7th June 1942, at dinner
A procession at Barcelona—harassing the Falange—distrust of Serrano Suner—superior resistance of Italians to Church heresies—German emperors and the Church—Requiem mass for the protector of Bohemia and Moravia.
The Fuehrer was informed that on the occasion of the Corpus Christi procession in Barcelona, the Governor of the town forbade by edict the people taking part in the procession to wear the uniform either of the Falange, the Falangist Militia or any part of them. A solitary exception was made in favour of the regional Chief of the Falange and his suite. It appears from the report that this prohibition was obtained by the Nationalists through the medium of the Church authorities. In this connection it will be recalled that some weeks ago incidents occurred between the Nationalists and the members of the Falange, who nevertheless represent the official State Party. It is further significant that the Madrid newspaper Arriba attacks this ban and states roundly that the wearing of the blue shirt is a duty to which the Falangists are in honour bound, and that all those who oppose them are despicable creatures.
The Fuehrer’s opinion follows: What a pity it is that the blood shed in common by the Falangists, the Fascists and the National Socialists during the war has not brought better results! But in Spain, unfortunately, someone will always be found willing to serve the political interests of the Church. Serrano Suner, the present Minister for Foreign Affairs, is one of them. From my first meeting with him I was conscious of a feeling of revulsion, in spite of the fact that our Ambassador, with abysmal ignorance of the facts, introduced him to me as the most ardent Germanophile in Spain.
That the Fascists were spared a second civil war is due to the fact that the movement, initiated in Rome, succeeded in uniting the Italian nation in spite of the opposition of the Church. Further, Fascism clearly defined the position as regards what things fell within the sphere of the Church and what things fell within the sphere of the State. When the Church refused to recognise the law for the formation of the Fascist Youth Organisation, the Fascists retaliated by ruthlessly breaking up every religious procession from Rome right down to the South of Italy. The result was that within three days the Church had come to heel.
Speaking generally, the history of Italy shows that the Italian people adopt a very much more realistic attitude towards the Church than do the Spaniards or, alas, not a few Germans! Is it not a sad thought that each time the Italians flung out some Pope or other, there was always a German Kaiser ready and willing to restore order in the Vatican? I must be honest and confess that I myself have not been guiltless in this respect.
By creating a Bishop of the Reich I tried to bring a little clarity into the equivocal situation in the Evangelical Church. When I see what is happening to-day in Spain, I congratulate myself on the failure of my efforts. Once more Providence prevented me from committing a mistake I was on the point of making. Who, indeed, is prepared to give me a guarantee that one fine day the Protestant Bishop of the Reich will not make common cause against me with the Pope!
The established religions, and particularly the Catholic Church, are adepts at presenting an innocent mien and in flattering the man in power. I myself experienced this when, shortly after assuming power, I received a visit from the Bishop Bertram. He brought me the good wishes and the homage of the Catholic clergy with such unction that, had I not known differently from bitter personal experience, I would not have believed it possible that a single National Socialist could have been excluded from the Church on account of his convictions, or could have been persecuted, and even execrated after death.
It is with such semblance of humility that the Church has always wormed its way into power and succeeded in winning its way by flattery into the good graces of the German Emperors, from Charlemagne onwards. It is the same technique as that employed by sophisticated women, who at first exude charm in order to gain a man’s confidence, and then gradually tighten the strings, until they hold them so firmly that the man dances like a puppet to their whims. With a little diplomatic savoir faire such women manage even to persuade their husbands—exactly as in the case of the Church and the German Emperors—that it is they who rule the roost, and this in spite of the nose-ring on which they are so obviously being led!
Quite recently the Church tried to pull off a new one of this kind. The Bishop of Bohemia and Moravia begged permission to be allowed to hold a Requiem Mass with chimes for SS Obergruppen-fuehrer Heydrich. I told the gentleman bluntly that he would have been much better employed if he had previously offered prayers for the safety and welfare of the Reich Protector!