648 DANGEROUS SPORT answer is simple—I'm no good at games, and I refuse to make a fool of myself! Adolf Müller once taught me to drive a car. Then I became involved in politics and landed in gaol, where it would have given the Bavarian Government the greatest joy to keep me permanently. In any case, I cannot see myself driving for twelve hours and making a speech at the end of it. That would be just silly exhibitionism! I have only to look round the gentlemen of my acquaintance—there's always one of them with a black eye or a broken leg! Furtwängler, for example, suddenly had the wonderful idea of going in for ski-ing! The man who with his genius as a conductor fascinates thousands of women, suddenly has the desire to shine as a skier! Nothing less than a slalom race will satisfy him; off he starts, and then— crash ! and there he lies in a sorry mess ! Famous people must guard against making themselves ridiculous in spheres other than their own. Bismarck, when asked to go swimming, said: "I think I can swim, but from me people would expect something of which I know I am not capable. I'd rather not!" The Duce might well take this to heart. It always makes me nervous when he pilots a 'plane; his job is to steer the Italian ship of State. When I think of the numbers who have lost their lives in this fortuitous fashion ! If any and every one could pilot a 'plane, then those who adopt the job as their life's profession are bloody fools ! ( Turning to Below.} Tell me, does Kesselring fly himself? Below: Only a Storch—not a big 'plane. The Fuehrer: He would do much better to leave all that to proper pilots. 295 2 1st August 1942, midday SPECIAL GUEST: GENERAL GERCKE The Völkischer Beobachter—The Baltic Barons—The genealogical maniacs—Princes and grooms—Marriage in the country—The girls of the Labour Service—The broadminded Bavarians. Events have shown that journalism demands a style of its own. Real journalistic jargon came into being, I think, in the Völkischer Beobachter during our electoral campaign in 1932. Rosenberg feared a landslide. I am quite sure that at the time he
THE NIGHT OF THE REICHSTAG FIRE 649 despaired of humanity, and his contempt for mankind was only increased when he found that the more he lowered the intellectual level of the journal, the more sales increased! He ought really to have called the paper: "Münchner Beobachter—Baltic Edition"! 1 At the beginning, the Völkischer Beobachter sailed on so high an intellectual plane that I myself had difficulty in understanding it, and I certainly know no woman who could make head or tail of it ! Rosenberg insisted on this extremely high level ; at that time, where the leading article now appears, he gave us deeply philosophical treatises written by Professors, and mostly on Central Asia and the Far East. During the Reichstag fire, I went in the middle of the night to the offices of the Völkischer Beobachter. It took half an hour before I could find anyone to let me in. Inside there were a few compositors sitting around, and eventually some sub-editor appeared heavy with sleep. He was quite incapable of grasping what I was telling him, and kept on repeating: "But really! there's no one here at this time of night; I must ask you to come back during business hours!" "Are you mad!" I cried. "Don't you realise that an event of incalculable importance is actually now taking place!" In the end I got hold of Göbbels, and we worked till dawn preparing the next day's edition. I often find it difficult to get on with our Baltic families ; they seem to possess some negative sort of quality, and at the same time to assume an air of superiority, of being masters of everything, that I have encountered nowhere else. Nevertheless, I was very relieved, in 1941, when we received the lists of German families in the Baltic States, to find included in them all our old friends of the nineteen-twenties. One very lovable trait is their marvellous spirit of solidarity. As they have for centuries been the rulers among an inferior race, they are not unnaturally inclined to behave as if the rest of humanity were composed exclusively of Latvians. Constituting as they do a minority, they were all intimately acquainted with each other and kept themselves rigorously apart. For my own part, I know nothing at all about family histories. There were relations of mine, of whose existence I was 1 Rosenberg himself was a Bait, as were several of his collaborators.—Tr.