Nazi Terror at Plotzensee Prison (Ken Magazine, 1939)
A first-hand account as to the daily goings-on at Plötzensee Prison in Nazi Germany.
Written by Jan Valtin (alias of Richard Julius Hermann Krebs: 1905 - 1951), one of the few inmates to make his way out of that highly inclusive address and tell the tale. Valtin was a communist in the German resistance movement who later escaped to New York and published his memoir about his experiences in Nazi Germany Out of the Night (1941).
"...the purpose of punishment is the infliction of suffering." In the tiny, dark cells of this Nazi prison that is the Law. It breaks some men, but it tempers others to a harder steel as the underground fight against Hitler goes on..."
*Color Film Footage of Nazi Germany in 1939*
The Cult of the Hitler Personality (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"Someone asks why Hitler doesn't take a wife, as that sort of subject would be bound to come up. The German girl is incredibly shocked":
"I shudder to think of any woman thinking of herself as a physical being worthy of being with the Fuhrer. It is sacrilegious to mention it!".
Read about Hitler's expert on sex and racial purity...
An Interview with Dr. George Washington Carver (Ken Magazine, 1938)
A profile of Dr. George Washington Carver (1864 – 1943):
"One of the greatest agricultural chemists of our day was born a slave 80 years ago. He has given the world approximately 300 new by-products from the peanut...Today Dr. Carver is the South's most distinguished scientist. He turned the peanut into a $60,000,000 industry."
"I simply go to my laboratory, shut myself in and ask my Creator why He made the peanut. My Creator tells me to pull the peanut apart and examine the constituents. When this is done, I tell Him what I want to create, and He tells me I can make anything that contains the same constituents as a peanut. I go to work and keep working until I get what I want."
Hitler Slams Goering for his Girth (Ken Magazine, 1938)
Having been encouraged by Goebels to show more than a little excitement about meeting Adolf Hitler, the German screen actress Renate Müller (1906 - 1937) recalled that during their time alone, the Führer slandered Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering for his gluttonous appearance...
The entire story is told in a longer article about Hitler's wish for a wife.
British Fascists (Ken Magazine, 1938)
This article is about the founder of the British Union of Fascists, Oswald Mosley (1896 – 1980). The article outlines much of his life and political career up to the year 1938, with heavy emphasis concerning some of the least admirable aspects of his character
"His father's comment sums Mosely up admirably:
'He has never done an honest days work in his life.'"
Click here to read about the origins of Fascist thought...
A Screenwriter's Progress (Ken Magazine, 1938)
Yardley, a cartoonist from KEN MAGAZINE, made this four panel yuk-yuk about Depression era screenwriters and the shoe being on the other foot. Truth be told, the story it tells is as fitting in our own time as it was in the Thirties. Nicely rendered, too.
Click here to read about feminine conversations overheard in the best New York ladies rooms of 1937.
Nazis Against the Christian Churches (Ken Magazine, 1939)
"As pastor of the little Austrian church, the good father was happy until Nazis swallowed the country, mistreated his Jewish converts and threw many of his colleagues into the dreaded concentration camp of Dachau. Shocked, he attempted to preserve a fragmentary picture of events for posterity - and found himself in Dachau. Similar episodes, which are today common throughout Nazidom, only succeed in stiffening the Catholic fight against Nazism."
Black Nazis? (Ken Magazine, 1939)
"Black Nazis: Fritz Delfs, leader of the Nazis in Tanganyika, the former German East Africa that Hitler is demanding, soft-pedals Aryan supremacy credo in propounding Nazi ideology, and capitalizes traditional use of the swastika by the natives as a symbol of fertility."
Click here to read about the fall of Paris...
• Watch a Quick Film Clip About Hitler's African Army •
Censors of the Japanese War Machine (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"The Japanese censorship boards have drafted regulations for the press in territory under their control, and unsuccessful attempts were made to control news dispatches in Shanghai's foreign-owned newspapers. In Peiping, Tientsin, Tsingtao and other cities where the Japanese are in complete control, foreign editors are having their troubles, as evidenced by the 'secret' instructions to the press issued by the Special Military Missions to China, with Headquarters in Peiping... Under the heading 'Important Standards for Press Censorship' come the following regulations..."
-what follows is an enormous laundry list of "DONT'S" issued to the officers of the foreign press stationed in Japanese-occupied China.
Eyes on Chiang Kai-Shek (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"Before the war was hours old, Chiang's most secret plans were known to the Japs. Again and again Jap actions showed foreknowledge of Chiang's movements and stratagems, as discussed and decided with his most trusted leaders. This explains many mysterious incidents, and makes China's apparent 'spy complex' fully understandable."
A Military Genius? (Ken Magazine, 1939)
This is a small segment from a longer article on this site that can be read here.
Just months prior to the start of the Second World War, this anonymous correspondent asked, "Is Hitler a strategic genius?" For much of the following year many of Europe's anointed would find themselves asking much the same question; but this reporter was not impressed with the man one jot and wished his readers to keep in mind that throughout the slaughterous environment provided by the Entente Powers of the 1914 - 1918 war, Hitler was entirely unable to rise above the rank of corporal - in spite of the fact that his regiment was losing a sergeant each day.
From Amazon: Hitler's First War.
The Okies and the Dust Bowl (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"The other half of California's 200,000 migratory workers are farmers who trekked from the dust bowl area; they found work on farms, but not farming; it's seasonal piecework, like in a mill. Each Oklahoma nomad dreams of a cottage and a cow, but he's just sitting on a barbed wire fence. With the publicity over, the government has forgotten the dust bowl refugees. At Depression depth, a man might make $8 a week; now, $5 is lucky. They are the bitterest folk in America; blood may flow..."
Click here if you would like to read a 1940 article about the the finest movie to ever document the flight of the Okies: "The Grapes of Wrath".
Nazi Indoctrination: the Eighth Grade (Ken Magazine, 1939)
Five months before the Second World War began an American journalist paid a visit to a German middle school and watched an eighth grade German history pageant; these are his observations:
"Sitting in Germany's schoolrooms are 20 million boys and girls. It is the custom, in democratic countries, to think that Hitler is engaged in pulling wool, or at least some cheap non-import substitute for it, over their eyes every school day."
"For two years , for instance, all German boys and girls have been exposed to the following clear-cut lesson":
'Where e'er I gaze, as German,
My soul with pain o'erflows,
I see the German nation
Girt round and round with foes.'
Click here to read about the Allied effort to re-educate the German boy soldiers of W.W. II.
Germany's Lost African Colonies (Ken Magazine, 1938)
One thing about Adolf Hitler: he had a real bee in his bonnet when it came to the colonies that Imperial Germany had lost as a result of article 119 of the Versailles Treaty:
"Germany renounces in favor of the principal Allied and Associated Powers all her rights and titles over her overseas possessions."
Attached, you will find a nifty cartoon depicting a terribly upset Hitler as he contemplated the map of Africa and all the colonies he was having to do without - all rendered in that glorious 1930s manner.
Click here to read more about the African colonies lost to Germany as a result of the Versailles Treaty.
The Boeing Collaboration (Ken Magazine, 1939)
A 1939 article that concerned the rapid growth of the German Air Force, but also referred to the scandalous business dealings of American manufacturers Boeing and Douglas Aircraft had in this expansion.
"It has taken Field Marshall Hermann Wilhelm Goering a little over six years to build the German Air Armada, one of the world's most formidable offensive forces, out of a magnificent bluff."
A similar article can be read here...
The Merger of Austria With Germany (Ken Magazine, 1938)
Here is an article about Austria's Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg (1897 - 1977) and how the merger of Austria and Nazi Germany came about in 1838:
"Behind the scenes that hard day at Berchtesgaden, revealing what Hitler said to Kurt Schuschnigg and what the Austrian public never knew about the German plot to stage in Vienna a counterpart of the Reichstag fire, as a pretext for invasion. Schuschnigg spoiled that pretext, only to furnish another one himself. Uncovering the plot in the hope of averting invasion he merely brought it on."
• The 1938 Merger of Austria With Germany Recalled by an Eyewitness •
Mussolini and the Italian Expatriots (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"In September, 1936, when the League of Nations refused to expel the African empire from its membership, Il Duce kept Italian representatives away from League halls. They have never set foot in them since. Last spring British envoys led a successful boycott against diplomatic attendance at a first anniversary celebration of Italy's conquest. Ill Duce countered with a peeve so wrathful that Italian newspapers made no mention of Great Britain for two whole days."
Where is King George of Serbia? (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"Younger brother Alexander hated dashing, erratic Crown Prince George (1887 - 1972), darling of the Serbian people, so he framed him as a loony, got him exiled, and in due course became King instead. George made the mistake of writing an insulting letter and going back home on the heels of it. Now, in a remote Yugoslavian villa, surrounded by trees, hedges, and mustachioed detectives, the Serbian Bad Boy lives in solitary confinement, doing mathematical problems to keep from getting bored."
A 1938 article which gave a brief account of the incarcerated Crown Prince George of Serbia. As the above makes clear, he was judged insane and locked up between the years 1925 through 1939. He was set free by the Nazis during their brief occupation of that country.
Click here to read about the 1922 discovery of King Tut's tomb.
Adolf Hitler: Millionaire (Ken Magazine, 1939)
"Der Fuhrer boasts of his impecuniosity, but the fact is that royalties from his book, "Mein Kampf" and investments in German real-estate and industrial firms make him one of Germnay's wealthiest men. This money is deposited throughout Europe in 15 bank accounts under three names..."
Nanking Ravaged (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"The occupation of Nanking by the Japanese army in December, 1937, resulted in the greatest authenticated massacre in modern history."
"Fifty thousand blood-crazed beasts in Japanese uniforms roamed China's fallen capital for four weeks in a mad Saturnalia of butchery, rape and pillage without parallel in modern history. That story, suppressed by the Japanese military who chased news correspondents and foreign officials out of Nanking, is told for the first time by one of the few Americans who remained, a 'go-between' for the U.S. Government with 20 years of service in China. He saw roped bundles of humanity saturated with gasoline and ignited for a Nipponese holiday."
The W.P.A. Arts Projects Closed Due to Communist Tampering (Ken Magazine, 1939)
This 1939 magazine article addressed the matter of the communist organization "Workers Alliance" perverting the arts organizations that operated within the Federal Works Projects Administration (WPA), thus forcing the government agency to close:
"When the arts projects of the WPA were instituted, many capable and culturally progressive individuals throughout the country hailed them as a banner raised against the gloomy depression sky to form a rallying point for youthful and ambitious artists whose task it was to carry the torch of aesthetic advancement on to that future time when we envisaged the return of 'prosperity'..."yet "the obvious control of the arts projects by the communist party through its stooge, the Workers Alliance" has forced the hand of Congress to abolish the agency.
CLICK HERE to read about African-Americans during the Great Depression.
Hitler Goes Wife Shopping (Ken Magazine, 1938)
An illustrated five page article that will key you in on all the actresses, nieces, Mifords and assorted divas courted by "handsome Adolf" throughout the Twenties and Thirties. It was said that the dictators co-tyrants wished deeply that he would marry if only "to end his moods of melancholy, storms of anger, alternate depression and driving energy, hoping it will make Hitler more human."
Click here to read about the "magic" Hitler had with German women...
The Growth of the German Airforce (Ken Magazine, 1939)
Published four months before Germany's attack on Poland (September 1, 1939), this article outlines Hermann Goering's efforts to build the Luftwaffe from scratch, the creation of various flight schools, the Luftwaffe collaboration with the Hitler Youth organization, and his aspirations to out-class the air forces of the United States and Britain. The article also addresses the business dealings of American manufacturers Boeing and Douglas Aircraft had with the German Luftwaffe.
Click here to read about the corrupt American corporations that aided the Nazi war machine during the 1930s.
Kaiser Wilhelm's Thoughts On Hitler (Ken Magazine, 1938)
For the sixth time in his life, Ken Magazine's far-flung correspondent, W. Burkhardt, found himself cast in the roll as guest of the deposed king of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859 - 1941). After exchanging pleasantries, their conversation turned to weightier topics, such as contemporary German politics and it was at that time that Ken's man in Doorn recognized his moment:
"Suddenly, sensing a chance I may never have again, I pose the question":
"And yourself, Sire, what do you think of him?"
Click here to read about the fall of Paris...
*Watch Some Clips from 1939 German Television*
Life in Hitlerland (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"It's a prison or a concentration camp if they catch you tuned in on a forbidden radio program in Hitlerland. And they will take your driver's license away if even once you are overheard making a careless or joking remark that could be interpreted as 'out of sympathy with the spirit of the new state'. So even in the apparently private little world bounded by the turning wheels of your own closed car, you must think long and hard like a badgered witness under cross-examination, before you dare open your mouth..."
Click here to read what life was like in Mussolini's Italy in 1938...
Richard Julius Hermann Krebs Under the Nazi Boot (Ken Magazine, 1939)
A first-hand account as to the daily goings-on at Hitler's Plotzensee Prison.
Written by Jan Valtin (alias of Richard Julius Hermann Krebs: 1905 - 1951), one of the few inmates to make his way out of that highly inclusive address and tell the tale. Krebs was a communist in the German resistance movement who later escaped to New York and wrote a book (Out of the Night
) about his experiences in Nazi Germany.
"The prisoner who has served his sentence is usually not released; he is surrendered to the Gestapo for an indefinite term in one of the concentration camps, preferably Sachsenhausen or Buchenwald. Incurable hard cases are sent to Dachau... "
Re-Touching the Pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor
(Ken Magazine, 1938)
Perhaps, one day in that perfect world we seem to be rushing to, all cameras will automatically delete our blemishes, correct our tailoring flaws and add muscle tone as needed to each imperfect image; but until that time, we, like the Duke of Windsor and all manner of other celebrity, must rely on the charitable instincts of the "fourth estate". This article pertains to bad pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and the courtesy that was, for the most part, extended to them to make them appear just a little bit more "glam" than they otherwise appeared. The article is illustrated with one bad photograph and one "retouched" (Photoshopped) image of the couple, so that we might all know what the editors were up against:
"Immediately after their marriage Edward and Wally posed for the newsreels. When their pictures were flashed on American screens, Wally was seen to have a large mole on the left side of her face and the Duke stood revealed with a much-wrinkled and worried countenance..."
Horst Wessel: Nazi Martyr (Ken Magazine, 1939)
This 1939 article from Ken Magazine lays out the real story of the life and death of Nazi storm trooper Horst Wessel (1907 – 1930) - not the one believed by the fascists he left behind:
"In Germany, 1930, a pimp killed another pimp for cutting in on his girl's territory. The slain pimp was a Nazi named Horst Wessel. Then Hitler came into power, and propagandist Goebbels, in need of a 'Hell-rouser', dreamed up the Wessel legend, made him an official Nazi martyr-saint.'"
''Steel Ring Around Mussolini'' (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"One thousand men are charged with the personal responsibility of seeing that Il Duce doesn't meet with an untimely death. Their frenzied precautions make him the best protected of all contemporary dictators - a protection which is sorely needed. Sixteen years after the victorious March on Rome a special tribunal dealing with the 'enemies of fascism' is still working along at exceptionally high pressure."
Click here to read about Mussolini's departure from the League of Nations.
The Red Caps (Ken Magazine, 1938)
The history of the African American baggage handlers called Red Caps is a sad story in American social history. The Red Caps had been around since the 1890s and they were assigned the task of carrying luggage to and from trains and taxis; this article points out that in the Thirties, one of every three of them had a college degree:
"Red Caps did not go to college to learn how to be Red Caps. Their problem is a racial one. To the white, a job toting luggage is a poor way to eke out an existence. To the black, red capping is one of the 'big' fields open. The white man who works as a porter can do nothing else, as a rule; the Negro almost invariably can do something else but can't get it to do."
Dorie Miller was an African-American hero during the Second World War, click here if you would like to read about him.
One Cartoonist's View of Depression Era Hollywood...(Ken Magazine, 1939)
A full page drawing of the sound stage-spangled Hollywood landscape picturing all the usual suspects - the Hollywood glory girls, studio yes-men and sub-literate European starlets -all sweltering beneath the intense heat of the occidental sun.
Click here to see cartoons about the silent movie culture.
Click here to read historic magazine articles about American animated films.
The Japanese Homefront (Ken Magazine, 1938)
This 1938 article concerned the gas rationing and and other assorted inconveniences that the Japanese population had to suffer during the Sino-Japanese conflict. The reporter was surprised to discover that the general citizenry was kept in a reasonable state of ignorance as to their military's intentions in China:
Some attention is paid to the sacrifices made by the Japanese industrial classes, such as the Yasuda, Iwasaki, and Mitsui families.
•Recently Discovered Color Footage of the Japanese Army in China•
A German Dissident Recalls His Incarceration (Ken Magazine, 1938)
Locked-up for having run an underground newspaper in the Third Reich, this is the harrowing story one dissident's experiences in the Nazi concentration camps:
"What a relief it would be to take that uniformed scoundrel by the throat, throw him on the floor, pay him back for his beating, yell 'You dog! You swine!'"
•Read about the American reporter who became a Nazi...•
Movie Exhibitors vs Movie Producers (Ken Magazine, 1938)
A 1938 magazine article pertains to a brawl that once existed between movie exhibitors and movie producers involving the Hollywood practice known as "block-booking", which required theater owners to commit to movies they have never seen. The article refers to how Hollywood employed their biggest stars to fight legislation in Washington designed to overturn this scheme.
The bill was defeated.
Click here to read about Marilyn Monroe and watch a terrific documentary about her life.
More about the American film business in the 1940s can be read here...
The Klan Gets Active (Ken Magazine, 1938)
A report from an anonymous journalist concerning his 1939 visit to the (formerly) secret Atlanta offices of the KKK:
"There is feverish activity in Suite 756 of the Hurt Building in Atlanta, Georgia, these days. The Ku Klux Klan is staging a nation-wide comeback and this is its national headquarters. Fat, shrewd-smiling, garrulous "Old Doc Evans" (Hiram Wesley Evans, 1881 – 1966) is still Emperor and Imperial Wizard, but he's now apparently only fronting for a Big Boss who has some sensational new plans which have already begun to click. Once again the Klan is holding hands with politicians all over the country, but the hand-holding is being done under the table. The big drive begins in May"
The Man Behind Mussolini (Ken Magazine, 1939)
This short, slanderous profile of Italy's Victor Emmanuel III (1869 – 1947) is accompanied by a caricature of the potentate:
"He chose Mussolini in 1922 in preference to dictatorship by Premiere (Luigi) Facta, aided him in attaining supreme power...Hasn't had any choice about anything since."
Only Über-Blondes Need Apply...(Ken Magazine, 1938)
This article covers a weird Nazi scheme to create the future rulers of the Reich. It is such a bizarre plan and it seemed to us that if it weren't true, we would have had to rely on Robert Ludlum to dream it up for us:
"The idea took root in the fertile brain of Minister of Propaganda, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, also known as the 'Limping Devil'...'Heroes are both born and trained', is the Nazi slogan. The future leaders are taken under the government's wings at the age of ten.'"
-and over a period of about twelve years they would have been dragged around from one Harry Potter-style-castle to another being schooled in Nazi dogma and all other assorted Nordic pagan weirdness and then, after having jumped through a number of additional Teutonic hoops, they would be posted in top government positions.
A fascinating look into the queer thinking of the Nazi hierarchy.
A second article about the Adolf Hitler Schools can be read here
CLICK HERE to read about the beautiful "Blonde Battalions" who spied for the Nazis...
Gloom in Germany (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"But today there is no laughter in Germany. There are only smiles of disdain, contempt, conceit and strain. There is no humility, no pity, not much mercy. There is an odd sort of honor, an amazing egotism. But there is no will power nor need there be in a nation that knows but one man's will."
CLICK HERE to read an article from 1923 about the abitious Adolf Hitler.
Hermann Goering Builds His Air Force (Ken Magazine, 1939)
Published four months before Germany's attack on Poland, this article outlines Hermann Goering's (1893 – 1946) efforts to build the Luftwaffe from scratch, the creation of various flight schools, the Luftwaffe collaboration with the Hitler Youth organization, and his aspirations to out-class the air forces of the United States and Britain.
"It has taken Field Marshall Hermann Wilhelm Goering a little over six years to build the German Air Armada, one of the world's most formidable offensive forces, out of a magnificent bluff."
By the time this magazine profile of Field Marshall Goering went to print, he had already made his entry on the world stage as the master-mind behind the 1937 bombing of the Basque city of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War (an event that was not mentioned at all in this article).
Hitler's Sister Tells Her Story (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"For twenty years Paula Hitler lived in a Vienna garret, never hearing from [her] lost brothers, Gustav and Adolf... When Adolf Hitler became Chancellor, he at last wrote to [her]. Paula, embittered by his long desertion and the loss of her youth, declared that he was no longer her brother. She gave out an interview revealing that their father was an illegitimate child. The Fuehrer's emissaries told her to keep quiet, she refused. But finally when Hitler came as ruler to Vienna, there was a reconciliation, and family Anschluss."
Click here to read about the fall of Paris...
••Watch this Brief Paula Hitler Interview from 1958••
Military Buildup in Germany (Ken Magazine, 1939)
"The German Army is the greatest enterprise in the world. It has a million employees on it's payrolls, the active officers and soldiers, and, at a conservative estimate, feeds another million workers in the munitions industry. Actually the army employs all of Germany. Military needs alone determine the way of life in the besieged fortress into which 80 million Germans have more or less willingly formed themselves."
The German economist who made the rearmament possible was named Hjalmar Schacht, click here to read about him...
There was Illegal Immigration from Mexico Back Then, Too (Ken Magazine, 1938)
This 1938 magazine article can be filed in the "the more things change, the more they stay the same folder". It lists all the assorted means by which Mexicans have attempted to illegally cross over the Southern border, whether to smuggle others, import illegal drugs or for their own gratification.
Marijuana was becoming a problem in 1938, too. Read about it here.
Life in Sunny, Fascist Italy (Ken Magazine, 1938)
"In Italy, every other man is wearing a uniform or just stepped out of one. Every other wife is about to become a mother again. Every boy is lugging a wooden gun and playing at soldier. So it sees to the eye, and amazingly, so it actually is. War, babies, self-sufficiency, poverty, persecution complexes, chest beating, magnetic pride and the most parrotty people in the world. This is the land determined to out-Caesar the greatest Roman of them all. The Italian's thoughts, eyes, ears, destiny, morals, spaghetti, pocketbook and trigger finger are controlled completely by the whim of one man. And the Italians love him."
Click here to read about life in Hitler's Germany during the same period...
The Nazi Hollywood (Ken Magazine, 1938)
Written by a fellow who in later years would write a good deal about propaganda films, this article is amusing for the way it reported the total lack of humor and curiosity that Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels (1897 – 1945) brought to the subject of film production; how they totally killed the existing German film industry and made film criticism illegal.
Read an article about the banning of all foreign artists in Hitler's Germany...
Wrong Turn at Gallipoli (Ken Magazine, 1938)
This is an opinion piece written at a time when the world stood at the doorstep of World War II. The writer went to some length to outline the fatal error made just one generation earlier and how the sins were to be paid for by their sons and daughters:
"The world of today, an upheaval of antagonisms heading toward destructive war, was not inevitable. Russia need not have fallen to the Bolshevists, Germany to the Nazis, Italy to the Fascists. The United States need not have entered the Great War. Two million men slain in battle need not have died. These consequences resulted from a decision of a few men during the World War."
He argued that the Dardanelles Campaign is where the whole war went sideways.
Click here to read what the Kaiser thought of Adolf Hitler.
Bad Press Day for Eleanor Roosevelt (Ken Magazine, 1938)
During a 1936 visit to a research facility devoted to finding a cure for children's lung ailments, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was remembered by a reporter for having blurted out a highly insensitive question:
"What is the use of saving babies, if they can't earn a decent living when they grow up?"
With two years to think about her impulsive inquiry, the reporter responded with outrage in formulating an answer.
Japanese Spies on the West-Coast (Ken Magazine, 1939)
A 1939 magazine article that reported on the assorted activities of Japanese spies operating around the Tijuana/San Diego region (their presence was well-documented by the Mexican military in addition to the F.B.I.).
A year and a half before the Pearl Harbor attack, Naval Intelligence sold a Japanese agent some bogus plans of the naval installation - more about this can be read here.