Reading

"The George Washington of Germany"

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George describes his admiration for Hitler's leadership in a 1936 newspaper article.
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At a Glance

Reading

Language

English — US

Subject

  • History
  • The Holocaust

After a trip to Germany in September 1936, David Lloyd George, who had been the prime minister of Britain during World War I, wrote an article titled “I Talked to Hitler” in the Daily Express newspaper. It appeared just six months after the Germans militarized the Rhineland and one month after the Olympics.  

I have now seen the famous German Leader and also something of the great change he has effected.

Whatever one may think of his methods — and they are certainly not those of a parliamentary country — there can be no doubt that he has achieved a marvellous transformation in the spirit of the people, in their attitude towards each other, and in their social and economic outlook. . . .

There is for the first time since the war a general sense of security. The people are more cheerful. There is a greater sense of general gaiety of spirit throughout the land. It is a happier Germany. I saw it everywhere and Englishmen I met during my trip and who knew Germany well were very impressed with the change. . . .

As to his popularity, especially among the youth of Germany, there can be no manner of doubt. The old trust him; the young idolise him. It is not the admiration accorded to a popular Leader. It is the worship of a national hero who has saved his country from utter despondency and degradation. . . .

He is as immune from criticism as a king in a monarchical country. He is something more. He is the George Washington of Germany — the man who won for his country independence from all her oppressors. . . .

Hitler fought in the ranks throughout the war, and knows from personal experience what war means. . . .

It is now an avowed part of the Hitler policy to build up an army which will be strong enough to resist every invader from whatever quarter the attack may come. I believe he has already achieved that measure of immunity. . . .

There is no attempt to conceal these facts. Re-armament proceeds quite openly, and they vaunt it. 1

Connection Questions

  1. What does David Lloyd George admire about Hitler? Why does he call Hitler “the George Washington of Germany”? Would you agree?
  2. How does the former British prime minister describe Hitler’s achievements in Germany?
  3. What facts must Lloyd George have either ignored or not known about in order to conclude, “There is a greater sense of general gaiety of spirit throughout the land. It is a happier Germany”? Whose perspectives does his conclusion leave out?
  4. In this article, what is Lloyd George’s tone? Does this article help to explain why Hitler was not, at this time, challenged by many European leaders? If so, how?
  • 1David Lloyd George, “I Talked to Hitler,” The Daily Express, September 17, 1936.

How to Cite This Reading

Facing History and Ourselves, ""The George Washington of Germany"," last updated April 29, 2022.

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