David Lloyd George: Hitler is One of the Greatest Men I Ever Met
In an interview in London, Britain's World War One Prime Minister David Lloyd George summed up the impressions which he had derived from his recent visit to Germany.
"Germany," he said, "does not want war, but she is afraid of an attack by Russia, and is suspicious of the Franco-Russian Pact. I have never seen a happier people than the Germans, and Hitler is one of the greatest of the many great men I have met.
I am fully convinced that the German people today earnestly desire peace. Undoubtedly, 'Germany fears an attack by Russia, and in the same way Russia fears an attack by Germany, and I believe that the fear in each case is quite genuine."
Asked how he reconciled Germany's desire for; peace with the recent attacks on the Soviet, he replied:
"How do you reconcile Russia's professed desire for peace with her years of attack upon Germany? The fact is that they have been abusing one another like pickpockets for years. It has been a sort of slanging match, but I think that today 'people are rather apt to overlook what is said over the Soviet radio, and to pay attention only to German attacks upon Russia."
PEOPLE WORSHIP HITLER
"Germany does not want war. Hitler does not want war. He is a most remarkable personality, one of the greatest I have ever met in the whole of my life, and I have met some very great men.
"Affection is a quite inadequate word to describe the attitude of the German people towards Hitler. It amounts almost to worship. I have never seen anything like it. Some men I met who are not Nazis told me that' they did not know what the country would have done without him. They are inclined to blame Hitler's for some of the things which they do not approve, but there is no whisper of criticism of Hitler. It is just like our motto, 'The King can do no wrong."'
Mr Lloyd George was asked, "How do you reconcile that attitude towards Hitler with the suppression of the trade unions and the free expression of opinion?"
"I cannot explain it," he replied. "I am merely stating the facts, but you must remember that the Germans are a highly disciplined people, and have always been so.: They are far more accustomed to discipline than, we are, and I think that the restrictions in existence in Germany at the present time would have: a far greater effect upon people of this country, than upon Germany.
A GREAT MISFORTUNE
"I have always thought, and still think, that the persecution of Jews in Germany has been a great misfortune. But Germany is not the only country that has persecuted Jews. We must not forget the pogroms in Russia and In other European countries." Giving his impression of the German people of today, he said: "I have never seen a happier people. The feeling of depression and gloom which has oppressed them in post-war years has completely disappeared. They are today a very gay people. That is not merely, my own opinion. Since I returned from Germany I have had letters from Englishmen who have been in the habit of visiting Germany on business or on holiday, and they all confirm my own view. "One of the, foremost impressions which I derived from my visit was the universal desire to remain on terms of closest friendship with Great Britain. I found that among everyone I met, from Hitler down to the working men with whom I spoke. Everywhere Britain is held in deepest respect, and there is a profound desire that the tragic circumstances of 1914 should never be repeated."
Mr. Lloyd George was profoundly impressed by the economic recovery of Germany. "We hear a great, deal" he said, "of the efforts that Germany is making in the direction of re-armament, but little is said of the colossal schemes that are being pushed through for the development of the internal resources of the country, and the improvement of the conditions of the working population. I saw a good deal of the latter, and I was enormously impressed by the boldness and beneficence of the German plans. The Germans are reclaiming over 4,000,000 acres of land which was either completely waste or barely cultivated at all. They are building millions of houses for their working population, and everywhere they are constructing settlements for their town workers outside the city boundaries, with gardens attached to each house.
"The new roads which they are constructing are magnificent. By these and similar means they have reduced unemployment from 6,000,000 to 1,000,000 in three and a half years. Whatever we may think of Hitler and the present regime in Germany, that in itself is a very great achievement."