g8 IMPRESSIONS OF PARIS heart beat high. I had specialised in that sort of architecture. What I still know about it now is only a pale reflection of what I used to know about it at that time. Von Kluge .asked a question: "My Fuehrer, what were your impressions when you visited Paris last year?" I was very happy to think that there was at least one city in the Reich that was superior to Paris From the point of view of taste—I mean, Vienna. The old part of Paris gives a feeling of complete distinction. The great vistas are imposing. Over a period of years I sent my colleagues to Paris so as to accustom them to grandeur—against the time when we would undertake, on new bases, the re-making and development of Berlin. At present Berlin doesn't exist, but one day she'll be more beautiful than Paris. With the exception of the Eiffel Tower, Paris has nothing of the sort that gives a city its private character, as the Coliseum does to Rome. It was a relief to me that we weren't obliged to destroy Paris. The greater the calm with which I contemplate the destruction of St. Petersburg and Moscow, the more I'd have suffered at the destruction of Paris. Every finished work is of value as an example. One takes the opportunity of learning, one sees the mistakes and seeks to do better. The Ring in Vienna would not exist without the Paris boulevards. It's a copy of them. The dome of the Invalides makes a deep impression. The Pantheon I found a horrible disappointment. The busts alone can be defended, but those sculptures—what a riot of cancerous tumours ! The Madeleine, on the other hand, has a sober grandeur. Keitel intervened : "Remember how embarrassed we were at the Opéra, when you wanted to visit certain rooms!" Yes, it's queer. The rooms once reserved for the Emperor have been transformed into libraries. The Republic fights to protect its presidents from temptations to the spirit of grandeur. I've known the plans for the Opéra since my youth. Being confronted with the reality made me reflect that the opera-houses of Vienna and Dresden were built with more taste. The Paris Opéra has an interior decorated in an overloaded style.
SPORT AS A RELAXATION 99 I paid my visit very early in the morning, between six and nine. I wanted to refrain from exciting the population by my presence. The first newspaper-seller who recognised me stood there and gaped. I still have before me the mental picture of that woman in Lille who saw me from her window and exclaimed : "The Devil!" Finally we went up to the Sacré Cœur. Appalling! But, on the whole, Paris remains one of the jewels of Europe. 56 3Oth October 1941, midday Blood sports. The feeling of aversion human beings have for the snake, the bat and the earthworm perhaps originates in some ancestral memory. It might go back to a time when animals of this nature, of monstrous dimensions, terrified prehistoric man. I learnt to hate rats when I was at the front. A wounded man forsaken between the lines knew he'd be eaten alive by these disgusting beasts. The Fuehrer turned to Gruppenfuehrer Wolff, who had returned from a shooting-party in the Sudetenland, held for Count Ciano by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, with the participation of the Reichsfuekrer SS and the Finance Minister. THE FUEHRER: What did you shoot? Eagles, lions. . . . WOLFF: No, common rabbits. THE FUEHRER: Joy must now prevail amongst the rabbits. The air has been cleared. GENERAL JODL : And you list all that game under the heading of "wild animals"? WOLFF : Yes. JODL: Wouldn't it be more appropriate to call them "domestic animals"? THE FUEHRER: I expect you used explosive bullets. . . . WOLFF : Merely lead. THE FUEHRER: Did you kill or wound any beaters? WOLFF : No, not to my knowledge. THE FUEHRER: A pity we can't use you crack shots against the Russian partisans!