I have been reading some of the writings of Westporter Sigrid Schultz. One such writing is her 1944 book entitled “Germany Will Try It Again”. The book, written in Westport, outlines a conspiracy beginning at the end of the First World War. The chilling account is composed with exquisite skill.
During the First World War, from 1914 to 1918, Sigrid and her family, being U.S. citizens, were trapped in Berlin as enemy aliens. They were forced to report to the authorities every day. Sigrid spoke many languages fluently including; French, Dutch, Polish, German and English. She was able to pick up work as a translator. She began translating for the Berlin Bureau Chief of the Chicago Tribune. She turned this opportunity into a job as a reporter. By 1925 she was installed as the Bureau Chief herself. As such she broke ground for women journalists. In Nancy Caldwell Sorel’s 1999 critically acclaimed book entitled “Women Who Wrote The War” Sigrid is given top billing as one of the 3 Groundbreakers in Chapter 1.
One of the main themes of Sigrid’s book is “Pan-Germanism”. Pan-Germanism is the idea that the German people were socialized, even before the First World War, with the idea that they would rule the world—as a race, as a culture, as an economic powerhouse and as a military force. This ideology pervaded every aspect of German society. It was then used by the Nazi party to enlist membership and worse.
Sigrid had evidence that Germany was re-arming months before they signed the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. The treaty called for Germany to disarm. The rest of the world just wanted peace. They didn’t want to believe that Germany’s agenda was to get back to war as soon as possible. It is fascinating to read history from someone who was there. Right from the end of the First World War Sigrid was bribing her way into the General’s Staff Headquarters demanding interviews. She had her own watchers on the street documenting who was coming and who was going. People in America didn’t want to believe what she saw with her own eyes, so she became ever more vigilant in her investigations.
In one of her chapters she recalled how Hitler had invited a dozen or so foreign journalists to an important press conference. The quick speech he gave was not very important. Hitler lined all the reporters up in a u-shape along the walls of the room. He walked up to each one and grasped their hands firmly, staring into their eyes for long moments. It was a form of hypnosis. He had already tried this technique on Sigrid to no avail so he quickly passed by her with just a glancing shake when it was her turn.
Her book describes the seduction of every group down to the individual person to the cause that had but one goal. Prominent Jews were seduced into helping the cause believing that their lives would be spared. Business-men from America were seduced by thinking that they could make money. Super-powers like Russia were seduced into thinking that Germany was allied with them. All the while Sigrid was documenting every little detail.
The book is not a fun read but the most sobering. How beautiful German women were recruited as agents. How arms factories forbidden in Germany just picked up and moved operations to Switzerland, Russia, Spain and Holland. How the economy of Germany was intentionally sent into tailspin so as to pay off foreign repatriations with worthless German Marks. Through it all Sigrid was tireless. During air-raids she continued her live broadcasts. She was injured by shrapnel while broadcasting. She returned to Westport in 1941 to recover. Schultz was denied re-entry into Germany so while in town she wrote her view of how things had come about.