tv Q A CSPAN August 13, 2012 6:00am-7:00am EDT
captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] captioned by the- national captioning institute- -- www.ncicap.org--- >> this week on "q & a," our guest is andrew nagorski vice president of the eastwest institute, international affairs think tank. new book is called "hitlerland: american eyewitness to the nazi rise of power". >> andrew nagorski, where did you get the idea for your book "hitlerland"? >> i was thinking for a long time what would be my next book. you go through those periods where you are searching for topics and never wanted to force a topic. there was a conversation with my wife and we were driving and she said there have been all these books recently about americans in paris, americans in london, anyone really done about the american experience in germany? and even though we lived in germany twice. i was a news correspondent in the cold war days and post-cold
war days. i never thought about it. i would pick up a book here and there. when i began to explore, i realized no one had examined the american experience in germany from the end of world war i right through pearl harbor and declaration of war against the united states by hitler. and the next question of course is, are the stories there what are the sources, is it a story you can weave together. and once i began exploring what was out there, both in published, unpublished and memoirs and diaries and letters, i found myself fascinated from the get-go. >> did it have any impact on you when erik larsson came out with "garden of beasts"? >> i finished my manuscript when i realized this book was
coming out and my first reaction was, why is someone else writing about this subject, but i realized he was writing in a much more focused, narrow slight, not to belittle him in any way. he focused on william dodd the first american ambassador to germany when hitler took power and his daughter, which is part of my story, too, but two of many characters in my story which stands a much broader era. in the end, a number of people told me that if they read larsson's book, it made them more curious about the other america caps and the broader context and i hope "hitlerland" gives it to them. >> give us some of the names but who are some of the other names that popped up in this story from the end of world war
i to the beginning of world war ii? >> mostly in berlin and munich and other places. i decided to first of all, see whoever left interesting material behind and in a couple of cases i could interview a few people. one of the original morrow boys. a young ap correspondent and then onto the c.i.a. he was one of the last americans interned in germany. there were a few people. but i ended up speaking to the kids sometimes grandkids and getting the written records that they left behind in family archives or public archives, libraries and so forth. there was a stunning number of people there who -- some of whom were well known william
scheirer and a power house and a major broadcaster in the early radio days. there was charles lindbergh comes through germany. everyone has heard of that. you also have people -- even john f. kennedy went to germany in 1937. his diary entries aren't revealing other than he is interested in quote, unquote he a bundle of fun that he picked up at the border. i talked to debois, not a name you associate with germany but -- the black sociologist-
historian, but he spent a fellowship in 1935 and 1936 and had insights from germans and racial doctrine and the playoff and the 1936 olympics. you have people who are associated with russia who spent one tour in germany which happened to be the critical years right before world war ii. >> who doesn't look good in retrospect? >> there are a number of people who don't look great. and there are a number of people who, i'd say, have a very mixed record. and one thing i tried to do in this book was not to be sort of rendering judgment on these characters. the whole point of the book and the reason i wrote a book about this period, which i find fascinating, i wouldn't have written a straight period of the history.
-- straight history of the period. there have been so many very accomplished -- historians have done that and very effectively. but if "hitlerland" succeeds, it succeeds of putting the reader in the shoes of the americans there at the time seeing things piecemeal and then trying to figure out what was happening. and inevitably raises the question, what would you have known, you, me, anybody else if we had been there at the time. it all seems so clear in retrospect, but it wasn't clear then. the more i dug into this i didn't want to pass rigid judgment on people. of course there were people -- edgar marow a chicago daily
news correspondent and a consul who was very outspoken and courageous and truman smith, who i think was very perceptive, both about hitler who he met as far back in 1922 and the buildup of the germany military and people who clearly blew up. -- blue it. dorothy thompson. she was the most famous american woman correspondent of that era. very smart reporter in many ways, but she goes in and interviews hitler in november of 1931 for the first time. at that point, hitler's party is really on the rise. a lot of people are predicting is going to take power and she writes immediately after that interview, i thought i was going to meet the future leader of germany. within 50 seconds, i realized, i was not. such was the startling insignificance of this man and wept on to talk about how he
had -- and went on to talk about how we had this look in his eyes that is common to hysterics and alcoholics and geniuses and how he has a soft, feminine side and no match for the true german politicians. what i find interesting about that and dorothy thompson obviously radically revived -- revised her views and ultimately got her expelled. because of hard-hitting reporting. even those mistakes of what i call the first draft of history that we as journalists always try to write are revealing and they explain a lot about how hitler fools a lot of people and why so many people did not take him seriously, whether they were germans, diplomats or germans themselves and many german jews. >> dorothy thompson was married to -- >> sinclair lewis.
and there were many famous literary geniuses. he falls in love with her. thomas wolfe comes to germany. he is entranced by germany. hailed as a hero at first and then when he first comes in 1936, he really is pretty much oblivious to what is going on because he is just basking in his fame. the next time he comes a year later, he is much more aware and writes a piercing novella which becomes part of a larger book later. and you even -- i came across an entry in one diary of another correspondent in 1927.
hemming way was just through town and saw him on the street with sinclair lewis. josephine baker comes to town. in 1925 -- we think of her as paris, entertaining the audiences in paris. but she hears about berlin, amazing party town in the 1920's and she decides to take her whole troupe to berlin and despite the fact there are nazi protestors outside shouting racist slogans, german audiences love her and invited to the after-parties. she is the star of the show. she performed there often just in her loin cloth and she says there is no fiscal year greater place than beer -- there is no freer, greater place than germany. -- then berlin.
which is something we tend to forget about germany. >> how many books have you written? >> this is my fifth book. >> where do you work now? >> eastwest institute, a new york-based think tank. started in 1980's in the cold war days and diplomacy between the soviet union, the united states, nato pac -- nato and warsaw pac and now the institute deals with china cybersecurity, economic security issues. i have been there for the last -- almost four years since i left "newsweek". >> how many different places did you live writing for "newsweek" and anybody else? >> for "newsweek," i was bought for 20 years, hong kong, once expel led, bonn, berlin, rome, washington.
how many places does that make? several. >> we know you were born in scotland to polish parents and your wife is polish and you have four kids. >> four kids and seven grandkids. the last one just finished college about a year -- let me get this right -- about two years ago. and we now -- and the other kids -- the other three kids are all married and have kids of their own as well. >> you live where? >> i live in new york just outside of new york in pelham and our kids are in juneau, l.a., austin and new york. >> in your book, you talk about william scheirer. who was he?
we have some video to show in a moment. >> at the time i'm writing the story is just -- he has just turned 30, in paris. he has been a writer for various publications in the united states. he is desperate to go what he thinks is the next big story which is germany. he says i'm dying of boredom in paris. most people would not think paris is a boring assignment. it goes to show once again that as a journalist, your instinct is to go to that next big story and he could see it was happening in germany. and in 1933, after hitler takes power, he gets an assignment from hearst international news service to go to germany. goes there and is an incredibly energetic, very perceptive correspondent and is hired by ed morrow at cbs and he stays
in germany or in vienna right through the beginning of the war. he writes at the time -- he publishes his berlin diaries after he leaves berlin which comes out in 1940, which has a huge impact in the united states. the writing's wonderful and very vivid and really brought home what was happening in germany, of course much later long after the war, he produces "the rise and fall of the third reich," still one of the most authoritative studies. >> did you check to see how many of those have sold? >> simon and shuster my publisher reissued that book on the 50th anniversary. i'm assuming we are talking
millions of books. >> let's look at a documentary to see what he looked like. >> he caused so many deaths and was the architect of so much evil and he was, after all a man. >> hitler is dead. the thired reich which lasted 12 years, was human butch erie, surpassed anything this earth has seen is now but a painful memory. how did it happen that a cultured people steeped in christianity, preeminent in modern technology, who gave us luther, bach and beethoven einstein, collapsed into
barbarism in the 20th century. to seek the answers,we must follow the germans in the rise of their strange leader through the years of 1920 and 1945. >> what was he writing about hitler and the germans when he was there? >> well, first of all, he was speaking his thoughts which you can see from his diaries are very clear. other people are wondering is hitler for real. the big question for many people is not whether hitler was he essentially a demagogue or not, but does he mean this stuff. could he really believe these things that he is writing about jews and others and taking over the soviet union and conquering the slavic lands.
and scheirer takes it seriously and he gets that into his writing as possible. and broadcasting becomes a problem because it is heavily censored. i thought that clip was wonderful. i owe him a debt because my interest in this "i read the book, but the book's title in part is due to scheirer and other journalists. "hitlerland" is not made up by me but it's a term they made about the country they were covering. >> the cover of your book, is that nuremberg?
>> it's actually -- i think -- it looks like a nuremberg rally, -- i think it is in dortmund. but a similar rally in another city. but what i particularly like about the cover when the art department proposed this cover, when you go through a book cover, we looked at various drafts. we said that's perfect because you aren't looking straight on at hitler but over his shoulder. it conveys the idea and the premise of the book is you are getting a different angle on these familiar events. you think you know about them. i thought i knew about them. but until i wrote and did the research for "hitlerland," i had no idea about the experiences of many of the people who were essentially my predecessors as correspondents or diplomats in berlin. despite the time i spent in
germany, i hadn't spent a lot of time of what it would be like to have been a correspondent in the 1920's and 1930's and how would you have operated, what would you have noticed or in the noticed. >> who was putsy? >> one of the most notorious characters in the book. he calmed himself a half american. his father was from a very distinct issued bavarian art family of art dealers. his mother was from a family in boston, born and bred american family. her father, so his grandfather had been a civil war journal and he helped carry lincoln's coffin. and so putsy is born in germany, but he is german american.
he goes to harvard, class of 1909. among his classmates are dean atchison and teddy roosevelt junior. he is invited to the white house by teddy junior because putsy is very entertaining, plays the piano wonderfully and invited to play the piano in the white house and eventually playing the piano for hitler. after he graduates from harvard he runs the family art business on fifth avenue in new york and meets an american woman whose parents were born in germany and her name is helen. and in 1921, as a married couple they move to munich and thereafter he meets hitler and interestingly enough, because of -- he becomes an early
propagandist -- and because of his whole american background connecting point for many americans who want to meet hitler and want hitler to gain in prominence. his story told throughout this book is one which intersects with so many of the americans. and what i found fascinating about the research in the book is you get -- you get certain scenes where someone will say oh, i saw putsy, he came to my house, the ap bureau chief and wore a strange nazi-looking uniform and he has british tailoring and the same scene from somebody else who saw putsy, the editor of foreign affairs and you begin to see that these stories not only intersect but reinforce each other. it's one of the great fun parts of being the amateur historian
journalist and discovering these stories that in these scenes which tell you a great deal about the atmosphere of the times. and here's putsy who is playing harvard marching songs for hitler and hitler is saying, wow, those are great, they have a great beat. we should use them at rallies. and in fact, putsy composes some marches for hitler. it's the kind of thing if you thought about it, a kind of -- in a novel or a movie script, you would say that's too crazy to imagine. but nothing was too absurd in this situation. >> what was the relationship between hitler and helen putsy's wife? >> helen was an attractive woman who very quickly became very friendly with hitler as
well. hitler was coming over to their house in the early 1920's, when he was still a local figure not a national figure. and he was clearly attracted to helen. now i won't say what the nature of this attraction was it's hard to say. helen believed that he was in awe of her for many ways. the subject of hitler's sexual orientation -- i don't think there was nothing sex between them, but he liked being in her company. and most significantly, in 1923, there is the beer hall push. hitler tries to seize power in munich. and the nazis are fired upon by the police. hitler is injured, his shoulder
is dislocated. several nazis are killed, including his aide that he was marching arm in arm with and seeks refuge in helen's house and putsy has fled to austria. and next morning, helen gets a call from her mother in law saying the police are coming to your house next. they are looking for hitler and going to arrest him. and in the scene which i describe in detail in the book, helen goes up to tell hitler, look, get ready, you are going to be arrested and he has a gun in his hand. and helen at that point is convinced in her own mind that he is thinking of shooting himself, and she grabbed that gun from him. think about the implications of that, 1923, if he had gone through with that -- we don't know whether she was right.
but the idea that an american woman may have saved hitler in 1923 from suicide and in effect, doomed the world to what followed is rather a staggering thought. >> hitler served how long in prison and why? >> he was then arrested in helen's house in 1923. he was brought to trial in early 1924. he was sentenced to five years in prison for this attempted putch. but he was treated very lightly the authorities, both by the judge that basically allowed him to use the trial as this staging ground to be able to tell the world about his theories. and first time get really major media attention and this is the first time and goes to prison and out of the five years he
spends 11 months in prison. and he is generated generously by the authorities and treated like a hero there. there is a lot of popular sentiment that supports him. he dictates "mein kampf." the early 1920's in germany not only germany defeated in world war i, very demoralized, period of hyper inflation people's savings wiped out sense of total collapse and hitler played upon that and the new democracy that had was created was proving to be very ineffective at the time. so hitler was able to benefit immensely from his prison time.
>> you sent me back to "mein kampf." you can get it on google. i haven't read it for a few years, this obsession with jews. did you find anything in your research that told you why? and what did he say in "mein kampf." >> the language, the scorge, the stab in the back theory, somehow germany lost world war i because the jewish politicians stabbed the military in the back, all of which is a very convenient excuse for what happened. classic scapegoating. in terms of what the jews -- helen talked about hitler even
in those early days coming over to her house and playing with her son, who was a few years old and being very charming, but then would go on a rant about jews. and she would say would many people have said since that somehow it could betraysed back to his time in vienna when he was an unsuccessful artist. he tried to get accepted into a fine arts school and rejected. that's another what-if history but that he had developed raging hatred of jews by then. how you explain that. i'm not sure there is any simple answer, but it certainly fueled his thinking, fueled "mein kampf" and dorothy thompson when she interviewed hitler, she said take away anti- semitism, and he collapses.
and his notion on inferior races, but slavs not far behind. >> how many countries ban that from being bought or read? >> germany still has the ban. the copyright that belongs to the bavarian authorities. they haven't lifted it. fortunately, i think it expires in another year or two. even in germany, it will be available. i'm not sure how many countries still ban it. my feeling is, it makes no sense to ban it. first of all, if anybody who tries to read and if you picked it up recently or reminded of this, it is hundreds of pages of hitler just ranting. and this is not going to turn someone onto the nazis.
in fact, i describe a scene in my book where otto schlasser described at a nuremberg party rally where he and a few buddies are having dinner at a restaurant and say well, we never read all of "mein kampf." we couldn't get through it. and first nazi official who joined who said they has read the whole book, we'll stick him with the tab. they go through the evening and they couldn't stick anybody with the tab. >> here's some video of a famous american that you write about. let's watch and then you can explain this. >> has been defeated and despite the propaganda and confusion of recent months, it is now obvious that england is
losing the war and i have been forced to the conclusion that we cannot win this war for england regardless of how much assistance we send. that is why the america america first committee has been formed. are we operating under a government by representation or are we operating under a government by subterfuge? >> charles lindbergh. >> charles lindbergh is most famous for exactly that sort of thing. in that clip -- and of course for his solo flight across the atlantic that made him the biggest celebrity of his era and kidnapping and murder of his son but then in relationship to germany, all of us have heard the story of lindbergh his sympathy for a lot of what was going on in germany and then his efforts to keep america out of the war at all costs.
but the part of the lindbergh story that i focus on in "hitlerland" is a different one. and something, again that i had not realized was that the origins of his visits to germany was not the fact that the germans invited him because he sympathized with them or he went there because he sympathized with them, truman smith, who had been in germany in the early 1920's, first met hitler and comes back as a senior attache in 1935, has good sources in the german army and learning about how it is building up but doesn't know much about the air force. and he realize that lindbergh is in france and england traveling around as a celebrity and he comes up with the idea, if i can get hermann goering to invite lindbergh to germany,
will want to show this famous man everything. he comes to germany and used by the germans for propaganda but he gets to see the new air field and sees the planes and knows a lot about aviation and brings the military attaches and provides good intelligence. his motive was probably to convince the americans that look, this is a powerful country, you don't want to mess with them. regardless of the motive there is real intelligence here and there is also then these amazing stories of the lunch that goering holds for lindbergh where he asks, i hear you have a pet lion, can i see him? he says, come on in. they bring him over to the
library and calls this pet lion cub on his lap. he is a big man on a white uniform and the lion jumps up and the dinner guests including smith and the lindberghs are there and the lion gets nervous and lets loose and uniform changes to yellow runs out of the room and changes. these are the kind of things, these episodes which are incredible to learn about and again hear about from different sources. truman smith's daughter, who is still alive, i had discovered, after i had talked to her at great length, the next day she called me and said, by the way did i show you this photo on my refrigerator? the one with the lion.
she was 12 years old at the time and after that incident with the lion, he sent the lion back to the berlin zoo and truman smith had a photo taken. this is among all these tragic events. this is a bit of theater of the absurd here. >> we have some more video and we were talking about richard harden, is he still alive? >> yes he is. 93, right around 93, maybe 94. >> you are going to see other familiar faces. this is back in 1995. >> i think helen kirkpatrick. she felt it was important to let the united states stand up to hitler. >> i wrote a book about mr. chamberlain. very much. -- i would book on the subject
that mr. chamberlain did not like very much and we didn't like mr. cheney and very much, either. >> there is a story of the infamous day on the 10 of november, 1938 when the nazis turned their goon squads loose and smashed jewish -- windows of jewish businesses. crystal night it got to be called. it was terrible. it was awful. people chose to ignore it. >> what happened to him when he was in germany and how long was he there during that period from 1923 up to the war? >> he came in the 1930's. he was a young man and i don't remember exactly which year he came in, but he was there for i think about two, three years first as a student and then working as a wire service reporter.
>> he could speak german? >> yes. he studied german. and most of these reporters spent any amount of time there did speak german and were quite proficient. and schultz, who was a "chicago tribune" correspondent was completely fluent in german. she had actually studied at a german university for a while long before hitler took power. but what happened to him, he was picked up by the gestapo only american correspondent who was in prison. world war ii has started and america was not yet in the war. but correspondents are still in germany. there was still something special about being an american. i remember hitler was trying to still keep america out of the war if possible.
but he was -- he was kept in prison for several months. and then eventually released. but many of his fellow journalists felt that he had been more and more disgusted by what he had seen around him and wasn't making that very clear but also as a warning to other journalists, what often happens in a totalitarian society. one journalist may get picked on, put in prison or expelled to tell the other journalists watch your step. this could happen to you, too. >> what did you find that you didn't know? >> there's a long list of things. first of all, something like
the back story on charles lindbergh was one of them. the other one, i think in a more general sense aside from specific snepts so many of which i did not know about, it was the sense of just how creeping the understanding was of what was happening in germy -- germany. and one of the things i expected going into this a little bit it would be a linear progression. in terms of understanding of hitler by americans. in fact,it was anything but linear. howard k. smith, future news anchor had talked about four stages when americans came to germany or many foreigners came to germany after hitler came to power. one was completely in awe of germany, a well ordered
society, people seemed polite and beginning to rebound from the depression and this admiration. then, two, all this military here, and exciting marching bands and marching boots and thousands of people. third stage is, oh, my god, these people are being trained to kill, conquer and the fourth stage is utter terror. some americans want through those stages really fast. some stayed suck at one or two. some stayed at three and back to two. it was very interesting -- truman smith calls on a hearst correspondent, the first one to meet hitler in 1922 and have a pretty good read on him. he is a marvelous demagogue and this guy could go far in bavaria.
that was as far as the imagination went. still, that wasn't a bad perception. >> how big is bavaria inside germany? >> southern state of germany. munich is its center. but it has always been an entity unto itself a near the austria border. it has a distinct culture. hitler felt much more comfortable in munich than he did in berlin. >> let me show you howard k. smith for those who don't remember him. >> he spoke german better than most germans did. he despised hitler. he was an obvious target. if they were going to get someone, they were going to get him. the germans forbid us to go out.
and hunt for ruins after the early bombings of berlin. he got a bicycle and wept out. they were furious. they arrested him. and raided the office. i was on the dead man shift. i was there when the gestapo came in, eight big men and took the office apart and they didn't tell me what it was about. as the phone range, the head said to me, you speak german, nothing but german. so i said hello. and she said howard? and i said ya. she said why are you answering me in german? i said i'm not allowed to do anything else. she said, i see. she went to the foreign office and found out what was happening. he was held for several months and traded for two german spies we arrested in the united states.
>> did richard worry at the time about being held there forever? how afraid was he that the germans were going to do something to him? >> probably in the initial days from his account -- he wrote a story and then i talked to him about it. when he was first thrown in of course, in that moment, you can say rationally they are unlikely to keep me forever because i'm an american correspondent and because there is a reason not to antagonize the united states overtly, but intellectually you can think that. but you realize what kind of a regime this is and you can be very worried. but what very soon after he was transferred from one prison to another, given better conditions and an american embassy official was allowed to visit him so the signal was there that something would be negotiated.
he was a young man with a lot of courage, a lot of drive, maybe naivete in some ways, but i don't think he was all that rattled except right in the very beginning. >> when did the people in the united states start paying attention? >> interesting to see that among those correspondents and diplomats who were the most worried about was happening and really thought there is a looming confrontation here we in the united states aren't going to be able to duck this as much as we would like to. they were frustrated by the fact that many people in the united states didn't want to hear that. remember, the u.s. had reluctantly gone into world war i. what did it solve? they had gone through the depression and still struggling their way out of the depression. so the last thing most americans wanted to hear -- and
this wasn't the america first movement, but even the roosevelt administration was very reluctant to really absorb the full import of the messages that were coming out of germany from the people who were very perceptive. and it wasn't again just journalists or diplomats. james macdonald was the head of the foreign policy, he gets to putsy and is convinced that everything he is saying about the jews and conquest should be taken literally. >> what happens to putsy before it's all over? >> nothing is simple with putsy. in 1936 or 1937, he has been falling out of favor with hitler and increasingly marginalized by the chief propagandist.
they never got along. and one point, he is taken up in a plane and told he is going to be sent to spain on a mission during the spanish civil war and told by the pilot when he gets up in the plane, i'm told you to parachute you behind enemy lines. and he -- and the plane stops before they leave germany and the pilot says it's a mechanical thing and you may want to get out of here. he flees to switzerland and he is convinced there was a plot to kill him. the nazis say we were playing around with this guy. who knows what it meant. he is ticked off as an enemy alien in britain and shipped off -- he is picked up as an enemy alien britain and shipped to canada but uses his connections to get a message to roosevelt and saying i can help you with intelligence on hitler
and brought over to the united states. his son has recently graduated from harvard and is in the u.s. army uniform. >> is there any of his relatives left? >> i met his grandson in munich, who remembers his -- both putsy and his grandmother. they lived into their 70's. his grandson is alive in munich. >> what happened to their marriage? >> that fell apart in the mid- 1930's. putsy was a well-known ladies' man and parties could be rather forward and finally helen ditched him. interestingly enough, helen at one point writes that hitler asks about her and says and learns that she's divorced and says about time. and she's happy that he's still thinking about her. she divorces and goes back to the united states in the late
1930's and spends the war years there. but in the 1950's, comes back and decides to move back to germany and spends the rest of her life there and dice there in the 1970's. -- dies there in the 1970's. >> what parallel, if any -- afraid to ask this question -- but what parallel to what happened in the republic and then when hitler took over is there here in the united states at this time in our lives? any? >> i never feel that there is a straight historical parallel or analogy and hitler was an extreme case that i'm hesitant to make direct analogies, but there are a number of lessons from which i took away just from living through the lives of these americans in hitler's germany. one is a powerful demagogue
individual, whoever he may be, can influence the course of history. of course, the conditions have to be right. the economic conditions the political climate and doesn't take away from the responsibility of his followers, but it struck me in terms of that incident where hitler may or may not have committed suicide and tried to commit suicide and so close to being shot in 1923 and other episodes that without hitler and his personal qualities, which these americans write about which were off putting to visitors. you see the rants, the news clips, but the people watching closely is a master psychologist in the way he worked the crowds. the nazis probably wouldn't have won power. it could have gone into a military dictatorship. the other one is that when an extremist or extremist movement makes threats that seem absurd and suicidal even, and out of your rational frame of
reference, that doesn't mean that's enough reason to disregard them. and the big mistakes so many people made was to dismiss them, it would be suicidal for hitler to react on all his threats. >> we don't have a lot of time, but a few things i want you to define. night of the long knives in 1934, what was it? >> night of the long knives, june 30, 1934, hitler sends out his troops to basically do away with many of the people he perceives as his enemies including the storm troopers who are seen as getting out of hand. the s.s., the more elite unit
resented them. so he has several of them murdered. he also has some previous rivals within the party murdered like strausser which was the socialist wing of the party. there was a socialist wing. and then people like the bavarian official who presided who was in charge during his trial. >> what's the brown shirt? >> a brown shirt is a storm trooper. basically the bodyguards the thugs, the private army of hitler as he was rising to power. and then they were the auxillary enforcers once in power. >> what's a putch. >> a coup, an attempt to overthrow the government. first to overthrow the bavarian
government but then marched to berlin. >> you write about three other big events, 1938. anschluss. >> the annexation of austria. he marches his troops. greater germany. that was part of his plan. in 1938, many german generals wondered is hitler out of his mind to go this far and then he annexes austria. >> 30 september, 1938, meeting with chamberlain. >> there were many germans who believed this was a dangerous move on hitler's part. but hitler gets the british to get to the break up of czechoslovakia. -- agreed to the breakup of check of slovakia --
czechoslovakia. it seems like he is getting everything he wants without any use of force. >> 9 and 10 of november -- >> night of the broken glass where a furious anti-semetic campaign is unleashed where jewish stores, jews are attacked. many jews are literally sometimes thrown out windows. it's just an orgy of anti- cementism and if anybody had any illusions at this point, this is for real. not a small item, but you write about his relationship -- hitler's relationship with his half-sister? >> with his half-sister and his niece by the daughter of his half-sister.
he was in the 1920's, he was clearly infatuated with her. seen going about town with her and has her move into his apartment. again, there are rumors that there's something weirdly sexual about this, who knows. she is found in 1931 with a bullet through her -- official story is that she has committed suicide. there are other people who say there had been a big fight that day between hitler and gale and there were rumors and he hushes it up and putsy is sent around to make sure this potential scandal is hushed up. >> we do this from time to time, some video of your past. we go back to 1989. do call-in shows here.
let's roll. >> i would expect so. it is hard to say -- >> how surprising is all of this to you? >> the speed of the events, i think, was a surprise to everyone. but it was my feeling all along particularly on rumania if something happens, unfortunately it would have to happen the way it did in the sense of the violent revolution as opposed to the very peaceful and gentle solutions they are called in the rest of eastern europe. ceausescu left no middle ground for dissent organize protest or some sort of compromise so therefore the only way to overthrow the regime was in the kind of confrontation we saw last week. >> you can see by the video would not changed -- you. looking back on your own life,
how would you characterize what you have seen change since your reporting life and especially over in russia and all of that? >> part of my motivation problem for writing this is that i was lucky enough to have been a reporter before, during, and after the transformation of europe, of eastern europe, the collapse of the soviet union the collapse of the soviet regimes in eastern europe, so i have an idea of what it is to live through historic events, figuring things out. i always thought at some point i cannot say i prophesy when or how. we were all struck by the rapidity of what i said there. it made me more and more curious about other periods like that and what lessons we learn from it.
the world has changed radically. the media has changed radically. one of the striking things i found in writing it was what a powerful u.s. press corps there was in berlin, at one time 50 u.s. press corps members in the 1950's, representing all types -- u.s. correspondents in the 1930's, presenting all types of news organizations that no longer exist. >> anyplace with that many american correspondents? >> i cannot imagine any place where we have 50 these days. there are various freelancers but even if you add them all in in places like beijing and moscow, i do not think so. >> andrew nagorski. his book is called "hitlerland." american i witnesses to the nazi rise to power. we thank you so much for coming back.
>> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> for a dvd copy of this program, call 1-877-662-7726. visit us us at q-and-a.org. these are also available as c- span podcasts. >> live today on the c-span networks president obama begins a three-day bus tour of iowa bank. we bring you his rally on c- span attwell 20 5:00 p.m. eastern. then on c-span2, the alliance for health reform holds a discussion on electronic how the
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