From .................... THE NIGHTMARE YEARS- 1930-1940

By William L. Shirer

Published by Little, Brown & Co. - 1984

page 149 .................... LIFE AND WORK IN THE THIRD REICH, 1934 -1937

[-----------] To allay the doubts and fears of the [Roman] Catholics, Hitler, a nominal though nonpracticing [Roman] Catholic himself, had the previous summer concluded a concordat with the Vatican, which guaranteed the freedom of the Catholic religion in Germany and the right of the [Roman Catholic] Church "to regulate her own affairs."

Coming as it did at the moment when the first excesses of the new regime, particularly against the Jews, had provoked worldwide revulsion, the concordat had given the Nazi regime much badly needed prestige abroad and at home and had tended to reassure German [Roman] Catholics, who comprised one-third of the people.


page 213 ..................... CHAPTER 9

On January 13, 1935, the inhabitants of the coal-rich Saar, occupied by the French since the end of the war, voted ten to one [477,000 to 48,000] to return to Germany. There had been some doubt that the Saarlanders, overwhelmingly [Roman] Catholic and mostly miners or workers in industry, would choose to go to a Germany run by a dictator who had crushed the free trade unions, harassed the Church, and destroyed the democratic republic. But the pull of the Fatherland, after years of hated French occupation, had been strong. Perhaps some were afraid to cast a ballot against Hitler for fear that if the vote returned them to Germany they might be found out and punished. Also, like most Germans, a lot of them had got the Nazi virus.

Hitler welcomed them back in a broadcast from Berlin. He took the occasion to assure the world that with the return of the Saar he had no further territorial claims on France. This was reassuring to the French because it meant that Germany had renounced its claim on Alsace and Lorraine, the bone of contention so long between the two countries, wrested from one country and then the other in bloody wars.

I flew down to Saarbrucken on March 1, when Germany formally took over the little land. I was a little surprised by the hysterical enthusiasm with which these [Roman] Catholic workers greeted the arrival of Hitler and troops of the S.S. and the army. The rain, which fell all day, did not dampen their Nazi spirits. Hitler seemed pleased.