266 FIRST INFORMATION ON FASCISM I met men who have rulers' qualities such as are very much to my taste. What handsome individuals, and what a resolute air ! Those are men who could play a part at the top level. The Fascists paid with their blood much more than we did. The story of the conquest of power in Italy is an heroic epic. It always warms my heart to think of it. I can understand their emotion when they once more live through the time of the March on Rome. Why should such men suddenly become worthless as soldiers? It's quite simply because they lack a command. The Italian people is idealistic, but the cadres of the Italian Army are reactionary. It's strange how, throughout the last hundred years, our two peoples have had perceptibly the same destiny. First of all, the wars for unity, then the fact that each was cheated of its rights. Then, more recently, the two sister revolutions that knew nothing of one another. It was in 1921 that I first heard Fascism mentioned. The SA was born in 1920, without my having the least idea of what was going on in Italy. Italy developed in a manner at which I was the first to be surprised. I could see fairly clearly the orientation that it would be proper to give the Party, but I had no ideas concerning paramilitary organisations. I began by creating a service to keep order, and it was only after the bloody brawls of 1920 that I gave these troops the name of Sturm-Abteilung (SA), as a reward for their behaviour. I had taught them the technique of concentrating their efforts on limited objectives, and at meetings to attack the opponent table by table. But it was confined to that. When the brassard proved no longer sufficient, I equipped them with a specially designed cap. That was after Coburg. The skier's cap didn't cost much. It was all done in a very empirical manner. Nothing ofthat sort was thought out in advance. The SS started with formations of seven or eight men. In these we gathered the tough 'uns. Things developed spontaneously, and subsequently acquired a speed comparable to that of developments in Italy. The Duce himself has told me that at the moment when he undertook the struggle against Bolshevism, he didn't know exactly where he was going.
GENUINE FASCISTS AND OTHERS 267 What crowns these parallel destinies is that to-day we arc fighting side by side against the same Powers and against the same personages. At the same period, the Duce and I were both working in the building-trade. This explains that there is also a bond between us on the purely human level. I have a deep friendship for this extraordinary man. From the cultural point of view, we are more closely linked with the Italians than with any other people. The art of Northern Italy is something we have in common with them: nothing but pure Germans. The objectionable Italian type is found only in the South, and not everywhere even there. We also have this type in our own country. When I think of them: Vienna-Ottakring, Munich-Giesing, Berlin-Pankow ! If I compare the two types, that of these degenerate Italians and our type, I find it very difficult to say which of the two is the more antipathetic. There is a difference as between day and night, between the genuine Fascists and the others. Those society people with whom we are compelled to associate, that cosmopolitan world, they're more or less the same there and here. But the man of the people has plenty of spirit and, even physically, quite a different bearing. Compare that man with the parade-ground Fascists who people the Embassy—why, it's like in Germany, with our diplomats from the Wilhelmstrasse—excuse me, Hewel! All these people are intolerable—deceivers, hypocrites, liars. I've never seen anything worse than those courtiers at Naples. As for the bodyguard they so kindly gave me—what foul creatures, what gallows-birds! The Fascists and the others, they're really two worlds in water-tight compartments. The Fascists call the courtiers "lobsters", because of their red livery. I was greeted at the station by the Duke of Pistoia, a real degenerate. Beside him was another duke, no less degenerate. There was an admiral there who looked like a court toad, a bogus coin, a liar. Happily there was also a group of Fascists. All of them, even Giano, spoke with the deepest contempt of this ridiculous masquerade. During my excursions with the Duce, my breath was taken