Last week I mentioned that I had been asked to translate a letter from a 20-year-old German bookstore employee writing to his American pen pal in 1933. As it turns out, that wasn’t the only letter. A couple of days ago, I was asked to translate another letter he wrote to his pen pal in August 1933.
Mostly, the letter is just a description of his hometown, but it includes this passage (my translation):
Just as in America, a change in the nation’s leadership has taken place in Germany. Since January 30 of this year Adolf Hitler has been our chancellor and he has in that time rebuilt the country from the ground up. In my next letter I will report to you about the laws that have resulted so far. Today I will just tell you that Hitler’s measures already have made a distinct improvement. I know that many untruths have spread about Hitler and his ideas in foreign lands. For this reason, I have enclosed the opinion of an English officer about Hitler’s Germany. It would interest me very much to know what one thinks in your homeland about the new Germany.
The enclosure was a piece of propaganda from Graham Seton Hutchison to the effect that Hitler’s intentions were both peaceful and justified by the punitive Treaty of Versailles. “No man possessed of the least knowledge of the Hitler movement can speak of it as one lustful for war,” he wrote. “Hitler’s aims are, above all, German life and German culture.”
That must have been a relief for the 20-year-old.