The Consul General at Berlin (Messersmith) to the Under Secretary of State (Phillips), [Extracts], BERLIN, June 26, 1933.


I think the Department must be exceedingly careful in its dealings with Germany as long as the present Government is in power as it has no spokesman who can really be depended upon, and those who hold the highest positions are capable of actions which really outlaw them from ordinary intercourse.

I think we must recognize that while the Germany of to-day wants peace, it is by no means a peaceful country or one looking forward to a long period of peace. The present German Government and its adherents desire peace ardently for the present because they need peace to carry through the changes in Germany which they want to bring about. What they want to do, however, definitely is to make Germany the most capable instrument of war that there has ever existed. The Minister of Education, speaking yesterday, said that a Spartan spirit must be developed among the German youth. Wherever one goes in Germany one sees people drilling, from children of five and six on, up to those well into middle age. A psychology is being developed that the whole world is against Germany and that it lies defenseless before the world. People are being trained against gas attacks, against airplane attacks, and the idea of war and danger from one's neighbors is constantly harped upon. I wish it were really possible to make our people at home understand, for I feel that they should understand it, how definitely this martial spirit is being developed in Germany. If this Government remains in power for another year and carries on in the same measure in this direction, it will go far towards making Germany a danger to world peace for years to come.

This is a very disjointed and incoherent letter. I am dictating it under pressure as I wish to catch the courier pouch. What I do want to say really is that for the present this country is headed in directions which can only carry ruin to it and will create a situation here dangerous to world peace. With few exceptions, the men who are running this Government are of a mentality that you and I cannot understand. Some of them are psychopathic cases and would ordinarily be receiving treatment somewhere. Others are exalted and in a frame of mind that knows no reason. The majority are woefully ignorant and unprepared for the tasks which they have to carry through every day. Those men in the party and in responsible positions who are really worth-while, and there are quite a number of these, are powerless because they have to follow the orders of superiors who are suffering from the abnormal psychology prevailing in the country. It is impossible for us to talk about tariffs or monetary policy or any of these major matters with a Germany whose leaders do not think in any sense along the lines that we do. While their representatives are talking at London and seem to be just like everybody else, the most phantastic experiments on financial or economic lines are being definitely considered in their home country. Dr. Luther may talk bravely and fairly about Germany in the United States, but he can't tell what he knows, and even if he would, there is a great deal that he does not know. There is a real revolution here and a dangerous situation.

Very 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. 191-192.

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