Author: Titayna, real name: Élisabeth Sauvy. Few things are known about her in the English speaking world. A good place to start would be the translated version of her French Wikipedia page. Only one of her books have been translated into English.
Source: Quoted in Max Domarus "Hitler: Speeches and Proclamations", and in "The Speeches of Adolf Hitler" by Norman Baynes
Note: While neither of the translations of this interview differ in content, some of the parts in one or the other have not been included for whatever reason. The question regarding the Treaty of Versailles, for example, has been significantly shortened in Max Domarus version of interview, although the translations of the text portions of Hitler's response that appear in both are very similar. Thus, to obtain the complete version of this interview, the two translations have been combined. Text in blue, means that the text is coming from Norman Baynes. Regular text = Max Domarus.
No matter which political ideals we espouse, it will always be the personality of the man who, like Adolf Hitler in this case, enters into the history of his people and therefore of the world, that captivates us most. No one can escape this enchantment. As soon as I was informed that the German Chancellor was willing to receive me and that he would grant an interview to the readers of Paris Soir, my elation, resulting from my professional interest in the matter, was superseded by the thrilling sensation that now finally I would know who 'he' is and how 'he' speaks. Maybe then I would come to understand the power he exercises over the crowds rallying to him.
The palace in the Wilhelmstrasse, in which the Führer lives and works, is characterized by an austerity of architectural and interior design reflecting the straight-forward nature of the new Germany: a wide and well-lit staircase leads to a gallery, through unassuming rooms to the office of the Führer.
I did not have to wait long. Five minutes to eleven I arrived; the interview was set for eleven o'clock. State Secretary Funk led me out of the anteroom, which was equipped with numerous modern and comfortable easy chairs. The minute I had sat down in one of them, I was reminded of the reception I had received a few months earlier from Mussolini. At the time I had been made to wait for the Duce in a room filled with uncomfortable, wooden Gothic chairs. Once I had entered the Italian dictator's office, I saw him standing about thirty meters away from me, where he had posed himself between window and desk, seeming all the more remote since we were separated by a parquet appearing to be endless.
Today my experience at the Führer's is quite to the contrary, everything is marked by modesty and great simplicity. The Führer comes up to me with his hand extended in greeting. I am surprised and astonished by the vivid blue of his eyes, which on photographs had always appeared to be brown. I remark that indeed he does look very different from any pictures I have seen of him. I much prefer the real life Hitler, that face that radiates intelligence and energy, and emits a special glow when he speaks. At this very moment, I understand his magical appeal to the masses and the power he wields over them.
When I was called to Berlin by wire, I had prepared a good dozen of questions at night on the train, which no matter under what circumstances, I intended to pose. In any case, only the answers to these questions could be indiscreet. Within the first few words he utters, I can tell that the Führer has no intention of hiding out behind diplomatic phrases, but rather that he wishes to speak openly and honestly to the French people.
In the room, I hear my voice sound uncertain while speaking German. I try to explain my own, and thereby the fears of all of us:
"The French are afraid of and despise war more than anything else, and because constantly preoccupied with this fear; we are prone to see war lurking just around the corner. I would like to hear from you that Germany's foreign policy is solidly based on pacifist principles."
The man sitting across from me reflects for just a moment and then responds:
"The word 'pacifism' has two meanings, and does not have the same meaning for France as for us. We cannot accept a pacifism that means forfeiting one's vital rights. For us, pacifism can only become a reality if it is built on the basic human premise that each and every people has a right to live. I said 'to live,' and not 'to vegetate.' Whoever truly wants peace must first acknowledge this right of the nations. In other words, there is not a single German who wants war. The last one cost us two million dead and seven-and-a-half million wounded. Even if we had been victorious, no victory would have been worth paying that price."
"What European statesman could to-day gain through a war any corresponding territorial conquest? Are two million men to be killed to conquer a territory with two million inhabitants? Besides for us that would mean to sacrifice two millions of the best Germans, men in the flower of their strength, the élite of the nation, in order to win a mixed population which is not to the full extent German and which does not feel itself to be German. Human logic is against a territorial war."
"I know how the German spirit has risen in revolt against the Treaty of Versailles. But even granted that everyone agrees in the necessity for the revision of the Treaty, how could that be effected without injuring the interests of other peoples?"
"The Treaty of Versailles has had two consequences: it secured a territorial victory and established a moral victory. Every territorial solution has its weaknesses. In territorial questions the voice of the people and its economic needs should alone be decisive. But if one regards the moral aspect, it is impossible and inadmissible to discriminate against a people and to humiliate it. The Peace Treaty of 1870 was content with a material and territorial victory without violating French honour. Every decision which degrades a people's personality creates only bitterness and hatred amongst the oppressed and mistrust amongst the others. Man has the right to live, whether it be as a nation or as an individual."
What then should one do in the case of the Treaty of Versailles?
"The human conscience", Hitler replied, "should set justice above interests and parties. Every people has the right to live on its own soil, with its own faith, its history, its customs, and its economic possibilities. To favour some to the prejudice of others is absurd, for that destroys the balance of human society. I should like to draw a parallel for you: a law which favours the workers at the expense of the peasants is just as false as one which favours the peasants at the cost of the workers. One must not adopt a position which favours the consumer, nor one which favours the tradesman, one must not be for the workman, nor for the employer, but one must maintain the balance between the conflicting interests of all alike. We have one single doctrine which is that in economic life there is no place for doctrine. If private initiative fails, its place must be taken by the initiative of the State. Social tensions with us will not be adjusted through strikes and lock-outs. A higher statesmanship which has the welfare of all in view must find other ways of securing social peace. Peace, too, can be born only from such a balance, therefore from justice. So far as the individual measures are concerned which should establish this peace, they can easily be found when everyone approaches them with human sympathy, with understanding, and skill."
"We have in Germany 68 million inhabitants—68 million human beings who want to eat, to clothe themselves, to have a house to live in. No treaty in the world can in any way alter that fact. The child who comes into the world cries for milk. And it has a right to to milk. And a statesman must give to his people what it needs."
"Certainly. We are touching upon a very serious question. The population policy being advocated in Germany by necessity creates a desire to expand the Empire in order to accommodate the additional countrymen—that means war. You complain of not having enough bread to go around, and then you want more mouths to feed."
"There are talented and untalented peoples in the world. The first have generally too little living-space (Lebensraum), while the others have at their disposal a great and often undeveloped extent of living-space (Lebensfläche). The European countries belong to the former category. One must become conscious of the fact that, in this sense, they comprise a community of peoples, though they are sometimes a quarrelsome family."
I am silent for a moment, since I myself share his opinion. Through my travels I too have become aware of an inequality among the races, and of the significance of the term European.
"Does this mean that because of the more numerous population, Germany will need to subdue colonies?"
"Wouldn't you agree?" Hitler replied.
"How in practice do you mean to attain this end?"
"If the conscience", Hitler answered, "of the rest of the peoples would admit the idea of equalization and of justice, the material details could be easily settled. What concerns me most at the moment is to awaken in the world the realization that the good will of the peoples must create a co-operation without any mental reservation in order to allow each individual people to enjoy a better life. And I would, further, repeat that it is essential for the life of Germany and France and for the good of mankind that the welfare of Europe should be rendered secure"...
"I will be traveling to China within a few days, because the Far East..."
"How lucky you are," Hitler interrupted me. "Unfortunately, I myself am unable to travel. You will see Japan where, under completely different working conditions, those goods are manufactured which are flooding the world market. One day, that will apply to Russia, too. If necessary, Moscow's rulers will allow a part of the population to die to safeguard the export trade. Communism can survive in Russia because it has established itself at the fore of a population devoid of needs in an enormous, undeveloped territory. But if Communism had come to Germany, there would have been a catastrophe of unforeseeable proportions, because in Germany only 25 percent of the population live in the country and 75 percent inhabit the cities, whereas in Russia 92 percent live in the country and 8 percent in the cities. And because a much more complicated apparatus would have fallen prey to the destruction."
"What is your opinion with regard to the Anschluss?
"That is a question no one here is excited about. In Vienna, they need this bogy for reasons of domestic politics. In Berlin, the Anschluss question is not acute."
The hands on my watch keep moving relentlessly forward; I fear I am running out of time and that I will not be able to pose all the questions I had intended to, nor hear the responses to them. Quickly I ask:
"What about the role of the women? Do you honestly believe they are only there to bear the children of men?"
This time the Führer laughs: "Who told you that?"
"I accord women the same right as men, but I do not believe they are alike. Woman is man's life companion. She should not be burdened with work for which men are made. I am not envisioning women's battalions; I believe they are better fit for work in the social sector. But in any event, a woman who does not marry—and we have many in Germany, because we do not have enough men—has the right to earn her living just as a man does. Incidentally, I might remind you that it was a woman who made the great Party Congress film, and a woman will shoot the Olympic film.
"Just one word on the Olympic Games. We are quite happy, we are looking forward to welcoming the French here—hopefully a great many of them. We will do everything to show them they are welcome here and that they are encountering a supremely hospitable German Volk. I sincerely hope that your travelers will come not only for the sporting events, but will also visit our country, the whole country. They will not find prearranged propaganda trips which would steer them away from the truth. We will not tell them that Germany is a paradise, for there is no such thing in this world. And they can roam about freely here and see for themselves that Germany lives in peace and order and in work. They will see our upswing, our efforts, our will for peace. That is all I want."
The Führer rises. I have been able to ascertain that he is in the best of health and that rumors of an illness are unfounded. I retreat, happy to be in a position to communicate his ideas to the French people. The entire conversation took no longer than fifty minutes.