Thomas Graham’s diary – 28th April 1939

In this short diary entry, Thomas refers to a speech that Adolf Hitler gave to the German parliament or Reichstag on the 28th April 1928, this must have been publicised in advance. Thomas refers to it as a ‘robot’ parliament to indicate his belief that Hitler was surrounded by those who would ratify everything he said without querying it.

The Reichstag in Berlin was a very imposing building at this time and the parliament chamber was decorated in typical grandiose Nazi fashion. The building was partially destroyed in fighting later in the war and remained derelict throughout the period of the Cold War. It was restored to its former glory after the reunification of Germany in 1990 and once again became the meeting place of the German Bundestag.

In his speech on the 28th April 1939, Hitler renounced the Anglo-German naval agreement made in 1935 and the German-Polish Non-aggression Pact made in 1934, both measures being viewed by commentators as possible preparations for war. Hitler also recited in exaggerated and sarcastic tones the list of 31 countries that Roosevelt had included in his letter written to the leaders of both Germany and Italy earlier in the month asking them to desist from aggression towards those countries, a clear signal as to his contempt for the US President’s attempts to restrain his imperialist ambitions. Part of the text of this speech can be read here.