The Consul General at Berlin (Messersmith) to the Under Secretary of State (Phillips), [ Extracts], BERLIN, November 23, 1933.


In spite of the way in which the feelings of the German people have been whipped up by this new Government I do not believe that the majority of the German people yet desire war, but there is certainly no great desire for peace. Everything that is being done in the country to-day has for its object to make the people believe that Germany is threatened vitally in every aspect of its life by outside influences and by other countries. Everything is being done to use this feeling to stimulate military training and exercises, and innumerable measures are being taken to develop the German people into a hardy, sturdy race which will be able to meet all comers. The military spirit is constantly growing. It cannot be otherwise. The leaders of Germany to-day have no desire for peace unless it is a peace which the world makes at the expense of complete compliance with German desires and ambitions. Hitler and his associates really and sincerely want peace for the moment, but only to have a chance to get ready to use force if it is found finally essential. They are preparing their way so carefully that these is not in my mind any question but that the German people will be with them when they want to use force and when they feel that they have the necessary means to carry through their objects.

Just what Germany will do on the disarmament question I think it is too early to definitely predict, but that she has a definite aim which she will go after unswervingly, we can take for granted. She will fight shy of all conferences, but will make constant overtures all around and constant protestations of a desire to cooperate and of a will for peace. Germany will particularly embarrass France by protestations of her willingness to do all sorts of things, with the hope of making trouble between France and England and the United States. It will I believe be exceedingly difficult to pin her down to anything. In the meantime she will go on rearming. This is what he wants to do and will do. Germany may make all sorts of protestations with regard to the reduction of armaments by other countries, but what she is interested in is not so much the other countries cutting down their armaments, as having a free hand or rather time to go ahead and rearm herself.

Cordially and sincerely yours,


Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943, pp. 195.

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