Conquering Berlin — Chapter 10: May Day

Then comes the first of May.

One of them has brought the news from headquarters, and within the SA joy and expectation have taken hold.

On the first of May Adolf Hitler wants to speak in the Reich capital for the very first time.

And it is the right day for such a man to speak in Berlin, exactly the right day: the great day of the SPD, the great day of the Internationale, the great day of Marxist hosts and their captains.

In the SA home, they talk about the meaning of May Day. They are well familiar with its meaning post 1918. But most of them are only now learning about this day’s significance in the German past. The great joy of springtime, the great day of rebirth and reconstruction, leading up to the eternal struggle for life, the oldest celebration of sun and light within the Germanic race.

On this first of May, Adolf Hitler will speak in Berlin.

The assembly is set to take place in the Clou, a large hall in the city center.

That morning Schulz happens across a fleeting acquaintance on the street, with whom he would have gotten along quite well if it weren’t for his SPD membership. And so they do not get along very well.

“You can talk all you want,” says the socialist, “the street belongs to the proletariat and we won’t let go of it, not for a single minute, no way. And the first of May belongs to us, the proletariat, as well, and we won’t let go of that one either. This is a labor day, not a labor-murderer day, you get it? And the capitalists’ mercenaries, the fascists–”

“You poor lunatic…,” Schulz interrupts him, putting a calming hand on the socialist’s arm. “No need for all that bombastic talk. Listen to me. You know that I’m a Nazi, don’t you? And by now you should have noticed that for the past three months, the streets no longer belong to the socialists, but to us Nazis, right?”

“You are all provocateurs!” returns the socialist accusingly.

Schulz nods. He is not the slightest bit angry at this accusation. “But of course we are,” he says cheerfully, “of course. Up till now you’ve been doing the provocation. Now we are provoking. That’s the way of the world, isn’t it? Yes, we are provoking intensely, you can bet on that. Do you still think we’re some kind of bourgeois party? All Hurrahs and Victory against France? No, no, no, you’ve got it all backwards. Completely wrong.”

The other one shrugs his shoulders. “You can never take May Day away from the proletariat.”

Schulz smiles. “Let me tell you something,” he says, “of course we will take the first of May away from the proletariat. And then we will return it to the German people; do you know what I mean?”

“Nope.”

“Then let me tell you a little secret: One day there will no longer be a proletariat, just a German people, a people which no longer knows about class. Only people’s comrades and so on. Do you at least understand that, you dumb bastard?”

And with that he leaves the red comrade, whistling as he goes on.

Nothing belongs to you, he thinks happily, nothing at all. Not the street and not the German worker. Not the state, not the economy, and not the first of May.

It will soon become apparent, Schulz continues to think, that all of this belongs to the SA. And the SA will only hand it over to the Führer. And the Führer ought to know what’s to be done with it.

* * *

The assembly is packed. Never before has an NSDAP assembly been this overcrowded. In front of the Clou, crowds of people without a seat have gathered. And even out here they are fiercely defending their spot.

The Führer is coming. Never before have they seen the Führer; they have only heard and read about him. Now he, the soul of the party, its burning spirit, will appear here. They would prefer to be beaten to death rather than leaving this place.

The newspaper Montag Morgen is announced. It is teeming with scary headlines:

“Unprecedented provocation!”

“May Day clashes!”

“Hitler threatens!”

“Hitler’s diatribe!”

The crowd waiting in front of the Clou looks up in surprise. Has Hitler already spoken? Have they been dreaming, or what’s the deal with this newspaper?

The SA buys the salesman’s entire stock. He can’t help it if some higher-ups have been causing mischief.

And someone has definitely been causing mischief here!

A Jewish journalist reports on a Hitler meeting, which has yet to take place: “…Then Hitler spoke… he announced that Marxism… with demagogic impudence this Bavarian Pied Piper claimed…”

Amazed SA-Men turn the pages back and forth, reading these lines again and again. Never before have they experienced anything like this, and they have experienced a lot in the Reich capital.

They read a report about the whole meeting, completely thought up by a brash, lying scribe on Sunday morning.

Let the devil take him!

When the Führer arrives amidst whirlwinds of cheers and steps behind the lectern, he finds the newspaper lying there, neatly opened. An SA-Man has placed it there. As the Führer lets his gaze wander across the report, he understands the reasons behind the incessant hailing both inside and outside the hall.

He permits only a slight smile to pass over his face before he begins to speak.

And he speaks with all the deadly seriousness that burns inside him, all the vividness that makes his speeches resonate with even the simplest man, and all the boldness of a man who knows that his faith will never leave him.

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