November 11, 1918- “the day the guns go silent”. A wounded German soldier recovering from a gas attack in a military hospital hears the news of the Armistice and the Kaiser’s abdication and is plunged into despair and confusion.
The more I tried to achieve clarity on the monstrous event in this hour, the more the shame of indignation and disgrace burned my brow. What was all the pain in my eyes compared to this misery?
There followed terrible days and even worse nights-I knew that all was lost. Only fools, liars, and criminals could hope in the mercy of the enemy. In these nights hatred grew in me, hatred for those responsible for this deed.
In the days that followed, my own fate became known to me.
I could not help but laugh at the thought of my own future which only a short time before had given me such bitter concern. Was it not ridiculous to expect to build houses on such ground? At last it became clear to me that what had happened was what I had so often feared but had never been able to believe with my emotions.
Kaiser William II was the first German Emperor to hold out a conciliatory hand to the leaders of Marxism, without suspecting that scoundrels have no honor. While they still held the imperial hand in theirs, their other hand was reaching for the dagger.
There is no making pacts with Jews; there can only be the hard: either-or.
I, for my part, decided to go into politics.
Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, writes of his reaction to the Armistice. What’s past is, as the poet said, prologue and the seeds of another cataclysmic event are planted.
Hitler (on the right) in an undated photo taken during his First World War Service.