This edition of Scînteia, the ‘Organ of the Central Committee of the Romanian Workers’ Party’ discuss collectivisation and industry. However, on the last page is an interesting article about the former Nazi General, Von Paulus. This was relevant to Romanians in 1954 because many of them either fought in Von Paulus’ army on the way to Stalingrad and made it home, were killed on the Eastern Front or died or were captured when he surrendered to the Red Army and led his men into captivity. About 100,000 Germans, Romanians and Italians were taken prisoner, of whom around 6,000 eventually returned home.
In captivity, Von Paulus became a strong critic of the Nazi government and was called as a witness at the Nuremburg Trials. He was allowed to leave the USSR in 1953 to live in East Germany. He led a mostly quiet life until his death in 1957. The article describes one of his rare public appearences.
Declaration of field marshal of the former German Army, von Paulus
On the 2nd. Of July a press conference was held at the House of Press in Berlin by the Committee on the Problems of German Unification. Several German and Foreign press representatives were present.
Opening the conference, A. Norden, Secretary of the Committee, explained that since the return of Field-marshal von Paulus of the former German Army to his home country, the committee has received hundreds of letters from former soldiers from both parts of Germany, expressing the wish that von Paulus should give his opinion – explain himself- in the face of public opinion connected with the present and future of Germany.
The Committee, according to A. Norden, communicated that von Paulus had accepted to explain his point of view on the issues that concern every German patriot.
In his speech, von Paulus declared: ‘Analysing the experience of the Second World War and the historic events that took place in the post-war period, I have reached the conclusion that Germans from the East and West should struggle on a unified front for a free and happy future. ‘The policy of force’ brought from America to West Germany is in contradiction with the interests of Germans. This ‘policy of force’, threatening the free world, has as its purpose the installation of US domination over other peoples. This policy is destined to fail in the 20th. Century.’
‘This unthoughtful policy’, continued von Paulus, ‘is promoted by the West German authorities and is supported by the papers and radio in Western Germany. The promoters and partisans of this policy are mistaken if they think they can be successful by taking this road, ignoring the opinion of the German people. The policy promoted by the government of Ardenauer neither corresponds with the wish of the German people, nor reality. Ardenauer carries out the orders of the Americans and does not see the reality – the conscience of the German people, which does not want this sort of policy. He does not see, in addition, the strong growth of the Eastern people.
After the second world war’, continued von Paulus, ‘all people want peace. However, this policy must be thoughtful, just and correspond with the interests of the people. A policy must be introduced in Germany for the realisation of communal actions of Germans from both parts of our fatherland, with the purpose of defending the national interests of all Germans – this is the only way that will lead to the solution of Germany’s problems.’
According to von Paulus, the renouncing of the realisation of reciprocal understanding among Germans means support for the American policy. One must fight for the promotion of a policy which defends the true interests of the German people.
Talking about his position in face of plans to create a ‘common European defence’, von Paulus, in solidarity with the former Reich Chancellor Bruening, said, ‘I arrived at the conclusion that this ‘common European defence’ means the continual division of Germany and by no means a rapprochement between Germans.’
Referring to relations between the German people and the people of neighbouring countries, von Paulus underlined the particular necessity of establishing friendly relations with the Soviet Union and France.
In reply to the question of what does he think of the military and political situation of a future unified Germany, von Paulus replied that the future Germany must participate in the collective security pact and this will constitute the security of peace in Europe.
Translated from Romanian by AA