? 



Berlin, September 2 

The German attack on Poland has now been 
going on for two days and Britain and France haven't 
yet honoured their promises. Can it be that Chamber- 
lain and Bonnet are going to try to sneak out of them ? 
Hitler has cabled Roosevelt he will not bomb open towns 
if the others don't. No air-raid tonight. Where are the 
Poles? 

Berlin, September 3 

Hitler's " counter-attack " on Poland has on 
this Sabbath day become a world war! To record the 
date: September 3, 1939. The time: eleven a.m. At 



£00 "1939 Berlin, September 3 

nine o'clock this morning Sir Nevile Henderson called 
on the German Foreign Minister and handed him a note 
giving Germany until eleven o'clock to accept the Brit- 
ish demand that Germany withdraw her troops from 
Poland. He returned to the Wilhelmstrasse shortly 
after eleven and was handed the German reply in the 
form of a memorandum. The extras are out on the 
streets now. The newsboys are giving them away. The 
D.A .Z. here. Its headlines : 

BRITISH ULTIMATUM TURNED DOWN 
ENGLAND DECLARES A STATE OF WAR 

WITH GERMANY 

BRITISH NOTE DEMANDS WITHDRAWAL 

OF OUR TROOPS IN THE EAST 

THE FUHRER LEAVING TODAY FOR THE FRONT 

A typical headline over the official account : 
GERMAN MEMORANDUM PROVES 
ENGLAND'S GUILT. 

I was standing in the Wilhelmplatz about noon when 
the loud-speakers suddenly announced that England 
had declared herself at war with Germany. Some 250 
people were standing there in the sun. They listened 
attentively to the announcement. When it was finished, 
there was not a murmur. They just stood there as they 
were before. Stunned. The people cannot realize yet 
that Hitler has led them into a world war. No issue has 
been created for them yet, though as this day wears on, 
it is plain that " Albion's perfidy " will become the issue 
as it did in 1914. In Mein Kampf Hitler says the great- 
est mistake the Kaiser made was to fight England, and 
Germany must never repeat that mistake. 

It has been a lovely September day, the sun shining, 
the air balmy, the sort of day the Berliner loves to spend 



1939 Berlin, September 3 201 

in the woods or on the lakes near by. I walked in the 
streets. On the faces of the people astonishment, de- 
pression. Until today they have been going about their 
business pretty much as usual. There were food cards 
and soap cards and you couldn't get any gasoline and 
at night it was difficult stumbling around in the black- 
out. But the war in the east has seemed a bit far away 
to them — two moonlight nights and not a single Polish 
plane over Berlin to bring destruction — and the pa- 
pers saying that German troops have been advancing 
all along the line, that the Polish air force has been 
destroyed. Last night I heard Germans talking of the 
" Polish thing " lasting but a few weeks, or months at 
the most. Few believed that Britain and France would 
move. Ribbentrop was sure they wouldn't and had told 
the Fiihrer, who believed him. The British and French 
had been accommodating before. Another Munich, why 
not ? Yesterday, when it seemed that London and Paris 
were hesitating, everyone, including those in the Wil- 
helmstrasse, was optimistic. Why not? 

In 1914, I believe, the excitement in Berlin on the 
first day of the World War was tremendous. Today, 
no excitement, no hurrahs, no cheering, no throwing of 
flowers, no war fever, no war hysteria. There is not even 
any hate for the French and British — despite Hitler's 
various proclamations to the people, the party, the East 
Army, the West Army, accusing the " English war- 
mongers and capitalistic Jews " of starting this war. 
When I passed the French and British embassies this 
afternoon, the sidewalk in front of each of them was 
deserted. A lone Schupo paced up and down before 
each. 

At lunch-time we gathered in the courtyard of the 
Adlon for drinks with a dozen members of the British 
Embassy staff. They seemed completely unmoved by 



#0# 1939 Berlin, September 4 

events. They talked about dogs and such stuff. Some 
mystery about the French not acting in concert with 
the British today, Coulondre's ultimatum not running 
out until five p.m., six hours after Britain was at war. 
But the French tell us this was due to faulty communi- 
cations with Paris. 1 

The High Command lets it be known that on the 
western front the Germans won't fire first against the 
French. 

Later. — Broadcast all afternoon and eve- 
ning. Third night of the black-out. No bombs, though 
we rather expected the British and French. The news- 
papers continue to praise the decree against listening 
in to foreign broadcasts ! What are they afraid of? 

Berlin, September 4 

After midnight and no air-raid, even with the 
British and French in the war. Can it be that in this 
new World War they're not going to bomb the big 
cities, the capitals, the civilians, the women and children 
at home, after all? The people here breathing easier 
already. They didn't sleep much the first couple of 
nights. 

On the feedback from New York tonight I heard the 
story of the sinking of the Athenia with 1,400 pas- 
sengers, including 240 Americans, aboard. The Eng- 
lish said it was a German U-boat. The Germans 
promptly denied it, though the German press and radio 
have been forbidden to mention the matter until to- 
morrow. I felt lousy talking from here at all tonight 
after that story and went out of my way to explain my 

i Actually Bonnet boasted after the Franco-German armistice 
that he had refused the plea of Halifax for a simultaneous declara- 
tion ef war. He played for peace at any price until the very end. 



1939 Berlin, September 5 203 

personal position as an American broadcaster — that I 
had been assigned to give the news from Germany, that 
official statements such as the denial that a German 
submarine had torpedoed the Athenia were part of that 
news, and that my orders from home were to refrain 
from expressing my personal opinions. The High Com' 
mand has installed military censorship of everything 1 
say, but fortunately the chief censor is a naval officer, 
an honourable and decent man. I have had some warm 
words with him the last couple of days, but within the 
limits of his job he has been reasonable. 

The war is starting to hurt the average man. To- 
night a decree providing for a surtax on the income tax 
of a straight fifty per cent and a big increase in the 
tax on beer and tobacco. Also a decree fixing prices and 
wages. 

The staffs of the French and British embassies got 
away today in two big Pullman trains. I was a little 
struck by the weird fact that while the killing goes on, 
all the diplomatic niceties were strictly observed by both 
sides to the very last. 

The faces of the Germans when word came in late 
tonight that the British had bombed Cuxhaven and 
Wilhelmshaven for the first time! This was bringing 
the war home, and nobody seemed to like it. 

Berlin, September 5 

Very strange about that western front. The 
Wilhelmstrasse assured us today that not a single shot 
has been fired there yet. Indeed, one official told me ■ — 
though I doubt his word — that the German forces on 
the French border were broadcasting in French to the 
poilus : " We won't shoot if you don't." Same informant 
claimed the French had hoisted a sf reamer from a bal- 



Wl* 1939 Berlin, September 6 

loon saying the same thing. Today the RRG 1 gave 
its first broadcast from the front, and it sounded plenty 
realistic. It was of course a recording. The Germans 
say they will let me do radio recordings at the front, 
but American networks won't permit the broadcasting 
of recordings — a pity, because it is the only way radio 
can really cover the war from the front. I think we're 
throwing away a tremendous opportunity, though God 
knows I have no burning desire to die a hero's death at 
the front. The fortress of Graudenz fell today and the 
Germans have smashed through the Corridor. After a 
slow start they seem to be going awfully fast. In the 
south Cracow is surrounded. 

Berlin, September 6 

Cracow, second town of Poland, was captured 
this afternoon. The High Command also states that 
Kielce has fallen. Looking for it on my map, I was 
amazed to find that it lies way to the east of both Lodz 
and Cracow, almost due south of Warsaw. Nobody had 
any idea the German army had got that far. In one 
week the Germans have pushed far beyond their 1914; 
frontiers. It begins to look like a rout for the Poles. 
I learned tonight that the liner Bremen has succeeded 
in evading the British blockade and today put in at 
Murmansk on the northern coast of Russia after a dash 
from New York. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in 
town who knows it and I led off my broadcast with the 
yarn. At the last minute the military censor rushed in 
and cut it out ; said I couldn't mention it. 

Later. — Joe [Barnes] and I met in my 
room at one a.m. to talk things over. We have an idea 
1 Reichs Rundfunk Gesellschaft — the German State Broadcasting 
Company. 



1939 Berlin, September 8 W5 

that Britain and France will not shed much blood on 
the western front, but will maintain an iron blockade 
and wait for Germany to collapse. In the meantime 
Poland will of course be overrun. 

Berlin, September 7 

Have heard much talk today about peace! 
Idea is that after Germany's victory over Poland Hitler 
will offer the West peace. I wrote this rather carefully 
for my broadcast this evening, but the censor wouldn't 
allow a word of it. 

It's just a week since the "counter-attack" began 
and tonight I learn from an army friend that the Ger- 
mans are within twenty miles of Warsaw. A new decree 
today providing the death penalty for anyone " en- 
dangering the defensive power of the German people" 
— a term which will give Gestapo chief Himmler plenty 
of leeway. Another decree forces workers to accept new 
jobs eyen if they pay lower wages than jobs previously 
held. 

Berlin, September 8 

The German High Command announces that 
at five fifteen p.m. today German troops reached War- 
saw. The radio broadcast the news at seven fifteen p.m. 
Immediately afterwards a band played Dewtschland 
iiber Alles and the Horst Wessel song. Even our mili- 
tary attaches were stunned by the news. There was no 
wild rejoicing in the streets of Berlin tonight. In the 
subway going out to the radio studio I noted the strange 
indifference of the people to the big news. And while 
Poland is being overrun, not a shot yet — so the Ger- 
mans say — on the western front! The first person to 
be executed under yesterday's decree — Himmler has 



206 1939 Beslin, September 9 

lost no time — is one Johann Heinen of Dessau. He 
was shot, it's announced, " for refusing to take part in 
defensive work." 

NBC and Mutual have stopped their European 
broadcasts. Ed Klauber cables we shall continue alone. 
Smart we were to build up a staff of American radio re- 
porters. Home early tonight at one a.m. for the first 
time since the war started and shall get a night's sleep 
for once. Heard Ed broadcasting from London to- 
night. He sounded dead tired, as am I after being on 
the air night and day with practically no sleep for a 
month. 



Berlin, September 9 

The second air-raid alarm of the war at four 
a.m. today, but I did not hear it, being engulfed in my 
first good night's sleep in ages. No more news of the 
German army's entry into Warsaw and I begin to sus- 
pect yesterday's announcement was premature. O. W., 
back from the front, told me this noon that he'd seen 
some of the horribly mutilated bodies of Germans killed 
by Poles. He described also how he'd seen the Germans 
rounding up Polish civilians — men, women, boys — 
and marching them into a building for a summary court- 
martial and then out into the back yard against a wall, 
where they were disposed of by German firing squads. 
Our military attache says you can do that, that that's 
the way cricket is played with franc-tireurs, but I don't 
like it, even if they are snipers, and I doubt from what 
O. W. says that the court-martial makes any great ef- 
fort to distinguish actual franc-tireurs from those whose 
only guilt is being Poles. 

Goring broadcast today — from a local munitions 
factory. He warned the people it might be a long war. 



1939 Berlin, September 10 #07 

He threatened terrible revenge if the British and French 
bombed Germany. He said seventy German divisions 
now in Poland would be released within a week for serv- 
ice " elsewhere." Apparently the war in Poland is all 
but over. Most of the correspondents a bit depressed. 
Britain and France have done nothing on the western 
front to relieve the tremendous pressure on Poland. It 
begins to look as though in Hitler we have a new Na- 
poleon who may sweep Europe and conquer it. 

Berlin, September 10 

One week after the Anglo-French declaration 
of a state of war the average German is beginning to 
wonder if it's a world war after all. He sees it this way. 
England and France, it is true, are formally fulfilling 
their obligations to Poland. For a week they have been 
formally at war with Germany. But has it been war? 
they ask. The British, it is true, sent over twenty-five 
planes to bomb Wilhelmshaven. But if it is war, why 
only twenty-five? And if it is war, why only a few leaf- 
lets over the Rhineland? The industrial heart of Ger- 
many lies along the Rhine close to France. From there 
come most of the munitions that are blowing up Poland 
with such deadly effect. Yet not a bomb has fallen on 
a Rhineland factory. Is that war? they ask. The long 
xaces I saw a week ago today are not so long this Sun- 
day. 

Life here is still quite normal. The operas, the thea- 
tres, the movies, all open and jammed. Tawnhauser and 
Madame Butterfly playing at the Opera. Goethe's 
Iphigenie at the State Theatre. The Metropol, Hitler's 
favourite show-house, announces a new revue Wednes- 
day. The papers tonight say two hundred football 
matches were played in Germany today. 



W8 1939 Berlin, September 11 

Berlin, September 11 

The High Command says a gigantic battle 
in Poland, with the prospect of the annihilation of the 
Polish army, is nearing its end. They are fighting now 
along the San River, south-east of Warsaw. For the 
first time today the war communique mentions French 
artillery-fire on the western front. The Protectorate 
government in Prague announced today that any 
Czechs captured fighting with the enemy would be shot 
as traitors. 

Later (midnight). — In the subway, going 
out to broadcast tonight, I heard considerable grum- 
bling about the war. The women, especially, seemed de- 
pressed. And yet when I came back after the broadcast, 
a big crowd, mostly women, got on at the station under 
the Deutsches Opernhaus. They had been to the Opera 
and seemed oblivious of the fact that a war was on, that 
German bombs and shells were f ailing on the women and 
children in Warsaw. I doubt if anything short of an 
awful bombing or years of semi-starvation will bring 
home the war to the people here. 

Classic headline in the D.A.Z. tonight: "POLES 
BOMBARD WARSAW!" The press full of the most 
fantastic lies. Latest is that two British secret-service 
agents organized the slaying of Germans at Bromberg. 
When I kidded my military censor, a decent fellow, 
about it, he blushed. 

But one thing — is it possible that if the British and 
French decide upon a long war of attrition, the mass of 
the German people will forget their feelings towards the 
regime and regard it as their duty to defend the Father- 
land? Some things I've heard today from Germans 
make me think so. 



1939 Berlin, September 14 209 

Berlin, September 14 

Yesterday from Fiihrer Headquarters came 
an official announcement signed by the Oberkommando 
(but obviously dictated by Hitler) saying that as long 
as Polish civilians insisted on resisting the German army 
in the towns, Germany would use every means at its dis- 
posal, especially air bombing and heavy artillery, to 
show the civilians the " pointlessness of their resist- 
ance." D. and H. and W., who were at the front for 
three days this week, say that almost every other town 
and village in Poland they saw was either half or totally 
destroyed by bombs or artillery. 

All of us here still baffled by the inaction of Britain 
and France. It is obvious from the broadcasts of Ed 
and Tom from London and Paris that the Allies are 
exaggerating their action on the western front. The 
Germans maintain that there have been only skirmishes 
there so far and point out that the French are not even 
using airplanes in their " attacks." Y. of our Embassy 
took issue today with Ambassador Biddle's telegrams 
from Poland telling of the terrible bombings of the 
Polish towns. Y. holds Hitler is justified in bombing 
and bombarding towns where the civilian population 
offers resistance. Guess I'm losing my balance, but I 
disagree. 

The maid came in tonight to say how terrible war was. 

" Why do the French make war on us ? " she asked. 

" Why da you make war on the Poles? " I said. 

" Hum," she said, a blank over her face. " But the 
French, they're human beings," she said finally. 

" But the Poles, maybe they're human beings," I said. 

" Hum," she said, blank again. 



%10 1939 Be klin, September 15 

Berlin, September 15 

I heard today on very good authority that 
Russia may attack Poland. 

A few words on a dry subject. How does the Allied 
blockade affect Germany? It cuts her off from about 50 
per cent of her normal imports. Chief products of which 
Germany is deprived are: cotton, tin, nickel, oil, and 
rubber. Russia might supply some cotton, but her total 
exports last year were only 2.5 per cent of Germany's 
annual needs. On the other hand Russia could probably 
supply Germany all the manganese and timber she 
needs, and — with Rumania — enough oil for military 
purposes at least. Iron? Last year Germany got about 
45 per cent of her iron ore from France, Morocco, or 
other places from which she is now cut off. But Sweden, 
Norway, and Luxemburg provided her with eleven mil- 
lion tons. These supplies are still open. All in all, Ger- 
many is certainly hard hit by losing the sources of 50 
per cent of her imports. But with the possibilities open 
to her in Scandinavia, the Balkans, and Russia she is 
not hit nearly so badly as she was in 1914. 

Just two weeks ago today the great " counter-attack " 
against Poland began. In fourteen days the mechanized 
German military machine has rolled back the Polish 
army more than two hundred miles, captured a hundred 
thousand prisoners, and practically liquidated Poland. 
Today one German army stands before the citadel in 
Brest-Litovsk, where Germany dictated a harsh treaty 
to Bolshevik Russia in 1918. Another German army is 
nearing the Rumanian border, thus bringing Germany 
to the front door of vast oil sources and stocks of wheat. 
To be sure, a gallant Polish army, completely sur- 
rounded at Kutno, seventy-five miles west of Warsaw, 
holds out. But for how long? Warsaw too holds out. 



1939 Be klin, September 17 Ml 

But for how long? The war in Poland is over. German 
divisions are already being rushed to the west. My 
censor did not object when I suggested tonight that 
Russia will now step in and occupy the parts of Poland 
inhabited by Russians. More talk about peace today. 

Example of how our isolationists are appreciated in 
Naziland: Headline in the Borsen Zeitung: "SENA- 
TOR BORAH WARNS AGAINST THE WAR 
AGITATORS IN U.S.A." 

Berlin, September 16 

Every German I've met today liked Colonel 
Lindbergh's broadcast. The story gets a good play in 
the Berlin newspapers, which is more than Roosevelt's 
speeches get. The headlines are friendly. The Borsen 
Zeitung: "COLONEL LINDBERGH WARNS 
AGAINST THE AGITATION OF THE WESTERN 
POWERS." 

An American woman I know bought a tin of sardines 
today. The grocer insisted on opening the can in the 
shop. Reason: you can't hoard tinned food if your 
grocer opens it first. 

Later (midnight). — The Germans have 
just announced that if Warsaw does not surrender 
within twelve hours, the German army will use all mil- 
itary methods to subdue it. That means bomb it and 
bombard it. There are more than half a million civilians 
in the city, the majority women and children. 

Berlin, September 17 

At six o'clock this morning, Moscow time, the 
Red army began an invasion of Poland. Russia of 
course had a non-aggression pact with Poland. What 



812 1939 Zoffot, September 18 

ages ago it seems now — though it really wasn't ages 
ago — that I sat in Geneva and other capitals and heard 
the Soviet statesmen talk about common fronts against 
the aggressor. Now Soviet Russia stabs Poland in the 
back, and the Red army joins the Nazi army in over- 
running Poland. All this of course is heartily welcomed 
in Berlin this morning. 

My military censor was really quite decent today. 
He let me broadcast this : " If Warsaw does not sur- 
render, it means that one of Europe's largest cities will 
be blown up by the German army and a good share 
of the human beings living there with it. Certainly his- 
tory knows no parallel. . . . The Germans say it is the 
Poles in Warsaw who are violating international law 
by making their civilians help defend the capital. But, 
as I say, I just can't follow the things that are hap- 
pening in this war." 

Off to the " front " tomorrow, if we can find one. 

Zoppot, near Danzig, September 18 

Drove all day long from Berlin through Pom- 
erania and the Corridor to here. The roads full of 
motorized columns of German troops returning from 
Poland. In the woods in the Corridor the sickening 
sweet smell of dead horses and the sweeter smell of dead 
men. Here, the Germans say, a whole division of Polish 
cavalry charged against hundreds of German tanks and 
was annihilated. On the pier of this summer resort 
where just five weeks ago John [Gunther] and I sat 
far into the peaceful night arguing whether the guns 
would go off or not in Europe, we watched tonight 
the battle raging around Gdynia. Far off across the sea 
you could see the sky light up when the big guns went 
off. 



1939 Danzig, September 19-20 213 

Dr. Boehmer, press chief of the Propaganda Min- 
istry in charge of this trip, insisted that I share a double 
room in the hotel here with Phillip Johnson, an Amer- 
ican fascist who says he represents Father Coughlin's 
Social Justice. None of us can stand the fellow and 
suspect he is spying on us for the Nazis. For the last 
hour in our room here he has been posing as anti-Nazi 
and trying to pump me for my attitude. I have given 
him no more than a few bored grunts. 

Danzig, September 19-20, two thirty a.m. 

Sit here in the local radio station shivering 
and waiting to broadcast at four a.m. I talked at mid- 
night, but Berlin on the phone said they did not think 
CBS picked me up. We shall try once again at four. 

Today I have had a glimpse of an actual battle, one 
of the last of the Polish war, which is as good as over. 
It was going on two miles north of Gdynia on a ridge 
that stretched for seven miles inland from the sea. 
There was something about it that was very tragic and 
at the same time grotesque. 

We stood on a hill called the Sternberg in the midst 
of the city of Gdynia under a huge — irony! — cross. 
It was a German observation post. Officers stood about, 
peering through field-glasses. Across the city over the 
roofs of the modern buildings of this model new town 
that was the hope of Poland we watched the battle going 
on two miles to the north. We had been awakened this 
morning in our beds in a hotel at Zoppot by it. At 
six a.m. the windows in my room shook. The German 
battleship Schleswig-Holstem, anchored in Danzig, was 
firing shells from its eleven-inch guns over our heads. 
And now, we could see, the Germans had the Poles sur- 
rounded on three sides, and the sea, from which German 



2H 1939 Danzig, September 19-20 

destroyers were peppering them, cut them off on the 
fourth. The Germans were using everything in the way 
of weapons, big guns, small guns, tanks, and airplanes. 
The Poles had nothing but machine-guns, rifles, and 
two anti-aircraft pieces which they were trying desper- 
ately to use as artillery against German machine-gun 
posts and German tanks. You could hear the deep roar 
of the German artillery and the rat-tat-tat of the 
machine-guns on both sides. The Poles — we gathered 
from the sound of their fire, because you could see very 
little, even through glasses — not only were defending 
themselves from trenches and behind clumps of bushes 
but were using every building they held as machine- 
gun nests. They had turned two large buildings, one 
an officers' school, the other the Gdynia radio station, 
into fortresses and were firing machine-guns from sev- 
eral of the windows. After a half -hour a German shell 
struck the roof of the school and set it on fire. Then 
German infantry, supported — or through the glasses 
it looked as though they were led — by tanks, charged 
up the hill and surrounded the building. But they did 
not take it. The Poles kept machine-gunning them from 
the basement windows of the burning building. Des- 
perate and brave the Poles were. A German seaplane 
hovered over the ridge, spotting for the artillery. Later 
a bombing plane joined it and they dived low, machine- 
gunning the Polish lines. Finally a squadron of Nazi 
bombers appeared. 

It was a hopeless position for the Poles. And yet they 
fought on. The German officers with us kept praising 
their courage. Directly below us in Gdynia's streets, 
women and children stood about, sullen and silent, 
watching the unequal battle. Before some of the build- 
ings long lines of Poles stood waiting for food. Before 



1939 Danzig, September 19-20 215 

mounting the hill I had noted the terrible bitterness in 
their faces, especially in those of the women. 

We watched the battle until noon. In that time the 
Germans must have advanced about a quarter of a mile. 
Their infantry, their tanks, their artillery, their signal 
corps, all seemed to work as a precise machine. There 
was not the slightest sign of strain or excitement in the 
German officers at our observation post. Very business- 
like they were, reminding me of the coaches of a cham- 
pionship football team who sit on the sidelines and 
calmly and confidently watch the machine they've 
created perform as they knew all the time it would. 

As we prepared to go, Joe [Barnes] turned to me. 
" Tragic and grotesque," he said. It was, all right. 
The unequal battle, the dazed civilians in the streets 
below — ■ tragic indeed. And grotesque the spectacle of 
us, with little danger to ourselves, standing there watch- 
ing the killing as though it were a football game and 
we nicely placed in the grand-stand. Grotesque, too, to 
have a grand-stand seat from which to watch the women 
in the streets below, for whom all the thunder of the 
guns that we were hearing was a bitter personal tragedy. 

As we left I asked an officer about the Polish artillery. 

" They haven't any," he said. " If they had just one 
' 75,' they could have blown us all to bits. It's only two 
miles over there, and this would have been a natural 
target." 

We drove to the Westerplatte, a small island between 
Danzig and the sea which had been used by the Poles 
as a supply depot. For five days a small Polish garrison 
had held out on the island against the eleven-inch guns 
of the Schleswig-Holstein firing at point-blank range 
and Stukas dropping five-hundred-pound bombs. Even 
the Germans recognized its bravery, and when the Poles 



216 1939 Danzig, September 19-20 

finally surrendered, their commander was allowed to 
keep his sword. Today the Westerplatte looked like 
the wasteland around Verdun. Interesting: the bombs 
tossed by the Stukas were more deadly and more ac- 
curate than the shells from the old battleship. A round 
Polish bunker not over forty feet in diameter had re- 
ceived two direct hits from five-hundred-pound bombs. 
The ten-foot thickness of concrete and steel had been 
torn to pieces like tissue paper. Near by we saw the 
graves of what was left of the Poles who had been in- 
side. 

In the afternoon we drove to the Danzig Guild Hall, 
a Gothic building of great beauty, to hear Hitler make 
his first speech since his Reichstag address of Septem- 
ber 1 started off the war. I had a seat on the aisle, and 
as he strode past me to the rostrum I thought he looked 
more imperious than I had ever seen him. Also he was 
about as angry during his speech as I've ever seen him. 
When he spoke of Britain his face flamed up in hyster- 
ical rage. Afterwards a Nazi acquaintance confided to 
me that the " old man " was in a terrible rage because 
he had counted on making today's speech in Warsaw, 
that he had waited three or four days outside the Polish 
capital, burning to enter it like a conquering Caesar 
and make his speech of victory, and that when the Poles 
inside refused to surrender and each day continued their 
stubborn resistance, his patience had cracked and he 
rushed to Danzig to make his speech. He had to talk ! 
We had expected Hitler to offer peace to the West and 
announce what the future of Poland would be. He did 
neither, merely remarking that Poland would never be 
re-created on the Versailles model and that he had no 
war aims against Britain and France, but would fight 
them if they continued the war. When Hitler brushed 
past me going down the aisle, he was followed by 



1939 Berlin, September 20 M7 

Himmler, Bruckner, Keitel, and several others, all in 
dusty field-grey. Most of them were unshaven and I 
must say they looked like a pack of Chicago gangsters. 
Himmler, who is responsible for Hitler's protection, 
kept shoving people back in the aisle, muttering at 
them. The army, I hear, would like to get rid of him, 
but fear to do so. The black-out was called off here 
tonight. It was good to see the lights again. 

Beklin, September 20 

Hitler lent us one of his thirty-two-passenger 
planes to bring us back from Danzig. Tonight the 
press talks openly of peace. Says the Frankfurter 
Zeitung: "Why should England and France waste 
their blood against our Westwall? Since the Polish 
state has ceased to exist, the treaties of alliance with it 
have no more sense." All the Germans I've talked to 
today are dead sure we shall have peace within a month. 
They are in high spirits. When I said to some of them 
today that the best time to have wanted peace was three 
weeks ago, before Hitler attacked Poland, and that 
maybe the British and French wouldn't make peace 
now, they looked at me as if I were crazy. Peace now, 
I feel, would only be an armistice during which Hitler 
would further undermine the spirit of resistance in the 
democracies and strengthen his own armed forces until 
the day when he felt sure he could overrun the west of 
Europe. 

The battle which is nearly over west of Warsaw and 
which will probably go down in history as the Battle 
of Kutno is a second Tannenberg. I asked a General 
Staff officer about that today. He gave me some figures. 
At Tannenberg the Russians lost 92,000 prisoners and 
28,000 dead. Yesterday at Kutno alone the Germans 



218 1939 Berlin, September 20 

took 105,000 Polish prisoners; the day before, 50,000. 
The High Command, usually sparse with its adjectives, 
calls Kutno " one of the most destructive battles of all 
time." After my brief look at the front it is plain, 
though, what has happened to the Poles. They have had 
no defence against the devastating attacks of the Ger- 
man bombers and the German tanks. They pitted a 
fairly good army by World War standards against a 
1939 mechanized and motorized force which simply 
drove around them and through them. The German air 
force in the meantime destroyed their communications. 
The Polish High Command, it is true, seems to have 
had no idea of what it was up against. Why it kept 
its best army around Posen even to begin with, not to 
mention after the Germans had got behind Warsaw, 
mystifies even us amateur strategists. Had the Poles 
withdrawn behind the Vistula the first week of the war, 
they might have held out until winter, when the mud 
and the snow would have stopped the Germans. 

Two bomb explosions in Berlin last Sunday night, 
one in front of the Air Ministry, the other in the entry- 
way of secret-police headquarters in the Alexander- 
platz. No mention of them, of course, in the press or on 
the radio. The perpetrators got away in the black-out. 

If the war goes on, it is still a question in my mind 
whether the mass of the people won't swing behind the 
regime. The people, who are very patriotic, and are be- 
ing fed a terrific barrage of propaganda about England 
alone being responsible for the war, may get the gen- 
eral idea that they have to " defend the Fatherland." 
I have still to find a German, even among those who 
don't like the regime, who sees anything wrong in the 
German destruction of Poland. All the moral attitudes 
of the outside world regarding the aggression against 
Poland find little echo among the people here. People 



1939 Bee lin, September 21 £19 

of all classes, women as well as men, have gathered in 
front of the windows in Berlin for a fortnight and ap- 
provingly gazed at the maps in which little red pins 
showed the victorious advance of the German troops in 
Poland. As long as the Germans are successful and do 
not have to pull in their belts too much, this will not 
be an unpopular war. 

In the Saar village of Ottweiler yesterday the Ger- 
mans buried with full military honours Lieutenant Louis 
Paul Dechanel of the French army. His father had 
been President of France. He was killed leading a de- 
tachment against the Westwall. At his burial a Ger- 
man military band played the Marseillaise. The Ger- 
mans took a news-reel of the ceremony and will use it 
in their propaganda to show the French they haven't 
anything against France. The hell with radio. Just 
learned my Danzig broadcast did not get through. 

Berlin, September 21 

In an order of the day to his troops last night 
General von Brauchitsch, the commander-in-chief of 
the army, announced that the operations against Po- 
land were concluded. Thus ends the " counter-attack." 
In eighteen days this amazing fighting machine which 
is the German army has overrun Poland, annihilated 
its armies, chased its government from Polish soil. But 
Warsaw still holds out gallantly. 

Heard President Roosevelt ask the special session of 
Congress to repeal the neutrality law and allow cash- 
and-carry goods to be sold to those who could buy — 
France and Britain. Hardly had the President stopped 
talking before the Wilhelmstrasse issued a statement to 
the foreign press charging the President with being 
unneutral. Last summer I tried to find out whether 



1939 Berlin, September 22 



America came into the calculations of the Nazis at all. 
I couldn't find any evidence that they gave a damn 
about us. 1914-17 all over again. But now they're be- 
ginning to think about us. 

Great hopes here that Russia will help Germany to 
survive the blockade. First, I can't understand Hitler's 
putting himself in a position where his very existence 
depends upon the good graces of Stalin. Second, I 
can't understand the Soviets pulling Nazi Germany's 
chestnuts out of the fire. 

The war, maybe, is just beginning, even though the 
Germans, after annihilating Poland, would like to see 
it ended. Wonder why Hitler said at Danzig two nights 
ago — and the press echoed it — " We will never ca- 
pitulate." Why bring up the subject when your posi- 
tion looks so strong? Talked to Tess. She is better and 
is running the Geneva office in my absence. 



Berlin, September 22 

The D.A.Z., commenting on Roosevelt's mes- 
sage asking for the repeal of the neutrality law, says 
tonight : " America is not Roosevelt, and Roosevelt must 
reckon with the American people." Yesterday the B.Z. 
saw some hope in what it called the " Front of Reason " 
in America. In that front it put Senators Borah and 
Clark, Colonel Lindbergh, and Father Coughlin ! 



Beelin, September 23 

General von Fritsch, the man who built up the 
modern German army and then retired just before the 
Anschluss because of a fight with Hitler over attacking 



1939 Berlin, September 24 



Austria, which he opposed, has been killed in action be- 
fore Warsaw. A little strange. He had no command 
but was with the regiment of which he is honorary 
colonel. 

Starting day after tomorrow, new ration cards for 
food. The German people will now get per week: one 
pound of meat, five pounds of bread, three quarters of 
a pound of fats, three quarters of a pound of sugar, 
and a pound of ersatz coffee made of roasted barley 
seeds. Heavy labourers are to get double rations, and 
Dr. Goebbels — clever man ! — has decided to classify 
us foreign correspondents as heavy labourers. 

Berlin, September 24 

The High Command, reviewing the Polish 
campaign, says the fate of Poland was really decided in 
eight days. By that time the German army had already 
obtained its main strategical object, the trapping of 
the main part of the Polish forces within the great el- 
bow of the Vistula River. Some other things : 450,000 
Polish troops captured, 1,200 guns taken, and 800 air- 
planes either destroyed or captured ; and at the end of 
eighteen days of fighting not a single Polish division^ 
not even a brigade, was left intact. 

Dr. Goebbels convoked a special press conference this 
morning. We piled over to the Propaganda Ministry 
thinking maybe peace had come, or something. The 
little Doktor stalked in, snorting like a bull, and pro- 
ceeded to devote his entire time to an attack on Knicker- 
bocker, whom he called " an international liar and 
counterfeiter." The Doc said that he himself, as a 
journalist, had never defamed anyone in his life ! Seems 
Knick published a story saying the top Nazis had de- 



1939 Berlin, September 26 



posited gold abroad to guard against a rainy day in 
case they lost the war. This made Doktor G. furious. 
He revealed he had broadcast from the German short- 
wave stations Thursday night ( September 21 ) a call to 
Knick offering him ten per cent of any sum he could 
prove the Nazis had salted abroad. A curious offer. He 
said he gave him until Saturday night (last night) to 
prove it. Apparently Knick was at sea, bound for New 
York. The story around here is that Knick radioed 
back that as with all German ultimatums the time limit 
had expired before he received it. 

Berlin, September 26 

They buried General von Fritsch here this 
morning. It rained, it was cold and dark — one of the 
dreariest days I can remember in Berlin. Hitler did 
not show up, nor Ribbentrop, nor Himmler, though 
they all returned to Berlin from the front this after- 
noon. The official death notices in the papers omitted 
the usual " Died for Fiihrer " and said only : " Died 
for the Fatherland." Yesterday after Goebbels had 
finished fuming, some of us correspondents gathered in 
the street outside and concluded that Fritsch was either 
shot by order of Himmler, his mortal enemy, or was so 
disgusted with life and the state to which Hitler had 
led Germany (disgusted perhaps too at the senseless 
slaughter by German bombs and shells of the women 
and children in Warsaw?) that he deliberately sought 
to be killed ; that is, committed suicide. What, we asked, 
was a general of his rank doing in the front line out- 
side of Warsaw, where the snipers have been picking 
off German troops at an alarming rate? Actually, I 
hear, he was killed while advancing with a small detach- 
ment of scouts up a street in a suburb across the Vistula 



1939 Berlin, September 26 



from the capital. A curious thing for Germany's great- 
est modern military figure to be doing. 1 

Hitler showed a typical smallness in declining to at- 
tend the funeral. He cannot forgive a man who has 
crossed him, even in death. He could not forgive von 
Kahr, who suppressed his beer-house Putsch in 1923, 
and so had him shot in the 1934) purge. 

The war comes home to more and more families that 
you know. Fraulein T. lost her brother yesterday in 
Poland. In the World War she had lost her father and 
another brother. The papers full of the little adver- 
tisements that are the official death notices inserted by 
families in Germany. About half omit the "Died for 
Fuhrer" expression, retaining only the "Died for the 
Fatherland." It is one of the few ways of showing your 
feelings towards Hitler. 

Germany, now that it has destroyed Poland, would 
like peace with the West. Big peace offensive started 
today. Newspapers, radio full of it. The line : Why do 
France and Britain want to fight now? Nothing to 
fight about. Germany wants nothing in the West. 

Later. — Seven members of the American 
consulate staff in Warsaw arrived here tonight and we 
had drinks in the Adlon bar. They told a terrible tale 
of the bombardment of the city and the slaughter of the 
civilian population. Some of them seemed still shell- 
shocked. They got out during a temporary truce be- 
tween the Germans and the Poles. One German shell 
scored a direct hit on the consulate, but fortunately the 

1 Many months later I learned from an unimpeachable source that 
Fritsch did seek death and that three letters he wrote shortly before 
the action proved it. It is said in German army circles that his wound, 
though serious, would in all probability not have caused his death 
had he not refused the pleas of his adjutant to let himself be carried 
to the rear. He would not listen to it. He bled to death. 



084 1939 Beelin, September 27 

staff had taken refuge in the cellars of the Embassy. 

New restrictions today on clothing. If I order a new 
suit, my tailor must make it out of a piece of cloth 
exactly 3.1 metres by 144 centimetres.* Also the papers 
inform us we can no longer get our shoes half-soled. 
No more leather. We must wait for a new substitute 
material not yet out. 

Also, how to shave? A decree says you can have only 
one piece of shaving soap or one tube of shaving cream 
during the next four months. I shall start a beard. 

Beblin, September 27 

Warsaw capitulated today after a heroic but 
hopeless stand. The High Command says the Polish 
commander offered to surrender this morning after he 
had been " impressed by the German attack." 

In the first battle between a naval fleet and airplanes 
(for years the admirals and air commanders have 
fought out on paper the question whether a fleet is vul- 
nerable to air attack) the Germans today claim to have 
destroyed a British aircraft-carrier and damaged a 
battleship without losing a single plane. 

I went to the State Opera tonight before my broad- 
cast, George Kidd of U.P. suggesting it would be good 
for our nerves. It was the opening night of the season 
and the piece an old favourite, Weber's Freischiitz. I 
was a little surprised at the state of my nerves. I could 
not sit through it. I could not stand the sight of all the 
satisfied burghers, men and women, many of them in 
evening dress, and even the music didn't sound right. 
Amusing only was a special sheet of paper in the pro- 
gram instructing what to do in case of an air-raid 
alarm. Since there is no cellar in the Opera, a map 
i About 3.3 by 1.5 yards. 



1939 Berlin, September 28 %%5 

showed me how to get to my cellar, which was Number 
One Keller. The alarm, the instructions said, would be 
announced from the stage. I was then to keep calm, call 
for my hat and coat at the Garderobe, and proceed to 
the cellar. At the all-clear I was to return to the Opera, 
check my hat and coat, and the opera would go on from 
where it left off. There was no alarm. 

Ribbentrop is in Moscow and we wonder what he's 
up to. 

Berlin, September 28 

At midnight tonight I did a microphone inter- 
view with Germany's ace submarine skipper, Captain 
Herbert Schultze. It turned out much better than I 
expected. During the afternoon and evening I had had 
many doubts and a big headache. With the help of 
some naval officer friends, I cornered Schultze in the 
Admiralty this afternoon. He was just back from his 
first " killing." He turned out to be a clean-cut fellow 
of thirty, hard as nails and full of that bluff self-con- 
fidence which you get, I suppose, when you gamble daily 
with your own life and the lives of others. 

He was a little afraid of his English, he said, and 
after listening to a specimen, I was too. In fact, I 
couldn't understand a word he said and we had to con- 
verse in German. Someone suggested that his English 
would improve during the afternoon, that he was merely 
a little rusty. This offered hope, and I cabled New York 
that the interview was on for tonight. I put my ques- 
tions to him and the captain sat down to write out 
answers in German. When he had finished a page, I 
dictated an English translation to an Admiralty secre- 
tary who for some reason wrote English faultlessly but 
had great difficulty in understanding it when spoken. 



226 1939 Berlin, September 28 

We sweated away all afternoon — four hours — and 
finally achieved a fifteen-minute script. 

There were two points in the script, the very ones 
which made it most interesting, which added to my own 
perspiration. The captain told a story of how he had 
torpedoed the British ship Royal Sceptre, but, at the 
risk of his own skin, had arranged rescue of those 
aboard by another British vessel, the Browning. Now, 
a few days before, I remembered, London had reported 
that the Royal Sceptre had been torpedoed without 
warning and that the crew and passengers, numbering 
sixty, had presumably perished. I wondered who was 
right. 

Captain Schultze, as we worked out our interview, 
also mentioned that he was the U-boat commander who 
had sent a saucy radio message to Mr. Winston Church- 
ill advising him of the location of a British ship which 
he had just sunk so that the First Lord might save the 
crew. But only a day or two before, Mr. Churchill had 
told the House of Commons that the German submarine 
commander who had sent him that message had been 
captured and was now a prisoner of His Majesty's 
government. 

I reminded the captain of that, and asked him if he 
could give me the text of his message. His logbook was 
at Kiel, but we telephoned there and had the message 
read back to us. That made me feel a little better. 
Shortly before the broadcast this evening something 
else happened which made me feel better still. As we 
were leaving the Admiralty, an officer brought us a 
Reuter dispatch saying that the Browning had just 
landed at Bahia, Brazil, with the crew and passengers 
of the Royal Sceptre all safe. 

One good break followed another. To my surprise, 
as our broadcast got under way, the captain's English 



1939 Berlin, September 29 .mi 

did indeed improve, just as predicted. His accent was 
terrific, but in some way his words poured out very dis- 
tinctly. You could understand every syllable. Most 
men of his type, I've found, when put before a micro- 
phone, read their lines mechanically. But to my delight 
he proved to be a natural speaker, talking as though we 
had never written a line. 1 



Berlin, September 29 

Germany's peace offensive is now to be backed 
by Russia. 

In Moscow last night Ribbentrop and Molotov 
signed a treaty and a declaration of purpose. The text 
of the latter tells the whole story : 

" After the German government and the government 
of the U.S.S.R., through a treaty signed today, def- 
initely solved questions resulting from the disintegra- 
tion of the Polish state and thereby established a secure 
foundation for permanent peace in eastern Europe, 
they jointly voice their opinion that it would be in the 
interest of all nations to bring to an end the state of 
war presently existing between Germany and Britain 
and France. Both governments therefore will concen- 
trate their efforts, if necessary, in co-operation with 
other friendly powers, towards reaching this goal. 

" Should, however, the effort of both governments 
remain unsuccessful, the fact would thereby be estab- 
lished that Britain and France are responsible for a con- 
tinuation of the war, in which case the governments of 
Germany and Russia will consult each other as to nec- 
essary measures." 

i Later the British Admiralty confirmed his version of both the 
Royal Sceptre episode and the saucy message to Mr. Churchill, in- 
cluding the fact that Schultze had not been captured. 



1939 Berlin, September 30 



This is ludicrous, but may mean that Russia comes 
into the war on the side of Germany. The same Nazi 
circles which last August said that Britain and France 
wouldn't fight after the first Nazi-Soviet accord, to- 
night were sure that the two democracies would agree 
to stop the war now. They .may be wrong again, though 
I'm not quite sure. 

Berlin, September 30 

The talk of peace dominates all else here to- 
day. The Germans are sure of it, and one of the secre- 
taries of the Soviet Embassy told me today Moscow was 
too. He said London and Paris would jump at the 
chance for peace now. The Volkische Beobachter ob- 
serves today : " All Europe awaits the word of peace 
from London. Woe to them who refuse it. They will 
some day be stoned by their own people." 

Did a four-way broadcast with London, Paris, and 
New York tonight, but seeing the show was running 
late, I slashed my part so much it didn't make much 
sense. 

Ciano to see Hitler here tomorrow. Talk of the Ger- 
mans using him to pressure London and Paris to make 
peace. 

Berlin, October 2 

Just heard the BBC announce that English 
planes had flown over Berlin last night. A surprise to 
us here. No air-raid alarm. No sound of planes. But 
they're all lying these days. The Germans say they've 
sunk the Ark Royal, for instance. 

The family of Eleanor K., a naturalized American 
girl of German parentage who has been very helpful 



1939 Berlin, October 2 



to me here for years, has been after me since yesterday 
to do something about locating her. She left Amster- 
dam for Berlin a few days ago, but failed to arrive. I 
went over to the consulate today and got G. to put 
through a blitz call to the German secret police at the 
Dutch border. Answer: Eleanor is under arrest there. 
How shall I explain that to her family ? 

The local enthusiasm for peace a little dampened to- 
day by Churchill's broadcast last night. I have been 
wondering about that one tube of shaving cream my 
ration gives me for the next four months. My beard 
will be pink. 

A. blew in Saturday (September 30) accompanied 
by an American girl he had met in Warsaw. They had 
been wandering in the wilds of eastern Poland for three 
weeks — between the German and Russian armies. He 
said they had lived for days on stale bread, wandering 
from village to village. Stale bread was all the peasants 
would sell them, though they had butter and eggs and 
meat. Most villages had already set up local Soviets. 
A., who never loved the Poles and rather liked the Nazis, 
says whole villages in eastern Poland far off the beaten 
track, off the railroads and main roads, villages with no 
military importance whatsoever, have been destroyed 
by the German Luftwaffe for no reason he could think 
of. He says the German planes would often dive on 
lone peasant women in lonely fields and toss a bomb on 
them or machine-gun them. He saw the bodies. A. and 
his lady friend finally made their way to the German 
lines, rode for several days in open box-cars with Ger- 
man refugees, and eventually got to Germany. 

Whitey, back from Poland, says he flew over Warsaw 
Saturday (September 30) and it was in flames. What 
few buildings he could see in the heart of town that 
weren't burning were in ruins. He thinks tens of thou- 



230 1939 Berlin, October 4 

sands of civilians in the city have perished. He spent 
three days with the Soviet army, but was not greatly 
impressed. He was struck by the number of women in 
the Red army. Whitey took part in a peculiar mission. 
Goring had a report that several German airmen cap- 
tured by the Poles had been murdered in a concentra- 
tion camp near the Russian border. Four German 
planes, one with Whitey and some German officers, the 
other three loaded with coffins, set off to find the bodies. 
They dug up graves all over eastern Poland, but never 
the right ones. Finally in a field they thought they 
had at last discovered what they were after. There was 
a big mound, freshly covered over. They dug furiously. 
They found — fifty dead horses. 

Berlin, October 4 

Two choice press bits today: The 12-Uhr 
Blatt headline in red ink all over page 1 : "ENG- 
LAND'S RESPONSIBILITY - FOR THE OUT- 
RAGEOUS PROVOKING OF WARSAW TO 
DEFEND ITSELF." The Nachtamgabe's editorial, ar- 
guing that America is not nearly so anxious to join the 
war " as are Herr Roosevelt and his Jewish camarilla." 

Berlin, October 5 

Reichstag tomorrow. Hitler is expected to 
offer peace terms. No one expects them to be very gen- 
erous. He himself flew to Warsaw today to hold a tri- 
umphant review of his troops. He made a speech to his 
soldiers, the speech of a conquering Csesar. 

The people here certainly want peace. The govern- 
ment may want it for the moment. Will Britain and 
France make it now, and then maybe next year have 
to mobilize again? Hitler has won the war in Poland 



1939 Beelo, October 6 231 

and lost the peace there — to Russia. The Soviets, 
without a fight, get nearly half of Poland and a strangle- 
hold on the Baltic states and now block Germany from 
its two main goals in the east, Ukrainian wheat and 
Rumanian oil. Hitler is hastily withdrawing all Ger- 
mans from the Baltic states, where most of them have 
been settled for centuries. Estonia has capitulated to 
Moscow and agreed to the Soviets' building an air and 
naval base on its soil. The foreign ministers of Latvia 
and Lithuania are shuttling back and forth between 
their capitals and Moscow trying to save the pieces. 
And once the Soviets get a wedge in these Baltic states, 
how soon will they go Bolshevik? Soon. Soon. 

Berlin, October 6 

Hitler delivered his much advertised " peace 
proposals " in the Reichstag at noon today. I went 
over and watched the show, my nth. He delivered his 
" peace proposals," and they were almost identical with 
those I've heard him offer from the same rostrum after 
every conquest he has made since the march into the 
Rhineland in 1936. These must have been about the 
fifth. And though they were the fifth at least, and just 
like the others, and just as sincerely spoken, most Ger- 
mans I've talked to since seem aghast if you suggest that 
perhaps the outside world will put no more trust in them 
than they have learned by bitter experience to put in 
the others. 

Hitler offered peace in the west if Britain and France 
stay out of Germany's Lebensraum in eastern Europe. 
The future of Poland he left in doubt, though he said 
Poland would never again endanger (!) German in- 
terests. In other words, a slave Poland, similar to the 
present slave Bohemia. 



1939 Berlin, October 6 



I doubt very much if England and France will listen 
to these " proposals " for five minutes, though some of 
my colleagues think so on the ground that, now that 
Russia has come up against Germany on a long front 
and this past week has been busy establishing herself 
in the Baltic states, it would be smart of London and 
Paris to conclude peace and sit back until Germany and 
Russia clash in eastern Europe. Pertinax wrote a few 
months ago that the German problem would never be 
settled until Germany had a barrier on the East that 
it knew it could not break. Then it would stop being 
expansive, stop disturbing the rest of Europe, and turn 
its undoubted talents and energy to more peaceful pur- 
suits. Russia might provide that barrier. At any rate 
Russia is the winner in this war so far and Hitler is 
entirely dependent upon the good graces of Stalin, who 
undoubtedly has no good graces for anyone but him- 
self and Russia. 

Hitler was calmer today than usual. There was much 
joviality but little enthusiasm among the rubber-stamp 
Reichstag deputies except when he boasted of German 
strength. Such a boast sets any German on fire. The 
members of the Cabinet — up on the stage where the 
opera singers used to perform — stood about before 
the session chatting easily, Ribbentrop with Admiral 
Raeder, Dr. Goebbels with von Neurath, etc. Most of 
the deputies I talked to afterwards took for granted 
that peace was assured. It was a lovely fall day, cold 
and sunny, which seemed to contribute to everybody's 
good feelings. As I walked over to the Reichstag (held 
as usual in the Kroll Opera) through the Tiergarten 
I noticed batteries of anti-aircraft everywhere. 

The early edition of tomorrow morning's Volkische 
Beobachter, Hitler's own sabre-rattler among the jour- 
nals, seems transformed into a dove of peace. Its flam- 



1939 Bex lin, October 8 233 

ing headlines: "GERMANY'S WILL FOR PEACE - 
NO WAR AIMS AGAINST FRANCE AND ENG- 
LAND-NO MORE REVISION CLAIMS EXCEPT 
COLONIES - REDUCTION OF ARMAMENTS - 
CO-OPERATION WITH ALL NATIONS OF 
EUROPE - PROPOSAL FOR A CONFERENCE." 
If the Nazis were sincere they might have spoken 
this sweet language before the " counter-attack " was 
launched. 



Berlin, October 8 

A whole page of paid death notices in the 
Volkische Beobachter today. How many only sons lost ! 
Two typical notices : " In a hero's death for Ftihrer, 
Volk and Vaterland, there died on September 18, in the 
fighting in Poland, my beloved only son, aged 22." And 
" For his beloved Fatherland, there fell on Septem- 
ber 20 in the battle around Kutno my only son, aged 
25." Both notices signed by the mother. 

I leave tomorrow for Geneva to recover my senses 
and fetch some winter clothing, as the weather has 
turned cold. I did not bring any winter things when I 
left Geneva exactly two months ago. I did not know. 
Two months ! What an age it seems. How dim in mem- 
ory the time when there was peace. That world ended, 
and for me, on the whole, despite its faults, its injustices, 
its inequalities, it was a good one. I came of age in that 
one, and the life it gave was free, civilized, deepening, 
full of minor tragedy and joy and work and leisure, 
new lands, new faces — and rarely commonplace and 
never without hope. 

And now darkness. A new world. Black-out, bombs, 
slaughter, Nazism. Now the night and the shrieks and 
barbarism. 



$34- 1939 Geneva, October 10 

Geneva, October 10 

Home at last for two or three days. The sen- 
sation indescribable. The baby asleep when I arrived 
tonight; her face on the pillow, sleeping. Tess at the 
station, pretty and . . . She drove us home — De- 
maree Bess, who had come down from Berlin with me, 
and Dorothy. It was strange driving through Geneva 
town to see the blinding street-lights, the blazing store- 
windows, the full headlights on the cars — after sis 
weeks in blacked-out Berlin. Strange and beautiful. 

In Basel this noon Demaree and I stuffed ourselves 
shamefully with food. We ordered a huge dish of butter 
just to look at it, and Russian eggs and an enormous 
steak and cheese and dessert and several litres of wine 
and then cognac and coffee — a feast ! And no food 
cards to give in. All the way down in the train from 
Basel we felt good. The mountains, the chalets on the 
hillsides, even the sturdy Swiss looked like something 
out of paradise. 

Coming up the Rhine from Karlsruhe to Basel this 
morning, we skirted the French frontier for a hundred 
miles. No sign of war and the train crew told me not a 
shot had been fired on this front since the war began. 
Where the train ran along the Rhine, we could see the 
French bunkers and at many places great mats behind 
which the French were building fortifications. Identical 
picture on the German side. The troops seemed to be 
observing an armistice. They went about their business 
in full sight and range of each other. For that matter, 
one blast from a French " 75 " could have liquidated our 
train. The Germans were hauling up guns and supplies 
on the railroad line, but the French did not disturb 
them. 

Queer kind of war. 



1939 Berlin, October 15 235 

.... ■■ — .... ..- ... * 

Geneva, October 11 

A curious sensation to see the Swiss papers 
reporting both sides of the war. If you had that in the 
dictatorships, maybe the Caesars couldn't go to war so 
easily. Much fun romping around with Eileen and 
Tess. Coming down with a cold. No heat in the houses 
here yet. 



Berlin, October 15 

Back again, depressed, the week in Switzer- 
land over in no time. Of my three and a half days in 
Geneva, two spent down with a cold and fever and one 
preparing a broadcast which never got through because 
of atmospherics. But it was grand just the same. Tess 
came along as far as Neuchatel in the train and it was 
sad parting in the little station above the lake there. 
Swiss train full of soldiers. The country has one tenth 
of its population under arms; more than any other 
country in the world. It's not their war. But they're 
ready to fight to defend their way of life. I asked a fat 
businessman in my compartment whether he wouldn't 
prefer peace at any price (business is ruined in a Switz- 
erland completely surrounded by belligerents and with 
every able-bodied man in the army) so that he could 
make money again. 

" Not the kind of peace that Hitler offers," he said. 
" Or the kind of peace we've been having the last five 
years." 

In the early evening, coming down the Rhine, the 
same unreal front. Soldiers on both sides looking but 
not shooting. Frankfurt station in the black-out was 
a bit of a nightmare. Hundreds of people, many of 
them soldiers, milling around on the almost pitch-dark 



1939 Berlin, October 15 



platform trying to get on the train, stumbling over 
baggage and into one another. I had a sleeping-car 
reservation but could not find the car in the darkness 
and went back to my coach, sitting through the night 
until Berlin. The corridor of the blacked-out train 
packed with people who stood up all night in the dark- 
ness. 

At Anhalter station I bought the morning pa- 
pers. Big news. "GERMAN SUB SINKS BRITISH 
BATTLESHIP'ROYAL OAK'!" British Admiralty ad- 
mits it. That's a blow. Wonder how it was done. And 
where? 

Later. — Russell Hill, a very intelligent 
youth of twenty-one who divides his time between broad- 
casting for us and being assistant correspondent of the 
Herald Tribune, tells me that Wednesday (October 11) 
a false report of an armistice caused scenes of great re- 
joicing all over Berlin. Early in the morning, he says, 
a broadcast on the Berlin wave-length announced that 
the British government had fallen and that there would 
be an immediate armistice. The fat old women in the 
vegetable markets, Russell reports, tossed their cab- 
bages into the air, wrecked their own stands in sheer 
joy, and made for the nearest pub to toast the peace 
with Schnaps. The awakening that afternoon when the 
Berlin radio denied the report was something terrific, 
it seems. 

My room waiter tells me there was much loud anti- 
aircraft fire heard in Berlin last night, the first since 
the war began. Propaganda Ministry explains tonight 
a German plane got lost over the city and was shot 
down. 



1939 Berlin, October 19 £37 

Berlin, October 18 

The place where the German U-boat sank the 
British battleship Royal Oak was none other than the 
middle of Scapa Flow, Britain's greatest naval base! 
It sounds incredible. A World War submarine com- 
mander told me tonight that the Germans tried twice 
to get a U-boat into Scapa Flow during the last war, 
but both attemps failed and the submarines were lost. 
Captain Prien, commander of the submarine, came 
tripping into our afternoon press conference at the 
Propaganda Ministry this afternoon, followed by his 
crew — boys of e'ghteen, nineteen, twenty. Prien is 
thirty, clean-cut, cocky, a fanatical Nazi, and obviously 
capable. Introduced by Hitler's press chief, Dr. Diet^ 
trich, who kept cursing the English and calling Church- 
ill a liar, Prien told us little of how he did it. He said he 
had no trouble getting past the boom protecting the 
bay. I got the impression, though he said nothing to 
justify it, that he must have followed a British craft, 
perhaps a mine-sweeper, into the base. British negli- 
gence must have been something terrific. 

Berlin, October 19 

Germans shut both NBC and us off the air 
this noon. I saw Hill's script beforehand and approved 
it. The Nazi censor maintained it would create a bad 
impression abroad. In the afternoon I called on Dr. 
Boehmer and told him we would stop broadcasting al- 
together if today's action meant we could only talk 
about matters which created a nice impression. He as- 
sured me it was all a mistake. Tonight for my broad- 
cast the censor let me say what I wanted. The High 
Command tonight issues a detailed report of what has 



1939 B eel in, October 21 



been happening on that mysterious western front. 
Nothing much at all has happened, it says, and I'm 
inclined to believe it, though Paris has swamped Amer- 
ica for weeks with wild tales of a great French offensive 
against the Westwall. High Command says German 
losses up to October 17 in the west have been 196 killed, 
114 missing, 356 wounded. Which tends to prove how 
local the action there has been. I'm almost convinced 
that the German army tells the truth in regard to its 
actions. The navy exaggerates, the air force simply 
lies. 

Berlin, October 21 

The Wilhelmstrasse furious at the Turks for 
signing a mutual-assistance pact with the British day 
before yesterday. Papen jerked back here hurriedly 
and was called before the master, my spies tell me, for 
a dressing-down. It's the first diplomatic blow the Ger- 
mans have taken in a long time. They don't like blows. 

Berlin, October 22 

Eintopf — one-pot — day — this Sunday. 
Which means all you can get for lunch is a cheap stew. 
But you pay the price of a big meal for it, the difference 
going to the Winter Relief, or so they say. Actually it 
goes into the war chest. Suddenly and without warning 
at eight fifteen tonight Goebbels went on the air and 
blasted away at Churchill, accusing him of having sunk 
the Athenia. He called Churchill a liar a dozen times 
and kept shouting : " Your impudent lies, Herr Church- 
ill ! Your infernal lies ! " From Goebbels ! 



1939 Berlin, October 29 



Berlin, October 24 

The German people who have been hoping 
for peace until the bitter end were finally told tonight 
by Ribbentrop in a speech at Danzig that the war will 
now have to be fought to a finish. I suppose every gov- 
ernment that has ever gone to war has tried to convince 
its people of three things : (1) that right is on its side ; 

(2) that it is fighting purely in defence of the nation ; 

(3) that it is sure to win. The Nazis are certainly try- 
ing to pound these three points into the skins of the 
people. Modern propaganda technique, especially the 
radio, certainly helps them. 

Three youths in Hanover who snatched a lady's 
handbag in the black-out have been sentenced to death. 

Berlin, October 28 

I hear in business circles that severe ra- 
tioning of clothing will begin next month. The truth 
is that, having no cotton and almost no wool, the Ger- 
man people must get along with what clothing they 
have until the end of the war. 

Berlin, October 29 

I've been looking into what Germans are read- 
ing these dark days. Among novels the three best-sellers 
are : (1) Gone with the Wind, translated as Vom Winde 
Verweht — ■ literally " From the Wind Blown About " ; 
(2) Cronin's Citadel; (3) Beyond Sing the Woods, by 
Trygve Gulbranssen, a young Norwegian author. Note 
that all three novels are by foreign authors, one by an 
Englishman. 

Most sought-after non-fiction books are: (1) The 



2^0 1939 Berlin, October 29 

Coloured Front, an anonymous study of the white- 
versus-Negro problem; (2) Look Up the Subject of 
England, a propaganda book about England; (3) Der 
totale Krieg, Ludendorff 's famous book about the Total 
War — very timely now; (4) Fifty Years of Germany, 
by Sven Hedin, the Swedish explorer and friend of 
Hitler; (5) So This is Poland, by von Oertzen, data 
on Poland, first published in 1928. 

Three anti-Soviet books, I'm told, are still selling 
well despite official orders to soft-pedal any anti-Soviet 
or anti-Bolshevik talk since the August pact with 
Moscow. Most popular of these books is Socialism 
Betrayed, by a former German Communist named 
Albrecht. Detective stories still hold their own in war- 
time Germany, and hastily written volumes about sub- 
marine and aerial warfare are also doing well. A Ger- 
man told me today that the only American magazine 
he could find at his news-stand this afternoon was one 
called True Love Stories, or something like that, Octo- 
ber issue. 

Theatres here doing a land-office business, playing 
mostly the classics, Goethe, Schiller, Shakespeare. 
Shaw is the most popular living playwright here now. 
Only successful German modern play on is Gerhart 
Hauptmann's new one, The Daughter of the Cathedral. 
Poor old Hauptmann, once an ardent Socialist and a 
great playwright, has now become a Nazi and a very 
senile man. 

In the movie world the big hit at the moment is Clark 
Gable in Adventure in China, as it's called here. It's 
packing them in for the fourth week at the Marmor- 
haus. A German film is lucky if it holds out a week. 

The power of radio ! My remarks about the scarcity 
of shaving soap and the probability of my having to 



1939 Berlin, November 2 24,1 

grow a beard have brought a great response from home. 
I gave up my beard after ten days. It was pink and 
straggly and everyone laughed. 



Berlin, October 30 

Bad news for the people today. Now that it 
has become cold and rainy, with snow due soon, the gov- 
ernment has decreed that only five per cent of the popu- 
lation is entitled to buy new rubbers or overshoes this 
winter. Available stocks will be rationed first to post- 
men, newsboys, and street-sweepers. 

Berlin, October 31 

Consider the words of Comrade Molotov, 
spoken before the Supreme Soviet Council in Moscow 
today, as reported here : " We stand for the scrupulous 
and punctilious observance of pacts . . . and we de- 
clare that all nonsense about Sovietizing the Baltic 
countries is only to the interest of our common enemy 
and of all anti-Soviet provocateurs." 

The secret police announced that two men were shot 
for " resisting arrest " yesterday. One of them, it is 
stated, was trying to induce some German workers to 
lay down their tools in an important armament factory. 
Himmler now has power to shoot anyone he likes with- 
out trial. 

Berlin, November 2 

General Hugh Johnson, one of the few Amer- 
icans — Lindbergh is another — often quoted in the 
Nazi press, makes the front pages here today. John- 



1939 Berlin, November 4 



son's views on the American ship City of Flint, which 
was captured by the Nazis the other day are headlined 
in the 12-Uhr Blatt: "UNCALLED-FOR INDIGNA- 
TION OVER THE 'CITY OF FLINT' - GENERAL 
JOHNSON AGAINST OBVIOUS AGITATION." 

The anti-Comintern is dead. I learn the Nazi anti- 
Comintern museum, which used to show us the horrors of 
Bolshevism here, has quietly closed down. This week the 
Nazi editor of the Contra-Komintern wrote his sub- 
scribers apologizing for the non-appearance of the 
magazine in September and explaining that it would be 
coming out under a new name. He intimated that the 
editors had ascertained that Germany's real enemies 
after all were not Bolsheviks, but Jews. " Behind all 
the enemies of Germany's ascendancy," he writes. 
" stand those who demand our encirclement — the old- 
est enemies of the German people and of all healthy, 
rising nations — the Jews." 

Berlin, November 4 

The radio people here in great secrecy had 
kindly offered to take me up to a Baltic port and let me 
broadcast the arrival of the City of Flint, which was 
scheduled for tomorrow. But the Norwegians seized it 
day before yesterday and saved me the assignment. 
The Wilhelmstrasse furious and threatening the Nor- 
wegians with dire consequences if they don't turn the 
American ship over to Germany. 



Berlin, November 5 

CBS wants me to broadcast a picture of 
Hitler at work during war-time. I've been inquiring 
around among my spies. They say : He rises early, eats 



1939 Berlin, November 5 2j^3 

his first breakfast at seven a.m. This consists usually 
of either a glass of milk or fruit- juice and two or three 
rolls, on which he spreads marmalade liberally. Like 
most Germans, he eats a second breakfast, this one at 
nine a.m. It's like the first except that he also eats a 
little fruit. He begins his working day by wading into 
state papers (a job he detests, since he hates detail 
work) and discussing the day's program with his ad- 
jutants, chiefly S.A. Leader Wilhelm Bruckner, and 
especially with his deputy, Rudolf Hess, who was once 
his private secretary and is one of the few men he trusts 
with his innermost thoughts. During the forenoon he 
usually receives the chiefs of the three armed services, 
listens to their reports and dictates decisions. With 
Goring he talks about not only air-force matters but 
general economic problems, or rather results, since he's 
not interested in details or even theories on this subject. 

Hitler eats a simple lunch, usually a vegetable stew 
or a vegetable omelet. He is of course a vegetarian, tee- 
totaller, and non-smoker. He usually invites a small 
circle to lunch, three or four adjutants, Hess, Dr. Diet- 
trich, his press chief, and sometimes Goring. A one-per- 
cent beer, brewed specially for him, is served at this 
meal, or sometimes a drink made out of kraut called 
" Herve," flavoured with a little Mosel wine. 

After lunch he returns to his study and work. More 
state papers, more conferences, often with his Foreign 
Minister, occasionally with a returned German ambas- 
sador, invariably with some party chieftain such as Dr. 
Ley or Max Amann, his old top sergeant of the World 
War and now head of the lucrative Nazi publishing 
house Eher Verlag, which gets out the VolJcische Beob- 
achter and in which Hitler is a stockholder. Late in the 
afternoon Hitler takes a stroll in the gardens back of the 
Chancellery, continuing his talk during the walk with 



844 1939 Berlin, November 7 

h . . . 

whoever had an appointment at the time. Hitler is a 
fiend for films, and on evenings when no important con- 
ferences are on or he is not overrunning a country, he 
spends a couple of hours seeing the latest movies in his 
private cinema room at the Chancellery. News-reels are 
a great favourite with him, and in the last weeks he has 
seen all those taken in the Polish war, including hun- 
dreds of thousands of feet which were filmed for the 
army archives and will never be seen by the public. He 
likes American films and many never publicly exhibited 
in Germany are shown him. A few years ago he insisted 
on having It Happened One Night run several times. 
Though he is supposed to have a passion for Wagnerian 
opera, he almost never attends the Opera here in Berlin. 
He likes the Metropol, which puts on tolerable musical 
comedies with emphasis on pretty dancing girls. Re- 
cently he had one of the girls who struck his* fancy to 
tea. But only to tea. In the evening, too, he likes to 
have in Dr. Todt, an imaginative engineer who built the 
great Autobahn network of two-lane motor roads and 
later the fortifications of the Westwall. Hitler, rushing 
to compensate what he thinks is an artistic side that was 
frustrated by non-recognition in his youthful days in 
Vienna, has a passion for architects' models and will 
spend hours fingering them with Dr. Todt. Lately, 
they say, he has even taken to designing new uniforms. 
Hitler stays up late, and sleeps badly, which I fear is 
the world's misfortune. 

Berlin, November 7 

The Queen of the Netherlands and the King 
of the Belgians have offered to mediate peace. Small 
hope. The offer coolly received here. The Dutch and 
Belgians still decline to have staff talks together. But 



1939 Be klin, November 7 %b5 

their historic neutrality, their refusal to ally themselves 
with one side or the other, may land them in the soup 
unless they junk it. Much talk here about the Germans 
pushing through Holland. This would not only turn 
the Maginot Line, but give the Germans air bases a 
hundred miles from the English coast. 

Later. — Four or five of us American cor- 
respondents had a talk with Goring tonight at — of all 
places — the Soviet Embassy, to which we had repaired 
for the annual reception on the anniversary of the Bol- 
shevik Revolution. Amid the glittering decorations and 
furnishings left over from Czarist Russia, but with the 
portrait of Lenin smiling down upon us, Goring stood 
against the buffet table sipping a beer and smoking a 
long stogey. He was in an expansive mood, and when a 
frightened adjutant reminded him he was speaking to 
the " American press," he said he didn't mind. We 
thought — naively, I suppose — that he might be re- 
sentful of the repeal a few days ago of our neutrality 
bill and of the boast at home that we would soon be sell- 
ing thousands of planes to the Allies to help beat Nazi 
Germany. He wasn't. Instead, he kidded us about our 
capacity to build planes. 

" If we could only make planes at your rate of pro- 
duction," he said, " we should be very weak. I mean 
that seriqusly. Your planes are good, but you don't 
make enough of them fast enough." 

" Well, will Germany deliver a mass attack in the air 
before these thousands of American planes are delivered 
to the Allies ? " we asked. 

He laughed. " You build your planes, and our ene- 
mies theirs, and we'll build ours, and one day you'll see 
who has been building the best and the most planes." 

The talk continued : 



21>6 1939 Berlin, November 8 

" What do you think of the general situation ? " 

" Very favourable to Germany." 

" So far your air force has only attacked British war- 
ships. Why?" 

" Warships are very important objects. And they 
give us good practice." 

" Are you going to begin bombing enemy ports ? " 

" We're humane." 

We couldn't suppress our laughter at this, where- 
upon Goring retorted : " You shouldn't laugh. I'm se- 
rious. I am humane." 

Berlin, November 8 

Without previous notice, Hitler made an un- 
expected speech in the Biirgerbrau Keller in Munich to- 
night on the anniversary of his 1923 beer-house Putsch. 
Neither the radio nor the press hinted that he would be 
speaking tonight, and officials in the Wilhelmstrasse 
learned about it only an hour before it took place. 
Speech broadcast by all German stations, but for some 
reason was not offered to us for transmission to Amer- 
ica. Hitler told the people to make up their minds to 
a long war and disclosed that on the Sunday two months 
ago when Britain and France came into the war, he or- 
dered Goring to prepare for five years of conflict. 

Berlin, November 9 

Twelve minutes after Hitler and all the big 
party leaders left the Biirgerbrau Keller in Munich last 
night, at nine minutes after nine o'clock, a bomb explo- 
sion wrecked the hall, killed seven, wounded sixty-three. 
The bomb had been placed in a pillar directly behind 
the rostrum from which Hitler had been speaking. Had 



1939 Beelin, November 11 Blfl 

he remained twelve minutes and one second longer he 
surely would have been killed. The spot on which he 
stood was covered with six feet of debris. 

No one yet knows who did it. The Nazi press screams 
that it was the English, the British secret service ! It 
even blames Chamberlain for the deed. Most of us think 
it smells of another Reichstag fire. In other years Hit- 
ler and all the other bigwigs have remained after the 
speech to talk over old times with the comrades of the 
Putsch and guzzle beer. Last night they fairly scam- 
pered out of the building leaving the rank and file of the 
comrades to guzzle among themselves. The attempted 
" assassination " undoubtedly will buck up public opin- 
ion behind Hitler and stir up hatred of England. Curi- 
ous that the official Nazi paper, the Volkische Beobach- 
ter, was the only morning paper today to carry the 
story. A friend called me with the news just as I had 
finished broadcasting at midnight last night, but all the 
German radio officials and the censors denied it. They 
said it was a silly rumour. 

Berlin", November 11 

Armistice Day. An irony ! Listened to the 
broadcast from Munich of the state funeral for the 
beer-house victims. Hitler present, did not speak. 
Hess spoke. He said : " This attentat has taught us how 
to hate." I think they knew before. 

Informed today that someone last night threw a brick 
into the window where the court photographer, Hein- 
rich Hoffmann, exhibits his flattering portraits of Hit- 
ler. A policeman fired, but the culprit got away in the 
black-out. Police protection of big shots being in- 
creased. 



1939 Berlin, November 12 



Something's in the wind. Learned today that Hit- 
ler's headquarters train has steam up. Party gossip 
about a mass air attack on England. A drive through 
Holland and Belgium. Or one through Switzerland. 

Berlin, November 12 

The Germans announce they've shot " by sen- 
tence of court-martial " the Polish mayor of Bromberg. 
They say an investigation showed he was " implicated 
in the murder of Germans and the theft of city funds." 
That, I suppose, is a German peace. I cannot recall 
that the Allies shot the mayors of German towns after 
the Rhineland occupation. 

Berlin, November 12 

The ration cards for clothing out today, and 
many long German faces to be seen. There are separate 
cards for men, women, boys, girls, and babies. Except 
for the babies, everyone gets a hundred points on his 
card. Socks or stockings take five points, but you can 
buy only five pair per year. A pair of pyjamas costs 
thirty points, almost a third of your card, but you can 
save five points if you buy a nightgown instead. A new 
overcoat or suit takes sixty points. I figured out to- 
night that with my card, which limits your purchases 
by the seasons, I could buy from December 1 to April 1 : 
two pairs of socks, two handkerchiefs, one muffler, and 
a pair of gloves. From April 1 to September 1 : one 
shirt, two collars, and a suit of underwear. For the rest 
of the year : two neckties and one undershirt. 



1939 Bee lin, November 18 



Berlin, November 18 

Yesterday nine young Czech students at the 
University of Prague were lined up before a German 
firing squad and executed. At the press conference this 
noon we asked the authorities why and they replied that 
the students had staged anti-German demonstrations 
in Prague on October 23 and November 15. " There 
can be no joking in war-time," said our spokesman, a 
little bored by our question. Later in the day the Ger- 
mans admitted that three more Czechs, two of them po- 
licemen, were shot for " attacking a German." I would 
bet my shirt that in the twenty years that three million 
Sudeten Germans lived under Czech rule not a single 
one of them was ever executed for taking part in any 
kind of demonstration. 

Here in Germany three youths were executed yester- 
day for " treason." And two youngsters aged nineteen 
were sentenced to death in Augsburg today for having 
committed a theft in the home of a soldier. 

Beach Conger of the Herald Tribune, who arrived 
here only a month ago, left today by request. The 
Nazis didn't like a story he had written. They de- 
manded a retraction. He declined. At the last minute, 
Beach says, a high Nazi official called him in and " of- 
fered " to get him the job as Berlin correspondent of 
a big American radio network, which rather surprised 
him, as it did me. Most of the American correspond- 
ents were at the station to see him off, and there were 
flowers for Mrs. Conger. 

Though the Nazis don't like me, I suppose I shall 
never get kicked out of here. The trouble is my radio 
scripts are censored in advance, so that whatever I say 
over the air cannot be held against me. The newspaper 
correspondents can telephone out what they please, sub- 



250 1939 Berlin, November IS 

ject to the risk of getting what Conger got. This is 
almost a worse form of censorship than we have, since 
the New York offices of the press associations and New 
York newspapers do not like their correspondents to be 
kicked out. 

Beklin, November 19 

For almost two months now there has been no 
military action on land, sea, or in the air. From talks 
with German military people, however, I'm convinced 
it would be a mistake to think that Germany will ac- 
cept the Allied challenge to fight this war largely on 
the economic front. That is just the kind of war in 
which the Reich would be at a disadvantage. And that's 
one of the reasons why most people here expect military 
action very soon now. 

Frank, the Governor-General of occupied Poland, to- 
day decreed that the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw hence- 
forth must be shut off from the rest of the capital by 
barricades and placed under sharp police control. He 
says the Jews are " carriers of diseases and germs." An 
American friend back from Warsaw tonight tells me the 
Nazi policy is simply to exterminate the Polish Jews. 
They are being herded into eastern Poland and forced 
to live in unheated shacks and robbed of any oppor- 
tunity of earning bread and butter. Several thousand 
Jews from the Reich have also been sent to eastern Po- 
land to die, he says. 

Berlin, November 20 

The Nazis forced poor Prince August Wil- 
helm, fourth son of the Kaiser, to appear before our 
press conference at the Propaganda Ministry this eve- 
ning and deny that Hitler had done anything to any 



1939 Berlin, November 21 251 

member of the Hohenzollern family, as rumour had had 
it of late. " Auwi," as he's popularly called, is the only 
Hohenzollern who was once an active Nazi. He was in 
fact a storm trooper in the S.A. and was introduced to 
us today by Dr. Boehmer as " Obergruppenfuhrer 
Prince August Wilhelm." Nervous and a bit ashamed 
of his role, he told us what he had been told to say, end- 
ing his remarks with a resounding " He'll Hitler! " A 
curious end, I mused, for the Hohenzollerns, that re- 
sourceful Prussian family which produced Frederick 
the Great and Frederick's father and Wilhelm II and 
raised first Prussia and then Germany to a world power. 

Berlin, November 21 

Gestapo chief Himmler claimed today that 
he has found the man who planted the bomb that so 
narrowly missed blowing Hitler to bits at Munich a 
fortnight ago. His name is given as Georg Elser, 
thirty-six, and behind him, says Himmler, was the Brit- 
ish Intelligence Service and Otto Strasser, a former 
Nazi leader and now a bitter enemy of Hitler, who lives 
in France. Himmler's account of how Elser did it 
sounds fishy indeed. As one German put it to me today 
after reading the account : " Now I'm sure Himmler 
planted that bomb." 1 

i For months we were to ask at nearly every Nazi press confer- 
ence when the trial of Elser would take place. At first we were told 
he would be tried before the Supreme Court at Leipzig as were the 
" perpetrators " of the Reichstag fire, which seemed appropriate 
enough, since both events cast suspicion on the Nazis themselves. 
After a few weeks our daily question: " When will Elser be tried? " " 
provoked scarcely restrained laughter from the correspondents and 
increasing embarrassment for Dr. Boehmer, foreign press chief of 
the Propaganda Ministry, Dr. Schmidt, press chief of the Foreign 
Office, and the latter's deputy, Baron von Stumm. Finally we were 
given to understand that the question wasn't funny any more, and 
after some months, having squeezed all we could out of our joke, 
we dropped it. So far as is known, Elser was never tried. Whether 
he was executed also is not known. 



1939 Berlin, November 23 



Himmler also announced today, as if to confuse the 
public, that the alleged leader of the British Intelli- 
gence Service for Western Europe, a certain Mr. Best, 
and his accomplice, a certain Captain Stevens, had been 
nabbed by the Gestapo on November 9 at the German- 
Dutch frontier. This clears up the kidnapping case we 
heard about from Amsterdam. The Dutch say it took 
place on Dutch soil. 

A writer in the Volkische Beobachter will say tomor- 
row that after seeing Elser " you almost forget you 
are in the presence of a satanic monster. His eyes are 
intelligent and the face rather soft." 

What Himmler and his gang are up to, obviously, 
is to convince the gullible German people that the Brit- 
ish government tried to win the war by murdering Hit- 
ler and his chief aides. The censor today cut out all 
reference in my script to the Reichstag fire. 

Berlin, November 23 

Thanksgiving today. At the home of Charge 
d' Affaires Alexander Kirk a hundred or so hungry 
Americans charged into several turkeys assembled on 
the buffet table. At dinner I had another turkey at the 
Oechsners', dragging Dorothy [Oechsner] over to the 
studio at midnight with me for a little interview on 
the air as to how she did it in war-time rationed Ger- 
many. She explained nicely how she got the whipped 
cream for the pumpkin pie by use of a new-fangled ma- 
chine which extracts cream from butter. 

After December 1, horses, cows, and pigs not resid- 
ing on regular farms are to get food cards too. 



1939 Geneva, December 1 



Berlin, November 26 

Bill White, son of William Allen, has been 
here and this week helped me make a study of night life 
in war-time which CBS wants me to air tonight. We 
found it booming. Off to Geneva tomorrow for a few 
days. 



Geneva, December 1 

The Soviet Union has invaded Finland ! Yes- 
terday Red air-force bombers attacked Helsinki, killing 
seventy-five civilians, wounding several hundred. The 
great champion of the working class, the mighty 
preacher against " Fascist aggression," the righteous 
stander-up for the " scrupulous and punctilious observ- 
ance of treaties " (to quote Molotov as of a month ago) , 
has fallen upon the most decent and workable little de- 
mocracy in Europe in violation of half a dozen " sol- 
emn " treaties. The whole moral foundation which the 
Soviets have built up for themselves in international re- 
lations in the last ten years has collapsed like a house 
of cards, which the skeptics and anti-Communists al- 
ways claimed it was. Stalin reveals himself of the same 
stamp as Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japs. Soviet for- 
eign policy turns out to be as " imperialist " as that of 
the czars. The Kremlin has betrayed the revolution. 

I have raged for thirty hours; could not sleep last 
night, though I got little chance to. Since yesterday 
noon I have been continually on the telephone to Hel- 
sinki, Stockholm, Berlin, Bern, Amsterdam, and Lon- 
don, organizing communications from Finland for our 
broadcasts, determined to get them through not only 
for our own sakes, but so the Finnish case may get a 
hearing at home. It has been hard sledding, one defeat 



254 1939 Geneva, December 1 

after another, but we're getting our broadcasts through. 
To begin with, Maxie tied up the Geneva transmitter, 
our only neutral outlet, for NBC. He also got to the 
Finns and Swedes first and somehow put over the idea 
that the talks of the Finnish President, Kallio, and the 
Foreign Minister, Erkko, were to be exclusive for NBC. 
A telephone call to the authorities in Helsinki cleared 
that up so far as the Finns were concerned, but I had 
great trouble convincing the Swedes in Stockholm, on 
whom I must depend for relaying everything from Fin- 
land, that the talks were not exclusive for NBC but were 
for us too. Searched all yesterday afternoon for a trans^ 
mitter. The RRG in Berlin would give me neither a 
transmitter nor transit telephone lines through Ger- 
many. They have orders not to offend Russia. Called 
Amsterdam and tried to get the Dutch to lend me a 
transmitter but they were too frightened for their neu- 
trality, which of course neither Russia nor Germany will 
respect one day if it is profitable not to. Finally Ed 
[Murrow] solved all our difficulties, though we will not 
tell the Germans nor the Swedes nor even the Finns. He 
got the BBC to pick up the Swedish medium-wave trans- 
mitter, which in turn was taking the Helsinki broadcast 
by telephone line from Finland, and rebroadcasting it. 
The BBC then piped their pick-up to Rugby, where it 
Was short-waved to our studios in New York. The ordi- 
nary way to have done a broadcast from Helsinki would 
have been to bring it by telephone line from Helsinki 
through Sweden and Germany to Switzerland and then 
short-wave it to New York through the Geneva trans- 
mitter. But Germany's refusal to give us transit tele- 
phone facilities and Maxie's tying up the local trans- 
mitter balked that. New York says our transmission 
from Helsinki was infinitely better than the opposi- 



1939 Bee lin, December 7 255 

tion's; theirs apparently was done by having Geneva 
pick up the Stockholm medium-waver, but since London 
has better facilities for receiving than has Geneva, our 
hook-up was bound to be superior. 

This afternoon I arranged with the Helsinki corre- 
spondent of the Christian Science Monitor to do the 
first eyewitness account of the Helsinki bombing — a 
scoop. And Harald Diettrich, head of Germany's short- 
wave organization and a cool and fine technician (he 
has almost an artist's appreciation of the technical job 
American broadcasters are doing to get their European 
pick-ups, and though a fanatical Nazi who bears watch- 
ing, he is the one man in Germany I work smoothly and 
successfully with), told me on the phone he would do 
his best to get Goebbels to allow us transit telephone f a- 1 
cilities if I guarantee my speakers are all Americans. 

Running a temperature from the flu, but shall keep 
going on these Finnish broadcasts. Tess pitched in 
wonderfully, spending several hours shouting into the 
phone in several languages, including the Scandina- 
vian, which (Danish) she speaks perfectly, dispatch- 
ing and receiving telegrams, which must be done ex- 
clusively over the phone, and generally helping. My 
telephone bill yesterday and today, including numer- 
ous urgent calls to Helsinki, Stockholm, Berlin, Am- 
sterdam, London, and New York, has run over a thou- 
sand dollars and my cable and telegraph bill must come 
to almost half that. But Paul White and Klauber say : 
" Get the broadcasts." 



Berlin, December 7 

Caught Bill White by telephone in Stockholm 
and got him off to Helsinki to cover the Finnish war f oi 



1939 Berlin, December 10 



us. 1 Amusing note: Some of our people in New York 
thought ene of his broadcasts from here the other night 
was very unneutral and cabled that while they per- 
sonally agreed with Bill's personal anti-Nazi bias, he 
should strive to be more objective. When I got to the 
Rundfunk House on my return day before yesterday, 
Diettrich approached me with Bill's manuscript in his 
hand. I thought he was going to make an angry scene. 

" Read this," he said. 

" What's the matter with it? " I said, determined to 
defend it, though it had gone rather far in its biting 
irony against the Nazis. 

" Why, it's wonderful ! We here thought it was a 
wonderful broadcast, witty but fair — the kind you 
might do some time if you could forget your personal 
antipathy to Nazism," he said. 

If I live in Germany a hundred years I shall never 
understand these people. 



Beelin, December 10 

Ed [Murrow] and I on this Sabbath evening 
have just had the first telephone conversation to take 
place between Berlin and London since the telephone 
lines were cut at the beginning of the war. It was broad- 
cast. Paul White's idea, I believe, he being a fiend for 
"features." Our voices actually travelled a long way. 
I heard Ed's after it had gone by short-wave from Lon- 
don to New York, from where it was short-waved back 
to Berlin. Mine travelled the same route in the opposite 
direction. So that we would not give information of 
benefit to the enemy, we worked out our conversation in 
advance, I submitting my questions and Ed's answers as 

i His moving Christmas broadcast from the Finnish front was to 
Inspire Robert Sherwood's play There Shall Be No Night. 



1939 Berlin, December 13 257 

well as his questions and my answers beforehand to the 
Germans and he doing the same with the British. Both 
sides proved very decent about the whole script. It was 
good to hear Ed's voice. Once or twice he faded out and 
I couldn't hear the cue to cut in, but on the whole it 
was great fun. 

It seems that Eleanor K. was arrested by the Gestapo 
at Bentheim near the Dutch border on her way from 
Amsterdam to Berlin and jumped out of the top storey 
of the local hotel where she had been confined. By a 
miracle she was not killed, though she broke her back, 
both legs, and an arm. She has now been released and 
has left for New York, I hear. Must get to the bottom 
of this. I am positive the secret police had nothing on 
her. 



Beklin, December 13 

The liner Bremen has successfully run the 
British blockade and made its way back from Mur- 
mansk along the Norwegian coast to a German port. 
The British navy hasn't looked very good on this one. 
Jordan and I scrapping as to who shall have the radio 
interview with Commodore Ahrens, the Bremen's skip- 
per. I do not like this kind of competition. By scrap- 
ping we play right into Nazi hands. The Propaganda 
Ministry is now insisting that Lothrop Stoddard, the 
American author who once skyrocketed himself to fame 
with the book The Rising Tide of Color and whose 
writings on racial subjects, I'm told, are featured in 
Nazi school textbooks, do the interview for both of us. 
I can't have the Propaganda Ministry name my speak- 
ers, and have rejected the proposal even if CBS loses the 
broadcast. 

Ribbentrop's White Book entitled Documents on the 



1939 Berlin, December 13 



Origins of the War, published by the Foreign Office, 
is out today in several languages. From a first hasty 
perusal, I conclude it is about as dishonest as the man 
himself and the master he serves. Somewhere in Mein 
Kampf Hitler criticizes the old Imperial government 
for its lukewarm propaganda between 1914< and 1918 as 
to the origins of the war. Berlin at that time, it seems, 
took the stand that Germany in 1914< was no more to 
blame for the war tha"n any other nation. Hitler thought 
that was bad propaganda. He says the Imperial gov- 
ernment should have dinned it into the ears of all Ger- 
mans that the Allies were exclusively responsible for the 
war. He's doing that now. 

In an introduction Ribbentrop repeats an old lie 
which Hitler has assiduously built up as a gospel truth 
in this country: namely, that after Versailles Great 
Britain opposed every attempt by Germany to free her- 
self from the chains of the peace treaty by peaceful 
means. Did Britain oppose German conscription in 
1935? The occupation of the Rhineland in 1936? The 
Anschluss in 1938? The ceding to Germany of the Su- 
detenland, which had never belonged to it, in 1938? 

The Christmas trees are in and being snapped up. 
No matter how tough or rough or pagan a German may 
be, he has a childish passion for Christmas trees. People 
everywhere bravely trying to make this Christmas seem 
like the old ones in the time of peace. I did a little Christ- 
mas shopping today, and it was a bit sad. There were 
so many nice things in the windows which you couldn't 
buy because they were only there for show, on the 
orders of the authorities. Germans usually give wear- 
ing apparel and soaps and perfumes and candy to one 
another for Christmas, but this year, with these articles 
rationed, they must find something else. In the shops, 
which were crowded, they were buying today mostly 



1939 Be u lin, December 21 261 

of southern Germany. What is left of Germany is la- 
belled " Occupied Territory." Clever propaganda, and 
the German people will fall for it. 

Later. — When I mentioned the above story 
in my broadcast I commented : " I have seen no map of 
how Europe will look if Germany wins the war." My 
censors held this was unfair and cut it out. 



Beblin", December 21 

A curious communique from the German navy 
today : " The High Command of the Navy announces : 
The commander of the Graf Spee, Captain Hans 
Langsdorff, did not want to survive the sinking of his 
ship. True to old traditions and in the spirit of the 
training of the Officers Corps of which he was a member 
for thirty years, he made this decision. Having brought 
his crew to safety he considered his duty fulfilled, and 
followed his ship. The navy understands and praises 
this step. Captain Langsdorff has in this way fulfilled 
like a fighter and a hero the expectations of his Fiihrer, 
the German people, and the navy." 

The wretched German people, deprived of all truth 
from outside, will not be told that Captain Langsdorff 
did not follow his ship to the bottom, but committed 
suicide by putting a revolver-shot through his head in 
a lonely hotel room in Buenos Aires. They will not be 
told — though the navy did its best to hint at it in this 
communique — that Hitler, in a burst of fury over the 
defeat, ordered the Captain to end his life. 

Hitler and Ribbentrop have wired their Christmas 
greetings to Comrade Josef Stalin. How ludicrous. 
Wires Hitler: "Best wishes for your personal well- 
being as well as for the prosperous future of the peoples 



262 1939 Berlin, December 21 

of the friendly Soviet Union." 1 The Russians are not 
going so fast in Finland after a month of fighting. I 
recall what the counsellor of the Soviet Embassy told me 
here a few days before the fighting began. " It will be 
all over in three days," he boasted. 

Eleven admitted executions here in the last two days. 
About half for espionage and the rest for " damaging 
the interests of the people in war-time " — the sentences 
in all but one case being passed by the " People's Court " 
whose proceedings are never published. One of the 
eleven was sentenced by the court to fifteen years' im- 
prisonment for " damaging the people's interests," but 
Himmler wasn't satisfied with the sentence, so he simply 
had the poor fellow shot. " Shot while offering resist- 
ance to state authority," Himmler says. And Heinrich 
Himmler is such a mild little fellow when you talk to 
him, reminding you of a country school-teacher, which 
he once was — pince-nez and all. Freud, I believe, has 
told us why the mild little fellows or those with a trace of 
effeminacy in them, like Hitler, can be so cruel at times. 
I guess I would prefer my cruelty from great thun- 
dering hulks like Goring. 

Many long prison sentences being meted out to Ger- 
mans who listen to foreign radio stations, and yet many 
continue to listen to them. So many, in fact, that an 
official warning was issued today. It concluded : " No 
mercy will be shown the idiotic criminals who listen to 
the lies of the enemy." I passed an afternoon with a 
German family the other day, mother, two daughters, 
one son. They were a little apprehensive when they 
turned on the six p.m. BBC news. The mother said that 
besides the porter, who is the official Nazi spy for the 

i To which Stalin replied : " The friendship of the peoples of Ger- 
many and the Soviet Union, cemented by blood, has every reason to 
be lasting and firm " ! 



1939 Berlin, December 18 



books, radios, gramophones, records, and jewelry. I 
tried to buy some gramophone records for the four gir] 
secretaries at the Rwndfwnk who have been most friendly 
and helpful to me, but found you could only buy new 
records if you turned in your old ones. Having none, I 
was out of luck. The government is loosening up a little 
on rations over Christmas. Everyone will get a quarter 
of a pound of butter and a hundred grams of meat 
extra, and four eggs Christmas week instead of one. 

New title for Churchill in the Nazi press these days : 
Lugenlord — " ly m g lord." Most common reference to 
Churchill in the Nazi press is simply by his initials 
W.C., the letters painted on every water-closet in Ger- 
many, which is why the Nazis use them. 

Berlin, December 14 

The German papers tonight celebrate a great 
sea victory of the pocket-battleship Graf Spee over 
three British cruisers off Montevideo. On the radio I 
heard London hailing it as a British victory, which re- 
minds one of Jutland, it, too, having been celebrated as 
a triumph by both Britain and Germany. The German 
papers claim the British cruisers used mustard-gas 
shells, though in German naval circles this charge is not 
taken seriously. Dr. Goebbels is certainly going to town 
on this story. 

Berlin, December 18 

The populace is still a little bit puzzled about 
how the big victory of the Graf Spee suddenly ended by 
the pocket-battleship scuttling itself off Montevideo 
yesterday afternoon. But Goebbels and Goring have 
pulled a neat one to make them forget it as soon as pos- 



260 1939 Berlin, December 18 

sible. The attention of the German people tomorrow 
morning will be concentrated by the press and radio on 
something else, an alleged victory — this time in the air 
— off Helgoland. An official statement which the pa- 
pers and radio have been told to bang for all it's worth 
says that thirty-four out of forty-four British bombers 
were shot down this afternoon north of Helgoland. A 
very timely victory. We had just left the evening press 
conference after firing embarrassing questions about 
the Graf Spee and were putting on our overcoats down- 
stairs when Dr. Boehmer rushed in breathlessly and said 
he had some big news and would we please return up- 
stairs to the conference room. Then he read us in 
breathless tones the communique about the thirty-four 
British planes being shot down. Suspect it is eyewash. 

Hear that the navy is fuming to Hitler about the way 
Goebbels bungled the propaganda on the Graf Spee. 
The admirals are especially sore because the day before 
it sank itself, Goebbels had the press play up a dispatch 
(and radioed photographs) from Montevideo saying 
the pocket-battleship had suffered only superficial dam- 
age and that British reports that it had been badly 
damaged were pure lies. 

More astute propaganda is that which tries to whip 
up the support of the people for this war by telling 
them of the dire consequences should the Allies win. To- 
morrow the Volkische Beobachter will publish a map 
showing how Germany will look in case of a Franco- 
British victory. Newspapers in the Allied lands have 
already published it, the V.B. claims, though I doubt 
not that the Nazi editors have done some neat touching- 
up. According to this map, France has the Rhineland, 
Poland has eastern Germany, Denmark has Schleswig- 
Holstein, Czechoslovakia has Saxony, and to the south 
there is a huge Habsburg Empire which includes most 



1939 Berlin, December 24-5 868 

apartment house, they had just learned that a Jewish 
tenant in return for receiving clothing ration cards 
(Jews get food cards, but no clothing cards) had turned 
informer for the house, and they had to be very careful. 
They played the radio so low I could hardly catch the 
news, and one of the daughters kept watch by the front 
door. 



Beklin, December 24r-5, three a.m. 

Christmas Eve. Raining out, but it will turn 
to snow. The first war Christmas somehow has brought 
the war home to the people more than anything else. It 
was always the high point of the year for Germans but 
this year it's a bleak Christmas, with few presents, Spar- 
tan food, the men folk away, the streets blacked out, tht 
shutters and curtains drawn tight in accordance with 
police regulations. On many a beautiful night I have 
walked through the streets of Berlin on Christmas Eve* 
There was not a home in the poorest quarter that did not 
have its candlelit Christmas tree sparkling cheerfully 
through the uncurtained, unshaded window. The Ger- 
mans feel the difference tonight. They are glum, de- 
pressed, sad. Hitler has gone to the western front, 
though we have not been allowed to say so. He pulled 
out on the 21st in a huff, skipping his traditional Christ- 
mas party for the Chancellery staff and his old party 
cronies, though it had been all planned. Myself, I went 
to the Oechsners' for Christmas dinner this evening, and 
a right good one it was. There a good portion of what 
remains of the shrinking American colony gathered and 
I'm afraid we all were just a little too desperate in our 
effort to forget the war and the Germans and enjoy for 
the fleeting moment Christmas in " the good old Ameri- 
can way." Dead, they are, for us all — the " good old 



864- 1939 Berlin, December 24-5 

ways." But there was turkey and trimmin's and Doro- 
thy had done an artist's job with pumpkin pie and 
whipped cream and real coffee, and there was much good 
red wine, which has been very scarce here of late, alas, 
and champagne and a giant Christmas tree and a lovely 
creature with straw-blond hair and innocent blue eyes 
who danced like a swish of the wind and who tomorrow is 
setting off with her husband for the Finnish front to 
work amidst the blood of men's wounds. 

I had to leave at midnight for my broadcast. At the 
Rundfunk they had set up a big Christmas tree in one 
of the offices and when I arrived the people were dancing 
and making merry with champagne. My broadcast, I 
fear, was inexcusably sentimental. I kept thinking of 
the way Schumann-Heink used to sing Stille Nacht in 
my childhood days in Chicago before the World War. 
Lord Haw-Haw, the British traitor who goes here by 
the name of Froehlich, but whose real name is William 
Joyce and whose voice millions of English listen to on 
the radio every night, and his English wife were at 
the party, but I avoided them. Later Jack Trevor, an 
English actor, who has also turned traitor and broad- 
casts German propaganda to England, came in, much 
in his cups. I cannot stomach him either. 

In two hours — at five a.m. — must start out by car 
for Hamburg and Kiel, where I will do a Christmas 
broadcast tomorrow night from the German fleet. Since 
I cannot be in Geneva for Christmas, I'm glad to have 
a distraction like this. No foreigner has yet seen the 
German fleet since the war began. The Nazis had prom- 
ised me a broadcast from the Westwall to balance a 
broadcast our Paris staff arranged from the Maginot 
Line, but someone double-crossed me and gave it to 
the opposition. I stopped our evening broadcasts for a 
week as protest. 



1939 Be it lin, December 27 265 

Berlin, December 27 

This has been quite a Christmas holiday. Two 
days with the German fleet, the first foreigner given the 
opportunity. 

Up hours before dawn on Christmas morning, but my 
army chauffeur got lost in the black-out and heavy fog 
over Berlin and it took us two hours to find my guide, 
Oberleutnant X from the High Command. A typical 
World War type of officer, monocle and all, he was so 
angry he could hardly speak. He fumed that he had 
been standing on a darkened corner for two hours in the 
pouring rain and that we had passed him several times. 

At Hamburg the rain was still coming down in sheets 
when we arrived. The city reminded me very much 
of Liverpool. We finally found the docks and waded 
through foot-deep puddles to where the warships were. 
I spent an hour going through the new 10,000-ton 
cruiser Admiral Hipper, which was tied up at a dock. 
Much debris on its decks and beneath its decks, but 
the officers explained it was merely undergoing the 
usual overhaul which every new vessel needs. They 
swore the ship had not been damaged by enemy action. 
For some reason I get along all right with German naval 
people, and when over our port wine and sandwiches I 
reminded them that the British Admiralty had recently 
reported the torpedoing of a cruiser by a British U-boat 
the commander winked and beckoned me to follow him. 
We climbed and climbed up a narrow ladder-way until 
I was sweating and out of breath, my overcoat torn in 
five places. Finally we emerged on the battle tower. 

" Look over there," he said slyly. A hundred yards 
away a somewhat smaller cruiser was propped up in 
dry-dock, a huge hole that must have been fifty feet in 
diameter torn in its side exactly amidships, or whatever 



266 1939 Be el in, December 27 

the sailors call the middle. It was the cruiser Leipzig 
and the officer said they had been lucky to get it back 
into port afloat after a British torpedo had hit it 
squarely. The BBC, he said, had claimed the ship had 
been sunk. But there it was, and though it was Christ- 
mas Day, a swarm of workers were labouring on it. A 
little way down the river, returning to our car, I no- 
ticed the 35,000-ton battleship Bismarck. It looked 
very near completion. Great secrecy surrounded this 
and its sister ship — the only two 35,000-ton battle- 
ships laid down by the German navy. 

As we sped towards Kiel in the late afternoon, it grew 
colder, the rain turned to snow, and the car had diffi- 
culty getting over the hills because of the ice. At Kiel 
some official representing, I suppose, the Propaganda 
Ministry welcomed me with a little speech. 

" I have just heard," he said, " that you have stopped 
at Hamburg and seen all our warships there. Did you 
see the cruiser Leipzig, Herr Shirer? " 

" Yes, sir, and . . ." 

" Those British liars, they say they have sunk the 
Leipzig, Herr Shirer." 

" It didn't look sunk to me, I must admit, and I'll be 
glad to broadcast that I've seen it, that it wasn't sunk, 
but that . . ." 

He cut me off with a mighty roar. " Herr Shirer, 
that is fine. You will answer this dastardly English lie, 
isn't it? You will tell the truth to the great American 
people. Tell them that you have seen the Leipzig with 
your own eyes, isn't it? — and that the ship has not 
been scratched." 

Before I could interrupt he was pushing me down a 
gangplank towards a naval launch. I turned to my 
Oberleutnant to protest. His monocle dropped out of 
his eye and a look of such distress came over him that I 



1939 Bielin, December 27 267 

desisted. After all, what could he say in this company, 
which now included several naval officers who were wait- 
ing in the launch? 

Out in Kiel harbour I was surprised to see that al- 
most the entire German fleet was concentrated here for 
Christmas. I noticed the pocket-battleship Dewtsch- 
land, two cruisers of the Cologne class (for days in Ber- 
lin I had boned up on types of German naval vessels so 
that I could recognize them and felt proud when an 
officer confirmed that they were of the Cologne class), 
both 26,000-ton battleships, and about fifteen subma- 
rines, not including three in dry-dock. If the British 
only knew, I could not help thinking, they could come 
over this night, which will see almost a full moon, and 
wipe out the whole German fleet. Just one real big 
bombing attack. Kiel harbour looked beautiful in the 
greying light of the late Christmas afternoon. The hills 
around the bay were white with snow. 

Our launch finally stopped next to an immense dry- 
dock. One of the 26,000-ton battleships was in it, the 
Gneisenau. My hosts decided to show me over it. They 
were quick to explain that it, too, was in for a general 
overhauling, and I must admit that on the one side of 
the hull that I could see, there were no holes. We spent 
an hour going through the immense craft. I was sur- 
prised at the spirit of camaraderie between officers and 
men on the ship and so was — I soon noticed — my 
monocled Oberleutnant from the World War. Four or 
five senior officers accompanied me through the ship, 
and when we entered one of the crew's quarters there 
was no jumping up, no snapping to attention as I had 
expected. The captain must have noticed our surprise. 

" That's the new spirit in our navy," he said proudly. 
He also explained that in this war the men on all Ger- 
man men-of-war get exactly the same kind and the same 



268 1939 Berlin, December 27 

amount of food as the officers. This had not been true 
in the last war and he quoted some naval proverb to 
the effect that the same food for officers and men puts 
an end to discontent and helps win the war. I remem- 
bered — as no doubt did he — that the German revolu- 
tion in 1918 started here in Kiel among the discontented 
sailors. 

When we returned to shore in the launch, a magnifi- 
cent full moon was rising behind the snow-banked hills, 
spreading a silvery light over the water and making the 
ships stand out in outline. Back at the hotel we dis- 
cussed our broadcast which was to take place from a 
submarine tender, where the crew of a U-boat just re- 
turned would be celebrating Christmas. The naval of- 
ficers agreed to meet me at nine p.m. We would drive to 
the ship. The broadcast was scheduled for ten fifteen. 
Nine o'clock came. No officers. Nine fifteen. Nine 
thirty. I had not the slightest idea where our ship was 
docked. Even if I had had, I doubted whether a taxi- 
driver could find it in the black-out. At five minutes to 
ten my naval officers finally arrived. We reached the 
ship just in time to begin the broadcast, though I had 
planned a rehearsal or two and certainly needed at least 
one. Wolf Mittler, a big, genial chap from the RRG 
who had come up to help me, snapped in and got the 
crew, who were seated around a table in the bowels of 
the ship, to sing Christmas songs. The moon over the 
harbour was now well up and it was so superb I decided 
to start the broadcast on the top deck, describing the 
scene even though the head naval officer warned me that 
I must not — for God's sake — tell the British that 
the whole German fleet was there, which was reasonable 
enough under the circumstances. I would start up on 
deck under the moonlight and then slide down a hatch 
with my microphone to the crew's quarters below for 



1939 Berlin, December 27 269 

the main part of the show. The first part went off all 
right, and after exhausting my adjectives I started to 
slide down the hatch, grasping my portable microphone. 
Alas, I am not a sailor. Before I had reached bottom, or 
whatever the sailors call it, I had ripped a sleeve and 
smashed the face of the stopwatch strapped to my wrist. 
Only I didn't notice it at once. I barged into the crew's 
quarters, got the boys to singing, described how the men 
just back from the U-boat killings celebrate Christmas, 
called for volunteers to say a few words in English, and 
the show was going all right. I glanced at my watch to 
see how our timing was. No face left to it. I made 
motions to the captain for his watch, but he didn't get 
my sign language. Finally I closed the show. Later 
Berlin told us we were only ten seconds off. In the rush 
We had forgotten the censor. And I had ad-libbed a line 
about the Leipzig being badly damaged but not sunk. 
Apparently none of the officers understood English, for 
nothing was said. 

Surprising with what ingenuity these tough little 
sailors had fixed up their dark hole — for that it was — 
for Christmas. In one corner a large Christmas tree 
shone with electric candles, and along one side of the 
room the sailors had rigged up a number of fantastic 
Christmas exhibits. One was a miniature ice-skating 
rink in the midst of a snowy mountain resort on which 
couples did fancy figure-skating. A magnetic contrap- 
tion set the fancy skaters in motion. Another showed 
the coastline of England and another electrical con- 
traption set a very realistic naval battle in action. 
After the broadcast we sat around a long table, officers 
and men intermingled in a manner that shocked my 
Oberleutnant, singing and talking. The commandant 
served rum and tea, and then case after case of Munich 
beer was brought out. The Oberleutnant and I had a 



270 1939 Berlin, December 28 

bit of trouble downing the beer from the bottle, there 
being no glasses. Towards midnight everyone became 
a bit sentimental. 

" The English, why do they fight us? " the men kept 
putting it to me, but it was obviously not the time nor 
place for me to speak out my own sentiments. Im- 
pressive, though, the splendid morale of these submarine 
crews, and more impressive still the absolute lack of 
Prussian caste discipline. Around our table the officers 
and men seemed to be on an equal footing and to like it. 

We walked back to the hotel through the moonlight, 
and after a final round of drinks to bed at three. 

Berlin, December 28 

I must record Dr. Ley's Christmas proclama- 
tion. " The Fiihrer is always right. Obey the Fiihrer. 
The mother is the highest expression of womanhood, 
The soldier is the highest expression of manhood. God 
is not punishing us by this war, he is giving us the op- 
portunity to prove whether we are worthy of our free- 
dom." 

Himmler has suddenly decided to revoke the permis- 
sion for cafes and bars to stay open all night on New 
Year's Eve and warns the public against excessive 
drinking on that night. Is he afraid the people of this 
land may go out on a binge, get drunk (which Germans 
rarely do, normally), and express their feelings about 
this war? At any rate, everyone must shut up shop at 
one a.m. on New Year's. 

Berlin, December 31 

A flood of New Year's proclamations from all 
and sundry — Hitler, Goring, Himmler, etc. Hitler 
holds out hope of victory to the people in 1940. Says 



1940 Berlin, January 1 271 

he : " United within the country, economically prepared 
and militarily armed to the highest degree, we enter this 
most decisive year in German history. . . . May the 
year 1940 bring the decision. It will be, whatever hap- 
pens, our victory." He goes to extreme lengths to jus- 
tify his war, and if the German people were not so 
poisoned by propaganda and suppression of the slight- 
est factual news from abroad, they would laugh. He 
says the " Jewish reactionary warmongers in the capi- 
talistic democracies " started the war ! Words have no 
more meaning for the man nor, I fear, for his people. 
He says : " The German people did not want this war." 
(True.) " I tried up to the last minute to keep peace 
with England." (False.) " But the Jewish and reac- 
tionary warmongers waited for this minute to carry out 
their plans to destroy Germany." (False.) 

Curious how the Germans, who should know better by 
this time, try to scare the English by blustering threats. 
Goring has a piece in tomorrow's V.B. : " Until now 
German airplanes have been content to keep a sharp eye 
on England's war measures. But it needs only the word 
of the Fiihrer to carry over there, instead of the present 
light load of cameras, the destructive load of bombs. No 
country in the world is so open to air attack as the Brit- 
ish Isles. . . . When the German air force really gets 
started, it will make an attack such as world history has 
never seen." 

Cold, and a coal shortage. The office boy said tonight 
we were out of coal at the office and that there was no 
more coal to be had. 

Berlin, January 1, 1940 

What will this year bring? The decision, as 
Hitler boasted yesterday? I haven't met a German yet 



27% 1940 Berlin, January 1 

who isn't absolutely certain. Certain it is that this 
phony kind of war cannot continue long. Hitler has 
got to go forward to new victories or his kind of system 
cracks. 

More drunkenness on the Kurf iirstendamm last night 
than I've ever seen in Berlin. Himmler had thousands 
of police scattered over town to see that no one used his 
car and that the cafes shut up promptly at one a.m. 
Saw the old year out at Sigrid Schultz's, then an hour 
or so with the Germans at the Rundfunk, then with Rus- 
sell Hill over to Virginia's. About two a.m. in the Kur- 
f iirstendamm we jumped into a taxi. A German, his 
wife and daughter, aged about twelve, sprang in 
through the other door and we agreed to share it, there 
being practically no taxis out. A soldier and his girl 
then climbed in next to the driver. We had not gone far 
when a policeman stopped us and ordered us all out, on 
the ground that we could not ride in a taxi unless we 
were on state business. I admitted I had no state busi- 
ness at two a.m. on New Year's Eve, but pointed out 
that we had a child with us and that she was ill. He 
finally allowed us to pile in again. We rode a few blocks 
and then the soldier began to throw a fit — whether 
from drink or shell-shock I couldn't tell. At any rate, 
he clamoured for the driver to stop and let him out, and 
his girl screamed first at him and then at the driver to 
do something. The driver, whether from drink or na- 
ture I don't know, was inclined to do nothing. We kept 
on going. Then the alarming psychological atmosphere 
of the front seat began to spread to the rear one, where 
we five were jammed in. The little girl suddenly started 
to scream, whether from claustrophobia or fear of the 
screaming soldier, or both, Russell and I were not sure. 
She too cried to get out. Her mother joined her. Then 
ber father. Finally the driver, apparently awakened 



1940 Berlin, January 3 %7& 

by the bedlam, decided to stop. Out on the curb the 
father and the soldier began to engage in a fierce argu- 
ment as to who had spoiled whose New Year's Eve. 
Russell and I and the taxi-driver stole away, leaving 
them to fight it out. The frayed nerves of the war, we 
decided. 



Beelin, January 3 

I learned today what the Russians have prom- 
ised to deliver to Germany this year : 

1,000,000 tons of fodder and grain ; 

500,000 tons of oil seeds ; 

500,000 tons of soya beans ; 

900,000 tons of petroleum ; 

150,000 tons of cotton (this is more cotton than Rus- 
sia had to export to the whole world last year) ; 

Three million gold marks' worth of leather and hides. 

This looks good on paper, but I would bet a lot the 
Russians deliver no more than a fraction of what they 
have promised. 

An official statement announces that Goring is to be- 
come absolute dictator of Germany's war economy — a 
job he has had in effect for a long time. The press is 
beginning to harp about " Britain's aggressive designs 
in Scandinavia." Hitler, we hear, has told the army, 
navy, and air force to rush plans for heading off the 
Allies in Scandinavia should they go in there to help 
Finland against Russia. The army and navy are very 
pro-Finnish, but realize they must protect their trade 
routes to the Swedish iron-ore fields. If Germany loses 
these, she is sunk. 



27^ 1940 Berlin, January 8 

Berlin, January 8 

Did a mike interview with General Ernst Udet 
tonight, but Goring, his boss, censored our script so 
badly that it wasn't very interesting. I spent most of 
the day coaching the general on his English, which is 
none too good. Udet, a likable fellow whom I used to see 
occasionally at the Dodds', is something of a phenome- 
non. A professional pilot, who only a few years ago was 
so broke he toured America as a stunt flyer, performing 
often in a full-dress suit and a top hat, he is now re- 
sponsible for the designing and production of Ger- 
many's war planes. Though he never had any business 
experience, he has proved a genius at his job. Next to 
Goring and General Milch, he is given credit in inner 
circles here for building up the German air force to 
what it is today. I could not help thinking tonight that 
a man like Udet would never be entrusted with such a 
job in America. He would be considered " lacking in 
business experience." Also, businessmen, if they knew 
of his somewhat Bohemian life, would hesitate to trust 
him with responsibility. And yet in this crazy Nazi 
system he has done a phenomenal job. Amusing: last 
night Udet put on a little party in his home, with three 
generals, napkins slung over their shoulders, presiding 
over his very considerable bar. There were pretty girls 
and a great deal of cutting up. Yet these are the men 
who have made the Luftwaffe the most terrible instru- 
ment of its kind in the world. 



Berlin, January 9 

Harry C, probably the best-informed man 
we have in the Moscow Embassy, passed through today 
with his wife, who is going to have her baby in America. 



1940 Be klin, January 9 27b 

* 

Harry, no Bolo-baiter, had some weird tales. He says 
the one and only thought of a Russian nowadays is to 
toe the Stalin line so that he can save his job or at least 
his life. The Russians, he says, have hopelessly bungled 
the attack on Finland. A hundred thousand casualties 
already, the hospitals in Leningrad and the north 
jammed with wounded. But they are the lucky ones be- 
cause thousands of lightly wounded died of cold and ex- 
posure. Harry says everyone in Moscow, from Stalin 
down, thought the Red army would be in Helsinki a 
week after the attack started. They were so sure that 
they timed an attack on Bessarabia for December 6, and 
only called it off at the last minute. 

This has been one of the coldest days I've experienced 
in fourteen years in Europe. Tens of thousands of 
homes and many offices are without coal. Real suffering 
among many. With the rivers and canals, which trans- 
port most of the coal, frozen over, the Germans can't 
bring in adequate supplies. Learn that eighteen Poles 
were killed and thirty wounded recently in a Polish 
prison camp. The S.S. here claim there was a " revolt." 
The army is protesting to Hitler about the senseless 
brutality of the Gestapo in Poland, but I doubt if that 
will change matters. 

Must note a new propaganda campaign to convince 
the German people that this is not only a war against 
the " plutocratic " British and French, but a holy 
struggle against the Jews. Says Dr. Ley in the Angriff 
tonight : " We know that this war is an ideological 
struggle against world Jewry. England is allied with 
the Jews against Germany. . . . England is spiritu- 
ally, politically, and economically at one with the Jews. 
. . . For us England and the Jews remain the common 
foe. . . ." 



276 1940 Berlin, January 11 

Berlin, January 11 

Cold. Fifteen degrees below zero centigrade 
outside my window. Half the population freezing in 
their homes and offices and workshops because there's 
no coal. Pitiful to see in the streets yesterday people 
carrying a sack of coal home in a baby-carriage or on 
their shoulders. I'm surprised the Nazis are letting the 
situation become so serious. Everyone is grumbling. 
Nothing like continual cold to lower your morale. 

Hitler is back in town and last night at the Chancel- 
lery, I hear, he and Goring lambasted the big industrial- 
ists, who had been hurriedly convoked from the Rhine- 
land, for being slack. These great tycoons, who made 
it possible with their money for Hitler to climb to power, 
sat there, I'm told, with red faces and never dared utter 
a peep. Hitler also saw the military yesterday and to- 
day and there is talk about a big push in the spring. 
The army, according to my spies, is still against an of- 
fensive on the Maginot Line despite party pressure for 
it. Will the Germans try to go through Holland, as 
many think? They want air bases on the Dutch coast 
for the take-off against Britain. Also fantastic talk 
here of an invasion of England ; of the Germans going 
into Sweden to sew up their Swedish iron-ore supplies, 
the justification to be that the Swedes are plotting to 
let in Allied armies to fight in Finland. 

Learned today from a traveller back from Prague 
that producers of butter, flour, and other things in 
Slovakia and Bohemia are marking their goods des- 
tined for Germany as " Made in Russia." This on 
orders from Berlin, the idea being to show the German 
people how much " help " is already coming from the 
Soviets. 

A Wilhelmstrasse official admitted to me today that 



1940 Amsterdam, January 18 277 

the Germans had imposed forced labour on all Jews in 
Poland. He said the term of forced labour was " only 
two years." 1 A German school-teacher tells me this one : 
the instructors begin the day with this greeting to their 
pupils : " Gott strafe England! " — whereupon the chil- 
dren are supposed to answer : " He will." 

Amsterdam, January 18 

Ed [Murrow] and I here for a few days to 
discuss our European coverage, or at least that's our 
excuse. Actually, intoxicated by the lights at night and , 
the fine food and the change in atmosphere, we have 
been cutting up like a couple of youngsters suddenly 
escaped from a stern old aunt or a reform school. Last 
night in sheer joy, as we were coming home from an 
enormous dinner with a fresh snow drifting down like 
confetti, we stopped under a bright street-light and 
fought a mighty snow-ball battle. I lost my glasses and 
my hat and we limped back to the hotel exhausted but 
happy. This morning we have been ice-skating on the 
canals with Mary Marvin Breckinridge, who has for- 
saken the soft and dull life of American society to repre- 
sent us here. The Dutch still lead the good life. The 
food they consume as to both quantity and quality (oys- 
ters, fowl, meats, vegetables, oranges, bananas, coffee 
— the things the warring peoples never see) is fan- 
tastic. They dine and dance and go to church and 
skate on canals and tend their businesses. And they are 

i The official German decree read: "All Jews from fourteen to 
sixty years of age are subject to forced labour. The length of forced 
labour is two years, but it will be prolonged if its educational pur- 
pose is not considered fulfilled. Jews called up for forced labour must 
report promptly, and must bring food for two days and their bed- 
ding. Skilled Jewish workers must report with their tools. Those who 
don't are subject to sentences running to ten years in the peniten- 
tiary." 



278 1940 Amsterdam, January 20 

blind — oh, so blind — to the dangers that confront 
them. Ed and I have tried to do a little missionary 
work, but to no avail, I fear. The Dutch, like every- 
one else, want it both ways. They want peace and the 
comfortable life, but they won't make the sacrifices or 
even the hard decisions which might ensure their way of 
life in the long run. The Queen, they say, stubbornly 
refuses to allow staff talks with the Allies or even with 
the Belgians. In the meantime, as I could observe when 
I crossed the border, the Germans pile up their forces 
and supplies on the Dutch frontier. If and when they 
move, there will be no time for staff talks with the Allies. 
The Dutch tell you that if they even whisper to the 
Allies about joint defence plans, Hitler will consider 
that an excuse to walk in. As though Hitler will ever 
want for an excuse if he really decides to walk in. 

Ed a little alarming with his tales of British mud- 
dling and the comfortable belief in Britain that the 
Allies will win the war without losing many men or 
doing much fighting by merely maintaining the block- 
ade and waiting until Germany cracks. We broadcast 
together tonight to America from Hilversum. 

Amsterdam, January 20 

Ed off today to Paris and I, alas, must head 
back tonight to Berlin. I've invited Marvin to come up 
next month and do the " women's angle." Ran into 
Tom R., an American businessman, in the bar of the 
Carlton this afternoon. He gave me the story at last 
of what happened to Eleanor K. 1 He himself was in- 
volved. He had given her*a couple of business letters 
to certain parties in Germany which he says he did not 
i See pages 228-9 and 25T 



1940 Amsterdam, January 20 279 

think were compromising, but which obviously were. 
These were the letters which in the end almost led to 
her death. Eleanor did not look at them, merely tuck- 
ing them into her bag. At Bentheim, on the Dutch- 
German border, the Gestapo discovered them. They ar- 
rested her, but allowed her to be confined in the local 
hotel, there being no suitable jail. Each day there were 
long hours of questioning, with the Gestapo inquisition- 
ers trying to break her down and make her admit what 
she in truth refused to: that she knew the contents of 
her letters and was really a courier in the service of 
shady business interests inside and outside Germany 
which were engaging in unlawful financial practices. 
To make matters worse, one of the letters was to a Jew 
in Berlin. One night in the hotel Eleanor fell into a 
mood of deep depression. The Gestapo had questioned 
and threatened her all day. She saw herself receiving a 
long prison sentence. She had intended to return to 
America for good in a few weeks. Now she would spend 
years in a Nazi concentration camp or a damp prison 
cell. She decided to make sure she wouldn't. She de~ 
cided to kill herself. The resolve made, she prepared for 
it coolly. She procured a rope, tied one end to the radia* 
tor, the other around her neck, opened the window, sat 
down on the window-ledge, and began to swallow strong 
sleeping-pills. She would soon be unconscious, she knew, 
would topple out of the window, and the rope would do 
the rest. Why it didn't, she will never know, Tom says. 
Probably the rope slipped off the radiator. All sh<- 
knows is that some days later they told her in the hos> 
pital that the snow in the street below had broken her 
fall, that she had lain there for five hours until some- 
one had stumbled across her half-frozen form in the 
first light of dawn, and that she had broken almost 



280 1940 Berlin, January 22 

every bone in her body, but probably would recover. 
Eventually she was removed to a prison hospital in Ber- 
lin, where the American consulate, in great secrecy, 
procured her release and quietly got her out of the 
country. She is now in America, Tom says. 



Berlin, January 22 

I got an idea yesterday of how German trans- 
portation, at least of railroad passengers, has been par- 
alysed by the severe winter and the demands of the 
army. At the German border we were told that the usual 
express train to Berlin had stopped running. With 
fifty other passengers I took refuge from the blizzard in 
the station at Bentheim and waited several hours until 
the railroad officials organized a local train which they 
said would take us some twenty-five miles of the two 
hundred and fifty miles to Berlin. The train, which was 
unheated, soon stopped; we piled out in the snow with 
our luggage as best we could, there being no porters 
in Germany nowadays. By the time it was dark, we had 
progressed on various local trains about seventy-five 
miles when in one little station word came that an ex- 
press train from Cologne would be coming along soon 
and would pick us up for Berlin. But when it came in, 
it was jammed and there were at least five hundred 
people on the platform who wanted to get aboard. 
There was a free-for-all fight. I used college football 
tactics and charged in behind my baggage, just man- 
aging to squeeze into the outer platform of a third-class 
coach, the rest of the crammed passengers shouting and 
cursing at me. For the next eight hours I stood in that 
unheated spot until we got almost to Berlin. Several 
hundred irritable passengers stood in the corridors most 



1940 Berlin, January 24 281 

of the night, and there were thousands on the station 
platforms we stopped at who never got on the train at 
all. Such grumbling I have not heard from Germans 
since the war started. 



Beklin, January 24 

I think Percival W., a retired American busi- 
nessman of German parentage who has spent most of 
his life in this country, sees something I've been trying 
to get straight. I had never met him before, but he 
dropped up to my room this morning for a chat. We 
discussed the German conception of ethics, honour, con- 
duct. Said he : " For Germans a thing is right, ethical, 
honourable, if it squares with the tradition of what a 
German thinks a German should do ; or if it advances 
the interests of Germanism or Germany. But the Ger- 
mans have no abstract idea of ethics, or honour, or 
right conduct." He gave a pretty illustration. A Ger- 
man friend said to him : " Isn't it terrible what the Finns 
are doing, taking on Russia? It's utterly wrong." 
When Mr. W. remonstrated that, after all, the Finns 
were only doing what you would expect all decent Ger- 
mans to do if they got in the same fix — namely, de- 
fending their liberty and independence against wanton 
aggression — his friend retorted : " But Russia is Ger- 
many's friend." 

In other words, for a German to defend his country's 
liberty and independence is right. For a Finn to do 
the same is wrong, because it disturbs Germany's rela- 
tions with Russia. The abstract idea there is missing in 
the German mentality. 

That probably explains the Germans' complete lack 
of regard or sympathy for the plight of the Poles or 



282 1940 Berlin, January 25 

Czechs. What the Germans are doing to these people 
— murdering them, for one thing — is right because 
the Germans are doing it, and the victims, in the German 
view, are an inferior race who must think right what- 
ever the Germans please to do to them. As Dr. Ley puts 
it : " Right is what the Fiihrer does." All this confirms 
an idea I got years ago : that the German conception of 
" honour," about which Germans never cease to talk, 
is nonsense. 

Mr. W. tells me he was in Germany until shortly be- 
fore we entered the war in 1917 and that until the winter 
of 1916—17 there was no suffering among the civilian 
population at all. He says the present rations and 
shortages are about the same as Germany experienced 
in the third year of the World War. He is sure things 
cannot go on as at present, with the front quiet and 
nothing but hardship, especially the suffering from the 
cold we've had for more than a month now. " What the 
Germans must have," he said in departing, " are a lot of 
quick victories." 

Joe [Harsch] dropped in yesterday. He said it was 
so cold in his flat when he was trying to type his dis- 
patch that he had to keep a pan of water warming on 
the kitchen stove and dip his fingers into it every five 
minutes in order to hit the keys of his typewriter. To- 
day the burgomaster warns the populace that they must 
not use gas for heating rooms or water. Hot water, even 
if you have coal, is restricted now to Saturdays. I've 
started another beard therefore. 

Berlin, January 25 (midnight) 

Dined alone at Habel's. A 1923 half-bottle 
of Bordeaux rouge, but despite the waiter's assurances, 
it was not a good enough wine to withstand that age ; 



1940 Be it lin, January 25 



1934 is the best year now for ordinary wines. I was 
about to leave when a white-haired old duffer sat down 
at my table. As he had no fat card for a meat dish he 
had ordered, I offered him one of mine. We started 
talking. 

" Who will win the war ? " he asked. 

"I don't know," I said. 

" Why, selbstverstandlich, Germany," he laughed. 
He argued that in 1914 Germany had the whole world 
against her, now only Great Britain and France, and 
Russia was friendly. 

" Each side thinks it will win," I said. " In all the 
wars." 

He looked at me with pity in his old eyes. " Germany 
will win," he said. " It is certain. The Fiihrer has said 
so." 

But as we talked I was conscious that my remarks 
were jarring him. He became aggressive, irritated. He 
said Britain and France started the war. 

" But you attacked Poland, and some people feel that 
started the war," I put in. He drew himself up in 
astonishment. 

" I beg your pardon," he gasped, and then proceeded 
for ten minutes to repeat every lie about the origins of 
the war that Hitler has told. (The German people do 
believe Hitler then, I mused.) " The documents issued 
by our Foreign Office have proved beyond the shadow 
of doubt," he went on, " that Britain and France started 
the war and indeed planned it for more than a year." 

" They don't prove it to me," I said. 

This caused him to lose his breath. When he had re- 
covered he said : " As I was saying, the documents 
prove it. . . ." 

I noticed my sour remarks were attracting the at- 
tention of the rest of the room and that two hatchet- 



£84- 1940 Be Hi in, January 25 

faced men with party buttons at the next table seemed 
to be on the point of intervening with some heroics of 
their own. I upped and left, bidding the old gentleman 
good-night. 

At six p.m. Fraulein X called for some provisions I 
had brought her from relatives abroad. She turned out 
to be the most intelligent German female I have met in 
ages. We talked about the German theatre and films, 
about which she knew a great deal. She had some in- 
teresting ideas about German character, history, di- 
rection. The trouble with the Germans, she said, was 
that they were " geborene Untertanen " — born sub- 
jects, though " Untertan " conveys also a connotation of 
submissive subjects. Authority and direction from a 
master above was about all a German wanted in life. 

" A German," she said, " will think he has died a good 
German if he waits at a curb at a red light, and then 
crosses on a green one though he knows perfectly well 
that a truck, against the law though it may be, is bear- 
ing down upon him to crush him to death." 

What embittered her — and she was brilliantly bit- 
ter — was that this Germany was staking all in a war 
which might end the very Western civilization which 
certain elements in Germany had not only contributed 
to but had tried to make one with Germany's culture. 
She thought the present regime cared not a whit about 
Western civilization and represented the barbarian ele- 
ment which had always lurked below the surface in Ger- 
man history and for whom life only had meaning when 
it meant glorified war, force, conquest, brutality, and 
grinding down a weaker foe, especially if he were a 
Slav. She blasted away about the German's utter lack 
of political sense, his slavishness towards authority, his 
cowardly refusal to think or act for himself. 

The non-European, anti-Western civilization ele- 



1940 Bee lin, January 27 285 

ment, as she put it, now has the upper hand in Germany 
and she thought the only way the west-European nature 
of the German could be saved would be by another de- 
feat, even another Peace of Westphalia (which split up 
Germany in 1648 into three hundred separate states). 
I'm rather inclined to agree. 

Berlin, January 27 

Some miscellany. With the publication of a 
pocket-sized edition of Mein Kampf for the troops at 
the front, total sales of Hitler's Bible, I learn today, 
have now reached the fantastic total of 5,950,000 copies. 
. . . The greatest organized mass migration since the 
exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey 
after the last war is now coming to an end in Poland. 
Some 135,000 Germans from Russian-occupied eastern 
Poland and 100,000 Germans from the Baltic states are 
now being settled in the part of Poland which Germany 
has annexed outright. To make room for them an equal 
number of Poles are being turned out of house, home, 
and farm and sent to occupied Poland. . . . Dr. 
Frank, German Governor-General of Poland, has de- 
creed the death sentence for Poles who hold back goods 
from sale or refuse to sell their wares when offered a 
" decent " price. This will enable the Germans to com- 
plete their pillage of Poland. If a Pole objects, off with 
his head. ... A German court in Posen has sentenced 
eight Poles, including three women, to death for alleg- 
edly mistreating German flyers — probably parachut- 
ists. Even the Germans admit that not one of the flyers 
was killed. 

A phony war. Today's dispatches from the front deal 
exclusively with an account of how German machine- 
guns fought French loud-speakers! It seems that along 



886 1940 Berlin, January 28 

the Rhine front the French broadcast some recordings 
which the Germans say constituted a personal insult to 
the Fiihrer. 

" The French did not realize," says the DNB with 
that complete lack of humour which makes the Germans 
so funny, " that an attack on the Fiihrer would be im- 
mediately rejected by the German troops." So the Ger- 
mans opened fire on the French loud-speakers at Alten- 
heim and Breisach. Actually the army people tell me 
that the French broadcast recordings of Hitler's former 

speeches denouncing Bolshevism and the Soviets. 

. —————— 

Berlin, January 28 

It was difficult to believe in Berlin on this 
Sabbath day that a great war was on. The streets and 
parks are covered deep with snow and in the Tiergarten 
this afternoon thousands were skating on the ponds and 
lagoons. Hundreds of children were tobogganing. Do 
children think about war? I don't know. This after- 
noon in the Tiergarten they seemed to be thinking only 
of their sleds and skates and the snow and ice. 

Berlin, January 30 

Marvin Breckinridge here and tomorrow I 
shall get off on a jaunt which Hitler's press chief and 
confidant, Dr. Diettrich, is organizing (to keep us in 
a friendly temper) to Garmisch. From there I hope to 
steal away to the Swiss mountains for a fortnight with 
Tess and Eileen. Hitler made an unexpected speech at 
the Sportpalast tonight on the occasion of the seventh 
anniversary of the Nazis taking over power. I had no 
burning desire to attend, so Marvin went off to cover it. 
She got a great kick out of watching the man. 



1940 Gakmisch -Pabtenkirchen, Feb. 3 %87 

GUrmisch-Partenkirchen, February 3 

A little ludicrous, broadcasting from here. 
Winter sport competitions are on, with all the German 
satellite nations participating, but they have no in- 
terest for us and I'm supposed to confine my daily 
broadcasts to the more serious subject of the terrible 
war. The trouble with that is that the only microphone 
in town is in the ice stadium. Yesterday on my two 
ten p.m. broadcast I had just launched into a deep dis- 
cussion of the possibilities that lie before these unhappy 
people at war when someone scored a goal on the rink 
just below me, bedlam broke loose in the stadium, and 
it proved difficult to keep my mind on Hitler's next 
move. Tonight broadcasting at fifty minutes past mid- 
night, the hockey games were over and in fact the sta- 
dium was so deserted that I had to wait a long time in 
the snow before I could arouse the night watchman to 
let me in. In the little studio atop the stadium it was so 
cold my teeth chattered with loud clicks and I had to 
blow on my fingers to keep them nimble enough to turn 
the pages of my script. I fear CBS listeners may not 
have appreciated the strange noises. 

I feel sorry for Bob X, a young American corre- 
spondent who came down with us. He just couldn't take 
the strain of association with the Nazis since the war be- 
gan, which is understandable. Arriving here, he let him- 
self go — ■ a plain case of nerves — drank more than he 
should have, expressed his honest thoughts, which al- 
cohol sometimes releases, but unfortunately also made 
a general nuisance of himself. I gather the Nazis, on 
his return to Berlin, will ask him to leave. Two of our 
leading American correspondents today refused to sit 
at the same table in the dining-room with him, which I 



288 1940 Muxich-Lausaxxe, February 4 

thought was a little uncalled for. They are the two 
who court the Nazis the most. 

Hitler decreed today that henceforth babies must 
have ration cards for clothing. A country is hard up 
when it has to save on diapers. 



On the Train Munich-Lausanne, February 4 

Three stories I must put down : 

1. In Germany it is a serious penal offence to listen 
to a foreign radio station. The other day the mother 
of a German airman received word from the Luftwaffe 
that her son was missing and must be presumed dead. A 
couple of days later the BBC in London, which broad- 
casts weekly a list of German prisoners, announced that 
her son had been captured. Next day she received eight 
letters from friends and acquaintances telling her they 
had heard her son was safe as a prisoner in England. 
Then the story takes a nasty turn. The mother de- 
nounced all eight to the police for listening to an Eng- 
lish broadcast, and they were arrested. 

(When I tried to recount this story on the radio, the 
Nazi censor cut it out on the ground that American lis- 
teners would not understand the heroism of the woman 
in denouncing her eight friends !) 

2. The parents of a U-boat officer were officially in- 
formed of their son's death. The boat was overdue and 
had been given up by the German Admiralty as lost. 
The parents arranged a church funeral. On the morn- 
ing of the service the butcher called and wanted a few 
words with the head of the house in private. Next came 
the grocer. Finally friends started swarming in. They 
had all heard the BBC announce that the son was among 
those taken prisoner from a U-boat. But how to call 



1940 ViLLARS-sua-OiiiiON, February 20 %89 

off the funeral without letting the authorities know that 
someone in the confidence of the family had listened to 
a foreign station? If the parents wouldn't tell, perhaps 
they themselves would be arrested. A family council 
was held. It was decided to go through with the funeral. 
After it was over, the mourners gathered in the parents' 
home, were told the truth if they already didn't know 
it, and everyone celebrated with champagne. 

3. A big German film company completed last sum- 
mer at the cost of several million marks a movie based 
on the exploits of the German Condor Legion in Spain. 
It was a super-film showing how German blood had 
been shed in the holy war in Spain against Bolshevism. 
Hitler, Goring, Goebbels, Himmler, saw it, praised it. 
Then came the Nazi-Soviet pact last August. The film 
is now in storage. It was never shown to the public. 

Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, February 20 

Across the valley from the window, the great 
sweep of the Dents du Midi Alpine peaks. Towards 
evening in the setting sun these snowy mountain-sides 
take on a magnificent pink. Down in bed with my an- 
nual flu for ten days. Must start back to Berlin to- 
morrow. Spring will soon be here. Action. The offen- 
sive. The war. Far away it has seemed here. Tess 
coming in at dusk with flushed cheeks after a four-mile 
ski run down the mountain behind the hotel, Eileen 
coming in with redder cheeks after playing around all 
day in the snow. In the evening — before I got sick — 
an excellent, unrationed dinner and then talk and danc- 
ing in the bar with people who still retain their senses. 
At first, and the last three days after I got out of bed, 
skating on the rink below with Wellington Koo, Chinese 



290 1940 Berlin, February 2a 

Ambassador in Paris, himself recovering from the 
grippe and just learning to skate. Koo, who looks 
thirty and is probably over fifty, trying to impart to 
me the long view which the Chinese have learned to take, 
and I never patient nor wise enough to take. He sees 
the China war and this war as just chapters in a long 
story, places where men stop and pause on a long hard 
road, and he speaks softly and trudges along on his 
faltering skates. 



Berlin, February 23 

My birthday. Thought of being thirty-six 
now, and nothing accomplished, and how fast the middle 
years fleet by. 

Disagreeable experience at the Swiss border yester- 
day : the Swiss relieved me of all my provisions — choc- 
olate, soap, canned food, coffee, and a bottle of whisky 
which Winant had given me. I see their point. They 
are cut off from the outside world and want to keep 
what they have and not let it get into the hands of the 
Germans. But I was sore. On the German side the 
Gestapo stripped two thirds of the passengers, includ- 
ing all the women. For some reason, possibly because I 
was the last to get my passport okayed and the train 
was late, they let me off. 

Arrived here this morning (Friday) to find it a meat- 
less day. The food is abominable. Because of the cold 
spell, no fish. Even at the Adlon I could get only po- 
tatoes and some canned vegetables, and my friends said 
I was lucky because for several days there had not been 
even potatoes, the city's supply having been spoiled by 
freezing. The newspapers seem inane after the Swiss. 
But the Germans swallow the fare, the lies. After this 
terrible winter their morale is lower, but they seem to 



1940 Berlin, February 27 291 

be in the same cow-like mood. It's hard to see the limit 
of what they will take. 

Much talk here of the spring offensive. But where? 



Berlin, February 25 

X told me a fantastic story today. He claims 
a plan is afoot to hide S.S. shock troops in the bottom of 
a lot of freighters, have them put in at ports in Scandi- 
navia, Belgium, and Africa, and seize the places. I don't 
get the point. Even if they got into the ports, which is 
doubtful, how could they hold them? I suspect this 
story is a plant and that the Nazis would like us to put 
it out as part of their nerve war. I shan't. 



Berlin, February 27 

Marvin has been digging out some interesting 
side-lights on life in war-time Germany. She visited 
one of the nine Nazi Brides' Schools where the wives or 
prospective wives of S.S. men are taught to be good 
Hausfrauen and fruitful producers of cannon-fodder 
for the next war. 1 They are also taught how to read 
Nazi newspapers and listen to the radio. Marvin no- 
ticed only two books in the girls' dormitories, The Belief 
in the Nordic State and Men. . . . Because of the 

i Within or without wedlock. On October 28, 1939 Heinrich Himm- 
ler, chief of the German police and leader of the S.S., decreed: " Be- 
yond the borders of perhaps necessary bourgeois laws, customs, and 
views, it will now be the great task, even outside the marriage bond, 
for German women and girls of good blood, not in frivolity but in 
deep moral earnestness, to become mothers of the children of soldiers 
going off to war. . . . On the men and women whose place remains at 
home by order of the state, these times likewise impose more than 
ever the sacred obligation to become again fathers and mothers of 
children." (Italics mine.) Himmler promised that the S.S. would 
take over the guardianship of all legitimate and illegitimate children 
of Aryan blood whose fathers met death at the front. 



1940 Berlin, March 1 



shortage of soap, which curtails laundering, Marvin 
found that German clergymen had taken to wearing 
clerical collars made of paper. They cost eight cents, 
can be worn inside out the second day, and are then 
thrown away. . . . Marvin says many public buildings 
have been quietly closed for lack of coal, including the 
Engineering College of the University, the State Li- 
brary, and most of the schools. Churches are not al- 
lowed to burn coal until further notice. She relates 
that when she called on an elderly German woman the 
other day, the old lady met her wearing two sweaters, a 
fur coat, and overshoes. The temperature in her draw- 
ing-room was 46 degrees Fahrenheit. . . Though 
the quota of Germans allowed entrance into America 
annually is 27,000, Marvin found a waiting-list of 
248,000 names at the American consulate. Ninety- 
eight per cent were Jews — or about half the Jewish 
population left in Germany. 

Berlin, March 1 

Sumner Welles arrived this morning. He's 
supposedly over here on a special mission from the 
President to sound out the European leaders on their 
respective standpoints. He saw Ribbentrop and State 
Secretary Weizacker today and will see Hitler tomor- 
row. Much talk around town that the Nazis will pull 
a fast one on him and suggest a peace that sounds good. 
Possible ; not probable. 

Because the offensive seems imminent. Troop trains 
pouring through Berlin every day west-bound. Many 
men called up for active service in the last few days. 
All air-wardens have been warned to be ready for 
duty after March 15. One hears — you never know 
here — of big troop concentrations against Holland. 



1940 Beelin, March 3 



From what I saw in the Netherlands, the Dutch will be 
easy pickings for the Germans. Their army is miser- 
able. Their famous defensive water-line is of doubtful 
worth. Switzerland will be tougher to crack, and I 
doubt if the Germans will try. 

Welles received us in the Embassy after lunch. A 
taciturn fellow, he said he could say nothing. I gath- 
ered from what little he did say that he was interested in 
seeing Goring. Is it because in the end he thinks Goring 
may lead a conservative government? 

Berlin, March 3 

Welles left tonight, his lips sealed to the last. 
Those of the Wilhelmstrasse were not, however. They 
gave the American correspondents front-page copy. 
They told us Hitler had made it plain to Welles : 

1. That there is no chance for an immediate, negoti' 
ated peace. The war must be fought out to the bitter 
end. Germany is confident of winning it. 

2. That Germany must be given a free hand in what 
she considers her Lebensraum in eastern Europe. She 
will never consent to restore Czechoslovakia, Poland, 
or Austria. 

3. A condition of any peace must be the breaking of 
Britain's control of the seas, including not^only her 
naval disarmament but the abandonment of her great 
naval bases at Gibraltar, Malta, and Singapore. 

I doubt if this tall talk impressed Welles, who struck 
me as sufficiently cynical. At any rate, the Germans 
did not, as some expected, offer a nice-sounding but 
meaningless peace proposal. My spies report Hitler is 
in a confident mood these days and thinks he can win 
the war outright and quickly. 

Touching how the German people have had a nai'vp 



£94 1940 Berlin, March 4 

hope that Welles's visit might pave the way to peace. 
Several Germans dropped in today to inquire whether 
" Welles had any luck." 



Berlin, March 4 

Last night, by request, I broadcast a piece 
about the actual routine of broadcasting from here in 
warrtime. Had never stopped to think of it before. 
Some extracts, for the record : The daily broadcast at 
six forty-five p.m., New York time, means our talking 
from here at a. quarter to one on the following morning. 
If I could get gasoline for my car I could drive to the 
studio in twelve minutes. As it is, I have a ten-minute 
walk down the completely blacked-out Wilhelmstrasse 
to the subway. It is a rare night that I do not collide 
with a lamp-post, a fire-hydrant, or a projecting stair- 
way, or flop headlong into a pile of snow. Safely in the 
subway, I have a half-hour's ride to the Rundfunk 
House. As half of the route is above ground, the train 
is plunged in darkness for fifteen minutes. My pockets 
are stuffed full of passes. If I cannot find the right one 
I must wait in the vestibule on arriving at the station 
and fill out a paper permitting me to enter. Finally 
arrived, I go to an office and write my script. Two of- 
fices down I can hear Lord Haw-Haw attacking his 
typewriter with gusto or shouting in his nasal voice 
against " that plutocrat Chamberlain." A half -hour 
before my broadcast I must have my script in the hands 
of the censors. Follows a half-hour battle with them. 
If they leave enough to make it worth while to do the 
broadcast, as they usually do, I must then, in order to 
reach the studio and microphone, dash through wind- 
ing corridors in the Broadcasting House, down many 
stairs, and out into a pitch-dark vacant lot in the middle 



1940 Beeiin, March 10 295 

of which are hidden steps — the lot being terraced — 
being careful not to bump into several sheds lurking in 
the way or to fall into a snow-drift. In the course of 
this journey through the lot, I must get past at least 
three steel-helmeted S.S. guards whom I cannot see in 
the darkness, but who I know are armed with sawed-off 
automatic rifles and have orders to shoot anyone not 
halting at their challenge. They must see my pass. I 
search for it with my frozen fingers, and if I'm lucky 
and find it, I arrive at the studio in time and not too 
much out of breath, though not always in the sweetest 
of tempers. If the censors keep me, or the guards keep 
me, I arrive late, out of breath, sore and sour. I sup- 
pose listeners wonder why we pant so often through 
our talks. 



Berlin, March 8 

Diplomatic circles buzzing with talk of a 
secret peace parley in Stockholm to end the Russo- 
Finnish war. A decree today orders all persons and 
firms who possess old metal or scrap iron to deliver it 
to the state. Lack of iron may lose Germany the war. 

Berlin, March 10 

Today is Memorial Day in Germany, a day 
to remember the dead who've been slain in all the wars. 
In former years the Germans remembered the two mil- 
lion men slaughtered between 1914* and 1918. Today 
the Nazis ask the people not to think too much of the 
World War dead, but to concentrate their thoughts on 
those who have been done to death or will die in this 
war. How perverse human beings can be ! A front-page 
editorial in the Lokal Anzeiger says : " This is no time 



296 1940 Berlin, March 10 

»■ ■ — ' " 

for being sentimental. Men are dying for Germany day 
and night. One's personal fate now is unimportant. 
There is no asking why if one falls or is broken." 

That's the trouble. If the Germans asked why, the 
flower of their youth might not always be condemned 
to be butchered on the battlefield. General von Rund- 
stedt, one of the leading military figures in the conquest 
of Poland, writes in the Volkische Beobachter: " Me- 
morial Day — 1940 : Certainly we think earnestly of 
the dead, but we do not mourn.V And this paper ban- 
nerlines in red ink across Page one: "OVER THE 
GRAVES FORWARD!" 

Hitler spoke today in a courtyard in the Zeughaus, 
the War Museum. There amidst the museum pieces — 
the arms and weapons Europeans have used to kill one 
another in all the wars of the past, he orated. His voice 
was full of hatred, which he might have been expected 
to avoid on Memorial Day. Has the man no other emo- 
tion? He promised his people that the end of this war 
would give Germany the most glorious military triumph 
in history. He thinks only of arms. Does he understand 
the economic role in this war ? » 

Ribbentrop off to Rome to make sure what Mussolini 
will do when the German offensive starts and also to 
see the Pope. Talk of a new concordat. Monsignor 
Cesare Orsenigo, the Papal Nuncio, has been quietly 
paying visits to the Wilhelmstrasse for weeks. Ger- 
many didn't observe the last concordat, persecuting the 
church whenever it pleased. But they will probably sign 
a new one. It will mean prestige for Hitler at home and 
abroad. 

All Germans I talk to afraid hell will break loose this 
month. 



1940 Berlin, March 13 897 

Beelin, March 11 

A talk today with General von Schell, a wiz- 
ard who is responsible for oil and automobiles. He 
claimed he would have enough oil for a ten-year war. 
He said his factories were now producing only 20 types 
of trucks as compared with 120 last year. 

Beginning April 20, all German youths between ten 
and eighteen will be compelled to join the Hitler Youth. 
Conscription of youth was laid down in a law dated 
1936, but only goes into effect now. Boys between sev- 
enteen and eighteen will receive preliminary military 
training. 



Berlin, March 13 

In Moscow last night peace was made between 
Russia and Finland. It is a very hard peace for Fin- 
land and in Helsinki today, according to the BBC, the 
flags are at half-mast. Berlin, however,' is delighted. 
For two reasons : (1) It releases Russia from the strain 
of war, so that she now may be able to furnish some 
badly needed raw materials to the Reich. (2) It re- 
moves the danger of Germany having to fight a war on 
a long northern front, which she would have had to 
supply by sea and which would have dispersed her mil- 
itary forces now concentrating in the west for the de- 
cisive blow, which may begin any day now. 

I think in the end Norway and Sweden will pay for 
their refusal to allow Allied troops across their terri- 
tories to help Finland. To be sure, they were not in a 
pleasant spot. Baron von Stumm of the F.O. confirmed 
to me today that Hitler had informed both Oslo and 
Stockholm that had Allied troops set foot in Scandi- 
navia, Germany immediately would have invaded the 



298 1940 Berlin, March 14 

north to cut them off. The trouble with the Scandi^ 
navians is that a hundred years of peace have made them 
soft, peace-at-any-pricers. And they have not had the 
courage to look into the future. By the time they make 
up their minds to take sides, it will be too late, as it 
was with Poland. Sandler, Sweden's Foreign Minister, 
alone seems to have seen the situation correctly, and he 
has been forced to resign. 

Finland now is at the mercy of Russia. On any fake 
pretext the Soviets can henceforth overrun the country, 
since the Finns must now give up their fortifications, 
as the Czechs had to do after Munich. (Czecho lasted 
five and a half months after that. ) Have we not reached 
a stage in history where no small nation is safe any 
longer, where they all must live on sufferance from the 
dictators ? Gone, are those pleasant nineteenth-century 
days when a country could remain neutral and at peace 
just by saying it wanted to. 

With peace in Finland, the talk here is once more of 
the German offensive. X, a German, keeps telling me 
it will be frightful; poison gas, bacteria, etc. Like all 
Germans, though he should know better, he thinks it 
will be so terrible that it will bring a quick victory for 
Germany. It never occurs to him that the enemy too 
has poison gas and bacteria. 

A record : A letter from Carl Brandt posted in New 
York October 7 last year arrived day before yesterday, 
March 11. It had been opened by both the British and 
German censors. 

Berlin, March 14 

In London last night, one Mohamed Singh 
Azad shot and killed Sir Michael O'Dwyer. Not 
Gandhi, but most of the other Indians I know, will feel 



1940 Be el in, March 15 299 

this is divine retribution. O'Dwyer was once Lieuten- 
ant-Governor of the Punjab and bore a share of re- 
sponsibility in the 1919 Amritsar massacre, in which 
General Dyer shot fifteen hundred Indians in cold blood. 
When I was at Amritsar eleven years after, in 1930, 
the bitterness still stuck in the people there. Goebbels 
makes the most of the assassination. Nachtausgabe 
headline tonight: "THE DEED OF AN INDIAN 
FIGHTER FOR FREEDOM -SHOTS AGAINST THE 
OPPRESSOR." This from Germans who are carrying 
out mass murders in Bohemia and Poland. 

Items: Two more Germans beheaded today 
for " damaging the people's interests." A third sen- 
tenced to death ; same charge. . . . The Germans boast 
that prices here have not risen. Today in the Adlon I 
paid a dollar for a dish of boiled carrots. . . . Goring 
today decrees that the people must give up their copper, 
bronze, brass, tin, lead, and nickel. How can Germany 
fight a long war lacking these? In 1938 Germany im- 
ported from abroad nearly a million tons of copper, 
200,000 tons of lead, 18,000 tons of tin, and 4,000 tons 
of nickel. 



Berlin, March 15 

A year ago last night Hitler got Hacha, then 
President of what was left of Czechoslovakia after 
Munich and the Nazi-engineered " secession " of Slo- 
vakia, into his Chancellery and after threatening until 
four a.m. that he would destroy Prague and its million 
people with the Luftwaffe, forced the poor old man to 
" ask " for German " protection." ( Strange how few 
Germans know yet of what took place that night.) To- 
day Hitler forces Hacha to send him a " congratula- 



200 1940 Be klin, March 17 

tory " telegram, praising him for having destroyed 
Czechoslovakia and wishing him victory in this war. 
Hitler's cynicism is of rich quality, but millions of Ger- 
mans believe that today's exchange of telegrams is per- 
fectly sincere. Hitler replies that he is " deeply moved " 
by Hacha's wire and adds : " Germany has no intention 
of threatening the national existence of the Czechs." 
When he has already destroyed it ! Neurath, a typical 
example of the German aristocrats who sacrificed their 
souls (they had no minds) to Hitler, sends him a slavish 
telegram thanking him for his " historic deed " and 
pledging the " unbreakable loyalty of Bohemia and 
Moravia." In an interview with the German press 
Neurath says the Czechs are content with their lot, all 
except " a few intellectuals and those elements of dis- 
turbance which were put down in a manner the sharp- 
ness of which was not misunderstood." He refers to the 
mass shooting of Czech students last fall. 

My good friend Z, a captain in the navy on duty with 
the High Command, has not appeared in uniform all 
week. Today he told me why. " I have no more white 
shirts. I have not been able to have my laundry done 
for eight weeks. I have no soap to wash my shirts my- 
self, being in the same position as the laundry. I have 
only colored shirts left. So I wear civilian clothes." 
A nice state for the navy to be in. 

Berlin, March 17 

Much excitement on this Palm Sunday in 
official quarters over a war communique claiming that 
the Luftwaffe hit and damaged three British battle- 
ships in Scapa Flow last night. More important to me 
was that for the first time the Germans admitted that 
during the raid their planes also bombed British air 



1940 Berlin, March 19 301 

bases at Stromness and Kirkwall. In this half-hearted 
war this is the first time that one side has purposely 
dropped bombs on the land of the other. It heralds, I 
suppose, the spring opening of the war in earnest. 
Editor Kircher of the Frankfurter Zeitung attempts 
to answer a question this morning that has bothered 
neutral military miods for a long time. Why haven't 
the Germans used their acknowledged air superiority 
over the Allies ? Why are they waiting while the Allies, 
with American help, catch up ? Kircher's answer is that 
the Allies have not been catching up, that Germany's 
relative superiority has been greatly increased in the 
last seven months. 

Spring at last threatens to arrive. Millions of Ger- 
mans are beginning to thaw out after the worst winter 
they can remember. For some reason there was no hot 
water in most apartments today, though it was Sun- 
day. Several friends lined up in my room for a bath. 

Berlin, March 18 

For two and a half hours this morning while 
a snowstorm raged, Hitler and Mussolini conferred at 
the Brenner. We opine Hitler wanted to make sure of 
the Duce before embarking on his spring plans, what- 
ever they are. The Wilhelmstrasse plant tonight was 
that Hitler had won over Musso to the idea of joining 
a tripartite bloc with Germany and Soviet Russia which 
will establish a new order in Europe. Maybe so. 

Berlin, March 19 

John Chapman, whom I have not seen since 
high-school days in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, called. He is 
foreign editor of Business Week, and has just come up 



302 1940 Berlin, March 19 

from the Balkans and Italy. He had some good dope. 
He doubts that Italy will go into the war. So do I. 
Italy can be blockaded. John said he noticed a lessen- 
ing of the drive in Fascism. People are more relaxed. 
II Duce does not push them so hard. He's aging, grow- 
ing fat, and spends much time with his youthful blonde 
mistress, by whom — : John was told in Rome — he has 
just had a child. John said he saw Petain in Madrid. 
The old man said : " I pray that the Germans try to 
break through the Maginot Line. It can be broken 
through — at a cost. But let them infiltrate through. 
I'd like to be in command of the Allied army then." 

I called on Major X of the X Embassy this after- 
noon. He sees three possibilities open to Germany 
now: 

1. Germany can make peace. He thinks Hitler wants 
peace. And that he could afford to offer a peace which 
would sound pretty fair and might be acceptable to all 
but the English, and which would still consolidate most 
of his gains. Such a peace, he argued, would be equiva- 
lent to a great German victory. 

2. Germany can continue as at present, keeping 
Scandinavia and Italy neutral and co-operative eco- 
nomically, and developing southeastern Europe and 
especially Russia. This would take time, at least three 
years, but once developed, it would make the Allied 
blockade comparatively ineffective. The major pointed 
out that no nation which lost control of the seas had 
ever in all history won a major war. But he thinks it 
might be accomplished this time if Germany keeps her 
northern, southern, and southeastern doors open and 
develops Russia sufficiently. He regards the Russian 
tie-up as Hitler's master stroke, but says it was forced 
upon him by the German General Staff, which simply 
told him that war with the West was impossible if Rus- 



1940 Berlin, March 20 30& 

sia joined the Allies, or even remained strictly neutral, 
but unfriendly to Germany. 

3. Germany can try to force the issue on the western 
front. This he regards as improbable. The German 
General Staff, he says, has a great respect for the 
Maginot Line and the French army. He admits the 
Maginot Line might be pierced — at great cost — but 
that this would not necessarily win the war. 



Berlin, March 20 

Last night the British answered for the bomb- 
ing of Scapa Flow by strafing the German seaplane 
bases on the island of Sylt for nearly seven hours. As 
Usual, the High Command claims no damage was done. 
The British, according to the BBC, did a lot. At noon 
the government offered to fly us up to see for ourselves, 
then called it off. I had written of the offer in good 
faith in my script; word came of the cancellation while 
I was speaking, and so I announced it at the end of my 
talk. Tonight while waiting to go on the air, I turned on 
the BBC. To my surprise (and embarrassment, because 
a RRG official was sitting at my side) the British an- 
nouncer broadcast my entire noon script. He imitated 
my voice so exactly, especially my closing announce- 
ment about the cancellation of our trip to Sylt, that he 
could only have got it from a recording which the BBC 
must have made of my talk. I probably will hear more 
of this. • 

All Berlin papers on orders from Goebbels headline 
the attack on the German base at Sylt: "BRITISH 
BOMB DENMARK!" It seems that a couple of bombs 
did fall on Danish territory. But it's a typical falsifica- 
tion. 

Headline in the 12-Uhr Blatt today over its report 



SO J,, 1940 Berlin, March 21 

of Chamberlain's speech in the House last night ^'HOLI- 
DAY OF LIES IN LOWER HOUSE. -THE PIRATES 
CONFESS THEIR CRIME AGAINST THE NEU- 
TRALS!" 

Berlin, March 21 

They took the American correspondents up 
to Sylt after all today, but I was not invited. They tele- 
phoned Berlin tonight that they had not seen much 
damage at the chief seaplane base at Hoernum, which 
was the only one they were shown — a fact I pointed 
out in my broadcast tonight. The Nazi press has been 
ordered to make a terrific play tomorrow morning of 
the reports of these American correspondents. 

Three more Poles sentenced to death at Posen today 
for allegedly slaying a German during the war. I hear 
sixteen Polish women are in a Berlin jail waiting to have 
their heads lopped off, all of them having been sentenced 
to death. 

Berlin, March 22 

Induced Irwin, of NBC, also to point out that 
the American correspondents were not shown all of Sylt. 
This afternoon the High Command was very angry 
with me for having mentioned this. 

Good Friday today. The sidewalks thronged. No 
special Easter joy noticeable in the faces. Long lines 
the last few days before the candy shops. How pa- 
tiently Germans will 'stand for hours in the rain for a 
tiny ration of holiday candy ! Last week's ration of one 
egg was increased by two eggs ; this week's by one. 

Later. — Radio people called up. They will 
fly Irwin and me to Sylt tomorrow to inspect the north- 
ern part of the island. 



1940 Berlin, March 23 305 

Beblin, March 23 

At midnight last night the RRG phoned to 
say our trip to Sylt could not be arranged after all. 
What did the British do on the northern end of the 
island that the Luftwaffe does not want Irwin and me 
to see? 

Great goings-on at the radio this noon. An officer of 
the High Command accused Irwin and me of having 
sabotaged our newspaper colleagues. He said that after 
we spoke yesterday no American newspaper would pub- 
lish the stuff the agencies were putting out about Sylt 
from their Berlin correspondents. However, the Ger- 
mans certainly publish what the American newsmen 
wrote. It makes wonderful propaganda. 

It is announced today that all church bells made of 
bronze are to come down and be melted up for cannon. 
Next week begins a nation-wide house-to-house collec- 
tion of every available scrap of tin, nickel, copper, 
bronze, and similar metals of which the Germans are so 
short. Today the army ordered all car-owners whose 
automobiles are laid up by the war-time ban — which 
means ninety per cent of them — to surrender their bat- 
teries. 

Easter tomorrow. The government tells the people 
they must remain at home and not try to travel as in 
other years because there won't be any extra trains. No 
private cars will be permitted to circulate tomorrow. It 
would be pleasant to be home. Last year, too, I was 
away, speeding through this town from Warsaw to 
Paris, and Europe jittery about Mussolini's invasion 
of Albania and rumours that Hitler would walk into 
Poland. Long ago, it seems. 



306 1940 Berlin, March 24 

Berlin, March 24 

Easter Sunday, grey and cold, but the rain 
has held off. I cancelled my engagements with some 
German friends for lunch and tea. Couldn't face a 
German today, though they are no friends of Hitler. 
Wanted to be alone. Got up about noon and listened to 
a broadcast from Vienna. The Philharmonic, and a 
nice little thing from Haydn. 

In the afternoon, a stroll. Unter den Linden 
thronged with people. Surely the Germans must be the 
Ugliest-looking people in Europe, individually. Not a 
decent-looking woman in the whole Linden. Their aw- 
ful clothes probably contribute to one's impression. 
Comparatively few soldiers in the street. Few leaves 
granted? Meaning? Offensive soon? 

I was surprised to notice how shabby the Kaiser's 
Palace at the end of the Linden is. The plaster falling 
off all over the place. Very dilapidated. The stone rail- 
ing of the balcony on which Wilhelm II made his fa- 
mous appearance in 1914 to announce to the delirious 
mob at his feet the coming of war appeared to be falling 
to pieces. Well, they were not delirious before Hitler's 
balcony when this war started. 

I tried to read in the faces of the thousands what was 
in their minds this Easter day. But their faces looked 
blank. Obviously they do not like the war, but they 
will do what they're told. Die, for instance. 

Berlin, March 25 

The DNB today : " At some places along the 
Upper Rhine front Easter Sunday, there were on the 
French side demonstrations against the English war, 



1940 Berlin, March 28 307 

which clearly showed how foolish the French troops con- 
sider it to be that Germany and France have become 
enemies as a result of British connivance." 



Beelin, March 28 

Germany cannot stay in the war unless she 
continues to receive Swedish iron, most of which is 
shipped from the Norwegian port of Narvik on German 
vessels which evade the blockade by feeling their way 
down the Norwegian coast and keeping within the three- 
mile limit, where they are safe from the British navy. 
Some of us have wondered why Churchill has never done 
anything about this. Now it begins to look as if he may. 
The Wilhelmstrasse says it will watch him. For Ger- 
many this is a lif e-and-death matter. X assures me that 
if British destroyers go into Norwegian territorial 
waters Germany will act. But how is not clear. The 
German navy is no match for the British. 

I hope I didn't put myself out on a limb, but from 
what I've heard this week I wrote tonight in my broad- 
cast : " Some people here believe the war may spread to 
Scandinavia yet. It was reported in Berlin today that 
last week a squadron of at least nine British destroyers 
was concentrated off the Norwegian coast and that in 
several instances German freighters carrying iron re- 
ceived warning shots. . . . From here it looks as if the 
neutrals, especially the Scandinavians, may be drawn 
into the conflict after all." 

I often write a paragraph like that to see how the 
military censor will react. He made no objection, which 
is interesting. 



1940 Berlin, March 30 



Berlin, March 30 

The Nazis launched last night what they 
thought would be a bomb-shell in America. Today it 
looks more like a boomerang. And a fine example of 
clumsy German diplomatic blundering. 

The Foreign Office released a new White Book con- 
taining what is purported to be sixteen documents dis- 
covered by the Germans in the Warsaw Foreign Office. 
Ribbentrop says they are secret reports of various Pol- 
ish envoys. The most important are from the Polish 
ambassadors in London, Paris, and Washington. They 
" implicate " American ambassadors Kennedy, Bullitt, 
and Biddle, and the point of them is that these diplo- 
mats, backed by Roosevelt, were leading conspirators 
in forcing this war on Germany ! 

Though it seems incredible that even the Germans 
could be so stupid, my friends in the Foreign Office say 
that Ribbentrop actually thought these " revelations " 
would make Roosevelt's position so untenable that his 
defeat in the next election — or the defeat of his candi- 
date, should he not run — would be assured. Having 
got wind of the strong sentiment in America to stay out 
of war, Ribbentrop thought these " documents " would 
greatly strengthen the hand of the American isolation- 
ists by convincing the American people that Roosevelt 
and his personally appointed ambassadors had not only 
had a hand in starting the war but had done everything 
to get us in. Happily, first American reactions are good 
and the New York press is suggesting the documents 
are fakes. They may not be faked ; probably only doc- 
tored. 

Later. — One of the most amusing Nazi 
fakes I've seen in a long time appears in the evening 



1940 Berlin, April 7 309 

press. It tells the German people that the publication 
of the Polish " documents " has hit America like a bomb- 
shell. The implication is that Roosevelt has been dealt 
a staggering blow. Secretary Hull issues an official de- 
nial of the allegations in the " documents." The DNB 
twists it around and heads it: "HULL DISAVOWS 
USA AMBASSADORS!" A crude piece of faking! 

The only trouble is that men like Ham Fish and Sen- 
ator Rush Holt may snatch at Nazi propaganda such 
as this to help fight Roosevelt. The DNB cables flatly 
that Senator Holt " agrees with the German White 
Book. 



?j 



Berlin, April 2 

I broadcast tonight : " Germany is now wait- 
ing to see what the Allies intend to do in stopping ship- 
ments of Swedish iron ore down the Norwegian coast to 
the Reich. It's accepted here as a foregone conclusion 
that the British will go into Scandinavian territorial 
waters in order to halt this traffic. It's also accepted as 
a foregone conclusion here that the Germans will react. 
. . . Germany imports ten million tons of Swedish iron 
a year. Germany cannot afford to see these shipments 
of iron stopped without fighting to prevent it." 

But how? S. whispers about Nazi troops being con- 
centrated at the Baltic ports. But what can Germany 
do against the British navy? 

Berlin, April 7 

The V.B. today : " Germany is ready. Eighty 
million pairs of eyes are turned upon the Fiihrer. . . ." 



810 1940 Berlin, April 8 

Berlin, April 8 

The British announce they have mined Nor- 
wegian territorial waters in order to stop the German 
iron ships coming down from Narvik. The Wilhelm- 
strasse says : " Germany will know how to react." But 
how? There are two rumours afloat tonight, but we can 
confirm nothing. One, that the German fleet has sailed 
into the Kattegat, north of Denmark, west of Sweden 
and south of Norway, and is heading for the Skager- 
rak. Two, that a German expeditionary force is form- 
ing at the Baltic ports and that dozens of passenger 
ships have been hurriedly collected to transport it to 
Scandinavia. 



Berlin, April 9 

Hitler this spring day has occupied a couple 
more countries. At dawn Nazi forces invaded the two 
neutral states of Denmark and Norway in order, as an 
official statement piously puts it, " to protect their free- 
dom and independence." After twelve swift hours it 
seems all but over. Denmark, with whom Hitler signed 
a ten-year non-aggression pact only a year ago, has 
been completely overrun, and all important military 
points in Norway, including the capital, are now in 
Nazi hands. The news is stupefying. Copenhagen oc- 
cupied this morning, Oslo this afternoon, Kristiansand 
this evening. All the great Norwegian ports, Narvik, 
Trondheim, Bergen, Stavanger, captured. How the 
Nazis got there — under the teeth of the British navy 
— is a complete mystery. Obviously the action was long 
prepared and longer planned and certainly put into op- 
eration before the British mined Norwegian territorial 
waters day before yesterday. To get to Narvik from 



1940 B be lin, April 9 311 

German bases would have taken at least three days. 

At ten twenty this morning we were urgently con- 
voked to a special press conference at the Foreign Of- 
fice to begin at ten thirty. We waited a half-hour. At 
eleven a.m. Ribbentrop strutted in, dressed in his flashy 
field-grey Foreign Office uniform and looking as if he 
owned the earth. Schmidt, his press chief, announced 
the news and read the text of the memorandum addressed 
in the early hours of this morning to Norway and Den- 
mark, calling on them to be " protected " and warning 
that " all resistance would be broken by every available 
means by the German armed forces and would therefore 
only lead to utterly useless bloodshed." 

" The Reich government," Schmidt, a fat, lumpy 
young man, droned on, " therefore expects the Norwe- 
gian government and the Norwegian people to have 
full understanding for Germany's procedure and not 
to resist in any way. ... In the spirit of the good 
German-Norwegian relations which have existed so 
long, the Reich government declares to the Royal Nor- 
wegian government that Germany has no intention now 
or in the future of touching upon the territorial in- 
tegrity and political independence of the Kingdom of 
Norway." 

Ribbentrop sprang up, snake-like, and said : " Gen- 
tlemen, yesterday's Allied invasion of Norwegian terri- 
torial waters represents the most flagrant violation of 
the rights of a neutral country. It compares with the 
British bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807. How- 
ever " — showing his teeth in a smug grin — " it did not 
take^ Germany by surprise. ... It was the British in- 
tention to create a base in Scandinavia from which Ger- 
many's flank could be attacked. We are in possession, 
gentlemen, of incontestable proof. The plan included 
the occupation of all Scandinavia — Denmark, Nor- 



318 1940 Berlin, April 9 

way, Sweden. The German government has the proofs 
that French and British General Staff officers were al- 
ready on Scandinavian soil, preparing the way for an 
Allied landing. 

" The whole world can now see," he went on, some- 
how reminding you of a worm, " the cynicism and bru- 
tality with which the Allies tried to create a new theatre 
of war. A new international law has now been pro- 
claimed which gives one belligerent the right to take un- 
lawful action in answer to the unlawful action of the 
other belligerent. Germany has availed itself of that 
right. The Fiihrer has given his answer. . . . Ger- 
many has occupied Danish and Norwegian soil in order 
to protect those countries from the Allies, and will de- 
fend their true neutrality until the end of the war. Thus 
an honoured part of Europe has been saved from cer- 
tain downfall." 

The little man, the once successful champagne sales- 
man who had married the boss's daughter, who had cur- 
ried Hitler's favour in the most abject fashion, who had 
stolen a castle near Salzburg by having the rightful 
owner sent to a concentration camp, stopped. Glancing 
over the room, he essayed another grin — inane, vapid. 

" Gentlemen," he shouted, " I thank you again and 
wish you a good-morning." Followed by his uniformed 
lackeys, he strode out. 

I was stunned. I shouldn't have been — after so 
many years in Hitlerland — but I was. I walked up the 
Wilhelmstrasse and then through the Tiergarten to 
cool off. At noon I drove out to the Rundfunk to do my 
regular broadcast. The people in the streets, I noticed, 
were taking the news calmly. Few even bothered to buy 
the extras which the newsboys were beginning to shout. 
From a score of rooms at the RRG, Goebbels's unpleas- 
ant voice came roaring out over the loud-speakers. He 



1940 Berlin, April 9 313 

was reading the various memorandums, proclamations, 
news bulletins — all the lies — with customary vehe- 
mence. I noticed for the first time a swarm of censors. 
They warned me to " be careful." I glanced over the 
late German dispatches. A special communique of the 
High Command said Copenhagen had been completely 
occupied by eight a.m. The German forces, it said, had 
been transported in ships from Baltic ports during the 
night, landed at Copenhagen at dawn, and had first 
occupied the citadel and the radio station. 1 It was clear 
that the Danes had offered no resistance whatsoever. 
The Norwegians, it appeared, had, though the Ger- 
mans were confident it would cease by nightfall. I 
phoned a couple of friends. The Danish Minister here 
had protested in the Wilhelmstrasse early this morning, 
but had added quickly that Denmark was not in a po- 
sition to fight Germany. The Norwegian Minister — 
a man notorious in Berlin for his pro-Nazi sympathies, 
I recalled — had also protested, but had added that 
Norway would fight. I wrote my sad little piece, and 
spoke it. 

Later. — Apparently something has gone 
wrong with the Norwegian part of the affair. The Nor- 
wegians were not supposed to fight, but apparently 
did — at least at one or two places. There are reports 
of German naval losses, but the Admiralty keeps mum. 
All the Danish and Norwegian correspondents were 
fished out of their beds at dawn this morning and locked 
up at the Kaiserhof. It was the first they knew that 
their countries had been protected. 

The Nazi press has some rare bits tonight: The 
Angriff: " The young German army has hoisted new 
glory to its banners. ... It is one of the most brilliant 
i This was a lie, as later entries will show. 



314 194-0 Beulin, April 10 

feats of all time." A feat it is, of course. The Borsen 
Zeittmg : " England goes coldbloodedly over the dead 
bodies of the small peoples. Germany protects the weak 
states from the English highway robbers. . . . Nor- 
way ought to see the righteousness of Germany's action, 
which was taken to ensure the freedom of the Norwegian 
people." 

Tomorrow the Volkische Beobachter, Hitler's own 
pride (and money-maker) will bannerline in red ink: 
"GERMANY SAVES SCANDINAVIA!" The excla- 
mation point is not mine. 

Broadcast for a third time at two a.m., and now, sick 
in the stomach from nothing I've eaten, to bed. 

Berlin, April 10 

It is plain from what I have heard today that 
Hitler and the High Command expected Norway to 
give up without a scrap. Now that it hasn't, the com- 
plete confidence of yesterday is evaporating. An in- 
spired statement today warned the populace that " yes- 
terday was only the beginning of a daring enterprise. 
Allied counter-action is still to be reckoned with." As 
a matter of fact, I get an impression in army and navy 
circles that if the British go in with their navy and 
back it up with strong landing-forces, Germany will 
have a much bigger fight on her hands than she bar- 
gained for. The German weak spot is its lack of a navy. 
The garrisons in the western Norwegian ports can only 
be supplied by sea. Also there are no suitable airfields 
north of Stavanger. 

Following a brief account of the naval battle between 
German and British destroyers at Narvik today, the 
High Command mentions something that has us a bit 
baffled. It remarks that on April 8 — that is, the day 



1940 Berlin, April l'i 815 

before the Germans seized the Norwegian harbours — 
" a British destroyer was sunk in another affair." Sev- 
eral of us have a hunch that if we could find out what 
that " other affair " was, we might penetrate the mys- 
tery of how the German navy managed to get warships 
and landing-parties into so many Norwegian ports so 
quickly without the British navy doing anything about 
it. 1 As it is, it is incomprehensible. 

Berlin, April 11 

London reports that Bergen and Trondheim 
have been recaptured by the Allies. The German High 
Command flatly denies it. It also categorically denies 
London reports that there has been a great naval battle 
in the Skagerrak — scene of the World War Battle of 
Jutland, incidentally. Only naval losses admitted up 
to date are the 10,000-ton cruiser Bliicher in Oslo 
Fjord and the 6,000-cruiser Karlsruhe off Kristian- 
sand, both sunk by Norwegian coastal batteries the 
morning of the 9th. 

Learn that Hitler has warned Sweden of the dire 
consequences of acting unneutral at this present junc- 
ture. As far as I can learn the Swedes are scared stiff, 
will not come to the aid of their Norwegian brethren, 
and will take their medicine later. Strange how these 
little nations prefer to be swallowed by Hitler one at 
a time. 

i The destroyer, we would learn later, was the Glow-worm, the 
only craft in the whole British navy to encounter any of the scores 
of German war vessels and transports which stole up the Norwegian 
coast before April 9. It sighted the German 10,000-ton cruiser Ad- 
miral Hipper off the Norwegian coast on April 8, but was blown to 
bits before it could get away. Had just a small British naval force, 
such as later went into Narvik, been within striking distance of the 
Norwegian coast on April 8, Hitler's Norwegian venture would have 
failed. One can only conclude that the British navy was caught nap- 
ping. 



316 1940 Berlin, April 14 

A Foreign Office spokesman told us today that Mr. 
Hambro, President of the Norwegian parliament, was 
an " unclean gentleman and a Jew." The Nazi man in 
Norway turns out to be a. former War Minister, one 
Vidkun Quisling, and he seems to have had a fairly 
strong fifth-column organization. One man in the Wil- 
helmstrasse told me he would be the Norwegian premier. 
The Borsen Zeitung complains of King Haakon's " un- 
intelligible attitude. . . . By his inflexible attitude he 
has shown himself to be badly advised and not the true 
protector of the interests of his people." 

The BBC tonight quotes Churchill as having said in 
the House of Commons today that " Hitler has com- 
mitted a grave strategical error " and that the British 
navy will now take the Norwegian coast and sink all 
ships in the Skagerrak and the Kattegat. God, I hope 
he's right. 

Berlin, April 14 

I've at last found out how the Germans, with- 
out an adequate navy, occupied the chief Norwegian 
ports along a thousand-mile coastline under the very 
nose of the British fleet. German troops with guns and 
supplies were transported to their destinations in cargo 
boats which ostensibly were on their way to Narvik to 
fetch Swedish iron. These freighters, as they've been 
doing since the beginning of the war, sailed within the 
Norwegian three-mile limit and thus escaped discovery 
by the British navy. Ironically ! — they were even es- 
corted to their goals by Norwegian warships which had 
orders to protect them from the British! 

But that does not explain how the British let half the 
striking power of the German fleet — seven destroyers, 



1940 Berlin, April 17 317 

one heavy cruiser, and one battleship — get all the way 
up the Norwegian coast unobserved. 

German naval circles admit that their seven destroy- 
ers were wiped out by a superior British attacking force 
at Narvik yesterday, but say they hold the town. To- 
morrow's papers however will say: "GREAT BRITISH 
ATTACK ON NARVIK REPULSED." When I showed 
an early edition of one of the papers to a naval captain 
tonight, he blushed and cursed Goebbels. 

Learn General von Falkenhorst has posted the fol- 
lowing proclamation in Oslo : " The Norwegian govern- 
ment has turned down several offers of co-operation. 
The Norwegian people must now decide the future of 
their Fatherland. If the proclamation is obeyed, as it 
was with great understanding in Denmark, Norway 
will be spared the horrors of war. However, if any 
more resistance is offered and the hand which was held 
out with friendly intentions rejected, then the German 
High Command will feel itself forced to act with the 
sharpest means to break the resistance." 

Hitler is sowing something in Europe that one day 
will destroy not only him but his nation. 

Berlin, April 17 

Hitler has sent greetings today to the royal 
family of Denmark on the occasion of the birth of a 
daughter to the Crown Princess ! 

The German press and radio turned its big guns on 
Holland today. Said an inspired statement from the 
Foreign Office : " In contrast to Germany, the Allies do 
not wish to prevent the little states from being drawn 
into the war " I 



318 1940 Beelin, April 18 

Berlin, April 18 

Joe [Harsch] back from Copenhagen with 
a nice tale. He reports that on the evening of April 8 
the Danish King, somewhat disturbed over that day's 
reports, summoned the German Minister and asked him 
for assurances. The Minister swore to His Majesty 
that Hitler had no intention of marching into Denmark 
and that the day's silly rumours were merely " Allied 
lies." Actually at that moment, as the German Minister 
knew, several German coal ships were tied up in Copen- 
hagen harbour, where they had arrived two days previ- 
ously. Under the hatches, as he also knew, were German 
troops. 

At dawn up came the hatches and the German soldiers 
piled out. The Royal Palace is but a short distance 
from the docks. Up the streets towards the palace 
marched the Nazi troops. The amazed Danes, going to 
work on their bicycles, could not believe their eyes. 
Many said afterwards they thought it was some film 
being shot. As the Germans approached the palace, the 
King's guards, however, opened fire. The Germans re- 
turned it. When the King heard the firing, Joe says, 
he sent his adjutant out to tell his guards for goodness' 
sake to stop shooting. The adjutant, waving wildly a 
white handkerchief, dashed out and gave the order to 
cease fire. The Germans, thankful for this co-opera- 
tion, surrounded the palace. Meanwhile Danish work- 
men, riding to work on their bicycles, were ordered by 
the Germans to take a side street and avoid the palace. 
Some of them did not understand German quickly 
enough. The Germans fired, killing a dozen or so. X, 
a Yankee businessman who happened to be in Copen- 
hagen, thinks the Germans are minimizing their naval 
losses. For one thing, he says he saw the masts of a 



1940 Beklin, April 19 319 

sunken pocket-battleship not sixty miles from Copen- 
hagen. 

Today, it is true, the German Admiralty called on 
the populace to show more patience and discipline and 
Btop besieging the Admiralty for news of relatives. It 
promised that the relatives of the dead would be duly 
notified. Meanwhile I learn that the Gestapo has for- 
bidden relatives who do know that one of their kin has 
been killed to publish death notices in the papers. Only 
two or three families of the top naval men who were 
killed have been permitted to publish the fact. 

Wounded sailors and soldiers who escaped with their 
lives from the Bliicher are arriving with horrible burns 
on their faces and necks. It seems that when the cruiser 
went down, it set loose on the water a lot of burning oil. 
Many men swimming about were burned to death. I 
suppose some of them died half from drowning, half 
from burning — a nice combination. 

Not a word about these things in the press. The Ger- 
man people are spoon-fed only the more pleasant and 
victorious aspects of the war. I doubt that in their pres- 
ent mood they could stand much bad news. 

Note that the Danes have been ruined by the Ger- 
man occupation. Denmark's three million cows, three 
million pigs and twenty-five million laying hens live on 
imported fodder, mostly from North and South Amer- 
ica and Manchukuo. Those supplies are now cut off. 
Denmark must slaughter most of its livestock, one of its 
main sources of existence. 



Berlin, April 19 

An official communique today : " In view of 
the hostile attitude of the Norwegian King and the 
former Norwegian government, the Norwegian Minister 



3%0 1940 Berlin, April 21 

and the staff of the Norwegian Legation have been asked 
to leave German territory by today." They have. 

Hitler's fifty-first birthday tomorrow, and the people 
have been asked to fly their flags. Said Dr. Goebbels in 
a broadcast tonight : " The German people have found 
in the Fiihrer the incarnation of their strength and 
the most brilliant exponent of their national aims." 
When I passed the Chancellery tonight, I noticed some 
seventy-five people waiting outside for a glimpse of the 
leader. In other years on the eve of his birthday there 
were ten thousand. 



Berlin, April 21 

The secrecy of the Allies about where their 
troops have landed in Norway was lifted by the High 
Command today. They have landed at Namsos and 
Aandalsnes, the two railheads north and south respec- 
tively of Trondheim, the key port half-way up the Nor- 
wegian coast occupied by the Germans. A friend of mine 
on the High Command tells me that the whole issue 
in Norway now hangs on the outcome of the battle for 
Trondheim. If the Allies take it, they have saved Nor- 
way, or at least the northern half. If the Germans, 
pushing northward up the two railway lines from Oslo, 
get there first, then the British must evacuate. The 
Germans today occupied Lillehammer, eighty miles 
north of Oslo, but they still have a hundred and fifty 
miles to go. What the Germans fear most, I gather, is 
that the British navy will go into Trondheim Fjord and 
wipe out the German garrison in the city before the Nazi 
forces from Oslo can possibly get there. If it does, the 
German gamble is lost. 

I feel better tonight, after working this out, than at 
any other time since the war began. 



1940 Berlin, April 29 321 

Berlin, April 22 

Opposition to the German forces driving 
northward on Trondheim is stiffening. For the first 
time tonight the German High Command speaks of 
stubborn resistance in this sector. But the Luftwaffe 
is giving the British bases at Namsos, Aandalsnes, and 
Dombas a terrible pounding. General Milch, Goring's 
right-hand man, has been dispatched to Norway to di- 
rect the air force. It's Germany's biggest hope there 
now. 

Berlin, April 23 

Joseph Terboven, the tough young Nazi 
Gauleiter of Cologne, who was more than a match for 
Fritz Thyssen there, has been named Reich's commissar 
for Norway. In other words, if Hitler wins, Norway 
will be just another Nazi province. 

Off to Lausanne to a meeting of the International 
Broadcasting Union. Spring along the lake under the 
Alps will be good. 

Berlin, April 29 

Returned this morning from Switzerland. 
The crucial battle for Trondheim will probably be 
fought this week. The Germans, I find, are much more 
confident than a week ago when I left. Apparently the 
British expeditionary force is not so strong as they had 
expected. It seems evident from what I heard in Switz- 
erland and here today that the first British troops 
thrown into the fighting around Lillehammer a week 
ago were few in numbers and miserably equipped — no 
tanks, no artillery, few anti-tank guns. 

Fred N.. the best-informed man we have on this cam- 



$%9 1940 Beelin, May 1 

paign at the Embassy, shocked me today by saying he 
still doubted whether the British were really taking the 
Norwegian campaign seriously. To cheer myself up I 
recalled to him that in the last war it took the British 
two years to get within striking distance of Bagdad, 
and then their main army and their commander-in-chief 
were captured by the Turks. A year or two later, how- 
ever, the British took Bagdad and drove the Turks and 
Germans out of Mesopotamia. What the British army 
and navy need is a reverse or two. Then perhaps they 
will become serious. 

I heard just now that the original British force em- 
barked in central Norway has been decimated. 

Beelin, May 1 

Two days ago, for the fourth or fifth time 
since the war began, I travelled down the Rhine from 
Basel towards Frankfurt. The first twenty miles or so 
out of Basel, you skirt the Rhine where it divides France 
and Germany. Actually you ride through a sort of no- 
man's land, as the main German lines are behind the 
railroad tracks on the slopes that form the high ground 
of the Black Forest. Two great armies stand divided 
by the river. Yet, all was quiet. In one village play- 
ground — it was Sunday — German children were 
playing in full sight of some French soldiers loitering 
on the other side of the river. In an open meadow, not 
two hundred yards from the Rhine and in full sight of a 
French block-house, some German soldiers were frolick- 
ing about, kicking an old football. Trains on both sides 
of the Rhine, some loaded with those very articles which 
are working such deadly havoc in Norway, chugged 
along undisturbed. Not a shot was fired. Not a single 
airplane could be seen in the skies. 



1940 Bee lin, May 1 



Last night I said in my broadcast : " What kind of 
war, what kind of game, is this? Why do airplanes 
bomb communications behind the lines in Norway, as 
they did in Poland, as they did everywhere in the World 
War, and yet here on the western front, where the two 
greatest armies in the world stand face to face, refrain 
completely from killing? " 

Is gas getting short? In Berlin 300 out of 1,600 taxis 
stopped running today and some twenty-five per cent of 
the private cars and trucks still allowed to circulate have 
been suddenly ordered to cease circulating. 

It's clear that the Germans, with all the air bases in 
the north, have complete superiority in the air in Nor- 
way. Will this in itself be enough to allow them to ad- 
vance victoriously to Trondheim ? I'm afraid it will. It 
is this threat of the Luftwaffe that is making the British 
navy hold back. How otherwise explain the failure of 
the British to attack Trondheim from the sea, as they 
attacked Narvik, which is out of the reach of most Ger- 
man planes? But unless the British do go in from the 
sea, they'll probably never get it. It's a race, and the 
Germans are moving fast. 

Later. — Today, which is German Labour 
Day and a holiday for all but munition workers, has 
seen Hitler issuing a grandiose order of the day to his 
troops in Norway. Last night the High Command an- 
nounced that German troops coming north from Oslo 
and a German detachment coming south from Trond- 
heim had made contact just south of the latter town. 
The battle for Trondheim has been won by Hitler. 
Where the Allies are, and what they're doing, are not 
clear. But it doesn't make much difference. They had 



8% 1940 Beelin, May 2 

a wonderful opportunity to stop Hitler and they've 
muffed it. One's worst suspicions seem to be confirmed 
— namely, that the British never went into the fight for 
Trondheim (read Norway) seriously. 

" The intention of the Allies," cries Hitler trium- 
phantly, " to force us to our knees by a tardy occupation 
of Norway has failed." Hitler addresses his order to 
the " Soldiers of the Norwegian Theatre of War." 
Three weeks ago Ribbentrop told us that the Fiihrer 
had prevented Norway from becoming a " theatre of 
war." 

So this May Day turns out to be a day of victory for 
the Germans. Hitler, for the first time since he came ta 
power, did not speak or make a public appearance. His 
deputy, Rudolf Hess, spoke in his place — from the 
Krupp munition works at Essen. He kept referring to 
Mr. Hambro as " that Jew, Mr. Hamburger." 

Judging from the looks of the good burghers who 
thronged the Tiergarten today, the one wish in their 
hearts is for peace, and to hell with the victories. Still, 
I suppose this triumph in Norway will buck up morale, 
after the terrible winter. S., a veteran correspondent 
here, thinks every man, woman, and child in this coun- 
try is a natural-born killer. Perhaps so. But today I 
noticed in the Tiergarten many of them feeding the 
squirrels and ducks — with their rationed bread. 

Beelin, May 2 

A blue day for the Allies. In Joe's room we 
listened to the six p.m. BBC broadcast for the bad news. 
Chamberlain had just announced in Commons the awful 
reverse. The British force which had been landed south 
of Trondheim, and which for the past ten days had been 
resisting the Germans moving towards Trondheim from 



1940 Berlin, May 4 



Oslo, has been evacuated from Aandalsnes, their coastal 
base. Thus the British abandon southern and central 
Norway — the most important parts. The Norwegians 
in that considerable area, who have been putting up an 
epic fight, are left to their fate. Chamberlain admitted 
that it was the German air force that had prevented the 
British from landing tanks and artillery at Aandalsnes. 
But what about Churchill's boast of April 11? What 
about the British navy? 

The feat of the German army in advancing more than 
two hundred miles north lip the Osterdal and Gud- 
brandsdal valleys from Oslo to Trondheim, and at the 
same time easily holding Trondheim with a small force 
against Allied attacks from both the north and the 
south, is certainly a formidable one. The whole seizure 
of Norway, though aided by the basest treachery, has 
undoubtedly been a brilliant military performance. 
After three weeks the British, with all their sea power, 
have not even been able to take Narvik. 

Chamberlain boasted that as a result of the partial 
destruction of the German fleet the Allies had been able 
to strengthen their naval forces in the Mediterranean. 
Mussolini's bluff that he might hop into the war behind 
Hitler thus was taken seriously by the old man. It cer- 
tainly wasn't here. It seems incredible to us here that 
Britain would withdraw the naval forces which would 
have enabled it to take Trondheim and thus defeat Hit- 
ler in Norway in order to strengthen its position against 
the tin-pot strength of Italy in the Mediterranean. 

Beklin, May 4 

The British have pulled pell-mell out of Nam- 
sos to the north of Trondheim, thus completing the de- 
bacle of Allied aid to the Norwegians in central Norway. 



1940 Berlin, May 4> 



Where was the British navy which Churchill only a 
fortnight ago boasted would drive the Germans out of 
the Norwegian waters? I saw a German news-reel to- 
day. It showed the Germans landing tanks and heavy 
guns at Oslo. Except for the use of submarines, and 
apparently not many of these, the Allies made no seri- 
ous effort to stop German supplies from reaching Nor- 
way through Oslo. They didn't even risk destroyers in 
the Skagerrak and Kattegat, not to mention cruisers 
and battleships. 

Is it that air power has shown in this short Nor- 
wegian campaign that it has superseded naval power? 
At least, within flying distance of your land bases ? In 
1914—18 such a German thrust as has now taken place 
would have been unthinkable. But with the Luftwaffe 
holding the flying fields in Denmark and Norway, the 
Allied fleet not only did not venture into the Kattegat 
to stop the German shipment of arms and men to Oslo, 
but has not even attempted action at Trondheim, Ber- 
gen, or Stavanger, with the exception of one eighty- 
minute shelling of the Stavanger airfield the first week 
of the war. The Germans now boast that air power has 
demonstrated its superiority over naval power. 

To sum up : Goring's planes accomplished four vital 
tasks in Norway: (1) They kept the sea route through 
the Kattegat to Oslo free of British warships and thus 
enabled the main German land force to be Liberally 
supplied with men, artillery, tanks. (2) They pre- 
vented (or successfully discouraged) the British navy 
from attacking the vital German-held ports of Stavan- 
ger, Bergen, and Trondheim. (3) By continually 
bombing the Alked ports of debarkation, they made it 
almost impossible for the British to land heavy artillery 
and tanks, as Mr. Chamberlain admitted. (4) By 



1940 Berlin, May 4 827 

bombing and machine-gunning enemy positions, they 
made it fairly easy for the German land troops to ad- 
vance through difficult country. 

In other words, they revolutionized war in and around 
the North Sea. 

I talked to my policeman friend today. He thinks the 
war will develop in a few weeks into bombing the big 
towns, and even gas. I agree. Hitler wants to finish the 
war this summer if he can. If he can't, despite all the 
German victories, he's probably lost. 

A decree today explains that while there are plenty 
of oil supplies, consumption must be further reduced. 
Many cars and trucks still operating are to be taken out 
of circulation. Two questions pop up: (1) Supplies 
are not so big? (2) Available oil will be needed for 
further military action on a big scale now that the Brit- 
ish have pulled out of Namsos and the Germans have 
won the war in Norway? 

The German papers today are full of accusations that 
Britain now intends to " spread the war." In the Medi- 
terranean or Balkans or somewhere else, by which I take 
it they mean Holland. 

As an escape, I suppose, I read some Goethe letters 
this afternoon. It was reassuring to be reminded of the 
devastation of Germany that Napoleon wrought. Ap- 
parently Jena, near Goethe's Weimar, was pretty 
roughly handled by the French troops. But through 
it all the great poet never loses hope. He keeps saying 
that the Human Spirit will triumph, the European 
spirit. But today, where is the European spirit in Ger- 
many? Dead. . . . Dead . . . 

Goethe harps on the theory that a writer can only 
get things done by retiring from the world when he has 
work to do. He complains that the world takes, but does 



328 1940 Berlin, May 6 

not give. Some of his letters on local administrative 
problems in Weimar are amusing. He had his small, 
bickering side. And — surprising — he is very subser- 
vient to his Prince Ruler ! 



Berlin, May 6 

Bernhard Rust, Nazi Minister of Education, 
in a broadcast to schoolchildren today, sums up pretty 
well the German mentality in this year of 1940. He 
says : " God created the world as a place for work and 
battle. Whoever doesn't understand the laws of life's 
battles will be counted out, as in the boxing ring. All 
the good things on this earth are trophy cups. The 
strong win them. The weak lose them. . . . The Ger- 
man people under Hitler did not take to arms to break 
into foreign lands and make other people serve them. 
They were forced to take arms by states which blocked 
their way to bread and union." 

The crying problem of Europe, I am beginning to 
think, is not Communism or Fascism — is not therefore 
social. It is the problem of Germanism, of the mental- 
ity so clearly expressed by Rust. Until it's solved, there 
will be no peace in Europe. 

German schoolgirls today were asked to bring the 
combings from their hair to school. The combings will 
be collected to make felt. 



Berlin, May 7 

For three or four days now the German news- 
papers have been carrying on a terrific campaign to 
convince somebody that the Allies, having failed in Nor- 
way, are about to become " aggressors " in some other 
part of Europe. Six weeks ago we had a similar cam- 



1940 Berlin, May 8 329 

paign to convince somebody that the Allies were about 
to become the " aggressors " in Scandinavia. Then Ger- 
many, using the alleged Allied intention of aggression 
as an excuse, went in herself. 

Where is Germany going in next? I'm suspicious of 
Holland, partly because it's the one place not specifi- 
cally mentioned in this propaganda campaign. Or are 
the Allies, having sucked the German army far from 
home bases into Norway, going to draw it far into the 
Balkans ? 

Amusing to read the headlines todaj^: "CHAMBER- 
LAIN, THE AGGRESSOR. ALLIED PLANS FOR 
NEW AGGRESSION!" If the German people were 
not so intellectually drunk themselves, or so stupid, 
they might see the humour in it. 

My guess : the war in the next few weeks will be on 
all over Europe. And, finally, with all the weapons: 
bombing of open towns, gas, and all. 

Berlin, May 8 

Could not help noticing a feeling of tension 
in the Wilhelmstrasse today. Something is up, but we 
don't know what. Ralph Barnes, just in from Amster- 
dam, says the guards on his train pulled down the 
window-blinds for the first twenty-five miles of the jour- 
ney from the Dutch-German frontier towards Berlin. 
I hear the Dutch and Belgians are nervous. I hope they 
are. They ought to be. I cabled New York today to 
keep Edwin Hartrich in Amsterdam for the time being. 
They wanted to send him off to Scandinavia, where the 
war is over. 

Just before I went on the air today, Fred Oechsner 
telephoned to say that Webb Miller had been found 
dead on a railroad track at Clapham Junction, near 



SSO 1940 Berlin, May 9 

London. The news shocked me greatly. I have known 
him for twelve years, liked him, admired him. In my 
first years over here as a green newspaperman, he be- 
friended and helped me. In the last decade our paths 
often crossed, in India, the Near East, the Balkans, 
Germany, Geneva, Italy, and of course in London, where 
he was U.P.'s star correspondent and European chief. 
Webb was an inordinately modest man, despite as distin- 
guished a journalistic career as any American has had 
in our time. His success never went to his head. I re- 
member him on many a big story being as excited and 
nervous, and if it were an interview, as shy, as the young- 
est and most inexperienced of us. His shyness was ter- 
rific and he never lost it. I wonder what killed him? 
Tired ? Sleepy ? I know it wasn't suicide. 

I went out to a suburb last night to see the film of 
havoc wrought by the German air force in Poland. It 
is called Feuertaufe — or Baptism of Fire. The wan- 
ton destruction of Polish towns and villages, but es- 
pecially of Warsaw, is shown nakedly. The German 
audience took the film in dead silence. 

Later. — My censors were quite decent to- 
day. They let me hint very broadly that the next Ger- 
man blow would fall in the west, — Holland, Belgium, 
the Maginot Line, Switzerland. Tonight the town is 
full of rumours. The Wilhelmstrasse is especially angry 
at an A. P. report that two German armies, one from 
Bremen, the other from Diisseldorf, are moving towards 
the Dutch frontier. 

Berlin, May 9 

What an irony that Webb Miller, who had 
spent most of the last twenty-four years covering wars, 



1940 Berlin, May 10 331 

and was often under fire, should have escaped them all 
only to die by falling out of a railroad coach far from 
a field of battle! The German press full of absurd 
stories today that Webb was murdered by the British se- 
cret service. This is worse than nonsense. Contempti- 
ble. (What happens to the inner fabric of a people 
when they are fed lies like this daily?) 

Hitler, in ordering the release of some Norwegian 
prisoners, proclaims today : " Against the will of the 
German people and its government, King Haakon of 
Norway and his army staff brought about war against 
Germany " ! 

Later. — The shouting headlines increased 
in size tonight, all thundering the accusation that Eng- 
land plans a big act of aggression, somewhere. "BRIT- 
AIN PLOTS TO SPREAD THE WAR," they roar. 

All of which moved me to say in my broadcast to- 
night. " Regardless of who spreads it, there seems little 
doubt that it will spread. And it may well be, as many 
people over here think, that the war will be fought and 
decided before the summer is over. People somehow 
seem to feel that the Whitsuntide holidays this week- 
end will be the last holidays Europe will observe for 
some time." 

My censors didn't like the paragraph, but after some 
argument they let it pass. Their line was that there 
was no question of Germany spreading the war. 

Berlin, May 10 

The blow in the west has fallen. At dawn to- 
day the Germans marched into Holland, Belgium, Lux- 
emburg. It is Hitler's bid for victory now or never. 
Apparently it was true that Germany could not outlast 



1940 Be klin, May 10 



the economic war. So he struck while his army still had 
supplies and his air force a lead over the Allies'. He 
seems to realize he is risking all. In an order of the day 
to the troops he begins : " The hour of the decisive bat- 
tle for the future of the German nation has come." And 
he concludes : " The battle beginning today will decide 
the future of the German nation for the next thousand 
years." If he loses, it certainly will. 

As I see it, Hitler had three choices : to wait and fight 
the war out on the economic front, as was done all win- 
ter ; to meet the Allies in some easy spot, say the Bal- 
kans ; to seek a decision in the west by striking through 
neutral Holland and Belgium. He has chosen the third, 
and the biggest risk. 

I can't boast that I was prepared for it. In fact, 
after broadcasting as usual last night at twelve forty- 
five a.m., I was sound asleep when the phone rang at 
seven this morning. It was one of the girls at the Rund- 
funk. She broke the news. 

" When do you want to broadcast ? " she asked. 

" As soon as I can get there," I said. 

" Ribbentrop has a press conference at the Foreign 
Office at eight," she offered. 

" I'll skip it," I said. " Tell New York — send them 
an urgent — to monitor D JL — and that I'll be on the 
air in an hour." 

Actually it was two hours or so before I could get 
on the air. Time dressing, time getting out to the Rund- 
funk, time getting the whole story. There was consid- 
erable excitement at the RundfunJc, and it was some time 
before I could wrest the various communiques from the 
hands of the German announcers. Fortunately, the 
censors, who must have been tipped during the night, 
were on the job and did not hold me up long. Except 
I could not call in my lead what the Germans were do- 



1940 Berlin, May 10 33S 

ing in Holland and Belgium " an invasion." They de- 
nied it was. I flamed up, but finally decided that since 
the censors had overlooked the word " invasion " three 
times in the script, it might be worth while to substitute 
" march in " in the lead in order to give radio listeners 
in America a story from Berlin. I didn't like the com- 
promise. It was a question of sacrificing the whole im- 
portant story for one word. And anyway, America 
knew an invasion when it happened. 

Later. — The people in Berlin, I must say, 
have taken the news of the battle which Hitler says is 
going to decide the future of their nation for the next 
thousand years with their usual calm. None of them 
gathered before the Chancellery as usually happens 
when big events occur. Few bothered to buy the noon 
papers which carried the news. For some reason Goeb- 
bels forbade extras. 

The German memorandum " justifying " this latest 
aggression of Hitler's was handed to the ministers of 
Holland and Belgium at six a.m., about an hour and a 
half after German troops had violated their neutral 
soil. It sets up a new record, I think, for cynicism and 
downright impudence — even for Hitler. It requests 
the two governments to issue orders that no resistance 
be made to German troops. " Should the German forces 
encounter resistance in Belgium or Holland," it goes 
on, " it will be crushed with every means. The Belgian 
and Dutch governments alone would bear the responsi- 
bility for the consequences and for the bloodshed which 
would then become unavoidable." 

The memorandum, which Ribbentrop also read to the 
correspondents at the eight a.m. press conference, ar- 
gues that Britain and France were about to attack Ger- 
many through the two Low Countries and that the 



334- 1940 Berlin, May 10 

Reich therefore deemed it necessary to send in its own 
troops to " safeguard the neutrality of Belgium and 
Holland." This nonsensical hypocrisy is " backed up " 
by a spurious " document " from the High Command 
claiming that it has proofs that the Allied troops were 
about to march into Belgium and Holland in an effort 
to seize the Ruhr. 

It's evident that the German army has struck with 
everything it has. The air force has gone all out and is 
obviously going to take full advantage of its superiority 
over the Allies. The High Command says that at dawn 
the Luftwaffe bombed scores of airfields in Holland, 
Belgium, and France as far south as Lyon. And then 
this is news: a communique speaks of German troops 
having been landed by air at many airports in Belgium 
and the Netherlands. The Germans claim they seized 
the airfields and occupied surrounding territory. Ap- 
parently, though the High Command censor would not 
let me say it in my talks today, they've been dropping 
thousands of parachutists. A report that the German 
parachutists have already occupied part of Rotterdam 
is not confirmed. It sounds inconceivable, but after 
Norway anything can happen. 

First German reports claim they've crossed the river 
Maas (Meuse) and captured Maastricht, and have also 
driven through Luxemburg and into Belgium. To- 
night the German army lies before Liege, which held it 
up for several days in 1914, and where Ludendorff first 
attracted attention. 

War on civilians started too. The other side reported 
German planes had killed many. Tonight the Germans 
claimed three Allied planes dropped bombs in the mid- 
dle of Freiburg, killing twenty-four civilians. As a 
taste of what this phase of the war is going to be like, 
a German communique tonight says that " from now on, 



1940 Berlin, May 11 $35 

every enemy bombing of German civilians will be an- 
swered by five times as many German planes bombing 
English and French cities." (Note Nazi technique 
there. (1) The statement is part of the nerve war on 
the enemy. (2) It is designed to make German civilians 
stand up to bombings by assuring them the English and 
French are getting five times worse.) 

That's one taste. Here's another : When the Belgian 
and Dutch ministers called for their passports at the 
Wilhelmstrasse today and at the same time lodged 
strong protests at the ruthless violation of their neu- 
trality, an official statement was promptly published 
here saying that " an official on duty [at the Foreign 
Office] after reading the contents, which were arrogant 
and stupid, refused to accept them, and asked the two 
ministers to request for their passports in the usual 
manner " ! The Germans are out of their minds. 

Tired, after broadcasting all this day, and sick in 
the pit of the stomach. 

Beklin, May 11 

The German steamroller sweeps on through 
Holland and Belgium. Tonight the Germans claim to 
have captured what the High Command claims is 
Liege's most important fort, Eben-Emael, which com- 
mands the junction of the Meuse (Maas) River and the 
Albert Canal. The High Command, which under Hit- 
ler's leadership is missing no opportunities for propa- 
ganda, makes it look mysterious by saying that the 
fort was taken by a " new method of attack." Is his- 
tory repeating itself? In 1914, when Liege held up 
the Germans for twelve days, the German army also 
had a surprise — the new 42-centimetre howitzer, which 
smashed the Belgian forts as if they were made of wood. 



836 1940 Berlin, May 11 

The Germans are keeping mum about their troops 
landed behind the Dutch lines at The Hague and Rot- 
terdam by parachute and by plane. But the High Com- 
mand, stung by Allied reports, did deny today that the 
Dutch had recaptured the airfields at The Hague or 
Rotterdam. The parachutists, then, carry portable 
radio transmitters too ! 

Strange, the apathy of the people in the face of this 
decisive turn in the war. Most Germans I've seen, out- 
side of the officials, are sunk deep in depression at the 
news. The question is : How many Germans support 
this final, desperate gamble that Hitler has taken ? Dis- 
cussing it at the Adlon today, most of the correspond- 
ents agreed: many, many. And yet I can't find any 
Germans who actually believe Hitler's excuse that he 
went into the neutral countries, whose integrity he had 
guaranteed, to counter a similar move which the Allies 
were about to begin. Even for a German, it's an obvious 
lie. 

GoebbeLs's propaganda machine, shifting into high 
gear, discovers today, twenty-four hours after the offi- 
cial announcement that twenty-four persons had been 
killed by the bombing at Freiburg, that thirteen of the 
twenty-four were children who were peacefully frolick- 
ing on the municipal playground. What were a lot of 
children doing on a playground in the midst of an air- 
raid? This particular GoebbeLs fake is probably pro- 
duced to justify German killings of civilians on the 
other side. 

The Berlin papers have great headlines today about 
the " shameful " protests of the two Low Countries 
against being invaded. 

The Nazis locked up in the Kaiserhof yesterday all 
the Dutch journalists who were not Nazis, including 
Harry Masdyck. who did not quite believe it would 



1940 Berlin, May 12 SS7 

come when it did. A Dutch woman reporter for the 
Nazi Dutch paper has been sitting at the Rundfunk 
since dawn yesterday broadcasting false news to the 
Dutch people in their own language. A sort of Lady 
Haw-Haw. 

Have one more broadcast at four thirty a.m., which 
is only ten thirty p.m. last night in New York. On the 
job since eight a.m. 

Berlin, May 12 

Sunday, and got a little sleep. Hill took the 
noon broadcast. 

After a mere two days of fighting the High Com- 
mand claims to have occupied all of northeastern Hol- 
land east of the Zuider Zee, broken through the first and 
second defence lines in the heart of the Netherlands, 
and pierced the eastern end of the Belgian line of de- 
fence along the Albert Canal. A year or so ago I had 
a look at that canal, which the Belgians had fortified 
with bunkers. It looked like a very formidable tank- 
trap with its deep and very steep, paved sides. Can it 
be that the Belgians didn't blow up the bridges? 

A typical Sunday in Berlin today, with no evidence 
that the Berliners, at least, are greatly exercised at the 
battle for their thousand-year existence. Cafes have 
been ordered to close at eleven p.m. instead of one a.m. 
That will get the folk home before the night air-raids 
start, though we've had none yet. Also, dancing has 
been verboten for the time being. 

The radio warned tonight that if Germans were mis- 
treated in Holland, there is " ample opportunity of re- 
taliating on the numerous Dutch nationals living in 
Germany." 



888 1940 Berlin, May 18 

Berlin, May 13 

Astounding news. The headlines at five p.m. : 
"LIEGE FALLEN! GERMAN LAND FORCES BREAK 
THROUGH AND ESTABLISH CONTACT WITH 
AIR-FORCE TROOPS NEAR ROTTERDAM!" 

No wonder a German officer told me today that even 
the Oberkommando was a little taken aback by the pace. 

The air-force troops were the parachutists and those 
landed by plane on the beach near The Hague begin- 
ning with the first day of the campaign. It was these 
men who took part of Rotterdam ( !) including the air- 
port, though they had no artillery and the Dutch 
should have had plenty, being a wealthy people. How 
a German land force has travelled clear across the 
southern part of Holland to the sea is a mystery to all 
of us here. It would have to be a motorized force, and 
in Holland there are scores of canals and rivers in their 
path. One supposes the Dutch would have blown up 
the bridges. 

"SWASTIKA FLIES FROM THE CITADEL OF 
LIEGE," say the headlines tonight. Apparently the Ger- 
man army which had forced the Albert Canal circled 
down to Liege from the northwest, where it was most 
weakly held, the Belgians having expected the main at- 
tack from the opposite direction. Liege held out for 
twelve days in 1914. If it has fallen now in four, that 
looks bad for the Allies. 

The foreign radio stations continue to tell of Ger- 
man parachutists dropping all over Belgium and Hol- 
land and seizing airports and towns. (Here we can get 
no information on the subject whatsoever.) It's a new 
form of warfare and it will be interesting to see what 
effect it has, if any, on a long, hard campaign, if this 
is to be one and not another German walkover. 



1940 Beelin, May 14 339 

Last night Premier Reynaud of France announced 
that German parachutists found behind the lines in any- 
thing but a German uniform would be shot on sight. 
Tonight the Wilhelmstrasse told us it was informing the 
Allied governments that for every German parachutist 
shot, the Germans would execute ten French prisoners ! 
Nice pleasant people, the Germans. That takes us back 
a thousand or two years. But keep in mind that this is 
merely a part of Hitler's new technique of terror. 

I passed some time at the Embassy today. Every- 
one depressed at the news and most think — on the 
fourth day of the offensive ! — that it is all over with 
the Allies. I tried to recall how black August 1914< must 
have seemed to Paris and London as the Germans swept 
on the capital and the French government fled to Bor- 
deaux. Tess said on the telephone last night that the 
Swiss were calling up every available male. When will 
it be Switzerland's turn? I asked her to try to book on 
the first ship home and take the baby. She won't. Her 
arguments : she has my Geneva office to run, she doesn't 
like the family to get too far apart, and now that the 
war is becoming a war, she wants to see it. 

Berlin, May 14 

We're all a little dazed tonight by the news. 

The Dutch army has capitulated — after only five 
days of fighting. What happened to its great water 
lines, which were supposed to be impassable? To its 
army of over half a million men ? 

An hour before we learned this from a special com- 
munique, we were told of Rotterdam's fall. " Under the 
tremendous impression of the attacks of German dive- 
bombers and the imminent attack of German tanks, the 
city of Rotterdam has capitulated and thus saved itself 



UO 1940 Berlin, May 15 

from destruction," read the German announcement. It 
ivas the first news we had that Rotterdam was being 
.bombed and was at the point of being destroyed. How 
many civilians were killed there, I wonder, in this war 
which Adolf Hitler " promised " would not be carried 
out against civilians ? Was the whole city, the half mil- 
lion or so people in it, a military objective so that it 
had to be destroyed? 

Having broken through at Liege, the Germans 
claimed tonight to have pierced the second line of Bel- 
gian defences northwest of Namur. They must be very 
close to Brussels. Tanks and airplanes, especially air- 
planes, are doing the job for the Germans. How crimi- 
nal of the British and French to have neglected their air 
forces ! 

A little tired of the way the German radio announces 
each new victory. The program is halted, there are fan- 
fares, then the communique is read, then a chorus sings 
the current hit : " We March on England." For the big 
victories the two national hymns are added. 

Berlin, May 15 

Very long, stunned faces among the foreign 
correspondents and diplomats today. The High Com- 
mand claims to have broken through the Maginot Line 
near Sedan and that German forces have crossed the 
Meuse River both at Sedan and between Namur and 
Givet, farther north. To anyone who has seen that deep, 
heavily wooded Meuse Valley, it seems almost incredible 
that the Germans could get across it so quickly, pro- 
vided there is any army at all defending the western 
bank. But both sides speak of big tank battles west of 
the Meuse. 

Almost all of my friends have given up hope ; not I, 



1940 Beblin, May 15 341 

yet. It must have looked even darker in Paris in Au- 
gust 1914, when nothing appeared to stand in the way 
of the German army and the capital. Our military peo- 
ple remind us that the main battle has not yet started, 
that the Germans have not yet run up against the bulk 
of the French and British armies. And the Belgians still 
have a half -million men in the fight. The line today held 
by the Allies is roughly: Antwerp, Louvain, Namur, 
then down the Meuse to Sedan, with the Germans across 
the river at several points. 

There was increasing talk from Rome today that 
Italy, now that the Germans appear to be winning, may 
jump into the war this week-end. Tess phoned this 
morning from Geneva to give me this news. Again I 
Urged her to leave with the child, and at last she seems 
willing. She and Mrs. V., with her two youngsters, 
will strike out across France for Spain. From Lisbon 
they can get the Clipper to New York. Worried all day 
about this. If Italy attacks France, going across to 
Spain from Geneva will be unpleasant, if not impossible. 

It seems the reason the Dutch gave up yesterday was 
that the Germans bombed the hell out of Rotterdam, 
and threatened to do the same to Utrecht and Amster- 
dam. Hitler's technique of helping his armies by threat- 
ening terror or meting it out is as masterful as it is 
diabolical. 

His High Command, for instance, tonight threat- 
ened to bomb Brussels unless all troop movements, which 
the Germans claim their reconnaissance planes have ob- 
served there, cease immediately. " If the Belgian gov- 
ernment," says the communique, " wishes to save Brus- 
sels from the horrors of war, it must immediately put 
a stop to troop movements in the city and the work on 
fortifications." 

A nice war. 



34,2 1940 Berlin, May 16 

Berlin, May 16 

Worried about Tess and the baby. If Italy 
goes into the war in the next day or two, as some think, 
escape for them in that direction is out. Today there 
are reports of more German activity along the Swiss 
border. The Nazis may break into Switzerland any mo- 
ment now. The trouble is the French won't let the Amer- 
icans out through France. They are not issuing transit 
visas at the moment. Yet the American government has 
advised Americans in Switzerland to leave immediately 
for Bordeaux, where they'll be picked up by American 
ships. Most of our consulate people at Geneva have 
sent out their own women and children with their diplo- 
matic passports through France. I believe Hitler will 
bomb Geneva to destruction just out of personal hate 
for the League and what Geneva stands for. 

Will Brussels be bombed, after last night's German 
threat? P., always well informed on German intentions, 
thinks Hitler will bomb Paris and London to daylights 
within the next forty-eight hours. 

I just saw two uncensored news-reels at our press 
conference in the Propaganda Ministry. Pictures of 
the German army smashing through Belgium and Hol- 
land. Some of the more destructive work of German 
bombs and shells was shown. Towns laid waste, dead 
soldiers and horses lying around, and the earth and 
mortar flying when a shell or bomb hit. Yelled the Ger- 
man announcer: "And thus do we deal death and de- 
struction on our enemies ! " The film, in a way, summed 
up the German people to me. 

Towards sundown Joe [Harsch] and I took a walk 
in the Tiergarten and agreed: The savage destruction 
by high explosives and steel of the other fellow is a 
beautiful thing and the fulfilment of a. high aim in Ger- 



1940 Berlin, May 16 3^3 

manic life ; blow up his home and his wife and his chil- 
dren. But let him do the same to you — then he is a 
barbarian destroying the innocent. The film, we re- 
called, switched back to Freiburg, where the Germans 
now claim some thirty-five people, including thirteen 
children (though Goebbels forgot to mention the chil- 
dren until twenty-four hours after he had announced 
the bombing and the number of victims), were killed 
by Allied bombs. Said the announcer angrily : " Thus 
do our brutal and unscrupulous enemies bomb and kill 
and murder innocent German children." 

" It's the old story," I said to Joe. " The German 
always wants it both ways." 

How would I get through the war without the Tier- 
garten, one of God's great parks? We remarked on 
what a deep green the grass had today and argued 
about the respective merits of mowing grass, as at 
home, and letting it grow long, for hay, as here. Curi- 
ous that the lawn-mower is almost unknown on the Con- 
tinent. The foliage around the little stream in the 
middle of the park was so luxuriant today, it reminded 
me of the Barbizon paintings. Or of a Normandy lily 
pond by Monet. Missing was only a stately lady clad 
in fin de Steele garb sitting very upright in a rustic boat 
in the middle of the pond. 

Picked up on the shortwave Roosevelt reading a 
special message to Congress. He came through very 
clearly. In great form, I thought. He proposed we 
build 50,000 ( !) planes a year and deliver Allied orders 
immediately. He said Germany now had 20,000 planes 
to the Allies' 10,000 and was still building them faster. 
This is a truth obvious to all of us here, but when we 
used to report it we were accused of making Nazi prop- 
aganda. Roosevelt received the greatest ovation I've 
ever heard in a broadcast from Congress. It makes you 



84-4- 194 ° Berlin, May 17 

feel good that they're waking up at home at last. 

How long before we're in this war, as at least a mighty 
supplier to the Allies — if there's still time? The Ger- 
mans say we're too late. The Herald Tribune came 
out today, according to the BBC, for a declaration of 
war on Germany. This led some of the American cor- 
respondents at dinner tonight to speculate as to what 
chances we who are stationed here would have of getting 
out, were diplomatic relations to be severed. The ma- 
jority thought we would be interned. No one liked the 
prospect. 

We're on the eve tonight of a great battle, perhaps 
the decisive battle of the war, on a front stretching for 
125 miles from Antwerp through Namur to a point 
south of Sedan. It looks as though the Germans were 
going to throw in everything they have, which is plenty. 
Their drive through Belgium appears to have been 
halted yesterday on the Meuse River and the Dyle Line 
farther north. But it is only a pause before the great 
final attack. Hitler must win it, and all the battles 
in the next weeks or months, or he's finished. His 
chances look very good. But great decisive battles in 
history have not always been won by the favourites. 

Berlin, May 17 

What a day ! What news ! At three p.m. the 
High Command came out with its daily communique. I 
would not have believed it except that the German land 
army has seldom misled us since the first days of the 
Polish war on what it has accomplished. Often its 
claims have sounded incredible, only to turn out in the 
end to have been correct. 

Today the High Command states its armies have 
broken through the Belgian Dyle defence line south of 



1940 Berlin, May 17 34,5 

Wavre and have taken the " northeast front " of the 
fortress of Namur. More important still — it claims its 
forces have broken through the Maginot Line on a one- 
hundred-kilometre front ( !) stretching from Maubeuge 
to Carignan, southeast of Sedan. This indeed looks bad 
for the Allies. And it begins to look too as if the help 
— especially in badly needed planes (for the Germans 
are winning this campaign largely through effective 
use of a superior airforce), which Roosevelt offered 
to the Allies yesterday — will come too late. Unless 
the Germans are immediately slowed down, and then 
stopped. That they haven't been yet, the BBC ad- 
mitted this evening. It spoke of fighting going on at 
Rethel, which is half-way to Reims from Sedan. We 
here had no idea the Germans had broken through that 
far. At the Rwndfunk tonight I noticed the military 
people for the first time spoke of a " French rout." 

I went on the air as soon as I could translate the com- 
munique — at three thirty p.m. — with an extra broad- 
cast of the news. I returned to the Embassy, where I 
found everyone dazed at events. A few seemed cheered 
by an editorial in the D.A.Z. which declared that the 
big decision had not yet fallen and that a hard road still 
lay ahead for the Germans. But hell, this offensive is 
only eight days old. And the Germans have overrun 
Holland and half of Belgium and are now half-way 
from the French border to Reims ! 

Worried about Tess. Phoned her this noon and urged 
her to get off today over France towards Spain with the 
baby. Now, tonight, I hope she hasn't done it, espe- 
cially as the French are making them go way north to 
Paris first, in order to get to Bordeaux. Paris is no 
place to get into now, after today's news. The Ger- 
mans may beat her there. Annoyed because I couldn't 
get through to her again on the phone tonight, which 



346 1940 Berlin, May 18 

makes me think she already has left for France. Think 
best thing for her to do is to take refuge in a Swiss 
mountain village. Perhaps Hitler won't bomb a small 
Swiss mountain village. 

Today turned warm and sunny, and you couldn't tell 
from the apathetic, almost lazy attitude of Berliners 
taking the sun in the Tiergarten that a decisive, per- 
haps the decisive battle of the war was on. Not a single 
air-raid alarm here yet since the new offensive started, 
though we hear that the Ruhr and the Rhine towns are 
catching it at night. 

Later. — The High Command late tonight 
announced that German troops entered Brussels at sun- 
down. During the day they had pierced the Allied lines 
north and south of Louvain. Things seem to be moving 
fast. In 1914 it took sixteen days for the Germans to 
reach Brussels. This time,- eight days. 

Berlin, May 18 

Going to the front tomorrow. At last will 
get a chance — maybe — to see how this German army 
colossus has been doing it, walking through Belgium, 
Holland, and now northern France, so fast. 

I hesitated about going for fear the decision might 
come in France while I was away and that the story in 
that case would really be here and I'd miss it. Also 
they've given us so many dud trips since this war started 
last September that it's highly possible we shan't see 
anything of real interest. 

I finally decided to take the chance. We leave at ten 
a.m. tomorrow, and will first drive to Aachen. Nine in 
the party : four Americanos, three Italians, a Spaniard, 
and a Jap. 



1940 Aachen, May 19 84.7 

Antwerp fell today. And while the German army is 
rolling back the Allied forces in Belgium towards the 
sea, the southern army, which broke through the Ma- 
ginot Line between Maubeuge and Sedan, is driving 
rapidly towards Paris. A piece in the well-informed (on 
military matters) B or sen Zeitung tonight hints that 
the German armies now converging on Paris from the 
northeast may not try to take Paris immediately, as 
they did in 1914, but strike northwest for the Channel 
ports in an effort to cut off England from France. A 
second force, it hints, may strike in the opposite direc- 
tion and try to take the Maginot Line in the east from 
behind. 

German reports admit the Allies are putting up fierce 
resistance in Belgium and France, but say that they are 
being " outclassed " by the sheer mass of German metal, 
especially tanks and airplanes. Perhaps in the next few 
days I'll be able to see for myself. 

Aachen, Hotel Inteknational, May 19 {mid- 
night) 

Most amazing thing about this Ruhr district, 
the industrial heart of Germany, which Allied planes 
were to have (and could have, we thought) knocked out 
in a few days, is that, so far as I can see, the night 
bombings of the British have done very little damage. 
I thought the night bombings of western Germany, 
the deadly effects of which the BBC has been boasting 
since the big offensive began, would have affected 
the morale of the people. But all afternoon, driv- 
ing through the Ruhr, we saw them — especially the 
womenfolk — standing on the bridges over the main 
roads cheering the troops setting off for Belgium and 
France. 



348 1940 Aachen, May 19 

We drove through many of the Ruhr centres which 
the Allies were supposed to have bombed so heavily the 
last few nights. We naturally couldn't see all the fac- 
tories and bridges and railroad junctions in the Ruhr, 
but we saw several, and nothing had happened to them. 
The great networks of railroad tracks and bridges 
around Essen and Duisburg, where British night bomb- 
ings had been reported from London, were intact. The 
Rhine bridges at Cologne were up. The factories 
throughout the Ruhr were smoking away as usual. 

Just east of Hannover there had been a night raid by 
the British a few hours before we arrived. Local in- 
habitants told us twenty civilians, all in one house, had 
been killed. Fifteen miles east of Hannover we spotted 
a big Handley-Page bomber lying smashed in a field 
two hundred yards off the Autobahn. Gendarmes told 
us it had been brought down by anti-aircraft fire. The 
crew of five escaped in parachutes. Four had given 
themselves up to the village burgomaster in the town 
near by ; one was still at large and the peasants and the 
gendarmes were scouring the countryside for him. We 
inspected the machine. Gunner's rear cockpit very 
small, and he had no protection. Front engines and 
pilot's cabin badly smashed and burned. Funny : the 
glass in the rear cockpit had not been broken. German 
air- force mechanics were busy removing the instruments 
and valuable metal. The Germans need all they can 
find. Hundreds of peasants stood by, looking at the 
debris. They didn't seem at all unnerved. 

We kept getting lost all day. Very dumb chauffeur 
leading our column of four cars. Our driver remarked : 
" In peace-time he was a taxi chauffeur. He's always 
getting lost and always taking the longest way round." 
We missed Cologne completely after we'd spotted the 
towers of the Cathedral across the green fields, and only 



1940 Aachen, May 19 3£9 

turned back after we were half-way to Frankfurt and 
it began to get dark. Almost a full moon towards the 
end, and it was very beautiful driving into Aachen along 
a road arched with trees. Along the road, endless col- 
umns of troops, in trucks and on foot, were moving up 
to the front, singing and in good spirits. 

(An example of the German army's terrific attention 
to detail: For three hundred miles along the Autobahn 
from Berlin to Cologne, broken-down farm implements 
made to look like anti-aircraft guns from any altitude 
at all were placed every two hundred yards. Ploughs 
with the shaft pointed to the sky to look like a gun; 
rakes, harrows, wheelbarrows, sewing-machines — every 
conceivable old implement had been carefully arranged 
to look like a piece of flak, 1 so that an Allied pilot fly- 
ing along the road would get the idea that it was suicide 
to swcop down on that road. Noticed on the map found 
in the British plane near Hannover that strong concen- 
trations of German anti-aircraft were marked in red 
ink. Another purpose of the farm machines of course 
was to impede the landing of Allied planes on the high- 
way. Telephone posts driven into the narrow strip of 
ground between the double lanes also served this pur- 
pose.) 

Except for a few German bombers starting out from 
near Hannover, we saw not a single plane in the sky all 
day, even when we drew close to the Belgian frontier. 
We passed the Cologne airdrome. It was packed with 
planes, but the hangars had not been touched. Beauti- 
fully camouflaged with netting they were. Obviously 
these night attacks of the British have failed not only 
to put the Ruhr out of commission, but even to damage 
the German flying fields. A phony sort of war the Al- 
lies still seem to be fighting. 

1 German for anti-aircraft gun. 



350 1940 Aachen, May £0 

My room here in the Hotel International is on the 
very top floor, or rather in the attic. Unpleasant room 
to be in if the British bombers come over tonight. But 
it has been dark for two hours now (one a.m.) and no 
sign of them yet. 

Later. Three thirty a.m. — They came over 
at two fifty a.m. I awoke to the crashing of anti-air- 
craft cannon and the rat-tat-tat of a machine-gun on 
the roof across the street. The British, judging by the 
sound of their motors, and by the way a gun on the 
station a hundred yards from my window kept firing 
away, were hitting for the Aachen railroad yards. No 
air-raid alarm. We got our first warning from the sud- 
den thunder of the flak guns. I went out into the hall 
to see what people do on such occasions, how they react. 
A half-dozen frightened women were frantically rush- 
ing downstairs in their nightgowns, fear frozen on their 
faces. A few men, whom I took to be officers, sauntered 
down. But none of our party of nine journalists. False 
bravery? Because the army officers were not frightened, 
just taking no unnecessary chances. The raid lasted 
twenty-five minutes, and then all was quiet. I feel very 
sleepy, but we must be up at five. 

Aachen, May 20 (midnight) 

This has been a day in my life. To have seen 
the destruction of war, what guns and bombs do to 
houses and people in them, to towns, cities, bridges, rail- 
road stations and tracks and trains, to universities 
and ancient noble buildings, to enemy soldiers, trucks, 
tanks, and horses caught along the way. 

It is not pretty. No, it is not beautiful. Take Lou- 
vain, that lovely old university town, burned in 1914s 



1940 Aachen, May 20 851 

by the Germans in their fury and rebuilt — partly by 
American aid. A good part of it is a shambles. The 
great library of the university, rebuilt by the donations 
of hundreds of American schools and colleges, is com- 
pletely gutted. I asked a German officer what happened 
to the books. 

" Burned," he said. 

I must have looked a little shocked as I watched the 
desolation and contemplated this one little blow to 
learning and culture and much that is decent in Eu- 
ropean life. 

The officer added : " Too bad. A pity. But, my 
. friend, that's war. Look at it." 

I did. But it hurt. 

My broadcast, which I'm to make from Cologne at 
four thirty a.m., if I get there, gives a resume of what 
we saw today. Here is a more or less chronological ac- 
count : 

We were off shortly after dawn from Aachen (Aix- 
la-Chapelle) across the Dutch province of Limburg to 
Maastricht. Little evidence that the Dutch did much 
fighting here. The houses whole, the windows unshat- 
tered. An occasional Dutch pillbox showed signs of 
having been hit by machine-gun fire, but nothing 
heavier. Apparently the Dutch made no attempt to 
slow up the Germans by blowing up the road to Maas- 
tricht. One bridge over a creek had been damaged. 
That was all. 

We crossed over the Maas (Meuse) at Maastricht. 
The river is broad here and was a natural line of de- 
fence, though the Dutch did not take much advantage 
of it. They had done a half-hearted job of blowing up 
the bridges. Blown up one out of seven or eight spans 
on the two bridges I saw. The Germans evidently had 
substitute spans, made of steel frames, waiting in the 



352 1940 Aachen, May 20 

rear, and within a few hours of bringing them up had 
the bridges good as new. German supply columns were 
thundering over both bridges when we arrived. 

7.30 a.m. — Arrived at the Albert Canal. 
With its steep banks, thirty feet high, which the Bel- 
gians had cemented to make it impossible to climb 
them, it was a good defence line, especially against 
tanks. Only the Belgians had not blown up the bridge. 
I asked a German officer why. 

" We were too quick for them," he said. Apparently 
what happened here, and at most of the other important 
bridges over the Albert Canal, all leading to Liege, was 
that German parachutists rushed the bridges from be- 
hind, wiped out the defending machine-gun crews, even 
overpowered the pillboxes also defending the bridges, 
and cut the wires leading to the explosive charges in 
the bridges before the Belgians could set them off. This 
particular bridge over the canal was protected by a 
bunker at the Belgian end of the bridge itself, and by 
two other bunkers lying a hundred yards to the right 
and left of the bridge. The bunker at the bridgehead 
must have been taken in the same mysterious way that 
Fort Eben-Emael was taken at Liege — by parachut- 
ists with some newfangled weapon. 

The German officer warned us not to go inside the 
bunker, as mines were still lying about, but a couple of 
us ventured in. I saw at once that there had been a fire 
inside the bunker. From that I concluded — though 
with several reservations ■ — ■ that the parachutists who 
took the pillbox from behind must have had a fire-pistol 
of some kind and shot their flames inside the pillbox. 
Near by I noticed freshly dug graves over which Bel- 
gian steel helmets were posed on sticks. Probably the 
crew of the pillbox. 



1940 Aachen, May 20 353 

Speed played a role too, with its resultant surprise. 
The motorized Germans had crossed the Dutch border 
twenty miles away at five a.m. and were over this canal 
into Belgium (past Maastricht, which should have been 
strongly defended but wasn't) at ten a.m. — five hours. 

You were immediately struck by the difference be- 
tween Holland and Belgium. As soon as we crossed into 
Belgium, we started running into blocks of pulverized 
houses along the road. Obviously the Belgians were of 
a different metal from the Dutch. At the outset they 
fought like lions. From house to house. 

7.^5. Tongres. — Here for the first time we 
suddenly came across real devastation. A good part of 
the town through which we drove was smashed to pieces. 
Stuka dive-bombers and artillery, an officer explained. 
The railroad station was a shambles ; obviously hit by 
Stukas. The railroad tracks all around torn and 
twisted ; cars and locomotives derailed. One could — or 
could one? — imagine the consternation of the inhabit- 
ants. When they had gone to bed that Thursday night 
(May 9) , Belgium had been at peace with the world, in- 
cluding Germany. At dawn on Friday the German 
bombers were levelling the station and town — the 
houses in which they had gone to bed so peacefully — 
to a charred mass of ruins. The town itself was abso- 
lutely deserved. Two or three hungry dogs nosed sadly 
about the ruins, apparently searching for water, food v 
and their masters. 

8.10. St. Trond. — This town is some twelve 
miles to the west of Tongres. As we felt our way slowly 
through the debris in the streets, I scrawled a few rough 
notes : " houses smashed . . . shambles . . . bitter 
faces Belgian civilians . . . they just starting to re- 



35£ 1940 Aachen, May 20 

turn . . . women sobbing . . . their menfolk? . . . 
where? . . . here houses destroyed at random . . . 
Stukas careless? ... on purpose? . . . war of roads 
. . . the German army on wheels . . . Germans 
simply went up the roads . . . with tanks, planes, ar- 
tillery, anti-tank stuff, everything ... all morning, 
roads massed with supplies, troops going up . . . curi- 
ous, not a single Allied plane yet . . . and these end- 
less columns of troops, guns, supplies, stretching all the 
way from the German border . . . what a target ! . . . 
Refugees streaming back along the roads in the dust 
and heat . . . tears your heart out. . . ." 

The refugees trudged up the road, old women lug- 
ging a baby or two in their old arms, the mothers lug- 
ging the family belongings. The lucky ones had theirs 
balanced on bicycles. The really lucky few on carts. 
Their faces — dazed, horrified, the lines frozen in sor- 
row and suffering, but dignified. What a human being 
can't take ! And survive and go on ! — In a few hours 
they would go picking through the charred heaps of 
what the day before yesterday or so had been their 
homes. 

8.30. Tirlemont. — A German officer re- 
marks here : " It took us five days to get to Tirlemont." 
We have come about a hundred kilometres from Aachen 
— twenty kilometres a day. Not bad. I notice that in 
all that distance I have not seen one bomb crater in the 
road. I deduce that while German Stukas put the Bel- 
gian railroad out of action, they were careful not to 
blow up the roads or their bridges. Apparently the 
German command decided in advance not to try to use 
the Belgian railways ; only the roads. Their army was 
built to go on gasoline-motored vehicles. 

We came to a terrific hole in the road, just as it 



1940 Aachen, May 20 355 

1 • 

crossed a creek at the entrance to the town. A pit thirty 
yards in diameter and twenty-five feet deep. The of- 
ficer explained the French blew this one up. 

" French dynamite experts," he said. " At places 
they have done a beautiful job. But they did not stop 
our tanks. The tanks went round through the factory 
you see at the left, piercing the factory walls as if they 
were made of tissue paper, crossed the creek a couple of 
hundred yards upstream, and pursued the enemy. We 
lost little time," he added, " even though you have to 
admit the French did a good job of it here." His ad- 
miration for the French dynamiters was terrific. 

Much evidence of street fighting here in Tirlemont. 
Houses pockmarked with machine-gun bullets; many 
levelled to the ground by Stukas and artillery. 

9.15. Louvain. — This ancient university 
city, burnt by the Germans in a burst of fury in 1914, 
is now again — to a considerable extent — destroyed. 
That's the first impression and somehow it hits me be- 
tween the eyes. Block upon block upon block of houses 
an utter shambles. Still smouldering. For the town was 
only taken two or three days ago. 

We drive through the ruins to the university, to the 
university library. It too was burned by the Germans 
in 1914, and rebuilt (rebooked too?) by donations from 
hundreds of American institutions of learning. 

" What happened to the library ? " I ask the local 
commandant, an elderly, pouch-faced colonel who is 
certainly not an unsympathisch fellow. 

" We shall be there in a minute. You will see," he 
says. He is silent for a moment. Maybe he notices 
my impatience. He adds : " There was a sharp battle 
here in the town itself. Heavy street fighting. Town 
changed hands several times. We would come in and 



356 1940 Aachen, May 20 

they would drive us out. There was bound to be damage, 
mein Herr." 

It has been destroyed then, I conclude. In a minute 
we are there, driving up the square in front of the li- 
brary, which is broken by rows of trenches. We climb 
out of our cars and look. . . . 

The great library building is completely gutted. The 
ruins still smoulder. Some of the girders that held the 
roof remain. The Tudor-like facade, blackened by 
smoke, holds out proudly, though a German soldier 
runs up to me as I approach and warns not to get too 
close, as the walls may cave in at any moment. We go 
in close, anyway. 

I'm fascinated by the inscriptions on the stones. I 
note a few down on a scrap of paper: THE FINCH 
SCHOOL; UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER; PHILLIPS 
ACADEMY, ANDOVER; UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS; 
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WO- 
MEN; PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE CITY OF 
PHILADELPHIA IN PENNSYLVANIA. And so on. 
They and many others of the kind donated the money 
to rebuild this library. I look for the famous inscrip- 
tion about which there was so much silly controversy 
(it doesn't sound quite so silly today) between some 
of the American donors and the Belgian authorities 
about the time I first arrived in Europe in 1925 when 
the building was being completed. I can't find it. I 
try to remember its exact wording and can't. But I 
think it ran something like this : " Destroyed by Ger- 
man fury ; rebuilt by American generosity." 

" And the books ? " I ask my commandant, who 
strikes me more and more like a decent fellow. " Burnt," 
he says, " all of them, probably." 

A Nazi worker with a gnarled, dishonest face, whose 
yellow arm-band proclaims his belonging to the Or- 



1940 Aachen, May 20 357 

ganisation Todt, which goes in after the German army 
and clears up the debris, comes up to me, and offers: 
" The British did it. Set it afire before they left. Typi- 
cal, ain't it? " 

I do not say anything, but later when I have the 
colonel alone, I put it to him. He eyes me and shrugs 
his shoulders and says : " Mem Herr, there was a battle 
in this town, as I told you. Heavy fighting in the streets. 
Artillery and bombs. You see how much has been de- 
stroyed. I do not know myself that one building was 
destroyed differently from the next. Whether the li- 
brary went like the others or in another way." 

Before we left Berlin a certain officer in the German 
army had come down to the Wilhelmplatz to tell us: 
" Gentlemen, we have just had word. From Louvain. 
The British have plundered that fine old town. Plun- 
dered it in the most shameful manner." 

We spend the morning in Louvain, looking over the 
ruins, snooping into some of the buildings that still 
stand, talking with the first returning inhabitants and 
with priests and nuns, some of whom have lived out the 
three-day battle huddling in the cellar of a near-by 
convent and monastery. We do not see or hear one 
shred of evidence that the British plundered the town. 
Nor — it is only fair to say - — do any of the regular 
army officers suggest it. 

When we enter the town at nine fifteen a.m., the bat- 
tered streets are deserted. Not a civilian about; only 
a few troops and Arbeitsdienst men in Czech uniforms 
(are there not enough German uniforms to go around?) 
or Organisation Todt men in nondescript working 
clothes and yellow arm-bands. 

Forty-one thousand people lived in Louvain until the 
morning Hitler moved west. A week later, when the 
Nazi army poured into the town, not a one of them was 



358 1940 Aachen, May 20 

there. How many civilians were killed we could not find 
out. Probably very few. Perhaps none. What hap- 
pened was that the population, gripped by fear of the 
Nazi hordes and remembering no doubt how the last 
time the Germans came, in 1914, two hundred of the 
leading citizens, held as hostages, had been shot in re- 
prisal for alleged sniping, fled the city before the Ger- 
mans arrived. 

When we leave, about noon, we see the first ones 
straggling back. Look at their faces. Dazed. So . . . 
horror-stricken. So . . . bitter and resentful. And 
yet — so dignified ! I see it — dignity masking suffer- 
ing is, in a way, on the human face at such moments, a 
noble and even a beautiful thing. Our super-sophisti- 
cates like Aldous Huxley need to see more of this — in 
the flesh, amongst the ruins. 

Our commandant takes us to the Cathedral and the 
City Hall. Except for a broken window or two, they 
are untouched. They must have escaped the burning of 
the town in 1914, for they are not new edifices. A Ger- 
man officer remarks to me : " The Stukas have one ad- 
vantage over ordinary bombers." 

"What's that? "I ask. 

" They're more accurate. See how the Rathaus and 
Cathedral here have been spared. Ordinary bombers 
attacking the town probably would have hit them, too. 
Not our Stukas. They hit their targets." 

We file into the City Hall. In a long mediaeval hall, 
probably the reception room, for it's in the front, we 
see immediately that this has been a British head- 
quarters. On a large table made of unpainted wood: 
maps, note pads, whisky bottles, beer bottles, cans of 
biscuits with their quaint English labels. They bear 
evidence that the British were but lately here. 



1940 Aachen, May 20 359 

A corridor leads off to smaller, inner rooms where 
various British officers seem to have installed themselves. 
On their desks, more maps, French-English dictionar- 
ies. On one I notice an artillery manual. The floor in 
one room is bloodstained. The commandant ventures 
the information that two wounded Belgians bled to 
death there. In each room under the sweeping Renais- 
sance paintings on the walls, dishevelled mattresses on 
which the British slept. Most of them bloodstained, as 
if in the last days they were used not to sleep on, but to 
die on. 

When we leave the City Hall, filing out through the 
large reception room I notice that a great bronze plaque 
standing against the back wall has been tampered with, 
and one half ripped away and removed. 

" How about it? " I ask an officer. 

He puffs out something about the honour of the Ger- 
man armed forces, and that this plaque commemorated 
the martyrs of Louvain — the two hundred civilians 
who were shot as hostages by the German army in 191 4i, 
and that, as the whole world knew, those two hundred 
leading citizens had only been shot as a result of the 
Belgians' sniping at German soldiers, 1 and that the 
plaque said something about the barbarity of the Ger- 
man soldiers, and that there was the honour of the Ger- 
man army to uphold, and that as a consequence the half 
of the plaque which told of the " heroic martyrs and the 
barbaric Germans " had been removed, but that the 
other half, commemorating the heroic deeds of the Bel- 
gian army in 1914) in defence of the land, had been left 
because the Germans had nothing against that — just 
the opposite. 

In the shambles of the square by the railroad station 
i There was no sniping in 1940. 



860 1940 Aachen, May 20 

►— ■ "" ■ — ■ ■■■ — ■■ ,.,,, — ■ ■ 

a massive monument in stone around which Germans 
and British fought this time for three days still stands. 
It also commemorates the good burghers who were shot 
in 1914. It even lists their names. So far the Germans 
have not dynamited it. 

We pause on the square for breath. Refugees, fear 
on their faces still, and shock, begin to trickle in, pick- 
ing their way over the ruins. They are silent, bitter, 
proud. Though it breaks your heart to do it, we stop 
a few and try to question them. Some of our number 
want to get to the bottom of the German charge that 
the British set fire to the Louvain library in the belief 
that the Germans would be blamed and American opin- 
ion thus further inflamed against the Nazis. But eye- 
ing the German officers with us, they grow sly, act shy, 
and tell us nothing. They saw nothing, they all insist. 
They were not in the town during the fighting. They 
had fled to the hills. 

" How could I see anything? " one old man protests, 
glaring bitterly at the Germans. A Belgian priest is 
just as cagey. " I was in the cellar of the monastery," 
he says. " I prayed for my flock." A German nun tells 
how she and fifty-six children huddled in the cellar of 
the convent for three days. She does remember that the 
bombs started falling Friday morning, the 10th. That 
there was no warning. The bombs were not expected. 
Belgium was not in the war. Belgium had done nothing 
to anybody. . . . She pauses and notices the German 
officers eyeing her. 

" You're German, aren't you? " one of them says. 

" Ja." Then she puts in hurriedly, in a frightened 
voice : " Of course, as a German, I was glad when it was 
all over and the German troops arrived." 

The commandant, encouraged, wants to take us out 
to the convent to speak to more German nuns, but we 



1940 Aachen, May 20 361 

figure it is only for propaganda, and urge the officers 
of our party to push on. We set out for Brussels. 

About noon we are speeding along a dusty road to- 
wards Brussels when someone sights Steenockerzeel and 
the mediaeval-like old castle where Otto von Habsburg 
and his mother, Zita, former Empress of Austria- 
Hungary, have been living. We stop to take a look. It 
has been bombed. 

Otto's castle is an ancient edifice, ugly with its nu- 
merous towers and conglomerate outline. Around it is 
a muddy moat. As we approach we see that a part of 
the roof has been blown off, and one wall looks shaky. 
Windows broken. Evidently there has been concussion 
from a high explosive. Coming closer we see two huge 
bomb craters, actually forming a part of the moat and 
enlarging it. The house obviously still stands only be- 
cause both bombs, and they must have been five-hun- 
dred-pounders at least, fell in the moat, and the water 
and mud deadened the explosive force. The moat being 
but sixty feet from the castle, the bombs were certainly 
well aimed. Evidently the work of Stukas. 

But why bomb Otto von Habsburg's castle? I ask 
an officer. He can't figure it out. Finally he suggests : 
" It was undoubtedly used by the British as head- 
quarters. It would therefore be a fair military target." 
Later when we have gone through the castle from bot- 
tom to top, we find no evidence that the British have 
been there. 

The castle, we soon notice, once we are inside, has 
been plundered, though not very well. There is evi- 
dence that the occupants left in great haste. In the up- 
stairs bedrooms women's clothes are lying on the floor, 
on chairs, on beds, as if those who were there could not 
make up their minds what dress to take, and did not 



1940 Aachen, May 20 



have the time nor the luggage space to take very much. 
All the closets are filled with dresses and robes, hanging 
neatly from hangers. In one room, occupied by a man, 
books, sweaters, suits, golf-sticks, victrola records, and 
notebooks are scattered about. In the salon downstairs, 
a large room furnished in horrible bourgeois taste, books 
and notebooks and china lie in disorder on a large table. 
An enormous book on bugs had evidently been well 
thumbed through by someone, perhaps Otto. In what 
I take to be his study upstairs, I notice a book in French 
entitled: The Coming War. I look over his books. 
There are some very good ones in French, German, 
English. Obviously he had an excellent taste in books. 
Many, of course, are his university textbooks, on poli- 
tics, economics, etc. 

We rummage for a half -hour through the rooms. 
They are poorly furnished for the most part. The 
bathrooms very primitive. I remember the splendour 
I've seen in the Hofburg in Vienna, where the Habs- 
burgs ruled so long. A far cry to this. Some of our 
party are loading up with souvenirs, swords, ancient 
pistols, various knick-knacks. I pick up a page of Eng~ 
lish composition which Otto evidently did when he was 
boning up on his English prior to his recent visit to 
America. Feel like a robber. A German officer hands 
me Otto's student cap. Sheepishly I take it. Someone 
discovers some of Zita's personal calling cards and 
hands me one. It says : " L'Imperatrice d'Autriche et 
Reine de Hongrie." I pocket it, plunderer that I 
am. A sad, hungry, bewildered dog wanders around 
the litter in the rooms and follows us out to our 
car. We leave the castle to him. No human being is 
about. 

From Steenockerzeel to Brussels the roads are 
jammed with German army trucks and motorized guns 



1940 Aachen, May 20 



speeding westward, on the right side; on the left side 
an unbroken column of tired refugees returning in the 
heat and the dust to their destroyed towns. An appetite 
for a good hearty lunch in Brussels had been growing in 
me. This sight takes it away. 

# p.m., Brussels. — Brussels has been spared 
— the one lone city in Belgium that has not been in 
whole or in part laid waste. Hitler threatened to bomb 
or destroy it on the ground that the Belgians were 
moving troops through it and that it was no longer ai> 
open city. Perhaps its rapid fall saved it. 

Here and there, as you drive through the town, you 
see a demolished house where a stray German bomb 
fell (just to terrorize the people?). And all the bridges 
over the canal in the middle of the city — and there 
must have been a dozen of them — were blown up by 
the British. . . . 

It's a warm late-spring day, and the streets are 
thronged with the local inhabitants. The same bitter, 
but proud faces we have seen in the other towns. The 
German officer in charge of our four cars stops to ask 
a passer-by the way to a restaurant where we are booked 
to eat. The gentleman, a professorial-looking fellow 
with a beard and a wide-brimmed black hat, gives di- 
rections. He is coolly polite. The officer thanks him 
with a salute. The professor tips his hat stiffly. 

Soon we are in the centre of town, in front of the 
East Station, and speeding, the claxon shrieking ruth- 
lessly and needlessly, down the street to the square in 
front of the Hotel Metropole. How many days and 
nights I've walked this street in the time of peace . . . 
observed the good burghers of Brussels, the painted 
whores, the streets full of good things you never saw in 
Germany, oranges, bananas, butter, coffee, meat; the 



864 19*° Aachen, May 20 

movie fronts with posters of the latest from Hollywood 
and Paris, the cafe terraces, always jammed on the 
square. 

We eat at the Taverne Royale, which I often fre- 
quented when in Brussels. I'm a little embarrassed 
showing up there with German officers. Fortunately 
the head waiter and his staff do not recognize me — - or 
act as if they didn't. The restaurant, like the Hotel 
Metropole, has been taken over by the army, though 
during the meal two or three civilians stray in and are 
served — as exceptions, I suppose. We eat well. The 
Germans from the Foreign Office and the Propaganda 
Ministry and the officers, especially. Food like this has 
not been available in Berlin for years. 

Some of our party buy out the restaurant's stock 
of American tobacco in a few minutes. I take three 
packages of Luckies myself. I cannot resist after a year 
of smoking " rope " in Germany. I will save them for 
breakfast ; one a day, after. Most buy by the carton, 
which relieves my conscience. We pay in marks at the 
absurd rate of ten francs to one mark. After lunch most 
of the party go out to plunder with their paper marks, 
now worth a great deal. They buy shoes, shirts, rain- 
coats, women's stockings, everything. One Italian buys 
coffee, tea, two gallons of cooking oil, besides shoes and 
clothes. 

F. and I go off to find a shop I used to patronize here ; 
not to buy, but to talk. The wife of the patron is tend- 
ing it. She half remembers me. She is dazed, fright- 
ened — but brave. She does not yet realize what has 
happened. She says : " It came so suddenly. I can't get 
it straight yet. First the German attack. Then the 
government fled. We didn't know what was happening. 
Then Friday [today is the following Monday], about 
eight in the evening, the Germans marched in." She 



1940 Aachen, May 20 365 

admits the German soldiers are behaving " correctly." 

" Where's your husband? " I ask. 

" I don't know. He was mobilized. He went to the 
front. I've heard nothing. I only keep hoping he is 
alive." 

A couple of German soldiers sauntered in and bought 
half a dozen packages of American cigarettes each. In 
Germany the most they would have been allowed to buy 
would have been ten bad German cigarettes. When they 
had gone, she said : 

"I keep the store open. But for how long? Our 
stocks came from England and America. And my child. 
Where the milk? I've got canned milk for about two 
months. But after that — " 

She paused. Finally she got it out : 

" In the end, how will it be ? I mean, do you think, 
Belgium will ever be like before — independent, and 
with our King? " 

" Well, oi course, if the Allies win, it will be like the 
last time. . . ." We gave the obvious reply. 

"If? . . . But why do they retreat so fast? With 
the British and the French, we had more than a million 
men in Belgium. And they didn't hold out as long as 
the few Belgians in 1914. I don't understand it." 

We didn't either, and we left. Back at the restaurant 
where our cars were waiting, some of our party were re- 
turning, their arms laden with booty. Many were not 
back yet, so F. and I wandered over to the Rathaus- 
platz. Above the City Hall the Swastika floated in the 
afternoon sun. Otherwise, except for the German troops 
clustered about, the square looked the same. We spotted 
the offices of an American bank. We went inside and 
asked for the manager. Previously at luncheon we had 
asked the Germans to take us to the American Em- 
bassy, but they had refused. The American Embassy 



366 1940 Aachen, May 20 

staff fled with the Belgian government, they told us. I 
protested that at least a secretary of Embassy would 
have been left in charge. No, they claimed, only a por- 
ter was left. This was manifestly an untruth, but F. 
and I gave it up. It was too far to walk in the short 
time we had. 

The two managers of the bank — one had arrived 
from New York two days before Belgium was invaded 
— seemed glad to see us. Our Ambassador Cudahy and 
his entire staff had remained in Brussels, they told us. 
But they had been unable to communicate with the out- 
side world. So far as they knew, all Americans were 
safe. Some, along with a party of Jewish refugees, had 
tried to get out a couple of nights before the Germans 
entered. But twenty miles outside the capital the Ger- 
mans had bombed the railroad bridge, and the train 
had had to stop. There was some panic, especially 
among the Jews, which is understandable. The Jews 
and five or six Americans had decided to go on towards 
the coast on foot. The rest, including one of the man- 
agers, had returned to Brussels. No one knew what had 
happened to those who pushed on to the coast. 

Stray items about Brussels : Street-cars running, but 
no private motor traffic permitted. Germans had seized 
most of the private cars. No telephone service per- 
mitted. Movies closed; their posters still advertising 
French and American films. The army had forbidden 
the population to listen to foreign broadcasts. Signs 
were up everywhere, with an appeal of the burgomaster, 
written in French and Flemish, asking the population 
to remain calm and dignified in regard to the German 
troops. American offices had a notice written on the 
stationery of the American Embassy, stating : " This is 
American property under the protection of the U. S. 
Government." 



1940 Aachen, May 20 367 

Left Brussels in the late afternoon, our cars filled 
with the loot almost everyone had bought. We returned 
to Aachen about nine thirty p.m. I had some luck. I've 
arranged with RRG in Berlin to broadcast from Co- 
logne at four thirty a.m. this night. 

I've just finished the piece. Had to get the censors 
from the Propaganda Ministry and the High Com- 
mand out of bed to read it. Though I've had little sleep 
for some time, I do not feel sleepy or tired. I hired a 
car and a chauffeur to drive me to Cologne — about 
forty miles. He insists on starting now — one a.m. 
Says the troops on the road will slow us up, maybe too 
the British bombers. So far they've not been over to- 
night, though it's almost full moon. 

May %1, 6.15 a.m. — Broadcast went off all 
right. No English bombers. Had difficulty in finding 
the broadcasting studio in the black-out. Finally a fat 
blonde, standing on a doorstep with a soldier, gave us 
directions in Cologne that worked. Snatched a half- 
hour's sleep at the studio, and dozed for the hour and 
a half that it took us to drive back to Aachen. Dozed 
almost all the way, that is. It was a beautiful dawn 
and I finally woke up to feel it. Down to breakfast now 
and we're off to the front at six thirty a.m. No time to 
take my clothes off, but did snatch a shave. 

Footnote to May %0. — Returning from 
Brussels to Aachen, we ran across a batch of British 
prisoners. It was somewhere in the Dutch province of 
Limburg, a suburb, I think, of Maastricht. They were 
herded together in the brick-paved yard of a disused 
factory. We stopped and went over and talked to them. 
They were a sad sight. Prisoners always are, especially 
right after a battle. St>me obviously shell-shocked, some 



368 1940 Aachen, May 20 

wounded, all dead tired. But what impressed me most 
about them was their physique. They were hollow- 
chested and skinny and round-shouldered. About a 
third of them had bad eyes and wore glasses. Typical, I 
concluded, of the youth that England neglected so crim- 
inally in the twenty -two post-war years when Germany, 
despite its defeat and the inflation and six million un- 
employed, was raising its youth in the open air and the 
sun. I asked the boys where they were from and what 
they did at home. About half of them were from offices 
in Liverpool; the rest from London offices. Their mil- 
itary training had begun nine months before, they said, 
when the war started. But it had not, as you could see, 
made up for the bad diet, the lack of fresh air and sun 
and physical training, of the post-war years. Thirty 
yards away German infantry were marching up the 
road towards the front. I could not help comparing 
them with these British lads. The Germans, bronzed, 
clean-cut physically, healthy-looking as lions, chests de- 
veloped and all. It was part of the unequal fight. 

The English youngsters, I knew, had fought as 
bravely as men can. But bravery is not all; it is not 
enough in this machine-age war. You have to have a 
body that will stand terrific wear and tear. And then, 
especially in this war, you must have all the machines of 
warfare. I asked the English about that. There were 
six of them, standing a little apart — all that were left, 
they told me, from a company that had gone into battle 
near Louvain. 

" We didn't have a chance," one of them said. " We 
were simply overwhelmed. Especially by those dive- 
bombers and tanks." 

" What about your own bombers and tanks ? " I 
asked. 

" Didn't see any." This answer was chorused. 



1940 Aachen, May 21 369 

Three of the men had dirty, bloody bandages over 
one eye. One of the three looked particularly depressed, 
and stood there gritting his teeth in pain. 

" A shame," his comrade whispered to me. " He's 
lost the eye. Feels pretty rotten about it." 

" Tell him it isn't so bad," I said, trying in my awk- 
ward way to be comforting. " I lost the sight of one 
eye myself," I said, " and you never notice it." But I 
don't think he believed me. 

On the whole, though, despite the shell-shock, despite 
the black future as prisoners, they were a cheery lot. 
One little fellow from Liverpool grinned through his 
thick glasses. 

" You know, you're the first Americans I've ever seen 
in the flesh. Funny place to meet one for the first time, 
ain't it? " This started the others to make the same 
observation, and we had a good laugh. But inside I 
was feeling not so good. F. and I gave them what cig- 
arettes we had and went away. 

Aachen, May 21 

Finally got to the actual front today and 
saw my first battle — along the Scheldt River in west- 
ern Belgium. It was the first actual fighting I had 
seen since the battle for Gdynia in Poland last Sep- 
tember. 

Driving to the front we again went through Louvain. 
Surprising how many people had returned. The peas- 
ants had brought in food. To our amazement, a small 
vegetable market was functioning in a ruined street. 

Heading southwest from Brussels, we drove along the 
road to Tournai, still in Allied hands. At Tubize, a 
few miles southwest of Waterloo, the familiar signs of 
recent fighting — the houses along the streets demol- 



370 1940 Aachen, May 21 

ished, half-burnt debris everywhere. So far, I thought, 
this war has been fought along the roads — by two 
armies operating on wheels. Almost every town wholly 
or partially destroyed. But the near-by fields un- 
touched. Returning peasants already tilling them. 

About noon we reached Enghien and drove to the 
headquarters of General von Reichenau, commander of 
the 6th Army. Headquarters were in a chateau not far 
from the town. In the park leading to the Schloss anti- 
aircraft guns were mounted everywhere. It was one of 
those pleasant Renaissance chateaux that dot the coun- 
tryside in Belgium and France, and the park and lawn 
leading up to it were cool and green. 

Reichenau, whom I had seen occasionally in Berlin 
before the war, greeted us on the porch. He was tanned 
and springy as ever, his invariable monocle squeezed 
over one eye. With typical German thoroughness and 
with an apparent frankness that surprised me, he went 
over the operations thus far, stopping to answer ques- 
tions now and then. In a brief cable to CBS scribbled 
out later from my notes taken during the interview, I 
wrote: 

" Despite the German successes up to date, Reichenau 
emphasized to us that the fighting so far had been only 
an enveloping movement, and that the decisive battle 
had yet to take place. 

" ' When and where ? ' I asked him. 

" ' Where,' he laughed, ' depends partly on what the 
enemy does. When, and how long it will last, I leave to 
the future. It can be short or long. Remember, the pre- 
liminary fighting at Waterloo lasted several days. The 
decisive battle at Waterloo was decided in eight hours.' 

" Reichenau admitted that ' possibly our progress 
will now be slowed up if Weygand decides to make a 
grand stand. We started this battle absolutely confi- 



j940 Aachen, May 21 871 

dent. But we have no illusions. We know we still have 
a big battle ahead of us.' 

" Reichenau said the German losses were compara- 
tively small, so far, averaging about one tenth of the 
number of prisoners taken. Last official counting of 
prisoners was 110,000, not counting the half -million 
Dutch who surrendered. 

" Someone asked how the German infantry got across 
the rivers and canals so fast, seeing that the Allies de- 
stroyed the bridges pretty well. 

" ' Mostly in rubber boats,' he said." 

Some further quotations from Reichenau I noted 
down roughly : 

" Hitler is actually directing the German army from 
his headquarters. Most of the blowing up of bridges 
and roads in Belgium carried out by French special- 
ists. ... I ride 150 miles a day along the front and I 
haven't seen an air-fight yet. We've certainly been sur- 
prised that the Allies didn't try at least to bomb our 
bridges over the Maas River and the Albert Canai. 
The British tried it only once in the day-time. We shot 
down eighteen of them. But there seems to be no doubt 
that the English are holding back with their air force. 
At least that's the impression I get." 

And I got the impression that this rather bothered 
him! 

Further notes of talk with Reichenau : 

" English have two army corps in Belgium, largely 
motorized. Belgians hold the north sector ; British the 
centre and southern flanks. . . . We encountered one 
Moroccan division. It fought well, but lacked staying 
power and didn't hold out long. . . . The hardest 
fighting the first days was along the Albert Canal. 
Then, later, along the Dyle Line, especially around 
(Temblouxj northwest of Namur." 



372 1940 Aachen, May 21 

A few more questions and answers. The general is 
in an almost jovial mood. He is not tense. He is not 
worried. He is not rushed. You wonder : " Have these 
German generals no nerves ? " Because, after all, he is 
directing a large army in an important battle. A few 
miles down the road two million men are trying to 
slaughter one another. He bosses almost a million of 
them. The general smiles and, jauntily, says good-bye. 

" I've just given permission for you to go to the 
front," he says. His eyes light up. " You may be un- 
der fire. But you'll have to take your chances. We all 
do." 

He turns us over to his adjutant, who wines us with 
an excellent Bordeaux, no doubt from the cellar below. 
Then off to the front. 

Soon we hear the distant rumble of artillery. We are 
on the road to Ath, which, I note on my map, is as near 
to Lille, still held by the French, as it is to Brussels. 
More evidences now that the battle is just ahead. The 
Red Cross ambulances pass by more frequently. The 
stench of dead horses in the village streets. In the pas- 
tures off the roads, cattle lying motionless on the grass, 
felled by a bomb or a shell. 

Near Ath we make a little detour and hit down a 
pleasant country lane. A first lieutenant, recently an 
official in a Wilhelmstrasse ministry, who is one of our 
guides, stands up, Napoleon-like, in the front seat of 
his car and goes through great gesticulations to give 
us signals, now to turn, now to stop, etc. Our drivers, 
all soldiers, say his excited signals mean nothing; the 
boys at the wheels of our cars laugh. . . . But the 
lieutenant apparently smells the blood of battle, though 
we are still some distance from it. 

We come, all of a sudden, on a very pungent smell. 
All that is left of a small, miscellaneous French column 



1940 Aachen, May 21 373 

after a German air attack. Along the narrow road are 
a dozen dead horses stinking to heaven in the hot sun, 
two French tanks, their armour pierced like tissue pa- 
per, an abandoned six-inch gun and a 75; and a few 
trucks, abandoned in great haste, for scattered about 
them are utensils, coats, shirts, overcoats, helmets, tins 
of food, and — letters to the wives and girls and mothers 
back home. 

I note the freshly dug graves just off the road, 
marked by a stick on which hangs a French helmet. I 
pick up some of the letters, thinking perhaps one day 
I can mail them or take them to their destination and 
explain, maybe, what the last place, where the end came, 
was like. But there are no envelopes, no addresses, no 
last names. Just the scrawled letters : " Ma chere Jac- 
queline" " Chere Maman," etc. I glance through one 
or two. They must have been written before the push be- 
gan. They tell of the boredom of army life and how you 
are waiting for your next leave in Paris, " ma cherie." 

The stench of the dead horses in the late spring sun- 
shine is hard to endure, though someone has sprinkled 
lime on them. So we push on. We pass a tiny village. 
Five or six farmhouses at the crossing of a path with 
the road. Cattle graze in the pastures. Pigs squeal 
about the barnyards. All are thirsty, for the farm- 
houses are deserted. The cows have not been milked 
for some days and their udders are painfully swollen. 

We can hear the guns pounding very clearly now. 
We speed down the dusty road past endless German col- 
umns of trucks carrying troops, carrying ammunition, 
carrying all-important oil, hauling guns, big and small. 
The bridge over a stream or a canal at Leuze has been 
blown up, but German engineers have already con- 
structed an emergency one over which we go. 

Leuze is jammed with vehicles and troops. Blocks of 



37 J,. 1940 Aachen, May 21 

houses have been smashed to smithereens. Some still 
smoulder. We stop for half an hour on a pleasant little 
square, surrounded by a church, a school, and the City 
Hall or some government building. The school is a Red 
Cross station. I meander over to it. The ambulances 
are lined up, waiting to unload the wounded, seven or 
eight of them, waiting. Even with the wounded there 
is the same machine-like, impersonal organization. Ne 
excitement, no tension. Even the wounded seem to play 
their part in this gigantic businesslike machine. They 
do not moan. They do not murmur. Nor complain. 

We get a bite to eat while we wait — a piece of brown 
bread with some sort of canned fish ragout spread over 
it. Then off to the front. Before we start, the army 
officer in charge warns of the danger. Warns that we 
must follow his orders promptly. Explains how to dive 
for a near-by field and lie flat on your belly if the Allied 
planes come over or if the French artillery opens fire. 
Our party is a little tense now as we go forward. We 
proceed north, parallel with the front, and back of it 
about five miles to Renaix, hurry through the town, and 
then north towards the Scheldt River, where they're 
fighting. Infantry on foot, almost the first we've seen 

— on foot — are deploying down various paths towards 
the river. Heavy artillery — and this is amazing to see 

— six-inch guns, pulled by caterpillar trucks, and on 
rubber tires, are being hauled up a hillside at forty miles 
an hour. (Is this one of the German military secrets, 
such big guns being hauled so fast?) Finally we stop. 
A battery of six-inch guns, concealed under trees in an 
orchard at the right of the road, is pounding away. 
Now we have a view over the valley of the Scheldt and 
can see the slopes on the other side. The artillery 
thunders, and a second later you see the smoke from the 
shells on the far slopes. An officer explains they're 



1940 Aachen, May 21 375 

bombarding the roads behind the enemy lines. You 
can follow the winding roads on the other side by the 
smoke of each exploding shell. We pile out of our cars, 
but immediately someone orders us back. Someone ex- 
plains we're too exposed. Enemy planes or artillery 
could get us here. So we cut back, and then turn due 
west and climb a hill beyond the artillery positions, so 
that they are now behind us, firing over our heads. This 
is an artillery observation post in the woods at the sum- 
mit of the hill. We sit on a slope and look through the 
trees towards the front line. 

But it's disappointing. You see so little, actually. 
You cannot make out the infantry, or what they're do- 
ing. An officer explains they're fighting along the river 
there below. The Allies still hold both banks, but are 
retreating across the Scheldt. The only evidence you 
have of infantry fighting is that the German artillery 
barrage advances. Then stops. Then starts again much 
nearer to us. You conclude that the other side has 
counter-attacked, and the German attack, behind its 
own artillery barrage, must start all over again. An 
amateur officer from the Wilhelmstrasse insists he can 
follow the infantry. I grab my glasses. The infantry 
is invisible. 

From the smoke of the exploding shells on the slopes 
across the Scheldt you can see that the Germans are 
giving the enemy's rear lines of communication a ter- 
rific pounding. Through field-glasses you see how the 
Germans shoot up the road, following all the windings. 
After a while there is a great cloud of smoke spreading 
over the far side. So far we haven't heard much of the 
German artillery as a factor in their amazing progress. 
The work of the Stuka bombers took most of our at- 
tention. But it's obvious that this German motorized 
artillery, brought up to position right behind the ad- 



376 1940 Aachen, May 21 

vancing tanks at forty miles per hour, is a tremendous 
factor. The Allies probably had not reckoned that ar- 
tillery could move so fast. Around us now the Germans 
are firing with six-inch guns and 105's. The noise is 
not so deafening as I expected. Perhaps one's ears get 
used to it. 

A young soldier comes up and attempts to plant some 
propaganda on us. Remarks offhand that last night 
the British counter-attacked, got back as far as the 
woods where we are, and carried off all the civilians. 
Most of us are not impressed. I conclude that if they 
did counter-attack and came back for an evening, most 
of the civilians probably went back with them of their 
own accord, so as not to fall into German hands. Even 
the Italians with us laugh. 

I note that over the front all afternoon hover two 
or three reconnaissance planes, German, obviously di- 
recting artillery fire. They cruise above the battlefield 
unmolested. But there are no planes directing Allied 
artillery fire, which seems to be aimed exclusively against 
the German forward positions, at no time against Ger- 
man artillery, which is strange. The lack of observa- 
tion planes alone puts the Allies in a hole. In fact we 
do not see an Allied plane all day long. Once or twice 
we get an alarm, but no planes show up. How England 
and France are paying now for the criminal neglect of 
their aviation ! 

As the afternoon wears away to the pounding of the 
guns, artillery units near us get orders to take up new 
positions forward. The advance, you suppose, is going 
ahead according to schedule. Immediately from all 
around us in the woods, men and motors, which we have 
not even seen, limber up, the men toss off some of the 
tree-limbs which have so completely camouflaged them, 
and get off. We take a last look at the Scheldt Valley, 



1940 Aachen, May 21 877 

at the smoke rising from the bursting shells on the other 
side of the river. Probably it all has meaning for these 
German officers around us. Each whistling shell has a 
certain errand. Each gun and truck rushing down the 
road is going to some place assigned to it. Each of the 
thousands upon thousands. The whole chaos (to me) 
of the battlefield is in reality a picture of a well-oiled 
machine of destruction in action. 

We drive back to Brussels. German dive-bombers fly 
past us, going up to do a little late-afternoon work. 
At Brussels German fighters and bombers demonstrate 
over the city. This is the German idea of how to impress 
the population. . . . 

It is midnight before we reach Aachen. At Maas- 
tricht the Germans are expecting British bombers. A 
quarter of a mile from the repaired bridge, a soldier 
stops us. All lights must be put out. We drive along 
in the moonlight — it's almost full moon tonight ; lovely 
— across the bridge. A quarter of a mile away, a soldier 
stops us ; says we can put on our dim lights. Efficiency. 

Most of the boys in the party have looted Brussels 
for the second time, and are worried that the Germans 
(who still keep up a customs shed at the old Dutch- 
German border !) will take away their booty. But they 
do not. 

Too late to broadcast, so I write a story to be phoned 
to Berlin, cabled to New York, and there read over the 
air. I've hardly sat down to write when the British come 
over Aachen. I leave my room, which is on the next to 
the top floor (having moved out of the attic), and write 
my piece in the dining-room on the ground floor. The 
anti-aircraft of all calibres keeps thundering away. 
Now and then you feel the concussion of a bomb and 
hear it exploding. Our little hotel is a hundred yards 
from the station. The British are obviously trying to 



S78 1940 Berlin, May 24 

get the station and the railroad yards. You hear the 
roar of their big planes ; occasionally the whirr of Ger- 
man night chasers. . . . 

My call comes through about one twenty a.m. I can 
hardly make myself heard for the sound of the guns and 
the bombs. 

While writing my story, I keep notes on the air-raid. 

12.20 a.m. Sound of anti-aircraft. 

12.40 Air-raid sirens sound off. 

12.45 Big anti-aircraft gun near by thunders 

suddenly. 
12.50 Sound of cannon from German chasers. 

1.00 Light anti-aircraft around station blazes 

away. 
1.15 Still going on. 

It went on for four hours, until just after four a.m. 
But after my call to Berlin, being a little sleepy, I went 
up to bed and fell immediately to sleep. 

Berlin, May 24 

Two weeks ago today Hitler unloosed his 
Blitzkrieg in the west. Since then this has happened: 
Holland overrun ; four fifths of Belgium occupied ; the 
French army hurled back towards Paris ; and an Allied 
army believed to number a million men, and including 
the elite of the Franco-British forces, trapped and en- 
circled on the Channel. 

You have to see the German army in action to be- 
lieve it. Here are some of the things, so far as I could 
see, that make it good : 

It has absolute air superiority. It seems incredible, 
but at the front I did not see a single Allied plane dur- 
ing the day-time. Stuka dive-bombers are softening the 



1940 Berlin, May 24 379 

Allied defence positions, making them ripe for an easy 
attack. Also, they're wrecking Allied communications 
in the rear, bombing roads filled with trucks, tanks, and 
guns, wiping out strategic railroad stations and junc- 
tions. Furthermore, reconnaissance planes are giving 
the German command a perfect picture of what is going 
on. Against this, the Allies have no eyes ; few of their 
reconnaissance planes get over. Also, Allied bombers 
have completely failed to disturb German lines of com- 
munications by day-tvme attacks. One of the sights that 
overwhelms you at the front is the vast scale on which 
the Germans bring up men, guns, and supplies un- 
hindered. Because of the thorough manner in which the 
Belgians and French destroyed their railroad bridges, 
the German command decided to use exclusively motor 
transport. All day long at the front, driving along at 
forty or fifty miles an hour, you pass unending mecha- 
nized columns. They stretch clear across Belgium, un- 
broken. And they move fast — thirty or forty miles 
an hour. You wonder how they are kept fed with gaso- 
line and oil. But they are. Gas supplies come forward 
with everything else. Every driver knows where he can 
tank up when he runs short. 

What magnificent targets these endless columns 
would make if the Allies had any planes ! 

And what a magnificent machine that keeps them 
running so smoothly. In fact that is the chief impres- 
sion you get from watching the German army at work. 
It is a gigantic, impersonal war machine, run as coolly 
and efficiently, say, as our automobile industry in De- 
troit. Directly behind the front, with the guns pound- 
ing daylight out of your ears and the airplanes roaring 
overhead, and thousands of motorized vehicles thunder- 
ing by on the dusty roads, officers and men alike remain 
cool and business-like. Absolutely no excitement, no 



1940 Berlin, May 25 



tension. An officer directing artillery fire stops for half 
an hour to explain to you what he is up to. General 
von Reichenau, directing a huge army in a crucial bat- 
tle, halts for an hour to explain to amateurs his par- 
ticular job. 

Morale of the German troops fantastically good. I 
remember a company of engineers which was about to 
go down to the Scheldt River to lay a pontoon bridge 
under enemy fire. The men were reclining on the edge 
of the wood reading the day's edition of the army daily 
paper, the Western Front. I've never seen men going 
into a battle from which some were sure never to come 
out alive so — well, so nonchalantly. 

The contention of the BBC that these flying German 
columns — such as the one that broke through to the 
sea at Abbeville — are weak forces which cannot pos- 
sibly hold what they get, is a myth. The Germans 
thrust not only with tanks and a few motorized in- 
fantry, but with everything. Light and heavy motor- 
ized artillery goes right up behind the tanks and in- 
fantry. 

Berlin, May 25 

German military circles here tonight put it 
flatly. They said the fate of the great Allied army 
bottled up in Flanders is sealed. 



Berlin, May 26 

Calais has fallen. Britain is now cut off from 
the Continent. 



1940 Berlin, M ay 28 381 

Berlin, May 28 

King Leopold has quit on the Allies. At dawn 
the Belgian army, which with the British and French 
has been caught in an ever narrowing pocket for a week 
in Flanders and Artois, laid down its arms. Leopold 
during the night had sent an emissary to the German 
lines asking for an armistice. The Germans demanded 
unconditional surrender. Leopold accepted. This 
leaves the British and French in a nice hole. High 
Command says it makes their position " hopeless." 
Picked up a broadcast by Reynaud this morning ac- 
cusing Leopold of having betrayed the Allies. Church- 
ill, according to BBC, was more careful. Said, in a 
short statement to Commons, he would not pass judg- 
ment. 

Great jubilation in the press here over the capitula- 
tion of the Belgians. After eighteen days, the Berlin 
papers remind us. It took the Germans just eighteen 
days to liquidate the Poles. They'll probably have the 
rest of the Allied army in their pocket before the week- 
end. Churchill, according to the BBC, warned the 
House to expect bad news soon. 

For the first time, communiques today kept pour- 
ing out of the " Fuhrer's Headquarters." All of them 
sounded as if they'd been dictated by Hitler himself. 
For example this typical attempt to sound generous : 
" DNB. Fuhrer's Headquarters, May 28. The Fiihrer 
has ordered that the King of the Belgians and his army 
be given treatment worthy of the brave, fighting sol- 
diers which they proved to be. As the King of the Bel- 
gians expressed no personal wishes for himself, he will 
be given a castle in Belgium until his final living-place 
is decided upon." 

Decided upon by whom? 



1940 Beblin, May 28 



Nazi propaganda is doing its best to show that Leo- 
pold did the decent, sensible thing. Thus the wording 
of a special communique which the German radio tells 
its listeners will " fill the German nation with pride and" 
joy": 

" From the headquarters of the Fiihrer it is an- 
nounced : Impressed by the destructive effect of the Ger- 
man army, the King of the Belgians has decided to put 
an end to further senseless resistance and to ask for 
an armistice. He has met the German demands for un- 
conditional capitulation. The Belgian army has today 
laid down its arms and therewith ceased to exist. In 
this hour we think of our brave soldiers. . . . The 
entire German nation looks with a feeling of deep grati- 
tude and unbounded pride upon the troops . . . which 
forced this capitulation. . . . The King of the Bel- 
gians, in order to put an end to the further shedding of 
blood and to the completely pointless devastation of his 
country, reached his decision to lay down arms, against 
the wishes of the majority of his Cabinet. This Cabinet, 
which is mainly responsible for the catastrophe which 
has broken over Belgium, seems to be willing even now 
to continue to follow its English and French em- 
ployers." 

The headlines tonight: "CHURCHILL AND RAY- 
NAUD INSULT KING LEOPOLD!— THE COW- 
ARDS IN LONDON AND PARIS ORDER THE 
CONTINUATION OF THE SUICIDE IN FLAN- 
DERS." The German radio said tonight: "Leopold 
acted like a soldier and a human being." 

I saw at the front last week the terrible punishment 
the Belgian army was taking ; saw all of Belgium, out- 
side of Brussels, laid waste by the German artillery and 
Stukas. You can sympathize with Leopold in a sense 
for wanting to quit. But the French and British say 



1940 Berlin, May 28 



he did it without consulting them, thus betraying them 
and leaving them in a terrible situation, with no chance 
of extricating their armies from the trap. The three 
armies together had a small chance of fighting their way 
out. With half a million excellent Belgian troops out 
of the picture, the fate of the French and British armies, 
it would seem, is sealed. 

A nice, civilized war, this. Goring announces tonight 
that as a result of information reaching him that the 
French are mistreating captured German airmen, all 
French flyers captured by the Germans will be immedi- 
ately put in chains. Further, Goring proclaims that if 
he hears of a German flyer being shot by the French, 
he will order five French prisoners shot. Further still, 
if he hears of a German flyer being shot " while para- 
chuting," he will order fifty French prisoners shot. 

Allies, as far as we know, are shooting parachutists 
who fail to surrender, because these boys were largely 
responsible for the fall of Holland and play hell behind 
the lines. Probably ordinary German flyers parachut- 
ing from shot-down planes have been mistaken for the 
dreaded parachutists. Goring's order, however, is ob- 
viously part of Hitler's technique of conquering by 
sowing terror. B., who was in Rotterdam last week, says 
the town was largely destroyed after it had surrendered. 
German excuse is that surrender came after the Stukas 
had left the ground and they could not be recalled in 
time! This sounds flimsy, as they all carry radios and 
are in constant touch with the ground. 

Goring added that the above rule of shooting five 
to one or fifty to one would not apply to the English, 
" as they have not as yet given grounds for such re- 
prisals." 

The Propaganda Ministry tonight showed us a full- 
length news-reel, with sound effects, of the destruction 



384. 1940 Berlin, May 29 

in Belgium and France. Town after town, city after 
city, going up in flames. Close-ups of the crackling 
flames devouring the houses, shooting out of the win- 
dows, roofs and walls tumbling in, where a few days ago 
men and women were leading peaceful, if not too happy, 
lives. 

The German commentator's enthusiasm for the de- 
struction seemed to grow as one burning town after 
another was shown. He had a cruel, rasping voice and 
by the end seemed to be talking in a whirl of sadism. 
" Look at the destruction, the houses going up in 
flames," he cried. " This is what happens to those who 
oppose Germany's might ! " 

And is Europe soon to be ruled and dominated by 
such a people — by such sadism? 

Berlin, May 29 

Boss of one of the big American broadcast- 
ing chains (not Columbia) cables the German Broad- 
casting Company today: "PLEASE ARRANGE 
BROADCAST BY KING LEOPOLD." 

Lille, Bruges, Ostend captured! Ypres stormed! 
Dunkirk bombarded! Fate of encircled Allied armies 
sealed! . . . the incredible headlines went on today 
without a let-up. Tonight still another phase of this 
gigantic battle, without precedent in history, appeared 
— at least in Berlin — to be drawing to a conclusion. 

The German High Command told the story in these 
words at the beginning of its communique today : " The 
fate of the French army in Artois is sealed. Its resist- 
ance south of Lille has collapsed. The English army 
which has been compressed into the territory around 
Dixmude, Armentieres, Bailleul, Bergues, west of Dun' 



1940 Bee lin, May 29 385 

kirk, is also going to its destruction before our con- 
centric attack." 

And then this evening the German command an- 
nounced that in rapid attacks designed to crush the 
British army Ypres and Kemmel had been stormed. 

In reality, the Germans tell us, the French and Brit- 
ish armies since yesterday have been isolated, the one 
from the other, and each trapped in a tiny pocket. 
The smaller pocket, which is in the form of a square, the 
sides of which are about twelve miles long, lies south of 
Lille — between there and Douai. In that small square 
is what is left of three French armies, and tonight the 
Germans are battering them from four sides. The 
larger pocket runs roughly in a semicircle around the 
port of Dunkirk, reaching inland for some twenty-five 
miles. Here the British are trapped. 

What next, then, if the British and French armies ei- 
ther surrender or are annihilated, as the Germans say 
they will be in their two pockets ? The first invasion of 
England since 1066? England's bases on the Conti- 
nent, barring a last-minute miracle, are gone. The low- 
lands, just across the Channel and the narrow southern 
part of the North Sea, which it has always been a cardi- 
nal part of British policy to defend, are in enemy hands. 
And the French Channel ports which linked Britain with 
its French ally are lost. 

Most people here think Hitler will try now to conquer 
England. Perhaps. I'm not so sure. Maybe he'll try 
to finish France first. 

One weird aspect of yesterday's fighting: When the 
Germans yesterday took French positions east of Kas- 
sel, they actually rushed the French fortifications along 
the Franco-Belgian border from behind, from the re- 
verse side. 



386 1940 Beelin, May 30 

Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, killed in action on the 
western front, was buried with military honours in Pots- 
dam today. If things had gone smoothly for Germany 
after 1914, he probably would have been the German 
emperor. Present at the funeral were the Crown Prince 
and Princess, Mackensen and a lot of World War offi- 
cers in their quaint spike helmets. The former Kaiser 
sent a wreath. 

More on the nerve war : An official statement tonight 
says that for every German civilian killed and every 
stone damaged in Germany during the night raids of 
the British, revenge will be taken many times over. 

Beklin, May 30 

Our Memorial Day. I remembered it when 
one of the consuls phoned and reminded me of a month- 
old golfing date. How many killed in the Civil War? 

A German dropped in today. He said : " How many 
years will the war last? " The question surprised me in 
the light of the news. Last week three Germans in the 
Wilhelmstrasse bet me the Germans would be in Lon- 
don in three weeks — that is, two weeks from now. 

This German also mentioned a matter that's been 
bothering me : German losses and the effect on the peo- 
ple of not being allowed to know by Hitler what the 
losses are and who is killed. (Hitler will not permit the 
publication of casualty lists.) He said people are com- 
paring that situation with the one in 1914—18, when 
every day the papers published the names of those lost, 
and every few months, he said, a resume of the total 
casualties up to date in killed and wounded. But today 
no German has the slightest idea of what the western of- 
fensive has cost in German lives. He doesn't even know 



1940 Berlin, May 30 887 

what the Norwegian campaign cost. The last figures he 
had were on the Polish campaign, and even then he was 
skeptical of those Hitler gave. 

The great battle in Flanders and Artois neared its 
end today. It's a terrific German victory. Yesterday, 
according to the German High Command, the British 
made a great bid to rescue what is left of the BEF by 
sea. Sent over fifty transports to fetch their troops 
along the coast around Dunkirk. Germans say they 
sent over two flying corps to bomb them. Claim they 
sank sixteen transports and three " warships," which no 
doubt is exaggerated, and hit and damaged, or set on 
fire, twenty-one transports and ten warships, which 
probably is an even greater exaggeration. British sent 
out hundreds of planes to protect their fleet. The Ger- 
mans claim they shot down 68 British planes. The Brit- 
ish claim they shot down 70 German planes. 

What is left of the three French armies cut off in 
Flanders and Artois is being gradually annihilated, one 
gathers from the German reports. Today the Germans 
say they captured the commander of the 1st French 
Army, General Prieux. They'd already got General 
Giroud, commander of one of the other two armies, the 
day he took over. The French apparently are entirely 
surrounded. The British still have the sea open and are 
undoubtedly getting as many men out as possible. Lon- 
don yesterday said the British were fighting " the great- 
est rear-guard action in history." But they've been 
fighting too many of these. 

Much talk here that Hitler is getting ready to bomb 
the hell out of London and Paris. A press and radio 
campaign to prepare his own people for it is already 
under way. Today the attack was mostly against the 



1940 Beblin, May 31 



French. The Volkische Beobachter called them " bas- 
tardized, negroized, decadent," and accused them of 
torturing German airmen whom they've captured. It 
said that soon the French will be made to pay for all 
of this. The papers are full of talk of revenge for this 
and that. 

The German Ambassador to Belgium gave us a ha- 
rangue at the press conference today on how he was 
mistreated by the French on his way out to Switzerland. 
As a German told me afterwards, the Germans seem in- 
capable of apprehending that the hate against them in 
France and Belgium is due to the fact that Germany 
invaded these countries — Belgium without the slight- 
est excuse or justification — and laid waste their towns 
and cities, and killed thousands of civilians with their 
bombings and bombardments. Just another example of 
that supreme German characteristic of being unable to 
see for a second the other fellow's point of view. Same 
with the wrath here at the way their airmen are treated. 
The other side is tough with airmen coming down in 
parachutes because it knows Hitler has conquered Hol- 
land by landing parachutists behind the lines. But the 
Germans think that the other side should not defend it- 
self against these men dropping from the skies. If it 
does, if it shoots them, then Germany will massacre pris- 
oners already in her hands. 



Beelin, May 31 

Italy seems to be drawing near to the day 
of decision — to go in on Germany's side. Today Al- 
fieri, the Italian Ambassador, saw Hitler at his head- 
quarters. 

It was three weeks ago today that Hitler hurled his 
armies into Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, and France 



1940 Berlin, May 31 389 

in a desperate effort to knock out the Allies in one blow. 
So far, after three weeks, he has had nothing but suc- 
cess. What it has cost him in lives and material, we do 
not know yet. This is what he's accomplished in three 
weeks : 

1. Overrun Holland; forced Dutch army to surren- 
der. 

2. Overrun Belgium; forced Belgian army to sur- 
render. 

3. Advanced far south of the extension of the Magi- 
not Line on a front extending over two hundred miles 
from Montmedy to Dunkirk. 

4. Knocked out the 1st, 7th, and 9th French Armies, 
which were cut off when one German army broke 
through to the sea. 

5. Knocked out the BEF, which also is surrounded. 
Some of the men, at least, of the BEF, are getting away 
on ships from Dunkirk. But as an army it's finished. 
It cannot take away its guns and supplies and tanks. 

6. Obtained the Dutch, Belgian, and French Chan- 
nel coasts as a jumping-off place for an invasion of 
England. 

7. Occupied the important coal mines and industrial 
centres of Belgium and northern France. 

I said in my broadcast tonight : " The Germans have 
certainly won a terrific first round. But there has been 
no knockout blow — yet. The fight goes on." 

Some of my friends thought that was being a bit op- 
timistic — from the Allied point of view. Maybe. But 
I'm not so sure. 

First American ambulance driver to be captured by 
the Germans is one Mr. Garibaldi Hill. The Germans 
have offered to release him at once. Only they can't find 
him. 



390 1940 Berlin, June 1 

Word from our people in Brussels today that there 
is food in Belgium for only fifty days. 

Ran into one of our consuls from Hamburg. He 
says the British have been bombing it at night severely. 
Trying to hit, for one thing, the oil tanks. He claims 
they're dry. It seems that the Germans took all the anti- 
aircraft guns from Hamburg for use at the front. 
Hence the British came over without trouble and were 
able to fly low enough to do some accurate bombing. 
The population got so jittery that the authorities had 
to bring some of the guns back. 

Beelin, June 1 

Though the public is no more aroused about 
the great victories up on the Channel than they have 
been about anything else in this war, the newspaper 
headlines today do their best to stir up interest. Typi- 
cal is the B.Z. am Mittag today: "CATASTROPHE 
BEFORE THE DOORS OF PARIS AND LONDON - 
FIVE ARMIES CUT OFF AND DESTROYED - 
ENGLAND'S EXPEDITIONARY CORPS NO 
LONGER EXISTS - FRANCE'S 1ST, 7TH, AND 
9TH ARMIES ANNIHILATED!" 

The mass of the German army which liquidated the 
Allied forces in Flanders is now ready for new assign- 
ments. There are two courses open to the German High 
Command. It can strike across the Channel against 
England or roll the French back on Paris and attempt 
to knock France out of the war. From what I gather in 
military circles here, there seems to be no doubt that 
the German command has already chosen the second 
course and indeed moved most of its troops into posi- 
tion facing what is left of the French along the rivers 



1940 Berlin, June 1 391 

Sorame and Aisne. General Weygand has now had ten 
days to organize his armies along this line, but the fact 
that he has not felt himself strong enough to attempt an 
offensive northward from the Somme against the fairly 
thin German line — a move which if pushed home would 
have saved the Franco-British-Belgian armies in Flan- 
ders — has convinced the German generals, if they 
needed convincing, that they can crack his forces fairly 
easily and quickly break through to Paris and to the 
Norman and Breton ports. 

I learn from a High Command officer that God at last 
has given the British a break. They have had two days 
of fog and mist around Dunkirk and as a result tha 
Luftwaffe has been unable to do much bombing of the. 
transports busily engaged in taking off British troops. 
Today the weather cleared and Goring's bombers went 
back to work over Dunkirk beach. Says the High Com- 
mand tonight in a special communique : " The rest of 
the defeated British Expeditionary Force tried today 
to escape on small craft of all kinds to the transports 
and warships lying off shore near Dunkirk. The Ger- 
man air force frustrated this attempt through continu- 
ous attacks, especially with Junker dive-bombers, on the 
British ships. According to the reports received so far, 
three warships and eight transports, totalling 40,000 
tons, were sunk, and four warships and fourteen trans- 
ports set on fire and damaged. Forty English fighter 
planes protecting the ships were shot down." 

No mention of the German air losses, so I assume they 
were larger than the British — otherwise Goring would 
have mentioned them. The Junker-87 dive-bomber is 
a set-up for any British fighter. 

The Germans claim today that the battleship Nelson, 
flagship of the British Home Fleet, has been sunk with 
the loss of 700 of her crew of 1,350. So far as I can 



1940 Berlin, Jime 2 



make out, the only source for this is an alleged dispatch 
from the A.P. in New York. But a naval officer tonight 
insisted it was true. He said the ship was sunk on 
May 11. 



Berlin, June 2 

Those British Tommies at Dunkirk are still 
fighting like bulldogs. The German High Command 
admits it. 

Its official war communique today : " In hard fight- 
ing, the strip of coast on both sides of Dunkirk which 
yesterday also was stubbornly defended by the British, 
was further narrowed. Nieuport and the coast to the 
northwest are in German hands. Adinkerke, west of 
Furnes, and Ghyvelde, six and a quarter miles east of 
Dunkirk, have been taken." Six and a quarter miles — 
that's getting close. 

In the air the Germans again make mighty claims. 
The official communique : " All together, four warships 
and eleven transports, with a total tonnage of 54,000 
tons, were sunk by our bombers. Fourteen warships, 
including two cruisers, two light cruisers, an anti-air- 
craft cruiser, six destroyers, and two torpedo boats, as 
well as thirty-eight transports, with a total tonnage of 
160,000, were damaged by bombs. Numberless small 
boats, tugs, rafts were capsized. . . ." l 

Despite the lack of popular enthusiasm for this col- 
lossal German victory in Flanders, I gather quite a few 
Germans are beginning to feel that the deprivations 
which Hitler has forced on them for five years have not 
been without reason. Said my room waiter this morn- 

i A fair example of Goring's exaggerations. When I visited the 
beach of Dunkirk two and a half months later, I found the wrecks of 
only two freighters, two destroyers, and one torpedo boat. 



1940 Berlin, June 3 393 

ing : " Perhaps the English and French now wish they 
had had less butter and more cannon." 

And yet the picture this capital presents at this great 
moment in German history still confounds me. Last eve- 
ning, just before dark, I strolled down the Kurfiirsten- 
damm. It was jammed with people meandering along 
pleasantly. The great sidewalk cafes on this broad, 
tree-lined avenue were filled with thousands, chatting 
quietly over their ersatz coffee or their ice-cream. I 
even noticed several smartly dressed women. Today, be- 
ing the Sabbath and a warm and sunny June day, tens 
of thousands of people, mostly in family groups, betook 
themselves to the woods or the lakes on the outskirts of 
the city. The Tiergarten, I noticed, also was thronged. 
Everyone had that lazy, idle, happy-go-lucky Sunday 
holiday air. 

One reason for this peculiar state of things, I sup- 
pose, is that the war has not been brought home to the 
people of Berlin. They read about it, or on the radio 
even hear the pounding of the big guns. But that's all. 
Paris and London may feel in danger. Berlin doesn't. 
The last air-raid alarm I can recall here was early last 
September. And then nothing happened. 

Berlin, June 3 

BBC just announced that the Germans 
bombed Paris this afternoon. Maybe the Allies will 
drop a few on Berlin tonight. 

Donald Heath, our charge d'affaires, was called to 
the Wilhelmstrasse this noon and handed a copy of a 
press release in which the German government stated it 
had information from confidential sources that the Brit- 
ish secret service planned to sink three American liners 
— the President Roosevelt and Manhattan now en route 



394- 1940 Berlin, June 4 

to New York with American citizens, and the Washing- 
ton en route to Bordeaux to bring back a further batch 
of American refugees. The Germans informed the 
American government through this press release — a 
curious diplomatic procedure — that strict orders have 
been dispatched to all German naval commanders in- 
structing them not to molest any of the three American 
ships. 

An official statement in the release said : " The Reich 
government expects the American government to take 
all necessary measures to frustrate such a crime as the 
British contemplate perpetrating." 

The German " theory " is that if the ships are sunk 
the Americans will blame the Germans. Something very 
suspicious about this. What is to prevent the Germans 
from torpedoing these American vessels themselves and 
then crying to the skies that the British did it and that 
Berlin had even gone out of its way to warn Washing- 
ton beforehand that the British would do it. Submarine 
periscopes are very difficult to identify. 

Beelin, June 4 

The great battle of Flanders and Artois is 
over. The German army today entered Dunkirk and 
the remaining Allied troops — about forty thousand — 
surrendered. The German High Command in an offi- 
cial communique says the battle will go down in history 
" as the greatest battle of destruction of all time." 
German losses for the western offensive, as given out to- 
night, are said to be : dead — 10,252 ; missing — 8,467 ; 
wounded — 42,523 ; planes lost — 432. All of which is 
very surprising. Only three days ago the military peo- 
ple tipped us that the losses would soon be given out, 



1940 Berlin, June 6 395 

and that they were approximately 35,000 to 40,000 
dead ; 150,000 to 160,000 wounded. But most Germans 
will believe any figures they are given. 

The communique speaks of Allied losses: 1,200,000 
prisoners, counting the Belgians and the Dutch. And 
a whole navy destroyed, including five cruisers and 
seven destroyers sunk, and ten cruisers and twenty-four 
destroyers damaged. It also claims the German navy 
did not lose a single vessel. 

Paris says 50 killed, 150 injured in yesterday's Ger- 
man air-raid. BBC says the Parisians are demanding 
revenge. But no planes came over here last night ; none 
so far tonight. . . . 

I'm worried about Tess and Baby. She called this 
afternoon, said she'd at last got passage on the Wash- 
ington, but that it would not call at Genoa. She must 
get it at Bordeaux. But she's advised not to cross 
France with the French in their present panicky mood. 
The railroad near Lyon which she must take has been 
bombed twice this week by the Germans. And she would 
still prefer to stay on. 

Berlin, June 6 

The church bells rang, and all the flags were 
out today, by order of Hitler, to celebrate the victory 
in Flanders. There is no real elation over the victory 
discernible in the people here. No emotion of any kind. 
In grandiose proclamations to the army and the people, 
Hitler announced that today a new offensive was being 
launched in the west. So far no details are available 
here, but the BBC says the offensive is on a two-hundred- 
kilometre front from Abbeville to Soissons, with the big- 
gest German pressure along the Somme-Aisne Canal. 



396 1940 Berlin, June 7 

I've heard here that the Allies have been bombing 
Munich and Frankfurt the last few nights. But Berlin 
is never told of these enemy air-raids. No one here feels 
the war as yet. 

Berlin, June 7 

The Germans are keeping very mum about 
their new offensive on the Somme. High Command 
simply states that the so-called Weygand line has been 
broken through on the entire front. Strange, though, 
that no details are given ; no place names at all. No spe- 
cial war communiques tonight. Can it be that the drive 
isn't going so well? 

Our Ambassador to Belgium, Cudahy, arrived here 
today. He confirms what I was told a few days ago, that 
the Belgians have food for not more than fifty days. 

I took the day off from the war yesterday. I walked 
for hours in the Grunewald, swam in the Havel, and 
found a neat little restaurant in the woods which pro- 
duced a surprisingly good beefsteak. After lunch I 
walked, sun-bathed, swam some more. 

Berlin, June 8 

Still no news here of the offensive, although 
it's at the end of its fourth day. The High Command 
merely states that it is continuing successfully, but 
gives no details, no place names. One almost dares to 
think ... 

Berlin, June 9 

The High Command broke its reserve about 
the great offensive with a bang this afternoon. It says 
the French south of the Somme and in the Oise district 



1940 Beelin, June 10 397 

have been beaten all along the line. It talks about the 
German troops driving towards the lower Seine, which 
is a hell of a way forward from the Somme, where they 
started four days ago. BBC at six tonight confirmed 
this. Weygand issues another order of the day to his 
men to hold. But there is something desperate in it. 

The Germans also announce : " This morning on a 
further part of the front in France a new offensive has 
started." Weygand reveals it's on a front from Reims 
to the Argonne. The Germans are now hurling them- 
selves forward on a two-hundred-mile front from the 
sea to the Argonne. No drive in World War I was on 
this scale! 

The High Command also states that Germany's only 
two battleships, the Gneisenau and the Scharnhorst,. 
have put to sea and have gone to the relief of the Ger- 
man forces driven out of Narvik a couple of weeks ago. 
Hand it to the Germans for their daring, their sense 
of surprise. How could the British fleet allow two battle- 
ships to get up to Narvik? High Command says the 
two have already sunk the British aircraft-carrier 
Glorious, the 21,000-ton transport Orama, and an oil 
tanker of 9,100 tons. Another instance of the Germans 
taking a chance — taking the initiative. The Allies 
seem to take neither. 

Berlin, June 10 

Italy is in the war. 

She has stabbed France in the back at the moment 
when the Germans are at the gates of Paris, and France 
appears to be down. 

At six o'clock this evening, just as people here were 
tuning in on their radios to hear the latest news of the 
German army's onslaught on Paris, the announcer said : 



398 1940 Bee lin, June 10 

" In one hour the Duce will address the Italian people 
and the world. All German stations will broadcast his 
speech." 

An hour later they did — with a German radio com- 
mentator conveniently at hand (he'd been sent to Rome 
last Saturday, June 8, for the job) at the Piazza Vene- 
zia to describe the tumult. 

We got wind of it early in the afternoon when we 
were convoked for a special press conference at the 
Foreign Office at seven p.m., to hear Ribbentrop make 
a declaration. At four thirty p.m., at the Propaganda 
Ministry, we were shown the English propaganda film 
The Lion Has Wings. Even making allowances for the 
fact that it was turned out last fall, I thought it very 
bad. Supercilious. Silly. At the six p.m. press con- 
ference we were given another dose of the weekly Ger- 
man news-reel. Again the ruined towns, the dead hu- 
mans, the putrefying horses' carcasses. One shot showed 
the charred remains of a British pilot amid the wreckage 
of his burnt plane. Most Germans there seemed to get 
a sadistic pleasure from these pictures of death and de- 
struction. A few I know, however, didn't. A few react 
still like human beings. 

I went over to the Foreign Office about seven and 
soon found myself crowding into the Hall of whatever- 
it-is. Designed to hold about fifty people, five hundred 
had already jammed their way in. It was a hot day, the 
windows were sealed tight, and hot Klieg lights were 
burning so that Ribbentrop could be properly photo- 
graphed. In one corner of the room the most screech- 
ing radio I ever heard was screaming out Mussolini's 
speech at the Piazza Venezia in Rome. I caught just 
enough of it to learn that he was announcing Italy's 
decision to enter the war on the side of Germany. The 
combination of this tin-pan racket and the foul, hot air, 



1940 Berlin, June 11 399 

and the photographers scrapping and most of the news- 
papermen standing there sweating, and of some other 
things, was enough for me. S. and I pushed our way 
out before Ribbentrop arrived. I went back to Joe's 
room, tuned in on the radio, and got from Rome a rather 
comical English translation of the Duce's words. 

About the same time there was a comedy act in front 
of the Italian Embassy, which Ralph described to me. 
Two or three thousand Italian Fascists, residents of 
Berlin, shouted themselves hoarse in the little street that 
runs off the Tiergarten past the Italian Embassy. The 
Germans had rigged up loud-speakers, so that the mob 
could hear the Duce's words. Later Ribbentrop and 
Alfieri, the new Italian Ambassador, appeared on the 
balcony, grinned, and made brief inane speeches, Ralph 
reported. 

In the meantime the German army closes in on Paris. 
It looks dark for the Allies tonight. Roosevelt is broad- 
casting at one fifteen a.m. tonight. 

Berlin, June. 11 

Roosevelt came through very clearly on the 
radio last night. He promised immediate material help 
for the Allies. Scorched Mussolini for his treachery. 
Not a word about the speech in press or radio here. 

The Wilhelmstrasse keeps making the point that 
American aid will come too late. A man just back from 
seeing Hitler tells me the Fiihrer is sure that France will 
be finished by June 15 — that is, in four days — and 
Great Britain by August 15 at the latest! He says 
Hitler is acting as if he had the world at his feet, but 
that some of the generals, although highly pleased with 
the military successes, are a little apprehensive of the 
future under such a wild and fanatical man. 



400 1940 Berlin, June 11 

Word here is that the French government has left 
Paris. The Germans tonight are roughly about as near 
Paris as they were on September 1, 1914. This led the 
High Command to point out to us today that the Ger- 
man position is much better than it was then. First, 
because their right wing is stronger, and has maintained 
its advance west of Paris, whereas in 1914 it wheeled 
east of Paris. Second, there is no real British army to 
help the French. Third, there is no eastern front, so 
that, not as in 1914, the entire German army can now 
be hurled against Paris. (In 1914, two army corps 
were hurriedly withdrawn from France to stop the Rus- 
sians in the east. How Paris and London are now pay- 
ing for their short-sighted anti-Russian policy ! Before 
Munich, even after Munich, even a year ago this June, 
they could have lined up the Russians against Ger- 
many.) 

After my twelve forty-six broadcast tonight we were 
sitting in D.'s room at the Rwndfimk when we picked 
up a broadcast from New York saying that the liner 
Washington, a day out from Lisbon en route for Gal- 
way, Ireland, and packed with American refugees, 
mostly women and children, had been halted by an un- 
known submarine just at dawn and given ten minutes 
to lower boats before being sent to the bottom. Tess 
and child had booked on that voyage of the Washing- 
ton, but had been unable to get to Bordeaux in time 
after the liner had cancelled its scheduled stop at Genoa. 
Finally at zero hour, after the ten minutes had elapsed, 
the U-boat commander signalled : " Sorry. Mistake. 
Proceed." A German naval officer, himself a U-boat 
commander in the last war, happened to be listening 
with me. He became quite angry. " A British subma- 
rine ! No doubt of it ! " he exclaimed. " Those British 
will stop at nothing ! " The captain added angrily, 



1940 Berlin, June 12 401 

when I suggested that maybe it might have been a 
German U-boat : " Impossible. Why, a German com- 
mander who did such a thing would be court-martialled 
and shot." 



Berlin, June 12 

It was a German submarine that stopped the 
Washington, after all. 

This was officially admitted in Berlin after the Wil- 
helmstrasse had kept silent all day. The Germans blame 
it on the State Department or our Embassy for it. 
They claim that our Embassy neglected to inform the 
German government that the Washington was proceed- 
ing to Ireland from Lisbon. 

If the government didn't know it, the German press 
and radio certainly did. They've announced it for days. 

I went over to our Embassy to check this, but they 
seemed a little troubled and asked us to let the State 
Department answer, which was reasonable enough. It 
would have been a hell of a slip-up if they hadn't in- 
formed the Germans. 

The official statement here also gives another curious 
explanation. It says the " error " came about because 
the German U-boat commander mistook the Washing- 
ton for a Greek ( !) steamer which he had stopped be- 
fore and told to change its course. When the American 
boat appeared on the horizon, he thought, says the of- 
ficial statement, it was the Greek boat disobeying his 
instructions, and that's why he stopped it. 

One might ask: (1) Have the Greeks a single vessel 
anywhere near the size of the Washington, which is a 
24,000-ton liner? The answer: No. (2) Why did a 
German submarine commander order the passengers 
and crew to their boats before he had properly identi- 



402 1940 Beklin, June 12 

fied the steamer? (3) If the commander thought it was 
his Greek steamer, why did he wait ten minutes after 
the Washington had signalled that it was an American 
ship? These points are not taken up in the official state- 
ment. In my broadcast the censors allowed me to men- 
tion only the first point. Their view was that the last 
two questions were unfair. 

In view of the suspicious German warning of June 3, 
in which Berlin claimed to have knowledge that the 
British intended to torpedo the Washington, I'm con- 
vinced that Berlin itself gave orders to sink that ship. 
It then intended to launch a terrific propaganda cam- 
paign charging that the British did the deed and point- 
ing out that the German government had already 
warned Washington on June 3 of what would happen. 
I think Ribbentrop naively believed he could thus poison 
Anglo-American relations and put a damper on our 
sending supplies to Britain. German naval men tell me 
that the U-boat held up the Washington just at dawn. 
Washington dispatches say the ship was somewhat be- 
hind schedule. It is highly possible, then, that the Ger- 
man submarine commander planned to torpedo the ship 
while it was still too dark for his craft to be identified. 
But the Washington did not arrive on the scene until 
dawn, a couple of hours later than expected, and the 
commander refrained from launching his torpedo only 
out of fear that in the prevailing light his U-boat could 
be recognized as German. It was not submerged and 
therefore was easily recognizable. 

I had a nasty scare this afternoon. I was listening to 
the three fifteen BBC broadcast when the announcer 
suddenly reported that Geneva had been bombed last 
night, that bombs had fallen in a residential suburb, 
and that there had been killed and wounded. For a 



1940 Berlin, June 14 403 

moment I was floored. Our home is in one of the few res- 
idential suburbs. 

It took hours to get through to Geneva with an ur- 
gent call. But about eight I heard Tess's voice. The 
bombs did fall in our district, she said, shook the house, 
and hit a hotel down the street where we formerly lived, 
killing five or six and injuring a score more. They had 
two air-raid alarms and she took the baby to the cellar. 
I told her she and the child must come to Germany, much 
as we both hate the idea. It's the safest place now. 
They're cut off from any possibility of getting home. 

The B.Z. am Mittag plays up the farewell broadcast 
of the CBS man from Paris Monday night, probably 
Eric Sevareid. It quotes him as concluding : " If in the 
next days anyone talks to America from Paris, it won't 
be under the control of the French government." I sup- 
pose I'm nominated. It's my job. It will be the saddest 
assignment of my life. 

Though the German High Command does not men- 
tion it, the truth is that the Germans are at the gates 
of Paris tonight. Thank God, the city will not be de- 
stroyed. Wisely the French are declaring it an open 
city and will not defend it. There was some question 
as to whether the Germans would recognize it as an 
open city, but about midnight it became plain that they 
would. 

The taking of Paris will be a terrific blow to the 
French and the Allies. To the east of Paris, too, the 
Germans appear to have broken through to Chalons. 



Berlin, June 14 

Paris has fallen. The hooked-cross flag of 
Hitler flutters from the Eiffel Tower there by the Seine 



Ifili. 1940 Berlin, June 14 

in that Paris which I knew so intimately and loved. 

This morning German troops entered the city. We 
got the news on the radio at one p.m., after loud fan- 
fares had blazed away for a quarter of an hour, calling 
the faithful to hear the news. The news was a war com- 
munique from the Supreme Command. It said : " The 
complete collapse of the entire French front from the 
Channel to the Maginot Line at Montmedy destroyed 
the original intention of the French leaders to defend 
the capital of France. Paris therefore has been declared 
an open city. The victorious troops are just beginning 
to march into Paris." 

I was having lunch in the courtyard of my hotel. 
Most of the guests crowded around the loud-speaker 
in the bar to hear the news. They returned to their 
tables with wide smiles on their faces, but there was no 
undue excitement and everyone resumed eating. 

In fact, Berlin has taken the news of the capture of 
Paris as phlegmatically as it has taken everything else 
in this war. Later I went to Halensee for a swim, it 
being warm and I feeling the need of a little relaxation. 
It was crowded, but I overheard no one discussing the 
news. Out of five hundred people, three bought extras 
tfhen the newsboys rushed in, shouting the news. 

It would be wrong, though, to conclude that the tak- 
ing of Paris has not stirred something very deep in the 
hearts of most Germans. It was always a wish dream of 
millions here. And it helps wipe out the bitter memories 
of 1918 which have lain so long — twenty-two years — 
in the German soul. 

Poor Paris! I weep for her. For so many years it 
was my home — and I loved it as you love a woman. 
Said the Volkische Beobachter this morning : " Paris 
was a city of frivolity and corruption, of democracy 
and capitalism, where Jews had entry to the court, and 



1940 Magdeburg, June 15 ^05 

niggers to the salons. That Paris will never rise again." 
But the High Command promises that its soldiers will 
behave — will be " as different as night is from day, 
compared to the conduct of the French soldiers in the 
Rhine and Ruhr." 

The High Command also said today : " The second 
phase of the campaign is over with the capture of Paris. 
The third phase has begun. It is the pursuit and final 
destruction of the enemy." 

I walked into a door in the Herald Tribune office 
tonight. First time since the black-out that it has been 
closed. Cut my nose considerably, but got it patched up 
at a near-by first-aid station and recovered sufficiently 
to go out and do my midnight broadcast. 

Tomorrow, probably, I shall leave for Paris. I do 
not want to go. I do not want to see the heavy-heeled 
German boots tramping down the streets I loved. 



Berlin, June 15 

Leaving for Paris today. 

Near Magdeburg, June 15 (later) 

Spending the night in a hostelry along the 
Autobahn. Very good and modern, and better food 
than in Berlin. Our car broke down six miles out of 
Berlin on the way to Potsdam. This held us up two 
hours waiting for a new car. I fear we shall not get to 
Paris tomorrow. At ten p.m. in the restaurant of the 
road-house we heard the news. Verdun taken! The 
Verdun that cost the Germans six hundred thousand 
dead the last time they tried to take it. And this time 
they take it in one day. Granted that the French army 



4.06 1940 Mattbeuge, June 16 

is in a fix; that the fall of Paris has demoralized it 
still further. Still you ask : What has happened to the 
French? Germans also claim Maginot Line broken 
through. 



Maubetjge, June 16 

Got up at three a.m., started at four a.m. 
from the little road-house for Aachen. In the Ruhr 
there was little evidence of the British night bombings. 
We arrived at Aachen at eleven a.m. Thence through 
Limburg to Liege and Namur. Surprised to see so little 
destruction along this route. It's quite unlike the road 
from Aachen to Brussels, where most of the towns lie 
in ruins. We drove all afternoon up the valley of the 
Meuse. Amazingly little evidence of the war. Dinner 
at Charleroi. Bitter faces in the streets. No bread in 
the town, and water only for drinking. But we got 
some meat and salad in a little bistro. 

I bought the local journal, the Journal de Charleroi. 
It publishes both the German and French war com- 
muniques. An order in the paper said the German 
troops and the Belgian gendarmerie would fire without 
warning into any lighted windows. Another notice from 
the German FeldJcommandantur had to do with stop- 
ping any monkey business with carrier pigeons. An- 
other signed by the chief army physician ordered all 
local doctors to report. Anyone unjustifiably absent, 
said the order, would be punished. " No excuses will be 
accepted," it added. 

Maubeuge itself has been terribly destroyed. The 
main part of the town is reduced to broken stone, twisted 
girders, and ashes. One of the German officers tells us 
what happened. German tanks tried to get through the 
town. French anti-tank guns concealed in houses got 



1940 Maubeuge, June 16 }$7 

the first five or six. The Germans had to retreat. Word 
was sent back to the Stukas. They came over and did 
their job with their usual deadly efficiency. Under- 
neath the church, the commandant tells us, was the 
town's biggest air-raid shelter. One of the bombs hit 
it square on. Result: five hundred civilians lie buried 
under the debris. Buried air-tight, though, because on 
this warm, starlit summer evening there is no smell. 

One of the soldiers from South Germany later whis- 
pers to me : " Yeah, it was the Prussians who destroyed 
the town." He, a common German soldier, is disgusted 
with the destruction. " Always the poor people who 
get it," he says. 

The local commandant, a German businessman called 
up from the reserve, receives us in one of the few houses 
in town still standing. A few facts from him : Ten thou- 
sand out of twenty-four thousand residents of Mau- 
beuge either have returned or rode out the bombing 
and bombardment. The German army, and, since a few 
days, German relief workers, help to keep them from 
•starving. They bring bread from Germany. But yes- 
terday, the old boy says, he uncovered some wheat and 
is getting it ground into flour. " One business," he 
says, " apparently didn't close up shop at any time, dur- 
ing the battle or since. The local bordel. I finally closed 
it, but the Madame came in to see me and was very put 
out. ' Business as usual, why not ? ' she said." Yester- 
day, he reveals, the High Command ordered the open- 
ing of all houses of prostitution in the part of France 
occupied by German troops. " I must send for the 
Madame. She will be pleased to hear it," he chuckles. 

We consume several bottles of pretty fair vin rouge 
and nibble biscuits, and the commandant talks on en- 
thusiastically about his problem. Obviously he enjoys 
his job, and he is certainly not the old sadistic Prussian 



4.08 1940 Matjbeuge, June 16 

master of the story-books. On the whole, a very human 
fellow. Homesick, I gather. Hoping the war won't last 
much longer. Somehow it's worse, he thinks, than what 
he went through the four years of the World War in 
this very district. But perhaps that is because it's so 
recent, and the old memories blurred. Anyway, he talks 
of his dog and his wife and family. 

We finally take our leave. An orderly shows us our 
quarters, in an abandoned house with atrocious pseudo- 
Oriental furnishings, which, we soon establish from the 
wall-hangings and papers lying around, was occupied 
by one of the leading local bankers. French bourgeois 
taste at its very lowest. I take to myself one of the 
family bedrooms. The mattress is still on the old- 
fashioned double bed. The banker's clothes hang neatly 
in the armoire. Even the long-tailed black coat — you 
can see him, fat and important, strolling through the 
streets to church on Sundays in it — is there. Obvi- 
ously he has left in a great hurry. No time to pack his 
wardrobe. Downstairs we noticed the breakfast dishes 
on the dining-room table. A meal never finished. 

What a break in his comfortable bourgeois life this 
must have been, this hasty flight before the town was 
blown up ! Here in this house — intil last month — ■ 
solidity, a certain comfort, respectability ; the odds and 
ends collected for a house during a lifetime. This house 
one's life, such as it is. Then boom ! The Stukas. The 
shells. And that life, like the houses all around, blown 
to bits ; the solidity, the respectability, the hopes, gone 
in a jiffy. And you and your wife and maybe your chil- 
dren along the roads now, hungry, craving for a drink 
of water — like an animal, or at best — and who would 
have dreamed it a month ago ! — like a caveman. 

Three soldiers take us for a stroll through the debris 
of the town as dusk falls. Just inside the town gates 



1940 Pa a is, June 17 £09 

a frowsy-looking woman is digging in a pile of bricks. 
The soldiers shout for her to beat it. It is after the 
curfew hour. She continues digging. One of the men, 
grasping his rifle, steps over to chase her away. We 
hear her shout: " Coucher? " She asks him to go to bed 
with her. By God, all is not destroyed here. The soldier 
laughs and sort of pushes her on her way. Apparently 
she is living in a cellar near by — like a rat. We con- 
tinue through the town and pretty soon we see her over 
the shambles of what was once an alley. She shouts: 
" Coucher? " and then runs. We walk through the 
town, pausing before what is left of the church. It is 
hard to grasp that under those charred bricks and rub- 
ble five hundred women and children lie buried. There 
is so much debris that their grave has been perfectly 
sealed. There is not a whiff of the familiar, nauseating, 
sweet smell. 

Back to our banker's house as darkness comes. Out- 
side, the army trucks roll by all night long. Once dur- 
ing the night I hear some anti-aircraft going into action 
down the road. Up at dawn, feeling not too bad, and off 
towards Paris. 



Paris, June 17 

It was no fun for me. When we drove into 
Paris, down the familiar streets, I had an ache in the 
pit of my stomach and I wished I had not come. My 
German companions were in high spirits at the sight 
of the city. 

We came in about noon, and it was one of those lovely 
June days which Paris always has in this month and 
which, if there had been peace, would have been spent 
by the people going to the races at Longchamp or the 
tennis at Roland Garros, or idling along the boulevards 



410 1940 Pa ms, June 17 

under the trees, or on the cool terraces of a cafe. 

First shock: the streets are utterly deserted, the 
stores closed, the shutters down tight over all the win- 
dows. It was the emptiness that got you. Coming from 
Le Bourget (remembering, sentimentally, that night I 
raced afoot all the way into town from there to write 
the story of Lindbergh's landing), we drove down the 
rue Lafayette. German army cars and motorcycles 
speeding, screaming down the street. But on the side- 
walks not a human being. The various corner cafes 
along the street which I knew so well. They had taken 
in the tables and drawn the shutters. And had fled — 
the patrons, the garfons, the customers. Our two cars 
roared down the rue Lafayette, honking at every street 
we crossed, until I asked our driver to desist. 

There, on the corner, the Petit Journal building in 
which I had worked for the Chicago Tribune when I 
first came to Paris in 1925. Across from it, the Trois 
Portes cafe — how many pleasant hours idled there 
when Paris, to me, was beautiful and gorgeous ; and my 
home! 

We turned left down the rue Pelletier to the Grand 
Boulevard. I noticed the Petit Riche was closed. The 
boulevard too was deserted except for a few German 
soldiers, staring into the windows of the few shops that 
did not have their shutters down. The Place de l'Opera 
now. For the first time in my life, no traffic tie-up here, 
no French cops shouting meaninglessly at cars hope- 
lessly blocked. The facade of the Opera House was 
hidden behind stacked sandbags. The Cafe de la Paix 
seemed to be just reopening. A lone gar f on was bring- 
ing out some tables and chairs. German soldiers stood 
on the terrace grabbing them. Then we turned at the 
Madeleine, its facade also covered with sandbags, and 
raced down the rue Royale. Larue's and Weber's, I 



1940 Paris, June 17 411 

noted, were closed. Now before us, the familiar view. 
The Place de la Concorde, the Seine, the Chambre des 
Deputes, over which a giant Swastika flag flies, and in 
the distance the golden dome of the Invalides. Past the 
Ministry of the Marine, guarded by a big German tank, 
into the Concorde. We drew up in front of the Hotel 
Crillon, now German Headquarters. Our officer went 
in to inquire about quarters. I, to the displeasure of the 
German officials with us, stepped over to pay a call at 
the American Embassy next door. Bullitt, Murphy — 
everyone I knew — were out to lunch. I left a note for 
Bullitt. 

We got rooms in the Scribe, where I had often stayed 
in the civilized days. To my surprise and pleasure, De- 
maree Bess and Walter Kerr, who had stayed on in 
Paris after almost all of their colleagues had left, were 
in the lobby. They came up to my room and we had a 
talk. Walter seemed more nervous than ever, but just 
as likable. Demaree was his old stolid self. He and 
Dorothy had been in the Elysees Park Hotel on the 
Rond-Point. The day before the city fell, the patron of 
the hotel had come panting to them and begged them 
to flee too ; at any rate, he was scooting and closing the 
hotel. They persuaded him to turn the hotel over to 
them ! . . . I inquired about my friends. Most of them 
had left Paris. 

Demaree says the panic in Paris was indescribable. 
Everyone lost his head. The government gave no lead. 
People were told to scoot, and at least three million out 
of the five million in the city ran, ran without baggage, 
literally ran on their feet towards the south. It seems 
the Parisians actually believed the Germans would rape 
the women and do worse to the men. They had heard 
fantastic tales of what happened when the Germans oc- 
cupied a city. The ones who stayed are all the more 



^12 1940 Paris, June 18 

amazed at the very correct behaviour of the troops — ■ 
so far. 

The inhabitants are bitter at their government, which 
in the last days, from all I hear, completely collapsed. 
It even forgot to tell the people until too late that Paris 
would not be defended. The French police and fire de- 
partments remained. A curious sight to see the agents, 
minus their pistols, directing traffic, which consists ex- 
clusively of German army vehicles, or patrolling the 
streets. I have a feeling that what we're seeing here 
in Paris is the complete breakdown of French society 
— a collapse of the army, of government, of the morale 
of the people. It is almost too tremendous to believe. 

Paris, June 18 

Marshal Petain has asked for an armistice! 
The Parisians, already dazed by all that has happened, 
can scarcely believe it. Nor can the rest of us. That 
the French army must give up is clear. But most of us 
expected it to surrender, as did the Dutch and Belgian 
armies, with the government going, as Reynaud had 
boasted it would, to Africa, where France, with its navy 
and African armies, can hold out for a long time. 

The inhabitants got the news of Petain's action by 
loud-speaker, conveniently provided by the Germans in 
nearly every square in town. I stood in a throng of 
French men and women on the Place de la Concorde 
when the news first came. They were almost struck 
dead. Before the Hotel Crillon — where Woodrow Wil- 
son stayed during the Peace Conference when the terms 
for Germany were being drawn up — cars raced up 
and unloaded gold-braided officers. There was much 
peering through monocles, heel-clicking, saluting. In 
the Place there, that square without equal in Europe, 



1940 Pa bis, June 18 1^.13 

where you can see from one spot the Madeleine, the 
Louvre, Notre-Dame in the distance down the Seine, 
the Chamber of Deputies, the golden dome of the In- 
valides, where Napoleon is buried, then the Eiffel Tower, 
on which floats today a huge Swastika, and finally, up 
the Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe — the peo- 
ple in the Place de la Concorde did not notice the bustle 
in front of German Headquarters at the Crillon. They 
stared at the ground, then at each other. They said: 
" Petain surrendering ! What does it mean ? Com- 
ment? Pourquoi? " And no one appeared to have the 
heart for an answer. 

This evening Paris is weird and, to me, unrecogniz- 
able. There's a curfew at nine p.m. — an hour before 
dark. The black-out is .still enforced. The streets to- 
night are dark and deserted. The Paris of gay lights, 
the laughter, the music, the women in the streets — 
when was that? And what is this? 

I noticed today some open fraternizing between Ger- 
man troops and the inhabitants. Most of the soldiers 
seem to be Austrian, are well mannered; and quite a 
few speak French. Most of the German troops act like 
naive tourists, and this has proved a pleasant surprise 
to the Parisians. It seems funny, but every German 
soldier carries a camera. I saw them by the thousands 
today, photographing Notre-Dame, the Arc de Tri- 
omphe, the Invalides. Thousands of German soldiers 
congregate all day long at the Tomb of the Unknown 
Soldier, where the flame still burns under the Arc. They 
bare their blond heads and stand there gazing. 

Two newspapers appeared yesterday in Paris, La 
Victoire (as life's irony would have it) and Le Matin. 
I saw Bueno-Varilla, publisher of the Matin, at the Em- 
bassy yesterday. I'm told he's anxious to please the 



4,14 1940 Pa bis, Jwne 19 

Germans and see that his paper gets off to a favourable 
start. It has already begun to attack England, to blame 
England for France's predicament! La Victoire, run 
by a crank, urges Parisians no longer to refer to the 
Germans as " Bodies." Its editorial yesterday ended : 
" Vive Paris! Vive la France! " 

The German army moved into Bess's hotel yesterday, 
but they valiantly held on to their floor. 

Paris, June 19 

The armistice is to be signed at Compiegne ! 
In the same wagon-lit coach of Marshal Foch that wit- 
nessed the signing of that other armistice on Novem- 
ber 11, 1918 in Compiegne Forest. The French don't 
know it yet. The Germans are keeping it secret. But 
through somebody's mistake I found out today. 

At four thirty p.m. the military rushed me out to 
Compiegne. That was the mistake. They shouldn't 
have. But orders got mixed up, and before they could 
get unentangled I was there. Yesterday Hitler and 
Mussolini met at Munich to draw up the armistice terms 
for France. Driving out, I recalled that yesterday I 
had asked a German Foreign Office official, half jok- 
ingly, if Hitler (as rumour had it) would insist on the 
armistice being signed at Compiegne. He did not like 
my question and replied coolly : " Certainly not." 

But when we arrived on the scene at six p.m., German 
army engineers were feverishly engaged in tearing out 
the wall of the museum where Foch's private car in 
which the 1918 armistice was signed had been preserved. 
The building itself was donated by one Arthur Henry 
Fleming of Pasadena, California. Before we left, the 
engineers, working with pneumatic drills, had demol- 
ished the wall and hauled the car out from its shelter. , 



1940 Pabis, Jwne 19 4,15 

The plan is, the Nazis tell me, to place the car in 
exactly the same spot it occupied in the little clearing 
in Compiegne Forest that morning at five a.m. on No- 
vember 11, 1918, and make the French sign this armi- 
stice here. . . . We talked over technical details for 
broadcasting the story with various German officers 
and officials. It will make a spectacular broadcast, but 
a tragic one for Americans. Some colonel showed me 
through the armistice car. Place cards on the table 
showed where each had sat at that historic meeting in 
1918. 

Returning to Paris towards evening, we stopped on 
the road that winds over the wooded hills between Com- 
piegne and Senlis. A small French column had been 
bombed there on the road. Scattered along a quarter of 
a mile were twenty hastily dug graves. The dead horses, 
buried very shallow, still stunk. A " 75 " stood near the 
road with the other leavings, which from the look of 
them — blankets, coats, shoes, socks, guns, ammuni- 
tion, etc. — had been abandoned in great haste. I 
looked at the date of the cannon. 1918! Here the 
French defended the most important road to the capital 
with World War guns ! 

It is still a mystery to me how this campaign has 
been won so easily by Hitler. Admitted, the French 
fought in the towns. But even in the towns not many 
of the millions of men available could have fought. 
There was not room. But they did not fight in the fields, 
as in all other wars. The grain twenty yards from the 
main roads has not been touched by the tramping feet 
of soldiers or their tens of thousands of motorized ve- 
hicles. I do not mean to say that at many places the 
French did not fight valiantly. Undoubtedly they did, 
But there was no organized, well-thought-out defence 



lf.16 1940 Pa bis, June 19 

as in the last war. From all I've seen, the French let 
the Germans dictate a new kind of warfare. This was 
fought largely along the main roads; rarely on a line 
running across the country. And on the roads the Ger- 
mans had everything in their favour : utter superiority 
in tanks and planes, the main implements for road 
fighting. An Austrian soldier told me last night that 
it was unbelievably simple. They went down the roads 
with tanks, with artillery support in the rear. Seldom 
did they meet any serious resistance. Dug-outs or posts 
here and there would fire. Usually the heavily armoured 
German tanks paid no attention, just continued down 
the road. Infantry units on trucks behind, with light 
artillery, would liquidate the pillboxes and the machine- 
gun nests. Once in a while, if resistance was a little 
strong, they'd phone or radio or signal back for the 
artillery. If the big guns didn't silence it, an order went 
back for the Stukas, which invariably did. So it went, 
he said, day after day. 

I keep asking myself : If the French were making a 
serious defence, why are the main roads never blown 
up? Why so many strategic bridges left untouched? 
Here and there along the roads, a tank barrier, that is, 
a few logs or stones or debris — but nothing really 
serious for the tanks. No real tank-traps, such as the 
Swiss built by the thousands. 

This has been a war of machines down the main high- 
ways, and the French do not appear to have been ready 
for it, to have understood it, or to have had anything 
ready to stop it. This is incredible. 

General Glaise von Horstenau (an Austrian who 
betrayed Schuschnigg shamelessly and has now been 
named by Hitler one of the chief official historians of 
this war) put it another way last night. His idea is 
that Germany caught the Allies at one of the rare mo- 



1940 Pa bis, June 20 £17 

ments in military history when, for a few weeks or 
months or years, offensive weapons are superior to those 
of defence. He explains that this fantastic campaign 
probably could have taken place only in this summer 
of 1940. Had it been delayed until next year, the Allies 
would have had the defensive weapons — anti-tank 
guns, anti-aircraft guns, and fighter airplanes — to 
have offset the offensive arms of Germany. There then 
would have ensued, he thinks, the kind of stalemate 
which developed on the western front from 1914 to 
1918, when the powers of offence and defence were about 
equal. 

Another thing: I do not think the losses on either 
side have been large. You see so few graves. 

Paris, June 20 

The men who went down to Orleans and Blois 
yesterday tell a horrible tale. Along the road they saw 
what they estimated to be 200,000 refugees — people 
of all classes, rich and poor, lying along the roadside 
or by the edge of the forests, starving — without food, 
without water, no shelter, nothing. 

They are just a few of the millions who fled Paris 
and the other cities and towns before the German in- 
vaders. They fled, tearing in fright along the roads 
with their belongings on their backs or on bikes or in 
baby-carriages, and their children atop them. Soon the 
roads were clogged. Troops also were trying to use 
them. Soon the Germans came over, bombing the roads. 
Soon there were dead and dying. And no food, no 
water, no shelter, no care. Bullitt estimates there are 
seven million refugees between here and Bordeaux. Al- 
most all face starvation unless something is done at 
once. The German army is helping a little, but not 



418 ' 1940 Pa bis, June 20 

much. It has had to carry most of its own food into 
France from Germany. The Red Cross is doing what 
it can, but is wholly inadequate. 

A human catastrophe, such as even China has not ex- 
perienced. (And how many Frenchmen or other Eu- 
ropeans softened their hearts when a flood or a famine 
or a war snuffed out a million Chinese?) 

Lunch with Bullitt, at his residence. He is still 
stunned by what has happened. Though Hitler, Rib- 
bentrop, and Goebbels hate him almost as much as they 
loathe Roosevelt, he reported that the German military 
authorities had shown him every courtesy. The Nazis 
had made the three American representatives of the 
three American press associations pledge not to see 
Bullitt or even call at the American Embassy (a pledge 
they scrupulously kept, though Fred Oechsher had the 
courage to phone the Embassy and pay his respects). 
I feel under no obligation not to act as a free American 
citizen here, despite Nazi pressure, and gladly accepted 
the invitation of the Ambassador, whom I've known for 
many years. Most talkative guest at lunch was M. 
Henry-Haye, 1 senator, and mayor of Versailles. He is 
one of the few politicians who stuck to his post. His 
bitterness at the British during the luncheon talk was 
only matched by his bitterness at the Germans. I 
couldn't tell which he blamed most for the French col- 
lapse; he sputtered away at both. He was in a great 
state of emotion. Yesterday, he related, a young Ger- 
man ofBcer had brushed into his mayoralty office at Ver- 
sailles and summarily ordered him to have his car re- 
paired. If the car wasn't ready in an hour, said the 
German, M. Henry-Haye would be arrested. This was 
too much for the senator-mayor. 

i Later named by Marshal Petain French Ambassador in Wash- 
ington. 



1940 Paris, Jwne 21 %19 

" You are speaking, sir," he said he told the German, 
" to a French senator and the mayor of Versailles. I 
shall report your conduct immediately to your military 
superiors in Paris." 

Whereupon, though his gasoline supply was short, he 
sped off to Paris to make good his word. 

" Oh, les Bodies! " he kept muttering, a word which, 
I must say, we all tossed across the table with some fre- 
quency. 

Pares, June 21 

On the exact spot in the little clearing in the 
Forest of Compiegne where at five a.m. on November 
11, 1918 the armistice which ended the World War was 
signed, Adolf Hitler today handed his armistice terms 
to France. To make German revenge complete, the 
meeting of the German and French plenipotentiaries 
took place in Marshal Foch's private car, in which Foch 
laid down the armistice terms to Germany twenty-two 
years ago. Even the same table in the rickety old 
wagon-lit car was used. And through the windows we 
saw Hitler occupying the very seat on which Foch had 
sat at that table when he dictated the other armistice. 

The humiliation of France, of the French, was com- 
plete. And yet in the preamble to the armistice terms 
Hitler told the French that he had not chosen this spot 
at Compiegne out of revenge ; merely to right an old 
wrong. From the demeanour of the French delegates I 
gathered that they did not appreciate the difference. 

The German terms we do not know yet. The pre- 
amble says the general basis for them is : (1) to prevent 
a resumption of the fighting; (2) to offer Germany 
complete guarantees for her continuation of the war 
against Britain; (3) to create the foundations for a 



4.20 1940 Pail is, June 21 

peace, the basis of which is to be the reparation of an 
injustice inflicted upon Germany by force. The third 
point seems to mean : revenge for the defeat of 1918. 

Kerker for NBC and I for CBS in a joint half-hour 
broadcast early this evening described today's amaz- 
ing scene as best we could. It made, I think, a good 
broadcast. 

The armistice negotiations began at three fifteen p.m. 
A warm June sun beat down on the great elm and pine 
trees, and cast pleasant shadows on the wooded avenues 
as Hitler, with the German plenipotentiaries at his side, 
appeared. He alighted from his car in front of the 
French monument to Alsace-Lorraine which stands at 
the end of an avenue about two hundred yards from the 
clearing where the armistice car waits on exactly the 
same spot it occupied twenty-two years ago. 

The Alsace-Lorraine statue, I noted, was covered 
with German war flags so that you could not see its 
sculptured work nor read its inscription. But I had seen 
it some years before — the large sword representing the 
sword of the Allies, and its point sticking into a large, 
limp eagle, representing the old Empire of the Kaiser. 
And the inscription underneath in French saying: 
"TO THE HEROIC SOLDIERS OF FRANCE . . . 
DEFENDERS OF THE COUNTRY AND OF RIGHT 
. . . GLORIOUS LIBERATORS OF ALSACE-LOR- 
RAINE." 

Through my glasses I saw the Fiihrer stop, glance 
at the monument, observe the Reich flags with their big 
Swastikas in the centre. Then he strode slowly towards 
us, towards the little clearing in the woods. I observed 
his face. It was grave, solemn, yet brimming with re- 
venge. There was also in it, as in his springy step, a 
note of the triumphant conqueror, the defier of the 
world. There was something else, difficult to describe, 



1940 Paris, June 21 1$1 

in his expression, a sort of scornful, inner joy at being 
present at this great reversal of fate — a reversal he 
himself had wrought. 

Now he reaches the little opening in the woods. He 
pauses and looks slowly around. The clearing is in the 
form of a circle some two hundred yards in diameter 
and laid out like a park. Cypress trees line it all round 
— and behind them, the great elms and oaks of the 
forest. This has been one of France's national shrines 
for twenty-two years. From a discreet position on the 
perimeter of the circle we watch. 

Hitler pauses, and gazes slowly around. In a group 
just behind' him are the other German plenipotentiar- 
ies: Goring, grasping his field-marshal's baton in one 
hand. He wears the sky-blue uniform of the air force. 
All the Germans are in uniform, Hitler in a double- 
breasted grey uniform, with the Iron Cross hanging 
from his left breast pocket. Next to Goring are the 
two German army chiefs — General Keitel, chief of 
the Supreme Command, and General von Brauchitsch, 
commander-in-chief of the German army. Both are 
just approaching sixty, but look younger, especially 
Keitel, who has a dapper appearance with his cap 
slightly cocked on one side. 

Then there is Erich Raeder, Grand Admiral of the 
German Fleet, in his blue naval uniform and the in- 
variable upturned collar which German naval officers 
usually wear. There are two non-military men in Hit- 
ler's suite — - his Foreign Minister, Joachim von Rib- 
bentrop, in the field-grey uniform of the Foreign Of- 
fice ; and Rudolf Hess, Hitler's deputy, in a grey party 
uniform. 

The time is now three eighteen p.m. Hitler's per- 
sonal flag is run up on a small standard in the centre 
of the opening. 



1940 Paris, June 21 



Also in the centre is a great granite block which 
stands some three feet above the ground. Hitler, fol- 
lowed by the others, walks slowly over to it, steps up, 
and reads the inscription engraved in great high letters 
on that block. It says: "HERE ON THE ELEVENTH 
OF NOVEMBER 1918 SUCCUMBED THE CRIMI- 
NAL PRIDE OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE . . . 
VANQUISHED BY THE FREE PEOPLES WHICH 
IT TRIED TO ENSLAVE." 

Hitler reads it and Goring reads it. They all read it, 
standing there in the June sun and the silence. I look 
for the expression on Hitler's face. I am but fifty yards 
from him and see him through my glasses as though 
he were directly in front of me. I have seen that face 
many times at the great moments of his life. But today ! 
It is afire with scorn, anger, hate, revenge, triumph. 
He steps off the monument and contrives to make even 
this gesture a masterpiece of contempt. He glances 
back at it, contemptuous, angry — angry, you almost 
feel, because he cannot wipe out the awful, provoking 
lettering with one sweep of his high Prussian boot. He 
glances slowly around the clearing, and now, as his eyes 
meet ours, you grasp the depth of his hatred. But there 
is triumph there too — revengeful, triumphant hate. 
Suddenly, as though his face were not giving quite 
complete expression to his feelings, he throws his whole 
body into harmony with his mood. He swiftly snaps his 
hands on his hips, arches his shoulders, plants his feet 
wide apart. It is a magnificent gesture of defiance, of 
burning contempt for this place now and all that it has 
stood for in the twenty-two years since it witnessed the 
humbling of the German Empire. 

Finally Hitler leads his party over to another granite 
stone, a smaller one fifty yards to one side. Here it was 
that the railroad car in which the German plenipoten- 



1940 Paris, June 21 



tiaries stayed during the 1918 armistice was placed — 
from November 8 to 11. Hitler merely glances at the 
inscription, which reads : " The German Plenipoten- 
tiaries." The stone itself, I notice, is set between a pair 
of rusty old railroad tracks, the ones on which the Ger- 
man car stood twenty-two years ago. Off to one side 
along the edge of the clearing is a large statue in white 
stone of Marshal Foch as he looked when he stepped out 
of the armistice car on the morning of November 11, 
1918. Hitler skips it ; does not appear to see it. 

It is now three twenty-three p.m. and the Germans 
stride over to the armistice car. For a moment or two 
they stand in the sunlight outside the car, chatting. 
Then Hitler steps up into the car, followed by the 
others. We can see nicely through the car windows. 
Hitler takes the place occupied by Marshal Foch when 
the 1918 armistice terms were signed. The others 
spread themselves around him. Four chairs on the op- 
posite side of the table from Hitler remain empty. The 
French have not yet appeared. But we do not wait long. 
Exactly at three thirty p.m. they alight from a car. 
They have flown up from Bordeaux to a near-by land- 
ing field. They too glance at the Alsace-Lorraine me- 
morial, but it's a swift glance. Then they walk down the 
avenue flanked by three German officers. We see them 
now as they come into the sunlight of the clearing. 

General Huntziger, wearing a bleached khaki uni- 
form, Air General Bergeret and Vice- Admiral Le Luc, 
both in dark blue uniforms, and then, almost buried in 
the uniforms, M. Noel, French Ambassador to Poland. 
The German guard of honour, drawn up at the entrance 
to the clearing, snaps to attention for the French as they 
pass, but it does not present arms. 

It is a grave hour in the life of France. The French- 
men keep their eyes straight ahead. Their faces are 



1$4 1940 Pakis, June 21 

solemn, drawn. They are the picture of tragic dig- 
nity. 

They walk stiffly to the car, where they are met by 
two German officers, Lieutenant-General Tippelskirch, 
Quartermaster General, and Colonel Thomas, chief of 
the Fiihrer's headquarters. The Germans salute. The 
French salute. The atmosphere is what Europeans call 
" correct." There are salutes, but no handshakes. 

Now we get our picture through the dusty windows 
of that old wagon-lit car. Hitler and the other German 
leaders rise as the French enter the drawing-room. Hit- 
ler gives the Nazi salute, the arm raised. Ribbentrop 
and Hess do the same. I cannot see M. Noel to notice 
whether he salutes or not. 

Hitler, as far as we can see through the windows, does 
not say a word to the French or to anybody else. He 
nods to General Keitel at his side. We see General 
Keitel adjusting his papers. Then he starts to read. 
He is reading the preamble to the German armistice 
terms. The French sit there with marble-like faces and 
listen intently. Hitler and Goring glance at the green 
table-top. 

The reading of the preamble lasts but a few minutes. 
Hitler, we soon observe, has no intention of remaining 
very long, of listening to the reading of the armistice 
terms themselves. At three forty-two p.m., twelve min- 
utes after the French arrive, we see Hitler stand up, 
salute stiffly, and then stride out of the drawing-room, 
followed by Goring, Brauchitsch, Raeder, Hess, and 
Ribbentrop. The French, like figures of stone, remain 
at the green-topped table. General Keitel remains with 
them. He starts to read them the detailed conditions of 
the armistice. 

Hitler and his aides stride down the avenue towards 
the Alsace-Lorraine monument, where their cars are 



1940 Paris, June 22 425 

waiting. As they pass the guard of honour, the Ger- 
man band strikes up the two national anthems, Deutsch- 
land, Deutschland iiber AUes and the Horst Wessel 
song. The whole ceremony in which Hitler has reached 
a new pinnacle in his meteoric career and Germany 
avenged the 1918 defeat is over in a quarter of an hour. 

Paris, June 22 (midnight) 

Too tired to write of today. Here is what I 
broadcast : 

" The armistice has been signed. The armistice be- 
tween France and Germany was signed at exactly six 
fifty p.m., German summer time — that is, one hour 
and twenty-five minutes ago. ... It was signed here 
in the same old railroad coach in the middle of Com- 
piegne Forest where the armistice of November 11, 1918 
was made. . . . Now the armistice, though signed by 
the French and the Germans, does not go into effect 
yet. We've been informed that the French delegation 
is leaving by special plane for Italy. When it gets 
there, Italy will lay down armistice terms for ceasing 
its war with France. ... As soon as the French and 
Italians sign, the news will be flashed to the Germans. 
They will immediately inform the French government 
at Bordeaux. And then, six hours after this, the fight- 
ing stops, the guns cease fire, the airplanes come down, 
the blood-letting of war is at an end. That is, between 
Germany and Italy on the one hand, and France on the 
other. The war with Britain, of course, goes on. . . . 

" The negotiations for this armistice have gone much 
faster than anyone expected. There has been a good 
deal of telephoning and telegraphing between here and 
Bordeaux by the French. One of the little wonders of 
this war was a telegraph line tp Bordeaux which went 



]$6 1940 Paris, June 22 

right through both the front lines where they're still 
fighting. 

" As a matter of fact, late last night the Germans and 
French succeeded in establishing telephone contact be- 
tween the plenipotentiaries here at Compiegne and the 
French government at Bordeaux. A few minutes ago 
I listened to a recording of the first conversation as they 
were establishing the first communication. It's an in- 
teresting record, if a minor one, for history. 

" The Germans got the telephone line going as far 
as the Loire River at Tours. There German army en- 
gineers strung a line over a bridge across the river, 
where it was hooked up, strangely and miraculously 
enough, with the French telephone central, which car- 
ried it on to Bordeaux. We could hear the German tele- 
phonist here in Compiegne say : ' Hello, Bordeaux. 
Hello, the French government in Bordeaux ! ' He said 
it in both French and German. It sounded uncanny, 
and it must have been, too, to the French when he said 
in French : ' Ici la centrale de Varmee allemande a Com- 
piegne. Here's the headquarters of the German army 
at Compiegne, calling the French government at Bor- 
deaux.' The line was very good, and we could hear the 
telephonist in Bordeaux very clearly. The line was then 
turned over to the French government and their dele- 
gates here. 

" And so the negotiations went on last night and to- 
day for the ending of the war. Occasionally the French 
delegation would return to the car from their tent for 
further talks with General Keitel. About midnight last 
night the talks were broken off and the French dele- 
gates, though cots had been provided for them in their 
tent, were driven by the Germans into Paris, some fifty 
miles away, where they spent the night. The city must 
have seemed strange to them. 



1940 Paris, June 22 ]$7 

" The French delegates returned to Compiegne For- 
est this morning; About ten thirty a.m. we saw them 
filing into Marshal Foch's old Pullman coach. They 
remained for an hour and then General Keitel arrived. 
Through the windows we could see them talking and 
going over various papers. At one thirty p.m. there 
was a recess so that the French could contact their gov- 
ernment in Bordeaux for the last time. 

*' And then came the big moment. At six fifty p.m. 
the gentlemen in the car started affixing their signa- 
tures to Germany's armistice conditions. General Kei- 
tel signed for Germany ; General Huntziger for France. 

" It was all over in a few moments." 

And now to depart from my broadcast to set down 
a scene which I gave to Kerker for his part of the trans- 
mission. I know that the Germans have hidden micro- 
phones in the armistice car. I seek out a sound-truck 
in the woods. No one stops me and so I pause to listen. 
It is just before the armistice is signed. I hear General 
Huntziger's voice, strained, quivering. I note down his 
exact words in French. They come out slowly, with 
great effort, one at a time. He says : " I declare the 
French government has ordered me to sign these terms 
of armistice. I desire to read a personal declaration. 
Forced by the fate of arms to cease the struggle in 
which we were engaged on the side of the Allies, France 
sees imposed on her very hard conditions. France has 
the right to expect in the future negotiations that Ger- 
many show a spirit which will permit the two great 
neighbouring countries to live and work peacefully." 

Then I hear the scratching of pens, a few muffled 
remarks from the French. Later someone, watching 
through the window, tells me Admiral Le Luc fights 
back the tears as the document is signed. Then the 
deep voice of Keitel : " I request all members of the 



#28 1940 Paris, June 23 

German and French delegations to rise in order to ful- 
fil a duty which the brave German and French soldiers 
have merited. Let us honour by rising from our seats 
all those who have bled for their fatherland and all 
those who have died for their country." There is a 
minute of silence as they all stand. 

As I finished speaking into the microphone, a drop of 
rain fell on my forehead. Down the road, through the 
woods, I could see the refugees, slowly, tiredly, filing 
by — on weary feet, on bicycles, on carts, a few on 
trucks, an endless line. They were exhausted and dazed, 
those walking were footsore, and they did not know yet 
that an armistice had been signed and that the fight- 
ing would be over very soon now. 

I walked out to the clearing. The sky was overcast 
and rain was coming on. An army of German engi- 
neers, shouting lustily, had already started to move the 
armistice car. 

"Where to? "I asked. 

" To Berlin," they said. 

Paris, June 23 

It seems we had something of a scoop yester- 
day. We beat the world with the announcement that 
the armistice had been signed, not to mention a detailed 
description of it. Some of those who helped us get it 
are catching hell. I had no idea we'd had a scoop until 
this morning when Walter Kerr told me he had picked 
up some American broadcast last night. For two or 
three hours, he says, we were the only ones with the 
news. Some of our commentators, he says, appeared to 
grow a little nervous as the hours ticked by and there 
was no confirmation. They were probably thinking of 



1940 Paris, June 23 4.29 

the premature U.P. story on the armistice on Novem- 
ber 7, 1918. 

I got my first night's sleep in a week, and felt a little 
better. Breakfasted at noon at the Cafe de la Paix with 
Joe [Harsch] and Walter on cafe creme and brioches, 
and the sun on the terrace was warm and soothing. At 
one we went down the street to Philippe's, where we 
had a nice lunch, the first decent one since arriving. 

Then Joe and I made a little " Sentimental Journey." 
On foot, because there are no cars, buses, or taxis. We 
walked down through the Place Vendome and thought 
of Napoleon. Pushed on through the Tuileries. It made 
my heart feel a little better to see so many children 
about. They were playing on the seesaws. The merry- 
go-round was turning with its load of children, until 
an irate agent for some reason (to curry favour with the 
Germans?) closed it down. 

It was an exquisite June day, and we stopped to ad- 
mire the view (my millionth, surely!) up the Tuileries 
to the Champs-Elysees, with the silhouette of the Arc 
de Triomphe on the horizon. It was as good as ever. 
Then through the Louvre and across the Seine. The 
fishermen were dangling their lines from the bank, as 
always. I thought : " Surely this will go on to the end 
of Paris, to the end of time . . . men fishing in the 
Seine." I stopped, as I have always stopped a thousand 
times, to see if — after all these years — I might wit- 
ness one man at last having at least a bite. But though 
they jerked their lines out continually, no one caught a 
fish. I have never seen a fish caught in the Seine. 

Then down the Seine to Notre-Dame. The sandbags 
had been removed from the central portal. We stopped 



430 1940 Paris, June 23 

to observe it. Inside the Cathedral the light was too 
strong, with the original rose window and the two tran- 
sept windows out. But from up the river as we had ap- 
proached, the view of the facade, the Gothic in all its 
glory, was superb. We went round behind. The grace 
of the flying buttresses that support the upper part of 
the nave ! 

Then I turned guide for Joe. Took him to the near-by 
Church of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, the oldest in Paris, 
then down the little street past the Hotel Du Caveau, 
in whose cellars we had had some nights in my younger 
days. I showed him, a little farther down, the bordel 
across the eighteen-foot-wide street from the police sta- 
tion. Apparently the whores had all fled, like almost all 
of the good people of France. Then up past the Cluny, 
which was closed, stopping at the statue of Montaigne 
with its eloquent quotation about Paris being the " glory 
of France." We stopped for a beer at the Balzar, next 
to the Sorbonne, a pub where I had spent so many 
nights in my first years in Paris after 1925. Then, since 
this was a " Sentimental Journey," naked and un- 
ashamed, we hit up the Boulevard Saint-Michel, then 
up the rue de Vaugirard to the Hotel de Lisbonne, where 
I had lived for two years when I first came to Paris. The 
Lisbonne looked as dirty and dilapidated as ever. But, 
according to the sign, they'd added a bath. No such 
sign of civilization when I lived there. 

Then the Pantheon, from the Boulevard Saint- 
Michel, and then through the Luxembourg Gardens, as 
lovely as ever, and crowded with children, as ever, which 
cheered me up again, and the statues of the Queens of 
France around the central pond, and at the pond the 
kids sailing their boats, and the Palace off to one side, 
and a pretty girl sitting under the statue of the Queen 
so-and-so who reigned, I noticed, as we took our eyes 



1940 Berlin, June 26 431 

off the beautiful thing, in 1100 and something. 

And then Montparnasse, with aperitifs on the side- 
walk of the Rotonde, and the Dome across the street as 
jammed with crackpots as ever, and in front of us a 
large table full of middle-aged French women of the 
bourgeoisie, apparently recovering from their daze, be- 
cause their anger was rising at the way the little gamins 
(elles sont frangaises, apres tout!) were picking up the 
German soldiers. 

And then a walk back, with a drink at the Deux 
Magots across from Saint-Germain-des-Pres, whose 
solid tower seemed more comforting today than ever 
before, and down the rue Bonaparte past the bookshops, 
the art shops, so civilized, past the house where Tess 
and I had lived in 1934. Across the Seine again, and 
Joe wanted to stroll in the gardens of the Palais Royal, 
which we did, and they were as peaceful as ever before, 
and as still, except for the German planes roaring over- 
head. 

And thence to our hotel, filled with German soldiers, 
and outside, on the boulevard, a long column of German 
artillery roaring by. 

Berlin, June 26 

Returned from Paris. We left there at seven 
a.m. and drove through the " battlefields " (more ac- 
curately, the destroyed towns where what fighting there 
was in this war took place) to Brussels. The German 
officers and officials said they wanted to have one last 
square meal before returning to the Vaterland, so I 
took them around to the Taverne Royale. We stuffed 
on hors d'oeuvres, steak, mountains of vegetables, and 
fresh strawberries and cream, washing it all down with 
two bottles of quite good Chateau Margaux. 



482 1940 Berlin, June 26 

En route to Brussels we passed through Compiegne, 
Noyon, Valenciennes, and Mons — all well smashed up. 
But except in the towns I could see no evidence of any 
serious fighting. Abandoned Allies' tanks and trucks 
here and there, but no sign along the roads that the 
French had offered serious resistance. The French and 
Belgians in the towns still seemed numbed, but not par- 
ticularly resentful, as one might have expected. As else- 
where, they acted extremely civil to the German troops. 

An attache of the German Embassy in Brussels ac- 
companied us as far as Louvain, and the reason soon 
became evident. In Louvain we were driven straight 
to the charred remains of the library. As we stepped 
out of our cars, it just happened that a priest came up 
on a bicycle and greeted us. It just happened that he 
seemed to be on good terms with the German Embassy 
official. The two of them then related the story the 
propagandists had given me some weeks before on the 
same spot — namely, that the British had fired the li- 
brary of Louvain University before their retreat. 

I admit there are some points that bother me. None 
of the near-by buildings, some of which are only fifty 
feet from the library, suffered any damage at all. Even 
their windows are intact. The Germans and the Bel- 
gian priest kept harping on this as proof that no Ger- 
man bombs could have hit the library. On the other 
hand, I notice two small shell-holes in the tower, which 
still stands. And incendiary bombs dropped on the li- 
brary wouldn't have disturbed the adjacent buildings. 
True, if many had been dropped, some would have 
missed the target and set the near-by houses on fire. 

The priest, who said he was one of the librarians, ex- 
plained that the priceless manuscripts were kept in fire- 
proof vaults in the basement. He then claimed that the 
British had started the fire in the basement and had ac- 



1940 Berlin, June 26 433 

tually set fires going in the fire-proof vaults. He- and 
theGermans kept emphasizing that it was obvious from 
the looks of the charred remains, girders and all, 
that the fire had been started from the basement. But 
this wasn't obvious to me. 

Approaching the German border towards sundown, 
we avoided the Maastricht-Aachen road because the 
German Embassy in Brussels had told our Germans 
that the Reich customs people there would be very strict 
with us ; and our two cars were loaded down with booty 
purchased with marks forced on the French at the 
thievish rate of twenty francs to one mark. The Ger- 
man officers and officials had raided Paris, buying suits, 
Scotch woollens for making suits, handbags, silk stock- 
ings, perfumes, underwear, etc. We drove around for 
hours trying to find a lonely customs post. The nearer 
to the border we approached, the more nervous the Ger- 
mans became. An officer of the High Command — one 
of the most decent Germans I know — kept pointing out 
to me how embarrassing it would be for him, in uniform, 
to be caught red-handed bringing in so much booty. 
He said his fellow officers had been abusing their op- 
portunities so scandalously that Hitler himself a few 
days before had issued a blunt order to the customs 
guards to seize everything found on returning officers 
or men. I finally offered to take the blame, if it came 
to a showdown, and explain to the customs people that 
the booty was all mine. 

The little valley east of Liege was green and cool in 
the late afternoon, and there was little trace of the war 
except for one destroyed village and the blown-up 
bridges of the main railroad line to Aachen. Finally 
we arrived at the German border. Our chauffeur, a 
private, who had certainly bought his share of the booty 
in Paris, became so nervous he almost ran down and 



ISj. 1940 Berlin, June 27 

killed the customs officer. But our High Command offi- 
cer spoke convincingly and fast, and we got through 
with our plunder. 

Arrived in Aachen just in time to catch the night 
train to Berlin. Stiff and cold from fatigue and lack 
of sleep, I slumped into my upper berth and fell im- 
mediately into a heavy slumber. This was about ten p.m. 
About eleven thirty I was awakened by a furious shriek- 
ing of the sirens. By the noise, I could tell we were in 
a station (Duisburg, I later learned). The siren had 
hardly stopped before the train got off with a tremen- 
dous jerk and gathered speed so rapidly I thought some 
of the curves would surely derail us. I was now fully 
awakened and not a little scared — to be perfectly hon- 
est. Above the noise of the train, I could hear the Brit- 
ish bombers flying low, then diving still lower, and obvi- 
ously trying to get us. (Kerker said next morning he 
saw them from the car window.) Apparently the Brit- 
ish in the end gave our train up as small fry, which it 
was. I felt no bomb explosions, at least. The sound of 
the British planes died away. Our engineer slowed down 
the train to a reasonable speed. I went back to sleep. 

Beklin, June 27 

To sum up : 

Make some reservations. That it is too early to know 
all. That you didn't see all, by any means. And all that. 

But from what I've seen in Belgium and France and 
from talks I've had with Germans and French in both 
countries, and with French, Belgian, and British pris- 
oners along the roads, it seems fairly clear to me that : 

France did not fight. 

If she did, there is little evidence of it. Not only I, 
but several of my friends have driven from the German 



1940 Berlin, June 27 £35 

border to Paris and back, along all the main roads. 
None of us saw any evidence of serious fighting. 

The fields of France are undisturbed. There was 
no fighting on any sustained line. The German army 
hurled itself forward along the roads. Even on the 
roads there is little sign that the French did any more 
than harry their enemy. And even this was done only 
in the towns and villages. But it was only harrying, de- 
laying. There was no attempt to come to a halt on a line 
and strike back in a well-organized counter-attack. 

But since the Germans chose to fight the war on the 
roads, why didn't the French stop them? Roads make 
ideal targets for artillery. And yet I have not seen one 
yard of road in northern France which shows the effects 
of artillery fire. Driving to Paris over the area where 
the second German offensive began, an officer from the 
High Command who had missed the campaign kept 
mumbling that he could not understand it, that up there 
on that height, dominating the road and providing won- 
derful artillery cover with its dense woods, the French 
must have had the sense to plant a few guns. Just a few 
would have made the road impassable, he kept repeat- 
ing, and he would order us to stop while he studied the 
situation. But there had been no guns on those wooded 
heights and there were no shell-holes on or near the road. 
The Germans had passed along here with their mighty 
army, hardly firing a shot. 

The French blew up many bridges. But they also left 
many strategic ones standing, especially over the Meuse, 
a great natural defence because of the deepness, the 
steepness of the valley, and its wooded cover. More than 
one French soldier I talked to thought it was downright 
treachery. 

At no point in France and at only two or three in 
Belgium did I see a road properly mined, or, for that 



£36 1940 Berlin, June 27 

matter, mined at all. In the villages and towns the 
French had hastily thrown up tank-barriers, usually of 
blocks of stone and rubbish. But the Germans brushed 
them aside in minutes. A huge crater left by an ex- 
ploded mine could not have been brushed aside in a few 
minutes. 

D. B. in Paris, having seen the war from the other 
side, concludes that there was treachery in the French 
army from top to bottom — the fascists at the top, the 
Communists at the bottom. And from German and 
French sources alike I heard many stories of how the 
Communists had received their orders from their party 
not to fight, and didn't. . . . 

Many French prisoners say they never saw a battle. 
When one seemed imminent, orders came to retreat. It 
was this constant order to retreat before a battle had 
been joined, or at least before it had been fought out, 
that broke the Belgian resistance. 

The Germans themselves say that in one tank battle 
they were attacked by a large fleet of French tanks after 
they had themselves run out of ammunition. The Ger- 
man commander ordered a retreat. After the German 
tanks had retired some distance to the rear, with the 
French following them only very cautiously, the Ger- 
mans received orders to turn about and simulate an at- 
tack, firing automatic pistols or anything they had out 
of their tanks, and executing complicated manoeuvres. 
This they did, and the French, seeing an armada of 
tanks descend upon them, though these were without 
ammunition, turned and fled. 

One German tank officer I talked to in Compiegne 
said : " French tanks in some ways were superior to ours. 
They had heavier armour. And at times — for a few 
hours, say — the French tank corps fought bravely and 
well. But soon we got a definite feeling that their heart 



1940 Berlin, June 27 437 

wasn't in it. When we learned that, and acted on the 
belief, it was all over." A month before, I would have 
thought such talk rank Nazi propaganda. Now I be- 
lieve it. 

Another mystery : After the Germans broke through 
the Franco-Belgian border from Maubeuge to Sedan, 
they tell that they continued right on across northern 
France to the sea hardly firing a shot. When they got 
to the sea, Boulogne and Calais were defended mostly 
by the British. The whole French army seemed para- 
lysed, unable to provide the least action, the slightest 
counter-thrust. 

True, the Germans had air superiority. True, the 
British didn't provide the air power they could and 
should have provided. Yet even that does not explain 
the French debacle. From what one can see, the effec- 
tiveness of the air force in this war has been over-empha- 
sized. One read of the great mass air attacks on the 
Allied columns along the roads. But you look in vain 
for the evidence of it on the roads. There are no bomb 
craters. True, the German technique was first to ma- 
chine-gun the troops and then, when they'd scattered 
to the side of the road, to bomb the sides (thus sparing 
the road when they wanted to use it later). But you 
also see little evidence of this. A crater here and there 
along the roadside or in a near-by field — but not 
enough to destroy an army. The most deadly work of 
the German air force was at Dunkirk, where the British 
stopped the Germans dead for ten days. 

On the whole, then, while the French here and there 
fought valiantly and even stubbornly, their army seems 
to have been paralysed as soon as the Germans made 
their first break-through. Then it collapsed, almost 
without a fight. In the first place the French, as though 
drugged, had no will to fight, even when their soil was 



438 1940 Berlin, June 27 

invaded by their most hated enemy. There was a com- 
plete collapse of French society and of the French soul. 
Secondly, there was either treachery or criminal negli- 
gence in the High Command and among the high offi- 
cers in the field. Among large masses of troops Com- 
munist propaganda had won the day. And its message 
was : " Don't fight." Never were the masses so betrayed. 

Two other considerations: 

First, the quality of the Allied and German command- 
ing officers. Only a few weeks ago General Sir Edmund 
Ironside, chief of the British Imperial General Staff, 
was boasting to American correspondents in London of 
the great advantage he had in possessing several gen- 
erals in France who had been division commanders in 
the World War, whereas all the German generals were 
younger men who had never commanded more than a 
company in the last war. Sir Edmund thought the 
World War experience of his older generals would tell 
in the end. 

It was an idle boast and no doubt the general regrets 
it now in the light of what has happened. True, the 
commanding officers of the German army are, for the 
most part, mere youngsters compared to the French 
generals we have seen. The latter strike you as civilized, 
intellectual, frail, ailing old men who stopped thinking 
new thoughts twenty years ago and have taken no 
physical exercise in the last ten years. The German 
generals are a complete contrast. More than one not 
yet forty, most of them in the forties, a few at the very 
top in their fifties. And they have the characteristics 
of youth — dash, daring, imagination, initiative, and 
physical prowess. General von Reichenau, commander 
of a whole army in Poland, was first to cross the Vistula 
River. He swam it. The commander of the few hundred 
German parachutists at Rotterdam was a general, who 



1940 Bee lin, June 27 b&9 

took his chances with the lieutenants and privates, and 
was in fact severely wounded. All the big German tank 
attacks were led in person by commanding generals. 
They did not sit in the safety of a dug-out ten miles 
behind the lines and direct by radio. They sat in their 
tanks in the thick of the fray and directed by radio and 
signalling from where they could see how the battle was 
going. 

And as was to be expected from youth, these young 
generals did not hesitate at times to adopt innovations, 
to do the unorthodox thing, to take chances. 

The great trouble with the Allied command — espe- 
cially the French — was that it was dominated by old 
men who made the fatal mistake of thinking that this 
war would be fought on the same general lines as the 
last war. The rigidity of their military thinking was 
fixed somewhere between 1914 and 1918, and the matrix 
of their minds was never broken. I think this helps to 
explain why, when confronted by the Germans with a 
new type of war, the French were unable to adjust them- 
selves to countering it. 

It wasn't that these tired old men had to adapt them- 
selves to a revolutionary kind of warfare overnight. 
One of the mysteries of the campaign in the west is that 
the Allied command seems never to have bothered to 
learn the lesson of the Polish campaign. For in Poland 
the German army revealed the tactics it would use in 
the lowlands and France — parachutists and Stukas to 
disrupt communications in the rear, and swift, needle- 
like thrusts with Panzer divisions down the main roads 
through the enemy lines, pushing them ever deeper and 
then closing them like great steel claws, avoiding frontal 
attack, giving no opportunity for frontal defence along 
a line, striking far into the enemy's rear before he could 
organize for a stand. Eight months elapsed between the 



IflfO 1940 Berlin, June 27 

Polish campaign and the offensive in the west, and yet 
there is little evidence that the generals of Britain and 
France used this precious time to organize a new sys- 
tem of defence to cope with the tactics they watched 
the Germans use in Poland. Probably they greatly un- 
derestimated the fight the Polish army put up ; proba- 
bly they thought it had been merely a badly armed rab- 
ble, and that against a first-rate army like the French, 
entrenched behind its Maginot Line, the new style of 
warfare would beat its head in vain. Had the Maginot 
Line really extended from Sedan to the sea, this attitude 
might have been justified. But as the Allies knew, and 
as the Germans remembered, the Maginot Line proper 
stopped some miles to the east of Sedan. 

The second consideration is the fantastically good 
morale of the German army. Few people who have not 
seen it in action realize how different this army is from 
the one the Kaiser sent hurtling into Belgium and 
France in 1914. I remember my surprise at Kiel last 
Christmas to find an entirely new esprit in the German 
navy. This esprit was based on a camaraderie between 
officers and men. The same is true of the German army. 
It is hard to explain. The old Prussian goose-step, the 
heel-clicking, the " Jawohl " of the private when answer- 
ing an officer, are still there. But the great gulf between 
officers and men is gone in this war. There is a sort of 
equalitarianism. I felt it from the first day I came in 
contact with the army at the front. The German officer 
no longer represents — or at least is conscious of repre- 
senting — a class or caste. And the men in the ranks 
feel this. They feel like members of one great family. 
Even the salute has a new meaning. German privates 
salute each other, thus making the gesture more of a 
comradely greeting than the mere recognition of su- 
perior rank. In cafes, restaurants, dining-cars, officers 



1940 Berlin, June 27 4.4.I 

and men off duty sit at the same table and converse as 
men to men. This would have been unthinkable in the 
last war and is probably unusual in the armies of the 
West, including our own. In the field, officers and men 
usually eat from the same soup kitchen. At Compiegne 
I had my lunch with a youthful captain who lined up 
with the men to get his rations from a mobile " soup 
cannon." In Paris I recall a colonel who was treating 
a dozen privates to an excellent lunch in a little Basque 
restaurant off the avenue de l'Opera. When lunch was 
over, he drew, with all the care of a loving father, a 
plan for them to visit the sights of Paris. The respect 
of these ordinary soldiers for their colonel would be hard 
to exaggerate. Yet it was not for his rank, but for the 
man. Hitler himself has drawn up detailed instructions 
for German officers about taking an interest in the per- 
sonal problems of their men. One of the most efficient 
units in the German army at the front is its post office 
which brings letters and packages from home to the 
men, regardless of where they are, and which attends 
to the dispatch of letters and packages from the men 
home in record time. There are few German soldiers 
who have not dispatched in the last days silk stockings 
and perfume home to their families through the free 
facilities of the army post office. 

One reason for the excellent morale of the troops is 
their realization that they and not the civilians back 
home are receiving the best treatment the nation can 
afford. They get the pick of the food and clothing avail- 
able. In the winter the homes of Germany may not be 
heated, but the barracks are. The civilians in the safe 
jobs may not see oranges and coffee and fresh vege- 
tables, but the troops see them every day. Last Christ- 
mas it was the soldiers who sent food packages home to 
their families, and not the reverse. Hitler once said 



44# 1940 Berlin, June 28 

that as a private of the last war he would see to it that 
the men in the new army benefited by the lessons he 
had learned. And in this one case, at least, he seems to 
have kept his promise. 

Beelin, June 28 

A word about something the Germans will 
shoot me for if the Gestapo or the Military Intelligence 
ever find these notes. (I hide them about my hotel room 
here, but even an amateur detective could find them 
easily enough.) 

I have been shocked at the way the German army in 
Belgium and France has been abusing the Red Cross 
sign. 

The other day when we were within forty miles of 
Paris, we stopped at a big army gasoline dump to re- 
fuel our cars. Forty or fifty army oil trucks were drawn 
up under the trees of an orchard. Several of them were 
plastered with huge Red Cross signs. Many of the ordi- 
nary trucks with canvas tops which were being used to 
carry drums of oil had red crosses on their sides and 
roofs and indeed looked like Red Cross ambulances. A 
German officer apparently noticed me taking in this 
shameless misuse of the Red Cross sign. He hurriedly 
bundled us into our cars and got us off. 

This may explain why the Luftwaffe has not re- 
spected the mark of the Red Cross on the Allied side. 
Goring probably figures that the Allies are doing just 
what he does. This may explain something the corre- 
spondents who went into Dunkirk the other day told 
me. The thing that shocked them most there was the 
sight of the charred remains of a long line of British 
and French Red Cross ambulances drawn up on the 
quay. They had been about to unload the wounded on 



1940 Berlin, June 28 443 

some ships, it was evident, and then the Stukas had come 
over and bombed them with explosive and incendiary 
bombs. The burnt bodies of the wounded still lay in the 
ambulances. No German pilot, the correspondents ob- 
served, could have failed to see the large Red Cross 
marks on the top of the ambulances. 

I noticed too in Belgium and France many Ger- 
man staff officers riding up and down in cars marked 
with the Red Cross. 

Today was the twenty-first anniversary of the sign- 
ing of the Treaty of Versailles. And the world it cre- 
ated appeared to be gasping its swan-song today as 
German troops reached the Spanish border, and Soviet 
troops marched into Bessarabia and Bukovina. In 
Paris last week I learned on good authority that Hitler 
planned a further humiliation of France by holding a 
victory parade before the Palace of Versailles on this 
twenty-first anniversary day. He would make a speech 
from the Hall of Mirrors, where it was signed, proclaim- 
ing its official end. For some reason it was called off. 
It is to be held, instead, in Berlin, I hear. 

Official comment on Russia's grabbing Bessarabia 
and Bukovina from Rumania today was : " Rumania 
has chosen the reasonable way." 

The nomination of Willkie gets three lines in the 
Berlin press today. It refers to him as " General-Direk- 
tor " Willkie. 

One or two American representatives of American 
press associations spoke so strongly to Dr. Boehmer, 
the Propaganda Ministry press chief, about our radio 
scoop on the armistice at Compiegne that he assured 
them I had not been allowed to use a German transmit- 
ter but must have got my story out over " some French 



.4.4.4 1940 Berlin, June 28 

station." Actually we used a German transmitter and 
one located just outside of Berlin at Zeesen, as Dr. 
Boehmer no doubt knows. 

As a matter of fact, the Germans did a superb techni- 
cal job on our two armistice broadcasts. By a super- 
human effort, army communication engineers had laid 
down in a couple of days a radio-cable line from Brus- 
sels to the Compiegne Forest. Earlier in the campaign 
they had linked up the Belgian capital with Cologne, 
the nearest German point on the Reich net of radio- 
cable lines. How necessary it was to have a radio-cable 
and not just a mere overhead telephone line was shown 
the first day at Compiegne. Whereas the voices of 
Kerker and myself came into New York, we were in- 
formed, as clear as a bell, the American newspaper cor- 
respondents, telephoning their stories only as far as 
Berlin over an ordinary overhead telephone wire, com- 
plained that even by shouting at the top of their voices 
they could scarcely make themselves understood in 
Berlin. 

Given a perfect cable line over Brussels and Cologne 
to Zeesen, nine tenths of our troubles were over. The 
German Broadcasting System provided us with micro- 
phones, which they set up within fifty feet of the armi- 
stice car, and with an amplifier truck. That was all we 
needed. Also, in Berlin the RRG had a man calling 
New York constantly over the shortwave to inform them 
when we would be on the air. Paul White cables that 
on the first day they only picked us up one minute be- 
fore we started talking, which gave very little time to 
cut off the program then on the air and switch to us. 

Our scoop, like all scoops, was due largely to a combi- 
nation of lucky circumstances. In the first place, we 
did not know until the next day that the official com- 
munique on the signing of the armistice had had to be 



1940 Berlin, June 28 445 

approved by Hitler before it was released in Berlin. As 
Hitler was some distance away, this took several hours. 
We had supposed that the DNB had released the com- 
munique in Berlin as soon as it was flashed from Com- 
piegne at six fifty p.m., the second the armistice was 
signed. We did not go on the air until eight-fifteen, an 
hour and twenty-five minutes later. 

In fact we were held up forty-five minutes because the 
RRG quite naturally was using the cable line to clear 
its own German broadcast to Berlin. Fortunately for 
us, this German account was not rebroadcast simultane- 
ously, but recorded in Berlin and held until the High 
Command could okay it. This, fortunately for us, took 
several hours. 

Now, the day before, the High Command had forced 
us to go through the same process. That is, we had had 
to broadcast our description of the first day to Berlin, 
where it was recorded and played off to the army cen- 
sors, and we had only gone on the air directly to New 
York after the military in Berlin had given us the go- 
ahead. But on the second day I saw an opportunity of 
taking advantage of the excitement of the Germans over 
the signing of the armistice, and by much bludgeoning 
and with the co-operation of three Germans — Hada- 
mowsky, head of the German radio, Diettrich, head of 
the shortwave, and a certain colonel of the German High 
Command — we dispensed with the recording and went 
on the air direct to New York. We were not supposed 
to. Later the three above-mentioned gentlemen swore 
we were not supposed to be on the air. The important 
thing was that in the excitement I had got them to give 
the all-important order merely to throw a switch in a 
Berlin control room which put us on the air, direct to 
New York. When Hitler, the High Command, and Dr. 
Goebbels learned that we had given the American peo- 



44^ 1940 Berlin, June 28 

pie a detailed thirty-minute description of the sign- 
ing of the armistice several hours before the signing was 
even officially announced in Berlin and several hours 
more before the German radio gave it to their own peo- 
ple, they were furious. My three German friends faced 
court-martial or worse and spent some very uncomfort- 
able days before the matter finally blew over. 

The curious thing is that the German army alone in 
this country understands the position of American radio 
as a purveyor of news and news analysis in the United 
States. Dr. Goebbels and his foreign press chief, Dr. 
Boehmer, have never appreciated it, and it was only at 
the insistence of the army that Kerker and I were taken 
to Compiegne at all. Boehmer, who is definitely anti- 
radio, actually rushed Lochner, Huss, and Oechsner, 
the three American agency correspondents, from Com- 
piegne to Berlin by air the morning of the day the armi- 
stice was signed so that from the German capital they 
could be first with the news. As it turned out, this was 
a strategic error and there was not a single press corre- 
spondent at Compiegne the day the armistice was made. 

Though a couple of the American news correspond- 
ents have often complained to the Nazis about taking 
me to the front, on the ground that instantaneous radio 
communication puts them at a disadvantage, since they 
must file their stories by the slower method of telephone 
and cable relays, I have tried to iron out this absurd 
competitive idea by agreeing to hold up my ordinary 
broadcasts until their stories could get through to New 
York. Since NBC and CBS subscribe to all the press 
associations, there is no danger of radio ever being 
scooped by the press. And I feel we are doing different 
jobs which, after all, merely complement each other. 
There should be no insane rivalry between American 
press and radio over here. 



1940 Geneva, July 4 447 

Geneva, July 4 

Here for a week's rest. The smell of the dead 
horses and the dead soldiers in Belgium and France 
seems a part of another world you lived in a long time 
ago. The excited cries of Eileen when I take her in 
swimming for the first time of her life at the proud age 
of two and a half, the soft voice of Tess reading a f airy~ 
tale to Eileen before she goes to bed — these become 
realities again and are good. 

Everyone here is full of talk about the " new Eu- 
rope," a theme that brings shudders to most people. 
The Swiss, who mobilized more men per capita than 
any other country in the world, are demobilizing par- 
tially. They see their situation as pretty hopeless, sur- 
rounded as they are by the victorious totalitarians, from 
whom henceforth they must beg facilities for bringing 
in their food and other supplies. None have any illu- 
sions about the kind of treatment they will get from 
the dictators. The papers are full of advice: Prepare 
for a hard life. Gone, the high living standard. The 
freedom of the individual. Decency in public life. 

Probably, too, the Swiss do not realize what the dic- 
tators really have in store for them. And now that 
France has completely collapsed and the Germans and 
Italians surround Switzerland, a military struggle in 
self-defence is hopeless. 

Mont Blanc from the quay today was magnificent, 
its snow pink in the afternoon sun. Later went to a 
4th of July celebration at the consul's. Nice home in 
the country and restful, with the cows grazing in the 
pastures around it. Talked too much. 

People are talking about the action of the British yes- 
terday in sinking three French battleships in Oran to 
save them from falling into the hands of the Germans. 



4.4-8 1940 Geneva, Jvly 5 

The French, who have sunk to a depth below your im- 
agination, say they will break relations with Britain. 
They say they trusted Hitler's word not to use the 
French fleet against Britain. Pitiful. And yet there 
will be great bitterness throughout France. The En- 
tente Cordiale is dead. 

We had dinner along the lake, on the Alpine side, un- 
der a thick old chestnut tree, its branches extending 
over the water. The Juras were bluer — a deep smoky 
blue — than I've ever seen them. They looked lonely 
and proud, and now the Germans were occupying them. 
I left the party and went over to the rail to gaze at 
the scene as the sun was setting. The overwhelming 
blue of the Juras had cast its colour on Lake Geneva, 
which was like glass, neatly placed amongst the green 
hills and, the trees. The lights started to sparkle across 
the lake. 

Geneva, July 5 

Avenol, Secretary-General of the League, 
apparently thinks he'll have a job in Hitler's United 
States of Europe. Yesterday he fired all the British 
secretaries and packed them off on a bus to France, 
where they'll probably be arrested by the Germans or 
the French. 

Tonight in the sunset the great white marble of the 
League building showed through the trees. It had a 
noble look, and the League has stood in the minds of 
many as a noble hope. But it has not tried to fulfil it. 
Tonight it was a shell, the building, the institution, the 
hope — dead. 



1940 Beklin, July 9 ^9 

Berlin, July 8 

Tomorrow France, which until a few weeks 
ago was regarded as the last stronghold of democracy 
on the Continent, will shed its democracy and join the 
ranks of the totalitarian states. Laval, whom Hitler 
has picked to do his dirty work in France — the no- 
torious Otto Abetz is the main go-between — will have 
the French Chamber and Senate meet and vote them- 
selves out of existence, handing over all power to Mar- 
shal Petain, behind whom Laval will pull the strings 
as Hitler's puppet dictator. The Nazis are laughing. 
The armistice car arrived here today. 



Berlin, July 9 

The Nazis are still laughing. Said the organ 
of the Foreign Office, Dienst aus Deutschland, in com- 
menting on Vichy's scrapping the French Parliament 
today : " The change of the former regime in France' 
to an authoritarian form of government will not influ- 
ence in any way the political liquidation of the war. 
The fact is that Germany does not consider the Franco- 
German accounts as settled yet. Later they will be set- 
tled with historical realism . . . not only on the basis 
of the two decades since Versailles, but they will also 
take into account much earlier times." 

Alfred Rosenberg told us at a press conference this 
evening that Sweden would have to join the rest of 
Scandinavia and come under the benevolent protection 
of the Reich. Emissaries of Goebbels and Ribbentrop 
who were in the room dashed out to inform their bosses 
of Rosenberg's blunt remarks and were back before he 
had finished speaking, he being very long-winded. They 
passed notes to Dr. Boehmer, who was presiding. As 



450 1940 Berlin, July 10 

soon as Rosenberg sat down, Boehmer popped up and 
announced excitedly that Rosenberg was speaking only 
for himself and not for the German government. 

Beklin, July 10 

Hans came in to see me. He had just driven 
from Irun, on the Franco-Spanish border, to Berlin. 
He said he could not get over the looks of Verdun, which 
he visited yesterday. Not a house there has been 
scratched, he said. Yet in the World War, when it was 
never taken, not a house remained standing. There you 
have the difference between 1914—18 and 1940. 

Berlin, July {undated) 

Ralph Barnes, correspondent of the Herald 
Tribune (and one of my oldest friends), who came here 
from London just before the big offensive, left Berlin 
today, by request. With him went Russell Hill, assist- 
ant to Ralph and to me. They were thrown out because 
of a story of Ralph's that Russo-German relations were 
not so friendly now as of old. The Wilhelmstrasse is 
Very touchy on the subject, but I think the real reason 
is the Nazi hate of the Herald Tribune's editorial pol- 
icy and its insistence on maintaining fearlessly inde- 
pendent correspondents here — the only New York 
paper that does. Though Russell had nothing to do 
with the story, the Nazis could not forgive him for his 
steadfast refusal to knuckle down to them, and so took 
this opportunity to get rid of him too. Ralph and I had 
a farewell walk in the Tiergarten this afternoon, he 
naturally depressed and not quite realizing that his go- 
ing was a proof that he had more integrity than any of 
us who are allowed to stay. 1 

i Within less than four months he was killed in a British bomber 
returning from a raid on the Italian lines in Albania. 



1940 Berlin, July 18 £51 

Berlin, July 15 

The German press today informed its readers 
that German troops of all arms " now stand ready for 
the attack on Britain. The date of the attack will be 
decided by the Fiihrer alone." One hears the High Com- 
mand is not keen about it, but that Hitler insists. 

Berlin, July 17 

Three hundred S.S. men in Berlin have 
started learning Swahili. Swahili is the lingua franca 
of the former German colony in East Africa. 

Berlin, July 18 

For the first time since 1871, German troops 
staged a victory parade through the Brandenburg 
Gate today. They comprised a division conscripted 
from Berlin. Stores and factories closed, by order, and 
the whole town turned out to cheer. Nothing pleases 
the Berliners — a naive and simple people on the whole 
— more than a good military parade. And nothing more 
than an afternoon off from their dull jobs and their 
dismal homes. I mingled among the crowds in the Pari- 
serplatz. A holiday spirit ruled completely. Nothing 
martial about the mass of the people here. They were 
just out for a good time. Looking at them, I wondered 
if any of them understood what was going on in Europe, 
if they had an inkling that their joy, that this victorious 
parade of the goose-steppers, was based on a great trag- 
edy for millions of others whom these troops and the 
leaders of these people had enslaved. Not one in a thou- 
sand, I wager, gave the matter a thought. It was some- 
what sultry, and scores of women in the Platz fainted. 
An efficient Red Cross outfit hauled them from the pave- 



4.52 1940 B eel in, July 19 

ment on stretchers to a near-by first-aid station. 

The troops were tanned and hard-looking, and goose- 
stepped past like automatons. One officer's horse, obvi- 
ously unused to victory parades, provided a brief com- 
edy. Kicking wildly, he backed into the reviewing stand, 
just missing Dr. Goebbels. 

The last time German troops paraded through the 
Brandenburger Tor after a war was on a dismal cold 
day of December 16, 1918. That was the day the Prus- 
sian Guard came home. Memories are short. 

Hitler will speak in the Reichstag tomorrow, we hear. 
But we're threatened with expulsion if we say it to 
America. Himmler is afraid the British bombers will 
come over. There is some speculation whether it will be, 
as on the grey morning of September 1, an occasion to 
announce a new Blitzkrieg — this time against Britain 
— or an offer of peace. My hotel filled with big generals 
arriving for the show. 

Berlin, July 19 

It is not to be a Blitzkrieg against Britain. 
At least not yet. In the Reichstag tonight, Hitler " of- 
fered " peace. He said he saw no reason why this war 
should go on. But of course it's peace with Hitler sit- 
ting astride the Continent as its conqueror. Leaving the 
fantastic show in the Reichstag — and it was the most 
colourful of all I've ever seen — I wondered what the 
British would make of it. As to the Germans, there's 
no doubt. As a manoeuvre calculated to rally them for 
the fight against Britain, it was a masterpiece. For the 
German people will now say : " Hitler offers England 
peace, and no strings attached. He says he sees no rea- 
son why this war should go on. If it does, why, it's Eng- 



1940 Berlin, July 19 j.53 

I wondered a little what answer the British would 
make, and I had hardly arrived at the Rundfunk to 
prepare my talk when I picked up the BBC in German. 1 
And there was the answer already ! It was a great big 
No. The more I thought of it, the less I was surprised. 
Peace for Britain with Germany absolute master of the 
Continent is impossible. Also: the British must have 
some reason to believe they can successfully defend their 
island and in the end bring Hitler down. For Hitler has 
given them an easy way out to save at least some pieces 
for themselves. Only a year and a half ago at Munich I 
saw them grasping at such a straw. The BBC No was 
very emphatic. The announcer heaped ridicule on Hit- 
ler's every utterance. Officers from the High Command 
and officials from various ministries sitting around the 
room could not believe their ears. One of them shouted 
at me: "Can you make it out? Can you understand 
those British fools? To turn down peace now? " I 
merely grunted. " They're crazy," he said. 

Hitler put his peace " offer " very eloquently, at 
least for Germans. He said : " In this hour I feel it my 
duty before my own conscience to appeal once more to 
reason and common sense. I can see no reason why this 
war must go on." 

There was no applause, no cheering, no stamping of 
heavy boots. There was silence. And it was tense. For 

i It is only fair to state that the officials of the German State 
Broadcasting Company, who treated me with the greatest courtesy 
throughout the war, never objected to my listening to what the 
enemy had to say on the BBC. They usually put a radio set at my 
disposal for this purpose. Foreign correspondents were exempted 
from the decree prohibiting listening to foreign radio stations as 
long as they did not pass on what they heard to Germans. Radio pro- 
vided the only means we in Berlin had of learning what was going 
on in the outside world. Sale of foreign newspapers except those 
from Italy or the occupied cities was forbidden. Occasionally a few 
American newspapers and periodicals got through in the mails, but 
they were from two to six months old by the time they arrived. 



454 1940 Be it lin, July 19 

in their hearts the Germans long for peace now. Hitler 
went on in the silence : " I am grieved to think of the sac- 
rifices which it will claim. I should like to avert them, 
also for my own people." 

The Hitler we saw in the Reichstag tonight was the 
conqueror, and conscious of it, and yet so wonderful an 
actor, so magnificent a handler of the German mind, 
that he mixed superbly the full confidence of the con- 
queror with the humbleness which always goes down so 
well with the masses when they know a man is on top. 
His voice was lower tonight; he rarely shouted as he 
usually does ; and he did not once cry out hysterically as 
I've seen him do so often from this rostrum. His oratori- 
cal form was at its best. I've often sat in the gallery of 
the Kroll Opera House at these Reichstag sessions 
watching the man as he spoke and considering what a 
superb actor he was, as indeed are all good orators. 
I've often admired the way he uses his hands, which are 
somewhat feminine and quite artistic. Tonight he used 
those hands beautifully, seemed to express himself al- 
most as much with his hands — and the sway of his 
body — as he did with his words and the use of his 
voice. I noticed too his gift for using his face and eyes 
(cocking his eyes) and the turn of his head for irony, of 
which there was considerable in tonight's speech, espe- 
cially when he referred to Mr. Churchill. 

I noticed again, too, that he can tell a lie with as 
straight a face as any man. Probably some of the lies 
are not lies to him because he believes fanatically the 
words he is saying, as for instance his false recapitula- 
tion of the last twenty-two years and his constant reiter- 
ation that Germany was never really defeated in the last 
war, only betrayed. But tonight he could also say with 
the ring of utter sincerity that all the night bombings 
of the British in recent weeks had caused no military 



1940 Berlin, July 19 £55 

damage whatsoever. One wonders what is in his mind 
when he tells a tall one like that. Joe [Harsch], watch- 
ing him speak for the first time, was impressed. He 
said he couldn't keep his eyes off his hands ; thought the 
hand work brilliant. 

Under one roof I have never seen so many gold- 
braided generals before. Massed together, their chests 
heaving with crosses and other decorations, they filled a 
third of the first balcony. Part of the show was for 
them. Suddenly pausing in the middle of his speech, 
Hitler became the Napoleon, creating with the flick of 
his hand (in this case the Nazi salute) twelve field-mar- 
shals, and since Goring already was one, creating a spe- 
cial honour for him — Reichsmarshal. It was amusing 
to watch Goring. Sitting up on the dais of the Speaker 
in all his bulk, he acted like a happy child playing with 
his toys on Christmas morning. (Only how deadly that 
some of the toys he plays with, besides the electric train 
in the attic of Karin Hall, happen to be Stuka bombers ! ) 
Throughout Hitler's speech Goring leaned over his desk 
chewing his pencil, and scribbling out in large, scrawly 
letters the text of his remarks which he would make after 
Hitler finished. He chewed on his pencil and frowned 
and scribbled like a schoolboy over a composition that 
has got to be in by the time class is ended. But always 
he kept one ear cocked on the Leader's words, and at 
appropriate moments he would put down his pencil and 
applaud heartily, his face a smile of approval from one 
ear to the other. He had two big moments, and he re- 
acted to them with the happy naturalness of a big child. 
Once when Hitler named two of his air-force generals 
field-marshals, he beamed like a proud big brother, smil- 
ing his approval and his happiness up to the generals in 
the balcony and clapping his hands with Gargantuan 
gestures, pointing his big paws at the new field-marshals 



4.56 I94-0 Berlin, July 19 

as at a boxer in the ring when he's introduced. The cli- 
max was when Hitler named him Reichsmarshal. Hitler 
turned around and handed him a box with whatever in- 
signia a Reichsmarshal wears. Goring took the box, and 
his boyish pride and satisfaction was almost touching, 
old murderer that he is. He could not deny himself a 
sneaking glance under the cover of the lid. Then he 
went back to his pencil-chewing and his speech. I con- 
sidered his popularity — second only to Hitler's in the 
country — and concluded that it is just because, on oc- 
casions like this, he's so human, so completely the big, 
good-natured boy. (But also the boy who in June 1934 
could dispatch men to the firing squad by the hundreds.) 

Count Ciano, who was rushed up from Rome to put 
the seal of Axis authority on Hitler's " offer " of peace 
to Britain, was the clown of the evening. In his grey and 
black Fascist militia uniform, he sat in the first row of 
the diplomatic box, and jumped up constantly like a 
jack-in-the-box every time Hitler paused for breath, 
to give the Fascist salute. He had a text of the speech in 
his hand, but it was probably in Italian, so that he was 
not following Hitler's words. Without the slightest pre- 
text he would hop to his heels and expand in a salute. 
Could not help noticing how high-strung Ciano is. He 
kept working his jams. And he was not chewing gum. 

Saddest figure to me in the Assembly — I do not 
count the wooden automatons who as " deputies " sat 
below on the main floor — was General Haider, chief 
of the German General Staff. Most people think that 
he is the brains of the German army, that it was he who 
made the final plans for the Polish campaign and the 
great offensive in the west and executed them in such an 
astonishingly successful manner. But he has never kow- 
towed to Hitler. It is widely reported that he has on oc- 



1940 Berlin, July 20 457 

casions talked very sharply to the Great Man. And that, 
as a result, Hitler hates him. At any rate, he was not 
made a field-marshal tonight, but merely promoted one 
grade. (After the Polish campaign Hitler also skipped 
over him in bestowing honours, but the army kicked so 
hard that Hitler had belatedly to make amends.) I 
watched him tonight, his classically intellectual face, and 
he seemed to be hiding a weariness, a sadness, as he 
warmly congratulated his younger generals who were 
now raised over him as field-marshals. 

Alexander Kirk, our charge, was there too. The Nazis 
put him in the back row with the small fellows, but he 
didn't seem to mind. He sat there all evening, his face 
like a sphinx, breaking only occasionally into an ironic 
smile when some of his diplomatic colleagues from the 
Balkans popped up to give the new slave salute. Quis- 
ling, a pig-eyed little man, crouched in a corner seat in 
the first balcony, drinking the amazing scene in. 

Berlin, July 20 

No official British reaction to Hitler's " peace 
offer," but Goebbels had the local press tonight break 
the news gently to the German people that apparently 
the Britons aren't having any. The Germans I talk to 
simply cannot understand it. They want peace. They 
don't want another winter like the last one. They have 
nothing against Britain, despite all the provocative 
propaganda. (Like a drug too often given, it is losing 
what little force it had.) They think they're on top. 
They think they can lick Britain too, if it comes to a 
showdown. But they would prefer peace. 

Roosevelt has been renominated at Chicago for a 
third term. This is a blow to Hitler which the Wilhelm' 



Ifi8 1940 Berlin, July 21 

strasse scarcely hid today. Goebbels gave orders to the 
Berlin press not to comment, but he did allow the DNB 
to publish a brief dispatch from its Washington corre- 
spondent stating that the methods by which Roosevelt's 
nomination was achieved " have been sharply condemned 
by all eyewitnesses." 

Hitler will now hope that Roosevelt is defeated in the 
election by Willkie. The point is that Hitler fears 
Roosevelt. He is just beginning to comprehend that 
Roosevelt's support of Great Britain is one of the prime 
reasons why the British decline to accept his kind of 
peace. As Rudolf Kircher, editor of the Frankfurter 
Zeitung, will be allowed to put it tomorrow : " Roose- 
velt is the father of English illusions about this war. It 
may be that Roosevelt's shabby tactics are too much 
for the Americans, it may be that he will not be re- 
elected, it may be that, if he is re-elected, he will stick 
closely to the non-intervention program of his party. 
But it is also clear that while he may not intervene with 
his fleet or his army, he will intervene with speeches, with 
intrigues, and with a powerful propaganda which he 
will put at the disposal of the English." 



Berlin, July 21 

Holland is beginning to feel the Nazi yoke. 
Mass arrests, we hear. 



Berlin, July 22 

Hitler has given Mussolini a birthday present. 
It's an anti-aircraft armoured train. 

Halifax broadcast Britain's answer to Hitler's " peace 
proposal." It was an emphatic No. A poor speech 
though, I thought while listening to it at the Rundfunk 



1940 Berlin, July 25 £59 

— for America. He sounded awfully pious. He ap- 
pealed too much to God. I remember him in India as 
a very religious man. But God's been pretty good to 
Hitler so far. . . . 

Berlin, July 23 

The die seems cast, as the papers put it this 
evening. Halifax's speech has jolted official circles. 
There were angry Nazi faces at the noon press confer- 
ence. Said the spokesman with a snarl : " Lord Halifax 
has refused to accept the peace offer of the Fiihrer. 
Gentlemen, there will be war." 

The press campaign to whip up the people for the 
war on Britain started with a bang this morning. Every 
paper in Berlin carried practically the same headline: 
"CHURCHILL'S ANSWER - COWARDLY MUR- 
DERING OF A DEFENCELESS POPULATION!" 

The story is that since Hitler's Reichstag " appeal for 
peace " the British have answered by increasing their 
night attacks — on helpless women and children. De- 
tails not previously given us as to the extent of the Brit- 
ish bombings are suddenly hauled out. Bombings of 
Bremen, Hamburg, Paderborn (where there's a big 
tank works), Hagen, and Bochum (all teeming with 
military objectives). But according to Goebbels's lies 

— only women and children have been hit. Afraid the 
German people will swallow this. They are very de- 
pressed that Britain will not have peace. But they now 
pin their hopes on a quick victory which will be over 
by fall and therefore save them from another war winter. 

Berlin, July 25 

Today we get the first glimpse of how Hitler 
intends to break up France. A special German governor 



4.60 1940 Berlin, July 25 

named Weyer has been appointed for the five French 
departments which comprise Brittany, and a Breton 
" National Committee " formed and made to proclaim 
a new Breton national state. 

Today in Alsace French signs were removed and Ger- 
man substituted. 

From Dr. Walther Funk, president of the Reichsbank 
and Minister of Economics, who showed up at our eve- 
ning press conference, we also received a first glimpse 
into Hitler's " new order." Funk, a shifty-looking little 
man who, they say, drinks too much, but who is not un- 
intelligent and not devoid of humour, admitted quite 
frankly that the purpose of the " new order " was to 
make Germany a richer land. He put it this way : " It 
must guarantee Germany a maximum of economic se- 
curity and a maximum also of goods consumption. This 
is the goal of the new European economy." Later the 
censor cut this part out of my report. 

Funk also said that gold would be abandoned as the 
basis of the new European currency, and the now worth- 
less Reichsmark substituted. Gold would also lose most 
of its importance, he claimed, as a means of international 
payment. Thus America's great gold supply would lose 
most of its value. The Reichsbank, he went on, would 
act as clearing house for the new European system. In 
other words, any trade, say, that America might want 
to carry on with a European country would have to be 
done through Berlin. On the other hand Funk bellig- 
erently attacked what he called America's " interven- 
tion " in Germany's trade with South America. " Either 
we will trade directly with the sovereign South American 
states or we won't trade at all," he shouted. Just one 
more example of the Germans wanting one standard 
for themselves and a worse one for others. 

Funk's enmity to Dr. Schacht, whom he chased out 



1940 Beelin, July 28 4.61 

of the Reichsbank and the economics ministry, cropped 
out when we asked him about the widespread reports 
that Schacht, too, had worked out a plan for the " new 
order." " I haven't heard of it," he snapped. Then on 
second thought : " Oh, I did read something in the for- 
eign press about it, but I only believe half of what I 
read in the papers." Then seriously : " The Fiihrer en- 
trusted me with the economic plans for the ' new order.' " 

Berlin, July 28 

More about the " new order." Dr. Alfred 
Pietzsch, president of the Reich Economic Chamber, 
says the Continent under the " new order " will have a 
population of 320,000,000 people and cover 1,500,000 
square miles of space. It will grow annually 160,000,~ 
000 tons of potatoes and 120,000,000 tons of grain 
and will be practically self-supporting in foods. Dr. 
Pietzsch admits something which most Nazis won't. 
He says the Hitler-dominated Continent will be far from 
self-sufficient in raw materials. For example, it will 
grow little wool and practically no cotton. At the pres- 
ent time, he says, the Continent imports annually a bil- 
lion and a half dollars' worth of raw materials. 

Himmler announced today that a Polish farm la- 
bourer had been hanged for sleeping with a German 
woman. No race pollution is to be permitted. 

Another American correspondent kicked out today. 
He is Captain Corpening of the Chicago Tribwne, said 
to be a confidential man of Colonel McCormick's. He 
arrived yesterday from Switzerland and broke a story 
about Germany's peace terms to Britain which he thinks 
have been sent to London through Sweden. The Propa- 
ganda Ministry attempted to pin the story on the Trib- 
une's regular correspondent, Sigrid Schultz, whom they 



462 1940 Berlin, July 31 

would like to toss out because of her independence and 
knowledge of things behind the scenes, but finally de- 
cided to expel only the captain. 



Berlin, July 31 

The news-reels today show German army en- 
gineers blowing up the French armistice monuments at 
Compiegne. They dynamited all but the one of Mar- 
shal Foch. Last month in Paris a German official invited 
me to Compiegne to see the dynamiting, but when I ex- 
pressed amazement that the Germans would do such a 
barbaric thing he withdrew the invitation. 

I remarked in my broadcast tonight that the German 
people at the moment were certainly benefiting by the 
amount of vegetables, eggs, and bacon which the Dutch 
and Danes were sending in. The censors said I could 
not mention the subject. 

Berlin, August 1 

Goebbels made the German radio today falsify 
a statement by Secretary of War Stimson. It quoted 
Stimson as saying: " Britain will be overpowered in a 
short time and the British fleet will pass under enemy 
control." This is part of a new propaganda campaign 
to convince the German people that even the United 
States has given up hope of saving Britain. 

Everyone impatient to know when the invasion of 
Britain will begin. I have taken two new bets offered 
by Nazis in the Wilhelmstrasse. First, that the Swas- 
tika will be flying over Trafalgar Square by August 15. 
Second, by September 7. The Nazis say General Milch, 
right-hand man of Goring, has tipped the latter date as 
a dead certainty. 



1940 Be a lin, August 4 4.63 

Berlin, August 3 

Sir Lancelot Oliphant, British Ambassador to 
Belgium, who is being held a captive by the Nazis at a 
Gestapo training school between here and Potsdam, ia 
sore. The other night they had an air-raid out there 
and he said he'd be damned if he'd take refuge in the 
cellar when his own people came over to bomb. The S.S. 
guards thereupon removed him forcibly to the cellar. 
Sir Lancelot raised such a howl that the matter went to 
Hitler. The Fiihrer's decision is that he may damned 
well stay where he pleases when his own folks come over, 
but that he must sign a paper absolving the Germans of 
any responsibility. 

Great excitement at our noon press conference at the 
Foreign Office yesterday. The official spokesman was 
droning away as usual when suddenly all the anti-air- 
craft guns on the roofs of the Chancellery and Air Min- 
istry down the street started blazing away. He stopped 
abruptly. Just as all present were getting ready to run 
for shelter the firing stopped. Seems a German student 
flyer entered the forbidden air zone over Berlin without 
giving the proper signal. 

Berlin, August 4 

I flew to Hamburg yesterday in a weird old 
transport plane which the German army had been using 
previously to transport captive horses from Paris to 
Berlin. There were no seats, so we sat on the floor, which 
vibrated considerably. The German authorities had 
phoned that they were inviting me and two others to 
fly to Hamburg, where we could see anything we wanted. 
The British, they said, had just announced that Ham- 
burg had been " pulverized " by the RAF bombings. 
When I got to the airport there were twenty others 



£6£ 1940 Beeiin, August 4 

who had been invited, and when we arrived at Hamburg 
I soon saw that the Germans had no intention of show- 
ing me " anything " I wanted to see. For two hours 
before leaving I had studied the map of Hamburg and 
made a list of certain military objectives such as oil- 
storage tanks, airplane factories, shipbuilding yards, 
and one secret airfield. After we had been taken around 
on a conducted tour for a couple of hours and shown 
among other things how one British bomb had wiped out 
a wing of an institute for epileptics, I presented my list 
to those in charge of the party. 

" Certainly," they answered. " We will show you all." 
Whereupon they rushed us in a bus through the docks 
at thirty-five miles an hour. The docks certainly weren't 
pulverized, but it was impossible to see whether there 
had not been hits here and there. Afterwards we climbed 
to the top of the St. Michaelis tower, three hundred feet 
high, from where we had a panoramic view of the port. 
Even with field-glasses, I must admit, I couldn't see any- 
thing. The oil tanks were too far away for accurate 
observation. But the docks and one Blohm & Voss ship- 
yard near by seemed intact. In one part of the river a 
couple of small boats had been sunk, their masts still 
visible above the water. Soon it was getting dark, and 
we were rushed back to the plane. 

Ruminating on the vibrating floor of the plane return- 
ing to Berlin I was depressed. Even if the Germans 
hadn't kept their promise to show me the things I asked 
for, it was plain from what little we saw that slight dam- 
age had been done. I had expected that after two months 
of almost nightly bombings the RAF would have accom- 
plished much more. The port, though it undoubtedly 
had been hit here and there, had not really been affected 
by the bombings. The two all-important bridges over 
the Elbe in the middle of the harbour had not been 



1940 Berlin, August 5 J^.65 

touched — the nearest bomb had landed two hundred 
yards away. Germany's two great passenger ships, the 
Bremen and Europa, lay in the distance, tied up at 
Finkenwerder and apparently untouched. Several 
troop trains were unloading their men in the harbour, 
part of the force for the invasion of Britain, I suppose. 
The talk was that they would be crowded on to the two 
big liners. 

The point was that a square mile or more in the centre 
of Rotterdam had been utterly wiped out in one half- 
hour of bombing by German Stukas. Why had not the 
British, then, in two months of bombing wiped out the 
Hamburg harbour works and the Blohm & Voss ship- 
ping yards, which were busy constructing naval vessels, 
especially submarines? The important targets were 
largely concentrated on two islands in the Elbe — ob- 
jectives which at night you could hardly miss if you fol- 
lowed the river up from the sea. It was depressing, too, 
to think that perhaps British propaganda had exagger- 
ated the effects of their raids in other places in Germany. 

The chief complaint of the people in Hamburg with 
whom I talked was not the damage caused, but the fact 
that the British raids robbed them of their sleep. 

Strolled in the Tiergarten this afternoon, it being 
warm and the sun out brightly. At six different spots a 
crowd had gathered to watch someone feed the squirrels. 
Even soldiers on leave stopped to watch. And these 
squirrel-feeders are the ones who have stormed through 
Norway to Narvik and through Holland, Belgium, and 
France to the sea. 



Berlin, August 5 

Despite all the talk about the invasion of 
Britain being launched within the next few days, the 



£66 1940 Berlin, August 5 

military people here tell me that the Luftwaffe must do 
a great deal more work before there is any question of 
an attempt at landing troops. Goring said as much in 
an article in the Volkische Beobachter yesterday signed 
" Arminius," which is Latin for Hermann, his first 
name. He explained that the first job of an air force is 
to gain complete superiority in the air by destroying the 
other fellow's planes, airfields, hangars, oil stores, and 
anti-aircraft nests. That over, he said, the second phase 
begins with the air force able to devote most of its ener- 
gies to supporting the land army. This was the Ger- 
man strategy in Poland and in the west. 

My question is : Why hasn't the Luftwaffe attacked 
Britain on a bigger scale, then? Is it because Hitler 
still hopes to force Churchill to accept peace? Or be- 
cause the generals of the land army still don't want to 
attempt the invasion ? Or because the RAF is too strong 
to risk the Luftwaffe in one big blow? 

French coal mines are working again. They were not 
destroyed by the French this time as in 1914. A photo- 
graph in one of the papers shows French miners 
unloading coal at a pit. Watching over them is a steel- 
helmeted German soldier with a bayonet. Their Mos- 
cow-dominated Communist Party and their unions told 
them not to work and not to fight when France was free. 
Now they must work under German bayonets. 

A big conference in the Chancellery tonight between 
Hitler and the High Command. My spies noticed Kei- 
tel, von Brauchitsch, Jodl, Goring, Raeder, and all the 
other big military shots going in. They are to decide 
about the invasion of Britain. The censors won't let us 
mention the business. 



1940 Bee lin, August 11 J^67 

Berlin, August 8 

The Wilhelmstrasse told us today that Ger- 
many declines all responsibility for any food shortages 
which may occur in the territories occupied by the Ger- 
man army. The Germans are hoping that America will 
feed the people in the occupied lands. They would like 
to see Hoover do the job. 

Berlin, August 10 

French sailors loyal to de Gaulle will be 
treated as pirates and shown no mercy if captured, the 
Foreign Office announced officially today. 

Berlin, August 11 

For some days now workmen have been busy 
erecting new stands in the Pariserplatz outside my hotel. 
Today they painted them and installed two huge golden 
eagles. At each end they also are building gigantic 
replicas of the Iron Cross. Now the talk in party circles 
is that Hitler is so certain of the end of the war — either 
by conquest of Britain or by a " negotiated " peace with 
Britain — that he has ordered these stands to be ready 
before the end of the month for the big victory parade 
through the Brandenburger Tor. 

Funk, speaking at Konigsberg this morning, warmly 
praised Lindbergh for having remarked : " If the rich 
become too rich and the poor too poor, then something 
must be done." 

" That's just what I said some time ago," remarked 
Funk. 

Later. — Today has seen along the coast of 
England the greatest air battle of the war. German fig- 



4.68 1940 Berlin, August 13 

ures of British losses have been rising all evening. First 
the Luftwaffe announced 73 British planes shot down 
against 14s German; then 79 to 14s; finally at midnight 
89 to 17. Actually, when I counted up the German fig- 
ures as given out from time to time during the afternoon 
and evening, they totalled 111 for British losses. The 
Luftwaffe is lying so fast it isn't consistent even by its 
own account. 



Berlin, August 13 

Today was the third big day of Germany's 
massive air attack on Britain. Yesterday's score as 
given by the Luftwaffe was 71 to 17. Tonight's score 
for the third day is given as 69 to 13. On each day the 
British figures, as given out from London, have been just 
about the reverse. I suspect London's figures are more 
truthful. Tomorrow I'm flying to the Channel with 
half a dozen other correspondents. We don't know 
whether we're being taken up to see Hitler launch his 
invasion of Britain or merely to watch the air attacks. 

In a German army transport plane between 
Berlin and Ghent, August 14 

Last night we had our first air-raid alarm for 
a long time. It came at two a.m. just after I'd returned 
from broadcasting. Tess, who has been in Berlin for a 
few days, and I stayed up to see the fireworks, but there 
were none. 

We take off at Staachen at ten forty-five a.m., flying 
low at about five hundred feet so as to be easily recog- 
nizable by German anti-aircraft crews. They shoot 
down altogether too many of their own planes. . . . 
Now Antwerp to the north and the pilot is coming down. 



1940 Ghent, August 14 Jf.69 

. . . One bad moment. Two fighters dive on us from 
out of the clouds and we think they may be Spitfires. 
(The other day they got a German general flying from 
Paris to Brussels. ) But they're Messerschmitts and veer 
off. Now the pilot is trying to find his field — no small 
job because of the way the fields here are camou- 
flaged. . . . 

Ghent, Belgium, August 14 

The camouflage of this field worth noting. 
From the air I noticed it looked just like any other place 
in the landscape, with paths cutting across it irregularly 
as though it were farm land. Each war plane on the 
ground has its own temporary hangar made of mats 
plastered with grass. Tent poles support the mats. 
Along the back and both sides of this tent of mats, sand- 
bags are piled to protect the plane from splinters. So 
skilfully are these hangars constructed that I doubt if 
you could distinguish one from above a thousand feet. 
The field itself is not large, but the Germans are fever- 
ishly enlarging it. Gangs of Belgian workers are busy 
tearing down adjacent buildings — villas of the local 
gentry. An example, incidentally, of how Belgians are 
made to aid Germany's war on Belgium's ally, Britain. 
One neat way the Germans hide their planes, I notice, 
is to build pockets — little clearings — some distance 
away from the field. Narrow lanes from the main airfield 
lead to them. Along the sides of these pockets are rows 
of planes hidden under the trees. From the air it would 
be hard to spot these pockets and you might bomb the 
airfield heavily without touching any of these planes. 
Ghent has a certain romantic interest for me because 
I remember my grade-school histories' telling of the sign- 
ing of the peace treaty concluding our War of 1812 on 



J/,70 1940 Ostend, August 14 

Christmas Eve here. A Flemish town would be a pictur- 
esque place around Christmas Eve, if we can believe the 
early Flemish painters. Here were the American and 
British delegates leisurely coming to an agreement to 
end a war which neither side wanted. Christmas was in 
the air, snow in the narrow, winding streets, skaters on 
the canals, and there was much hearty eating and drink- 
ing. Christmas Eve was an appropriate moment to con- 
clude the peace. But there was no radio, no cable line 
across the Atlantic then, and America only learned of 
the peace three months later. In the meantime Jackson 
had fought at New Orleans. 

We sit around in the gaudy salon of a sugar mer- 
chant's villa which the German flyers have taken over. 
We are waiting for cars to take us to the " front." 
Someone forgot to order them in advance. Dr. Froelich, 
from the Propaganda Ministry, whom we call " the 
oaf," a big, lumbering, slow-thinking, good-natured 
German with a Harvard degree and an American wife, 
can never bring himself to make a decision. We wait 
and the German flyers serve drinks from the sugar mer- 
chant's fine cellar. The cars do not come, so we take a 
bus in to see the town. Ghent is not so romantic as I 
had imagined. It is a grey, bleak, lowlands industrial 
town. Many German soldiers in the street, buying up 
the last wares in the shops with their paper marks. We 
drop in and chat with a local shopkeeper. He says the 
soldiers behave themselves fairly well, but are looting 
the town by their purchases. When present stocks are 
gone, they cannot be replaced. 

Ostend, Belgium, August 14 

Our cars finally came at seven p.m. and we 
made off for Ostend, skirting round Bruges, a fairy- 



1940 Calais, August 15 Ifll 

tale town in which I had spent my first night on the 
Continent exactly fifteen years ago. Driving into 
Ostend, I kept my eyes open for the barges and ships 
that are to take the German army of invasion over to 
England, but we saw very few craft of any kind. None 
in the harbour, and only a few barges in the canals be- 
hind the town. The Germans selected for us a hotel 
called the Piccadilly. 

Later. August 15, 6 a.m. — Sat up all night. 
When the Germans had gone to bed, the proprietor and 
his wife and his exceedingly attractive black-haired, 
black-eyed daughter of about seventeen brought out 
some fine vintages and we made an evening of it. Some 
local Belgians joined us and we (Fred Oechsner, Dick 
Boyer, and I) had much good talk. It was touching how 
the Belgians kept hoping the British bombers would 
come over. They did not seem to mind if the British 
bumped them off if only the RAF got the Germans too. 
One Belgian woman, whose bitterness was very pleasant 
to me, explained that most of the damage in Ostend, the 
majority of whose houses are pretty well smashed up, 
was the work of German artillery, which kept on firing 
into the town long after the British had left. Some time 
before dawn we went for a walk along the beach. There 
was a slight mist which softened the moonlight and made 
even the battered ruins of the houses along the sea-front 
take on a pattern of some beauty. The smell of the salt 
water and the pounding of the waves made you feel good. 
The Belgians kept cursing the British for not coming 
over. 

Calais, August 15 (noon) 

Driving down along the coast, I was struck 
by the defensive measures of the Germans. A line of 



472 1940 Calais, August 15 

trenches, dug-outs, and machine-gun nests, strongly 
manned, stretched along the sand dunes a hundred yards 
from the water's edge all the way down to Dunkirk. 
There were many anti-aircraft guns and about a quar- 
ter of a mile to the rear countless batteries of artillery. 
I had not thought before of the possibility of the British 
doing any attacking. We do not see any evidence at any 
place along the coast of German preparations for an 
invasion. No large concentrations of troops or tanks 
or barges. But of course they may be there, and we just 
didn't see them. 

About ten miles from Dunkirk, we suddenly come 
upon the sickly sweet smell of dead horse and human 
flesh. Apparently they have not yet had time to fish 
the bodies out of the numerous canals. Dunkirk itself 
has been cleaned up, and those who were there two 
months ago scarcely recognize it. The sentry does not 
allow us into the part of town around the main port, pos- 
sibly because we might learn something of the invasion 
forces. In and around Dunkirk, acres of ground are 
covered with the trucks and materiel de guerre left by 
the British Expeditionary Force. German mechanics 
are at work trying to get the trucks, at least, to run. 
Others are stripping off the rubber tires, which are of a 
quality unknown in Germany. In the town long lines 
of French civilians stand before the soup kitchens for a 
hand-out of food. Surprising that there are still civil- 
ians in this town after the murderous bombing and shell- 
ing it got. We all underestimate the power of human 
beings to endure. 

We drive to the beach from which a quarter of a mil- 
lion British troops made their get-away. What sur- 
prises me after the German boasts about all the trans- 
ports and other ships they sank off that beach (in one 
day, we were told in Berlin, the Luftwaffe had sunk fifty 



1940 Calais, August 15 J^.73 

ships) is that along a twenty-mile stretch you see the 
wrecks of only two freighters. Besides these there are 
the remains of two destroyers, one of which, I believe, 
was bombed long before the withdrawal from Dunkirk, 
and a torpedo boat. Five small vessels in all. And any 
boat sunk within a great distance of the beach would be 
visible because of the shallowness of the water, here. 
When a bomb does hit a ship, though, it pretty well fin- 
ishes it. The destroyer nearest us — about two hun- 
dred yards off shore — had received a direct hit just in 
front of the bridge. A huge chunk some twenty feet 
wide had been torn off the craft down to the water-line. 

Later. — While we are still at lunch here in 
Calais, we hear the first wave of German bombers roaring 
over to England. They fly so high you can hardly see 
them — at least twelve thousand feet. I count twenty- 
three bombers, and above them is a swarm of Messer- 
schmitt fighters. The weather is clearing. It's going to 
be a nice day — for the pilots. About three p.m. we set off 
in cars along the coast to Cap Gris-Nez. Passing 
through the harbour, I note that here too there is no 
concentration of ships, barges, or even the little motor 
torpedo-boats. Only three of the latter tied up at a 
quay. Can it be that the Germans have been bluffing 
about their invasion of Britain? We drive out along the 
coast road. Now the German planes are humming over, 
there a squadron of twenty-seven bombers, here fifty 
Messerschmitt fighters coming in to meet them. They 
all turn and swing out to sea towards Dover, flying very 
high. It is soon evident that the British do not come 
out — at least very far — to meet them. We watch for 
the British over the Channel. Not a single Spitfire 
shows. 

We speed on up the coast towards Cap Gris-Nez, 



1^7 If, 1940 Calais, August 15 

where Gertrude Ederle and later a fat Egyptian and 
a host of others used to camp out in the days — how long 
ago they seem ! — when the world was interested in boys 
and girls swimming the Channel. The air js now full 
of the sight and roar of planes, bombers and fighters, all 
German. A swarm of Heinkel bombers (we have not 
seen a single Stuka yet) limp back from the direction 
of Dover. Three or four are having a hard time of it, 
and one, nearly out of control, just manages to make a 
piece of land back of the cliffs. Messerschmitt 109's 
and 110's — the latter twin-motored — dash about at 
350 miles per hour like a lot of nervous hens protecting 
their young. They remain in the air until all the bomb- 
ers are safely down, then climb and make off for Eng- 
land. We have stopped our cars to watch. One of our 
officers swears the Heinkel was hit by a Spitfire and that 
the British fighter was brought down, but this is his 
imagination, for he saw no more than did we. This sort 
of thing will happen all afternoon. We resume our 
drive. Peasants sit on binders cutting the brown-ripe 
wheat. We crane our necks excitedly to watch the mur- 
derous machines in the sky. The peasants do not crane 
their necks, do not look up. They watch the wheat. You 
could think: who's being civilized now? We pass a big 
railroad naval gun which has been firing on Dover. It is 
neatly camouflaged by netting on which the Germans 
have tied sheaves of grain. All along the coast gangs of 
French labourers have been put to work by the Germans, 
building artillery emplacements. Finally we turn to- 
wards the sea down the road that leads to Cap Gris-Nez. 
Many new gun emplacements here and searchlights, all 
perfectly camouflaged by nets. How much more atten- 
tion the Germans seem to pay to the art of camouflage 
than the Allies ! Soldiers are busy camouflaging the 
entire defence works at Cap Gris-Nez, which the French, 



1940 Calais, August 15 Jf.75 

incidentally, have left intact and never bothered to 
screen. Gangs of men are digging up sod from a near- 
by pasture and putting it over the gravel around the 
gun emplacements and the look-out pits. It makes a 
lot of difference because the white gravel makes an easily 
distinguished landmark against the green fields. 

We spend the rest of the afternoon idling on the grass 
at the edge of the cliff at Cap Gris-Nez. The German 
bombers and fighters keep thundering over towards 
Dover. Through field-glasses you can see plainly the 
Dover cliffs and occasionally even spot an English 
sausage balloon protecting the harbour. The German 
bombers, I note, go over in good formation very high, 
usually about fifteen thousand feet, and return much 
lower and in bad formation or singly. We keep on the 
watch for a dog-fight, or for a formation of Spitfires to 
light on the returning German bombers. It's a vain 
watch. We do not see a British plane all afternoon. 
Over the Channel today the Germans have absolute su- 
premacy. Hugging our side of the coast are German 
patrol boats, mostly small torpedo craft. They would 
make easy targets for British planes if any ever ven- 
tured over. The sea is as calm as glass, and German 
seaplanes with big red crosses painted on their wings 
keep lighting and taking off. Their job is to pick up 
airmen shot down in the Channel. About six p.m. we 
see sixty big bombers — Heinkels and Junker-82's — 
protected by a hundred Messerschmitts, winging high 
overhead towards Dover. In three or four minutes we 
can hear plainly the British anti-aircraft guns around 
Dover going into action against them. Judging by the 
deep roar, the British have a number of heavy flak guns. 
There is another kind of thud, deeper, and one of our 
officers thinks this comes from the bombs falling. In an 
hour what looks to us like the same bombing squadron 



£76 1940 Calais, August 15 

returns. We can count only eighteen bombers of the 
original sixty. Have the British accounted for the rest ? 
It is difficult to tell, because we know the Germans often 
have orders to return to different fields from those they 
started from. One reason for doing this apparently is 
to ensure that the German flyers will not know what 
their losses are. 

Boyer and I keep hoping some Spitfires will show up. 
But now the sun is turning low. The sea is like glass. 
The skies quiet. The afternoon on the cliff has seemed 
more like a bucolic picnic than a day on the front line of 
the air war. The same unequal struggle that we saw 
in Belgium and northern France. Not a British plane 
over, not a bomb dropped. The little Jap sneaks up to 
the gun emplacements to snap some photographs until 
a sentinel grabs him. The rest of us rouse ourselves 
lazily from the grass and hurl pebbles over the cliff into 
the sea. It is time to return to Calais and sup. One of 
our officers comes running down from the gun emplace- 
ment and says excitedly that three Spitfires have been 
shot down this afternoon over the French coast. This is 
surprising. We ask to be shown. 

The first Spitfire they show us on the way back has 
been there so long that German mechanics have had time 
to remove the Rolls-Royce motor and the instrument 
board. It is already rusting. We point this out. Our 
officer offers to show us another. It is near the beach of 
a little village half-way back to Calais. The motor is 
still on and the instrument board, but a young lieutenant 
from a near-by anti-aircraft battery takes me aside and 
ventures the interesting information that this particu- 
lar Spitfire was shot down weeks ago and that only this 
very afternoon had he succeeded in dragging it out of 
the sea at low tide. When our officer offers to show us 



1940 Boulogne, August 16 £77 

his third Spitfire, we say we are hungry and suggest we 
return to Calais. 

Later. — The thing I'll never forget about 
these coastal towns in Belgium and France is the way 
the Belgians and French pray every night for the Brit- 
ish bombers to come over, though often when their pray- 
ers are answered it means their death and often they 
cheer the bomb which kills them. It is three a.m. now and 
the German flak has been firing at top speed since eleven 
thirty p.m. when we heard the first thud of a British 
bomb tonight down by the harbour. Fortunately the 
British seem to be aiming accurately at the harbour and 
nothing has fallen near enough to us here in the town to 
cause much worry. There is no air-raid alarm. The 
sound of the anti-aircraft and the bursting of the bombs 
is your only signal. No one goes to the cellar. When 
the Germans have cleared out, we sit in the back room 
with the French proprietor, his family, and two wait- 
ers and drink vin rouge to each new British bomb that 
crashes. To bed now, and fear there are bugs in this 
room. 

Calais, August 16 

There were bugs. At breakfast everyone 
scratching and complaining he got no sleep. You can 
sleep through the night bombings but not the night at- 
tacks by fleas and bedbugs. We eat a hasty breakfast 
and are off for Boulogne at eight thirty a.m. 

Boulogne, August 16 

How wonderfully the Germans have camou- 
flaged their temporary airfields ! We drove by at least 



lf.78 1940 Boulogne, August 16 

three between Calais and Boulogne. They have estab- 
lished them not in pastures, as I had expected, but in 
wheat-fields. The shocks of wheat are left in the field, 
with only narrow lanes left free across the field for the 
planes to take off from and land on. Each plane is 
hidden under a hangar made of rope netting over which 
sheaves of wheat have been tied. As at Ghent, the sides 
and back of each hangar are protected by sandbags. In 
one big wheat-field there must have been a hundred of 
these little hangars. Workshops and oil dumps were 
also housed under the same kind of netting. The 
" pocket " system which I saw at Ghent is also used. 
The planes, when they have landed, taxi down a lane 
or a road to a near-by " pocket " that may be some dis- 
tance from the field proper. Here the planes are either 
hidden under netting or backed up into a wood. 

Our officers and officials have been careful to see that 
we do not talk with any returning German pilots. But I 
talked to a number of navy and army men in charge of 
the coastal guns yesterday and this morning and was 
surprised that they all thought the war would be over in 
a few weeks. One naval captain in charge of a big gun 
at Cap Blanc-Nez, half-way between Calais and Cap 
Gris-Nez, took me this morning into his little dug-out, 
scooped out of the side of the slope, to show me how he 
had fixed it up. It was very cozy. He had slung a ham- 
mock between the two walls and had a little table 
crowded with German books and magazines. He was a 
straw-blond, clean-cut young man from near Hamburg, 
and extremely intelligent. I had taken a liking to him 
the day before. 

" You've got a nice little place here," I said. 
" Only — " 

" Only what? " he laughed. 

" Well, I know Normandy in winter, and from the 



1940 Brussels, August 16 £79 

end of October until April it's damned cold here and it 
rains every day. Your dug-out is all right now, cap- 
tain, but it won't be so comfortable over the winter." 

He looked at me in complete amazement. 

" Why, I haven't the slightest intention of spending 
the winter here," he said, deadly serious now. " Why, 
the war will be over long before then. You were kidding, 
I think, isn't it? " 

" No, I wasn't kidding," I said, a little taken back by 
his dead certainty. " Do you mean you think the inva- 
sion will be completed and England conquered before 
Christmas, captain? " 

" I shall be home with my family this Christmas," he 
said. 

We have lunch here at Boulogne, the food fair, a bot- 
tle of Chateau Margaux, 1929, excellent. After lunch 
our party goes out to loot a little more with the marks. 
In a perfume shop I pick up a conversation with an en- 
gaging little French sales-girl after I've convinced her 
by my accent that I'm an American. She says the Ger- 
mans have cleaned out the town of silk stockings, under- 
wear, soap, perfume, coffee, tea, chocolate, tobacco, and 
cognac. But she is mainly interested in food. " How 
will we find enough to eat this winter? " she asks. 

About four p.m. we start back for Brussels, driv- 
ing some distance inland through Saint-Omer, Lille, 
Tournai. 



Brussels, August 16 

In a couple of fields along the way this after- 
noon, we saw what looked under the camouflage like 
barges and pontoons loaded with artillery and tanks. 
But there was certainly not enough to begin an inva- 
sion of England with. However, two or three German 



4,80 1940 BaussELS, August 17 

officers in our party keep emphasizing what we saw 
and hinting that there is much more that we didn't see. 
Maybe. But I'm suspicious. I think the Germans want 
us to launch a scare story about an imminent invasion of 
Britain. 

Later. 2 a.m. — To bed now, and the Ger- 
man anti-aircraft guns still pounding away at the Brit- 
ish bombers. The noise started shortly after midnight. 
Can't hear or feel any bombs. Suspect the British are 
after the airport. 

Bktjssels, August 17 

A little annoyed at not getting back to Berlin 
today. I feel depressed in these occupied cities. And the 
Germans won't let me broadcast from here. 

I went out to call on Mme X, a Russian-born Belgian 
woman, whom I've known for twelve years. She has just 
been through a frightful ordeal, but you would never 
have suspected it from her talk. She was as charming 
and vivacious and beautiful as ever. When the Germans 
approached Brussels, she set off in her car with her 
two young children. Somewhere near Dunkirk she got 
caught between the Allied and German armies. She 
took refuge in a peasant's house and for several days 
lived through the nightmare of incessant artillery bom- 
bardment and bombing. Fortunately there was enough 
food in the house so that they did not starve. The chil- 
dren, she said, behaved beautifully. When it was over, 
she related simply, she found enough gasoline in the 
barn to get back to Brussels. The banks were closed and 
she had no money, but the German army, seizing her 
car, paid her a few thousand francs in cash, so that she 
could buy food. 

Her chief worry, she said, was about Pierre, her hus- 



1940 Brussels, August 17 £81 

band, but even that had turned out better than she had 
expected. Though a veteran of the last war and a mem- 
ber of Parliament, he had volunteered the first day of 
the war and gone off to fight. She had heard nothing 
from him until last week when word had come that he 
had been captured. 

" He's alive," she said softly. " I've been lucky. We 
both might easily have been killed. But we're both alive. 
And the children. I have been fortunate." 

Pierre, she had heard, had been put to work on a po- 
tato farm near Hamburg. 

" But Hitler announced a month ago he was releasing 
all Belgian prisoners," I said. 

" One must be patient," she said. " He is alive. He 
is on a farm. He cannot be starving. I can wait." 

From my talks with Belgians and French in the last 
few days it is encouraging that they both place their 
last desperate hopes on the British holding out. For 
they now realize that if Hitler wins they are doomed to 
become a slave people. Despite the stiff prison sentences 
being meted out by the Nazis to anyone caught listen- 
ing to a foreign radio station, they all keep their sets 
tuned in to London, their hopes ebbing and flowing with 
the news they get from the BBC. They have all asked 
me desperately : " Will the British hold out? Have they 
a chance ? Will America help ? " The fact that all the 
newspapers in occupied territory are forced to publish 
only German propaganda often throws them into fits of 
depression, for Goebbels feeds them daily with the most 
fantastic lies. 

On the Channel the Germans would not let us talk 
with the German pilots, but this afternoon Boyer and I, 
sitting lazily on the terrace of a cafe, struck up a con- 
versation with a young German air officer. 



]f.S2 1940 Brussels, August 17 

He says he's a Messerschmitt pilot who took part in 
the big attack on London yesterday and the day before. 
(The planes we saw going over from Calais then were 
London-bound.) He does not appear to be a boastful 
young man, like some pilots I've met. 

He says quietly : " It's a matter of another couple of 
weeks, you know, until we finish with the RAF. In a 
fortnight the British won't have any more planes. At 
first, about ten days ago, they gave us plenty of trouble. 
But this week their resistance has been growing less and 
less. Yesterday, for example, I saw practically no Brit- 
ish fighters in the air. Perhaps ten in all, which we 
promptly shot down. For the most part we cruised to 
our objectives and back again without hindrance. The 
British, gentlemen, are through. I am already making 
plans to go to South America and get into the airplane 
business. It has been a pleasant war." 

We ask him about the British planes. 

" The Spitfires are as good as our Messerschmitts," 
he says. " The Hurricanes are not so good and the De- 
fiants are terrible." 

He gets up, explaining he must see a comrade in the 
hospital who was wounded yesterday and rushed here 
for an operation. Dick Boyer and I are impressed and 
depressed. Dick has just arrived over here and does not 
know the Germans very well. 

" I shall write a story about what he said," Dick re- 
marks. " He seemed absolutely sincere." 

" That he did. But let's wait. Flyers, you know, 
have large horizons." 

Later. — Dick and Fred Oechsner and I are 
having a night-cap in the bar of the Atlantis about mid- 
night when there is a dull thud outside. 



1940 Bbussels-Berlin, August 18 i.83 

" A bomb, close," the Belgian waiter thinks. 

We go outside, but do not see anything. When Dick 
comes in later, he reports it pulverized a house in the 
next block and killed everyone in it. Out towards the 
airfield we can hear the flak pounding. 



Aboard a German army transport plane, Brus- 
sels to Berlin, August 18 

The morning papers of Brussels interesting. 
The Belgian paper has this headline over the story of 
the bomb we heard last night: "L'IGNOBLE CRIME 
ANGLAIS CONTRE BRUXELLES!" The Germans 
make the Belgians print such headlines. But I'm more 
interested in the High Command communique in the 
German-language paper, the Briisseler Zeitung. It re- 
ports that in Friday's air battles over Britain the Eng- 
lish lost 83 planes and the Germans 31. What was that 
our sincere little Messerschmitt pilot told us about see- 
ing practically no British planes on Friday and that 
there was no opposition from the RAF ? 

At the Brussels airport I note that we have been taken 
to the field in a roundabout way, so that we approach it 
some distance from the main hangars. But our plane is 
not yet ready and there are a dozen German army offi- 
cers scrapping as to which two of them shall be taken 
on our plane back to Berlin, and I take advantage of 
the commotion to stroll over towards the hangars. Two 
of them have been freshly bombed, and behind them are 
large piles of wrecked German planes. The British at- 
tacks, then, were not so harmless. 

To note down the contents of a poster I saw placarded 
all over Brussels yesterday : " In the village of Savan- 
them near Brussels, an act of sabotage has been com- 



lt,81f. 1940 Berlin, August 20 

mitted. I have taken fifty hostages. In addition, until 
further notice there will be a curfew at eight p.m. Also 
all cinemas and all other kinds of pleasure centres will 
be closed until further notice." 

It is signed by the German commandant. It is good 
news. It shows the Belgians are resisting. Noon now 
and coming into Berlin. 

Berlin, August 20 

An air-raid alarm last night, the second in a 
week, though we have not had a half-dozen since the war 
began a year ago, and the Berlin population, unlike 
that of northern and western Germany, has been utterly 
spared the slightest inconvenience from the war. 

The sirens sounded forty-five seconds before I was due 
to broadcast. I was sitting in the studio with a German 
announcer (who I notice lately follows a copy of my 
script to see that I don't cheat) . We heard the alarm, 
but saw no reason for not going on with our work. A 
frightened English lad, one Clark, seventeen-year-old 
son of a former BBC official, who with his mother has 
turned traitor and is working for the Nazis, pounded 
on the studio window and shouted: " Flieger Alarm! " 
The German with me fortunately was not frightened and 
motioned him away. Our broadcast then began. After- 
wards I was a little surprised at the excitement in the 
control room, since the people in Belgium and France 
take a nightly pounding without thinking much about 
it. Part of the excitement, it developed, was due to the 
fact that the broadcaster of the news in Spanish had 
made for the air-raid shelter at the first sound of the 
sirens and missed his broadcast, which was to have 
begun as soon as I finished mine. When I returned to 
the radio offices from the studios, one of the office boys, 



1940 Berlin, August 24 J/,85 

who at night becomes an all important air-raid warden, 
tried to hustle me down to the cellar, but I refused. We 
listened to the anti-aircraft guns from a balcony and 
watched the searchlights, but they couldn't pick up the 
British planes which kept over the factory districts to 
the north. 



Berlin, August 24 

The Germans now admit serious sabotage in 
Holland. General Christiansen, the German military 
commander there, warns that if it continues, fines will 
be assessed against Dutch communities and hostages 
taken. The nature of the sabotage may be judged by 
the general's admonition to the Dutch about " failing 
to report the landing of enemy flyers on Dutch soil." 
He adds : " People in Holland who give shelter to enemy 
soldiers will be severely punished, even by death." This 
seems to confirm some private reports I've had that the 
British are landing agents by parachute at night. 

The Germans deny they're taking food from the oc- 
cupied countries, but I see in a Dutch paper an official 
statement by the German authorities to the effect that 
between May 15 and July 31, 150,000,000 pounds of 
foodstuffs and fresh vegetables have been sent from 
Holland to the Reich. 

New clothing cards here this week. They give 150 
points instead of 100, as last year, but it's a typical 
Nazi swindle. You get more total points, but you also 
have to give more points for each item of clothing. For 
something you could formerly buy for 60 points, this 
year you must pay 80 points, and so on. An overcoat 
takes 120 of the 150 points. One point actually entitles 
you to sixteen grams' worth of clothing material, the 
card to about five pounds a year- 



486 1940 Berlin, August 26 

The Foreign Office has turned down America's request 
for safe conduct for American ships to evacuate chil- 
dren under sixteen from the war zones. 



Berlin", August 26 

We had our first big air-raid of the war last 
night. The sirens sounded at twelve twenty a.m. and 
the all-clear came at three twenty-three a.m. For the 
first time British bombers came directly over the city, 
and they dropped bombs. The concentration of anti- 
aircraft fire was the greatest I've ever witnessed. It pro- 
vided a magnificent, a terrible sight. And it was 
strangely ineffective. Not a plane was brought down ; 
not one was even picked up by the searchlights, which 
flashed back and forth frantically across the skies 
throughout the night. 

The Berliners are stunned. They did not think it 
could happen. When this war began, Goring assured 
them it couldn't. He boasted that no enemy planes 
could ever break through the outer and inner rings of 
the capital's anti-aircraft defence. The Berliners are a 
naive and simple people. They believed him. Their dis- 
illusionment today therefore is all the greater. You have 
to see their faces to measure it. Goring made matters 
worse by informing the population only three days ago 
that they need not go to their cellars when the sirens 
sounded, but only when they heard the flak going off 
near by. The implication was that it would never go off. 
That made people sure that the British bombers, though 
they might penetrate to the suburbs, would never be 
able to get over the city proper. And then last night 
the guns all over the city suddenly began pounding and 
you could hear the British motors humming directly 
overhead, and from all reports there was a pell-mell, 



1940 Berlin, August 26 487 

frightened rush to the cellars by the five million people 
who live in this town. 

I was at the Rundfunk writing my broadcast when 
the sirens sounded, and almost immediately the bark of 
the flak began. Oddly enough, a few minutes before, I 
had had an argument with the censor from the Propa- 
ganda Ministry as to whether it was possible to bomb 
Berlin. London had just been bombed. It was natural, 
I said, that the British should try to retaliate. He 
laughed. It was impossible, he said. There were too 
many anti-aircraft guns around Berlin. 

I found it hard to concentrate on my script. The gun- 
fire near the Rundfunk was particularly heavy and the 
window of my room rattled each time a battery fired or a 
bomb exploded. To add to the confusion, the air-ward- 
ens, in their fire-fighting overalls, kept racing through 
the building ordering everyone to the shelters. The 
wardens at the German radio are mostly porters and 
office boys and it was soon evident that they were making 
the most of their temporary authority. Most of the 
Germans on duty, however, appeared to lose little time 
in getting to the cellar. 

I was scheduled to speak at one a.m. As I've explained 
before in these notes, to get to the studio to broadcast 
we have to leave the building where we write our scripts 
and have them censored, and dash some two hundred 
yards through a blacked-out vacant lot to the sheds 
where the microphones are. As I stepped out of the 
building at five minutes to one, the light guns protecting 
the radio station began to fire away wildly. At this mo- 
ment I heard a softer but much more ominous sound. It 
was like hail falling on a tin roof. You could hear it 
dropping through the trees and on the roofs of the sheds. 
It was shrapnel from the anti-aircraft guns. For the 
first time in my life I wished I had a steel helmet. There* 



4.88 1940 Berlin, August 26 

had always been something repellent to me about a Ger- 
man helmet, something symbolic of brute Germanic 
force. At the front I had refused to put one on. Now I 
rather thought I could overcome my prejudice. I hesi- 
tated in the shelter of the doorway. In two or three min- 
utes now my broadcast would begin. I made a dash for 
it, running blindly, frightenedly down the path, stum- 
bling down the wooden stairway where the terrace was. 
Sigrid had lent me her flashlight. I switched it on. A 
guard in the doorway yelled to put it out. As he shouted, 
I crashed into the corner of a shed and sprawled into the 
sand. The sound of the shrapnel falling all around 
egged me on. One last dash and I made the studio door. 

" You're crazy," snapped the S.S. guard who had 
taken shelter from the splinters in the doorway. 
" Where's your pass ? " 

" I've got a broadcast in just one minute," I panted. 

" I don't care. Where's your pass ? " 

I finally found it. In the studio cell the engineer re- 
quested me to speak very close to the microphone. He 
did not say why, but the reason was obvious. The closer 
to the mike I spoke, the less " outside " noise would be 
picked up. But I wanted the guns to be heard in Amer- 
ica. The censors had allowed me to pronounce only one 
sentence about the raid, merely stating that one was on. 

Actually when I spoke there seemed to be a most un- 
fortunate lull in the firing. Only in the distance, through 
the studio doors, could I hear a faint rumble. Appar- 
ently the guns were more audible in America than in my 
studio, because a few minutes later I picked up the rest 
of our program by shortwave to hear Elmer Davis re- 
mark in New York that the sound of guns or bombs dur- 
ing my broadcast was most realistic. This pleased me 
greatly, but I noticed deep frowns on the faces of the 
German officials who also caught Mr. Davis's comment. 



1940 Beelin, August 26 £89 

Sigrid, who spoke for Mutual a half-hour later, 
pluckily braved the shrapnel which seemed to be falling 
even thicker than before, though several of us tried to 
dissuade her from going to the studio. As it was, in try- 
ing to dodge one hail of splinters, she stumbled and fell, 
receiving an ugly gash in the leg. She went on with her 
broadcast, though in great pain. But luck was not with 
her. The same transmitter which had functioned per- 
fectly for CBS and NBC only a few minutes before 
suddenly broke down and her talk did not get through 
to America. 

Until almost dawn we watched the spectacle from a 
balcony. There was a low ceiling of clouds, and the 
German searchlight batteries tried vainly to pick up the 
British bombers. The beams of light would flash on for 
a few seconds, search the skies wildly, and then go off. 
The British were cruising as they wished over the heart 
of the city and flying quite low, judging by the sound 
of their motors. The German flak was firing wildly, 
completely by sound. It was easy, from the firing, to 
follow a plane across the city as one battery after an- 
other picked up the sound of the motors and fired blindly 
into the sky. Most of the noise came from the north, 
where the armament factories are. 

Today the bombing is the one topic of conversation 
among Berliners. It's especially amusing therefore to 
see that Goebbels has permitted the local newspapers to 
publish only a six-line communique about it, to the effect 
that enemy planes flew over the capital, dropped a few 
incendiary bombs on two suburbs, and damaged one 
wooden hut in a garden. There is not a line about the 
explosive bombs which we all plainly heard. Nor is there 
a word about the three streets in Berlin which have been 
roped off all day today to prevent the curious from 
seeing what a bomb can do to a house. It will be interest- 



4.90 1940 Be klin, August 29 

ing to watch the reaction of the Berliners to the efforts 
of the authorities to hush up the extent of the raid. It's 
the first time they've been able to compare what actu- 
ally happened with what Dr. Goebbels reported. The 
British also dropped a few leaflets last night, telling the 
populace that " the war which Hitler started will go on, 
and it will last as long as Hitler does." That's good 
propaganda, but unfortunately few people were able 
to find the leaflets, there being only a handful dropped. 



Berlin", August 29 

The British came over in force again last night 
and for the first time killed Germans in the capital of the 
Reich. The official account is ten persons killed and 
twenty-nine wounded in Berlin. At the Kottbuserstrasse 
out towards Tempelhof (which the British probably 
were aiming at) and not far from the Gorlitzer railroad 
station (which they might have been aiming at) two 
hundred-pound bombs landed in the street, tore off the 
leg of an air-raid warden standing at the entrance to 
his house, and killed four men and two women, who, un- 
wisely, were watching the fireworks from a doorway. 

I think the populace of Berlin is more affected by the 
fact that the British planes have been able to penetrate 
to the centre of Berlin without trouble than they are by 
the first casualties. For the first time the war has been 
brought home to them. If the British keep this up, it 
will have a tremendous effect upon the morale of the 
people here. 

Goebbels today suddenly changed his tactics. His or- 
ders after the first big bombing were to play the story 
down in the press. Today he orders the newspapers to 
cry out at the " brutality " of the British fliers in at- 
tacking the defenceless women and children of Berlin. 



1940 Berlin, August 29 4.91 

One must keep in mind that the people here have not yet 
been told of the murderous bombings of London by the 
Luftwaffe. The invariable headline today about last 
night's raid is: "COWARDLY BRITISH ATTACK." 
And the little Doktor makes the papers drum into the 
people that German planes attack only military objec- 
tives in Britain, whereas the " British pirates " attack 
" on the personal orders of Churchill " only non-mili- 
tary objectives. No doubt the German people will fall 
for this lie too. One paper achieves a nice degree of 
hysteria : it says the RAF has been ordered " to mas- 
sacre the population of Berlin." 

It's obvious from what we've seen here the last few 
nights — and Goring must have known it — that there 
is no defence against the night bombers. Neither on 
Sunday nor last night did the anti-aircraft defences of 
Berlin, which are probably the best in the world, even 
spot a single British plane in the beam of a searchlight, 
let alone bring one down. The official communique, hes- 
itating to tell the local people that any planes were 
brought down last night over the city when thousands 
of them probably saw that none were, announced today 
that one bomber was shot down on its way to Berlin and 
another after it left Berlin. 

I had my own troubles at the radio last night. First, 
the censors announced that we could no longer mention 
a raid while it was on. (In London Ed Murrow not only 
mentions it, but describes it.) Secondly, I got into 
somewhat of a row with the German radio officials. As 
soon as I had finished my broadcast, they ordered me to 
the cellar. I tried to explain that I had come here as a 
war correspondent and that in ordering me to the cellar 
they were preventing me from exercising my profession. 
We exchanged some rather sharp words. Lord Haw- 
Haw, I notice, is the only other person around here ex- 



Jf.92 1940 Berlin, August 31 

cept the very plucky girl secretaries who does not rush 
to the shelter after the siren sounds. I have avoided him 
for a year, but have been thinking lately it might be 
wise to get acquainted with the traitor. In the air-raids 
he has shown guts. 



Berlin, August 31 

Laid up with the flu for a bit. When the maid 
came in last night just before the bombing started, I 
asked: " Will the British come over tonight? " 

" For certain," she sighed resignedly. All her con- 
fidence, all the confidence that five million Berliners had 
that the capital was safe from air attack, is gone. 

" Why do they do it? " she asked. 

" Because you bomb London," I said. 

" Yes, but we hit military objectives, while the Brit- 
ish, they bomb our homes." She was a good advertise- 
ment for the effectiveness of Goebbels's propaganda. 

" Maybe you bomb their homes too," I said. 

" Our papers say not," she argued. She said the 
German people wanted peace. " Why didn't the British 
accept the Fiihrer's offer? " she wanted to know. This 
woman comes from a worker's family. Her husband is 
a worker, probably an ex-Communist or Socialist. And 
yet she has fallen a complete victim to the official propa- 
ganda. 

The British gave us a good strafing last night and 
even German officials admitted that the damage was 
greater than ever before. A German friend dropped in 
to tell me the great Siemens works had been hit. The 
Borsen Zeitung headlines tonight: "BRITISH AIR PI- 
RATES OVER BERLIN." 

I've turned down the Propaganda Ministry's offer to 
take me along with other correspondents on a conducted 



1940 Berlin, September 1 4-93 

tour each morning after a raid to see the damage. I 
know the German military authorities have no intention 
of showing us any military objectives that may be hit. 
To make an honest check-up would take several hours of 
motoring over the vast area of Berlin. 



Berlin, September 1 

I was in my bath at midnight last night and 
did not hear the sirens sound the alarm. First I knew 
of the raid was when the guns started to thunder. I 
dozed off to sleep, still having the flu with me, but was 
awakened during the night by the thud and shock of two 
bomb explosions very near the hotel. 

Today the High Command announces officially that 
the British fliers last night were " hindered " from 
dropping their bombs by the splendid work of the capi- 
tal's anti-aircraft guns, and that the only bombs dropped 
therefore fell outside the city limits. 

This is strange because the Tiergarten was roped off 
today and this evening the press admits that several 
" bomb craters " were discovered in the park after last 
night's raid. I staggered off to the Rundfunk tonight 
to do an anniversary broadcast. The military censor, 
a very decent chap, was puzzled about the conflicting 
German reports of the bombing. 

" My instructions are you can't contradict the com- 
muniques of the High Command," he said. 

" But the German press contradicts them," I argued. 
" I heard the bombs fall in the Tiergarten, and the Ber- 
lin papers admit that some did." 

He was a good sport and let me read the contradictory 
reports. 

The main effect of a week of constant British night 
bombings has been to spread great disillusionment 



4-9J. 1940 B eel in, September 2 

among the people here and sow doubt in their minds. 
One said to me today : " I'll never believe another thing 
they say. If they've lied about the raids in the rest of 
Germany as they have about the ones on Berlin, then 
it must have been pretty bad there." 

Actually, the British bombings have not been very 
deadly. The British are using too few planes — fifteen 
or twenty a night — and they have to come too far to 
carry really effective, heavy loads of bombs. Main ef- 
fect is a moral one, and if the British are smart they'll 
keep them up every night. Tonight another attack be- 
gan just before I broadcast, but it was not much of a 
show. 

A year ago today the great " counter-attack " 
against Poland began. In this year German arms have 
achieved victories never equalled even in the brilliant 
military history of this aggressive, militaristic nation. 
And yet the war is not yet over, or won. And it was on 
this aspect that people's minds were concentrated to- 
day, if I am any judge. They long for peace. And they 
want it before the winter comes. 

Berlin, September 2 

I learned today that the Germans you see re- 
moving time bombs are for the most part prisoners from 
concentration camps. If they live through the experi- 
ence, they are promised release. As a matter of fact it 
probably is an easy choice for them. Even death is a 
welcome release from the tortures of the Gestapo. And 
there's always the chance that the bomb won't go off. 
Some of the bombs that fell in the Tiergarten, it's now 
revealed, were time bombs. 

For some time now our censors have not allowed us 



1940 Berlin, September 4-5 J$5 

to use the word " Nazi " on the air. They say it has a 
bad sound in America. One must say " National So- 
cialist " or avoid the term altogether, as I do. The word 
" invasion " in reference to what happened in Scan- 
dinavia and the west, and what is planned for England, 
is also taboo. 

Studying the German figures on air losses over Brit- 
ain, which are manifestly untrue, I find that nearly 
every day they run 4 to 1 in favour of the Luftwaffe. 
This ratio must have a magic attraction to someone in 
the Air Ministry. 

Berlin, September 4r-5 (3 a.m.) 

Hitler made a surprise speech here this after- 
noon, the occasion being the opening of the Winterhilfe 
— winter relief — campaign. Like the Volkswagen, 
the cheap " people's car " on which German workers 
are paying millions of marks a month in instalments 
though the factory which is supposed to make them is 
actually manufacturing only arms, the Winterhilfe is 
one of the scandals of the Nazi regime, though not one 
German in a million realizes it. It is obvious that in a 
country without unemployment not much " winter re- 
lief " is necessary. Yet the Nazis go on wringing sev- 
eral hundred million marks each winter out of the peo- 
ple for " winter charity " and actually use most of the 
money for armaments or party funds. 

Hitler's appearance today was kept a secret until 
the last minute, the Propaganda Ministry rushing off 
the correspondents from the afternoon press confer- 
ence to the Sportpalast. What is Himmler afraid of, 
since British bombers cannot come over during day- 
light? Is he afraid of an " incident "? 

The session was another beautiful example of how 



4-96 1940 Berlin, September 4-5 

Hitler takes advantage of the gullibility of his people. 
He told them, for instance, that while the German air 
force attacked Britain by day, the cowardly RAF comes 
over only at night. He did not explain why this is so 
— that the Germans can get over England by day be- 
cause it is only twenty-five miles from German bases 
and they can thus protect their bombers with fighters, 
whereas Germany is too far from Britain to enable the 
British to protect their bombers with fighters. 

Hitler said with lovely hypocrisy : " I waited three 
months without answering the British night bombings 
in the hope they would stop this mischief. But Herr 
Churchill saw in this a sign of weakness. You will un- 
derstand that we are now answering, night for night. 
And when the British air force drops two or three or 
four thousand kilograms of bombs, then we will in one 
night drop 150- 230- 300- or 400,000 kilograms." 

At this point he had to stop because of the hysterical 
applause of the audience, which consisted mostly of 
German women nurses and social workers. 

" When they declare," continued Hitler, " that they 
will increase their attacks on our cities, then we will raze 
their cities to the ground." Here the young nurses and 
social workers were quite beside themselves and ap- 
plauded phrenetically. When they had recovered, he 
said: 

" We will stop the handiwork of these air pirates, so 
help us God." At this the young German women hopped 
to their feet and, their breasts heaving, screamed their 
approval. 

" The hour will come," Hitler went on, " when one of 
us will break, and it will not be National Socialist Ger- 
many." At this juncture the raving maidens kept their 
heads sufficiently to break their wild shouts of joy with 
a chorus of : " Never ! Never ! " 



1940 Berlin, September 5 4-97 

Though grim and dripping with hate most of the 
evening, Hitler had his humorous, jaunty moments. 
His listeners found it very funny when he said : " In 
England they're filled with curiosity and keep asking : 
' Why doesn't he come? ' Be calm. Be calm. He's com- 
ing ! He's coming ! " And the man squeezed every ounce 
of humour and sarcasm out of his voice. The speech 
was not broadcast direct, but recorded and rebroadcast 
two hours after he had finished. 

Later. — The British came over again to- 
night, arriving punctually at fifteen minutes before 
midnight, which is their usual time. The fact that the 
searchlights rarely pick up a plane has given rise to 
whispers among the people of Berlin that the British 
planes are coated with an invisible paint. Tonight the 
bombers cruised over the city at intervals for two hours. 
The flak guns thundered away like mad, but without 
effect. Another bomb dropped in the Tiergarten and 
killed a policeman. 



Berlin, September 5 

Very annoyed still that the German radio offi- 
cials refuse to let me view the nightly air-raids. They 
come each night when I am at the RundfunJc. Nor can 
we mention them if they occur during our talk. To- 
night when I arrived for my broadcast I found that the 
B.B.G had installed a lip microphone for us to speak 
in. In order to make your voice heard you have to hold 
your lips to it. But the sounds of the anti-aircraft guns 
firing outside do not register. That is why they in- 
stalled it. But they have put it in the same building, so 
that we no longer have to race through a hail of falling 
shrapnel to get to a microphone. 



It98 1940 Be blin, September 7 

The United States is to turn over fifty destroyers to 
the British in return for naval and air bases in Brit- 
ish possessions off our eastern coast. The Germans say 
it is a breach of neutrality, as it is, but they're not go- 
ing to do anything about it, not even protest. They're 
hoping that our isolationists and our Lindberghs will 
keep us out of the war and they intend to refrain from 
doing anything to jeopardize their position. 

Berlin, September 7 

Last night we had the biggest and most effec- 
tive bombing of the war. The Germans have brought 
in several more batteries of flak during the past few 
days, and last night they put up a terrific barrage, but 
failed to hit a single plane. 

The British were aiming better last night. When I 
returned from the Rundfunk shortly after three a.m., 
the sky over the north-central part of Berlin was lit up 
by two great fires. The biggest was in the freight house 
of the Lehrter railroad station. Another railroad sta- 
tion at the Schussendorfstrasse also was hit. A rubber 
factory, I'm told, was set afire. 

Despite this the High Command said in its commu- 
nique today : " The enemy again attacked the German 
capital last night, causing some damage to persons and 
property as a result of his indiscriminate throwing of 
bombs on non-military targets in the middle of the city. 
The German air force, as reprisal, has therefore be- 
gun to attack London with strong forces." 

Not a hint here — and the German people do not 
know it — that the Germans have been dropping bombs 
in the very centre of London for the last two weeks. 
My censors warned me today not to go into this mat- 
ter. I apparently have some German listeners, who can 



1940 Berlin, September 7 J^99 

pick up my talk from the German transmitter that 
shortwaves it to New York. Since it's a German trans- 
mitter, there is no penalty. 

The statement of the High Command, obviously 
forced upon it by Hitler himself — he often takes a 
hand in writing the official army communiques — de- 
liberately perpetrates the lie that Germany has only 
decided to bomb London as a result of the British -first 
bombing Berlin. And the German people will fall for 
this, as they fall for almost everything they're told 
nowadays. Certainly never before in modern times — 
since the press, and later the radio, made it theoretically 
possible for the mass of mankind to learn what was go- 
ing on in the world — have a great people been so mis- 
led, so unscrupulously lied to, as the Germans under 
this regime. 

And so tonight the High Command, which all good 
Germans believe tells only the gospel truth, issued a 
special communique saying that as reprisal for the 
British raids on Berlin, London was attacked with 
strong forces for the first time today. As a result of 
this reprisal attack, it says, " one great cloud of smoke 
tonight stretches from the middle of London to the 
mouth of the Thames." 

To give American radio listeners an idea of the kind 
of propaganda (though I couldn't label it as such) 
which the German people are being subjected to now, 
I read in my broadcast tonight the following quotation 
from today's Berlin newspaper, the Borsen Zeittmg: 
" While the attack of the German air force is made on 
purely military objectives — this fact is recognized by 
both the British press and radio — the RAF knows 
nothing better to do than continually to attack non- 
military objectives in Germany. A perfect example of 
this was the criminal attack on the middle of Berlin last 



500 1940 Berlin, September 7 

night. In this attack only lodging-houses were hit ; not 
a single military objective." 

The German people have no inkling — because the 
Nazi press and radio have carefully suppressed the 
story — that in August alone more than one thousand 
English civilians were killed by the Luftwaffe's attacks 
on British " military objectives." 

Another type of lying here : The official statement of 
last night's bombing of Berlin says that the first two 
waves of British planes were turned back by the capi- 
tal's defences, and that only a few planes of the third 
wave were able to slip through. Now, every Berliner 
knows that from the minute the alarm was sounded last 
night, British planes were heard overhead. There were 
several waves and each time you heard the hum of the 
motors. Yet I fear the majority will believe the official 
explanation. 

The Borsen Zeitung even went so far last night as to 
tell its innocent readers that all military objectives in 
Germany were so well protected by anti-aircraft guns 
that it was quite impossible for the British planes to 
bomb them. Therefore the British went after unpro- 
tected civilian houses. How many Germans will ask 
then, why, with an admitted concentration of guns in 
and around Berlin such as no other area in the world 
has ever seen — why has not a single plane yet been 
brought down? 

And personally I'm getting a little tired of the cen- 
sorship restrictions on our telling even a modicum of 
truth about this air war to America. I shall not stand 
for it much longer. 



1940 Berlin, September 9 501 

Berlin, September 8 

All Sunday morning papers carry the same 
headline: "BIG ATTACK ON LONDON AS RE- 
PRISAL" 



Berlin, September 9 

A typical Nazi trick was played on me today. 
The three censors fought with me so long over the script 
of my two p.m. broadcast, which they charged was un- 
duly ironic about the " reprisal " bombings of London, 
which it was, that by the time they had finally okayed it, 
there was no time for me to go on the air. My five min- 
utes of air time was over. 

There was no objection to this, since the censors have 
a perfect right to hold up a script they don't like, just 
as I have the right not to talk if I think they've cen- 
sored the true sense out of my talk. But this evening 
I learn from Paul White in New York, through chan- 
nels which permit me to receive cables from him with- 
out the Germans knowing their contents, that the short- 
wave director of the German Broadcasting Company 
cabled him today an explanation of why I did not broad- 
cast at two p.m. The cable read : " Regret Shirer ar- 
rived too late today to broadcast." 

The British bombers failed to come over last night or 
the night before. Official explanation to the German 
people: The British planes tried to get through both 
nights to Berlin, but were turned back. Whenever the 
British choose not to bomb Berlin henceforth, I hear, 
Goebbels has ordered the people to be told that they 
tried to but were repulsed by the capital's magnificent 
defences. 

Whenever the British come over Germany now, most 



502 1940 Beelin, September 10 

of the German radio stations hurriedly go off the air 
so as not to serve as radio beacons for the British pilots. 
The German radio announced tonight that its broad- 
casts, already greatly curtailed in the last fortnight on 
" military grounds," will be further curtailed. " This 
is no time," said the announcement, " to explain fur- 
ther the reasons for this." 



Berlin, September 10 

A light raid last night, though a few houses 
were demolished. Commenting on the bombing, the Lo- 
Jcal Anzeiger says: " The fliers of His Britannic Maj- 
esty have given a heavy blow to the laws governing an 
honourable and manly conduct of war." 

At the Propaganda Ministry today we were shown 
one of Britain's " secret weapons," a new sort of in- 
cendiary weapon. It looks like a large calling card — 
about two inches square — and is made of a celluloid 
substance. Two celluloid sheets are pasted together 
and between them is a tablet of phosphorus. The Brit- 
ish drop them in a dampened condition. When they dry, 
after a few minutes of sun, or ten minutes of dry, day- 
time air, they ignite and cause a small flame that burns 
for two or three minutes. Actually, they were first used 
by the Irish Republicans, who dropped them in letter- 
boxes to burn the mail in England. The Germans ad- 
mit they have set fire to fields of grain and hay as well 
as a few forests. Probably the British, who started 
dropping them in August, hoped to burn up a consider- 
able acreage of grain. Unfortunately, we had a very 
wet August and few of them got dry enough to ignite. 



1940 Be el in, September 11 503 

Berlin, September 11 

Last night the severest bombing yet. And the 
German papers are beside themselves. The Borsen Zei- 
tung calls our pilot visitors of last evening " barbari- 
ans " and bannerlines: "CRIME OF BRITISH ON 
BERLIN." According to the Nazis, only five persons 
were killed, but for the first time the British dropped 
a considerable number of fire bombs and there were 
quite a few small fires. Three incendiaries fell in the 
yard of the Adlon, five in the garden of the Embassy 
next door, and a half-dozen more in the garden of Dr. 
Goebbels just behind the Embassy. The office of the 
Minister of Munitions between the Adlon and the Em- 
bassy also was hit. All the incendiaries were put out 
before they did any damage. Actually the British were 
aiming at the Potsdamer Bahnhof, and they had bad 
luck. They took almost a perfect run for it, their 
first bombs hitting the Reichstag and then falling in 
a direct line towards the Potsdamer station on the Bran- 
denburger Tor, the Embassy, and in the gardens be- 
hind. But the last one was about three hundred yards 
short of the station. 

Today the BBC claims that the Potsdamer station 
was hit, but this is untrue and at least three Germans 
today who heard the BBC told me they felt a little disil- 
lusioned at the British radio's lack of veracity. The 
point is that it is bad propaganda for the British to 
broadcast in German to the people here that a main 
station has been set on fire when it hasn't been touched. 

I almost met a quick end last night. Racing home 
from the Rundfimk after the all-clear at fifty miles an 
hour in my car, I suddenly skidded into some debris 
and came to a stop twenty feet from a fresh bomb crater 
on the East- West Axis about a hundred and fifty yards 



50£ 1940 Berlin, September 12 

from the Brandenburger Tor. In the black-out you 
could not see it, and the air-wardens had not yet dis- 
covered it. A splinter from the bomb that made this 
crater hurtled two hundred yards through the air to the 
American Embassy and crashed through the double 
window of the office of Donald Heath, our First Secre- 
tary. It cut a neat hole in the two windows, continued 
directly over Don's desk, and penetrated four inches 
into the wall on the far side of the room. Don was sup- 
posed to have had night duty last night and would have 
been sitting at his desk at the time, but for some reason 
Charge d' Affaires Kirk had told him to go home and 
himself had done the night trick. 

Berlin, September 12 

Off to Geneva for a few days so that I can 
talk some matters over with New York on the telephone 
without being overheard by the Nazis. The Ger- 
mans want Hartrich, my assistant, to leave, and I'm 
against it. 

The rumour is that the big invasion hop against Eng- 
land is planned for the night of September 15, when 
there will be a full moon and the proper tide in the 
Channel. I'll chance this trip anyway. 

Geneva, September 16 

The news coming over the near-by border of 
France is that the Germans have attempted a landing 
in Britain, but that it has been repulsed with heavy 
German losses. Must take this report with a grain of 
salt. 

Lunch with John Winant, head of the International 
Labour Office, who strives valiantly to keep his institu- 



1940 Beblin, September 18 505 

tion, and what it stands for, from going under after the 
blow the war has given it. More than any other Amer- 
ican in public life whom I know, he understands the 
social forces and changes that have been at work in the 
last decade both at home and in Europe, and that are 
now in new ferment as a result of the war. We talked 
about the job to be done after the war if Britain wins 
and if the mistakes of 1919 are not to be repeated. He 
spoke of his own ideas about reconstruction and how 
war economy could be replaced by a peace economy 
without the maladjustment, the great unemployment 
and deflation and depression that followed the last war. 
Personally I cannot look that far ahead. I cannot see 
beyond Hitler's defeat. To accomplish that first is such 
a gigantic task and so overwhelmingly important that 
all else seems secondary, though undoubtedly it is a 
good thing that some are taking a longer view. 

Winant is a likable, gaunt, awkward, Lincolnesque 
sort of man and was a good enough politician and execu- 
tive to be re-elected Governor of New Hampshire a 
couple of times. I think he would make a good presi- 
dent to succeed Roosevelt in 1944 if the latter gets his 
third term. 

Beklin, September 18 

Somewhere near Frankfurt on the train from 
Basel last night the porter shouted : " Flieger-Alarm! " 
and there was a distant sound of gun-fire, but nothing 
hit us. We arrived at the Potsdamer Bahnhof right 
on time and I observed again that the station had not 
been hit despite the claims of the BBC. I noticed sev- 
eral lightly wounded soldiers, mostly airmen, getting 
off a special car which had been attached to our train. 
From their bandages, their wounds looked like burns. 



506 1940 Berlin, September 18 

I noticed also the longest Red Cross train I've ever 
seen. It stretched from the station for half a mile to 
beyond the bridge over the Landwehr Canal. Orderlies 
were swabbing it out, the wounded having been un- 
loaded, probably, during the night. The Germans usu- 
ally unload their hospital trains after dark so that the 
populace will not be unduly disturbed by one of the 
grimmer sides of glorious war. I wondered where so 
many wounded could have come from, as the armies in 
the west stopped fighting three months ago. As there 
were only a few porters I had to wait some time on the 
platform and picked up a conversation with a railway 
workman. He said most of the men taken from the hos- 
pital train were suffering from burns. 

Can it be that the tales I heard in Geneva had some 
truth in them after all? The stories there were that 
either in attempted German raids with sizable landing- 
parties on the English coast or in rehearsals with boats 
and barges off the French coast the British had given 
the Germans a bad pummelling. The reports reaching 
Switzerland from France were that many German 
barges and ships had been destroyed and a considerable 
number of German troops drowned ; also that the Brit- 
ish used a new type of wireless-directed torpedo (a Swiss 
invention, the Swiss said) which spread ignited oil on 
the water and burned the barges. Those cases of burns 
at the station this morning bear looking into. 

Ribbentrop suddenly went off to Rome tonight. 
Many guesses as to why. Mine: to break the news to 
Mussolini that there will be no attempt at invading 
Britain this fall. This will put II Duce in a hole, as-he 
has already started an offensive on Egypt and advanced 
a hundred miles over the desert to Sidi-el-Barrani. But 
this Italian effort, it seems, was originally planned only 



1940 Berlin, September 18 507 

to distract attention from the German invasion of Brit- 
ain. It begins to look now (though I still think Hitler 
may try to attack England) as though the war will 
shift to the Mediterranean this winter, with the Axis 
powers trying to deliver the British Empire a knockout 
blow by capturing Egypt, the Suez Canal, and Pales- 
tine. Napoleon did this once, and the blow did not fell 
the British Empire. (Also, Napoleon planned to at- 
tack Britain, gathered his ships and barges just where 
Hitler has gathered his, but never dared to launch the 
attack.) But the Axis seizure of Suez might knock out 
the British Empire now. The reason Franco's handy- 
man, Serrano Suner, is here in Berlin is that Hitler 
wants him either to take Gibraltar himself or to let the 
German army come in from France to do the job. Much 
talk here, I find, of Germany and Italy dividing up 
Africa between themselves, giving Spain a larger slice 
if Franco plays ball. 

Only one air-raid here since I left, and the five mil- 
lion people in Berlin have caught up on their sleep and 
are full of breezy confidence again. They really think 
the British planes can't get through. Churchill is mak- 
ing a mistake in not sending more planes over Berlin. 
A mere half-dozen bombers per night would do the job 
— that is, would force the people to their cellars in the 
middle of the night and rob them of their sleep. Morale 
tumbled noticeably in Berlin when the British visited 
us almost every evening. I heard many complaints 
about the drop in efficiency of the armament workers 
and even government employees because of the loss of 
sleep and increased nervousness. The British haven't 
enough planes to devastate Berlin, but they have 
enough — five or six for Berlin each night — to ruin 
the morale of the country's most important centre of 



508 1940 Berlin, September 19 

population. Can it be that the British hope to get the 
Germans to stop their terrible bombing of London by 
laying off Berlin? This would be a very silly calcu- 
lation. 



Berlin, September 19 

Having saved a little extra gasoline from my 
ration of thirty-seven gallons a month, I drove out to 
Siemensstadt with Joe Harsch and Ed Hartrich this 
afternoon to see if there had been any damage by bomb- 
ing to the Siemens Electrical Works, one of the most 
important war industrial plants in Germany. I was 
also curious to see what mood the workers were in. We 
drove slowly around the plant, but could find no trace 
of any damage. The thousands of workers filing out 
after the afternoon shift seemed well fed and quite con- 
tented. Some of them looked downright prosperous and 
lit up cigars as they came out. During the fortnight 
that the British came over practically every night, the 
strain of working a full ten-hour shift after a night 
without sleep had begun to affect them, several Ger- 
mans had told me. But today they looked disgustingly 
fit. 

Returning to town somewhat disheartened by our 
findings, we noticed a large crowd standing on a bridge 
which spanned a railroad line. We thought there had 
been an accident. But we found the people staring 
silently at a long Red Cross train unloading wounded. 
This is getting interesting. Only during the fortnight 
in September when the Poles were being crushed and 
a month this spring when the west was being annihilated 
have we seen so many hospital trains in Berlin. A diplo- 
mat told me this morning his Legation had checked two 
other big hospital trains unloading wounded in the 



1940 Be a lin, September 19 509 

Charlottenburg railroad yards yesterday. This makes 
four long trains of wounded in the last two days that 
I know have arrived here. 

Not since the war started has the German press been 
so indignant against the British as today. According 
to it, the British last night bombed the Bodelschwingh 
hospital for mentally deficient children at Bethel in 
western Germany, killing nine youngsters, wounding 
twelve. 

The same newspapers which have now begun to 
chronicle with glee the " reprisal " attacks on the cen- 
tre of London town and which, to show the success of 
the " reprisals," published British figures telling of the 
thousands of civilians, including hundreds of children, 
killed by German bombs, today are filled with right- 
eous indignation against the British for allegedly doing 
the same thing to Germans. Some of the headlines to- 
night: Nachtausgabe: "NIGHT CRIME OF BRITISH 
AGAINST 2 1 GERMAN CHILDREN-THIS BLOODY 
ACT CRIES FOR REVENGE." Deutsche Allgemeine 
Zeitung: "MURDER OF CHILDREN AT BETHEL; 
REVOLTING CRIME." B.Z. am Mittag: "ASSAS- 
SINS' MURDER IS NO LONGER WAR, HERR 
WINSTON CHURCHILL! -THE BRITISH ISLAND 
OF MURDERERS WILL HAVE TO TAKE THE CON- 
SEQUENCES OF ITS MALICIOUS BOMBINGS." 

Editorial comment is in a similar vein. The Borsen 
Zeitung writes : " They wished, on the orders of Church- 
ill, simply to murder. . . . Albion has shown herself 
to be a murder-hungry beast which the German sword 
will liquidate in the interest not only of the German 
people but of the whole civilized world. . . . The sa- 
distic threats of the British apostles of hate will end in 
the smoke of their cities." 

This paper in the very same editorial points out how 



510 1940 Berlin, September 20 

stores in the west of London as well as a subway station 
there have been hit by German bombs. 

The Diplo, written and edited in the Foreign Office, 
says pontifically tonight : " It is a fact that Germany 
is waging war with clean weapons and in a chival- 
rous manner." (And London bombed indiscriminately 
nearly every night now, the British fighter defence hav- 
ing stopped the Luftwaffe's day-time attacks.) 

One must keep in mind that the newspapers here do 
not reflect public opinion. This hysterical indignation 
is artificially created from above. No doubt the real 
reason for it is to justify in the minds of the German 
people what the Luftwaffe is doing to London. 

Censorship of our broadcasts is growing daily more 
impossible. I had a royal scrap with one Nazi censor 
tonight. He wouldn't let me read the newspaper head- 
lines quoted above. He said it gave America a " wrong 
impression." He said I was too ironic, even in my se- 
lection of headlines. 



Berlin, September 20 

Another beautiful example today of Nazi 
hypocrisy. I wrote in both my broadcasts today that 
the German press and radio were making the most of 
a New York report that the British censor had decided 
to forbid foreign correspondents in London to mention 
air-raids while they were on. The German Propaganda 
Ministry jumped on this dispatch and through its short- 
wave and foreign-press services tried to tell the world 
that henceforth America was going to be deprived of 
trustworthy news from London. I pointed out, inci- 
dentally, that the Nazis had clamped the same kind of 
censorship on us some time ago. My censors would not 
hear of my saying any such thing. 



1940 Beilin, September 20 511 

I ask myself why I stay on here. For the first eight 
months of the war our censorship was fairly reasonable 
— more so than Sevareid and Grandin had to put up 
with in Paris. But since the war became grim and 
serious — since the invasion of Scandinavia — it has 
become increasingly worse. For the last few months 
I've been trying to get by on my wits, such as they are ; 
to indicate a truth or an official lie by the tone and 
inflexion of the voice, by a pause held longer than is 
natural, by the use of an Americanism which most Ger- 
mans, who've learned their English in England, will 
not fully grasp, and by drawing from a word, a phrase, 
a sentence, a paragraph, or their juxtaposition, all the 
benefit I can. But the Nazis are on to me. For some 
time now my two chief censors from the Propaganda 
Ministry have been gentlemen who understand Amer- 
ican as well as I, Professor Lessing, who long held a 
post in an American university, and Herr Krauss, for 
twenty years a partner in a Wall Street bank. I can- 
not fool them very often. Personally, both are decent, 
intelligent Germans, as is Captain Erich Kunsti, former 
Program Director of the Austrian Broadcasting Sys- 
tem and now my principal military censor. But they 
must do what they're told. And the Foreign Office and 
Propaganda Ministry keep receiving reports from the 
United States — not only from the Embassy at Wash- 
ington, but from their well-organized intelligence serv- 
ice throughout our country — that I'm getting by with 
murder (which I'm not) and must be sat upon. Dr. 
Kurt Sell, the Nazi man in Washington whose duty, 
among other things, is to report to Berlin on what we 
send, has several times reported unfavourably on the 
nature of my broadcasts. I haven't the slightest in- 
terest in remaining here unless I can continue to give 
a fairly accurate report. And each day my broadcasts 



512 1940 Berlin, September 21 

are forced by the censorship to be less accurate. To- 
night I noticed for the first time that one of the young 
Germans who do my modulating (call New York on 
the transmitter until time for me to speak) and follow 
my script to see that I read it as written and censored 
was scanning a copy of my broadcast as I spoke, mak- 
ing funny little lines under the syllables as we used to 
do in school while learning to scan poetry. He was try- 
ing to note down, I take it, which words I emphasized, 
which I spoke with undue sarcasm, and so on. I was 
so fascinated by this discovery that I stopped in the 
middle of my talk to watch him. 

Berlin, September 21 

X came up to my room in the Adlon today, 
and after we had disconnected my telephone and made 
sure that no one was listening through the crack of 
the door to the next room, he told me a weird story. He 
says the Gestapo is now systematically bumping off the 
mentally deficient people of the Reich. The Nazis call 
them " mercy deaths." He relates that Pastor Bodel- 
schwingh, who runs a large hospital for various kinds 
of feeble-minded children at Bethel, was ordered ar- 
rested a few days ago because he refused to deliver up 
some of his more serious mental cases to the secret 
police. Shortly after this, his hospital is bombed. By 
the " British." Must look into this story. 

Berlin, September 22 

We know that Himmler has hanged, without 
trial, at least one Pole for having had sexual relations 
with a German woman. We know too that at least half 
a dozen German women have been given long prison sen- 



1940 Be hlin, September 22 513 

, , 

tences for having bestowed favours upon Polish prison- 
ers or farm labourers. Several Germans have told me 
of placards prominently displayed in the provincial 
towns warning Germans not to have anything to do 
with Polish labourers and to treat them rough. Last 
week every household in Berlin received a leaflet from 
the local office of the " Bund of Germans Abroad " 
warning the people not to fraternize with the Poles now 
working as labourers or prisoners in Germany. A few 
choice extracts from this document : 

" German people, never forget that the atrocities of 
the Poles compelled the Fiihrer to protect our German 
people by armed force ! . . . The servility of the Poles 
to their German employers merely hides their cunning ; 
their friendly behaviour hides their deceit. . . . Re- 
member, there is no community whatever between Ger- 
mans and Poles ! Be careful that no relationship shall 
result because of the common religious faith! .... 
Our farmers may think each Pole who greets them with 
a ' Jesus Christ be praised ! ' is a decent fellow and may 
answer : ' For ever and ever, amen ! ' 

" Germans ! The Pole must never be your comrade ! 
He is inferior to each German comrade on his farm or 
in his factory. Be just, as Germans have always been, 
but never forget that you are a member of the master 
race ! " 

I note that Poles working in Germany now have been 
forced to wear an arm-band or an emblem sewn on the 
front of their coat marked with a large " P " in purple 
on a yellow background. In German-occupied Poland, 
Jews wear a similar emblem marked with a " J." 

Later. — Ribbentrop is back from Rome, 
and the press hints that the " final phase " of the war 
has been decided upon. Rudolf Kircher, editor of the 



B1U 1940 Berlin, September 23 

Frankfurter Zeitung, writes from Rome that the mil- 
itary situation is so rosy for the Axis that Ribbentrop 
and the Duce actually spent most of their time planning 
the " new order " in Europe and Africa. This may 
make the German people feel a little better, but most 
Germans I speak to are beginning for the first time to 
wonder why the invasion of Britain hasn't come off. 
They're still confident the war will be over by Christ- 
mas. But then, until a fortnight ago they were sure 
it would be over before winter, which will be on us within 
a month. I have won all my bets with Nazi officials and 
newspapermen about the date of the Swastika appear- 
ing in Trafalgar Square and shall — or should — re- 
ceive from them enough champagne to keep me all win- 
ter. Today when I suggested to some of them another 
little bet so they could win back some of their cham- 
pagne, they did not think it was funny. Neither would 
they bet. 

German correspondents in Rome today reported that 
Italy is displeased with Greece and that the British are 
violating the neutrality of Greek waters as they once 
did those of Norway. This sounds bad. I suppose 
Greece will be next. 

Berlin", September 23 

After a week's absence the British bombers 
came over last night and kept the populace in their 
cellars for two hours and twenty minutes in the mid- 
dle of the night. This was a little shock for most people, 
for they had been told all week that for several nights 
the British had been trying to get through but had al- 
ways been turned back by the anti-aircraft defences. 
The local papers again rage against the " British crim- 
inals " for having bombed us last night. The Nacht- 



1940 Berlin, September 23 515 

ausgdbe bannerlines : "NEW NIGHT ACT OF THE 
PIRATES." The same paper editorializes: "Winston 
Churchill again yesterday gave British airmen the 
order to drop their bombs on the German civilian popu- 
lation and thus continue their murder of German men, 
women, and children." The Borsen Zeitung holds that 
" last night Churchill continued the series of his 
criminal blows against the German civil population. 
Frankly, Churchill belongs to that category of crim- 
inals who in their stupid brutality are unteachable." 

While this line of nonsense is of course dictated to 
the German press by Goebbels, it does indicate, I think, 
that the Germans can't take night bombing as the 
British are taking it. If London was only more on its 
toes it would realize this. RAF strategy, I gather, is 
to concentrate on Germany's war industries and supply- 
depots. But while they've no doubt hit some interesting 
targets, like the Leuna works, where coal is made into 
oil (they've hit Leuna, but not knocked it out), it is 
certain that they have not succeeded in crippling Ger- 
many's war industrial production to any appreciable 
extent, nor have they blown up many stores. What 
they must do is to keep the German people in their 
damp, cold cellars at night, prevent them from sleeping, 
and wear down their nerves. Those nerves already are 
very thin after seven years of belt-tightening Nazi 
mobilization for Total War. 

Last night an old German acquaintance dropped in 
on me. He's in the Luftwaffe now and for the last three 
weeks has been a member of the crew of a night bomber 
which has been working on London. He had some in- 
teresting details. 

1. He was impressed by the size of London. He said 
they've been pounding away on it for three weeks and 
he is amazed that so much of it is left! He said they 



516 1940 Beelin, September 23 

were often told before taking off that they would find 
their target by a whole square mile of the city on fire. 
When they got there they could find no square mile on 
fire ; only a fire here and there. 

2. He relates that they approach London at a height 
of from 15,000 to 16,000 feet, dive to about 10,000 feet, 
and release their bombs at this height — too high for 
accurate night bombing. They don't dare to go below 
7,000 feet, he says, on account of the barrage balloons. 
He describes the anti-aircraft fire over London as 
" pretty hot." 

3. German night bomber crews, he says, are tired. 
They are being overworked. The Luftwaffe figured 
that they would destroy the RAF during daylight op- 
erations as they had destroyed the Polish, Dutch, Bel- 
gian, and French air forces and neglected to train 
enough men for night work. Present crews, he divulged, 
are flying four nights out of seven a week. Unlike Dr. 
Goebbels, whose propaganda machine drums it into the 
people that British airmen are cowards when they're 
not brutes, my friend says quite frankly that the Ger- 
man pilots have the highest admiration for their Brit- 
ish adversaries — for their skill and their bravery. 
They're particularly fond of one British fighter-pilot, 
he relates, who roars into a fight with a cigarette stuck 
at a smart angle between his lips. If this man is ever 
shot down on the German side, the German airmen have 
sworn to hide him and not to hand him over as a prisoner 
of war. 

4. He confirms that the British bombers are pound- 
ing hell out of the French and Belgian coasts at night. 
And often they swoop down in the night and machine- 
gun the German bomber bases just as the German 
planes are taking off or alighting. 

5. Goring did fly over London, he asserts. This news 



1940 Beelin, September 23 517 

was given the foreign press here, but withheld from 
the German papers, which made us suspicious of it. 

6. He relates that the British have built a number 
of dummy airfields and littered them with wooden 
planes, but the Germans have most of them spotted by 
now. 

7. He confirms that the German bombers usually 
return from a flight over Britain to different bases, 
rarely to the one they have taken off from. He says 
the bombers start from widely scattered fields in France, 
Belgium, and Holland, but always on a strict time-table 
so as to avoid collisions in the darkness. The exact 
course back from London is always prescribed in ad- 
vance, so that planes entering over the area will not 
crash into those leaving. He has an interesting expla- 
nation of the big beating the Germans took in a daylight 
attack on London a week ago Sunday when, according 
to the British, 185 German planes were shot down, 
mostly bombers. He says that the German time schedule 
went wrong, that the German fighters which were to 
protect the bombers arrived at a prearranged rendez- 
vous off the English coast, but found no bombers there. 
After waiting twenty-five minutes they had to fly home 
because their gas was getting low. The bombers eventu- 
ally arrived, coming over the North Sea, but there was 
no fighter escort for them, and the British chasers 
mowed them down. 

8. He said the German night bombers go over in 
squadrons of seven. He also insisted that each Luft- 
waffe base reports its correct losses and that any doctor- 
ing of figures is done either at headquarters or in Berlin. 

He confirms that the Luftwaffe has failed so far to 
gain air supremacy over Britain, though when I was 
on the Channel five weeks ago the Germans said this 
would be a matter of but a fortnight. 



518 1940 Beblin, September 24 

It's a fact that since about a fortnight the Germans 
have given up large-scale day attacks on England and 
have gone over largely to night bombing. This in itself 
is an admission of defeat. 



Berlin, September 24 

The British really went to work on Berlin 
last night. They bombed heavily and with excellent 
aim for exactly four hours. They hit some important 
factories in the north of the city, one big gas works, 
and the railroad yards north of the Stettiner and Lehr- 
ter stations. 

But we couldn't tell the story. The authorities said 
no damage of military importance was done and the 
Propaganda Ministry, suddenly very nervous over last 
night's destruction, warned all of us correspondents 
that we could only report what the military said. Goeb- 
bels's Ministry even cancelled its usual post-raid con- 
ducted tour of the city, giving as an excuse that there 
was so much to see and so little time to see it in. 

The German press and radio have never been made 
to lie quite so completely about a raid as today. Even 
the stolid Berliners, judging by their talk, appear to be 
stirred at the lies of their own newspapers. Said the 
official account : " In spite of violent anti-aircraft fire 
a few British bombers succeeded in reaching the north- 
ern and eastern suburbs of Berlin last night and 
dropped a number of bombs. The position of the bombs, 
far away from all military or industrial objectives, pro- 
vides fresh evidence of the fact that the British airmen 
deliberately attack residential quarters. There was no 
damage of military importance." 

Even the High Command, in whose veracity many 
Germans still believe, repeated the lie later in its daily 



1940 Berlin, September 24s 519 

war communique. The hundreds of thousands of com- 
muters from the northern suburbs who had to get off 
their trains today three times and be conveyed by bus 
over three stretches of one main railway line where 
British bombs had blown up the tracks were somewhat 
surprised by what they read in their papers. 

The British just missed twice blowing up the elevated 
Stadtbahn railroad running east-west through the cen- 
tre of Berlin. In both places the bomb missed the tracks 
by a few yards, damaging adjacent houses. This line 
not only carries the bulk of the suburban electric traf- 
fic, but a large number of passenger trains. It's the 
most important line within the city limits. The debris 
from buildings which were hit held up traffic last night, 
but today the line was running. 

Serrano Sufier, Franco's brother-in-law and Min- 
ister of Interior, returned from a visit to the western 
front just in time to experience his first British bomb- 
ing attack. This may have been helpful. We corre- 
spondents kept imagining Sufier returning to Madrid, 
and Franco, who is under tremendous pressure from 
Berlin and Rome now to hop on the Axis band-wagon, 
asking him about those British attacks on Berlin, and 
Sufier replying: "What attacks? I saw no attacks. I 
was in Berlin ten days. The British couldn't get over 
even once. The British are finished, generalissimo, and 
now is the time for Spain to get in on the Axis spoils." 

Goebbels and most of the other luminaries of the 
Nazi Party were dining Sufier at the Adlon last night 
when the bombing began. The banquet was brought to 
an abrupt close before the dessert had been served and 
all present made for the Adlon's spacious air-raid cellar 
next to the barber-shop. When I returned at four a.m. 
from the radio, they were just leaving. 

I learn Ciano is coming here Thursday. A dfcal ia 



520 1940 Beelin, September 24 

on between Berlin and Rome to finish the war in Africa 
this winter and divide up the Dark Continent. But they 
must be sure of Spain first and are insisting that Franco 
either take Gibraltar or let the Germans take it. 

Berlin pleased tonight that the French, who have 
practically turned over Indo-China to the Japs without 
a blow and daily make new concessions to the Axis with- 
out a murmur, today opened fire on de Gaulle and the 
British, who want to have Dakar. 

Last night's bombing reminds me that the best air- 
raid shelter in Berlin belongs to Adolf Hitler. Experts 
doubt that he could ever be killed in it. It is deep, pro- 
tected by iron girders and an enormous amount of re- 
inforced concrete, and is provided with its own ventilat- 
ing and lighting plant, a private movie and an operating 
room. Were British bombs to blow the Chancellery to 
smithereens, cutting off all apparent escape from the 
cellar, the Fiihrer and his associates could emerge safely 
by simply walking through one of the tunnels that run 
from his shelter to points several hundred yards away. 
Hitler's cellar also is fitted out with spacious sleeping- 
quarters, an important consideration, but one utterly 
neglected in most shelters, since the loss of sleep is hurt- 
ing the German people far more than British bombs. 

If Hitler has the best air-raid cellar in Berlin, the 
Jews have the worst. In many cases they have none at 
all. Where facilities permit, the Jews have their own 
special Luftschutzkeller, usually a small basement room 
next to the main part of the cellar, where the " Aryans " 
gather. But in many Berlin cellars there is only one 
room. It is for the " Aryans." The Jews must take 
refuge on the ground floor, usually in the hall leading 
from the door of the flat to the elevator or stairs. This 
is fairly safe if a bomb hits the roof, since the chances 
are that it will not penetrate to the ground floor. But 



1940 Be klin, September 25 521 

experience so far has shown that it is the most dangerous 
place to be in the entire building if a bomb lands in 
the street outside. Here where the Jews are hovering, 
the force of the explosion is felt most ; here in the entry- 
way where the Jews are, you get most of the bomb splin- 
ters. 



Beklin, September 25 

Dr. Boehmer, the Propaganda Ministry for- 
eign-press chief, who is a typical Nazi except that he 
is intelligent and has travelled widely, especially in 
America, is peeved from time to time over our " lack 
of appreciation " of such Nazi favours as giving the 
correspondents extra food. If the way to a correspond- 
ent's heart is through his stomach, then Dr. Goebbels 
certainly tries hard. In the first place he classifies us 
as " heavy labourers," which means we get double ra- 
tions of meat, bread, and butter. Every other Thurs- 
day, after our press conference, we line up for a fort- 
night's extra food cards. Moreover, Dr. Goebbels not 
only permits us, but actually encourages us to import 
each week, against a liberal payment in dollar exchange, 
a food packet from Denmark. This latter is a life-saver. 
It enables me to have bacon and eggs at breakfast four 
or five times a week. Ordinarily I do not eat bacon and 
eggs for breakfast, but on the short war rations now 
available, I find it fortifies one for the entire day. I 
also got in enough coffee from Holland before the west- 
ern campaign to provide me for the next six months. 
In a word, we correspondents are hardly affected by the 
war-time rationing. We have plenty to eat. And the 
Germans see to it that we do have enough, not because 
they like us, but because — quite rightly, I suppose — 
they think we'll be more kindly disposed to them if we 



1940 Berlin, September 25 



operate on full stomachs, we being human beings after 
all. 

Moreover, the Propaganda Ministry and the Foreign 
Office, which fight each other over many things, have 
set up a fierce rivalry to see which one can establish 
the best dining club for the foreign press. Ribbentrop's 
establishment, the Ausland Presse Club, off the Kurfiir- 
stendamm, is at the moment more sumptuous than Goeb- 
bels's Ausland Club on the Leipzigerplatz. But the 
Doktor, I hear, has just appropriated several million 
marks to modernize his club and make it more gaudy 
than Ribbentrop's. I used to eat a couple of nights a 
week at the Ausland Club, it being conveniently located 
for me, and the prospect of a real beefsteak and real 
coffee proving a great temptation. Moreover, it was 
a place to chew the rag with the Nazis and see what was 
in their minds, if anything. Since the wanton aggres- 
sion against Holland and Belgium I have not gone 
there, being unable any more to stomach Nazi officials 
with my dinner. 

If we eat well, that is not to say that the German 
people do. But reports abroad about the people here 
starving are greatly exaggerated. They are not starv- 
ing. After a year of the blockade they are getting 
enough bread, potatoes, and cabbage to keep them go- 
ing for a long time. Adults get a pound of meat a week 
and a quarter of a pound of butter. Americans could 
hardly subsist on this diet. But Germans, whose bodies 
have become accustomed for a century to large amounts 
of potatoes, cabbage, and bread, seem to do very well 
on it. The meat and fat ration, though considerably 
under what they are used to, is enough to keep them 
tolerably fit. 

The shortage of fruit is acute and last winter's severe 
cold has ruined the German fruit crop. We saw no 



1940 Be klin, September 26 523 

oranges or bananas last winter and are not likely to 
see any this winter. The occupation of Denmark and 
Holland helped temporarily to augment the stocks of 
vegetables and dairy products, but Germany's inability 
to furnish fodder to these countries will shortly make 
them liabilities in the matter of food. There's no doubt 
that the Germans looted all the available food in Scan- 
dinavia, Holland, Belgium, and France, though it's 
true they paid for it — in paper marks "which cost 
them nothing. Only Mr. Herbert Hoover's representa- 
tive here doubts that. 

The important thing is that Britain will not win the 
war, say, in the next two or three years by starving the 
German people. And Hitler, who is never sentimental 
about non-Germans, will see to it that every one of the 
hundred million people in the occupied lands dies of 
hunger before one German does. Of that the world may 
be sure. 

Berlin, September 26 

We had the longest air-raid of the war last 
night, from eleven p.m. to four o'clock this morning. If 
you had a job to get to at seven or eight a.m., as hun- 
dreds of thousands of people had, you got very little 
sleep. The British ought to do this every night. No 
matter if not much is destroyed. The damage last night 
was not great. But the psychological effect was tre- 
mendous. 

No one expected the British so early, and thousands 
were caught in subways, on the Stadtbahn, in buses 
and street-cars. They hastily made for the nearest pub- 
lic shelter and spent most of the night there. The first 
result of the early arrival of the British last night — 
theoretically they can arrive at ten p.m., two hours 



6%%. 1940 Berlin, September 26 

after dark — is that all the theatres today announce 
a new opening hour: six p.m., instead of seven thirty 
or eight p.m. And the Ministry of Education sends out 
(rord that m case of air-raids lasting after midnight, 
grade schools will remain closed the following morning 
in order to allow the children to catch up on their sleep. 

It burns me up that I cannot mention a raid that is 
going on during my broadcast. Last night the anti- 
aircraft guns protecting the Rundfunk made such a 
roar while I was broadcasting that I couldn't hear my 
own words. The lip microphone we are now forced to 
use at night prevented the sound of the guns from ac- 
companying my words to America, which is a pity. 
Noticed last night too that instead of having someone 
talk to New York from the studio below to keep our 
transmitter modulated for the five minutes before I be- 
gan to talk, the RRG substituted loud band music. 
This was done to drown out the sound of the guns. 

The B.Z. am Mittag begins its account of last night's 
attack : " The greatest war-monger of all times, Win- 
ston Churchill, dispatched his murderers to Berlin 
again last night. ..." 

As soon as I had finished my broadcast at one a.m., 
the Nazi air-wardens forced me into the air-raid cellar. 
I tried to read Carl Crow's excellent book Four Hun- 
dred Million Customers, but the light was poor. I be- 
came awfully bored. Finally Lord Haw-Haw and his 
wife suggested we steal out. We dodged past the guards 
and found an unfrequented underground tunnel, where 
we proceeded to dispose of a litre of schnaps which 
" Lady " Haw-Haw had brought. Haw-Haw can drink 
as straight as any man, and if you can get over your 
initial revulsion at his being a traitor, you find him an 
amusing and even intelligent fellow. When the bottle 
was finished we felt too free to go back to the cellar. 



1940 Berlin, September 26 525 

Haw-Haw found a secret stairway and we went up to 
his room, opened the blinds, and watched the fireworks. 
To the south of the city the guns were hammering away, 
lighting up the sky. 

Sitting there in the black of the room, I had a long 
talk with the man. Haw-Haw, whose real name is Wil- 
liam Joyce, but who in Germany goes by the name of 
Froehlich (which in German means "Joyful"), de^ 
nies that he is a traitor. He argues that he has re- 
nounced his British nationality and become a German 
citizen, and that he is no more a traitor than thousands 
of British and Americans who renounced their citizen- 
ship to become comrades in the Soviet Union, or than 
those Germans who gave up their nationality after 1848 
and fled to the United States. This doesn't satisfy me, 
but it does him. He kept talking about " we " and " us " 
and I asked him which people he meant. 

" We Germans, of course," he snapped. 

He's a heavily built man of about five feet nine inches, 
with Irish eyes that twinkle and a face scarred not by 
duelling in a German university but in Fascist brawls 
on the pavements of English towns. He speaks a fair 
German. I should say he has two complexes which have 
landed him in his present notorious position. He has 
a titanic hatred for Jews and an equally titanic one 
for capitalists. These two hatreds have been the main- 
springs of his adult life. Had it not been for his hys- 
teria about Jews, he might easily have become a suc- 
cessful Communist agitator. Strange as it may seem, 
he thinks the Nazi movement is a proletarian one which 
will free the world from the bonds of the " plutocratic 
capitalists." He sees himself primarily as a liberator 
of the working class. 

(Haw-Haw's colleague, Jack Trevor, an English 
actor, who also does anti-British broadcasts for Dr. 



686 1940 Berlin, September 26 

Goebbels, has no interest in the proletariat. His one 
burning passion is hatred of the Jews. Last winter it 
used to be a common sight to see him stand in the snow, 
with a mighty blizzard blowing, and rave to an S.S. 
guard outside the studio door about the urgent necessity 
of liquidating all Jews everywhere. The guard, who 
undoubtedly had no special love for the Jews, but whose 
only thought was how much longer he must stand guard 
on an unholy wintry night, would stamp his freezing 
feet in the snow, turn his head from the biting wind, 
and mutter : " J a. J a. J a. J a" probably wondering 
what freaks Englishmen are.) 

Haw-Haw's story, as I've pieced it together from our 
conversations and from his little booklet, Twilight over 
England, just published in Berlin (and which he gave 
me after I had presented him with an English book I 
had smuggled in entitled The Life and Death of Lord 
Haw-Haw) , is this : 

He was born in New York in 1906 of Irish parents 
who, he says, lost what money they had in Ireland " by 
reason of their devotion to the British crown." He 
studied literature, history, and psychology at the Uni- 
versity of London and in 1923, the year of Hitler's ill- 
fated Munich Putsch, joined the British Fascists. He 
says he earned his living thereafter as a tutor. In 1933 
he entered Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fas- 
cists and became one of its chief speakers and writers. 
For three years he was Mosley's propaganda chief. He 
claims he left Mosley's movement in 1937 " owing to 
differences on matters pertaining to organization." He 
teamed up with John Beckett, a former Socialist M.P., 
and started the National Socialist League, but within 
a few months Beckett left it because he thought Joyce's 
methods " too extreme." 

Of these days Joyce writes : " We lived National So- 



1940 Berlin, September 26 527 

cialism. . . . We were all poor enough to know the 
horrors of freedom in democracy. One of our members 
was driven mad by eighteen months of unemployment 
and starvation. I lived for months with real friends 
who loved England and could not get enough to eat 
from her." 

Twice during the year that preceded the war he was 
arrested on charges of assault and disturbing the peace. 
Then came the war clouds. 

" For me," he writes, " the decision was easy to make, 
To me it was clear on the morning of August 25 thai 
the greatest struggle in history was doomed to take 
place. It might have been a very worthy course to stay 
in England and incessantly work for peace. But I had 
one traditionally acquired or inherited prejudice. . . . 
England was going to war. I felt that if, for perfect 
reasons of conscience, I could not fight for her, I must 
give her up for ever." 

He did. On August 25 he and his wife, " who had to 
leave without even being able to say farewell to her par- 
ents," set out for Germany to take part in what he calls 
the " sacred struggle to free the world." 

Any mind which sees Hitler's cold-blooded tramping 
down of the free peoples of Europe as a sacred struggle 
to free the world speaks for itself. Haw-Haw's book 
is a hodge-podge of Nazi nonsense about England, 
studded with obvious truths about its blacker and 
meaner side which the whole world knows. 

Haw-Haw's extremely nasal voice was at first con- 
sidered by Propaganda Ministry officials as wholly un- 
fit for broadcasting. A Nazi radio engineer who had 
studied in England first saw its possibilities and he waB 
given a trial. On the radio this hard-fisted, scar-faced 
young Fascist rabble-rouser sounds like a decadent old 
English blue-blood aristocrat of the type familiar on 



1940 Berlin, September 26 



our stage. Ed Murrow told me last winter that check- 
ups showed that Haw-Haw commanded at least half 
of the English radio audience when he was on the air. 
But that was when the English were bored by the 
" phony " war and found the war and Joyce amusing. 
I think he himself realizes that he has lost most of his 
hold on the English people. Of late he has also begun 
to chafe at the inane things which Goebbels makes him 
say. 

There is a third English traitor to note here. He is 
Baillie Stewart, a former captain of the Seaf orth High- 
landers, who a few years ago was sentenced to imprison- 
ment in the Tower for betraying military secrets to 
a foreign power. The girl who led him to this was a 
German siren, and after his release he followed her here. 
He did some broadcasts at first, but his Scottish nature 
was too unbending for the Nazi officials of the Propa- 
ganda Ministry and the German Broadcasting Com- 
pany. He is now off the air and working as a transla- 
tor in the Foreign Office. 

While on the subject, I might as well note down the 
three Americans who are doing Nazi propaganda for 
the German radio. 

Fred Kaltenbach of Waterloo, Iowa, is probably the 
best of the lot, actually believing in National Socialism 
with a sincere fanaticism and continually fighting the 
Nazi Party hacks when they don't agree with him. He 
is not a bad radio speaker. I avoid all three and have 
seen Kaltenbach only once. That was at Compiegne 
when he was having one of his periodic feuds with the 
Nazi radio authorities. They gave orders that he was 
not to be taken from Paris to Compiegne, but he stole 
a ride with some army officers and " gate-crashed " the 
ceremony. He was continually being arrested by the 
military and ejected from the grounds, but he came 



1940 Beelin, September 26 529 

back each time. Most Nazis find him a bit " too Ameri- 
can " for their taste, but Kaltenbach would die for 
Nazism. 

The second American speaker is one Edward Leo- 
pold Delaney, who goes here by the name of E. D. 
Ward. He's a disappointed actor who used to have oc- 
casional employment with road companies in the United 
States. He has a diseased hatred for Jews, but other- 
wise is a mild fellow and broadcasts the cruder type of 
Nazi propaganda without questioning. 

The third person is Miss Constance Drexel, who 
many years ago wrote for the Philadelphia Public 
Ledger. The Nazis hire her, so far as I can find out, 
principally because she's the only woman in town who 
will sell her American accent to them. Bizarre: she 
constantly pesters me for a job. One American network 
hired her at the beginning of the war, but dropped her 
almost at once. 

For their other foreign-language broadcasts the 
Nazis have a strange assortment of hired Balkanites, 
Dutch, Scandinavians, Spaniards, Arabs, and Hindus. 
Once in a great while one of these speakers turns out 
to be " unreliable." Such a one was the Yugoslav 
speaker who began his broadcast the other night: 
"Ladies and gentlemen, what you are about to hear 
from Berlin tonight is a lot of nonsense, a pack of lies, 
and if you have any sense, you will turn your dials." 
He got no further, for there are " checkers " sitting lis- 
tening at the Propaganda Ministry at the other end 
of town. The last seen of the fellow was when the S.S. 
guards carted him off to jail. 

The Norwegian people were brusquely informed last 
night in a broadcast by the Nazi Commissar in Oslo, 
Gauleiter Terboven, of the hard row that lies ahead 



530 1940 Berlin, September 26 

of them. Announced the Gauleiter: (1) The Norwegian 
Royal House has no more political importance and will 
never return to Norway. (2) The same goes for 
the Nygaardsvold government which emigrated. (8) 
Therefore any activity in favour of the Royal House 
or the government which fled is prohibited. (4) In ac- 
cordance with a decree of Hitler, a commissarial council 
is named to take over the business of the government. 

(5) The old political parties are dissolved immediately. 

(6) Any combinations for the purpose of political ac- 
tivity of any kind will not be tolerated. 

Thus is Norway, all that is decent and democratic in 
Norway, destroyed — for the time being. And Ger- 
many shows so plainly how unfit she is to rule over any- 
body else. There was a short time, when the Reich first 
took over Norway — the same is true of Holland — 
when Germany might have succeeded in winning over 
the goodwill of the people there, who saw it was hope- 
less to struggle against the overwhelming military 
power of Hitler. But the Germans did everything pos- 
sible to forfeit goodwill, and in a few weeks the senti- 
ment changed. Now in all the occupied countries the 
German rulers are bitterly hated. No decent Norwe- 
gian or Dutchman will have anything to do with them. 

The Gauleiter's broadcast was a fine example of Ger- 
man tactlessness. He told the Norwegian people that 
he had tried in vain to negotiate with the old political 
parties, but they had held out for power and had not 
" heeded " his warnings ; so he had had to liquidate 
them. In conclusion, he told the Norwegians that it 
had now become clear that the way of the Quisling 
movement had always been the only possible one for 
Norway, and that this party would be the only one tol- 
erated by the Germans in the future. Thus, in effect, 
he told the Norwegians that a miserable little traitor, 



1940 Berlin, September 26 531 

detested by ninety-nine and a half per cent of the popu- 
lation, was not only right, but henceforth would have 
the only say — so far as any Norwegian will have any 
say, which is little enough — about the future of their 
country. 

You don't have to be profound to conclude that the 
rule of brute force now exercised by the Germans over 
the occupied territories can never last very long. For 
despite complete military and police power, which the 
Germans admittedly have, you cannot for ever rule over 
foreign European peoples who hate and detest you. 
The success of Hitler's " new order " in Europe is there- 
fore doomed even before it is set up. The Nazis, of 
course, who have never troubled to study European 
history but are guided by a primitive Germanic tribal 
urge of conquest with no thought for the possible con- 
sequences, think that they are well on their way to in- 
stalling a European " new order " which will be domi- 
nated by Germany for the greater good of Germany for 
all time. Their long-term plan is not only to keep the 
subjected European peoples permanently disarmed so 
that they cannot revolt against their German masters, 
but to make them so dependent on Germany economi- 
cally that they cannot exist without Berlin's benevolent 
will. Thus those heavy and highly technical industries 
which still function in the slave lands will be concen- 
trated in Germany. The slave peoples will produce the 
raw materials to feed them, and the food to feed the 
German masters. They will be largely agricultural and 
mining communities — much as the Balkan lands fulfil 
that role for western Europe today. And they will be 
utterly dependent upon Germany. 

The subjected peoples of Europe will be saved, of 
course, if Britain holds out and ultimately wins this 
war. But even if Germany should win the war it will 



532 1940 Berlin, September 27 

lose its struggle to organize Europe. The German, I 
am profoundly convinced after mingling with him now 
for many years, is incapable of organizing Europe. 
His lack of balance, his bullying sadism when he is on 
top, his constitutional inability to grasp even faintly 
what is in the minds and hearts of other peoples, his 
instinctive feeling that relations between two peoples 
can only be on the basis of master and slave and never 
on the basis of let-live equality — these characteristics 
of the German make him and his nation unfit for the 
leadership in Europe they have always sought and make 
it certain that, however he may try, he will in the long 
run fail. 

Ciano arrives here tomorrow from Rome. Most peo- 
ple think it is for the announcement that Spain is en- 
tering the war on the side of the Axis. Sufier is here 
for the ceremony, if it comes off. 

Berlin, September 27 

Hitler and Mussolini have pulled another 
surprise. 

At one p.m. today in the Chancellery, Japan, Ger- 
many, and Italy signed a military alliance directed 
against the United States. I was caught way off base 
thinking that Ciano had come to pipe Spain into the 
war. Sufier was not even present at the theatrical per- 
formance the fascists of Europe and Asia staged today. 

I came to my senses this morning when I noticed the 
schoolchildren who had been marched to the Wilhelm- 
strasse to cheer — waving Japanese flags. As I had a 
broadcast at two p.m. and the correspondents were con- 
voked at the Chancellery for " an important announce- 
ment " at one p.m., I asked Hartrich to cover the actual 



1940 Be el in, September 27 533 

ceremony. At the Rundfunh I followed it by radio. 

Core of the pact is Article III. It reads : " Germany, 
Italy, and Japan undertake to assist one another with 
all political, economic, and military means when one of 
the three contracting parties is attacked by a power at 
present not involved in the European war or in the 
Sino-Japanese conflict." 

There are two great powers not yet involved in either 
of those wars : Russia and the United States. But Ar- 
ticle III does not refer to Russia ; Article V refers to 
Russia. Article V says : " Germany, Italy, and Japan 
affirm that the aforesaid terms do not in any way affect 
the political status which exists at present between each 
of the three contracting parties and Soviet Russia." 

The Soviet Union is out. That leaves the U.S.A. in. 
There was no attempt to disguise this obvious fact in 
Nazi circles tonight, though, as expected, my censors 
tried to stop me from saying so and I had to use all 
my wits in getting the thing across in my broadcasts. 
Though it would have been more honest and accurate 
to say bluntly that Nazi circles did not disguise the 
fact that the alliance was directed against the United 
States, I had to water it down to this beautiful opening 
sentence : " There is no attempt in informed circles here 
tonight to disguise the fact that the military alliance 
signed in Berlin today . . . has one great country in 
mind. That country is the United States." Then to 
clinch the argument I had to resort to a nebulous analy- 
sis of the text of the treaty and the German interpre- 
tation thereof, which the censors, after some sour re- 
marks, finally passed. 

Now, why did Hitler, instigator of this alliance, hur- 
riedly rig it up just at this time? My theory is this: 
Ribbentrop journeyed suddenly to Rome a fortnight 
ago to break the news to Mussolini that the expected 



53 % 1940 Berlin, September 27 

land invasion of Britain, which Hitler in a speech only 
a few days previously at the Sportpalast had promised 
the German people would certainly take place soon, 
could not be carried out as planned. Mussolini had al- 
ready started an invasion of Egypt to coincide with 
the attack on Britain and to divide the Empire's forces, 
but not to do much more than that this fall. We 
know that Ribbentrop stayed longer in Rome than he 
planned. The Duce, no doubt, was disturbed at Hitler's 
abandoning the all-out attack on Britain which he was 
confident would end the war — and Italy had only en- 
tered the war when she did because she thought it was 
almost over. What was the Axis to do? The obvious 
thing seemed to devote the winter to attacking the 
heart of the British Empire in Egypt, conquer that 
country, take the Suez Canal, then grab Palestine, 
Iraq, where badly needed oil was at hand, and possibly 
continue down the Euphrates and take the Persian oil 
region, or at least its export base at the head of the Per- 
sian Gulf. Germany could supply thousands of air- 
planes and tanks and some complete Panzer divisions 
which had been assembled for the attack on Britain. If 
necessary, Yugoslavia and Greece could be occupied 
(Italy to get Dalmatia permanently), and southern 
Greece used as a starting-place for German planes 
against Egypt and the British Mediterranean fleet. 

To ensure the complete and timely success of the 
campaign, Spain must be brought in and made to take 
Gibraltar immediately, thus destroying Britain's posi- 
tion in the western Mediterranean. Serranc? Sufier, 
Franco's brother-in-law, Minister of Interior and leader 
of the Falangists, was in Berlin. He personally seemed 
favourable. Only Franco, that ingrate, hesitated. The 
British, Franco apparently thought, were not yet 
beaten, and . . . 



1940 B eel in, September 27 535 

There was that other factor, the United States. 

Until recently, that factor had not been taken much 
into account in Berlin. Last fall Goring had scoffed to 
us of the possibility of American aid to the Allies play- 
ing a role in this war. All through the summer, as the 
German army smashed through the west, Berlin was 
confident that the war would be over by fall, and that 
therefore American aid, which could only become really 
effective next spring, was of no concern to Germany. 
That view seems to have been sincerely held here until 
very recently. In the last two or three weeks something 
has gone wrong with the plans to invade Britain. They 
may or may not be off, but probably are. At any rate 
it dawned on Berlin a few days ago that Britain might 
not be defeated after all this fall, might still be fight- 
ing next spring, and that then American aid to Britain, 
especially in planes, would begin to make itself felt 
rather seriously. Something must be done after all 
about the United States. What? Something to scare 
her and to set the American isolationists loose again 
with a new cry about the danger of war. 

In Japan a few weeks ago a new government under 
Prince Konoye came to power proclaiming a " new 
life " and a " new order " in eastern Asia. The Princt 
was a man the Germans could deal with. Herr Stahmer, 
a confidential man of Ribbentrop's who used to be em- 
ployed in working on the British appeasers, was dis- 
patched to look over the ground. There follows now a 
military alliance designed to threaten America and keep 
her out of the war. If I am any judge of American 
character, no one at home with the exception of the 
Wheelers, Nyes, and Lindberghs will be the least bit 
frightened by this. The effect will be just the opposite 
from what Hitler and Ribbentrop, who never fail to 
misjudge Anglo-Saxon character, expect. 



536 1940 Beelin, September 27 

Then too, this tripartite pact is a thing the Axis 
powers and especially Germany can ballyhoo to the 
skies, thus taking people's minds off the fact that the 
promised invasion of England isn't coming off and that 
the war — which every German confidently expected 
since midsummer would be over in a month or two — 
isn't going to end before winter comes, after all. 

The ballyhoo today has already been terrific, push- 
ing all other news completely off the front page. The 
German people are told that the pact is of world- 
shaking importance and will shortly bring final " world 
peace." The ceremony of signing, as described by 
Hartrich, who was present, was carried through with 
typical Axis talent for the theatrical. In the first place, 
the surprise of the event itself. Then the showy setting. 
When Ribbentrop, Ciano, and Japanese Ambassador 
M. Kurusu, a bewildered little man, entered the gala 
hall of the Chancellery, Klieg lights blazed away as 
the scene was recorded for history. Brightly coloured 
uniforms all over the place. The entire staffs of the 
Italian and Japanese embassies present. (No other 
diplomats attended. The Russian Ambassador was in- 
vited, but replied he would be out of town this noon.) 
The three men sit themselves at a gilded table. Rib- 
bentrop rises and motions one of his slaves, Dr. Schmidt, 
to read the text of the pact. Then they sign while the 
cameras grind away. Then comes the climactic mo- 
ment, or so the Nazis think. Three loud knocks on the 
giant door are heard. There is a tense hush in the great 
hall. The Japanese hold their breath. The door swings 
slowly open, and in strides Hitler. Ribbentrop bobs 
up and formally notifies him that the pact has been 
signed. The Great Khan nods approvingly, but does 
not deign to speak. Hitler majestically takes a seat 
in the middle of the table, while the two foreign min- 



1940 Beblin, September 30 537 

isters and the Japanese Ambassador scramble for chairs. 
When they have got adjusted, they pop up, one after 
another, and deliver prepared addresses which the radio 
broadcasts round the world. 

To add : Article I of the pact states that Japan rec- 
ognizes the leadership of Germany and Italy in the 
creation of a new order in Europe. Article II says: 
" Germany and Italy recognize the leadership of Japan 
in the creation of a new order in the greater east Asiatic 
territory." 

Neither of the two sides can lend the slightest eco- 
nomic or military help to the other so long as they are 
separated by the British navy. What Japan gets out 
of it is not clear, since if we should go to war with her 
neither Germany nor Italy could harm us until they had 
conquered the British navy. And should we get in- 
volved in war with Berlin and Rome, Japan is bound to 
declare war on us, though her own interests might dic- 
tate not doing so. However, she could no doubt find 
an excuse for forgetting the treaty in that case. 

One thing is clear: Hitler would not have promul- 
gated the tripartite pact if he thought the war was 
coming to an end before winter. There would have been 
no need of it. 

Berlin, September 30 

A two-hour alarm last night, but we heard 
nothing. Apparently the British were attacking Bran- 
denburg, to the west of the capital. Though damage 
from British bombing is still negligible, the authorities, 
I learn, have ordered the evacuation of all children 
under fourteen from Berlin. Agricultural Minister 
Darre today claimed that food supplies for the winter 
have now been secured. He estimates the potato crop 



538 1940 Berlin, October 3 

at sixty million tons. The grain crop is two million 
tons less than last year, but will be sufficient. Rations 
for meat, fats, and bread will remain the same through- 
out the winter. 

Berlin, October 3 

Tipped off that Hitler and Mussolini are to 
pull a surprise meeting at the Brenner tomorrow. Hit- 
ler has already quit Berlin amidst the usual secrecy. 
We are not allowed to report it, as Hitler's movements 
are considered military secrets. (Himmler keeps the 
Fiihrer's standard flying above the Chancellery nowa- 
days even when the great man is absent, so that no one 
will know.) I did manage to slip in a concluding sen- 
tence in my broadcast tonight about a " news develop- 
ment of special interest " being scheduled for tomorrow. 

Berlin, October 4 

The meeting in the Brenner took place shortly 
before noon today. The official communique gave no 
information on the talk except that Keitel was present. 
The Foreign Office warned us not to speculate. 

It would be reasonable to conclude, I think, that there 
must have been differences between the two Axis powers 
so fundamental that Hitler deemed it advisable to see 
the Duce personally. For in the last month Ribbentrop 
has been to Rome, and Ciano has been here, so that there 
has been no lack of contact between the nominal di- 
rectors of foreign policy. The best guess here is that 
Mussolini is sore because the Germans apparently have 
abandoned the idea of invading Britain this fall, leav- 
ing him holding the bag with his offensive in the Egyp- 
tian desert, where his army, now seventy-five or a hun- 
dred miles within the desert, must transport all its own 



1940 Berlin, October 5 539 

water overland. Obviously Ribbentrop failed to ap- 
pease the Italians, so it was necessary for Hitler to do 
it. It would be wishful thinking, though, to conclude 
that today's meeting was only negative. Obviously fu- 
ture war plans were gone over and perhaps a decision 
made to tackle the British Empire seriously at its 
waistline, by a drive on Egypt and the Suez Canal. 
It may be that Germany agreed to establish military 
bases in the Balkans to help this drive. One German 
plan much talked about here is an offensive through 
Turkey to the Near East. 

Berlin, October 5 

The German newspapers make amusing read- 
ing today with their reports of the Brenner meeting. 
They rave for columns about its world-shaking impor- 
tance, but offer not the slightest information to their 
readers as to why. They give no information whatso- 
ever. But in the present totalitarian atmosphere, where 
words have lost all meaning, anything becomes true 
merely because the controlled press says so. I received 
one trustworthy report today that the Brenner meet- 
ing was rather stormy, with Mussolini doing some real 
lusty shouting. The Italians here put out a story, prob- 
ably apocryphal, but indicative of Italo-German amity. 
They say the Duce asked the Fuhrer yesterday why he 
had given up his plan to invade Britain. Hitler swal- 
lowed and then dodged an answer by posing a question 
of his own : 

" Why haven't you, Duce, been able to take a little 
place like Malta ? I am very disappointed about that." 

The Italians here say Mussolini screwed up his face 
and said : " Fuhrer, don't forget that Malta is an island 
too." 



5Jfi 1940 Be a lin, October 7 

The fifth week of Germany's great air offensive 
against Britain began today. And the Germans are 
in a great state of mind because the British won't ad- 
mit they're licked. They cannot repress their rage 
against Churchill for still holding out hopes of victory 
to his people, instead of lying down and surrendering, 
as have all of Hitler's opponents up to date. The Ger- 
mans cannot understand a people with character and 
guts. 

Berlin, October 7 

A characteristic Nazi journalistic fake. The 
press quotes Knickerbocker, whom it dubs " the Ameri- 
can world liar," as having told Portuguese journalists 
in Lisbon that he fled London because it was no longer 
possible to live there. Knowing Knick, I know this is 
pure invention. 

Berlin, October 8 

Lunch with the Greek Minister and Mme 
Rangabe. Their daughter, Elmina, whom we used to 
see a lot with Martha Dodd and who has a dark, Balkan 
beauty, was present. The Minister very glum, his valu- 
ables packed, and fearing Italian invasion any day. He 
clings to a slim hope that Hitler will save Greece be- 
cause of what he calls the Fiihrer's " admiration for 
the glories of Athens." 

Though I do not broadcast to America until a quarter 
to two in the morning, I have to be at the Rundfimk at 
ten p.m., since it is theoretically possible for the British 
bombers to be over the city by then. When they do 
come, the Germans halt all transportation, not even 
permitting you to walk in the streets. That means 
that if I am caught elsewhere by an alarm, there is no 



1940 Berlin, October 8 5^1 

broadcast. Last night I was helping celebrate the de- 
parture for home of " Butch " Leverich, Second Sec- 
retary of Embassy, at a party given by the Heaths 
when ten o'clock came. It was a great temptation to 
stay on. All present were certain the British would not 
come over. I left, however, got hopelessly lost in the 
black-out somewhere south of the Wittenbergplatz , 
but eventually got my bearings and steered my Ford 
through the inky night to the Rundfunk. As I turned 
off the motor, the sirens screamed, and before I could 
reach the building, the anti-aircraft shrapnel was fall- 
ing all around like hail. The British attack lasted until 
four a.m., and was the most intensive yet. Once again 
the railroad tracks north of the Lehrter and Stettiner 
stations were torn up by bombs. One young German 
woman I know owes her hfe to the fact that she missed 
her suburban train by about twenty feet. She caught 
a second one fifteen minutes later, but it did not run 
very far. The first had been hit square on by a British 
bomb and blown to pieces, fifteen passengers perishing ! 
The German press harps so much on the Luftwaffe 
attacks on Britain being reprisals for the sort of thing 
we received last night that the pubhc is already nau- 
seated by the term — and Germans take a lot of nause- 
ating. The story around town is that the average Ber- 
liner when he buys his ten-pfennig evening paper now 
says to the newsboy : " Give me ten pfennigs' worth 
of reprisals." It's interesting, by the way, how few 
people buy the evening newspapers. Get on a subway 
or a bus during the evening rush hour. Not one German 
in ten is reading a newspaper. Slow-thinking and long- 
suffering though they are, they are beginning to be 
aware, I think, that their newspapers give them little 
news, and that little so doctored by propaganda that 
it is difficult to recognize. Radio news is no better and 



5J$ 1940 Beelin, October 15 

of late I have noticed more than one German shut off 
a news broadcast after the first couple of minutes with 
that expressive Berlin exclamation: "Oh, Quatsch! " 
which is stronger than " Oh, nonsense ! " " Rubbish " 
is probably a better translation. 



Berlin, October 15 

I have pretty well made up my mind about 
some personal matters. For some time I've been getting 
information from military circles that Hitler is mak- 
ing ready to go into Spain in order to get Gibraltar — 
whether Franco, who is helpless, likes it or not. That 
will cut off the last avenue of escape for my family in 
Geneva. The only way you can get to America now 
from Europe is through Switzerland, unoccupied 
France, Spain, and Portugal to Lisbon, the one remain- 
ing port on the Continent from which you can get a boat 
or a plane to New York. If things come to the worst, 
I can always get out by way of Russia and Siberia, but 
that is no adventure for a child of two. This winter the 
Germans, to show their power to discipline the sturdy, 
democratic Swiss, are refusing to send Switzerland even 
the small amount of coal necessary for the Swiss people 
to heat their homes. The Germans are also allowing 
very little food into Switzerland, for the same shabby 
reason. Life in Switzerland this winter will be hard. 
Though Tess would rather stay, she has agreed to go 
home at the end of the month. 

I shall follow in December. I think my usefulness here 
is about over. Until recently, despite the censorship, I 
think I've been able to do an honest job of reporting 
from Germany. But it has become increasingly diffi- 
cult and at present it has become almost impossible. 
The new instructions of both the military and the po- 



1940 Zueich, October 18 5J.3 

litical censors are that they cannot allow me to say any- 
thing which might create an unfavourable impression 
for Nazi Germany in the United States. Moreover, the 
new restrictions about reporting air attacks force you 
either to give a completely false picture of them or to 
omit mention of them altogether. I usually do the latter, 
but it is almost as dishonest as the former. In short, you 
can no longer report the war or conditions in Germany 
as they are. You cannot call the Nazis " Nazis " or an 
invasion an " invasion." You are reduced to re-broad- 
casting the official communiques, which are lies, and 
which any automaton can do. Even the more intelligent 
and decent of my censors ask me, in confidence, why I 
stay. I have not the slightest interest in remaining un- 
der these circumstances. With my deep, burning hatred 
of all that Nazism stands for, it has never been pleasant 
working and living here. But that was secondary as 
long as there was a job to do. No one's personal life in 
Europe counts any more, and I have had none since 
the war began. But now there is not even a job to do — 
not from here. 

Zurich, October 18 

A wonderful thing, that relief you always feel 
the minute you get out of Germany. Flew down from 
Berlin this afternoon. From Munich to Zurich we had 
a Douglas plane flown by Swiss pilots, and off to the left 
the whole time the gorgeous panorama of the Alps, the 
peaks and high ranges already deep in snow. When the 
sun started to set, the snow turned pink, a magnificent 
shade. A half -hour out of Munich two German fighter 
planes pursued us, the rooky pilots using us to practise 
diving on. Three or four times, swooping down on us, 
they nearly touched our wings. I began to perspire, 



5U 1940 Geneva, October 23 

but there was nothing to do about it. They had para- 
chutes ; we didn't. 

Soon a thick cloud belt began to blanket the coun- 
try under us, and I worried a bit about getting down 
through it to the Zurich airport, surrounded as it is by 
high hills. Finally we plunged into the clouds. We 
soon appeared to be lost, for the pilot, after circling 
about for five minutes, climbed above the clouds again 
and turned back towards Munich. Then another 
plunge, this time a deep one, and suddenly it was dark 
and the thought that we were probably going to make 
an emergency landing in Germany depressed me, for 
a few minutes before, I had felt free of the Reich at last. 
Now we were diving at a steep angle. The pilot sig- 
nalled to adjust the safety belt. I gripped the seat hard. 
And then out of the darkness the red fog light of a land- 
ing-field, and the familiar roof-tops, and the city lights 
sparkling — this could be no city of blacked-out Ger- 
many, this could only be Zurich — and in a minute we 
were on hard ground. The pilot had made a perfect 
blind landing in the fog. 

I sit here in the Bahnhof waiting for my Geneva train, 
the Dole red wine good, the free people of Switzerland 
bustling through the hall a sight worth seeing, feeling a 
release and yet sad at the farewell that must be said in 
Geneva next week, and the realization that still another 
home we tried to make will be broken up. 

Geneva, October 23 

Tess and Eileen got off at dawn this morning 
on a Swiss bus that will take them in two days and nights 
of hard driving across unoccupied France to Barcelona, 
from where they can get a train to Madrid and Lisbon, 
and from Lisbon a boat for home. There are no trains 



1940 Bern, October 24 54.5 

across France yet. By bus is the only way, and I sup- 
pose we were lucky, because there are more than a thou- 
sand refugees here waiting to get on the two buses that 
ply once a week to Spain. They could carry little lug- 
gage, and we must store our belongings here for the 
duration. The American Express would not dispatch 
its bus today because of word that floods in the Pyrenees 
had washed out the roads between France and Spain, 
but our company said it hoped to get through, a hope I 
share. Tess carried food and water for herself and child, 
as there are no provisions to be had en route in France. 
The child was happy with excitement as the bus pulled 
away and I was glad she was too young to notice or feel 
the tragedy in that car-load of human beings, most of 
whom were German Jews, who were nervous and jittery 
almost to a point of hysteria, for they were afraid that 
the French might take them off and turn them over to 
Himmler's tortures, or that the Spaniards would not 
let them through. 1 If they could get to Lisbon they 
would be safe, but Lisbon was far. 

Betty Sargent tells me Robert Dell has died in Amer- 
ica — that grand old man of liberal English journalism 
whose love of justice, decency, peace, democracy, life, 
good talk, good food, good wine, and beautiful women 
was scarcely equalled by that of any man I know. I 
shall miss him. 

Bern, October 24 

A sad, gloomy trip with Joe [Harsch] up 
from Geneva this afternoon. I gazed heavy-hearted 
through the window of the train at the Swiss, Lake Ge- 
neva, the mountains, Mont Blanc, the green hills and 
the marble palace of the League that perished. 

i Most of them were turned back at the Spanish frontier. 



54.6 1940 Munich, October 25 

Munich, October 25 

Blind-landed in a thick fog and the authori- 
ties would not let us continue our flight to Berlin be- 
cause of the lack of visibility. Am taking the night 
train. All the restaurants, cafes, and beer-halls here 
packed tonight with lusty Bavarians. Notice they've 
completely stopped saying: " Heil Hitler." 

Berlin, October 27 

Ed Hartrich off in a couple of days for home 
and I shall leave early in December. Harry Flannery is 
arriving from St. Louis to take over. 

Berlin, October 28 

Today we've had a classic example of how a 
Fascist dictatorship suppresses news it feels might too 
easily shock its people. This morning the Italian army 
marched into Greece. This morning, too, Hitler popped 
up in Florence and saw Mussolini about this latest act 
of Fascist aggression. The Berlin newspapers have 
great headlines about the meeting in Florence. But 
they do not carry a single line about the Italian inva- 
sion of Greece. My spies report that Goebbels has asked 
for a couple of days to prepare German public opinion 
for the news. 

No word from Tess since she left Geneva. With the 
present chaos in unoccupied France and Spain, any- 
thing can happen. 

Berlin, October 29 

Twenty-four hours after Italy's wanton ag- 
gression against Greece, the German people are still 



1940 Berlin, October 29 5^7 

deprived of the news by their rulers. Not a line in the 
morning papers or the noon papers. But Goebbels is 
carefully preparing his public for the news. This morn- 
ing he had the press publish the text of the outrageous 
Italian ultimatum to the Greek government. It was al- 
most an exact copy of the ultimatums which the Ger- 
mans sent to Denmark and Norway, and later to Hol- 
land and Belgium. But the German public may have 
wondered what happened after the ultimatum, since it 
expired yesterday morning. 

Later. — The news was finally served the 
German people in the p.m. editions in the form of the 
text of today's Italian war communique. That was all. 
But there were nauseating editorials in the local press 
condemning Greece for not having understood the " new 
order " and for having plotted with the British against 
Italy. The moral cesspool in which German editors 
now splash was fairly well illustrated by their offerings 
today. After several years of it I still find it exasperat- 
ing. Also today, the usual Goebbels fakes. For exam- 
ple, one saying that the Greeks disdained even to answer 
the ultimatum, though the truth is that they did. They 
rejected it. 

There is certainly no enthusiasm among the people 
here for the latest gangster step of the Axis. German 
military people, always contemptuous of the Italians, 
tell me Greece will be no walk-away for Mussolini's le- 
gions. The mountainous terrain is difficult for motor- 
ized units to operate in and moreover, they say, the 
Greeks have the best mountain artillery in Europe. 
General Metaxas, the Premier, and quite a few Greek 
officers have been trained at Potsdam, the Germans tell 
me. 



548 1940 Berlin, October 31 

Berlin, October 31 

The story is that Hitler rushed from France, 
where he had seen Franco and Petain (the Fiihrer 
greatly impressed by the French marshal, but not by 
Franco, say the party boys) , to Florence to stop Musso- 
lini from going into Greece. He arrived four hours too 
late, and by the time he saw Mussolini there was no 
turning back. The fact is that Hitler thinks he can 
take the Balkans without a fight. He does not want a 
war there for two reasons : first, it disrupts the already 
inadequate transportation facilities which are needed 
now to bring food and raw materials from the Balkans 
to Germany ; secondly, it forces him to spread still fur- 
ther his forces, which now must hold a line stretching 
for more than a thousand miles from Narvik to Hen- 
daye in the west, and on the east the long frontier with 
Russia, where he keeps a minimum of thirty-five divi- 
sions and one whole air fleet. Hitler is reported furious 
at his junior Axis partner for jumping the gun. 

With winter upon us, it is now obvious that there 
will be no German attempt to invade Britain this fall. 
Why has the invasion not been attempted? What has 
happened to the grand lines of Hitler's strategy? Why 
no final victory, no triumphant peace, by now? We 
know that at the beginning of last June he felt certain 
of them by summer's end. His certainty inspired the 
armed forces and the entire German people with the 
same sure feeling. He and they had no doubts about it. 
Were not the stands erected and painted, and decorated 
with shining Swastika eagles and black-and-silver iron 
crosses for the great Victory Parade through the Bran- 
denburger Tor? Early last August they were ready. 

What, in truth, went wrong? 



1940 Berlin, October 31 5^9 

We do not yet know the entire answer. Some things 
we can piece together. 

In the first place, Hitler hesitated and his hesitation 
may well prove to have been a blunder as colossal as the 
indecision of the German High Command before Paris 
in 1914, marking a turning-point in the war that none 
of us can yet grasp, though it is manifestly too early 
yet to say so. The French army was liquidated by 
June 18, when Petain asked for an armistice. Many 
who followed the German army into France expected 
Hitler to turn immediately and strike at Britain while 
the iron was hot, while the magic spell of invincibility 
was still woven round him and his magnificent military 
machine. The British, Hitler knew, were reeling from 
the titanic blows just struck them. They had lost their 
ally, France. They were just receiving home the de- 
moralized remnants of their Continental expeditionary 
force, whose costly, irreplaceable arms and equipment 
had been abandoned on the beach of Dunkirk. They 
had no longer a great organized, equipped land army. 
Their shore defences were pitiful. Their all-powerful 
navy could not fight in great force in the narrow waters 
of the English Channel, over which Goring's bombers 
and Messerschmitts, operating from bases in sight of 
the sea, now had control. 

This was the situation when Hitler strode into the 
little clearing of Compiegne Forest on June 21 to dic- 
tate a harsh armistice to France. I recall now — though 
the fact did not make any impression on me at the time 
— that at Compiegne there seemed to be no hurry on 
the part of the German military to finish with Britain. 
Piecing together today — long after the event — stray 
bits of conversation picked up here and there in Com- 
piegne and Paris, I think the word had come down from 
Hitler that an invasion of Britain, though it must be 



550 1940 Berlin, October 31 

quickly and thoroughly prepared, would never be neces- 
sary. Churchill would accept the kind of peace which 
the little Austrian was mulling over in his mind. It 
would be a Nazi peace, it would bar Great Britain from 
the continent of Europe at long last ; it might be merely 
an armistice, a breathing-spell during which Germany 
could consolidate such overwhelming strength on the 
mainland that Britain in the end would have to bow to 
the Nazi conqueror without a fight — but it would be 
a face-saving peace for Churchill. And he would accept 
it. I believe Hitler really thought he would. And his 
certainty delayed and slackened the work which was 
necessary to prepare a devastating invasion force — the 
construction and concentration of barges, pontoons, 
shipping, and a thousand kinds of equipment. 

[Later. 19J(.l. — The breathing-spell might also be 
used to settle accounts with Russia. Some observers in 
Berlin were convinced at the end of June that Hitler 
was sincerely anxious to conclude peace with Britain 
(on his own terms, of course) so that he could turn on 
the Soviet Union — always his long-term objective. 
Hitler, they believed, felt sure the British would under- 
stand this. Had not Chamberlain's policy been to en- 
courage the German military machine to turn east 
against Russia? The fact that during the last days of 
June and throughout the first three weeks of July one 
German division after another was recalled from France 
and hurriedly transported to what the Germans usually 
referred to as the " Russian front " would seem to bear 
this out. But it is by no means certain. Russia, Hitler 
believed, was weak. Russia could wait. What was im- 
portant was getting Great Britain out of the way. Yet 
his mind seemed full of puzzling contradictions. He 



1940 Berlin, October 31 551 

realized very clearly that German hegemony on the Con- 
tinent, not to mention a foothold in Africa, could never 
be safely maintained as long as Britain held command 
of the seas and possessed a growing air force. But Hit- 
ler must have known that Britain, battered and groggy 
though she was by what had happened in France and 
the Low Countries, would never accept a peace which 
would rob her of her sea power or curtail her increasing 
strength in the air. Yet this was the only kind of peace 
he could afford to offer her. The evidence seems con- 
clusive, however, that he was confident that Churchill 
preferred this manner of peace to facing a German in- 
vasion.] 

It may well be that Hitler expected Churchill to 
make the first move for peace. Didn't an Englishman 
know when he was beaten ? Hitler would be patient and 
wait and let the realization sink into his thick British 
head. 

He waited a month. All through the last lovely week 
of June and the first three weeks of July he waited. In 
Berlin we heard rumours that contact had been made 
between Berlin and London at Stockholm and that 
peace was being talked, but we never had any confirma- 
tion of them and in all probability there was nothing to 
them. 

On July 19 Hitler spoke out in the Reichstag. He 
publicly offered Britain peace, though concealing his 
terms. But the very fact that he devoted most of the 
session to promoting his leading generals to be field- 
marshals, as though the victorious war were in truth 
over, indicated that he still felt certain that Churchill 
would bid for peace. 

The Luftwaffe had been established on the North Sea 



552 1940 Berlin, October 31 

and the Channel for more than a month, but German 
planes had refrained from any serious attacks on the 
land of Britain. Hitler was holding it back. 

I think the prompt and sweeping reaction in Eng- 
land to his " offer of peace " came as a shock to him. 
He was not prepared for such a quick and unequivocal 
rejection. I think he hesitated until the end of July — 
twelve days — before he accepted that rejection as 
Churchill's final answer. By then a month and a half 
of precious time had been largely lost. 

There is reason to believe that most of the generals of 
the High Command, especially General von Brauchitsch, 
commander-in-chief of the army, and General Haider, 
chief of the General Staff, maintained grave doubts as 
to the chances of success of an invasion of Britain by a 
land army, particularly by the end of July, when the 
British, they knew, had to some extent recovered from 
the blows of May and June. The naval problem in- 
volved seems to have baffled them, for one thing. And 
though Goring, it is reliably reported, assured them he 
could knock out the RAF in a fortnight, as he had de- 
stroyed the Polish air force in three days, they seem to 
have had some doubts on this score too — doubts that 
in the end proved fully j ustifled. 

Throughout July the Germans had been gathering 
barges and pontoons in the canals, rivers, and harbours 
along the French, Belgian, and Dutch coasts and assem- 
bling shipping at Bremen, Hamburg, Kiel, and various 
ports in Denmark and Norway. A common sight on the 
new highways in western Germany was that of Diesel- 
motored barges taken from as far away as the Danube 
being hauled on rollers towards the west coast. Work- 
shops and garages all over the Reich were put to work 
on small armoured, self-propelling pontoons which 
could carry a tank or a heavy gun or a company of 



1940 Berlin, October 31 553 

troops in a calm sea, but not in a rough one, over the 
Channel. Behind Calais and Boulogne on August 16 I 
saw a few of them. 

On the night of August 5, as noted elsewhere in this 
journal, Hitler had a long conference in the Chancellery 
with his chief military advisers. Present were Goring, 
Admiral von Raeder, Brauchitsch, Keitel, and General 
Jodl, the last a member of Hitler's own separate mili- 
tary staff and extremely influential in the army since 
the beginning of the offensive in the west. It is likely 
that Hitler at this meeting made his decision to attempt 
the invasion as soon as possible and went over the final 
plans with the chiefs of the three armed forces. 

What were those plans? Probably we shall never 
know. But from what little has leaked out, I think we 
can deduce the grand lines of the strategy decided upon. 
It was cautious and it was classical. A great air offen- 
sive against the British air force would be launched on 
or about August 13. The RAF would be wiped out by 
September 1. And then with complete mastery of the 
air over the Channel so as to prevent the British navy 
from concentrating, and over England to smash the 
defending British artillery, the invasion would be 
launched. The main force would cross the Channel in 
barges, pontoons, and small boats. Other ships, pro- 
tected by planes, would set out from Bremen, Hamburg, 
and the Norwegian ports to make landings in Scotland, 
but this would be only a secondary move and one that 
would depend upon the action of the British navy in 
these waters. Another small expedition of ships from 
Brest would take Ireland. And of course there would be 
parachute action on a large scale to demoralize the 
English and the Irish in the rear. 

The army would not move until the Royal Air Forae 
had been annihilated. On this being accomplished de- 



554- 1940 Berlin, October 31 

pended the whole setting-in-action of the plans for ac- 
tual invasion. Goring promised its speedy accomplish- 
ment. But like many a German before him, he made a 
grave miscalculation about British character and there- 
fore British strategy. Goring, I think it is now clear, 
based his confidence on a very simple calculation. He 
had four times as many planes as the British. No mat- 
ter how good English planes and pilots were and he 

had a healthy respect for both — he had only to attack 
in superior numbers, and even if he lost as many planes 
as the enemy, in the end he would still have a substantial 
air fleet, and the British would have none. And there 
was little likelihood of losing as many as your opponent 
if you always attacked with more planes than he had. 

What Goring and all the other Germans were inca- 
pable of grasping was that the British were prepared to 
see their cities bombed and destroyed before they would 
risk all of their planes in a few great air battles to de- 
fend them. To the British this was mere common sense 
and the only tactic that could save them. To the Ger- 
man military mind it was incomprehensible. It is pri- 
marily due to this error of judgment, so typically Ger- 
man, I'm convinced, that the plan to invade Britain this 
year had to be abandoned. 

To destroy the British air force Goring had to get it 
off the ground. But try as he did — and when I was 
on the Channel in the middle of August he was sending 
as many as a thousand planes a day across the Channel 
to lure the British into the air — he never succeeded. 
The British kept most of their planes in reserve. Their 
cities, for a while, suffered as a result. But the RAF 
remained intact. And as long as it did, the German land 
army massed on the coast would not move. 

Why, many Germans here have asked, could not the 
Luftwaffe destroy the RAF on the ground? The air 



1940 Berlin, October 31 555 

i 

forces of Poland, Holland, Belgium, and France had 
largely been wiped out by the Germans demolishing 
their planes on the airfields before they had a chance 
to take off. The Luftwaffe's own answer is undoubtedly 
true. German airmen tell me that the British simply 
scattered their planes on a thousand far-flung fields. No 
air force in the world, with any opposition at all, coulcS 
hunt them out in sufficient numbers to destroy any siz- 
able portion of Britain's available planes. 

There is another aspect of Goring's failure which ia 
not so clear to us here in Berlin. He tried for a month — ■ 
from the middle of August to the middle of September 

— to destroy the air arm of Britain's defence. This at- 
tempt was made in daylight attacks, for you cannot de- 
stroy a nation's air force at night. But by the third 
week of September the great daylight raids had ceased. 
I note that in my broadcast of the night of September 23 
I wrote : " It now seems clear from a perusal of the 
German reports that Germany's big air attacks on Brit- 
ain — unlike a month ago — now take place at night, 
not during the day. The High Command today calls 
the day flights ' armed reconnaissance ' ; the night raids 
' reprisal attacks.' " The military censor did not like the 
paragraph and only allowed me to use it after I had 
softened it down by writing that the large-scale attacks 
of the Luftwaffe " are recently more at night," which 
was bad English but did not prevent the idea from being 
put across. 

At first thought there seems to be some contradic- 
tion between our belief here that the British preferred to 
see their cities bombed rather than risk too many of 
their planes in the air at any one time to drive off the 
Germans — between that and the fact that in the short 
space of a month the RAF obviously took such a toll 
of German planes that Goring had to abandon his 



556 1940 Berlin, October 31 

grandiose daylight attacks. And this contradiction has 
bothered most of the neutral air attaches here, who, like 
the rest of us, have access to only the German side of 
the picture. 

Probably it is no contradiction at all. From what 
German airmen themselves have told me, I think the 
truth is that while the British never risked more than a 
small portion of their available fighters on any one day, 
they did send up enough to destroy more German bomb- 
ers per day than Goring could afford to lose. For he 
>as using them in large mass formations, more as a 
mare to get the British fighters off the ground so that 
his Messerschmitts could wipe out Britain's fighter de- 
fence than for mere bombing. And here British air tac- 
tics played an important role. The Germans tell me 
that the British fighter squadrons had strict orders to 
avoid combat with German fighters whenever possible. 
Instead they were instructed to dart in on the bombers, 
knock off as many of the cumbersome machines as they 
could, and then steal away before the German fighters 
could engage them. These tactics led many a German 
Messerschmitt pilot to complain that the British Spit- 
fire and Hurricane pilots were cowards, that they fled 
whenever they saw a German fighter. I suspect now the 
German pilots understand that the British were not be- 
ing cowardly but merely smart. Knowing they were out- 
numbered, that the German aim was to destroy their en- 
tire fighter force and that Britain was lost when her 
last fighters were destroyed, the British adopted the 
only strategy which would save them. They went after 
the German bombers, which are set-ups for a pursuit 
ship, and avoided the Messerschmitts. After all, the 
Messerschmitts carried no bombs which could destroy 
England. On at least three separate days, during the 
latter part of August and the first days of September, 



1940 Be klin, October 31 557 

British fighters shot down some 175 to 200 German 
planes, mostly bombers, and crippled probably half as 
many more. These were blows which made the Luft- 
waffe momentarily groggy and which it could not in- 
definitely sustain despite its numerical superiority, be- 
cause the British were losing only a third or a fourth 
as many planes, though, to be sure, they were mostly 
fighters. 

There was another factor. As most of the air battles 
took place over England, the British were saving at 
least half of the pilots whose machines were shot down. 
They were able to bail out and come down safely by 
parachute. But every time a German plane was shot 
down, its occupants, though they might save their lives 
with parachutes, were lost to the Luftwaffe for the dura^ 
tion of the war. In the case of bombers, this meant a 
loss of four highly trained men with each plane brought 
down. 

And so the first fortnight in September came and 
went, and still the Germans could not destroy the Brit- 
ish air force and, as a consequence, wrest complete su- 
periority in the air over England. And the great Nazi 
land army waited, cooling its heels behind the cliffs at 
Boulogne and Calais and along the canals behind the 
sea. It was not left entirely unmolested. At night, as I 
have described from personal experience earlier in this 
journal, the British bombers came over, blasting away 
at the ports and the canals and the beaches where the 
barges were being assembled and loaded. The German 
High Command has maintained absolute silence about 
this little chapter in the war. What losses in men and 
materials were sustained by these insistent British air 
attacks is not known. I can get no authoritative infor- 
mation on the subject. But from what I saw of these 
bombings myself and from what I've been told by Ger- 



558 1940 Bee lin, October 31 

man airmen, I think it is highly improbable that the 
German army was ever able to assemble in the ports 
of Boulogne, Calais, Dunkirk, and Ostend, or on the 
beaches, enough barges or ships to launch an invasion in 
the force that would have been necessary. Whether it 
ever seriously attempted to do so is also doubtful. 

The stories emanating from France that an actual 
full-fledged invasion of Britain was attempted on or 
around the middle of September and repulsed by the 
British also seem to be without foundation on the basis 
of what we know here. In the first place, the British, 
whose morale probably was none too high at this time, 
would certainly have let the news out if they had actu- 
ally repulsed an all-out German attempt to invade Eng- 
land. Publication of the news not only would have had 
an electrifying effect on British public opinion and that 
of the rest of Europe but would have been of immeasur- 
able value in rallying help from America. Washington 
in August, I'm told, had almost given Britain up as lost 
and was in a state of jitters for fear the British navy 
would fall into Hitler's hands and thus place the Ameri- 
can eastern seaboard in great danger. Also, the British 
would have had little trouble through short-wave broad- 
casts in German and the dropping of pamphlets in let- 
ting the German people know that Hitler's great bid 
for the conquest of Britain had failed. The psychologi- 
cal effect in Germany would have been crushing. 

What probably happened, so far as we can learn here, 
is that the Germans early in September attempted a 
fairly extensive invasion rehearsal. They put barges 
and ships to sea, the weather turned against them, light 
British naval forces and planes caught them, set a num- 
ber of barges on fire, and caused a considerable number 
of casualties. The unusual number of hospital trains 
full of men suffering from burns would bear out this 



1940 Berlin, November 5 559 

version, though we have no other concrete information 
to go on. 

Perhaps the British have already put out information 
that makes this account of why the invasion attempt 
never came off superfluous. I note it down as the sum of 
our information here in Berlin, which is little enough. 
The only time the Germans give out information is 
when they are winning, or have won. They have not 
mentioned their submarine losses, for instance, for 
nearly a year. 

Berlin, November 5 

If all goes well, I shall leave here a month 
from today, flying all the way to New York ■ — by Luft- 
hansa plane from here to Lisbon, by Clipper from 
there to New York. The very prospect of leaving here 
takes a terrible load off your heart and mind. I feel 
swell. It will be my first Christmas at home in sixteen 
years, my other brief visits having all been during the 
summer or fall. Went to a Philharmonic concert this 
evening. A Bach concerto for three pianos and orches- 
tra, with the conductor, Furtwangler, and Wilhelm 
Kemp and some other noted pianist at the pianos, was 
very good indeed. Afterwards played my accordion — 
sacrilege after the Philharmonic and Bach ! — but a 
gruff-voiced man occupying the next room did not ap- 
preciate my efforts and knocked on the wall until I be- 
took myself, with accordion, to the bathroom. He is 
probably one of those Rhineland industrialists who 
come up here to get some sleep, since in western Ger- 
many they are visited by the RAF nearly every night. 
The hotel is full of them and they are very cranky. 



560 1940 Berlin, November 6 

Berlin, November 6 

Roosevelt has been re-elected for a third term ! 
It is a resounding slap for Hitler and Ribbentrop and 
the whole Nazi regime. For despite Willkie's almost 
outdoing the President in his promises to work for Brit- 
ain's victory, the Nazis ardently wished the Republican 
candidate to win. Nazi bigwigs made no secret of this 
in private, though Goebbels made the press ignore the 
election so as not to give the Democrats the advantage 
of saying that the Nazis were for Willkie. 

Last week at least three officials in the Wilhelmstrasse 
phoned me excitedly to ask if the Gallup Poll could be 
trusted. They had just had a cable from Washington, 
they said, that the poll showed Willkie having a fifty- 
fifty chance. The news made them exceedingly happy. 

Because Roosevelt is one of the few real leaders pro- 
duced by the democracies since the war (look at France ; 
look at Britain until Churchill took over !) and because 
he- can be tough, Hitler has always had a healthy re- 
spect for him and even a certain fear. (He admires 
Stalin for his toughness.) Part of Hitler's success has 
been due to the luck of having mediocre men like Da- 
ladier and Chamberlain in charge of the destinies of 
the democracies. I'm told that since the abandonment 
for this fall of the invasion of Britain Hitler has more 
and more envisaged Roosevelt as the strongest enemy in 
his path to world power, or even to victory in Europe. 
And there is no doubt that he and his henchmen put 
great hope in the defeat of the President. Even if Will- 
kie turned out to be a bitter enemy of Berlin, the Nazis 
figured that, were he elected, there would be a two 
months' interim at Washington during which nothing 
would be done to help the Allies. There would be more 
months of indecision, they calculated, before Willkie, 



1940 Beelin, November 8 561 

inexperienced in politics and world affairs, could hit his 
stride. This could only profit Nazi Germany. 

But now the Nazis face Roosevelt for another four 
years — face the man whom Hitler has told a number of 
people is more responsible for keeping up Britain's re- 
sistance to him than any other factor in the war except 
Winston Churchill. No wonder there were long faces 
in the Wilhelmstrasse tonight when it became certain 
that Roosevelt had won. 



Berlin, November 8 

The British tonight, we hear, are giving Mu- 
nich a bad pounding. It is the anniversary of the beer- 
house Putsch and therefore a timely evening to bomb. 
That Putsch was hatched on the evening of November 8, 
1923 at the Biirgerbraukeller in Munich, and all the 
anniversary celebrations have always been held there. 
A year ago tonight a bomb went off in the place a few 
minutes after Hitler and all the Nazi leaders had left, 
but it killed several lesser fry. Tonight Hitler took no 
chance on Himmler's planting another bomb on him. 
He held his speech in another beer cellar, the Lowen- 
brau. As with all his speeches since the British began 
to come over, he began it before dark so that the meet- 
ing was over before the RAF bombers arrived. His ad- 
dress today raised a problem for American broadcasters. 
Neither CBS nor NBC permit recordings to be broad- 
cast on their networks. When the German Broadcast- 
ing Company called me up this afternoon to offer Hit- 
ler's speech to CBS, I was a little suspicious at the time 
given for the broadcast — eight p.m. I didn't think the 
Fiihrer would dare speak so late — since theoretically, 
now that the long nights are upon us, the British could 
be in Munich by nine p.m. or so. So I asked whether it 



562 1940 Berlin, November 9 

was a recording they were offering us. A high official 
of the RRG would not say. He said it was a military 
secret. 

" Nor," he added, " may you cable your New York 
office whether you suspect it is a recording or not. If 
you cable, you must merely say that we offer a Hitler 
broadcast to America." 

I have means of contacting Paul White in New York 
very quickly without using the German commercial radio 
service, which first submits my messages to the censor. 
As a matter of fact, it was not necessary this evening. 
Before I could get in touch with New York, word came 
that there would be no broadcast of Hitler at all this 
evening. His speech would be broadcast only tomorrow. 
The British bombing has stopped the broadcast. Later 
in the evening I learned that the Germans knew all the 
time they were offering me a recorded broadcast of the 
speech at eight p.m., since the original talk had been 
made at five p.m. Must take this up with New York. 

Amusing to note of late, on the desks of the German 
officials I have business with, copies of cables which I 
have received from, or sent to, my New York office. I 
of course have known for some time that they saw all 
my outgoing and incoming messages and have had no 
end of fun sending absurd messages to New York criti- 
cizing these officials by name or concocting something 
that would keep them guessing. Fortunately Paul 
White has a sense of humour and has sent appropriate 
answers. 

Berlin, November 9 

To record a few of the jokes which the Germans 
a*e telling these days : 

The chief of the Air-Raid Protection in Berlin re- 



1940 Berlin, November 9 563 

cently advised the people to go to bed early and try to 
snatch two or three hours of sleep before the bombings 
start. Some take the advice, most do not. The Berliners 
say that those who take the advice arrive in the cellar 
after an alarm and greet their neighbours with a " Good 
morning." This means they have been to sleep. Others 
arrive and say : " Good evening ! " This means they 
haven't yet been to sleep. A few arrive and say : " Heil 
Hitler! " This means they have always been asleep. 

Another : An airplane carrying Hitler, Goring, and 
Goebbels crashes. All three are killed. Who is saved ? 

Answer : The German people. 

A man from Cologne tells me what he claims is a true 
story. He says there are so many different uniforms to 
be seen in the streets there now that one can't keep track 
of them. Thus it was that a British flying-officer who 
had to bail out near Cologne walked into the city on a 
Sunday afternoon to give himself up. He expected that 
the police or some of the soldiers on the street would ar- 
rest him immediately. Instead they clicked their heels 
and saluted him. He had a ten-mark note with him, as, 
my friends say, all British pilots flying over Germany 
do, and decided to try his luck at a movie. He asked for 
a two-mark seat. The cashier gave him back nine marks 
in change, explaining politely that men in uniform got 
in for half-price. Finally, the movie over, he walked the 
streets of Cologne until midnight before he could find 
a police station and give himself up. He told the police 
how difficult it was for a British flyer in full uniform 
to get himself arrested in the heart of a German city. 
The police would not believe him. But they summoned 
the cashier of the movie house just to see. 

" Did you sell this man a ticket to a performance this 
evening? " they asked her. 

" Certainly," she piped back ; " for half-price, like 



56 Jf. 1940 Berlin, November 11 

all men in uniform." Then proudly, espying the initials 
RAF on his uniform : " It isn't every day I can welcome 
a Reichs Arbeits Fuhrer. Me, I know what RAF stands 
for." 

Molotov is coming to Berlin. For more than a year 
— ever since Ribbentrop flew to Moscow in August 1939 
and signed the pact which brought the two arch-enemies 
of this earth together — we've had rumours that the 
number-two Bolshevik would repay the visit. Once dur- 
ing the summer I know for a fact that a lot of old Soviet 
red flags were dusted off and assembled in the Chancel- 
lery for a Molotov visit that failed to come off because, 
for one thing, Moscow insisted on sending a regiment of 
GPU plain-clothes men, and Himmler would agree to 
only a company of them. Then Hitler and Ribbentrop 
exerted all the pressure they could to force Stalin to 
send Molotov here just before the American elections. 
For some reason they thought that if ballyhooed prop- 
erly, it would scare the American people and result in 
the defeat of Roosevelt. Stalin apparently understood 
the reason and declined. But tonight it's official. Molo- 
tov is coming next week. The timing of the visit is still 
good. It will help make up for the slap of Roosevelt's 
election, which the German people faintly realize was 
not good news for Hitler, and also for the waning pres- 
tige of the Axis caused by the failure of the Italians to 
make any progress in Greece. 

Berlin", November 11 

Armistice Day, which in a way now seems like 
a great irony. There was no mention of it in the Ger- 
man press. In Belgium and France the German mili- 
tary authorities forebade its celebration. Roosevelt's 



1940 Berlin, November 12 565 

Armistice Day speech was completely suppressed here. 
We broadcast from coast to coast every utterance of 
Hitler, but the German people are not permitted to 
know a word of what Roosevelt speaks. This is one of 
the weaknesses of democracy, I think, though some peo- 
ple think it is one of its strengths. 

This evening I went to see Harald Kreuzberg danee. 
He's getting a little old now and is not quite so nimble 
or graceful, though still very good. The hall was 
packed. 

Berlin, November 12 

A dark, drizzling day, and Molotov arrived, 
his reception being extremely stiff and formal. Driving 
up the Linden to the Soviet Embassy, he looked to me 
like a plugging, provincial schoolmaster. But to have 
survived in the cut-throat competition of the Kremlin 
he must have something. The Germans talk glibly of 
letting Moscow have that old Russian dream, the Bos- 
porus and the Dardanelles, while they will take the rest 
of the Balkans, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria. 
If the Italians can take Greece, which is beginning to 
look doubtful, they can have it. 

When I went to our Embassy today to get a tin of 
coffee from my stores, which I keep there, the box, con- 
taining a half-year's supply, was gone. "It had just dis- 
appeared. If I were not leaving shortly, this would be 
a blow. Coffee, ever since it became impossible to buy 
it in Germany, has assumed a weird importance in one's 
life. The same with tobacco. Some times the Embassy 
takes pity on me, but for the most part I smoke German 
pipe tobacco. Of late it has made foul smoking. 



566 1940 Berlin, November 14 

Berlin, November 14 

We thought the British would come over last 
night when Ribbentrop and Goring were feting Molo- 
tov at a formal state banquet. The Wilhelmstrasse was 
very nervous at the prospect, for they did not like the 
idea of adjourning to the cellar with their honoured 
Russian guests. Instead, the British came over this eve- 
ning — shortly before nine p.m., the earliest yet — 
while Molotov was host to the Germans at the Soviet 
Embassy. Molotov, we hear, declined to go to the cel- 
lar and watched the fireworks from a darkened window. 
The British were careful not to drop anything near by. 

According to the German radio and the Warsaw Zei- 
tung, Mr. Hoover's American representative here has 
offered his congratulations to Dr. Frank, the tough little 
Nazi Governor of Poland, on the anniversary of his year 
in office. He congratulates him for what he has done 
for the Poles ! 

My information is that there will be no Polish race 
left when Dr. Frank and his Nazi thugs get through 
with them. They can't kill them all, of course, but they 
can enslave them all. 

Berlin, November (undated) 

A pleasant dinner and evening at X's in Dah- 
lem. Two well-known German figures present, one a 
high Nazi official, and they spent the evening telling 
jokes on the regime, especially on Goebbels, whom they 
both appeared to loathe. About ten p.m. the British 
came and we went up on the balcony to watch the fire- 
works, which were considerable. Once there came the 
familiar whistle of a bomb just before it lands near you. 
Automatically we all dived through the open door into 



1940 Bee lin, November 23 567 

a pitch-dark bedroom, landing in a heap on the floor. 
The bomb shook the house, but we got no splinters. 
Pitiful how few planes the British can spare for this 
Berlin job. There were not more than a dozen of them 
tonight. They have done comparatively little damage 
here so far. 



Berlin, November 20 

Today was Busstag, some sort of German 
Protestant holiday. Feeling low, I went to a candle- 
light concert in the Charlottenburg castle and heard 
a string quartet play Bach nobly. I am definitely get- 
ting away from here by plane to Lisbon on December 5 
if I can get all the necessary papers in time. The For- 
eign Office, the police, the secret police, and so on must 
approve my exit visa before I can leave. And getting 
Spanish and Portuguese visas is proving no easy job. 
Harry Flannery has arrived from St. Louis to take 
over. 



Berlin, November 23 

Was having a most excellent dinner and some 
fine table-talk at Diplomat G.'s about eight forty-five 
this evening when the butler called me away to the 
phone. It was one of the girls at the Rundfwrik saying 
that the British bombers were about ten minutes away 
and that I had better hurry if I wanted to broadcast 
this evening. I dashed out to my car. An aid-warden 
who also had the advance notice tried to stop me from 
driving away, but I brushed past him. I was not fa- 
miliar with the blacked-out streets in this neighbour- 
hood and twice almost drove at great speed into the 
Landwehr Canal. I reached the Knie, about two miles 



568 1940 Berlin, November 23 

from the Rundfwnk, when the sirens sounded. To stop, 
obey the law, put my lights out, park, and go to a shel- 
ter, as the law insisted ? That meant no broadcast. Bet- 
ter to have remained at the dinner and enjoyed an eve- 
ning for a change. I had never missed a broadcast 
because of air-raids. I decided to disobey the law. I left 
my hooded lights on and stepped on the gas. One po- 
liceman after another along the Kaiserdamm popped 
out waving a little red lamp. I raced by them, at fifty 
miles an hour. It was a stupid thing to do, because sev- 
eral times I just brushed other cars which had stopped 
in the darkness and put out their lights, as the law pre- 
scribes. You could not see them. By a miracle I did 
not smash into any of them, but about three blocks from 
the Rundfwnk I decided my luck had been good enough, 
pulled up my car, and sprinted to the radio before the 
police could snatch me into a public shelter. 

I hear from party circles that Julius Streicher, the 
sadistic, Jew-baiting czar of Franconia and notorious 
editor of the anti-Semitic weekly Stiirmer, has been ar- 
rested on orders of Hitler. No tears will be shed within 
or without the party, for he was loathed by nearly all. 
I shall always remember him swaggering through the 
streets of Nuremberg, where he was absolute boss, bran- 
dishing the riding whip which he always carried. He 
has been arrested, say party people, pending investiga- 
tion of certain financial matters. If Hitler cared much, 
he could make some additional investigations. He could 
look into the little matter of how it came about that so 
many party leaders acquired great country estates and 
castles. 



1940 Beelin, November 25 569 

Berlin", November 25 

I have at last got to the bottom of these 
" mercy killings." 1 It's an evil tale. 

The Gestapo, with the knowledge and approval of 
the German government, is systematically putting to 
death the mentally deficient population of the Reich. 
How many have been executed probably only Himmler 
and a handful of Nazi chieftains know. A conservative 
and trustworthy German tells me he estimates the num- 
ber at a hundred thousand. I think that figure is too 
high. But certain it is that the figure runs into the 
thousands and is going up every day. 

The origin of this peculiar Nazi practice goes back 
to last summer after the fall of France, when certain 
radical Nazis put the idea up to Hitler. At first it was 
planned to have the Fiihrer issue a decree of law au- 
thorizing the putting to death of certain persons found 
mentally deficient. But it was decided that this might 
be misunderstood if it leaked out and be personally 
embarrassing to Hitler. In the end Hitler simply wrote 
a letter to the secret-police administration and the health 
authorities authorizing the Gnadenstoss (coup de 
grace) in certain instances where persons were proved 
to be suffering from incurable mental or nervous dis- 
eases. Philipp Bouhler, state secretary in the Chancel- 
lery, is said to have acted as intermediary between Hitler 
and the Nazi extremists in working out this solution. 

At this point Bethel, already mentioned in these notes, 
creeps into the story. Dr. Friedrich von Bodelschwingh 
is a Protestant pastor, beloved by Catholics and Prot- 
estants alike in western Germany. At Bethel, as I have 
noted down previously, is his asylum for mentally defi- 
cient children. Germans tell me it is a model institution 
i See entry for September 21. 



570 1940 Berlin, November 25 

of its kind, known all over the civilized world. Late last 
summer, it seems, Pastor von Bodelschwingh was asked 
to deliver up certain of his worst cases to the authorities. 
Apparently he got wind of what was in store for them. 
He refused. The authorities insisted. Pastor von Bo- 
delschwingh hurried to Berlin to protest. He got in 
touch with a famous Berlin surgeon, a personal friend of 
Hitler's. The surgeon, refusing to believe the story, 
rushed to the Chancellery. The Fiihrer said nothing 
could be done. The two men then went to Franz Giirt- 
ner, Minister of Justice. Giirtner seemed more troubled 
at the fact that the killings were being carried out with- 
out benefit of a written law than that they were being 
carried out. However, he did agree to complain to Hit- 
ler about the matter. 

Pastor von Bodelschwingh returned to Bethel. The 
local Gauleiter ordered him to turn over some of his 
inmates. Again he refused. Berlin then ordered his ar- 
rest. This time the Gauleiter protested. The pastor 
was the most popular man in his province. To arrest 
him in the middle of war would stir up a whole world 
of unnecessary trouble. He himself declined to arrest 
the man. Let the Gestapo take the responsibility; he 
wouldn't. This was just before the night of Septem- 
ber 18. The bombing of the Bethel asylum followed. 
Now 2 understand why a few people wondered as to 
who dropped the bombs. 

Of late some of my spies in the provinces have called 
my attention to some rather peculiar death notices in 
the provincial newspapers. (In Germany the custom 
among all classes is to insert a small paid advertisement 
in the newspapers when a death occurs, giving the date 
and cause of death, age of the deceased, and time and 
place of burial.) But these notices have a strange ring 



1940 Be klin, November 25 571 

to them, and the place of death is always given as one 
of three spots: (1) Grafeneck, a lonely castle situated 
near Miinzingen, sixty miles southeast of Stuttgart; 
(2) Hartheim, near Linz on the Danube ; (3) the Son- 
nenstein Public Medical and Nursing Institute at Pirna, 
near Dresden. 

Now, these are the very three places named to me by 
Germans as the chief headquarters for the " mercy 
killings." 

I am also informed that the relatives of the unfortu- 
nate victims, when they get the ashes back — they are 
never given the bodies — receive a stern warning from 
the secret police not to demand explanations and not to 
" spread false rumours." These provincial death no- 
tices therefore take on more meaning than they might 
otherwise. I will note down here some typical ones, 
changing the names, dates, and places, for obvious rea- 
sons. 

Leipzig er Neueste Nachrichten, October 26: "JO- 
HANN DIETTRICH, FRONT SOLDIER 1914- 
1 9 I 8, HOLDER OF SEVERAL WAR DECORATIONS, 
BORN JUNE I, 1881, DECEASED SEPTEMBER 23, 
1940. AFTER WEEKS OF UNCERTAINTY, I RE- 
CEIVED THE UNBELIEVABLE NEWS OF HIS SUD- 
DEN DEATH AND CREMATION AT GRAFENECK 
IN WURTTEMBERG." 

From the same paper in October : "AFTER WEEKS 
OF UNCERTAINTY, THE INTERMENT OF MY 
BELOVED SON, HANS, WHO DIED SUDDENLY 
ON SEPTEMBER 17 AT PIRNA, WILL TAKE 
PLACE ON OCTOBER 10." 

Again: "WE HAVE RECEIVED THE UNBELIEVA- 
BLE NEWS THAT MY MOST BELOVED SON, THE 
ENGINEER RUDOLF MULLER, DIED SUDDENLY 



573 1940 Bee lin, November 25 

AND UNEXPECTEDLY NEAR LINZ-ON-THE- 
DANUBE. THE CREMATION TOOK PLACE 
THERE." 

Another: "AFTER THE CREMATION HAD TAKEN 
PLACE WE RECEIVED FROM GRAFENECK THE 
SAD NEWS OF THE SUDDEN DEATH OF OUR 
BELOVED SON AND BROTHER, OSKAR RIED. 
INTERMENT OF THE URN WILL TAKE PLACE 
PRIVATELY AT X CEMETERY UPON ITS RECEIPT." 

And: "AFTER WEEKS OF ANXIOUS UNCER- 
TAINTY WE RECEIVED THE SHOCKING NEWS ON 
SEPTEMBER 1 8 THAT OUR BELOVED MARIANNE 
DIED OF GRIPPE ON SEPTEMBER 15 AT. PIRNA. 
THE CREMATION TOOK PLACE THERE. NOW 
THAT THE URN HAS BEEN RECEIVED, THE 
BURIAL WILL TAKE PLACE PRIVATELY ON HOME 
SOIL." 

This last notice is signed October 5, indicating that 
the authorities delayed three weeks in delivering the 
ashes. Twenty-four such advertisements, I'm informed, 
appeared in the Leipzig papers the first fortnight of 
last month. 

I am struck in the second from the last of these no- 
tices by the expression : " After the cremation had 
taken place, we received the sad news of the sudden 
death. . . ." Struck too by the expression used in the 
first two : " after weeks of uncertainty " came " sudden 
death " ; and by the use of the words : " unbelievable 
news." 

No wonder that to Germans used to reading between 
the lines of their heavily censored newspapers, these 
notices have sounded highly suspicious. Does sudden 
death come naturally after "weeks of uncertainty"? 
And why are the bodies cremated first and the relatives 
told of the deaths later? Why are they cremated at all? 



1040 Be eli n, November 25 573 

Why aren't the bodies shipped home, as is usually done? 

A few days ago I saw the form letter which the fam- 
ilies of the victims receive. It reads: 

" We regret to inform you that your , who was 

recently transferred to our institution by ministerial 
order, unexpectedly died on of . All our med- 
ical efforts were unfortunately without avail. 

" In view of the nature of his serious, incurable ail- 
ment, his death, which saved him from a lifelong institu- 
tional sojourn, is to be regarded merely as a release. 

" Because of the danger of contagion existing here, 
we were forced by order of the police to have the de- 
ceased cremated at once." 

This is hardly a reassuring letter, even for the most 
gullible of Germans, and some of them, upon its receipt, 
have journeyed down to the lonely castle at Grafeneck, 
it seems, to make a few inquiries. They have found the 
castle guarded by black-coated S.S. men who denied 
them entrance. Newly painted signs on all roads and 
paths leading into the desolate grounds warned : " Seu- 
chengefahr! " (" Keep away ! Danger of Pestilence ! ") 
Frightened peasants near by have told them how the 
S.S. suddenly took over and threw a cordon around 
the estate. They told of seeing trucks thundering into 
the castle grounds — but only at night. Grafeneck, 
they said, had never been used as a hospital before. 

Other relatives, I'm told, have demanded details from 
the establishment at Hartheim, near Linz. They have 
been told to desist, and that if they talk, severe punish- 
ment will be meted out. Some of them obviously have 
taken their courage in their hands to publish these death 
notices, no doubt hoping to attract public attention to 
the murderous business. The Gestapo, I hear, has now 
forbidden publication of such notices, just as Hitler, 
after the heavy naval losses in Norway, forbade the 



574- 1940 Berlin, November 25 

relatives of drowned sailors to publish notices. 

X, a German, told me yesterday that relatives are 
rushing to get their kin out of private asylums and out 
of the clutches of the authorities. He says the Gestapo 
is doing to death persons who are merely suffering tem- 
porary derangement or just plain nervous breakdown. 

What is still unclear to me is the motive for these 
murders. Germans themselves advance three : 

1. That they are being carried out to save food. 

2. That they are done for the purpose of experiment- 
ing with new poison gases and death rays. 

3. That they are simply the result of the extreme 
Nazis deciding to carry out their eugenic and sociologi- 
cal ideas. 

The first motive is obviously absurd, since the death 
of 100,000 persons will not save much food for a nation 
of 80,000,000. Besides, there is no acute food shortage 
in Germany. The second motive is possible, though I 
doubt it. Poison gases may have been used in putting 
these unfortunates out of the way, but if so, the experi- 
mentation was only incidental. Many Germans I have 
talked to think that some new gas which disfigures the 
body has been used, and that this is the reason why the 
remains of the victims have been cremated. But I can 
get no real evidence of this. 

The third motive seems most likely to me. For years 
a group of radical Nazi sociologists who were instru- 
mental in putting through the Reich's sterilization laws 
have pressed for a national policy of eliminating the 
mentally unfit. They say they have disciples among 
many sociologists in other lands, and perhaps they have. 
Paragraph two of the form letter sent the relatives 
plainly bears the stamp of this sociological thinking: 
" In view of the nature of his serious, incurable ailment, 
his death, which saved him from a lifelong institutional 



1940 Berlin, November 27 575 

sojourn, is to be regarded merely as a release." 

Some suggest a fourth motive. They say the Nazis 
calculate that for every three or four institutional cases, 
there must be one healthy German to look after them. 
This takes several thousand good Germans away from 
more profitable employment. If the insane are killed 
off, it is further argued by the Nazis, there will be 
plenty of hospital space for the war wounded should the 
war be prolonged and large casualties occur. 
It's a Nazi, messy business. 1 



Beelin, November 27 

Flannery, though he has just arrived, must 
leave for Paris. The Nazis pledge us to secrecy about 
a big story they claim will break there next week. In 
radio, we must be there beforehand, if possible, to make 
our technical arrangements. But I shall depart from 
this city on December 5, anyway. Many stories about 
increasing sabotage in Holland. The Germans are furi- 
ous at the number of their men, in both the army and 
police, who are being shoved into the numerous Dutch 
canals on these dark nights and drowned. X tells me a 
funny one. He says the British intelligence in Holland 
is working fine. Both sides in this war have built a num- 
ber of dummy airdromes and strewn them with wooden 
planes. X says the Germans recently completed a very 
large one near Amsterdam. They lined up more than 

i On December 6, 1940 the Vatican condemned the " mercy kill- 
ings." Responding to the question whether it is illicit for authorities to 
order the killing of those who, although they have committed no crime 
worthy of death, nevertheless are considered no longer useful to so- 
ciety or the state because of physical or mental deficiencies, the Sacred 
Congregation of the Holy Office held that " such killings are contrary 
to both natural and divine law." It is doubtful if the mass of German 
Catholics, even if they learned of this statement from Rome, which is 
improbable, understood what it referred to. Only a minority in Ger- 
many know of the " mercy deaths." 



576 1940 Berlin, December 1 

a hundred dummy planes made of wood on the field and 
waited for the British to come over and bomb them. 
Next morning the British did come. They let loose with 
a lot of bombs. The bombs were made of wood. 



Berlin, December 1 

This being Sunday, with no noon broadcast, 
a word or two summing up some things before I leave. 
A year and a half of the blockade has pinched Ger- 
many, but it has neither brought the German people 
to the verge of starvation nor seriously hampered the 
Nazi war machine. The people in this country still eat 
fairly well. The diet is not fancy and Americans could 
hardly subsist on it, but Germans, whose bodies in the 
last century became accustomed to large amounts of po- 
tatoes, cabbage, and bread, are still doing pretty well 
— on potatoes, cabbage, and bread. What they lack 
are enough meats, fats, butter, and fruit. The present 
ration of a pound of meat and a quarter of a pound of 
butter or margarine a week is not so much as they were 
used to in peace-time, but it will probably keep them 
fairly fit for some time to come. The shortage of fruit, 
rich in vitamins, is acute. Last winter's severe cold 
ruined the German fruit crop. At the moment apples 
are the only fruit on the market and they are being 
reserved for the young, the sick, and pregnant women. 
Last winter we never saw an orange or banana, nor have 
any appeared this winter. In the meantime vitamin 
pills of poor quality are being rationed to troops and 
children. It is true the German people have no coffee, 
tea, chocolate, fruit. They get one egg a week and too 
little meat and fat. But they have almost everything 
else and they are not going to starve in any measurable 
future. 



1940 Berlin, December 1 577 

If it is to be a long war, the clothing problem will 
become serious. Germany must import all of its cotton 
and almost all of its wool, and the present system of 
clothing rations is based on the theory that on the whole 
the German people must get along with what they now 
possess on their backs and in their closets until the war 
is over and the blockade lifted. The shortage of tex- 
tiles is felt not only by civilians but also in the army, 
which is hard put to it to find enough overcoats for all 
its troops this winter. Hitler has already had to put 
his Labour Service men into stolen Czech uniforms. 
The so-called Organisation Todt, comprising several 
hundred thousand men who perform the jobs usually 
done by our army labour battalions, has no uniforms at 
all for its men. When I saw them at the front last sum- 
mer, they were wearing tattered civilian clothes. The 
Germans are striving desperately to make up for their 
shortage of raw materials by developing ersatz textiles, 
especially those made of cellulose. But I don't think 
you can clothe eighty million people with wood prod- 
ucts yet. 

As to the raw materials necessary for the prosecution 
of the war, the situation is this : Germany has plenty of 
iron. And from Yugoslavia and France she gets enough 
bauxite to provide her with all the aluminum she needs 
for her vast aircraft production. There is a serious 
shortage of copper and tin, but she is probably getting 
enough from the Balkans and Russia to keep her out of 
desperate straits. 

As to oil, General Schell, the czar of the oil business, 
says he is not worried. If he were, of course, he wouldn't 
admit it. But certain facts must be kept in mind : 

1. The German air force is absolutely independent 
of imported stocks of oil. All German airplane engines 
are designed and manufactured to operate on synthetic 



578 1940 Berlin, December 1 

^ 

gasoline which Germany manufactures herself from her 
own coal. Her present supply of this — some four mil- 
lion tons a year — is more than adequate for the needs 
of the Luftwaffe. The British could endanger this sup- 
ply by bombing the oil refineries where coal is made 
into gasoline. This they are trying to do. They've hit 
the great Leuna works near Leipzig and another re- 
finery at Stettin. But their attacks have been too weak 
to put the refineries out of action or even seriously 
affect their output. 

2. Germany is now obtaining practically the com- 
plete output of the Rumanian oil fields and, on paper at 
least, is getting one million tons a year from Russia, 
though I doubt if the Soviets have actually delivered 
that much since the war began. 

3. When the war started, Germany had large stocks 
of oil on hand, and she obtained quite a windfall in Nor- 
way, Holland, and Belgium. 

4s. Civilian consumption of oil has been reduced to 
almost nothing. No private cars and practically no 
delivery trucks are allowed to operate. And oil is pro- 
hibited for heating purposes. 

My guess is that Germany has enough oil or will get 
enough to satisfy her military requirements for at least 
two more years. 

As to British air attacks on Germany, their value so 
far has been principally psychological, bringing the war 
home to the weary civilian population, wearing their al^ 
ready frayed nerves still thinner and robbing them of 
sleep. The actual physical damage wrought by bombs 
after six months of night attacks has on the whole not 
been very great. Its exact extent, of course, we do not 
know. Probably only Hitler, Goring, and the High 
Command know, and they do not tell. But I think we 
have a fair idea. In general, the damage has been great- 



1940 Be a lin, December 1 579 

est in the Ruhr, where German heavy industry is concen- 
trated. Were this region to be really devastated by air 
attacks, Germany could not continue the war. But so 
far it has received only pin-pricks. I'm afraid the truth 
is that Germany's actual war production has not yet 
been seriously curtailed by the RAF attacks. Probably 
the most serious result in the Ruhr has not been the 
actual physical damage to plant or transportation, but 
something else. Two things : First, millions of working 
hours have been lost by the workers' being forced to 
spend part of their evenings in shelters. Second, the 
efficiency of the workers has been reduced by loss of 
sleep. 

Next to the Ruhr, the German ports of Hamburg 
and Bremen and the naval bases at Wilhelmshaven and 
Kiel have received the severest bombing. But they have 
not yet been put out of business. Undoubtedly the most 
savage British bombing has been reserved for the Ger- 
man-occupied Channel ports. There the RAF has a 
short haul and can carry bigger bombs and more of 
them. There is little left of the docks at Ostend, Dun- 
kirk, Calais, and Boulogne. 

Berlin itself has suffered comparatively little damage 
from the night raids. I suppose a stranger arriving here 
for the first time could walk for hours through the 
business and residential sections without seeing a dam- 
aged building. Probably not more than five hundred 
dwellings have been hit and, since the British use small 
bombs, most of them have been repaired and reoccupied 
within a month. Most of the British attacks have been 
on the factories which skirt the city. Some of them of 
course have been hit, but, with the exception of two or 
three small plants, none of them have been seriously 
crippled, so far as we know. The great Siemens electri- 
cal works on the northwestern fringe of Berlin has been 



580 1940 Berlin, December 1 

hit, a machine shop here, a storage room there, damaged. 
But it is extremely doubtful if its armament production 
has been lowered by more than five per cent on any one 
day. When I drove around it recently, its great ma- 
chines were humming and no damage at all was visible 
from the outside. 

For some reason the British have greatly reduced 
their air attacks on Berlin during the last six weeks. 
This is a great mistake. For when they came over 
nearly every night, the morale of this nerve centre which 
keeps Germany together slumped noticeably. The Ger- 
mans, I'm convinced, simply cannot take the kind of 
pounding which the Luftwaffe is meting out to the Brit- 
ish in London. Admittedly the British can't give it to 
them, yet ; but they can certainly send over a handful 
of planes five or six nights a week to keep the Berliners 
in their cellars. The effect of this on morale would be 
great. 

Why hasn't there been more damage done to Ger- 
many by the RAF? Because the British have attacked 
with too few planes and their bomb loads have been too 
light. Neutral air attaches differ in their estimates of 
the number of British planes employed in the bombing 
of Berlin, but the best opinion is that the maximum 
number on any one night is thirty planes, with the av- 
erage number being about fifteen. The total number of 
British planes over Germany on a good night varies 
from sixty to eighty. 

The British bomb loads are too light because the 
RAF planes have to fly a distance that necessitates 
most of the load being made up of gasoline and oil. For 
the Berlin run they must make a round trip of 1,100 
miles. The American-built Flying Fortresses could 
carry the big destructive bombs to Berlin and get safely 
back to England. But so far we haven't heard or seen 



1940 Berlin, December 1 581 

any of them. As it is, the British flyers — certainly the 
world's bravest men — have a very narrow margin of 
time to find their objectives in Berlin. Probably not 
more than fifteen minutes. The Luftwaffe people say 
that some of their planes never get back, being forced 
down by lack of fuel in the North Sea. 

How many airplanes has Germany? I don't know, 
I doubt if twenty persons in the world know. But I do 
know something about German airplane production. 
At the moment it varies between 1,500 and 1,600 planes 
a month. Maximum German production capacity is 
3,000 planes a month. That is, Goring could force pro- 
duction up to that figure if he had all the supplies he 
needed and ordered all available plants to be run at full 
capacity twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. 
Incidentally, Germany has not added a square foot of 
aviation plant since the war began. At the moment 
Goring, Milch, and Udet are searching desperately for 
a new type of fighter plane — something that will be 
definitely superior to the new Spitfires and the Airaco^ 
bras which Britain is ordering from America. 

After a year and a half of actual total war German 
morale is still good. Let us admit the fact. There is 
no popular enthusiasm for the war. There never was. 
And after eight years of deprivation caused by Nazi 
preparation for war, the people are weary and fatigued. 
They crave peace. They are disappointed, depressed, 
disillusioned that peace did not come this fall, as prom- 
ised. Yet as the war goes into its second long, dark 
winter, public morale is fairly high. How explain the 
contradiction ? Keep in mind three things : 

First, that the millennium-old longing of Germans for 
political unification has been fulfilled. Hitler achieved 



582 1940 Berlin, December 1 

it, where all others in the past — the Habsburgs, the 
Hohenzollerns, Bismarck — failed. Few people outside 
this country realize how this unification has knitted the 
German nation together, given the people self-confi- 
dence and a sense of historical mission, and made them 
forget their personal dislike of the Nazi regime, its 
leaders, and the barbaric things it has done. Also — 
coupled with the rebirth of the army and air force and 
the totalitarian reorganization of industry, trade, and 
agriculture on a scale never before realized in this world 

— it makes the German feel strong. For most Germans 
this is an end in itself, for to be strong in their scheme 
of life is to be all. It is the emergence of the primitive, 
tribal instinct of the early German pagans of the vast 
forests of the North to whom brute strength was not 
only the means bujt the end of life. It is this primitive 
racial instinct of " blood and soil " which the Nazis have 
reawakened in the German soul more successfully than 
any of their modern predecessors and which has shown 
that the influence of Christianity and western civiliza- 
tion on German life and culture was only a thin veneer. 

Second, morale is good because the German people 
feel they have this summer revenged the terrible defeat 
of 1918 and have achieved a string of military victories 
which has at last ensured their place in the sun — domi- 
nation today of Europe, tomorrow perhaps of the world. 
And German character is such that the German must 
either dominate or be dominated. He understands no 
other relation between human beings on this earth. The 
golden mean of the Greeks which the Western world has 
achieved to some extent is a concept beyond his compre- 
hension. Moreover, the great mass of workers, peasants, 
and petty tradesmen — as well as the big industrialists 

— are conscious that if Hitler succeeds with his New 



1940 Berlin, December 1 583 

Order, as they are confident now he will, it will mean 
more of the milk and honey of this world for them. That 
it will of necessity be obtained at the expense of other 
peoples — Czechs, Poles, Scandinavians, French — ■ 
does not bother the German in the least. On this he has 
no moral scruples whatsoever. 

Third, one of the prime springs which push the Ger- 
man people along in full support of a war for which they 
have no enthusiasm, and which they would end tomorrow 
if they could, is their growing fear of the consequences 
of defeat. Slowly but surely they are beginning to real- 
ize the frightful magnitude of the seeds of wrath which 
their high-booted troops and Gestapo men have sown 
in Europe since the conquest of Austria. They are be- 
ginning to see that a victory with the Nazi regime, how- 
ever much many of them may dislike it, is better than 
another German defeat, which this time, if it ever comes 
about, will make Versailles seem like a peace of sweet 
reason and destroy not only the nation but the Germans 
as a people. More than one German of late has confided 
to me his fears. If Germany loses, they see the embit- 
tered peoples of Europe whom they have brutally en- 
slaved, whose cities they have ruthlessly destroyed, whose 
women and children, many of them, in such places as 
Warsaw, Rotterdam, and London, they have cold- 
bloodedly slain, storming in angry, revengeful hordes 
over their beautiful, orderly land, dynamiting it to de- 
struction, and leaving those whom they do not butcher 
to starve and die in an utter wasteland. 

No, these people, ground down and cheated though 
they may be by the most unscrupulous gang of rulers ■ 
modern Europe has yet seen, will go a long, long way 
in this war. Only a dawning realization some day that 
they can't win coupled with Allied assurances that to 



58 ^ 1940 Berlin, December 1 

give up the struggle will not mean their destruction will 
make them falter before one side or the other is de- 
stroyed. 

We who have been so close to this German scene, who 
have seen with our own eyes the tramping Nazi boots 
over Europe and heard with our own ears Hitler's 
hysterical tirades of hate, have found it difficult to keep 
a sense of historical perspective. I suppose the reasons 
why Germany has embarked on a career of unbridled 
conquest do go deeper than the mere fact, all-important 
though it is, that a small band of unprincipled, tough 
gangsters have seized control of this land, corrupted its 
whole people, and driven it on its present course. The 
roots go deeper, I admit, though whether the plant 
would have flowered as it has without Hitler, I seri- 
ously doubt. 

One root is the strange, contradictory character of the 
German people. It is not correct to say, as many of 
our liberals at home have said, that Nazism is a form of 
rule and life unnatural to the German people and forced 
upon them against their wish by a few fanatic derelicts 
of the last war. It is true that the Nazi Party never 
polled a majority vote in Germany in a free election, 
though it came very close. But for the last three or four 
years the Nazi regime has expressed something very 
deep in the German nature and in that respect it has 
been representative of the people it rules. The Germans 
as a people lack the balance achieved, say, by the Greeks, 
the Romans, the French, the British, and the Americans. 
They are continually torn by inner contradictions which 
make them uncertain, unsatisfied, frustrated, and which 
force them from one extreme to the other. The Weimar 
Republic was so extreme in its liberal democracy that 
the Germans couldn't work it. And now they have 



1940 Berlin, December 1 585 

turned to the extremes of tyranny because democracy 
and liberalism forced them to live as individuals, to 
think and make decisions as free men, and in the chaos 
of the twentieth century this was too much of a strain 
for them. Almost joyfully, almost masochistically, they 
have turned to an authoritarianism which releases them 
from the strain of individual decision and choice and 
thought and allows them what to a German is a luxury 
— letting someone else make the decisions and take the 
risks, in return for which they gladly give their own 
obedience. The average German craves security. He 
likes to live in a groove. And he will give up his inde- 
pendence and freedom — at least at this stage of his 
development — if his rulers provide this. 

The German has two characters. As an individual he 
will give his rationed bread to feed the squirrels in the 
Tiergarten on a Sunday morning. He can be a kind and 
considerate person. But as a unit in the Germanic mass 
he can persecute Jews, torture and murder his fellow 
men in a concentration camp, massacre women and chil- 
dren by bombing and bombardment, overrun without 
the slightest justification the lands of other peoples, cut 
them down if they protest, and enslave them. 

It must also be noted down that Hitler's frenzy for 
bloody conquest is by no means exclusive to him in Ger- 
many. The urge to expansion, the hunger for land and 
space, for what the Germans call Lebensraum, has lain 
long in the soul of the people. Some of Germany's best 
minds have expressed it in their writings. Fichte, He- 
gel, Nietzsche, and Treitschke fired the German people 
with it in the last century. But our century has not 
lacked for successors, though they are little known out- 
side this country. Karl Haushofer has poured books 
from the presses dinning into the ears of the Germans 
the maxim that if their nation is to be great and lasting, 



586 1940 Berlin, December 1 

it must have more Lebensraum. Books of his such as 
Macht und Erde {Power and Earth) and Weltpolitik 
vonHeute {World Politics of Today) have profoundly 
influenced not only the Nazi leaders but a great mass 
of people. So has Hans Grimm's Volk ohne Raum 
{People without Space) , a novel which has sold nearly 
a half -million copies in this country despite its length 
of some thousand pages. And so has Moeller van den 
Bruck's The Third Reich, written eleven years before 
Hitler founded the Third Reich. 

All these writings emphasized that Germany was en- 
titled by the laws of history and nature to a space more 
adequate to its mission in life. That this space would 
have to be taken from others, mostly from Slavs who 
had settled on it when the Germans themselves were 
little more than rough tribesmen, made no difference. 
It is this basic feeling in almost all Germans that the 
" lesser breed " of Europeans are not entitled to abso- 
lute rights of their own, to a piece of land to till and live 
on, to the very towns and cities they have built up with 
their own sweat and toil, if a German covets them, which 
is in part responsible for the present state of Europe. 

It is the evil genius of Adolf Hitler that has aroused 
this basic feeling and given it tangible expression. It is 
due to this remarkable and terrifying man alone that 
the German dream now stands such a fair chance of 
coming true. First Germans and then the world grossly 
underestimated him. It was an appalling error, as first 
the Germans and now the world are finding out. Today, 
so far as the vast majority of his fellow countrymen are 
concerned, he has reached a pinnacle never before 
achieved by a German ruler. He has become — even 
before his death — a myth, a legend, almost a god, with 
that quality of divinity which the Japanese people 



1940 Berlin, December 1 58? 

' ' ' ' ' — — — - .. M l..—, , , V 

ascribe to their Emperor. To many Germans he is a 
figure remote, unreal, hardly human. For them he has 
become infallible. They say, as many peoples down 
through history have said of their respective gods: 
" He is always right." 

Notwithstanding many reports to the contrary which 
float abroad, he is the sole and absolute boss of Germany 
today, brooking no interference from anyone and 
rarely asking and almost never heeding suggestions 
from his intimidated lieutenants. The men around him 
are all loyal, all afraid, and none of them are his friends. 
He has no friends, and since the murder of Rohm in the 
1934 purge there has not been a single one of his follow- 
ers who addressed him with the familiar Du. Goring, 
Goebbels, Hess, and all the others address him in only 
one way: " Mem Fuhrer." He leads a lonely, closely 
guarded life, and since the beginning of the war his 
very whereabouts are carefully kept from the public 
and the outside world by Himmler. 

Nowadays he rarely dines with his chief aides, pre- 
ferring the easier company of his party cronies of the 
early " fighting " days, men like Wilhelm Bruckner, his 
adjutant, Hess, his first private secretary — the only 
man in the world he fully trusts — and Max Amann, 
his top sergeant during the World War, whom he has 
made czar of the highly remunerative Nazi publishing 
house, the Eher Verlag. 1 The really big shots in the 
Nazi world, Goring, Goebbels, Ribbentrop, Ley, and the 
heads of the armed services, see Hitler either at appoint- 
ments during the day, or after dinner in the evening, 
when he often invites them to see a private showing of a 
film. Hitler has a passion for movies — including the 

i Amann is also president of the Reich Press Chamber, in which 
capacity he rules the newspapers of Germany. Through the Eher 
Verlag and subsidiary holding companies, Amann has also gained 
financial control of most of the large newspapers in the country. 



588 1940 Berlin, December 1 

products of Hollywood. (Two of his favourites were 
It Happened One Night and Gone with the Wind.) 

Hermann Goring is very definitely the Number Two 
man in Germany and the only Nazi who could carry on 
the present regime were Hitler to pass on. The fat, 
bemedalled Reichsmarschall enjoys a popularity among 
the masses second only to Hitler's — but for opposite 
reasons. Where Hitler is distant, legendary, nebulous, 
an enigma as a human being, Goring is a salty, earthy, 
lusty man of flesh and blood. The Germans like him be- 
cause they understand him. He has the faults and vir- 
tues of the average man, and the people admire him for 
both. He has a child's love for uniforms and medals. 
So have they. He has a passion for good food and drink 
in Gargantuan quantities. They too. He loves display 
— palaces, marble halls, great banqueting rooms, gay 
costumes, servants in livery. They love them too. And 
despite the efforts of Goebbels to stir up popular criti- 
cism of his rival, they display no envy, no resentment 
of the fantastic, mediaeval — and very expensive — 
personal life he leads. It is the sort of life they would 
lead themselves, perhaps, if they had the chance. 

No other henchman of Hitler has the popularity or 
the strength or the ability to keep the Nazi regime^ 'n 
power. 

Hitler always hoped that his protege Hess might l ! 
his successor and in his will has named him to take ove ■ 
after Goring. But Hess lacks the strength, the ambi 
tion, the driving force and imagination for the job o 
top man. Goebbels, who used to be Number Three, has 
lost ground since the war, partly because he has been 
swept aside by the military and the secret police, partly 
because he has bungled his propaganda job at crucial 
moments, as when he ordered the press and radio to 



1940 Berlin, December 1 58w 

celebrate the victory of the Graf Spee the day before 
it was scuttled. 

Goebbels's place as the third man in Germany has 
been taken by Heinrich Himmler, the mild-mannered 
little fellow who looks like a harmless country school- 
teacher, but whose ruthlessness, brutality, and organ- 
izing 1 talents have landed him in a key position in the 
Third Reich. He's important because he has whipped 
the Gestapo into an organization which now watches 
over almost every department of life in the country and 
which keeps for Hitler and the politicians a watchful 
eye on the army itself. Himmler, alone among Hitler's 
lieutenants, has power of life and death over all citizens 
of Germany and the occupied lands, and it is a rare day 
when he does not take advantage of it. The evidence you 
find buried daily in the back pages of the newspapers 
in the little notices which read: " S.S. Chief Himmler 
announces that Hans Schmidt, a German (or Ladislav 
Kotowski, a Pole), has been shot while offering resist- 
ance to the police." 

There are two other " big men " around Hitler, 
Joachim von Ribbentrop and Dr. Robert Ley. Ribben- 
trop, a vain and pompous man, thoroughly disliked in 
the party and by the public, is still in favour with the 
Fiihrer because he guessed right about England and 
France (Goring guessed wrong and as a result suffered 
a temporary eclipse) at Munich. The fact that he 
guessed wrong in September 1939, when he assured 
Hitler the British wouldn't fight, has not affected, for 
some reason, his standing at the Chancellery. Hitler 
recently has taken to calling him a " second Bismarck," 
though men like Goring, who despises him, can't under- 
stand why. 

Dr. Robert Ley is boss of the Nazi party machine and 



690 1940 Berlin, December 1 

of German Labour, a tough, brawling, hard-drink- 
ing, able administrator, fanatically loyal to his chief. 

These men — Goring, Himmler, Hess, Ribbentrop, 
and Ley — comprise the " Big Five " around Hitler. 
They are called in for consultation. All but Goring 
give their advice very carefully and with some timidity. 
In every case the decision is always Hitler's. 

There are lesser men in the hierarchy, some Nazi 
chiefs who have been given big jobs, some men who hold 
their posts because Hitler thinks they are competent 
technicians. The most important are : Walther Darre, 
an able and enterprising Minister of Agriculture, Bern- 
hard Rust, who as Minister of Education has revolu- 
tionized and degraded the schools of Germany, Wilhelm 
Frick, a lifelong civil servant who owes his present po- 
sition as Minister of Interior to his betrayal of the 
Bavarian government, of which he was a permanent 
official, Dr. Walther Funk, who ousted Dr. Schacht to 
become president of the Reichsbank and Minister of 
Economics, and Dr. Todt, a brilliant and imaginative 
engineer who built Hitler's great network of super- 
highways and the fortifications of the Westwall. 

Alfred Rosenberg, Hitler's mentor in early party 
days and formerly one of the chief men in the party, 
has entirely lost out and today has no importance in the 
party or the country. He was too much of a dreamer 
to be practical, and in the jungle struggle with the 
more ruthless men who make up the Nazi firmament he 
failed miserably. Since the Nazi alliance with Moscow 
in August 1939, which he alone opposed, he has been 
little heard of. To assuage his feelings Hitler has given 
him a magnificent title: Beauftragter des Fuhrers zur 
Uberwachung der Nationalsozialistischen Bewegung 
(Commissioner of the Leader for the Supervision of the 



1940 Berlin, December 1 591 

National Socialist Movement). He has also managed 
to hold on as editor of Hitler's daily newspaper, Vol- 
kische Beobachter, though he has little to say about its 
policy. 

Julius Streicher, once a sinister power in the country, 
the man who terrorized his Gau of Franconia with a 
horsewhip, has also, as previously noted, passed out 
of the picture because he couldn't keep his finances 
straight. 

If Hitler makes the political decisions, be it noted 
that he also calls the tune in the army. General von 
Brauchitsch, the able but not brilliant commander-in- 
chief of the army, occasionally speaks up, though not 
often. Keitel is little more than liaison man between 
Hitler and the General Staff. General Haider, chief 
of the General Staff, is probably the most brainy man 
in the army, but is allowed no credit by Hitler, who en- 
courages talk that he himself personally directs both the 
tactics and the strategy of the great campaigns. Gen- 
eral von Reichenau has told me personally that this is 
true, but I doubt it. On the other hand Hitler no doubt 
makes the major decisions of where the next blow will 
fall and when. One of his chief military advisers, very 
powerful in the army — though completely unknown, 
to the German public — is General Alfred Jodl, chief 
of Hitler's own military staff. 

There is one final question to be- tackled in these 
rambling conclusions : does Hitler contemplate war with 
the United States? I have argued this question many 
hours with many Germans and not a few Americans here 
and have pondered it long and carefully. I am firmly 
convinced that he does contemplate it and that if he 
wins in Europe and Africa he will in the end launch it 



1940 Berlin, December 1 



unless we are prepared to give up our way of life and 
adapt ourselves to a subservient place in his totalitarian 
scheme of things. 

For to Hitler there will not be room in this small 
world for two great systems of life, government, and 
trade. 1 For this reason I think he also will attack Rus- 
sia, probably before he tackles the Americas. 

It is not only a question of conflict between the to- 
talitarian and democratic ways of life, but also between 
Pan-German imperialism, whose aim is world domina- 
tion, and the fundamental urge of most of the other 
nations on the earth to live as they please — that is, 
free and independent. 

And just as Hitler's Germany can never dominate 
the continent of Europe as long as Britain holds out, 
neither can it master the world as long as the United 
States stands unafraid in its path. It is a long-term, 
fundamental conflict of dynamic forces. The clash is as 
inevitable as that of two planets hurtling inexorably 
through the heavens towards each other. 

As a matter of fact, it may come sooner than almost 
all Americans at home imagine. An officer of the High 
Command somewhat shocked me the other day while 
we were discussing the matter. He said : " You think 
Roosevelt can pick the moment most advantageous to 
America and Britain for coming into the war. Did you 
ever stop to think that Hitler, a master at timing, may 
choose the moment for war with America — a moment 
which he thinks will give him the advantage ? " 

I must admit I never did. 

As far as I can learn, Hitler and the High Command 

i He publicly admitted it in a speech on December 10, 1940. 
Contrasting the totalitarian and democratic worlds, he said: " We can 
never be reconciled with this world. . . . One of these worlds must 
break asunder. . . .' These are two worlds, and I believe one of these 
worlds must crack up." 



1940 Berlin, December 1 593 

do not contemplate any such move within the next few 
months. They still hold that they can bring Britain to 
her knees before American aid becomes really effective. 
They talk now of winning the war by the middle of next 
summer, at the latest. But there are a few in high 
places who argue that if Hitler actually declares war 
(he hasn't declared any wars yet) against America, he 
can reap decided advantages. First, it would be the sig- 
nal for widespread sabotage by thousands of Nazi 
agents from coast to coast, which would not only de- 
moralize the United States but greatly reduce its ship- 
ments to Britain. Second, in case of an actual declara- 
tion of war, they argue, our army and especially our 
navy, alarmed at what Japan might do (according to 
the tripartite pact it would have to go to war against 
us), would hold all war supplies at home, supplies that 
otherwise would go to Britain. Third, they believe that 
there would be a great increase in American internal 
strife, with the isolationists blaming Roosevelt for the 
state of things, as they blamed him for the Three-Power 
pact. The third point obviously is false thinking, as a 
war declaration by Germany would destroy American 
isolationist sentiment in America in ten seconds. 

The Lindberghs and their friends laugh at the idea 
of Germany ever being able to attack the United States. 
The Germans welcome their laughter and hope more 
Americans will laugh, just as they encouraged the Brit- 
ish friends of the Lindberghs to laugh off the very idea 
that Germany would ever turn on Britain. 

How would Germany ever attack the United States ? 
I have no authoritative information of German military 
plans. But I have heard Germans suggest the following 
possibilities : 

If they got all or part of the British navy or have 
time to build in Europe's shipyards (whose total capac- 



694 1940 Be el in, December 2 

ity is far beyond ours) a fairly strong navy, they would 
attempt to destroy in the Atlantic that part of our 
fleet which was not engaging the Japanese in the Pa- 
cific. This done, they could move an army and air force 
in stages across the North Atlantic, basing first on Ice- 
land, then Greenland, then Labrador, then Newfound- 
land and thence down the Atlantic seaboard. As the 
bases were moved westward, the air armada would pene- 
trate farther, first towards and then into the United 
States. This sounds fantastic, perhaps, but at the pres- 
ent time we have no great air force to oppose such a 
move. 

Most Germans talk more convincingly of a move 
across the South Atlantic. They assume that Germany 
will have the French port of Dakar from which to jump 
off for South America. They assume too that the main 
United States fleet will be engaged in the Pacific. From 
Dakar to Brazil is a much shorter distance than from 
Hampton Roads to Brazil. A German naval force' 
based on the African port could feasibly operate in 
Brazilian waters, but these waters are almost too far 
for an American fleet to be effective in. Transports 
could get there from Dakar before transports from 
America arrived. Fifth-column action by the hundreds 
of thousands of Germans in Brazil and Argentina would 
paralyse any defence which those countries might try 
to put up. South America could thus, think these Ger- 
mans, be taken fairly easily. And once in South Amer- 
ica, they argue, the battle is won. 

Berlin, December 2 

Only three more days ! 



1940 Berlin, December 4> 595 

Berlin, December 3 

A round of farewell parties which I would 
just as soon avoid, but can't. An amusing incident at 
one of them when a Foreign Office official, more decent 
than most, got rather in his cups and said he had long 
wanted to show me something. Whereupon he took out 
a card showing he was a member of the secret police! 
I must say I hadn't suspected him, though I knew some 
of his colleagues were members. 

The Foreign Office still holding up my passport and 
exit visa, which worries me. Did my last broadcast from 
Berlin tonight and fear I swallowed a couple of times. 

Before I went on the air Flannery called from Paris. 
He was quite excited about a big story he said would 
break day after tomorrow there. He evidently had a 
German official at his back, for I could not get out of 
him a hint as to what was up. The rumour here is that 
Hitler is to offer France some sort of a semi-permanent 
peace settlement, install Laval in power in Vichy, mak- 
ing Petain a mere figurehead, in return for France's 
joining the Axis and entering the fight against Britain. 



Berlin, December 4 

Got my passport and official permission to 
leave. Nothing to do now but pack. Wally [Deuel], 
who is as anxious to get away as I am, left today. He 
was to go by plane, but the weather was bad and the 
Germans, who've lost three big passenger planes in the 
last three weeks — a good friend of mine was killed on 
one of them — sent him as far as Stuttgart by train. 
Hope I have better luck. I must leave all my books and 
most of my clothes here, as baggage accommodation on 



596 1940 Bee lin— Stuttgaet, December 5 

m ■ — — — — .... ii.i. n i I, M— 

the plane is limited. Ed Murrow promises to meet me 
at Lisbon. My last night in a black-out. After tonight 
the lights . . . and civilization! 



In a plane, Berlin-Stuttgart, December 5 

It was still dark and a blizzard was blowing 
when I left the Adlon for the airport at Tempelhof this 
morning. There was some question whether we would 
take off, but at nine thirty a.m., a few minutes ago, we 
finally did. I don't like this weather to fly in. . . . 

Dresden Airport. Later. — We've just 
had a rather close call. We were about two thirds of 
the way to Stuttgart when our big Junkers thirty-two- 
passenger plane suddenly began to ice up. Through 
the window I could see ice forming on the wing and the 
two starboard motors. The stewardess, though she tried 
to hide it bravely, got frightened, and when a steward- 
ess on a plane gets frightened, so do I. Perspiration 
began to pour down the forehead of a Lufthansa official 
sitting opposite me. He looked very worried. Clumps 
of ice breaking off from the motors hurled against the 
side of the cabin with a terrifying crack. The pilot, 
hardly able to control the plane, tried to climb, but 
the ice was too heavy. Finally he turned back and 
dived and slipped from 2,500 metres to 1,000 metres 
(roughly, from 8,200 to 3,200 feet). 

" Can't go lower or we'll hit a mountain," the Luft- 
hansa man explained to me. 

" So, so ..." I said. 

" Can't use the radio because the blizzard blots it 
out," he continued. 

" Perhaps we could land some place," I suggested. 



1940 Stuttgakt-Bajcelona, Dec. 6 597 

" Not around here," he said. " Ground visibility is 
zero." 

" So, so ..." I said. 

The plane tossed and dipped. Pretty soon, by the 
dial, I saw we were dropping below 1,000 metres. The 
weight of the ice was getting too much. The next fifteen 
minutes were an age. And then out of the mist and snow 
we dived towards a road. It was a two-lane Autobahn. 
We flew along fifty feet above it, but sometimes when 
we hit a flurry of snow or a fog spot, the pilot, momen- 
tarily blinded, zoomed up, afraid of grazing the trees or 
a hill. And then at eleven thirty we were skimming into 
an airport. It turned out to be Dresden, which is as 
far from Stuttgart as Berlin, if not farther. It was 
nice to feel one's feet on the ground. The two pilots, 
when they stepped out of their cabin, looked very shaky. 
Over lunch here I overheard one telling the airport 
superintendent that he had had to fight like hell to keep 
his machine in the air. Weird : we had no more stepped 
into the lunchroom here than the noon news broadcast 
was switched on and the first item of news told of an 
American plane cracking up near the Chicago airport 
with several fatal casualties. It's just an unlucky day, 
I guess. 



In a plane, Stuttgart-L yon-Marseille-Bar- 
celona, December 6 

A slight Katzenjammer . . . last night the 
excitement at leaving Germany, the close shave in the 
plane, the nice bars in Stuttgart. . . . Hallet Johnson, 
counsellor of our Legation in Stockholm, shows up in 
the plane. He says I've been sleeping for an hour — 
ever since we left Stuttgart — and that this is his first 



598 1940 Stuttgart-Barcelona, Dec. 6 

flight and that we've been flying blind through the 
clouds and . . . We refuel at Lyon. The German air 
force is in control of the field, though this is in unoccu- 
pied France. On one side of the field a large number of 
dismantled French war planes piled up; on the other 
side a hundred French planes lined up, in perfect con- 
dition — some of those planes the French never used 
to fight with. ... A German Foreign Office official 
with the face of a crow looks at the junked planes and 
sneers : " La Belle France! And how we've destroyed 
her ! For three hundred years, at least ! " . . . Near- 
ing Barcelona we skirt the coast, and suddenly off the 
starboard side I see our little Spanish village, Lloret de 
Mar, the houses white in the afternoon sun against the 
green hills. A long time. . . . 

Later. Barcelona. — Fascism has brought 
chaos and starvation here. This is not the happy, care- 
free Barcelona I used to know. On the Paseo, on the 
Ramblas, on the Plaza de Catalufia, gaunt, hungry, bit- 
ter faces moving silently about. At the Ritz Hotel, 
which we reach on a rickety farm wagon from the air 
station, because there is no oil for cars, I run into a 
couple of friends. 

" God, what has happened here? " I ask. " I know 
the civil war left things in bad shape. But this . . ." 

" There is no food," they reply. " There is no or- 
ganization. The jails are jammed and overflowing. If 
we told you about the filth, the overcrowding, the lack 
of food in them, you would not believe us. But no one 
really eats any more. We merely keep alive." 

At the airport the Spanish officials keep us cooped 
up in a tiny room all afternoon, though we are only a 
few. They, too, seem paralysed — incapable of the least 
bit of organizing. The chief officer of police has not 



1940 Estoeil, December 7 599 

washed his hands for a week. His main preoccupation 
is our money. We count over and over for him our silver, 
our paper money, our travel cheques. Finally, as dark- 
ness falls, he lets us go. 

Wally comes in on a German plane from Stuttgart 
about an hour after we have arrived. He has a tale to 
tell of leaving Germany. His plane had not gone from 
Berlin to Stuttgart and he had made the journey by 
train, thus losing a day. That made his exit visa run 
out before he could leave German soil. No official in 
Stuttgart at first would take the responsibility of issu- 
ing a new one. He must return to Berlin for that. To 
return to Berlin meant that he would have to begin all 
over again — wait for a new exit visa, wait for new 
visas for Spain and Portugal, wait months for a place 
in the plane from Berlin to Lisbon and more months 
for a place on the plane or boat from Lisbon to America. 
He saw his return to America postponed indefinitely, 
perhaps until the end of the war. At the last minute the 
secret police finally allowed him to depart. 

Estoril, near Lisbon, December 7 

Lisbon and light and freedom and sanity at 
last ! We flew from Barcelona to Madrid against a hun- 
dred-kilometre-an-hour gale. The pilot of the slow old 
Junkers-52 thought for a while he would have to turn 
back because of lack of fuel, but he finally made it. We 
bumped the whole way over the mountains, most of 
which we cleared by only a few feet. Air pockets so 
bad that two passengers hit the ceiling, one of them 
being knocked out by the blow. 

The chaos at the Madrid airport was even worse than 
at Barcelona. Franco's officers ran madly round in 
circles. The authorities decided that because of the gale 



600 1940 Estoeil, December 8 

no planes could take off. Then they decided one of three 
scheduled flights could be made to Lisbon. They told 
me I could go, then that I couldn't go, then that I must 
catch the four p.m. train, then that the train had left. 
All the while shouting officials and passengers milling 
about the place. There was a restaurant, but it had no 
food. In the end they called the passengers for the Lis- 
bon plane. Only a group of Spanish officials and the 
German diplomat would be allowed to go. I asked for 
my baggage. No one knew where it was. Then an offi- 
cial came tearing up to me and tugged me towards a 
plane. No opportunity to ask about baggage or where 
the plane was going. In a minute we were off, flying 
over the ruins of the University Cite, and then down the 
Tagus Valley until dusk, when Lisbon came into view. 
At the airport the Portuguese authorities held me up 
a couple of hours because I could not show a ticket for 
New York, but finally they let me go. In Lisbon the 
hotels were full, no rooms to be had — the city full of 
refugees — but here I have found one. A good dinner 
tonight with some local wines and a stroll through town 
to stare at the lights and now to bed, feeling a great 
load slipping off. Ed [Murrow] arrives tomorrow from 
London and we shall have a mighty reunion. 

Estoeil, December 8 

Unable to sleep — a sudden toothache, the 
first in my life, and now I shall pay for my neglect