World Battlefronts: BATTLE OF GERMANY: The Man Who Can't Surrender

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Inexorable Hand. Yet the panic and the terror seemed somehow to be kept in bounds. They were not yet visibly leading to chaos and revolt. One Swiss reporter admired the efficient way the refugees were handled, in the face of terrific Allied air bombardments. For lack of transportation, the workers slept in the Berlin factories—but the point was, they went on working. The radio said the Russians had slowed down, that a providential thaw had come to the rescue, that German counterattacks were imminent.

Was the immediate danger to Berlin being purposely exaggerated? Was it a propaganda trick to provide a new lift of morale if the Russians, for sound military reasons, should delay their assault? Such a trick was easily within Goebbels' powers. In any case, Berlin and the rest of uninvaded Germany were carrying on the fight, under the inexorable hand of Heinrich Himmler.

Clearly or dimly, most Germans realized that Himmler was the new master of the Third Reich. Last October, Himmler himself had told how Germany would" be defended: "Every village, every house, every farm, every ditch, every forest and every bush." As Adolf Hitler's longtime chief butcher, torturer, spy and slavemaster, Heinrich Himmler is the archetype of the top Nazi who cannot surrender. Now, while keeping Hitler as the Führer symbol, Himmler does the dictator's job of maintaining Germany at war. Around himself and his henchmen he has formed the last granite-hard core of German resistance.

Throwing Weight. Last week, according to the rumor mills in Switzerland and Sweden, Himmler went to the Führer's headquarters and raged against the "con servatism" of the Wehrmacht generals. In the old days, it was Hitler who raged. Last week Himmler was said to have jugged or sent to the rear one field marshal, six generals and 240 other officers accused of dickering with the Moscow-sponsored Free Germany Committee.

That was a lot of weight to throw around, but Himmler had it. In the purge that followed the attempt against Hitler's life last July, Himmler showed what he could do to Army officers who jumped the fences. There is a strange story that Himmler learned of the plot before it was hatched, and that, to smoke out the rebels, he let it go through, substituting one of Hitler's doubles to take the physical damage. Then, after the purge, he put his own men in the rebels' places.

This version of the affair was not corroborated by three Jesuit priests who last week reached Rome from Austria. Hitler, they said, had actually been wounded on the left side of his scalp, and had since been secluded in a small monastery near Salzburg. He was dreamy and apathetic, the priests said, and the other Nazi leaders had all they could do getting him to write and deliver a speech.

Collaboration. Heinrich Himmler seems, or seemed until recently, to be getting along well with the three generals who seem to be running the German war machine: Wilhelm Keitel, Heinz Guderian and Alfred Jodl. Gerd von Rundstedt, the genius who mounted the December offensive in the west, is apparently still under suspicion as a disdainful Junker and has little to say about overall policy.

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