February 27, 2024

1943. The Occupation of Kharkiv

Nazi Germany's Colonization of Ukraine
A delicatessen Kharkiv, Ukraine during the Nazi occupation in 1941 (Photo by Johannes Hähle source)

Bill Downs visited the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv following its initial liberation in February 1943. He later reported on the city's reoccupation during the Third Battle of Kharkov. Parentheses in the reports featured here indicate text that did not pass Soviet censors for military security or propaganda reasons.

(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports.)

Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

February 27, 1943

I have just had a close-up of how Adolf Hitler's New Order makes history—you know, the kind of history he raves about at the drop of a helmet. The Nazi brand of history he has sold to Italy and certain other countries in Europe. The kind of history Japan is trying to market in the Far East.

At 9:30 this morning I took a plane out of Russia's rich Ukraine. I spent Thursday and Friday wandering around the streets of Kharkov talking to people and seeing what I could see.

Right now, Kharkov is a very special place. It is more than just another city which the Red Army has recaptured. It's the first big city in Europe that has been retaken from the Axis in which Hitler's New Order had a chance to work. You remember the Germans held Kharkov for fifteen months. And I got to Kharkov with a party of other news reporters only eight days after the New Order was kicked outbefore the smell of it had completely left the city.

(Yes, you can still smell Hitler's New Order tonight, if you were in Ukraine. It's the stench of cordite, and the dry smell of bombed buildings and the wet smell of charred wood. It's the sweet smell of blood and the bitter smell of people too weak from hunger to walk a couple of miles to the river to wash.)

(When we flew with a Russian fighter escort towards Kharkov the other day, you could follow the path of the New Order very easily. The miles were marked with the walls of ruined villages where fighting had occurred. Along the railroad leading eastward from the city were the hulks of ruined tanks and occasionally Junkers or a Heinkel bomber.)

(After we landed on the ruined airport—there wasn't a building left standing—we saw our first definite sign that the Germans had actually possessed this Ukrainian industrial center. It was a German sign which read, "Parking verboten." We found out that a lot of things were "verboten" during the German occupation of Kharkov.)

There is no doubt that the Germans thought they were in Kharkov for keeps. All the street signs were written in both German and Ukrainian—German first, of course.

German colonists—at least that's what Hitler calls them—had set up business, and there were restaurants and shops with German signs on them. Yes, the Nazis sent a lot of loyal German families to (examine the corpse of Kharkov) collect what they thought was going to be easy money and a pleasant life in the wake of Hitler's Wehrmacht. No one knows just how many colonists Hitler sent to Kharkov. They were a little difficult to count—like flies on a sugar stack. For months they played at being super-men. Ukrainians couldn't ride in the same street cars with them—they had to catch the one hitched on behind.

If Ukrainians had better homes or business than [the colonists] had been allotted, the colonists went around to authorities and arranged to take over. That's the way the New Order works. But these good Nazi families were too smart to get themselves caught by the Russians. They ran away with everything they could carry early in January when the Red Army started to march.

Two days before the German army fled the city, the Nazi command destroyed every major building in Kharkov. There literally is not one single store, office building, hotel, or government house in the main part of the city which has not been gutted by fire, blown to bits, or bombed.

But during the occupation, the Germans did something else—something much more damaging than making piles of rubble out of buildings.

It's something you can see in the face of every kid you run into on the streets. The women and old men who are left have the same look.

The people are pale from hunger. The boys and girls, particularly, have faces the color of wet dough. They have rings under their eyes like old people.

I stopped what I thought was a 10-year-old boy on the street to talk with him. He was thin and had black hair that hung down into his eyes.

He grinned when I introduced myself and said in a tough kind of way that he supposed he would tell me his name. He was Vladimir Voskresensky, a good Ukrainian name. He was 14. You see, kids just don't grow very fast without food.

I asked him what he did while the Germans were there. He shrugged and answered, "Oh, sometimes I begged for food. Some bread or a piece of chocolate if I was lucky. And sometimes I could earn some food by taking my sledge and dragging luggage to the station for German officers. I would get half a slice of bread for that."

I noticed that Vladimir had on an outside man's suit coat which struck him below the knees. He looked a little bit like Jackie Coogan used to in the silent pictures. I asked him where he got that coat—I should never have asked.

Vladimir started out bravely enough. "It belonged to my father," he said. "He was an engineer. They took him to the hotel over there and beat him for four days. He died. I never saw him again."

He was crying when he finished the story. He was a tough kid, like all the kids that survived the New Order in Kharkov.

But those kids won't forget. And neither will the rest of the world.

During the fifteen months of German occupation, a lot of things happened to Kharkov—all of them bad. For example, there are some facts repeated to me at random by a half-dozen people to whom I talked on the streets of the city.

A year ago last October when the Germans took the city they started hanging people. By the second day of the occupation, every balcony stretching for two miles on the main street through the center of the city had become a gallows. Scores of men and women were trussed up and left to hang.

Six weeks after the occupation, every Jew in the city was ordered to go to an empty machine tool shop nine miles out of town. Women cried as they told me about this. 10,000 Jews were herded into this camp. Ten days later a huge ditch was dug and a squad of German Tommy-gunners shot every man, woman, and child.

It is estimated that 18,000 people were executed in the first weeks of the occupation, but no one knows the exact number. The Germans didn't bother about death proclamations or keeping records. I have checked that figure not only with Soviet officials now in charge of Kharkov, but also with a school teacher, a college professor, and four other people who were in the city at the time.

This is simply another example of how the New Order works.
____________________________
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

February 28, 1943

Hitler's guns, which for fifteen months were held against the heart of Kharkov, were pushed further back westward from the city last night. This morning's communiqué announced that another series of inhabited points have been taken west of the wreckage and ruined buildings which today mark the site of one of the proudest cities in the Ukraine.

I left Kharkov yesterday morning after spending Thursday and Friday wandering around the city's streets talking to people and seeing what I could see.

Kharkov was about the size of Washington, D.C. before Hitler got to it. It had a peacetime population of 900,000 which swelled to over a million inhabitants as the war progressed.

Imagine every major building in Washington gutted with fire. Imagine all of the buildings across the Potomac blown to bits. Imagine every railroad station deliberately wrecked. Imagine street car and bus trolley wires lying over the street. Imagine Washington with just two water fountains and the sewage system wrecked with the streets thick with ice. Scatter a goodly number of bomb craters throughout the city. Then you will have a pretty good picture of Kharkov after fifteen months of Hitler's New Order.

But the New Order has done something else to Kharkov. Something more terrible than mere wrecking of buildings and homes and streets. Something more deeply significant than putting up street signs in German and deliberately looting the city. Something more than taking warm clothing from men and women who walked the streets.

Kharkov has a hungry population of only 350,000 today. This means that during the fifteen months of Hitler's New Order, something has happened to about 600,000 people. This does not include a quarter of a million people which the Russian government succeeded in evacuating from Kharkov before the Germans took the city a year ago last October.

In talking with Soviet officials, college professors, and people on the street, here's all I could find out about the 600,000 Kharkov citizens who have disappeared under Hitler's New Order.

During the first days of the occupation about 18,000 people were executed. Bodies hanging from balconies were a common sight. Among these 18,000 executed were about 10,000 Jews—men, women, and children—who were taken nine miles out of the city, shot and buried in a big ditch.

One hundred and ten thousand people were shipped to Germany for forced labor.

Meanwhile, it is estimated unofficially that at least 70,000 people died of starvation under the German rule. (And all the time during the fifteen months the executions went on. As conditions grew worse, more and more people escaped from the city to unoccupied Russia.)

All in all, it is estimated that between 90,000 and 100,000 Kharkov citizens will never be accounted for. It's something to think about as Doctor Goebbels prattles about saving European civilization from the "eastern hordes."
Soviet partisans hanging from the balcony of an administrative building on the Mius-Front near the Ukrainian village of Dyakivka in March 1943 (source)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

March 9, 1943

(Ever since Hitler took over Czechoslovakia and marched into Poland, we have been hearing about the slavery and semi-slavery into which has been throwing the conquered European peoples. With the Red Army killing his soldiers in Russia—and with the United States and British air forces knocking out his factories in Germany and Western Europe—the Fuehrer has been forced more and more to rely on kidnapped labor to keep his war machine working.)

At Kharkov a couple of weeks ago, I got my first glimpse of just what Nazi "forced labor" means. Simon Legree, with his whip and bloodhounds, was a sissy compared to the Nazi with his rubber hose, his barbed wire, and his hangman's noose.

An estimated 110,000 Kharkov citizens are doing forced labor in Germany today. They range from boys and girls of fourteen years of age to men and women of forty. The only requirements for work in Germany is a strong back and a brace of biceps.

According to the people to whom I talked in Kharkov, the Germans there used two methods of getting workers to work in their factories. They simply picked them up off the street and packed them off, or they sent around a notice saying the workers should report to a recruiting headquarters—or else.

The Germans have an efficient, standard identification card with which they register their foreign workers. It's printed in eleven languages, so it comes in handy for a dozen countries from which they can kidnap labor.

This identification card serves as a passport. When the kidnapped worker gets to Germany, he finds that it allows him to move from his factory, or his labor gang, to his barracks—and no place else.
____________________________
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

March 16, 1943

We (the American and British foreign correspondents who live at the Metropol Hotel) here in Moscow are a pretty sad group of people today.

It's because of the bad news from Kharkov.

It was only two weeks and two days ago that we were in that Ukrainian city—and every one of us came away with a clearer picture of what Hitler's New Order means to the conquered people of Europe than any one of us ever had before.

(During the fifteen months of occupation by the German forces, Kharkov had all but died of Nazism. Over 18,000 people had been executed. 70,000 had died of starvation. Over 110,000 had been shipped off to Germany. And about 90,000 were simply listed as "missing.")

Today the Germans are back in Kharkov. (It is depressing to think just how many of the 350,000 Kharkov residents we found there two weeks ago will be left when the Red Army again takes the city. And it will be retaken—make no mistake about that.)

(Another thing which saddens the foreign press corps here is the uncertainty of) We are wondering what is going to happen to the people to whom we talked. The people who told us the horrible story of the German occupation.

For example, the little 14-year-old boy who (broke down and) cried as he told how his father was killed by the Germans. (The indigent Ukrainian housewife who wept when she told how her sister had been shipped away to Germany.) The kindly little college professor who was trying to reorganize Kharkov's educational and social services to care for the children orphaned by German executions. He was very pleased when we talked to him that he had found homes and food for 300 of these orphans.

(You see, as news reporters, we used the names of all these people so that you people in America reading our stories could have verified evidence of what the Nazis did to Kharkov.)

If I know anything about the efficiency of the Gestapo, (the names of) these people today head the list of German reprisals. I and the rest of my colleagues here in Moscow can only hope that those people evacuated the city with the Red Army. Or that they go into hiding until the city is captured again.

I know, as every correspondent does, that it is not often the problems of news reporting make significant news. (These things are part of our job).

But there is no better demonstration of just what Hitlerism stands for in this world than Kharkov.

Usually, discussions about "truth" have a nebulous quality that almost always end up in confused arguments about what is right and what is wrong.

I don't want to preach any sermons. There is nothing nebulous about "truth" in Kharkov today. The people who told the truth to us American and British reporters now stand under the thread of execution.

Truth in that Ukrainian city today is a matter of life and death. (And so it is in this whole war raging throughout the world.)

One writer in the Moscow newspapers said this morning that "it is not easy to give up Kharkov." Kharkov is a city of tears. Then he added, "but for every Russian tear, let there be mountains of dead Germans."

That's the way the foreign press corps in Moscow feels this morning.

February 24, 2024

1940. "Eyes of the World Turn to America's Election"

The Urgency of the 1940 Presidential Election
President Franklin Roosevelt in Kingston, New York on Election Day, November 5, 1940 (source)
From The New York Times, November 3, 1940:

EYES OF THE WORLD TURN TO AMERICA'S ELECTION
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
Our Decisive Power in Both War and Peace Fully Recognized Abroad
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
By ANNE O'HARE McCORMICK

Not since the wartime vote of 1916 has the choice of an American President interested the outside world so keenly as the present election. People everywhere, in the depths of Russia and China as well as in Britain and occupied Europe, will watch us anxiously as we cast our ballots next Tuesday. They will watch us because popular elections are becoming a rare sight on this planet. In most countries free choice is just a remembered luxury, like safety, coffee, planning ahead.

But the main reason for their intentness is selfish—the feeling that they, too, are involved in our choice. Sometimes vaguely, sometimes acutely, they feel that the man empowered to head this government for the next four years is destined to play a leading part in the widening drama of war and peace.

A Hope Disappointed

At home it was hoped that the candidates' agreement on such fundamentals as full aid to Britain, conscription, armament, to the limit of our speed and capacity, would expunge foreign policy from the political debate. Inevitably, however, the argument has tended to focus more and more on this issue. The earth revolves in a red fog of war, and as the campaign developed nothing could prevent the war from dominating all other questions in the mind of the American people.

The President recognized this when he changed his plan and went out to explain his attitude to the country. In the early days of his administration, scenes from his first campaign were thrown on a screen one evening in the upper hall of the White House. "How I miss the crowds!" was his comment as he looked. He is an extremely perceptive and observant man, and as he resumed the role of campaigner, in touch with the crowds, it is noteworthy that he laid increasing stress on his determination to keep the country out of the war.

Mr. Willkie also met the American crowd. In a few places they greeted him with eggs and "boos." Most of the time he was received with enthusiasm, louder, it seemed, as his own voice grew hoarser.

Thoughtful Americans

But what struck him in all the crowds was their seriousness. Hostile or friendly, the people were thoughtful and deeply in earnest, he told a friend after a cross-country tour. He, too, sensed the reason for this anxiety; his later speeches were almost entirely devoted to questions rising out of the war and the defense program.

The people, in short, raised the question the candidates at first wished to ignore. As the race neared the end, with Mr. Willkie demanding greater help to Britain and Mr. Roosevelt dispatching ships and planes and promising more, the main issues had narrowed down to two: Which contender will arm us fastest? Which is more likely to keep us out of the conflict?

Abroad, likewise, these questions overshadow more immediate concerns. For the past week or two, despite the thrust into Greece, the major struggle seems to have been held in suspense, almost as if the war were waiting for the result of the election. In the heat of the electoral battle it was charged that the British hope for the re-election of Mr. Roosevelt and the Axis Powers favor Mr. Willkie. If this is true, in each case the preference is based on the fact that both the Germans and the British know the President. Mr. Willkie is an unknown quantity; while he has given every assurance that his foreign policy will be identical with Mr. Roosevelt's, the Germans may figure that any change would be for the better and the British are quite satisfied with things as they are.

True or not, the preference does not affect many voters in this country. As between the two sides of the war, the American preference is solidly and almost unanimously "set." Few oppose helping the British or blocking the Axis. As between the two candidates, however, Americans were never so bent on deciding for themselves, according to their own conception of the national interests.

The injection of this red-herring issue is nevertheless significant. It proves that next Tuesday's balloting is an international event of far-reaching importance. The choice of Mr. Willkie may be taken in Germany as a sign of American unwillingness to enter the war. The choice of Mr. Roosevelt may be interpreted in England as an augury of more active participation. Europe inclines to echo our most contradictory campaign arguments—that the President will move more rapidly toward intervention than his opponent and that the Republican candidate will put more speed into the building of a war machine.

Fear of America Itself

The inner recesses of governmental minds are not likely to harbor these contradictions. If Hitler and Mussolini discussed this election at Florence, doubtless they agreed that we are already virtually in the war. Publicly they might cheer the defeat of Mr. Roosevelt; privately what they fear is America itself, the incalculable power of the people in a democracy. They are under no illusion that American policy in a crisis can be decided by any will but the will of the people.

The British know this even more certainly. Mr. Churchill is on close terms with the President and would regret to see him leave office. But the relations between the White House and Downing Street were just as intimate when Mr. Chamberlain was Prime Minister. Methods, persons, emphasis and conditions alter, but representative governments do not reverse their policies overnight, as dictators can. In the present case, moreover, a change of administration does not mean a change of policy, and this implies far more than a unity of view on the part of the candidates; it is striking proof of popular agreement on our primary interests.

Why, then, if the election supposes no drastic shift in policy, is it watched with such interest from Singapore to Narvik?

The answer lies in the nature of the world struggle now in process. It lies in the preponderant weight America throws into the balance as other powers are absorbed drained or by war. This conflict has a tidal quality; it ebbs and flows, roars and subsides. The spurts and lulls indicate that it is only partly military. From the beginning armies, navies and air fleets have merely supported other means of pressure. Between battles, behind the war front, all the manoeuvres have but one object—to anticipate and determine the shape of the peace.

Where Great Battles Lie

In this contest, in fact, military operations constitute only one phase. The great engagements are political, diplomatic and psychological. This is why the leader we select is of such importance in the international view.

People in Europe who are still able to think ahead look more and more to the White House as a lighthouse in the universal blackout. It is about the only normal seat of government to which they can look as a point of reference. This is true of the subjugated peoples and also of the British; engrossed wholly just now in the struggle to survive, they turn to us not for material support only but for visible reassurance that the life they are defending is still going on. Be sure, moreover, that the Germans and Italians regard this Federal union as the supreme standard of comparison, the challenging alternative to Hitler's "new order."

Even last Spring, before the Continent was "occupied," unofficial Europe was thinking of the United States as a factor in the war and as the arbiter of the peace that would eventually follow. Repeatedly, especially from government heads in small capitals, now no more, the writer heard remarks like these:

"The next Administration in your country will represent the new balance of power in the world." "In the next four years you will decide the fate of your country and ours." "The next President will have to be a greater statesman than your last Messiah, Wilson, presumed to be; he will have to make terms with a revolution."

With the world background in mind supporters of Mr. Roosevelt argue approximately thus: "The President is a great figure. He has played a conspicuous role in a world drama that has already destroyed most of the performers. His relations with foreign powers have been closer and more constant than those of any of his predecessors. This experience is invaluable; in foreign affairs he has knowledge, a sure touch, a horse trader's shrewdness, a useful confidence in the ability of this country to hold its own against any combination of brains or power. Above all he has imagination, a sense of American destiny as well as his own. He has been working for a long time on plans for peace, for a new order to oppose to Hitler's. If he ever fulfills his ambition to be a peacemaker, he will produce a blueprint that would inspire the world and reduce the Nazi organization to something like a prison code."

The Counter-Arguments

On the other hand, the arguments for Mr. Willkie might be these:

"Internationally, Mr. Willkie starts from scratch. If he lacks the advantages and renown of the President's experience he also lacks the disadvantages. Mr. Roosevelt has aroused great confidence abroad and sharpened deep antagonisms. The bitterness and disappointment of defeated peoples like the French are sometimes transferred to him. Some blame him for his part in Munich, others because his words encouraged the democracies to rely on American support we were not prepared to give. His name is associated, one way or another, with the tragic controversies that divide nations within themselves. Mr. Willkie has uncommon sense, the drive and energy needed to speed up our defenses, a fervent and contagious faith in the genius of this country and the benefit of being a new man with a fresh approach to problems the old hands have failed to solve."

Europe hangs on our choice—because Europe hangs on America. To the watching world, dictators and democrats, it is America and American power that count. The President may give a direction and emphasis to this power, but he cannot control it, and Hitler knows this as well as Churchill does.

As for Americans, they know that both candidates put American interests first. They are aware that this country will influence outside events in the degree in which it is strong, united, wise and faithful to itself. The President who will best mobilize that strength and express that unity and faith will be the best minister of our foreign policy and therefore the best hope of the world.

February 23, 2024

1970. Aircraft Hijacking Foiled

Calls for a Federal Commission on Aircraft Hijacking
Front page of The Arizona Republic on June 5, 1970 (source)

Bill Downs

ABC Washington

June 5, 1970

Next to treason and murder, the crime of piracy has for centuries been one of the most heinous in the catalogue of evils that one man can commit against his society. It was true in the olden days because nations depended on shipping to provide the essentials of life for their people. Even so, Spain, France, Holland, and England have used pirate ships as unofficial men-of-war—and many captured pirates ended their lives at the end of a yard-arm.

Air piracy, of course, is a twentieth century innovation. And the abortive hijacking of the TWA Jetliner yesterday demonstrates the difficulty of preventing and stopping this most dangerous crime. However the Airline Pilots Association, the aircraft industry, and the government are determined to crack down on hijackers. And Arthur Barkley, the Phoenix, Arizona cookie truck driver charged with taking over the TWA plane, is in a serious position. Aircraft piracy is a federal charge, and it carries a penalty, on conviction, ranging from twenty years in prison to the maximum sentence of death.

Like ocean-going ships of old, the commercial airliner has become the major long-distance passenger carrier for most nations of the world. The successful hijacking of a plane consists of an implied threat to the safety of every other airliner in the world. Had not airborne pirates been successful in hijacking more than fifty airliners from the US to Cuba, there probably would not have been the subsequent rash of hijackings in South America, nor attacks on Israeli and other planes in Europe and the Middle East.

All the same, there is a difference between today's serial hijacker and the men like Blackbeard and others who terrorized the Spanish Main of old.

The swashbuckling scoundrels who lived by piracy those days were mostly pirates in search for gold.

By contrast, the serial hijacker of today is lucky to get away with his life.

A federal commission is now studying ways to prevent the piracy of commercial airliners. Possibly the most effective weapon is the psychiatrist.

This is Bill Downs in Washington for the American Entertainment Network, a service of ABC News.

February 22, 2024

1934. "Concept of Third Reich Begins to Take Reality"

Nazis Use Nationalist Nostalgia to Claim Legitimacy
Map featured in The New York Times on March 27, 1938

From The New York Times, October 7, 1934:

CONCEPT OF THIRD REICH BEGINS TO TAKE REALITY
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
With Their Leader Firmly Entrenched in Power, the Nazis Hope for a New Era of German Greatness
⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯
By EMIL LENGYEL

Adolf Hitler, heavily entrenched in power, recently predicted that the Third Reich would last a thousand years. Even if, to those outside Germany, it does not seem firmly established, in the minds of the Nazis the concept of the new Reich is taking a definite form. For a year and a half the Third Reich has been a hope and a slogan, with Hitler sharing his power with Field Marshal von Hindenburg. Hindenburg's tomb at Tannenberg was also the Third Reich's birthplace.

What is the Third Reich, and what were the First and Second Reichs from which the new order seeks inspiration?

To Hitlerites the Third Reich is a new Germany in which Nazi supreme authority is exerted by a Leader to whom Germans everywhere bow. Its sources and ideology were described by the theoretician Moeller van den Bruck, whose volume "Das Dritte Reich" is Nazi gospel, second in importance only to Hitler's own book. In the view of van den Bruck and his disciples, the Third Reich must comprise all people of German blood, whether born in Germany or outside. A German, they say, owes allegiance to the Third Reich notwithstanding that he may be the citizen of another country.

It may be pointed out that among the principal Nazi leaders are some who were born in Austria, Egypt, Argentina and Russia. Dr. Alfred Rosenberg, born a Russian but withal the spiritual director of the Third Reich, thus expresses the essence of that realm: "Under its rule race ranks higher than the State, and the protection of the race is the supreme aim of law."

Conformity a Duty

Hence, while Germany's present boundaries contain about 65,000,000 inhabitants, the population of the Third Reich is regarded as 100,000,000. According to the Nazi doctrine, it is the duty of all members of this Reich to feel and think alike. This can be accomplished only by ultimately uniting the Germans living outside of the geographical Reich with their fellows at home.

The Third Reich, as the Nazis set it forth, seeks to emulate the autocratic greatness of the First Empire in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when Germany's famous Hohenstaufen family ruled over a large part of Europe as Holy Roman Emperors. It seeks at the same time to eclipse the greatness of the Second Reich, that was born in 1871 in the Versailles Hall of Mirrors, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, and died in the same hall in 1918, at the end of the World War. Both the first and Second Reichs are considered by the Nazis in many ways the high points of their country's history.

In adopting the name "Third Reich" the Nazis have taken a label that might militate against Communist gains in Germany. The phrase "Third Reich," it is their hope, will hold greater appeal for Germans than the Third International. It has often been suggested that number three stands for finality. Whereas the First and Second Reichs together lasted for less than two centuries, the Hitlerites expect the Third Reich to endure for a millennium.

Heroes of the First Reich

What inspiration can a twentieth-century Third Reich draw from a twelfth-century First Reich? Nazi leaders express admiration for the sterling virtues of German forefathers. They take particular pride in the two great heroes of the First Reich, who have also been adopted as the heroes of the Third Reich, and about whom books and plays have been written in profusion.

In Adolf Hitler a reverent Nazi author sees the reincarnation of one of these First Reich chieftains, Frederick Barbarossa. According to an ancient legend, Emperor Frederick of the ruddy beard fell asleep centuries ago in a cavern of Thuringia's Kyffhaeuser hills. Ever since then his red whiskers have been growing around the marble slab on which his head rests. In Germany's hour of need he will return and, mounted on a white charger, lead his nation against the enemy.

During his glory-filled lifetime, Frederick Barbarossa was a German Fuehrer in the Nazi sense. He struck terror into Europe's heart and extended Germany's frontiers far beyond the language boundary. The great herald of the German idea of the "Drang nach Osten," he led his army toward the eastern star, bound on the conquest of the Holy Land.

Progress in Second Reich

But the First Reich's greatness was fully revealed only at the court of his grandson, Emperor Frederick II, who was known to his contemporaries as the Marvel of the World. Frederick was a master not only of a large part of Europe's body but also of its soul. He gave Europe a new idea of culture and made the German name respected as far south as Sicily.

In his declining years he showed a desire to return to paganism. His words and deeds are quoted today by anti-Christians of the Third Reich. Dr. Rosenberg takes these words from Frederick's mouth: "The cross must be removed from the altar, because it is the sign of suffering and humility."

As the Nazis survey history, the First Reich was followed by centuries of darkness in which German fought German in wars of religion, of territorial expansion, or merely as a manly sport or whim. The Thirty Years' War left German land reduced to mounts of ruins on which stray humans fought stray wolves for scraps of food. Eventually Prussia took the lead and gave unity to German purpose; yet as late as 1866 German again fought German in battle.

The proclamation of the Second Reich was another triumph of unity. When Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, became German Emperor on January day of 1871, the way was open for a breath-taking phase of German influence. The Nazis, looking back, see the Second Reich forging the arms with which to force its way to a higher place in the sun. They see it acquiring colonies and spheres of influence, challenging for supremacy of the world.

"Crime" of Weimar Republic

The Second Reich is too near the present, however, to receive the unqualified endorsement of the Nazis; too fulsome praise might inspire the Germans to seek the return of the Hohenzollerns. Nor can the Nazis afford to extol too much of the giant of the Second Reich, Prince Bismarck, without inviting comparison with Adolf Hitler, their own idol. Yet it is the policy of the Nazis to give a friendly picture of the Second Reich, so that the "crime" of the Weimar Republic in "stabbing it in the back" may be emphasized. The Nazis do not forget they were aided in their upward climb by the assertions that the republicans had dug the grave of German greatness.

The Hitlerites see the Third Reich as cultivating the best virtues of the First and Second Reichs plus their own. They insist on even more complete obedience to authority than did Frederick Barbarossa or Wilhelm II. They believe that their Fuehrer is to be viewed not only as a leader but also as an oracle and seer. The Third Reich is expected to become a sovereign power in the most pronounced sense of the word.

There are some aspects of the First and Second Reichs that the Nazis do not wish to emulate. They do not want, for the time being at least, to mix their blood with that of other races, as Frederick II did. They are satisfied with ruling over the 100,000,000 people of German blood.

The Nazis have criticized the Second Reich for opening its Parliament to "destructive" Socialists and liberals. They have chosen an opposite course; they have not only driven dissenting parties out of the Reichstag but have also outlawed all political party organizations except their own. Starting with the Communists and following with the Socialists, they have driven underground one group after another that has dared to dispute their power.