Tuesday, June 5, 2018

January 16, 1944: Pretend Secret Weapons

Article by Opa in Manhattan, Kansas Newspaper "Mercury Chronicle"


Suggests Hitler’s Secret Weapon May Cause Doom

Editor’s Note: Thomas Doeppner, a student at Kansas State College, was for a short time with the United Press at Amsterdam. He is a German refugee and his Interpretation of developments in the European war theater carry the weight of his internment camp experience in Nazi Germany, as well as that of previous years of travel on the continent. The Mercury-Chronicle each week brings you his interpretation of the war in Europe. 

By Thomas W. Doeppner

  ??? about a new “secret weapon” are circulating again. The Nazis boast it, Allied intelligence are skeptical. Allied people are ??????. No official word? has been given by the Nazis as to the nature of their so-called secret weapon, but Dr. Schaefer, a member of the German foreign office, who at that time was put in charge of foreign correspondence, made a rather revealing statement in June 1943 when answering a question concerning Germany’s preventative action against invasion; said that it was to be carried out with a new kind of long-range artillery. 
    During the first World War, the Germans surprised the Allies with a smaller new “secret weapon”, the Big Bertha, a gun with a 13 mile range. There is nothing to prevent the Germans from using guns that will carry twice that distance. If such a gun should have a firing range of 150? miles, the Germans would be able to destroy great parts of London from protected positions inside the continent. Projectiles of huge dimensions would have to be used which would probably be rocket-driven. 
    Other secret weapon rumors deal with non-metal land mines for defensive measures which could not be detected with ordinary ?-detection , a new kind of gas warfare in which ??? would be carried to a large city and any other kind of fantastic death equipment including the famous ??????. It seems to be certain that most of these stories are more imagination and definitely play into the hands of the German propaganda ministry, their probable source.
    On the other hand, two years of preparation for defensive warfare in Germany is bound to have created some sort of a defense which had not been used before. The Allied leaders seem to be fully aware of this unseen danger, as is revealed in the day-by-day ?????of the so-called ??? defense ??? which extends about 30 to 60 miles inside from the channel coast. The fact that these area are bombed more heavily than the immediate invasion coast indicates Allies expect tougher resistance from that line.
      Important as it may be, no secret weapon is probable to affect Allied operative seriously. War has shown that every new weapon suggests immediately a defensive weapon against it, which means that it can only prolong the operation, but hardly reverse the initiative. Also, the Allies are no longer asleep and are just as likely to invent new weapons as the Axis. The Allies, however, no longer need to advertise; their offensive power and their initiative are known.
Hitler’s main reason for advertising his new inventions is that he needs everything possible for homefront cooperation?. The German people have been brought to the belief that this new secret weapon is going to stop invading threats once and for all. Time Magazine quotes the ? Zeitung (German newspaper) as saying: “Germans yearn for a western invasion as soon as possible, because when they hurl it back into the sea, the war will turn in Germany’s favor.” This might indicate that Hitler’s secret weapon is a psychological one the promise of it gives the German person? more will to fight. 
  In that case, Hitler’s secret weapon may cause his secret doom. If this last and greatest act? of his troops will fail, he may have reached the end of his ????? and his people may have reached the end of their patience. 

I think the next investment I make is going to be in prescription blue-light glasses. This article was really difficult to transcribe! So- my apologies if some sentences don't quite make sense or the missing words throw you. I did my best to squint and magnify and get as many words (or guesses) on the page. 

Opa is now openly taunting Hitler, and little does he know he has even more reason to hate him now. Germany is clearly struggling, with perhaps a fake secret weapon to boost morale. That quote from the German newspaper makes you realize just how over-the-top is the propaganda. They're bluffing, but without much to back it up. It's not like the US is going to change their invasion schedule because a newspaper article says "bring it on" - but the Germans should know they need all the time they can get to be ready for this western invasion.

Hitler's fantasy of world-domination (or at least European) is fading fast, and he is grasping anything to fool himself and others that the tide will change in their favor. The use of propaganda is not a new or unique one (every country has its share). Opa's argument is that here, if Hitler doesn't really have any new secret weapon to show, the Germans are going to finally call BS on him. Even if he does have some fancy weapon, Opa is sure that it'll only prolong the war, not change the direction. There's an example of a little mini-propaganda for the US. 

The truth is that no one can be sure of the truth in wartime. The rumors fly and only so many things can be proven. Opa decides that the secret weapon rumors smell fishy. His logic is that the very fact that Hitler is advertising it means that it is the information that is helpful, not necessarily the weapon. Opa calls it a psychological weapon (a morale booster for the Germans). If they really had a massive secret weapon, they could use it successfully and the folks at home would hear about it. This pre-emptive bragging makes it all look a little dumb. It seems to show the poker hand before the call.

I confess I've had enough of this war. I know that sounds so incredibly trite, but here we are talking about whether fancy guns are going to be used or not. Hitler and his misinformation machine is saying whatever they can to just keep their agenda moving forward, even though it looks like everyone is going to lose. I can't imagine why I would expect these leaders to grow a brain suddenly at this moment. And perhaps I'm putting my knowledge of the outcome too far back, perhaps there was some inclination that Germany had a chance. Perhaps I'm just so angry that Ella is in a concentration camp while Hitler messes around with a pretend secret weapon. That might be it.

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