Mysterious ending of Dr. Fritz Todt!
Dr. Kofi Dankyi Beeko, MD.
Born into a middle class German Family in 1891, he had an ambition, quite early in his youth, to become an intellectual linked to Engineering. His “middle-class” family circumstances could accommodate his ambition, except that World War I (1914-18) came to disrupt his plans. He was drafted into the German Army. Hitler, two years older (Austria-Born), fought in the same war for Germany too, but the two didn’t know each other then. In 1921, Fritz founded “a group” of young academics, and technicians that developed interest in entrepreneurship, especially conceptualising road surfacing with “any material” then available. He hadn’t as yet met Adolf Hitler. Germany, in the years of the Weimar Republic (1920-1933), was “such awfully rough terrain” for the youth. Unemployment was high, provocateurs liked what they saw, and that kindled political unrest, an example of which was the Adolf Hitler-led coup d’etat of 1923, which was quashed, leading to Hitler being arrested, tried, and found guilty of conspiracy to commit treason, and treason. He was sentenced to a long-term imprisonment, only to be released less than one year later. Historians are not completely done with as to why. What may not be overlooked is the fear in Europe that had been created by Communism, whose repercussions Western Europe was apprehensive of! Fritz Todt found his way to joining the NAZI Party, whose ringleader and founder happened to be Adolf Hitler. What is not clearly spelt out is when the “personal union” with Hitler took place. Dr. Todt from Pforzheim (Germany) was handed the post of Minister of Military production under Hitler’s leadership. Such appointments came from the Fuehrer himself. It was known that men like Herman Goering (Air Marshall), Adolf Speer, (the pluri-potential Minister and Hitler’s darling boy), Goebbels (the propaganda secretary, whose gift was truly ingrained in the art of speaking), and Martin Borman (the man said to have been so close to “The Fuehrer ” even to the last minute) were competitors permanently under such pressure as to how to please the Fuehrer, or not to fall into disfavour, if the situation could easily be imagined by those not quite in it, but could daily observe what was happening. An Arab amateur historian describes it as “comparable to a harem of the Pasha, and the women permanently struggling to be the ‘darling wife’. Then came 1939, and Hitler was in such a hurry to attack (invade) Poland, and if the price should be World War II, so be it – Hitler was prepared. Fritz Todt, according to rumors from “close within”, saw very little to gain by going to war. The worst was yet to come. Hitler would march on the Red Army too, come 1941. It was an engagement in which even some Nazis are said to have seen as “partying today, but probably sobbing tomorrow.” Dr. Todt was “Munitionsminister”, Minister of Armamentarium. He nonetheless, did not see any sense in the undertaking. But Hitler, of course, did. That was what mattered, wasn’t it? Dr. Todt was highly respected, but Hitler was feared, and he (Hitler) was the boss, and even the blind did see the difference. In spite of Germany having the biggest ammunition-production-factory in the entire world, mainly underground and producing day-and-night (using slave labor), the day of victory that Hitler, Himmler, and Goebbels had been drumming into the ears of those who had to listen was, by far, not yet in sight. Todt is believed at times to have “come to thrash out the two years of age difference between the Fuehrer and himself,” when the former, now and again, drew on “that advantage” as a wedge to course ahead. Hitler was disillusioned as to whether he had “the right man” in charge of arms production, and with it, the conduct of the war. Meetings after meetings were held, and only Adolf Speer and Dr. Todt are said to have ever been raising objection to Hitler’s plans, which included total annihilation of the entire German State, plus the occupied countries, in case of Germany’s defeat. A meeting was once held in Hitler’s Easter Headquarters in Rastenberg. At the tail end of it, Dr. Todt was to leave for Berlin with Adolf Speer in one of the Fuehrer’s special aircraft. Moments before the planned flight, however, Dr. Todt alone had to fly, the excuse being that Herr “Speer wasn’t yet ready to join, as initially planned.” Not long after take- off, the aircraft was observed to have come down in a ball of fire. The official report was that there was no survivor, the sole passenger, the “Reichsminister” of Arms production, had perished. What made most people hold their breath was the speed with which Adolf Speer, “Hitler’s darling boy”, was picked to replace the talented technical intellectual, who happened to have found enthusiasm in Nazism. Dr. Todt was gone, and he was only 55. The date was February 8th, 1942. Questions must have been raised, but one of two men who had the “guts” to raise any questions when it was “the Fuehrer” himself one was dealing with, was Fritz Todt. The other was, of course, Adolf Speer, but he had been made “the beneficiary”, if one could so put it. Ordinarily, more questions might have been asked. There was nothing “ordinary” about what had then just happened. Hitler was elected under very ordinary circumstances in Berlin in May 1933, following regular elections. Among his assets, talking of canvassing was, of course, Josef Goebbels. He (Hitler) won the election, and he got sworn in under the supervision of the “Reichspresident”, Herr General Emil von Hindenburg, who everybody knew “was on his death bed.” But Hitler subsequently, hijacked everything one could describe as normal. The Fuehrer ran an “Animal Farm extraordinaire”, whilst the world looked on nervously, or fought ineffectively until after 12 years, the same world watched “the curtain fall”, and the victims had been multitudinous. The victims keep getting counted, even until today, and they are in millions. Six million Jews and how many million Ukrainians? How many died in North Africa? How many in Germany itself? The British, the French, the Belgians, the citizens of the then Colonies, especially, those under the British and French “Empires”, who were marched to the sub-continent to fight for their masters? Hitler meant braggingly his Nazi-party would last ONE THOUSAND YEARS. It lasted only 0.12% of what he had predicted. Out of the 36 “Reichsministers” Adolf Hitler appointed, twenty-nine were convicted (acquired) Nazi-enthusiasts. Those who initially, might have been able to stop Hitler, but they didn’t, arguing that he was just an “imbecile”, and that he wouldn’t reach far, “were just wrong.” How could they all go so much wrong? But, why too, did men like Dr. Todt join in voluntarily? He believed in “Hitlerism.” But, is it not true that HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF? Each and every one of us, as world citizens, must ask ourselves, when, all of a sudden, we may be stopped from saying what we feel should be right for the “ordinary CITIZENS.” But, then, someone quickly may ask you, how much of “any education” would one need? You and I could spend the rest of our lives defining the ordinary citizen. Who is he or she, and what are his or her rights? Is a Colonel from the army educated enough to lead a nation, or is primary education, or none of it, at all enough to qualify anybody to understand what the ballot paper carries? Has a Doctor of Medicine got what it takes? Were men like Julius Nyerere, the two Bushes, Bill Clinton, and Tony Blair enough material? They stopped dictators, right? After reading Dr. Arthur Kennedy’s book, “Chasing The Elephant back into The bush”, I wrote him a personal letter congratulating him, but I did not miss the opportunity of asking him if I could quote him when I felt it would be appropriate? As expected, he had no objection. That was fine. I talked to someone “I knew closely” whether he would like to read it too. I could describe his reaction to it as “lukewarm.” He accepted it. But, I have hardly heard him pass even a casual comment on it. Now and again, I would ask him how he found the book. Not being able to discuss it at all, convinces me that he hasn’t read it, no! Sad as I find it, it is also true that many prominent enough personalities that have made the effort to read it to begin with, say that “Arthur Kennedy should have discussed the errors he (Kennedy) felt must have contributed to their “narrow defeat” before “daring to put it into a book.” Really! And we are talking of a democracy! As it turned out, it all speaks for itself, the fact that he was not given any chance to come close enough to the “big pot”, so as not to spoil the soup a second time. In hearing him on radio interviews since then, especially, after the “Flagbearer” yet again, had constituted his team for the battle in just over half-a-year, does it seem he himself, “the one-time loser,” would have done as his party-colleagues would have wished, by consulting them first. Do things move that way? He is now contributing “his quota” from a distance. That too, could be seen as a contribution. I am convinced he wishes his party the best! So, people might learn that even in a democracy, you may not utter all you feel, or all you think! “That’s life”! That’s what the late Frank Sinatra would put it. We still come closer to the assignment we seem unable to have solved. Just what happened to the aircraft that bore just the pilot and Dr. Fritz Todt that fateful February 8th, 1944? He was one among two, out of 36 cabinet ministers of the Hitler’s band, who would dare raise an “occasional objection.”
E-mail: Dankyi_b@yahoo.com, Programmed for the 23/05/12, and 30th 2012.
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