Chapter 15: Wall Street Swastika: The Prince Does A Nazi Salute
“I haven’t seen Adolf Hitler now for over six years,” Dora exclaimed. “But that is him for sure. Nobody else has that intense expression when he talks. And he is so animated. He must be talking about his political ideas.”
“And the Prince is taking it in all right!” Edward observed. “He is all eyes and ears.”
“A catastrophic situation in the making!” Winston groaned. “But there is little I can do directly. I can hardly fly at them and break it up. After all I am only a humble MP, and the Prince must have attendants with him who are just out of view. I think we will have to be a bit more subtle.”
Edward nodded. “What do you have in mind?”
Winston took a waiter aside. “Is anybody occupying the dining room on the other side of those guests?” he pointed. “You know, on the other side of the curtains?”
The waiter shook his head. “No, it is totally vacant right now.”
“Good!” Winston decided on the spur of the minute. “Set a table for three right now.”
Dora opened her pocketbook and thrust a one hundred pound note at the man as a big tip. But then he was doing an awfully big favor for them.
As they entered the spare dining room behind the waiter Dora noticed that Winston put his finger to his lips for silence. They were not to speak to him at all. In fact, he was handing them tablets. They were supposed to write to each other while eating lunch whenever they had something to say.
They were seated at the table close to the curtain that separated them from the other room. Hitler’s voice carried through the thin separation that at least concealed their identities and their presences. Winston pointed at the menu, and the waiter scribbled down their orders for filet of sole with lemon sauce with white wine to drink.
Hitler’s interpreter could be heard of the clanking of the silverware, since Herr Hitler did not speak much English. “The head of the Nazi Party here has invited you here to day, Your Majesty, because he has heard that you are interested in the fate of the German people.”
“Indeed my family has German roots itself in the House of Hannover south of Hamburg in Lower Saxony,” the Prince replied. “We were invited to come to Britain and rule at the beginning of the eighteenth century and have been there ever since. But more recently I have traveled extensively in Germany and frankly I have enjoyed myself immensely. The beer halls, the wursts, the folk festivals, the nightlife, just the people themselves!” the Prince sounded as if he were throwing his arms out in exclamation to emphasize his point.
“So you care what happens to them?” Herr Hitler said through his interpreter.
“Yes indeed, you could say I do. I care perhaps almost as much what happens to the German people as I care what happens to my own subjects here in England,” the Prince exclaimed.
Winston showed Dora a note he had scribbled. “The Prince is making one of his wild statements that can get him in trouble. He isn’t very prudent. If the newspapers published that statement, can you imagine what kind of sensation it would create?”
Edward scribbled back, “We must prevent the Times from hearing anything about it.”
“His Majesty would be so embarrassed and chagrined if this got out he would not know what to do,” Churchill insisted.
They hardly had time to settle their doubts when Hitler’s interpreter was at it again. “Herr Hitler is advancing one of his most trusted party members, Wilhelm Frick, to be the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Education in Thuringia. He has seen what a mess the present Weimar government has made of it. Democracy might be all right in America —- and Herr Hitler wonders even about that —- but in Germany It has brought the nation to ruin and bankruptcy. Look at the recent stockmarket crash for instance.”
“Yes, yes, the Americans are a bit too impulsive,” the Prince agreed. He sounded as if he were eager to hear much more, too.
Hitler spoke in an impassioned tone. His interpreter continued to translate. Dora was beginning to wonder if even the translator could keep up with the would be Dictator: “Germany needs a firm hand. The Fatherland deserves order. There is too much influence from foreign sources. There is not just the disorder of the stock market, jobs are being taken from the honest German workers by Eastern types such as Slavs and Jews as well who are willing to work for less than an honest day’s wage.”
“Yes,” the Prince agreed, “I have visited Berlin and Vienna. I have seen such suspicious Eastern types with my own two eyes. It is very tragic for Germany. I have even seen such types hanging around London!”
Dora thought, How can the Prince be so stupid? Can’t he see that Hitler is trying to take advantage of him?
The interpreter continued, “Herr Hitler wants jobs for Germans and a state that operates only for the interests of Germans. He wants to elevate German traditions that work here in the Fatherland and expel all alien foreign types from the country. And Frick will begin this process in Thuringia so other German states can look on and envy and want to be just like her.”
“Yes, yes, I would like to be part of this. It sounds far more exciting than my present duties here.” The Prince yawned. “If I have to attend another cricket match or boring horse race or make a speech about some insipid British business that has just been started, I will scream! But is there anything I could do in person?”
Winston visibly cringed. He almost dropped his fork to reveal his presence on the other side of the curtain but caught it at the last minute. He scribbled on a piece of paper: This would be a calamity to have a member of the British royal family in Germany promoting an upstart like Hitler! It would lend him way too much respectability. Worse, it might even start something unimaginable here in Britain.”
Dora knew it would not get anywhere in America, but this was Europe. Americans hated Dictators, and that was that.
Hitler spoke and then the translator spoke, “You could attend Herr Hitler’s next rally in Nuremberg when he introduces Frick to the crowd.”
Winston could not resist the urge to pull back the curtain just an inch or two. Dora and Edward leaned over so they could see. The Prince of Wales was doing the unbelievable. He was not only shaking Herr Hitler’s hand he was doing the Nazi salute.