Friedrich Thyssen

German banker (1804-1877)

Friedrich "Fritz" Thyssen (9 November 1873 – 8 February 1951) was a German businessman, born into one of Germany's leading industrial families.



I Paid Hitler (1941)


London, Great Britain, Hodder and Stoughton, LTD. 1941 [1]

  • On August 25th I was advised that I would have to go to Berlin for a meeting of the Reichstag. The suddenness of such convocations is symptomatic of the role to which that assembly has been reduced. In the earlier days, matters were given serious study, they were reported on by committees, and a working session of the Reichstag was then convened. To-day things are different. Members are summoned from one day to the next to hear a declaration by Hitler. That is what is called ‘good theatre,’ the sole purpose being propaganda. The members play the part of walkers-on in cheap drama.
    • pp. 35-36
  • In my opinion it would be possible to agree upon a kind of truce in order to gain time for negotiation. I am against war. A war will make Germany dependent on Russia for raw materials and Germany will thus forego her position as a world power.
    • p. 37 (Aug. 31, 1939 telegram message to Goering)
  • Hitler also says, ‘Whoever is not with me is a traitor and shall be treated as such.’
    • p. 38 (statement by Hitler on Sept. 1, 1939 in the Reichstag)
  • In order to have peace it will be necessary for Germany to respect her Constitution in every way. Non-observance of the Constitution amounts, after all, to anarchy. The allegiance sworn by the individual citizen is valid only if the leaders also act in accordance with their obligations.
    • p. 40
  • After the declaration of war several people, who took no trouble to conceal their lack of enthusiasm for the regime, came to see me in Switzerland. They said, ‘how that war is declared, everyone must rally behind Hitler, for he represents Germany.’ To all such attempts to make me reverse my decision I replied, ‘No; for this man will plunge the German people into disaster.’
    • p. 44
  • I am accused of being a traitor. This accusation—remembering that in 1923 I, an unarmed man, not protected by ninety billion marks’ worth of armaments, organized the passive resistance in the regions occupied by the enemy, and thus save the Rhine and the Ruhr—is almost as grotesque as the fact that National Socialism has suddenly discarded its doctrines in order to hobnob with Communism.
    • p. 47
  • No court in Germany is competent to entertain an appeal against a measure taken by the sinister Gestapo, even when its affects personal liberty.
    • p. 50
  • Goering is like a child; he wants everything he sees. By having my property confiscated in the name of the Prussian state, he made sure that these paintings, engravings of the eighteenth century, and other objects of art, would not escape his grasp. For Goering is virtual sovereign of Prussia. All that is Prussian property is his.
    • p. 51
  • For my financial interest in the greatest metallurgical concern in Germany, the United Steel Works, instead of being transferred to the Reich, has been seized by Prussia. Goering may have certain ideas in this connection. Indeed, a large share ownership in these steel works might save the Hermann Goering Works from bankruptcy.
    • pp. 51-52
  • Do not forget that you [Hitler] owe your rise not to a great revolutionary uprising but to the liberal order which you have sworn to sustain.
    • p. 54 (December 28, 1939 letter to Hitler)
  • The persecution of the Christian religion, taking the form of cruel measures against the priests and insults to the Churches, led me to protest in the early days, for instance when the police president of Düsseldorf issued a protest to Marshal Goering. It was in vain.
    • p. 54 (December 28, 1939 letter to Hitler)
  • When, on November 9th, 1938, the Jews were despoiled and martyrised in the most cowardly and brutal manner, and their temples razed to the ground throughout Germany, I also protested. To reinforce this protest, I resigned my office as state councillor. This, too, was in vain.’
    • p. 54 (December 28, 1939 letter to Hitler)
  • Now you have compounded with Communism. Your propaganda ministry even dares to proclaim that the honest Germans, who voted for you as the opponent of Communism, are in essentials identical with the bloody revolutionaries who plunged Russian into misery and whom you yourself denounced as ‘vulgar blood-stained criminals.’
    • p. 54 (December 28, 1939 letter to Hitler)
  • My disappointment dates almost from the very beginning of the Nazi regime. Hitler’s eviction of the conservative elements from the government, of which he was the head, gave me some cause for anxiety. But I was inhibited by the impression produced by the burning of the Reichstag. To-day I know that this crime was staged by the National Socialists themselves, in order to gain more power.
    • p. 66
  • One month later a trembling Reichstag, one hundred of whose members had been arrested and imprisoned, voted the law conferring full powers on the government, which law lies at the root of all the arbitrary acts committed by the regime since 1933. Thus began a series of revolutionary acts which theoretically observed the forms of legality, but were in fact based upon a crime and a lie.
    • p. 67
  • Hitler achieved power by engineering a political combination. The National Socialist government owes its being to no revolutionary event comparable to Mussolini’s march on Rome. Hitler swore before Field Marshal von Hindenburg a solemn oath to respect a constitution which guaranteed the rights of man and political freedom in Germany. The burning of the Reichstag is the criminal act by which he perjured himself and usurped the power to rule.
    • p. 67
  • The persecution of the Catholics was merely a beginning. From that date disorder, illegality, and arbitrariness were the main weapons in the National Socialist arsenal.
    • p. 69
  • The National Socialist government had fought Bolshevism on the inner and on the outer front. Anti-Communist pacts had been concluded with Italy, Japan, Hungary, and Spain. Hitler had preached the crusade against Bolshevik Russia as the enemy of the human race. And suddenly he had allied himself with the monster.
    • p. 72
  • What interested me primarily was the way in which economic life should be organised in the National Socialist state or—as I advocated—under a collaboration of the National Socialists and the German Nationalists. Here was a problem of great importance. For the question to be decided was whether industry and economic activity in general should be taken over by the state; or if not, what was to be the role of the state in relation to economic life.
    • p. 150
  • At the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century the generally dominant idea, derived from Ricardo and Adam Smith, was that commerce must be entirely unfettered, and that free trade was fundamentally linked with economic life. But the Liberals have ‘emptied the baby with the bath,’ with the result that the state, in opposition to them, has assumed more and more control over the economic process and has even gone into business on its own account. In my opinion the results achieved by the state as business manager have, on the whole, been bad… The function of the state, however, is to administer; and administration is something wholly different from enterprise under business management.
    • pp. 150-151
  • The National Socialists never had a real economic plan. Some of them were entirely reactionary; some of them advocated a corporative system; others represented the viewpoint of the extreme Left. In my opinion, Hitler failed because he thought it very clever to agree with everybody’s opinion… Hitler had an unprecedented opportunity, such as no man will ever again be offered so easily, to create something entirely new. However, besides the fact that he knows absolutely nothing about matters economic, he cannot even fully understand his economic advisers. . . His constant worry has ever been to keep himself in power. . . . He believes that he alone is a great man, and all others non-entities.
    • p. 164-165
  • What we witness to-day in German politics, as well as in German economy, is a manifestation of the Prussian spirit. It might be objected that Hitler is not a Prussian, but an Austrian. The only answer to this is that his entourage is entirely Prussian, and Prussian in the worst possible sense. Indeed, his entourage, which is always near him, consists mainly of corporals.
    • p. 165
  • Goering is an army man. He imagines that it is enough to give orders for industry to carry them out. If the industrialists declare that it is impossible, they are accused of sabotage. Soon Germany will not be any different from Bolshevik Russia; the heads of enterprises who do not fulfill the conditions which the ‘Plan’ prescribes will be accused of treason against the German people, and shot.
    • p. 187
  • Taken as a whole, these Nazi achievements are a farrago of economic absurdities. For seven years I had to struggle with all these ignorant and incapable men. It is a waste of time to discuss their stupid projects or refute their specious arguments. In fact, the Nazi regime has ruined German industry. All the above-mentioned experiments with artificial products will become useless as soon as international trade is restored. Then Germany will have on her hands immense plants which have swallowed billions of marks and there will be nothing to do but turn them over to the wreckers. Industries which no longer have enough money to follow technical progress and to keep their equipment up-to-date are in an unfavourable position compared with foreign competition, especially in America.
    • p. 188
  • With Adolf Hitler everything is propaganda. National Socialist Germany has evolved entirely new methods of propaganda, and has used them with great effect and with a profound knowledge of mass psychology.
    • p. 189
  • In those days of the distant past the National Socialists presented themselves to the public as the champions of virtue and disinterestedness. As soon as they held the power, they raised graft to the status of a state institution.
    • p. 199
  • Such are the people who to-day govern Germany. It is astonishing how they can afford the impudence of proclaiming themselves Socialists and of insulting, from amidst their corruption, the ‘western plutocracies,’ to use their phrase. The vast majority of the German people know nothing of these refined methods of growing rich at the expense of the common weal and the sweat of the working masses. Some day, when they learn how they were deceived and scorned by their leaders, their fury will be terrible.
    • p. 214
  • From the moment they seized power, the Nazi leaders professed the greatest contempt for the individual. A large number of German conservatives, ignorant of the facts and appalled by the burning of the Reichstag, assented to the incarceration of the political enemies of the regime without a trial. They may have regarded this measure as purely provisional and justified by the danger of civil war, and assumed that the National Socialists would soon reinstate legal procedure. They were mistaken. The concentration camps, better called torture camps, are, to this day, a state institution.
    • p. 215
  • The persecution of the Jews reached its height in the autumn of 1938 and aroused universal protest. Up to 1933 I had not attached much importance to the anti-Semitic brawls of the National Socialist party. The inhabitants of the Catholic provinces of the Rhine are not anti-Semitic. There may be regions in Germany where the slow-wittedness of the population has enabled the Jews to play an exaggerated role. This has never been the case in the Rhineland. We have always considered the Jew Heinrich Heine as one of our national poets. The Nazis may destroy Heine’s statue in his native city of Düsseldorf, but they will never be able to prevent people from singing ‘Die Lorelei’ on the boats that sail down the Rhine.
    • p. 217
  • The Jewish bankers saved German economy after the war. It was thanks to these Jews that medium and small enterprises were able to obtain from the American banks the necessary credits for their re-equipment.
    • p. 218
  • It is, above all, in its anti-Jewish campaign, that the party has officially given free rein to the base instincts which lie at the root of its so-called philosophy. The National Socialist government had the miserable privilege of encouraging and even ordering acts which are considered to be crimes by the whole civilised world. Foreigners who were in Germany at the time were appalled at these scenes of sadism and savagery; they saw the official incendiaries of the synagogues at work. In the capital of the Reich, in the centre of the town and in full view of the embassies, the Storm Troops and the younger Hitlerites, commanded by their chiefs, gutted and plundered dwellings and shops. In tolerating—indeed, actually organising—theft, arson, pillage, and even murder in the concentration camps, the National Socialist regime, especially in that autumn of 1938, revealed itself to the whole world as a government of gangsters.
    • p. 228
  • No, the Nazis’ aim was quite a different one. They wished to make German Protestantism a kind of state religion, after stripping it of all Christian principles. To delude the simple-minded, they called it ‘German Christianity.’
    • p. 230
  • National Socialism is not a political system. Rather, it is intended to be a philosophy and a system of morals — a Weltanschauung—as the Nazis pretentiously call it.
    • p. 230
  • And here we find a National Socialist pedagogue who has been entrusted with the training of a so-called elite, proposing to develop, not individuals with intelligence and a sense of responsibility, but machines. The followers of Karl Marx have never preached any such materialism. The Nazis have set out to destroy the soul. A dictatorship has no use for personality. A nation of robots is easier to govern.
    • p. 233
  • The Nazis, who have no understanding of religious zeal, saw in this restlessness of the Catholic population a display of political hostility. They said that the Catholic Centre party, although it had been officially dissolved, was renewing intrigues against the National Socialists through an underground movement. Goering launched his proclamation against political Christianity. It was not religion that was under discussion, he disclosed. National Socialism is based on positive Christianity… At the same time the Gestapo was instructed to proceed rigorously against the young Catholics.
    • pp. 236-37
  • At the present time the Catholic Church is the sole organised form of resistance to the spirit of National Socialism. It is the only adversary with whom the Nazis are obliged to reckon.
    • p. 242
  • National Socialism has attempted to falsify Nietzsche’s work and to represent this great German philosopher as a precursor of the Nazi racial doctrine and the ‘Blood and Soil’ theory. The truth is that Nietzsche found no greater object of scorn, in many of his works, than the inflated pan-Germanic mind.
    • p. 249
  • All these questions are questions of the future; but they are of the greatest importance for German economy. For the extreme regimentation of German industry under the National Socialists has completely ruined its factories through excessive exploitation.
    • p. 265
  • Rosenberg, the great ‘intellectual’ of National Socialism, is an importation from Russia. He has not a drop of German blood in his veins. To him and his disciples Germany owes the methods of the ‘leagues of the godless’—the methods of Bolshevik Russia.
    • p. 290
  • The true Germany, with its western traditions, must be separated from Prussia, which belongs to the east.
    • p. 291
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