At liberty in the U.S. this week is a man who knows the mind of Adolf Hitler as intimately as anyone may ever know it.
He is Dr. Hermann Rauschning, onetime President of the Danzig Senate, a German who renounced the Nazis in 1934, took refuge in Poland. Since then he has fled in turn to Switzerland, France and Britain.
In Poland, Dr. Rauschning wrote The Revolution of Nihilism, explaining what the Nazis were really up to. In The Voice of Destruction he reported his conversations with Hitler, told how Germany plans to conquer the world. In The Conservative Revolution he pictured the kind of world he had hoped to see restored when he became a Nazi. It was substantially the world of 1914, continuing the humanistic tradition of European culture where it was interrupted by World War I. Now he does not expect to see that world again.
Last week a British freighter brought Hermann Rauschning to the U.S. for the first time. He hopes to become a U.S. citizen. From his publisher he learned where his wife and children arehe had not seen them since they fled to the U.S. from France a year ago. In a small, dusty office, high over Manhattan's 42nd Street, Dr. Rauschning told what Hitler is now doing, what he thinks will happen in the next few months:
> A breathing spell will follow the Nazi campaign in Russia. Hitler will try to make peace. Rauschning does not believe the British will accept a truce, or the Russians either. But the German military machine is worn down by its losses in RussiaHitler cannot hope to invade Britain for another year at least. Nor can Britain hope to invade Europe. Therefore a sort of undeclared peace will follow World War II, while Germany prepares for World War III.
> To fight Britain and the U.S., Hitler must build a fleet. While he builds it, he will have to yield the initiative which has made the long string of German victories possible so far. While the Nazis are hard at work in Europe, Britain and the U.S. can seize the initiative, use it to fight World War III on their own terms. If a war with Japan is inevitable, they can fight Japan now, while Hitler is busy.
> No revolt against Nazi domination can succeed in Europe; Nazi terrorism in France and Norway is not a sign of German desperation, but a studied Nazi policy. The Nazi technique is to break the will of its victims with a wave of planned brutality, then treat them with comparative gentleness to make them work. The war against Hitler cannot be won by conspiring with conquered peoples. It can be won, says Dr. Rauschning, only by fighting.