The setting for my new novel, Smoke, now being written, is London. The year is 1937. The main guy in the story, a young American named Philip Marlowe, has met a tailor, Itmar Greeneglass, who has provided Philip with some disturbing information about what is happening across the Channel, in Nazi Germany.
Research for this writing project has directed me to William L. Shirer’s classic research opus, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
On page 213 of the Simon & Schuster edition, Mr. Shirer wrote:
“On January 26, 1934, four days before Hitler was to meet the Reichstag on the first anniversary of his accession to power, announcement was made of the signing of a ten-year nonaggression pact between Germany and Poland.”
But on September 1, 1939, Hitler’s armies invaded Poland. So much for peace treaties with a liar.
Four days after the announcement of that peace-pact, which the furious Feuhrer later disregarded, he addressed the German Reichstag on January 30, 1934. William Shirer writes, concerning that speech, that Adolf Hitler:
“…could look back on a year of achievement without parallel in German history. Within twelve months he had overthrown the Weimar Republic, substituted his personal dictatorship for its democracy, destroyed all the political parties but his own, smashed the state governments and their parliaments and unified and defederalized the Reich, wiped out the labor unions, stamped out democratic associations of any kind, driven the Jews out of public and professional life, abolished freedom of speech and the press, stifled the independence of the courts and ‘co-ordinated’ under Nazi rule the political, economic, cultural and social life of an ancient and cultivated people.”
That little dictator was quite a demon to have done all that in his first year. And the fact that the political leaders of the free world failed to realize what the beast was up to– is no testimony to the validity of diplomatic processes.
As you probably know, the whole dam world would be suffering for decades to come, because of Hitler’s bloody absconding of the German government, and the world war which resulted from it.
I hope this never happens again, which is why I write about it, so that others may recognize the historical signs of such iniquity ever rising again from the muck of human depravity.
Remain vigilant, all ye lovers of freedom and decency. Be alert, like the deer that panteth for water at the brook. Never again!