270 SOME OF HITLER'S OPPONENTS In the struggle that set these men against us, I was merciless. It was only after our victory that I could say to them: "I understand the motives that drove you on." Those who were truly base were men of the Catholic Centre— Spiecker, for example. Tortuous methods and lies. Brüning utterly lacked character, and Treviranus was a bounder. I'm full of understanding for a worker who was hurled into a hostile world, and, quite naturally, found himself exposed to the seductions of Marxism. But not for those swine of theoreticians like Hilferding and Kautsky. Braun was not the worst of them. In any case, he was quick to put water in his wine. Luppe, at Nuremberg, was not a bad mayor. As for Scharnagel, he was a baker from head to foot. In Bavaria, men like Stützel, Schweyer, Koch and others were not bribeable, but this did not prevent them from being fundamentally base. Lerchenfeld and Lortz were just poor devils. Matt was more a fool than a knave. Several of them were descended from Mongols and Huns. Some of them succeeded in improving themselves in the following generation. I've been particularly correct towards my opponents. The Minister who condemned me, I've made him my Minister of Justice. Amongst my prison guards, several have become chiefs of the SA. The director of my prison has risen in rank. The only one whose situation I've not improved is Schweyer. On the contrary, I've suppressed his plurality of offices, for on top of his pension as Minister he used to receive eighteen thousand marks as administrator of Bavarian Electricity. Social-Democracy of the time lacked only a leader. Its worst mistake was to persevere in a path condemned by the facts. I was pitiless to all who indulged in Separatism—if only by way of warning, and to get it into everyone's head that in that sort of thing we have no time for jokes. But, in a general way, I can say I've been full of moderation. My conversations with Nortz, the Police President, were amusing. In 1923, two days before the 27th January, he claimed the right to compel me to hold in a hall a meeting that I wanted to hold in the open air. He invoked the security of the State as
EXPERIENCE WITH POLICE 271 an argument in support of his decision, and likewise the fact that he had not enough police forces to guarantee our safety. I retorted that we were capable of guaranteeing order by our own methods. Moreover, I claimed the right to hold a dozen meetings in succession, not just one. I added that if he opposed our decision, the blood that would be shed would be upon his head. Our haggling continued, and Nortz finally proposed that we should split the baby in two: six meetings, instead of twelve, held simultaneously in the Circus and on the Field of Mars in front of the Circus (for I'd declared that the Circus wasn't big enough to hold all my supporters). Finally, Nortz granted me my twelve meetings, but in the following form: we would hold simultaneously six times two meetings. For him that made six—for us, twelve ! I had another conflict with him concerning an individual whom the police maintained in our midst. The man was, in any case, ill chosen, for he stank of the police spy at a radius of a hundred metres. One day I was visited by a policeman who announced himself to me as an old comrade from the front. He said he was racked by remorse, for it was he who took down the spy's reports from dictation. I asked the comrade from the front to go on recording what the spy had to say, but on condition that he sent me a copy every time. In reality, the comrade in question was inspired quite simply by a desire for revenge, as I subsequently learnt. He was the victim of our spy, who was cuckolding him ! When I asked for the Circus for our demonstration on the 1st May, Nortz refused it me on the pretext that his forces were not enough to ensure order, and that my men continually provoked their adversaries. I leapt on the word "provoke". "My men!" I said. "But it'sjo« who send us provocative agitators in plain clothes. It'sjyour spies who urge my innocent lambs on to illegal acts." Nortz supposed I was exaggerating. When I insisted, and offered him proofs, he sent for his colleague Bernreuther. The latter, who was certainly well informed, tried to calm me down. It was only when I threatened them that I'd publish in my newspaper a replica of the reports in my possession, that the affair was settled. An hour later, we had the authorisation to hold our meeting.