Brooklyn Eagle (January 31, 1943)
Bombs stall Göring talk and punctuate speech by Goebbels
London, England (UP) – (Jan. 30)
Britain’s fast Mosquito bombers raided Berlin twice today during the celebration of the 10th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s accession to power, while four-engined Wellingtons blasted Emden and other targets in northwest Germany, climaxing the greatest month of raids since the British-American air offensive opened.
The twin-engined Mosquitoes gave Berlin its first daylight air raid, opening a new phase of the assault by air on the Reich.
In the morning, British planes roared over Berlin just as Marshal Hermann Wilhelm Göring, the Nazi air leader who once boasted the German capital would never be bombed, was getting ready to speak. His speech was delayed an hour and three minutes by the raid.
All the Mosquitoes returned safety.
Return to plague Goebbels
They returned, braving what observers believed would be strong defenses, and dropped more bombs as Propaganda Minister Paul Joseph Goebbels was about to start his speech in the afternoon.
One plane was lost from that formation, which encountered only desultory anti-aircraft fire and one German fighter plane, which it lost in the clouds.
Four Wellingtons were missing from the other daylight raids.
The attacks on Berlin served as a grim warning of what is in store for Germans on the home front when the Allied air onslaught gains momentum.
Göring significantly noted in his address that Germans must expect bombings but they could not change the war’s outcome.
The raids apparently caught the German Air Force napping. One British pilot who took part in the second attack said he was startled only by “the stillness over Berlin.”
The RAF was contemptuous of the once-vaunted German Air Force and the reputation that the Nazis claimed for Berlin of being “the world’s best defended city.”
It was doubted here that the Mosquitoes had done any considerable damage to Berlin but the damage to German morale was believed to have far outweighed any military advantage.
Göring, chief of the German Air Force, who had promised Germany that Berlin would never be raided, could not go on the air on schedule. His speech was postponed for one hour and three minutes, presumably while British bombs weighing from 500 to 2,000 pounds crashed about the capital.
It was the first time the Mosquitoes had been over Berlin, but previously they had gained a reputation for marring Nazi functions. Several weeks ago, they bombed Oslo, Norway, during a meeting at Nazi headquarters there.
Hitler did not speak during the celebration. His proclamation, however, was delivered by Propaganda Minister Goebbels, who explained Hitler was "preoccupied’’ with military affairs.
It was reported in London that Hitler was brooding over his military setbacks and was in seclusion at Berchtesgaden, his Bavarian mountain retreat, with a few friends and his astrologer.
Göring’s speech, led off the oration marking the anniversary. Later Goebbels spoke and at the end of his address delivered the Führer’s proclamation.
The same gloomy theme dominated the three messages from Göring, Goebbels and Hitler. They warned, directly and indirectly, that Russia was the chief menace to Europe and that Germany was the last bulwark between the Red Army and Bolshevism and the Western world.
Hitler’s proclamation was long and rambling. He repeated his familiar tirades against the Jews and the Versailles Treaty, which he called a “historic fraud.”
The proclamation was a clear indication the Russian victories had thrown a panicky scare into the Nazis. Hitler warned his home front he would destroy anybody not fulfilling his obligations to the German war effort.
Hitler’s proclamation said:
It is up to us to understand the meaning of this war and to continue the fight until this country can be considered as definitely saved.
What we suffer is nothing compared with what would happen if the hordes of barbarism [Hitler’s usual reference to the Russians] would sweep over Europe. Every single life lost in this struggle will assure life to generations of the future…
Göring devoted much of his attention to the Russian front, paying high tribute to the trapped German 6th Army being decimated by the Soviets west of Stalingrad. He said their resistance would go down in history together with the story of Leonidas and the 300 who held the pass at Thermopylae.
He warned that every man, woman and child in Germany must be prepared to die if Hitler considers it necessary for victory.