Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

A Message to Germans, Broadcast from Tokyo

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I last addressed you in your own language on January 26, when the Indian Independence Day was celebrated in Berlin. Today, I am speaking to you from another corner of the world, namely, Tokyo. First of all, I should like to express my deep gratitude to the Reich Government for the hospitality extended to me during my stay in Germany. True I was not a stranger to Germany, but it was a new experience for me to visit that great country during the war. When in 1919, one year after the conclusion of the last World War, I was staying in Britain, I had to content myself with saccharine instead of sugar and margarine for butter. On the basis of this experience, I expected that foodstuffs for the civilian population would now be severely rationed in Germany. It was a pleasant surprise to me, however, that contrary to my expectations, the German people had sufficient quantities of all essential articles. As I travelled through Europe, I began to realise how utterly untrue was enemy propaganda which asserted that Germany had robbed other European countries of their food. On the contrary, I found that in the restaurants of Paris, Brussels, The Hague, or Prague, much better dishes could be obtained than in those of Berlin. I was, therefore, convinced that the European economic situation in general, and the food situation in particular, was as satisfactory as is possible anywhere during war time. I saw the great change which Europe had undergone since the last World War. In that war, the Allies succeeded in blockading Germany, now, however, it is the Axis Powers who are blockading Britain. This has been possible mostly because of the incessant blows dealt to the enemy's supply lines, particularly those directed against merchant shipping.

When I was in Germany last time, I was able to note that the interest which Germans took in Indian affairs, particularly in the cultural, economic and political spheres, had increased tremendously. The formation of the German-Indian Society is an example of this development.

Another proof of Germany's interest in India is the creation of a Special Bureau at the Foreign Office, which devotes all its attention to Indian problems. There is a growing demand among the people of Germany for lectures and books on India. During my talks with the Fuehrer and other important personalities of new Germany, like Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop, Reich Minister Dr Goebbels, Reichleiter SS Himmler, Reichleiter Baldur von Schirach and other gentlemen, I noted with great satisfaction how real their interest in India is and how deep is their sympathy with India's struggle for independence. This interest of the German nation in India is based on Indo-European traditions and, therefore, it has been existent for centuries. Goethe and Schopenhauer, Rueckert and Schlegel are only a few of the many scholars who brought Indians and Germans closer to each other in the cultural sphere. However, these scholars were attracted by India's ancient culture. But now, it is modern India, with her new problems — political, economic and cultural — in which the German people and their leaders are interested; it is India's struggle for freedom that comes in for so much sympathy and support from the Germans.

Ever since the last World War, the Indian people have always had a great liking for Germany. It is not surprising seeing that Germany fought against our eternal enemy the British. The present war against our hereditary enemy has only deepened this feeling of sympathy a hundred-fold. Every blow struck at Britain by the Axis Powers aids our struggle for freedom materially. We are grateful for this help. Moreover, sympathetic understanding of our movement and the active support given to us have completely won our hearts.

As one who has studied conditions in Europe personally, I can only smile when listening to Anglo-American bragging about a 'second front' in Europe. To those who knew the real situation in France, Dieppe came as no surprise. Should the Anglo-Americans attempt another landing, they will only meet with a second Dieppe, but this time on a much more formidable scale. I cannot understand why the Anglo-Americans should make such pompous announcements of their plans and programmes. After all, words alone, however cleverly formulated, have never won wars. I can only think that the Anglo-Americans are trying to bolster up the sinking morale of their people by Press and radio propaganda. General Wavell should have learnt from his own experience that even the most gigantic bluff cannot in any way contribute to the success of military operations. The famous British General started his offensive against Burma after weeks and months of propaganda, and when the Japanese Army began its counter-offensive with cool deliberation, the General, in spite of all his bragging, had to withdraw to India most ignominiously.

Hardly had the Anglo-Americans completed the occupation of a few islands in the Mediterranean, than they started talking of the conquest of Europe. If the island fortress of Malta had not so far enabled the Anglo-Saxons to make a landing on the continent, how then is Pantelleria going to be of use in starting the second front? When the German troops occupied the Channel Islands in 1940, people in Germany never spoke of an invasion of Britain. The smallest success is enough for the Anglo-Americans to launch a grand propaganda campaign. It is not denied that the enemy has scored a success in North Africa. But, even when the battle was going on in Cyrenaica, I repeatedly emphasized that the African campaign would not affect the final outcome of the war, and I still maintain that. The fate of the war will be decided in Europe, in Asia and on the high seas. The Anglo-Americans want to terrorise the German people, and for this purpose have for sometime past been carrying on air attacks on civilians and non-military targets. I have myself experienced some of these air raids when I was with you in Germany. I know very well how ridiculous it is to try to break the morale of the German nation by these terror-raids on women and children. Thanks to the splendid organisation and to the enthusiasm which His Excellency the Fuehrer has instilled into the German nation, the civilians are so firmly united in one single, solid front that these raids can never have any effect. This 'Home Front’ is in no way less strong than the battle-front. Every German, man, woman or child knows that this war must be won, whatever the cost. No terror-raid of the enemy will ever succeed in shaking the iron determination of the German nation, its unlimited confidence in the Fuehrer and its optimism.

Two years ago, I left my country and travelled through the world, studying the situation everywhere on the spot. After this objective study of the world situation, it became my conviction — a 100 per cent conviction — that this war, however long it may last, can have only one result: the decisive victory of the Tripartite Powers and their Allies. I know what Anglo-American propaganda tries to tell the world. If words could win wars, the Anglo-Americans would have conquered the world long ago.

Until a short time ago, it was the main argument in enemy propaganda that the enormous productive potential of America, and time, which was working in favour of the anti-Axis Powers would, in the end, result in an Allied victory. But even this argument the Biitish Premier had to drop during his last visit to Washington. The Tripartite Powers have one formidable advantage over their enemies: they stick together like a wall of granite. There is neither jealousy, suspicion nor doubt to divide them. There is no conflict or difference of opinion in their programme. On the other hand, what is the situation in the enemy camp? The American imperialists mistrust the British imperialists, and Giraud is jealous of de Gaulle. In this total war, a motley crew like that of the Allies, however large it may be, can never win.

Here, in Japan, there is as much optimism and confidence as in the other Axis countries. Every Japanese citizen is ready to do his duty even like Grand Admiral Yamamoto. Japan has at her disposal enormous manpower and material which has not yet been fully utilised. The economic situation, particularly the food situation, is very satisfactory, and if anything, will only improve in the future. These very vast resources, which were at one time at the disposal of the Anglo-Saxons, are being used for their defeat. The firm determination of the Tripartite Powers, their unparalleled heroism and their superior technique of war are the guarantees of a final Axis victory.

My German friends, from the land of the Rising Sun, I send you my most sincere greetings. I congratulate you on the unique successes which you will have scored in order to establish the New Order — an order based on justice and equal rights.

My faith in the final victory of the Tripartite Powers and their allies is just as firm as my faith in the early emancipation of my own people.

I send greetings to my compatriots in Germany and other European countries. I have no doubt that they, too, will do their best in this gigantic struggle. We are still facing great difficulties which we will have to overcome. But the final victory and with it our freedom is bound to come as surely as the bright day comes even after the darkest of nights.

Long Live the Tripartite Powers and their Allies! Long Live Free India!