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The Wiegand Effect
Wiegand was the first United States reporter allowed to interview the German crown prince Wilhelm.That interview was also the first foreign interview given by a German noble since the outbreak of World War I.
William said this in English:
Undoubtedly this is the most stupid, senseless and unnecessary war of modern times. It is a war not wanted by Germany, I can assure you, but it was forced on us, and the fact that we were so effectually prepared to defend ourselves is now being used as an argument to convince the world that we desired conflict.—Crown Prince Wilhelm, Wiegand
He was one of the Hearst Press reporters on at least two of the Graf Zeppelin flights, usually accompanying fellow Hearst reporter Lady Hay Drummond-Hay. Wiegand was the first American journalist to interview Hitler, having first met him in 1921 while he was only a minor malcontent in post-World War I Munich. He was one of the first journalists to take Hitler seriously, however, and his story was published on November 12, 1922, a year before the Beer Hall Putsch. As such, Wiegand provided the first introduction Americans had to Hitler. He referred to him as the “German Mussolini”, and expressed genuine concern about his popularity, writing “The shadow of the Fascisti is arising in Germany. Whether what is yet only a shadow will clothe itself in the flesh, blood and spirit of the German Mussolini, depends on a number of things.” He also emphasized his “man of the people” qualities, his charisma, and his electrifying speaking ability. He pegged him as a potentially great leader, saying “Hitler has the earmarks of a leader. Whether it be merely a band or a great movement, only the future will tell.”
A month after Germany invaded France in World War II, Karl secured an interview with Hitler and published his report “Europe for the Europeans : Adolf Hitler on the international situation during the war in France ; An interview granted to Karl v. Wiegand, Führer’s Headquarters, June 11, 1940″.
Later, Lady Drummond-Hay and Karl von Wiegand were interned in a Japanese camp in Manila, Philippines.When they were set free in 1945,she was very ill. They returned to the United States, but during their stay in New York Lady Grace Drummond-Hay died of coronary thrombosis in the Lexington Hotel. After her cremation Karl brought her ashes back to the United Kingdom.
He died of pneumonia in Zurich at the age of 86.