Historical fiction: The tragic life of Albrecht von Haar in journal format
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So it begins

January 1932. So begins my account of the rise of Nazism, or perhaps more appropriately, of Hitlerism, in Germany.

The main purpose of this journal is to document the changes I see occurring in German politics and foreign affairs. Keeping this journal is dangerous for me, my family, and my work. It is dangerous  for my mother, father, brother, friends and sources. However, I feel a desperate need to chronicle these chaotic and frightening times.

My name is Albrecht von Haar and I am the editor of the Periodical of the Society for Geography (PSGB) in Berlin. I am unmarried and live and work at 23 Wilhelmstrasse, Berlin. My official residence is located on the top flat of the PSGB office building.

My father is Karl von Haar, Professor General of Political Geography at Munich University. He is generally credited with the concept of Geopolitics – which is the notion that a nation is an organism in need of breathing and breeding space. In Germany’s case, this particular idea has been interpreted by many nationalists as a God given right for Germany to expand eastward through the Slavic countries and beyond to the Russian steppes. I have expressed to my father that such an interpretation is not only historically incorrect, but dangerous. I’m not sure he agrees with me.

At this time I am closely following Adolph Hitler, the Austrian-born rabble-rouser who has become a household name in Germany and appears to enjoy fashioning himself after Italy’s fascist leader, Benito Mussolini. Hitler’s own fascist political party, the NSDAP (The National Socialist German Workers Party, also known as the Nazis), has infested the Riechstag and made the parliament a laughing stock. He has now moved from Munich to a hotel apartment in Berlin, just down the street from my apartment, where he holds court as if he is already Reich Chancellor.

Hitler has a large army of militant followers. Some estimate the number to be 200,000. If so, this “personal army” rivals or exceeds the current size of the Reichswehr, the German military, as permitted by that damned Versailles treaty.

I don’t know Hitler personally, but I know that after a failed putsch in the 20’s he has risen rapidly in German politics during the past several years, developing his ultra-nationalist and racist political ideas. Last fall the Nazis won over six million votes in local elections. Old man Hindenburg is still Germany’s  head of state, but Hitler and his ruffians are rapidly making political inroads. It seems Hitler learned from his unsuccessful violent attempt to overtake the government in 1923. Now he is wrapping his hands around the Wiemar Republic’s neck and slowly strangling it, lawfully, by winning local elections and filling seats in the Reichstag.

I am fairly well acquainted with Rudolph Hess, one of Hitler’s lieutenants, and personal secretary. My father has known Hess since having him as a student in Munich before the putsch. I met Hess several years ago and discovered we are both Anglophiles and discovered a common liking for horoscopes and ancient runes. We have had many discussions about foreign policy, the British Empire, and Germany’s future. He is not a brilliant man, but he has Hitler’s ear and I hope to use that relationship to my advantage. We meet in Berlin at least once a month. I’m hoping that I can use Hess to influeince the Nazi inner circle.

With the rise of the Nazi’s, I see a storm gathering on the horizon. Just yesterday, Hitler said that if he became head of the government, he would stop paying war reparations. This stance does not sit well with France and England. Many fear a Hitler government could lead to another terrible conflict in Europe. I am one who fears the Nazis and their actions.

Enough for now, I am off to take a stroll in the nearby Tiergarten with my friend Ada Ortrun. After dinner together, I plan to see Fritz Lang’s “M.” I will go see it alone. The film may be too frightful for Ada’s sensibilities. I hear it is still playing in a theater on Friedrichstrasse.


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