Tuesday, 16 December 2008

About to be Führer

No 7 in an occasional series of extracts from The Postcard Century
January 1934: From DW in Berlin to Reginald Braad in Gordon Street, London: I send you this without comment. Don't show it to Derek it might encourage him.

This short message makes a present day reader bristle with speculation. Few comments are as loaded as 'without comment', and Derek becomes a tantalising figure (perhaps on the fringes of Mosley's British version of fascism). Hitler has been Chancellor for a year and the Third Reich is only six months old, yet the familiar imagery is all in place with a proliferation of swastikas and uniforms and the beginnings of the Hitler Youth.

The caption on the reverse reads 'Reichschancellor Hitler greets his young people'. These boys will be ready for the war when the call eventually comes. The Führer himself (though he will not assume that title publicly until Hindenberg's death later that year) is iconically complete, the often parodied walk and salute and compelling charm perfected. Was this received with a dismissive chuckle in Gordon Street and did Derek catch an all too exhilarating glimpse of it?

1 comment:

Sal said...

ok, that caption/photo-scribbling is bloody intriguing.

it is so surreal reading non-nazi german writings of the period, and of the mild bemusement they feel regarding what they see as a minority of mild extremists, and how it so fast tips into its own little world. and, in reality, how small a world was that of the extremists, even when they were committing the acts that later tarred the whole nation. the writers describing men standing up in busses and trams to allow jews to sit down, staring down the men in uniform, they don't get that much air-time nowadays.