Reed Douglas - The Prisoner Of Ottawa : Otto Strasser


Author : Reed Douglas
Title : The Prisoner Of Ottawa : Otto Strasser
Year : 1953

Link download : Reed_Douglas_-_The_Prisoner_Of_Ottawa.zip

EXORDIUM. Early in 1940 I sat at a Devonshire window that overlooked the English Channel and wrote a book about a German, Otto Strasser. I had for many years written against time, so that the waiting presses might have their daily record of violent historic events that consummated themselves around me, and once more I felt in me the familiar urgent need to complete my story (this time a book) before an invasion prevented me (I had finished two others, Insanity Fair in 1938 and Disgrace Abounding in 1939, just ahead of such armed incursions). Thus I scanned sea and sky, between writing lines and chapters, for the oncoming shapes of German ships or aircraft. However, I hoped that Germany would lose and my native island survive the Second War and was immensely curious about the shape which the later future would take in that happy event; chiefly for my own sake, no doubt, for the years after the war, if I survived it, would probably include the second half of my own lifetime. I looked ahead, and wondered whether the Second War would restore peace and equilibrium to the world in the second half-century, or whether the Gadarene process of 1914- 39, which in my adult years I had watched and described, would be resumed after it. That, my experience told me, would depend mainly on the treatment of Germany after Germany's military defeat. With such thoughts in mind I wrote my book about Otto Strasser at a time when few, if any friendly books were being written about a German, Germans or Germany. I believed that the only wise course for the military victors would be to restore Germany to the care of men who had proved themselves to be the unpurchasable and incorruptible enemies of the Revolution of Destruction in either of its guises, National Socialist or Communist. Otto Strasser was the sole apparent candidate of importance who fulfilled such conditions. He had fought Hitlerism and Communism impartially (he knew them to be the same) in Germany and from exile for ten years, from 1930 to 1940. On that verifiable record he was a man in whom a truly peace-seeking outer world might put confidence. In him, I judged, men of goodwill everywhere might at last find what they so long had sought: a German ally who would recreate, rebuild, restore, pacify; anyway, no other offered with equal claim to a chance of self-justification. Moreover, he had a great following in Germany and had retained this despite difficulties hardly to be imagined, even when they are described, by people far from the central turmoil. I thought the story of such a man might be of use and showed him as a candidate in the wings, who might well appear centrally on the German stage when events gave the cue. This was logically to be expected, too. After the First War the victors (at least until Hitler appeared) had upheld their allies, succoured their friends, honoured their bonds, and protected helpless civilian populations thrown on their mercy. In 1940 a man could still hope that that course of honour and prudence would be followed again, and this time be pursued to the end. For two years after I wrote that book, until 1942, the shape of the war and of Otto Strasser's political fortunes conformed to that earlier pattern. After many years of perilous adventure he was in an extremity of danger helped to escape his Nazi pursuers and to reach Canada; his very life, probably, was then saved by British and Portuguese help. He was everywhere accorded the respect and sympathy due to his ordeals and to his achievements as the only leading German politician who had long and actively fought Hitler. High responsibility in Germany clearly beckoned to him, once the fog of war had cleared. Thereafter he would justify himself or fail, on his own merit or demerit and the reaction thereto of the German people. An abrupt reversal in the behaviour of his hosts towards Otto Strasser came after Hitler and Stalin fell out in 1941; his prospects, and in my opinion the hopes of the entire West, then suddenly darkened. The great picture of the war from that instant began subtly and ominously to change; it was as if a new painter superimposed the evil outlines of Calvary on a canvas of the Resurrection. Where the scene had been that of the redemption of Europe it was transformed into one of the crucifixion of Europe between two thieves, the fighting-men of the Christian West being cast merely for the part of Roman soldiers. In the sequence things happened such as never stained the story of 'Western civilization' since it began, and in outline they may be recapitulated here because they form that whole, of which Otto Strasser's story is but a part: Fifteen thousand Polish officers were massacred, but in this case no 'war crime' was adjudged by British and American justice at Nuremberg. Ten thousand Frenchmen were shot with British or American weapons donated to French Communists; only seven years after the war's end was their number even established, and then casually included among the lesser 'news items', and no 'war crime' was ever seen in this holocaust. A dozen European countries, and then half of Europe, were thrown to Asiatic wolves, and at the end soldiers from remote Mongolian or Tartar lands were halted outside German villages only while they listened to the broadcasts of a harangue recorded in Moscow; in it an alien writer incited them particularly to fall on pregnant women. These things were made possible by the unconditional surrender of money, arms and political support to the Communist rulers by Britain and America. The political leaders there lent themselves to such deeds, as they later affirmed, from fear of losing the war, which they thus could only lose, politically. They submitted equally to the infestation of their own administrations by the agents of the Revolution of Destruction. In the American President's entourage such agents, later exposed, drafted the plans for destroying Europe, and with almost lifeless fingers he signed. Corrupted men appeared even in (and later disappeared from) the British diplomatic service, and in the most secret laboratories of all Western countries other emissaries garnered information to help the future misdeeds of their distant masters. Where Germany and Europe might have been redeemed, a bisected Germany and a chaotic Europe were left. History never saw such a shambles made of an honourable victory. The pieces were rearranged on the chessboard in the order which had enabled the Second War to begin; the world was left in a state of permanent warfare, the climax of which, a Third War, was made as inevitable as any human event can be. Germany was abandoned to the constant temptation (to which Hitler had betrayed it in 1939) to seek revenge and recover lost ground through the help of its natural foe, barbaric Asia; the Communist Empire was given the means to use German hopes and fears at every stage in its design to destroy all Europe. Equally it became probable that the course of a climactic Third War, if one were professedly begun to amend this situation, would similarly be diverted to further the aims of the Revolution of Destruction. Until Hitler and Stalin came to blows, and this master-plan for the Second War slipped smoothly into gear, Otto Strasser was on all hands given the status due to him as a distinguished German exile and proven foe of Hitler and Hitlerism. He was by deed and avowal as constant an enemy of Communism. When the Communist Empire, being attacked by Hitler, was elected part of 'the free world' by the wartime propagandists of the West, the bait of puppet-employment in Sovietized Europe was dangled before Otto Strasser by an emissary of Moscow. He refused it; thereon his second persecution began, which continues to this day. It was persecution, this time, by the governments of the West, which connived in it until the end of the war and for more years thereafter than the war lasted! He was in their territory, and they lent their aid as, step by step, from 1942 onwards, his political extermination was attempted. First, he was forbidden to speak publicly, communicate, write or publish, and by such bans, which deprived him of his livelihood, was driven to ever remoter and humbler dwelling places and to that brink of destitution and starvation where a man can only save himself by natural ingenuity. When the fighting ended, in 1945, these bans were nominally raised, but in their place another, openly unscrupulous one was imposed which has made him, for the last eight years, the Man in the Iron Mask of mid-century politics. He was in effect forbidden to return to Germany! Hitler first drove him from it and deprived him of its nationality. The Western Governments, acting in concert at some unacknowledged behest, availed themselves of that useful law of 'the wicked man' to keep his foremost enemy expatriated! The reason (only admitted many years later) was that in spite of all persecution Otto Strasser's following in Germany, notwithstanding his long absence and the bans, remained large and cohesive; and that someone desired his continued exile. Had he returned to Germany he would have assumed there the political place, whatever it might prove to be, to which his native talents and record entitled him; he would at length have been able to demonstrate his true level, high or low, in his own country. Evidently it was thought, in the curtained quarters whence the enmity to him derived, that his place there would prove to be a very high one, for the natural process was dammed. The American, British, Canadian, French and West German Governments have performed this service, from 1945 to the present day, for those who do not desire his return or the public test of his quality. The might of the effort which has been put forth, through the compliant Western Governments, to keep this solitary man out of his own country is at least proof, convincing enough to surprise even me, of the accuracy of my estimate of his standing in Germany, as I stated it in my book of thirteen years ago. The campaign against him began on the day, at the turn of the years 1941-42, when he refused the invitation from Moscow to assume the leadership of a 'Free German Movement' under Communist auspices. That fact throws up the obvious question: why do the Western Governments continue to lend themselves to such courses? This question, again, leads into the whole dark complex of events from 1941 to the present day, which also need brief elucidation here for the reader's better understanding of the motives behind the persecution of Otto Strasser: From the moment when the Communist Empire was by Hitler's act, and not by any better impulse of its own, transformed from his ally into his enemy, Moscow pursued one war aim which was from the start crystal clear (in contrast to such rhetorical professions as those of the Atlantic Charter, which were at once belied by private communications behind the political scenes, and by the ultimate deeds in Europe and Palestine). This aim was perceptibly more important to Moscow than the destruction of Hitler or of Hitlerism itself; indeed, the substance of Hitlerism, being identical with that of Communism, was not meant to be destroyed. This, plainly dominant Soviet aim was: to prevent the rise to power after the war, if possible in any country, of patriotic leaders who had gained large national followings through their distinction in the fight against Hitler. Lenin's dictum that all wars must be turned into civil wars was strictly followed; Moscow always fought the men who might succeed Hitler in Germany, or his Statthalter in the occupied countries, more vindictively than it fought Hitler himself. This was patently the motive for the massacre of the Polish officers, for the betrayal of the Polish Resistance Army at Warsaw, and for the vendettas pursued in all countries against patriotic leaders, such as General Mihailovitch, General de Gaulle, the King of Greece, General Bor, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and all the others. The aim was the obvious and logical one of destroying legitimate claimants to the succession, and of thus leaving in the various countries a chaotic vacuum in which Communism could seize power. The great question, never answered, remains: why did the Governments of London and Washington lend themselves to the promotion of this aim during the war, and after it until the present time? Otto Strasser was a man of this, to Moscow dangerous type, a proven patriot, a Christian one to boot, a leader with a following, and an undeniable claimant, in the legitimate line, to some eminent responsibility in Germany, once Hitler was gone. His return to Germany would have been a serious setback for Communism. The political leaders of the West prevented it. By that time they were publicly parading in the sackcloth of repentance for their misplaced confidence in 'Uncle Joe', but their deeds, as distinct from their words, showed no genuine reform. Some occult influence continued to mould policy in the West in the shape desired by the tsars of anarchy in Asia, or at least to impede its correction. Long after the fighting in Europe ended the course of events, so puzzling to the masses, first in China and then in Korea pointed to this. The publicly unknown case of Otto Strasser clearly proved it. His treatment was in the straight, or crooked line of those strange and secret wartime arrangements made at Moscow, Teheran and Yalta, in respect of which the Western leaders concerned, by the nineteen-fifties, were crying, 'We have erred! We have most grievously erred!' For eleven years now Otto Strasser, a man without a stain on any political records save those kept by the Nazis, the Communists and their heirs, the World-Staters, has been in effect kept captive in Canada. Thus his story today has been transformed into something different from the one which I wrote thirteen years ago, and into something then unimaginable. In the tale of human sorrow which has filled the last decade his personal tribulations are but a grain of sand and I do not tell this altered story chiefly on that account, although it is a cause célèbre in the annals of human injustice. I tell it because my experience informs me, in 1953 as in 1940 and 1938, that all our tomorrows depend on Germany. Today they depend on the amending, in some form, of the almost incorrigible deed of 1945, in the consequences of which we all might yet be engulfed. If it is to be undone, the undoing will need the help of a man or of men in Germany of the type of Otto Strasser. It cannot be undone with the help of puppet politicians and puppet governments, and even less, unless the central issue be faced, by means of bogus and enforced amalgamations of rump Germany with other remaining European States. Therefore I think that once more a true record of this man may be useful to a wide range of readers, who will not be allowed to read one unless I write it, and whose own future is involved in the destiny of such as he and of Germany. Apart from all that, it is a most fantastical tale in its own right, even without the moral that I draw from it. We of the twentieth century lead interesting lives, worth any tale-teller's time and pains. Those who follow us might even envy us the excitements and hazards which we have known, for they may be spared the bitter taste of dishonour and betrayal which spoils them for us of today. Otto Strasser's life thus far is exceptional even in this age in its range of adventures and perils survived, in its extremes of perseverance and adversity, in its colours of courage and good humour. It is the story of a German, of Germany, of Europe, and ultimately of the entire West, either on the edge of oblivion or on the threshold of revival; that is to say, it is the story of us all, in the Western world, as we stand at this mid-century. DOUGLAS REED Ottawa 1952-53. ...

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