436 HISTORY OF GERMANY, USA, BRITAIN the rewards of their weakness and paying the penalty for failing to remain faithful to those wise principles which characterised the epoch of their greatest glory. Just as the Americans give the impression of being rather vulgar upstarts when they start boasting about their history, so the British look like puffed-up poodles when, in the course of referring to the three hundred years during which they dominated the world, they look disdainfully at the German Reich with its thousand years of living history. Our history goes back to the days of Arminius and King Theodoric, and among the German Kaisers there have been men of the most outstanding quality; in them they bore the germ of German unity. This fact is too often forgotten, because since the fifteenth century it is only in Austria that the history of ancient Germania has been taught. In other places this history has been sacrificed for the sake of the histories of the various dynasties which fought each other for the possession of our land. It is the duty of our historians to teach our people the story of the German Kaisers, to make the drama of their lives come alive again for us, and above all to portray the greatness of their struggle against Popery. I am thinking, for example, of the extraordinary personality of Rudolf of Habsburg. His electors placed him on the throne because they thought he would be a feeble monarch. It was he who won the sympathy of the Church by aiding a priest to mount his horse—a splendid little piece of propaganda ! But once he was assured of election, with what firmness and energy he defended the interests of the Reich and opposed the intrigues of the Church, without fear or hesitation ! First of all he made sure of his hereditary rights to certain territories, which he regarded as his base; then he compelled Ottokar of Bohemia to see reason; and finally he reunited the German Reich. The Church was equally at fault in its assessment of the Sicilian Frederick, who, as an Emperor at the age of twentyone, conquered the German Reich.
A HYMN ON MUSSOLINI 437 195 23rd April 1942, at dinner My opinion of the Duce—The man who best understood the Bolshevik menace—The fate awaiting Europe—The Duce's difficulties with the Italian aristocracy—In praise of Edda Mussolini. It will give me very great pleasure to see the Duce again and to discuss with him all the military and political problems of the day. I hold the Duce in the highest esteem, because I regard him as an incomparable statesman. On the ruins of a ravished Italy he has succeeded in building a new State which is a rallying point for the whole of his people. The struggles of the Fascists bear a close resemblance to our own struggles. Did they not have, for example, six thousand six hundred dead at Verona? The Duce is one of the people who appreciated the full measure of the Bolshevik menace, and for this reason he has sent to our Eastern front divisions of real military merit. He told me himself that he had no illusions as to the fate of Europe if the motorised hordes of the Russian armies were allowed to sweep unchecked over the Continent, and he is quite convinced that, but for my intervention, the hour of decline was approaching for western Europe. It is always painful to me, when I meet the Duce in Italy, to see him relegated to the rear rank whenever any of the Court entourage are about. The joy is always taken out of the reception he arranges for me by the fact that I am compelled to submit to contact with the arrogant idlers of the aristocracy. On one occasion these morons tried to ruin my pleasure at the spectacle of a dance given by the most lovely young maids from the Florence Academy, by criticising the dancing in most contemptuous terms. I rounded on them with such fury, however, that I was left to enjoy the rest of the programme in peace ! It was certainly no pleasure to me to find myself continually in the company of the Court hangers-on, particularly as I could not forget all the difficulties which the King's entourage had put in the Duce's way from the very beginning. And now they think they are being tremendously cunning in flirting with Britain !