THE WESTERN MAIL
& SOUTH WALES NEWS, August 18th 1934
THE HYSTERIA OF GOERING
“Priest surrounded by
People’s Weakening Faith
By Gareth Jones
A CRUEL, fleshy
fist, ever moving, ever threatening fascinates me and I can hardly take my eyes
away from it.
clenched with the strength of a powerful man it shakes back and fro in a gesture
of warning, sometimes it crashes down as if ascending ruthlessly upon a
victim. It is a fist with personality, but a brutal, a
nailed fist. It is
the fist of Goering.
elevated on a stage a few yards away from me before a mass of Brownshirts, of
Hitler youths, and of German middle-class citizens. He is the centre of
the most magnificently staged drama I have seen.
Behind him rise
the lofty pillars of a classic temple, from which the red, black and white
swastika banners are flowing. Illuminated so that the red brilliance of
the Nazi colour may stand out against the blackness of the sky and crowned with
a dazzling swastika electric sign, this temple looks over a grassy square now
filled with National-Socialists, who read between the centre pillars the slogan,
“With Adolf Hitler for Germany.”
Not long ago
this crowd was waiting for Goering in the darkness. Then, with a
suddenness which made one’s eyes blink, searchlights flashed, a military band
blared out a Nazi march and hundreds upon hundreds of banners were seen
approaching from the distance down the avenue towards the temple.
Troopers, with their leaders, marched past.
Thinking of the shootings of Roehm and his associates, I whispered to my neighbour: “There are some faces
missing since your last Munich meeting.” He replied: “They are unwept,
unhonoured, and unsung.”
silence for a few minutes while the crowd waited. Then a faint cheer came,
and rapidly down the avenue drove a car, with a fat man in a brown uniform
standing up and giving the Fascist salute. Goering had arrived to speak in
the campaign for Hitler’s election on Sunday.
The crowd stood
with outstretched arms—I must have been the only one in that vast multitude
whose right arm remained obstinately unraised.
Like a priest
surrounded by the chorus in Greek play, Goering stood motionless beneath the
Ionic columns of the temple, while the Storm Troop flag bearers carried their
brilliant banners with the silver crests glittering beneath the searchlights.
rendered hard by his high cheekbones and by the grim expression of his mouth,
were deepened by the light which shone down upon him.
His musical voice
boomed out a greeting to the German people. It had a touch of rich harmony
about it, but soon I felt a note of hardness.
He had not spoken
long before there rang out in those clipped tones of the German officer a
jarring sound of, cruelty, impatience, and intolerance, which contrasted with
the studied harmony and pleasing volume of the opening sentences.
The influence of
Hitler upon his manner of speaking was striking, and my thoughts went to those
Welsh members of Parliament whose voice and gestures are modeled upon, Mr. Lloyd
There was in some
high points of Goering’s speech the same note of hysteria and unbridled
passion which I had heard in Hitler’s speeches, a note which inspires one with
fear that the speaker will suddenly break down or lose absolute control of his
But that Goering
is a tragic actor of the first rank there can be no doubt.
studied acquirements of a crystal-clear enunciation he has an instinctive
knowledge of the place of light and shade in oratory and of the need of irony to
follow a tragic or emotional passage.
about the lies of the world press followed a crescendo movement, which
culminated in the shrieking claim: The German people have become the freest
people of the world. That freedom has come through Adolf Hitler.
Hitler” filled the speech, which was one long panegyric of the Leader, and one
long demand that every man and woman should vote on August 19.
But with all his
gifts of oratory, with all the passion which had filled his purple patches, and
with all his triumphs of stage management, Goering must have left the meeting a
slightly saddened man.
Where was the
enthusiasm which filled the assembly 18 months ago? Where was the spirit
of religious fervour which once sent a shiver through the limbs and hearts of
Germans. And those dark shadows in the trees yonder. Were they,
perhaps, the ghosts of vanished Storm Troop leaders who not long ago had stood
on that same temple, side by side with Goering, but whose ashes are now in some
Forced to Listen-in
Yes, they were
lacking the old keenness which had impressed me so deeply in the first fine
careless raptures of Hitler’s revolution.
lacking in this whole election campaign by which Hitler will on Sunday be
elected Leader, of the German people.
the keynote of the week.
forced to listen in to the speeches which are pouring through the wireless like
an unceasing flood. In many houses the caretaker visits each flat to
inquire who listened in and who was out, and whether the person, who was out
listened in or not!
fate of the caretaker would be in a British house if he so dared to trespass
upon the freedom of the citizen I hardly like to imagine.
“Why waste the
money on an election when there can be no other result than a victory for the
one and only candidate?” critical men are asking, but in spite of their
criticisms they will all go to the ballot-box on Sunday, for to vote is
obligatory. Many millions will go with enthusiasm, it is true, but it is a
I myself will on
Sunday and on many days in the future be thinking not so much of the ballot-box
and of the vote to be counted by 100 per cent. National Socialists but of
something far more powerful—that iron fist of Goering which I saw clenched and
threatening as the lights shone down upon it in temple at Munich.