catpad (catpad) wrote,

Длинная историческая цитата

Читал я как раз недавно книгу "Hitler" by Ian Kershaw. Ну и вот теперь не могу удержаться, чтобы не привести оттуда длинную цитату (по-английски). Речь идёт о
ремилитаризации Рейнской области. Область эта была демилитаризована после Первой Мировой войны и дальнейший её статус подтверждён договором Локарно в 1925-м году. В 1936-м году Гитлер решил с таким положением покончить и посмотреть, что из этого выйдет.

Как говорит нам Википедия "некоторые историки утверждают, что ремилитаризация была частью спонтанного ответа на серьёзные экономические проблемы, с которыми режим столкнулся в 1936 году. Ремилитаризация, в их толковании, была для нацистов простым и дешёвым путем повышения популярности режима."
Европа, как обычно, особой опасности в этом не усмотрела и ничего не предприняла. В частности английский лорд Лотиан сказал, что "в конце концов, немцы всего лишь зашли в свой огород".

И вот цитата. Букв много, но прочитать стоит. Я отметил особо интересные места.

Under the terms of the 1919 peace settlement, the German Reich had been prohibited from erecting fortifications, stationing troops, or undertaking any military preparations on the left bank of the Rhine and within a 50 kilometres trip on the right bank. The status of the demilitarized Rhineland had subsequently been endorsed by the Locarno Pact of 1925, which Germany had signed. Any unilateral alteration of that status by Germany would not only amount to a devastating breach of the post-war settlement and reneging on an international agreement; it would also threaten the very basis of western security which that settlement had endeavoured to establish. From a German nationalist perspective, however, the current status of the Rhineland was intolerable.

The French government realized that a move to remilitarize the Rhineland was inevitable. Most observers tipped autumn 1936, once the Olympics were out of the way. Few thought Hitler would take great risks over the Rhineland when conventional diplomacy would ultimately succeed. Ministers rejected independent military action against flagrant German violation. In any case, the French military leadership — grossly exaggerating German armed strength — had made it plain that they opposed military retaliation, and that the reaction to any fait accompli should be purely political. The truth was: the French had no stomach for a fight over the Rhineland. And Hitler and the German Foreign Office sensed this.

The next day, 2 March, Goebbels attended a meeting in the Reich Chancellery at 11a.m. The heads of the armed forces — Goring, Blomberg, Fritsch and Raeder — were there. So was Ribbentrop. Hitler told them he had made his decision. The Reichstag would be summoned for Saturday, 7 March. There the proclamation of the remilitarization of the Rhineland would be made. At the same time, he would offer Germany’s re-entry into the League of Nations, an air pact, and a non-aggression treaty with France. The acute danger would thereby be reduced, Germany’s isolation prevented, and sovereignty once and for all restored.

‘Everything has to happen as quick as lightning.’Troop movements would be camouflaged by making them look like SA and Labour Front exercises.

The Reichstag, too, was tense as Hitler rose, amid enormous applause, to speak. The Kroll Opera, where the Reichstag still met, close to the ruins of the building that had burned down in 1933, was packed to the rafters. Hundreds of pressmen filled the galleries. Numerous diplomats were present — though the English and French ambassadors, guessing what was coming, had stayed away. On the platform, among the members of the cabinet, Blomberg was visibly white with nerves. None were visible in Göring, sitting behind Hitler and looking about to burst with pride.

The speech was aimed not just at those present in the Kroll Opera, but at the millions of radio listeners. After a lengthy preamble denouncing Versailles, restating Germany’s demands for equality and security, and professing peaceful aims, a screaming onslaught on Bolshevism brought wild applause. This took Hitler into his argument that the Soviet — French Pact had invalidated Locarno. He read out the memorandum which Neurath had given to the ambassadors of the Locarno signatories that morning, stating that the Locarno Treaty had lost its meaning. He paused for a brief moment, then continued: ‘Germany regards itself, therefore, as for its part no longer bound by this dissolved pact. In the interest of the primitive rights of a people to the security of its borders and safeguarding of its defense capability, the German Reich government has therefore from today restored the full and unrestricted sovereignty of the Reich in the demilitarized zone of the Rhineland.’ At this, wrote William Shirer, witnessing the scene, the 600 Reichstag deputies, ‘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 “Heil’s”’. When the tumult eventually subsided, Hitler advanced his ‘peace proposals’ for Europe: anon-aggression pact with Belgium and France; demilitarization of both sides of their joint borders; an air-pact; non-aggression treaties, similar to that with Poland, with other eastern neighbours; and Germany’s return to the League of Nations. Some thought Hitler was offering too much.

He moved to the climax. ‘Men, deputies of the German Reichstag! In this historic hour when in the western provinces of the Reich German troops are at this moment moving into their future peacetime garrisons, we all unite in two sacred inner vows.’ He was interrupted by a deafening tumult from the assembled deputies. ‘They spring, yelling and crying, to their feet,’ William Shirer recorded. ‘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 contorted 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.’ Patiently he waited for silence. Then he made the two vows: never to yield to force when the honour of the people was at stake; and to strive for better understanding with Germany’s European neighbours. He repeated his promise of the previous year, that Germany had no territorial demands to make in Europe.

In reality, one French division would have sufficed to terminate Hitler’s adventure. ‘Had the French then marched into the Rhineland,’ Hitler was reported to have commented more than once at a later date, ‘we would have had to withdraw again with our tails between our legs (mit Schimpf und Schande). The military force at our disposal would not have sufficed even for limited resistance.

But as the Dictator had correctly predicted, in fact, neither the French nor the British had the will for a fight. Already by the early evening of 7 March, it was plain that the coup had been a complete success. ‘With the Führer,’ noted Goebbels. ‘Comments from abroad excellent. France wants to involve the League of Nations. That’s fine. So it [France] won’t take action. That’s the main thing. Nothing else matters. The reaction in the world was predicted. The Führer is immensely happy. The entry has gone according to plan. The Führer beams. England remains passive. France won’t act alone. Italy is disappointed and America uninterested. We have sovereignty again over our own land.’

The risk had, in fact, been only a moderate one. The western democracies had lacked both the will and the unity needed to make intervention likely. But the triumph for Hitler was priceless. Not only had he outwitted the major powers, which had again shown themselves incapable of adjusting to a style of power-politics that did not play by the rules of conventional diplomacy. He had scored a further victory over the conservative forces at home in the military and the Foreign Office.

Condemnation by the League of Nations on 19 March was also an irrelevance. Locarno had been destroyed; Versailles was in tatters. The crisis was long past. ‘Am I happy, my God am I happy that it has gone so smoothly!’

The popular euphoria at the news of the reoccupation of the Rhineland far outstripped even the feelings of national celebration in 1933 or 1935 following previous triumphs. People were beside themselves with delight. The initial widespread fear that Hitler’s action would bring war was rapidly dissipated.

New admiration for Hitler, support for his defiance of the west, attack on Versailles, restoration of sovereignty over German territory, and promises of peace were — sometimes grudgingly — recorded by Sopade observers. The Hamburg middle-class housewife Luise Solmitz did not conceal her praise for Hitler. ‘I was totally overwhelmed by the events of this hour... overjoyed at the entry march of our soldiers, at the greatness of Hitler and the power of his speech, the force of this man.’ A few years earlier, ‘when demoralization (Zersetzung) ruled amongst us,’she wrote, ‘we would not have dared contemplate such deeds. Again and again the Führer faces the world with a fait accompli. Along with the world, the individual holds his breath. Where is Hitler heading, what will be the end, the climax of this speech, what boldness, what surprise will there be? And then it comes, blow on blow, action as stated without fear of his own courage. That is so strengthening. That is the deep, unfathomable secret of the Führer’s nature. And he is always lucky.’

A sense of his own greatness had been instilled in Hitler by his admirers since the early 1920s. He had readily embraced the aura attached to him. It had offered insatiable nourishment for his already incipient all-consuming egomania. Since then, the internal, and above all the foreign-policy successes, since 1933, accredited by growing millions to the Führer’s genius, had immensely magnified the tendency. Hitler swallowed the boundless adulation. He became the foremost believer in his own Führer cult.

He had come to regard himself as ordained by Providence. ‘I go with the certainty of a sleepwalker along the path laid out for me by Providence,’ he told a huge gathering in Munich on 14 March. His mastery over all other power-groups within the regime was by now well-nigh complete, his position unassailable, his popularity immense. Few at this point had the foresight to realize that the path laid out by Providence led into the abyss.


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