Adolf Hitler addressed the Industry Club in Düsseldorf
January 27, 1932
If today the National Socialist Movement is regarded in many circles in Germany as being opposed to the business world, I believe the reason for this lies in the fact that we formerly adopted a position in respect to the events which determined the development of today’s situation differing from that of the other organizations which play a significant role in public life. Today our views still differ in many points from those of our opponents.
It is our conviction that the misery is due not only and not primarily to general world events, for this would more or less exclude, from the very onset, the possibility that an individual people might better its situation. Were it true that the German misery is necessarily due solely to a so-called world crisis-a world crisis on the course of which we as Volk naturally can exercise no influence or only an insignificant amount of influence-then Germany’s future could only be described as hopeless. How should a state of affairs change for which no one bears the blame? In my opinion, the view that the world crisis alone is to blame leads, in the long run, to a dangerous pessimism. It is only natural that the more the factors gaiving rise to a certain state of affairs are removed from an individual’s sphere of influence, the more that individual will despair of ever being able to change this state of affairs. The gradual result will perforce be a certain lethargy, an indifference, and ultimately, perhaps despair.
For I believe it is of primary importance to break with the view that our fate is determined by the world. It is not true that the final cause of our misery lies in a world crisis, in a world catastrophe; what is true is that we have slipped into a general crisis because certain mistakes were made here from the very beginning. I cannot say: “The general view is that the Peace Treaty of Versailles is the cause of our misfortune.” What is the Peace Treaty of Versailles other than the work of man? It is not something which has been burdened or imposed upon us by Providence. It is the work of man for which, quite naturally, once again men will have to be held responsible, with their merits and with their faults. If this were not so, how would man ever be able to do away with this work at all? It is my opinion that there is nothing which has been caused by the will of man which cannot in turn be changed by another man’s will.
Both the Peace Treaty of Versailles as well as all of the consequences of this Treaty are the result of a policy which was perhaps regarded as being correct, at least in the enemy nations, some fifteen, fourteen or thirteen years ago; seen from our vantage point, it can only be seen as fatal, even though it was still supported by millions of Germans a mere ten years or less ago and only today stands revealed in its utter impossibility. Hence, I must conclude that there is some implicit blame for these events in Germany as well if I want to believe at all that the German Volk can still exercise some influence toward changing these conditions.
It is, in my opinion, also false to claim that today’s life in Germany is determined solely by considerations of foreign policy; that the primacy of foreign policy today controls the whole of our domestic life. It is naturally possible for a people to reach a point where factors of foreign policy exclusively influence and determine its domestic life. But let no one say that this circumstance is either natural or was intended from the onset. Rather, the important thing is for a people to lay the necessary groundwork to alter this state of affairs.
If anyone tells me that foreign politics are the foremost determining factor in the life of a people, then I must first ask: What do you mean by “politics”? There are a number of definitions: Frederick the Great said: “Politics is the art of serving one’s State with every means.” Bismarck stated: “Politics is the art of the possible”-based upon the concept that everything within the realm of possibility should be done to serve the State and, in the subsequent transition to the concept of nationalities, the nation. Yet another considers that this service to the people can be effected by peaceful as well as military means, for Clausewitz said: “War is the continuation of politics, albeit with different means.” Conversely, Clemenceau believed that peace today is nothing other than the continuation of the battle and the pursuit of the battle aim, although, once again, with different means. In short: politics is and can be nothing other than the realization of the vital interests of a people and the practical waging of its life-battle with all means available. Thus it is quite clear that this life-battle has its initial starting point in the people itself, and that at the same time the people is the object, the value in and of itself, which is to be preserved. All of the functions of this body politic should ultimately fulfill only one purpose: securing the preservation of this body in the future. Therefore I can neither say that foreign policy is of primary significance, nor that economic policy has priority. Naturally a people will require an economy in order to live. But this economy is also only one of the functions the body politic requires for its existence. Primarily, however, the most essential thing is the starting point itself, namely the people in and of itself.
One should not say that foreign politics are of prime importance in determining the path of a people; rather, one must say that, first of all, it is the people, with its own intrinsic value, with its organization and training in this value, which marks out its own path within the world around it. I should not say that foreign policy is capable of changing the value of the people to any significant extent; rather, I must say: each people must wage the battle to safeguard its own interests and can only wage a battle which corresponds to its innermost nature, its value, its capabilities, the quality of its organization, etc. Naturally, foreign policies will in turn exercise their retrospective influence. We ourselves have experienced it: what a difference there is in the reactions of the individual peoples to foreign policies! The reaction is determined by the inner state of mind, by the inner value, by the inner disposition, by the capabilities of each individual people. Thus I can ascertain that, even if the basic value of a nation is constant, shifts in the inner organization of the life of this nation can suffice to give rise to a change in its attitude to the external world.
Therefore it would be wrong to claim that foreign policy shapes a people; rather, the peoples control their relations to the rest of the world respective to the forces inherent in them and respective to their education in the utilization of these forces. We can be quite certain that, had a different Germany stood in the place of today’s Germany, the attitude to the rest of the world would also have been appreciably different. However, presumably the influences of the rest of the world would also have manifested themselves in other ways. Denial of this would mean that Germany’s destiny could no longer be changed, no matter which regime is governing in Germany. The roots underlying such a belief and the explanation for it are obvious: assertions that the destiny of a people is determined solely by foreign countries have always been the excuses of bad governments. Weak and bad governments throughout the ages have made use of this argument in order to excuse their own failures or those of their predecessors; the failures of their entire tradition-bound, predetermined course; and in order to claim from the very beginning: no one else in my position could have done otherwise. For what could anyone do with his people against conditions which are firmly established and rooted in the rest of the world, with a people which is then naturally regarded as a fixed value as well?
My view in this respect is another: I believe that three factors essentially influence the political life of a people.
First of all, the inner value of a people, which is passed down from one generation to the next as inheritance and genotype-a value which only suffers any change when the carrier of this inheritance, the people itself, changes in terms of its genetic composition. It is a certain fact that individual character traits, individual virtues and individual vices always recur in peoples as long as their inner nature, their genetic composition, does not undergo any essential change. I can see the virtues and vices of our German Volk in the Roman authors just as clearly as I perceive them today. This inner value, which determines the life of the people, can be destroyed by nothing save a genetic change in its very substance. An illogical organization of life or an unreasonable education may interfere with this value temporarily. But in this case, merely its outward effects are obstructed, while the basic value in and of itself continues to exist as it has before. This is the great source of all hope for the recovery of a people. Here lies the justification for believing that a people which, in the course of thousands of years, has exhibited countless examples of the highest inner value cannot suddenly have lost this inborn, genetically transmitted value from one day to the next; rather, that this people will one day again bring this value into play. Were this not the case, the belief of millions of people in a better future-the mystic hope for a new Germany-would be incomprehensible. It would be incomprehensible how this German Volk, depleted from eighteen to thirteen and a half million people at the end of the Thirty Years’ War, could regain the hope of rising again by means of industriousness and efficiency, how hundreds of thousands and finally millions belonging to this utterly crushed Volk could once again be seized by the yearning for a new form of government. It would be inconceivable, were there not a certain unconscious conviction in all of these individuals, that a value was present in and of itself which manifested itself time and time again throughout the millenniums, perhaps repressed and hindered in its effectiveness at times by bad leadership, bad education, bad organization within the State-but which in the end always struggled its way through-presenting to the world over and over again the wonderful spectacle of our Volk rising anew.
I said that this value can be corrupted. In particular, however, there are still two other inwardly related phenomena which we can observe again and again in periods of national decline.
One of these is the substitution, in democracy, of a levelling, numerical concept for the value of the individual. The other is the negation of the value of the people, the denial that there is diversity in the natural abilities, achievements, etc. of the individual peoples. In fact, each of these two phenomena is mutually dependent upon the other or at least exerts an influence on the other’s development. Internationalism and democracy are inseparable concepts. It is only logical that democracy, which negates the special value of the individual within the people and puts in its place a general value, a numerical value, must proceed in this same way in respect to the life of the peoples, and there it degenerates to internationalism. It is maintained, in a general sense, that peoples have no innate values; rather, at most, there may be manifestations of temporary differences as a result of education; but there is no essential difference in value between Negroes, Arians, Mongolians, and Redskins. This view, which constitutes the basis of our entire international body of thought today, is so far-reaching in its consequences that ultimately a Negro will be able to preside at the sessions of the League of Nations; it leads perforce in turn to the further consequence that, within a single people, in the same way, any differences between the value of individual members of this people will be particularly disputed. In this way, of course, any existing special ability, any existing basic value of a people can, for all practical purposes, be made ineffective. For, with this view, the greatness of a people is not the sum of all its achievements, but rather ultimately a sum of its outstanding achievements. Let no one say that the image which is conveyed as the first impression of the culture of mankind is the impression of its overall achievement. This entire structure of culture, down to its foundations and in each of its building blocks, is nothing other than the result of creative talent, the achievement of intelligence, and the industriousness of individuals. The greatest results are the great crowning achievement of individual geniuses endowed by God; the average results are the achievement of men of average ability; and the total result is undoubtedly a product of the application of human working power towards the exploitation of the creations of geniuses and talented men. But this naturally means that, when the capable minds of a nation-who are always in the minority-are given a value equal with all the others, this must result in subjugating the genius to the majority, in subjecting the ability and the value of the individual to the majority, a process which is mistakenly called the rule of the people. This is not the rule of the people, but in fact the rule of stupidity, of mediocrity, of half-measures, of cowardice, of weakness, and of inadequacy. The rule of the people is rather when a people allows itself to be governed and led in all areas of life by its most capable individuals who are born for the task, than to allow all areas of life to be administered by a majority which, by its very nature, is alien to these areas.
In this way, however, democracy will, in practice, result in cancelling out the real values of a people. This is one of the reasons why peoples with a great past slowly forfeit their former status from the very point onwards when they submit to unlimited democratic rule by the masses; for the existing and potentially outstanding achievements of the individual in all areas of life are then practically ruled ineffective, thanks to being subjected to rape by numbers. But this means that such a people will gradually lose not only its cultural and not only its economical significance, but also its significance as a whole. In a relatively short time, it will no longer represent to the rest of the world the value it once did. And this will necessarily be accompanied by a shift in its ability to safeguard its interests in respect to the rest of the world. It is not inconsequential whether a people embarks on a period such as, for instance, 1807 to 1813 under the leadership of the most capable individuals who are granted extraordinary authority, or whether, in a similar period, such as 1918 to 1921, it marches under the leadership of parliamentary mass madness. In the one case, one observes that the inner rebuilding of the life of the nation has led to the highest achievements which, though certainly founded in the value of the people, are only then capable of being manifested; while in the other case even the value which already exists no longer manifests itself. Yes, things can proceed to the point when an unquestionably industrious people, in whose lifetime apparently very few changes have taken place-particularly in respect to the efforts of individu- als-loses so much in terms of its overall achievement that this achievement is no longer of any significance to the rest of the world.
But there is yet another factor involved: namely, the view that, having already denied the value of the individual and the particular value of a people, life on this planet must not necessarily be maintained through conflict-an opinion which, perhaps, might be of no import had it only become implanted in individual minds, but which has appalling consequences because it is slowly poisoning an entire people. It is not as though these types of general changes in the Weltanschauung are confined to the surface or involve purely intellectual processes. No, in the long run they affect the very roots, influencing all of the expressions of a people’s life.
I may cite an example: you, Gentlemen, are of the opinion that the construction of the German economy must be based upon the concept of private property. Then again, you can only maintain the idea of private property if it appears to be somehow founded in logic. This concept must draw its ethical justification from the insight that it is a necessity dictated by nature. It cannot, for instance, be motivated solely by the claim: “It has been this way until now, and therefore it must continue this way.” For-in periods of great upheavals in the State, of movements of peoples, and of transitions in thought-institutions, systems, etc. cannot only remain unaffected because they have existed previously in the same form. It is characteristic of all truly great revolutionary epochs in the history of mankind that they pass over, with unparalleled ease, forms which have become sacred only with time or which only apparently become sacred with time. Thus it is necessary to justify these types of traditional forms which are to be preserved in such a manner that they can be regarded as absolutely necessary, and as logical and right. In that case, I must say one thing: private property is only morally and ethically justifiable if I assume that men’s achievements are different. Only then can I say that, because men’s achievements are different, the results of those achievements are also different. But if the results of men’s achievements are different, then it is expedient to leave the administration of these achievements to men to an appropriate degree. It would be illogical to assign the administration of the fruits of an achievement connected to one individual to the next best, less capable individual or the whole, for these latter individuals have already proven, by the simple fact that they themselves have not performed the achievement, that they cannot be capable of administering the resulting product. Therefore one must admit that, from an economic point of view, men are not equally valuable, not equally significant in every area from the onset. Having admitted this, it would be madness to claim that, while there are doubtless differences in value in the economic sector, there are none in the political sector! It is nonsense to base economic life on the concept of achievement, of personal value and thus practically on the authority of the individual, while denying this authority of the individual in the political sphere and substituting in its place the law of the greater number-democracy. This will inevitably slowly cause a gulf between the economic view and the political view which one will attempt to bridge by assimilating the former to the latter-an attempt which has indeed been made, for this gulf has not remained pure, empty theory. The concept of the equality of values has meanwhile been raised to a system not only in the political but also in the economic sector. And not only as an abstract theory: no, this economic system thrives in gigantic organizations-yes, today it has already seized the huge territory of an entire State.
I am, however, incapable of regarding two basic ideas as being the possible foundation for the life of a people for any length of time. If it is correct to assume that human achievements are different, then it must also be correct that the value of man in respect to the creation of certain achievements is different. But then it is absurd to attempt to apply this only in respect to a certain sphere, in the sphere of economy and its leadership, but not in the sphere of leadership in the life-struggle as a whole, namely in the sphere of politics. Rather it is only logical that, if I acknowledge the unequivocal recognition of particular achievements in the sphere of economy as the prerequisite for any higher culture, then politically I must similarly grant priority to the particular achievement and thus to the authority of the individual. If, on the other hand, it is asserted-by none other than the economic sphere-that no particular abilities are required in the political sector, but that absolute uniformity reigns here in respect to achievement, then one day this same theory will be transferred from politics to the economy. Political democracy, however, is analogous to Communism in the economic sector. Today we find ourselves in an age in which these two basic principles are in conflict with each other on every border and have already penetrated the economy.
One example: the practical activity of life is rooted in the significance of the individual. This is gradually becoming threatened by the rule of numbers in the economic sector. There is, however, one organization in the State-the Army- which cannot be democratized in any way whatsoever without surrendering its very essence. One proof that a Weltanschauung is weak is when it is inapplicable to all areas of life as a whole. In other words: the Army can only exist if the absolutely anti-democratic principle of unconditional authority from above and absolute responsibility from below are maintained, while in contrast, democracy means, for all practical purposes, complete dependency from above and authority from below. However, the result is that in a State in which the whole of political life-beginning with the community and ending with the Reichstag- is built upon the concept of democracy, the Army must gradually become an alien body, and an alien body which is bound to be perceived as an alien body, To democracy, it is an alien idea, an alien Weltanschauung which inspires this body. An internal struggle between the advocates of democracy and the advocates of authority is the inevitable consequence, a struggle we are now experiencing in Germany.
One cannot expect that this struggle will suddenly come to a standstill. No, the opposite is the case: this struggle will continue until the nation ultimately becomes immersed in either internationalism or democracy and thus falls prey to a complete dissolution; or else creates a new and logical form for its inner life. It follows that education in pacifism must of necessity affect even the most insignificant of individual lives. The concept of pacifism is logical if I proceed on the basis of a general equality between peoples and human beings. For what other sense could there be in struggling? The concept of pacifism, translated into practical reality and in all sectors, must slowly lead to the destruction of the drive for competition, of the ambition to bring forth particular achievements of all types. I cannot say: in politics we will become pacifists, will rid ourselves of the notion that it is necessary to protect life by means of conflict-but in economics we wish to remain keen competitors. If I eliminate the idea of struggle as such, it is of no significance that it still exists in isolated areas. In the end, political decisions will determine individual achievements. You can build up the best economy for fifty years on the basis of the principle of authority, on the basis of the principle of achievement; you can construct factories for fifty years; you can amass wealth for fifty years-and in three years of inadequate political decisions you can destroy all the results of these fifty years. (Chorus of assent). This is only natural, because political decisions spring from a different root than constructive economic decisions.
In summary, I see two principles starkly opposed: the principle of democracy which, wherever its practical results are evident, is the principle of destruction. And the principle of the authority of the individual, which I would like to call the principle of achievement, because everything which mankind has achieved until now and all human cultures are only conceivable given the rule of this principle.
The value of a people in and of itself, the type of inner organization through which this value is to be made effective, and the type of education are the starting points for the political action of a people and thus the foundations for the results of this action.
Do not go so far as to believe that a people which has deprived itself of its values to the extent the German Volk has would have fared better in former centuries, whether there was a world crisis or not. When a people chooses the path which we have chosen-practically for the past thirty or thirty-five years, but officially for the past thirteen-then it can end nowhere else but where Germany is today. The fact that evidence of the crisis has spread throughout almost the entire world is understandable when one considers that the development of the world has today progressed to an extent, and mutual relations have been reinforced in a manner, which seemed scarcely possible fifty, eighty or one hundred years ago. But it would nevertheless be wrong to believe that this process is only conceivable now, in the year 1932. No, the history of the world has witnessed similar things more than once before. Whenever particular relations between peoples have led to situations being created accordingly, the disease of these peoples has necessarily spread and influenced the overall situation.
It is, of course, easy to say: we prefer to wait until the general situation has changed. That is impossible. The situation which you see before you today is surely not the consequence of some revelation of God’s will, but the result of human weaknesses, human errors, human fallacies. It is only natural that, first of all, these causes must be transformed and thus mankind committed to an internal transformation, before one can count on a change in the situation.
This follows from a single look at the situation of the world today: we have a number of nations which have created for themselves an outlook on life based upon their inborn superior value, which bears no relation to the Lebensraum they inhabit in densely populated areas. We have the so-called white race, which has, in the course of some thousand years since the collapse of ancient civilization, established for itself a privileged position in the world. But I am incapable of comprehending the economically privileged supremacy (Herrenstellung) of the white race over the rest of the world if I do not view it in the closest of connections to a political concept of supremacy which has been peculiar to the white race as a natural phenomenon for many centuries and which it has upheld as such to the outer world. You can choose any single area, take for example India: England did not acquire India in a lawful and legitimate manner, but rather without regard to the natives’ wishes, views, or declarations of rights; and she maintained this rule, if necessary, with the most brutal ruthlessness. Just as Cortés or Pizarro demanded for themselves Central America and the northern states of South America not on the basis of any legal claim, but from the absolute, inborn feeling of superiority (Herrengefühl) of the white race. The settlement of the North American continent was similarly a consequence not of any higher claim in a democratic or international sense, but rather of a consciousness of what is right which had its sole roots in the conviction of the superiority and thus the right of the white race. If I imagine things without this frame of mind which, in the course of the last three or four centuries of the white race, has conquered the world, then the fate of this race would in fact be no other than that, for instance, of the Chinese: an immensely congested mass of people in an extraordinarily restricted territory- overpopulation with all its inevitable consequences. If Fate allowed the white race to take a different path, it was because this white race was of the conviction that it had a right to organize the rest of the world. Regardless of what external disguise this right assumed in a given case-in reality, it was the exercise of an extraordinarily brutal right to dominate (Herrenrecht). From this political view there evolved the basis for the economic takeover of the rest of the world.
A famous Englishman once wrote that the characteristic feature of English policy was this miraculous marriage of economic acquisitions with political consolidation of power, and conversely the political expansion of power with immediate economic appropriation: an interaction which becomes inconceivable the moment one of the two factors is lacking. I know, however, that the view is held that one can also conquer the world economically. But this is one of the greatest and most terrible fallacies there are. Let the English confine their struggle for India to economic means; let England relinquish in full the attitude with which it once acquired India, an attitude which helped to preserve India for England throughout the many rebellions and the long and bloody battles in the middle of the last century-and you will see what happens: the English factories will not hold India, they will come to a standstill because the spirit of old England, the spirit which once laid the necessary groundwork for these factories, has been lost!
Today we are confronted with a world situation which is only comprehensible to the white race if one recognizes as indispensable the marriage between the concept of domination in political will and the concept of domination (Herrensinn) in economic activity, a miraculous consensus which left its mark on the whole of the past century and in the consequences of which the white peoples have, in part, undergone a remarkable development: instead of expanding in a territorial sense, instead of exporting human beings, they have exported goods, have built up a worldwide economic system which manifests itself most characteristically in the fact that-given that there are different standards of living on this earth-Europe, and most recently, America as well, have gigantic central world factories in Europe, and the rest of the world has huge markets and sources of raw materials.
The white race, however, is capable of maintaining its position, practically speaking, only as long as discrepancies between the standards of living throughout the world remain. If today you were to give our so-called export markets the same standard of living we have, you would witness that the privileged position of the white race, which is manifested not only in the political power of the nation, but also in the economic situation of the individual, can no longer be maintained.
The various nations have now-in accordance with their innate natural abilities-safeguarded this privileged position in various ways, perhaps England most ingeniously, for she has consistently tapped new markets and immediately anchored them in a political sense, so that it is quite conceivable that Great Britain-assuming its mental outlook remains unchanged-might develop an economic life more or less independent of the rest of the world. Other peoples have not attained this goal because they have exhausted their mental powers in internal weltanschaulich-formerly religious-battles. During the great period when the world was partitioned they were developing their capacities internally, and later they attempted to participate in this world economy; but they have never created their own markets and gained complete control of these markets.
When Germany, for example, began to establish colonies, the inner conception, this entirely cool, sober, English concept of colonization, had already been replaced in part by more or less romantic ideas: the transmission of German culture to the world, the spread of German civilization-things which the English viewed as far-removed during the colonial period. Thus our practical results failed to meet our expectations, aside from the fact that the objects of our endeavors were, in part, no longer capable of fulfilling our lofty and romantic hopes, particularly since the white race has slowly increased to such numerical proportions that the preservation of these gigantic population figures appears guaranteed only if the economic world market potential is secured. Thus, in reality, one part of the world is absolutely dependent upon maintaining a situation which we Germans as democrats and members of the international League of Nations have long since rejected in an intellectual sense. The result is obvious: competition forced the European peoples to an ever-increasing improvement in production, and the increasing improvement in production led to a steady economizing in the labor force. As long as the tapping of new international markets kept pace, the men who had been dispensed with in agriculture and later in the trades could be transferred to the new lines of production without further ado, so that we now perceive the characteristic features of the last century in that primarily men were being eliminated in agriculture and entering the trades; later, in the trades themselves, more and more people fell victim to rationalization in the methods of production and then, in turn, found new opportunities to earn a livelihood in an expansion of the branches of production. But this process was conceivable only as long as there was a constant increase in available sales potential, a potential which had to be as large as the increase in production.
The situation in the world today can be summed up as follows: Germany, England, France, and also-for non-imperative reasons-the American Union and a whole series of smaller States are industrial nations dependent upon the export business. After the end of the War, all of these peoples were confronted with a world market practically empty of commodities. Then the industrial and manufacturing methods, having become particularly ingenious during the War in a scientific and theoretical sense, pounced on this great void and began to restructure the factories, invest their capital and, as the inevitable consequence of the invested capital, to increase production to the utmost. This process was able to work for two, three, four, five years. It could have continued to function if new markets had been created which corresponded to the rapid increase and improvement in production and its methods-a matter of primary importance, for the rationalization of the economy leads, from the beginning of the rationalization of basic economy, to a reduction in the human work force, a reduction which is only useful if the workers who have been dispensed with can easily be transferred in turn to other branches of industry. But we see that since the World War there has been no substantial increase in the number of markets; quite the opposite, they have shrunken in number because the number of exporting nations has slowly been increasing; for a host of former sales markets have themselves become industrialized. We see, however, a new major exporter-the American Union, which today has perhaps not manifested itself all-powerfully in all sectors, but certainly in individual areas-can count on advantages in production which we in Europe do not and cannot possibly possess.
The last and most serious phenomenon we observe is the fact that, parallel to the gradual growth of confusion in white European thinking, a Weltanschauung has seized hold of a part of Europe and a large part of Asia which threatens to actually tear this continent out of the framework of international economic relations-a phenomenon which German statesmen even today pass over with an astonishing lack of regard. For instance when I hear a speech which stresses: “It is necessary that the German Volk stand together!”, then I am forced to ask: does one really believe that this standing together today is nothing but a question of good political will? Do they fail to see that a gulf has already grown in our midst, a gulf which is not the mere figment of some people’s imaginations, but rather whose spiritual exponent today forms the basis for one of the largest world powers? That Bolshevism is not only a mob ranting about in a few streets in Germany, but a world view which is on the point of subjecting to its rule the entire continent of Asia and which today, in the form of a State, stretches almost from our eastern border to Vladivostok?
Here the matter is presented as though these were only the purely intellectual problems of isolated visionaries or ill-disposed individuals. No, a Weltanschauung has conquered a State and, starting from there, will slowly shatter the whole world and bring about its collapse. Bolshevism will, if its advance is not halted, expose the world to a transformation as complete as the one Christianity once effected. In 300 years people will no longer say: this is a new idea in production. In 300 years people might already know that it is almost a new religion, though based upon other principles! In 300 years, if this movement continues to develop, people will see in Lenin not only a revolutionary of the year 1917, but the founder of a new world doctrine, worshipped perhaps like Buddha. It is not true that this gigantic phenomenon could simply, let us say, be thought away in today’s world. It is reality, and must of necessity destroy and overthrow one of the basic requirements for our continued existence as the white race. We observe the stages of this process: first of all, a decline in the level of culture and, with it, of receptivity; a decline in the level of humanity as a whole and thus the breaking off of all relations to other nations; then the construction of an independent system of production with the aid of the crutches of capitalist economy. As the final stage, an independent system of production to the complete exclusion of the other countries, which, as a matter of course, will one day be faced along their borders with the most serious economic competitor.
I know very well that gentlemen in the Reich Ministry of Defense and gentlemen in German industry will counter: we do not believe that the Soviets will ever be able to build up an industry genuinely capable of competition. Gentlemen, they would never be able to build it solely from Russian, from Bolshevist natural resources. But this industry will be built from the resources of the white peoples themselves. It is absurd to say: it is not possible to build an industry in Russia using the forces of other peoples-it was once possible to equip an industry in Bohemia with the help of Germans. And one more thing: the Russia of old was already in possession of a certain amount of industry.
If people go on to argue that the methods of production will never by any means be able to keep pace with us, then do not forget that the standard of living will more than compensate for any advantages we have due to our methods of production.
We shall, in any event, witness the following development: Bolshevism will-if today’s way of thinking in Europe and America remains as it is-slowly spread throughout Asia. Whether it takes thirty or fifty years is of no consequence at all, considering it is a question of Weltanschauungen. Christianity did not begin to assert itself throughout the whole of southern Europe until 300 years after Christ, and 700 years later it had taken hold of northern Europe as well. Weltanschauungen of this fundamental nature can manifest their unrestricted capacity for conquest even five hundred years later if they are not broken in the beginning by the natural instinct of self-preservation of other peoples. But even if this process continues for only thirty, forty or fifty years and our frame of mind remains unchanged, then, Gentlemen, one will not be able to say: what does that have to do with our economy?!
Gentlemen, the development is obvious. The crisis is very serious. It forces us to economize in every sector. The most natural reduction is always made in human labor. The industries will of necessity rationalize more and more; that means increasing their productivity and reducing the numbers of their work forces. But when these people can no longer be given places in newly tapped professional fields, in newly tapped industries, this means that, in time, three people’s accounts must be opened: the first is agriculture. Once people were economized from this basic account for the second account. This second account was the trades, and later industrial production. Now, in turn, one is eliminating men from this second account and pushing them into the third account: unemployment. In doing so, one is putting on a disgraceful show of glossing over reality. It can be best put by saying that those without a means of existence are simply regarded as “non-existent,” and thus superfluous. The characteristic feature of our European nations is that gradually a certain percentage of the population is proven superfluous in terms of statistics. Now, it is quite clear that the requisite maintenance of this third account is a burden thrust upon the other two. This increases the tax pressure, which in turn requires a further rationalization of the methods of production, further economization, a further increase in the third account.
In addition, there is the battle for world markets being waged today by all European nations with the consequence that this battle naturally affects prices, which again leads to a new wave of economizing. The final result, which can hardly be foreseen today will, in any case, be decisive for the future or the downfall of the white race and, above all, of the peoples who are greatly hampered in establishing inner economic autarky due to their territorial limitations. The further consequence will be that, for instance, England will reorganize her domestic market and erect customs barriers for its protection, high ones today and even higher ones tomorrow, and all other peoples who are in any way capable of doing so will take the same steps.
In this sense, all those who claim that Germany’s hopeless position is particularly indicative of our distress today are right. At the same time, however, they are wrong in seeking the distress only in external causes, for this position is of course not only the result of external developments, but of our inner, I would almost say, aberration, our inner disintegration, our inner decay.
Let no one say that we National Socialists do not understand the necessity of dealing with momentary damage. But one thing is certain: every type of distress has some root or another. Thus it does not suffice-regardless, Gentlemen, of what emergency decrees the Government issues today-when I doctor around on the periphery of this distress and attempt from time to time to cut away the cancerous tumor; rather, I must penetrate to the agent, the origins. In this connection it is of relatively little significance whether this generative cause is discovered or eliminated today or tomorrow; the essential thing is that, without its elimination, no cure is possible. It is wrong to reject a program covering twenty or thirty years today on the grounds that we cannot wait that long-a tuberculosis patient does not care if the treatment his physician has recommended to cure his illness lasts three or more years. The essential thing is that no purely external remedy, even if it is quickly applied and momentarily alleviates his pain, is capable of eliminating the disease as such. We can observe this in an absolutely classical form in the consequences of our emergency decrees. Again and again the-admittedly honest-attempt is made to somehow improve and combat an impossible situation. You see that every attempt, in its final consequence, leads exactly to the opposite: to an increase in the very phenomena one is trying to eliminate. In this connection I am willing to leave out what is, in my opinion, the greatest problem at this moment, a problem which I would like to describe not only as a purely economic one, but also a völkisch problem in the truest sense of the word: that of unemployment.
What one sees are only six or seven million people who are not engaged in the process of production; and one regrets, from a purely economic standpoint, the loss in production which this causes.
But, Gentlemen, one fails to see the mental, moral, and spiritual effects of this fact. Do they really believe that such a percentage of the national work force can lie idle for even ten, twenty, or thirty years without this idleness exercising any mental effect, without it leading inevitably to a spiritual change? And do they believe that this will have no significance for the future?
Gentlemen, we know from our own experience that Germany lost the War due to a mental aberration whose consequences are today evident practically everywhere. Do you believe that, once seven or eight million people are barred from taking part in the national process of production for ten or twenty years, these masses can perceive of Bolshevism as anything but the logical weltanschaulich complement to their actual, practical economic situation? Do you really think that one can choose to disregard the purely mental side of this catastrophe without it one day becoming reality, an evil curse following the evil deed?
If the German distress could be alleviated by means of emergency decrees, then all of the major legislators in the past centuries would have been bunglers; for they attempted, under similar circumstances, to regenerate the body politic in order that, with the aid of this newly created source of strength, they might implement new and healing resolutions. What the current German Government wants is of no significance at all, just as it is of no significance what the German economy wants or desires. The important thing is to realize that we are presently once more in a situation which has already previously arisen in the world a number of times: a number of times in the past, the volume of certain types of production grew to exceed the parameters of demand. Today we are experiencing the same thing to the greatest possible degree: if all automobile factories existing in the world now were employed one hundred percent and working one hundred percent, then one could replace the entire stock of motor vehicles within four and a half or five years. If all locomotive factories were employed one hundred percent, one could easily renew all of the locomotive parts in the world within eight years. If all of the rail factories and rolling mills of the world were employed one hundred percent, one could, perhaps in ten or fifteen years, lay the entire network of tracks in the world today once more. This applies to almost all industries. One has achieved such an increase in productive capacity that the present market potential no longer bears any relation to capacity. But when Bolshevism as an ideology tears the continent of Asia out of the human economic community, the prerequisites for the employment of these gigantically developed industries will no longer exist to nearly the same extent. Then we will find ourselves industrially in approximately the same stage in which the world has found itself several times before in other areas. It has happened several times before, for instance, that the tonnage of sea-going vessels was much larger than the amount of goods requiring carriage. Several times before certain economic groups have thus been subjected to severe crises. When you read history and study the ways which have been chosen to rectify this situation, then you will in short always find one thing: the amount of goods was not adjusted to fit the tonnage, the tonnage was adjusted to fit the amount of goods-in fact not by voluntary economic resolutions on the parts of the shipowners, but rather by decisions of power politics. When a politician or an economist objects and says to me: that may have once been the case between Rome and Carthage, or between England and Holland or between England and France, but today it is business that decides; all I can answer is: that is not the spirit which once opened up the world to the white race, which also opened to us Germans the way into world economy. It was not the German economy which conquered the world, followed by the evolution of Germany’s power; but in our case, too, it was the power-state which created the basic conditions for ensuing prosperity in the economy. In my view, it is putting the cart before the horse to believe today that Germany’s position of power can be recovered using business methods alone instead of realizing that a position of power constitutes the prerequisite for an improvement in the economic situation as well. That does not mean that the attempt should not be made today or tomorrow to combat the disease which has seized our economy, notwithstanding the fact that it is not possible to hit the focus of the disease with the first blow. But it does mean that each such external solution ignores the root of the problem, the fact that there is only one basic solution.
It rests upon the realization that the collapse of an economy always has as its forerunner the collapse of the State and not vice versa; that a prosperous economy cannot subsist if it is not backed by the protection of a prosperous, powerful State; that there would have been no Carthaginian economy without a Carthaginian fleet and no Carthaginian trade without the Carthaginian army; and that, in our modern age-when things get rough and the interests of peoples clash-it is natural that an economy cannot exist unless the all-powerful, determined political will of the nation is standing behind it.
Here I would like to enter a protest against those who simply dismiss these facts by claiming: the Peace Treaty of Versailles is, “in what is almost the general opinion,” the cause of our misfortune. No, this is certainly not “almost the general opinion,” but solely the opinion of those who share the blame for its having been concluded. (Applause)
The Peace Treaty of Versailles is itself nothing but the logical consequence of our slowly increasing inner, mental confusion and aberration. We happen to find ourselves in an age in which the world is approaching extraordinarily difficult mental conflicts which will thoroughly shake it up. I cannot avoid these conflicts by simply shrugging my shoulders in regret and-without clearly realizing their causes-saying: “What we need is unity!” These conflicts are not phenomena born merely of the ill will of a few individuals; rather, they are phenomena ultimately having their deepest roots in the facts of race.
If Bolshevism is spreading in Russia today, then ultimately this Bolshevism is just as logical for Russia as Czarism was before it. It is a brutal regime ruling over a people which, were it not led by a brutal government, could in no way be maintained as a State. But if this world outlook should spread to us as well, we must not forget that our Volk, too, is composed racially of the most diverse elements, that we thus of necessity must perceive in the slogan “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” much more than a mere political battle cry. In reality, it is the expression of the will of men who, in their natures, indeed do possess a certain kinship with respective peoples of a low level of culture. Our Volk and our State were also once built up only through the exercise of the absolute Herrenrecht and Herrensinn accruing to the so-called Nordic people, the Arian race elements which we still possess in our Volk today. Therefore whether or not we can find our way back to new political strength is only a question of regenerating the German body politic in accordance with the laws of an iron logic.
The claim that inner weltanschaulich unity is of no significance can only be made by a man who is a specialist in one area or another and therefore no longer has an eye for the real living forces which shape the nation-a statesman who never gets out of his office and busies himself in his bureaucratic ivory tower, in thousands of hours of negotiations and meetings, with the latest effects of the crisis, without discovering the major causes and with them the major decisions required for their removal. It is quite clear that, by issuing a decree, I can easily take a position today on any of the various aspects of public life. But take a look at what effect this position can have on the practical side of life! There is no organization existing in the world today which does not have as its foundation a certain unanimity of purpose. One cannot conceive of an organization which does not view certain basic questions which arise repeatedly as requiring an absolutely unanimous recognition, affirmation or solution. This applies even to the smallest organization there is-the family. No matter how competent a man or a woman may be, if certain, necessary, basic questions are not affirmed equally by both in their common union, then their competence will not be able to prevent their union from becoming a source of perpetual strife and their external life from ultimately failing due to this inner discord. Man can only fully develop the force of his activities in one direction, and the main question for the people as a whole is the direction in which this force is to be guided. Should it direct itself outwards, or should it turn inwards? It must turn inward at that point when the attitude toward a certain problem is not completely unanimous; otherwise the individual will already have become the enemy of his neighbor, who effectively constitutes his environment. It is not a matter of indifference whether or not an association has and recognizes a set of basic principles. No, the decisive factor in judging any human organization is the strength of the inner relation, a strength which is based upon the recognition of certain guiding general principles.
In the life of peoples, external strength is determined by the strength of the internal organization, but the strength of the internal organization in turn depends upon the stability of common views on certain basic matters. What good is it if a government issues a decree to save the economy when that nation, as a living thing, itself has two completely different attitudes towards the economy? One part says: “The prerequisite of the economy is private property,” while the other claims: “Private property is theft.” Fifty percent believe in one principle, fifty percent in the other. You may object by saying that these views are pure theory-no, this theory is of necessity the basis for practice. Was this view mere theory when, in November 1918, the Revolution broke out as a consequence and shattered Germany? Was that a completely insignificant theory which, above all, was of no interest to the economy? No, Gentlemen! I believe that such views must, if they are not clarified, inevitably tear apart the body politic, for they are not simply confined to theory. The Government talks about the “vaterländisch way of thinking,” but what does “vaterländsch way of thinking” mean? Ask the German nation! One part supports it, while the other declares: “Vaterland is an inane bourgeois tradition and nothing more.” The Government says: “The State must be saved.” The State? Fifty percent regard the State as a necessity, but the sole desire of the other fifty percent is to crush the State. They are conscious of their role as a vanguard not only of an alien national attitude and an alien national concept, but also of an alien national will. I cannot say that this is only based on theory. It is not mere theory when fifty percent of a people at the most are willing to fight, if necessary, for the symbolic colors, while fifty percent have hoisted a different flag representing a State which is not their own but lies outside the borders of their own State.
“The Government will seek to improve the morals of the German Volk.” Which morals, Gentlemen? Even morals must have some basis. What appears to you to be moral appears immoral to others, and what seems immoral to you is for others a new morality. The State says, for instance: “Thieves must be punished.” But countless members of the nation counter: “One must punish the owners, for ownership itself comprises theft.” The thief is glorified more than anything else. One half of the nation says: “Traitors must be punished,” but the other half holds: “Treason is a duty.” One half says: “The nation must be defended with courage,” and the other half regards courage as idiotic. One half says: “The basis of our morality is religious life,” and the other half sneers: “The concept of a God does not exist in reality. Religions are merely the opium of the people.”
Do not ever think that once a people has been seized by these conflicts of Weltanschauung one can simply circumvent them by means of emergency decrees, that one can delude oneself into believing that there is no need to take a stand on them because they involve things which concern neither the economy, nor administrative life, nor cultural life! Gentlemen, these conflicts affect the power and the strength of the nation as a whole! How can a people actually constitute a factor of any significance abroad when, in the final analysis, fifty percent are Bolshevist-oriented and fifty percent nationalistic or anti- Bolshevist-oriented? It is conceivable that Germany can be turned into a Bolshevist State-it will be a catastrophe-but it is conceivable. It is also conceivable that Germany can be turned into a national State. But it is inconceivable that a strong and healthy Germany can be created if fifty percent of its members are Bolshevist-oriented and fifty percent are nationalist-oriented! We cannot get around solving this problem!
If today’s Government declares: “But we are industrious, we are working, this last emergency decree cost us so and so many hundreds of hours of sessions” (amusement), then I do not doubt what they say. That does not, however, mean that the nation will become even the slightest bit stronger or more stable; the process of inner decay will continue unceasingly on its inevitable course. But the consequence to which this path will finally lead is something you then again can see only if you take a very large mental leap: once, as the first prerequisite for the organization of our Volk on a large scale, Germany had a weltanschaulich foundation in our religion, Christianity. When this weltanschaulich foundation was shaken, we see how the strength of the nation turned away from external things and toward the internal conflicts, for the nature of man forces him, as a matter of inner necessity, to seek a new common foundation at that point at which the common weltanschaulich foundation is lost or attacked. These are then the great ages of civil wars, religious wars, etc.- conflicts and confusions in which either a new weltanschaulich platform can be found and thereupon a nation erected anew, a nation which can turn its strength outwards, or in which a people becomes split and falls into ruin. In Germany, this process ran its course in an absolutely classical form. The religious conflicts meant a withdrawal of the entire German strength inwards, an internal absorbing and exhausting of strength and thus automatically a gradual increase in an attitude of no-longer-reacting to major world events in foreign countries, while these meet with a completely passive people, because at the same time this people has inner tensions which urgently require a solution.
It is incorrect to say: world politics and the world situation alone determined Germany’s fate in the sixteenth century. No, our internal situation at that time played a helping role in shaping the image of the world which later caused us so much suffering: the partitioning of the world without Germany.
In a second, really magnificant example from history, this process is repeated: in order to replace the lacking religious unity-for both religions are finally frozen fast, neither is now capable of overcoming the other-a new platform is found: the new concept of the State, first of legitimist character and later slowly passing to an age of the national principle and colored by it. It is on this new platform that Germany once more unites; and, piece by piece, with this unification process, a Reich which had fallen into decline as a result of the old confusions automatically and once more lastingly increases its strength in the external world. This increase in strength led to those days in August 1914 which we had the proud good fortune of experiencing firsthand. A nation which apparently had no internal differences and thus was able to channel its entire strength outwards! And in scarcely four and a half years, we see the process reverting. The inner differences become visible, they slowly begin to grow, and gradually the external strength is crippled. The inner conflict once more takes on urgency; in the end comes the collapse of November 1918. In reality, this means nothing other than that the German nation was once more investing its entire strength in inner conflicts-externally, it was relapsing into complete lethargy and powerlessness.
But it would be quite mistaken to believe that this process was confined only to those days in November 1918. The weltanschaulich disintegration set in at the very time when Bismarck was powerfully uniting Germany. Citizens and proletarians began to take the place of men from Prussia, Bavaria, Württemberg, Saxony, Baden, etc. In place of a many-facetted disintegration, which is overcome politically, the classes begin to split, leading ultimately to the same result. For the remarkable feature of the former disintegration of the State was that Bavarians would, under certain circumstances, tend to cooperate more readily with non-Germans than with Prussians. That means that relations with the outside were regarded as more feasible than relations with one’s own German Volksgenossen. Exactly the same result is coming about now by means of the class division. Once again a mass of millions has ceremoniously declared that it is more willing to take up relations to men and organizations who think similarly and have a similar outlook but are members of a foreign people, than to enter into relations with men of its own Volk who are of the same blood but think differently. This is the only explanation for the fact that today you can see the red flag with the sickle and hammer-the flag of an alien sovereign power- waving over Germany; the fact that there are millions of people to whom one cannot say: “You, too, are Germans-you, too, must defend Germany!” If these men were willing to do this as in 1914, they would be compelled to renounce their Weltanschauung; for it is thoroughly absurd to believe that Marxism would have been converted to the national cause in 1914. No! The German worker, with an intuitive realization, turned away from Marxism in 1914 and, contrary to his leaders, found his way to the nation. (Lively applause) Marxism itself, as concept and idea, knows no German nation, knows no national State, but knows only the Internationale!
I can thus state one fact today: no matter what the legislature does- particularly by means of decrees and most of all by means of emergency decrees- if Germany is unable to master this inner division of outlook and Weltanschauung, then no amount of legislative measures will be able to prevent the ruin of the German nation. Indeed, do not believe, Gentlemen, that in ages in which peoples have fallen into ruin as demonstrated by history, the governments were not governing! At the same time Rome was slowly disintegrating, the governments were certainly active. Yes, I would almost like to say that the rapidity with which a legislative machine functions seems to me to be almost proof of the disintegration of a Volkskörper (body politic). One merely attempts to veil the existing inner division and the degree of disintegration from the outside world by means of the legislative rotary machine. Today the situation is no different. And do not believe that any government would ever have admitted that its work was not conducive toward saving the nation. Fach of them naturally protested against the view that its activities were not absolutely necessary; each was convinced that no one else could have done it better than itself. You will never, in the history of the world, find a general who, no matter how high the number of battles on his debit account, was not convinced that no one could have done better than he. But the essential fact will always remain that, in the end, it is not immaterial in the least whether the Herzog von Braunschweig or Gneisenau is commanding the army; whether a system confines its attempts to save the nation to emergency decrees or whether a new mental outlook inspires a Volk inwardly and leads it back to life, back to being a vital, living factor, and away from being the dead object of legislative machinery. It is not immaterial whether, in the future, you simply attempt to bring the most obvious manifestations of the crisis under control in Germany by means of a legislation more or less trimmed with a border of constitutionality, or whether you lead the nation itself back to internal strength.
And when this system objects and says to me that there is no time left for that now-it is true, meine Herren, that far too much time has been wasted on unproductive work, far too much time has already been lost. One could have initiated the regeneration process in 1919, and in the past eleven years Germany would have undergone a different external development. For it was only possible to impose the Peace Treaty upon us in the form chosen because at the time it was being drawn up, Germany had totally ceased being a factor of any weight whatsoever. And the results of this Peace Treaty took on those forms we know and have experienced only because, in all these years, no Germany with any kind of definite and perceptible will of its own existed. Thus we are not the victims of the treaties, but rather the treaties are the consequences of our own mistakes; and I must, if I wish to improve the situation at all, first change the value of the nation again. Above all, I must recognize one thing: it is not the primacy of foreign politics which can determine our actions at home, but rather the character of our actions at home that determines the character of our successes in foreign policy, yes, and even our very objectives.
I may cite two examples of this from history: firstly, Bismarck’s idea of a conflict between Prussia and the House of Habsburg, the construction of a new Empire by ousting Austria, an idea which never would have become reality had not-before the attempt was made to put it into action-the instrument been created with which the political objectives could have practically been turned into reality. It was not the political situation which forced Prussia to decide to reorganize its Army; rather, the reorganization of the Prussian Army which Bismarck far-sightedly carried through against the resistance of parliamentary madness first made the political situation possible which came to an end in Königgrätz and established in Versailles the Empire which, because it gradually came to be founded on other principles, was later once more destroyed and partitioned in the very same chamber at Versailles.
And vice versa: if today a German government attempts, along the lines of Bismarck’s ideas, to take the path of that age and, perhaps as forerunner of a German policy of unification, attempts to establish a new Zollverein, a customs union, then formulating this aim is not the important thing, but rather the important thing is what preparations one undertakes in order to make the implementation of this aim possible. I cannot formulate an aim which, supported by the press campaign of one’s own papers, is understood throughout the world to be a political aim of utmost importance unless I secure for myself the political means which are absolutely essential for the implementation of this type of plan.
And the political means-today I can no longer view them as limited-can lie only in the reorganization of an army. Ultimately, it is completely irrelevant whether Germany has an army 100 000 or 200 000 or 300 000 strong; the main thing is whether Germany has eight million reservists whom it can transfer to the army without heading toward the same weltanschaulich catastrophe as that of 1918.
The essential thing is the formation of a political will of the entire nation; this is the starting point for political action. If this formation of will is guaranteed in the sense of a willingness to commit oneself to some national objective or other, then a government that is supported by this formation of will can also choose those paths which one day may lead to success. However, if this formation of will does not take place, every power in the world will test the chances of such an undertaking on the strength of the means at its disposal to back it. And one will surely be aware of the fact that a government which rouses itself to exhibit such a great national show externally but is, internally, dependent upon the shifting forces of Marxist-Democratic-Centrist party views, will never be capable of really fighting to carry through this plan to the very last. Let no one say: this is simply a case in which all are standing together as one man. This standing together of all as one man can only then be attained when all share one single opinion. The phrase “March divided, fight united” exists only in terms of the army because in an army with a single supreme command, the order to march divided is followed in exactly the same way as the order to fight united, because both stem from one and the same root of command. But I cannot simply allow armies to run around side by side as complete strangers and then expect, upon some signal which a high-and-mighty government deigns to give them, that they will suddenly harmonize wonderfully and initiate a joint maneuver.
That is impossible! And it is simply impossible for the further reason that, ultimately, the catastrophe lies not so much in the existence of different points of view, but rather foremost in the fact of the State’s licensing these differences.
If today they wish to hurl the worst accusation at me as a National Socialist, then they say: “You want to bring about a decision in Germany by violence, and we must oppose that. You want to one day destroy your political opponents in Germany! We, on the other hand, stand for the precepts of the Constitution and must thus guarantee all parties their right to exist.” To that I have only one reply: translated into reality, this means: “You have a company. You must lead this company against the enemy. Within the company there is complete liberty to form a coalition.” Fifty percent of the company have formed a coalition based upon love and defense of the Vaterland, the other fifty percent based upon a pacifist Weltanschauung: they reject war as a matter of principle, demand the inviolability of freedom of conscience, declare it to be the highest and only virtue we have today. But if it does come to a fight, they want to stand together. But should one man-insisting on freedom of conscience-desert to the enemy, then the absurd situation would arise where you would have to place him under arrest and punish him as a deserter, while completely forgetting that you actually have no right to punish him. A State which allows the view to circulate-with license from the State-that treason to the Vaterland is a duty; which tolerates that large organizations calmly state: it will be our task to put a simple stop to any military action in the event of war-what right does that State have to punish a traitor to the Vaterland? Of course it is only incidental that such a State itself carries the madness of this view ad absurdum, for the man who would otherwise have been branded a criminal now will become a martyr for one half of the nation. Why? Because this same State, which, on the one hand, declares the theory of treason to one’s country an ethical and moral theory and protects it, has the audacity, on the other, to imprison a person who attempts to transpose this view from the sphere of theory into practice.
Gentlemen! All this is impossible, completely impossible, if one at all believes that a people, in order to survive, must direct its strength outwards. But take a look at the situation today: seven or eight million employed in agriculture; seven or eight million employed in industry; six or seven million unemployed! Consider that, in all human probability, nothing at all will change in this respect, and you will be forced to admit that Germany as a whole cannot survive in the long run-unless, that is, we find our way back to a truly extraordinary, newly-shaped political strength working from within but having the capacity of making us effective once more vis-á-vis the outside world.
For it does not matter at all which of the problems of our völkisch life we wish to attempt to solve: if we wish to maintain our export trade, then here as well the political will of the nation as a whole will one day have to take a serious stand to prevent us from being thrust aside by the interests of other peoples. If we wish to build up a new domestic market or if we wish to solve the problem of our Lebensraum: whatever the case, we will always need the collective political strength of the nation. Yes, even if we want to be valued merely as allies- beforehand we must make Germany a political power factor. But that will never be achieved by bringing a proposal before the Reichstag that negotiations be initiated for procuring a few heavy batteries, eight or ten tanks, twelve aircraft, or, as far as I’m concerned, even a few squadrons-that is entirely irrelevant! Throughout the history of peoples, technical weapons have undergone continual changes. But what had to remain unchanging was the formation of will. It is the constant factor and the prerequisite for everything else. Should it fail, no number of weapons can help. On the contrary: if you were to summon the German Volk to a levée en masse and place weapons at its disposal for this purpose-tomorrow the result would be civil war, not a fight against the external world. Practical foreign politics can no longer be implemented with today’s body politic. Or do you believe that Bismarck would have been able to fulfill his historic mission with today’s Germany, that the German Empire would have emerged from this state of mind?
In stating this, I am still a long way from confronting today’s system with the claim that one should, for instance, remain silent and inactive in the face of individual incidents; rather, my claim is that an ultimate solution is only possible when the internal disintegration in terms of classes is overcome once more in the future. When I say this, I am not being a pure theoretician. When I returned to the homeland in 1918, 1 was faced with a situation which I, just as all the others, could have accepted as a given fact. It is my firm conviction that a large part of the German nation was of the unequivocal opinion in those November and December days of 1918, and even in 1919, that were Germany to continue on its path in terms of domestic policy, it would be heading rapidly towards its downfall in terms of foreign policy. In other words, the same opinion I held. There was only one difference. At that time I said to myself: it is not enough to merely recognize that we are ruined; rather, it is also necessary to comprehend why! And even that is not enough; rather, it is necessary to declare war on this destructive development and to create the instrument necessary to do so. (Bravo!)
One thing was clear to me: the world of the parties up to that time had shattered Germany, and Germany was broken by this. It is absurd to believe that the factors whose existence is inseparably bound up in history with Germany’s disintegration can now suddenly be factors in its recovery. Each organization becomes not only the personification of a certain spirit; in the end, it even symbolizes a certain tradition. If then, for example, associations or parties have almost made it a tradition of retreating in the face of Marxism for sixty years, I do not believe that, after the most horrible defeat, they will suddenly break with a tradition which has become second nature to them and transform their retreat into an attack; what I do believe is that the retreat will continue. Yes, one day these associations will go the way of all organizations which suffer repeated defeats: they will enter pacts with the opponent and attempt to attain by peaceful methods what could not be won by fighting.
Granted, given a cool and considered view, I did have to say to myself in 1918: certainly it is a terribly difficult course to present myself to the nation and form a new organization for myself. Actually, it would naturally be much easier to enter one of the existing formations and attempt to overcome the inner gulf dividing the nation from there. But is this at all possible in the existing organizations? Does not each organization ultimately have in it the spirit and the people who find satisfaction in its program and its struggle? If an organization has, in the course of sixty years, continually retreated before Marxism and finally one day simply capitulated like a coward, is it not then necessarily filled with a spirit and with people who neither understand nor are prepared to take the other path? Is it not so that the opposite is true, that in such an age of confusion the future will simply consist of once again sieving through the body politic which has fallen into disorder; that a new political leadership will crystallize from within the Volk which knows how to take the mass of the nation in its fist and thereby avoids the mistakes which led to downfall in the past? Of course I had to say to myself that the struggle would be a terrible one! For I was not so fortunate as to possess a prominent name; instead, I was nothing but a German soldier, nameless, with a very small zinc number on my breast. But I came to one realization: if, beginning with the smallest cell, a new body politic did not form in the nation which could overcome the existing “ferments of decomposition,” then the nation as a whole would never itself be able to experience an uprising. We have practically already experienced it once. It took more than 150 years until Prussia, the germ cell of a new Empire, arose out of the old disintegrated Empire to fulfill its historic mission. And believe me: the question of the inner regeneration of a Volk is no different in the least. Each idea must recruit its own people. Each idea must step out before the nation, must win over the fighters it needs from its midst and must tread alone the difficult path with all its necessary consequences, in order to one day achieve the strength to change the course of destiny.
Developments have proven that this reasoning was right in the end. For even if there are many in Germany today who believe that we National Socialists are incapable of constructive work-they are deceiving themselves! If we did not exist, Germany today would no longer have a bourgeoisie. The question, “Bolshevism or no Bolshevism” would long have been decided! Take the weight of our gigantic organization-this greatest organization by far in the new Germany-off the scales of national events and you will see that, without us, Bolshevism would already tip the scales now-a fact best evidenced by the attitude which Bolshevism has toward us. It is a great honor to me when Herr Trotsky calls upon German Communism today to cooperate with the Social Democratics at any price because National Socialism is to be regarded as the only real danger to Bolshevism. And it is an even greater honor for me because in twelve years, starting with nothing at all and in opposition to the overall public opinion at the time, in opposition to the press, in opposition to capital, in opposition to the economy, in opposition to the administration, in opposition to the State: in short, in opposition to everything, we built up our Movement, a Movement which can no longer be eliminated today, which exists, on which one must have an opinion whether one wants to or not. (Cheers of approval) And I believe that this opinion actually must be quite clear to anyone who still believes in a German future. You see before you an organization which does not only preach the theory of the realizations I characterized as being essential at the beginning of my speech, but which puts them into practice; an organization filled with the utmost national sentiment, based on the idea of the absolute authority of leadership in every field, on all levels-the only party which has, in itself, totally overcome not only the international idea but the democratic idea as well; which, through its organization, acknowledges only responsibility, command and obedience and which thus for the first time integrates into the political life of Germany a phenomenon of millions united in upholding the principle of achievement. An organization which fills its followers with an unrestrained aggressive spirit (Kampfsinn); for the first time, an organization which, when a political opponent declares: “We take your behavior to be a provocation,” is not satisfied to suddenly withdraw, but brutally enforces its own will and hurls back at him: “We are fighting today! We will fight tomorrow! And if you regard our meeting today as a provocation, then we’ll hold another one next week-and will continue until you have learned that it is not a provocation when the German Germany professes its will! And if you say, “You may not go out on the streets”-we will go out on the streets in spite of it! And if you say, “Then we will beat you”-no matter how many sacrifices you force us to make, this young Germany will always march again, it will one day completely win back the German streets, the German individual. And when people reproach us for our intolerance, we are proud of it-yes, we have even made the inexorable decision to exterminate Marxism in Germany down to its very last root. We made this decision not because we are pugnacious-I, for one, could imagine a life made up of nicer things than being chased through Germany, being persecuted by countless decrees, standing constantly with one foot in prison, and having no right I can call my own in the State. I could imagine a better fate than that of fighting a battle which, at least in the beginning, was regarded by everyone as a mad chimera. And lastly, I believe that I also have the capability of taking on some sort of post in the Social Democratic Party, and one thing is certain: had I placed my capabilities at its service, today I would presumably even be fit to govern. But for me it was a greater decision to choose a path along which nothing guided me but my own faith and an indestructible confidence in the natural powers of our Volk-which are certainly still present-and its significance, which will one day of necessity once more manifest itself, given the right leadership.
Now a twelve-year struggle lies behind us. We did not wage this battle in purely theoretical terms or put it into practice only in our own party; rather, we are also willing to wage it on a large scale at any time. If I reflect back to the time when I founded this association together with six other unknown men, when I spoke before 11, 20, 30, or 50 people, when, in the space of one year, I had won 64 people over to the Movement, when our small circle expanded steadily-then I must confess that that which has come about today, when a stream of millions of German Volksgenossen flows into our Movement, represents something unique, standing alone in German history. For seventy years the bourgeois parties have had time to work. Where is the organization which could compare itself to ours? Where is the organization which could point out, as ours can, that if necessary, it can bring 400 000 men out on the streets, men who carry within them a sense of blind obedience, who follow every order-as long as it is not against the law? Where is the organization which has achieved in seventy years what we have achieved in barely twelve-with means which were so improvised that one would almost have to be ashamed to confess to the opponents how pitiful the birth and growth of this great Movement once was.
Today we are at the turning-point in German destiny. If the present development continues, Germany will one day of necessity result in Bolshevist chaos; however, if this development is brought to an end, our Volk must be sent to a school of iron discipline and gradually cured from the preconceptions of both camps. A hard lesson, but one which we cannot avoid!
If one believes that the concepts of “bourgeois” and “proletarian” can be conserved, then one is either conserving German impotence and thus our downfall, or one is ushering in the victory of Bolshevism. If one is not willing to abandon these concepts, then it is my conviction that a recovery of the German nation is no longer possible. The chalk line which the Weltanschauungen have drawn for peoples throughout the history of the world has more than once been the death line. Either the attempt to reshape a body politic hard as iron from this conglomerate of parties, associations, organizations, world outlooks, arrogance of rank, and class madness is successful, or else Germany will perish once and for all for lack of this inner consolidation. Even if another twenty emergency decrees were sent to hail down on our Volk, they would be unable to alter the main course leading to our ruin! If one day the way which leads upwards is to be found again, then first of all the German Volk must be bent back into shape. That is a process no one can escape! It does no good to say: “The proletarians are the only ones to blame for that!” No, believe me, our entire German Volk, every single class, has more than its share of the blame for our collapse; some because they willed it and intentionally tried to bring it about; the others because they looked on and were too weak to prevent it! In history, failure weighs just as heavily as the intention or the deed itself. Today no one can escape the obligation to bring about the regeneration of the German Volkskörper by means of his own personal contribution and integration.
When I speak to you today, then it is not with the aim of moving you to cast your ballots or inducing you to do this or that for the party on my account. No, I am presenting an outlook to you here, and I am convinced that the victory of this outlook constitutes the only possible starting point for a German recovery; at the same time it is also the very last asset which the German Volk possesses. I have heard it often said by our opponents: “You, too, will be unable to master today’s crisis.” Assuming, Gentlemen, that that were the case. Then what would that mean? It would mean that we were approaching an appalling age and would have nothing with which to counter it but a purely materialistic attitude on all sides. The crisis, however, would be experienced a thousand times more strongly as a purely materialistic matter, without some ideal having been restored to the Volk.
People so often say to me: “You are only the drummer of national Germany!” And what if I were only the drummer?! Today it would be a greater statesmanlike deed to drum a new faith into this German Volk than to slowly squander away the one they have now. (Cheers of approval) You take a fortress and subject it to the harshest of privations: as long as its garrison can envision salvation, believes in it, hopes for it-it can bear reduced rations. Completely remove from the hearts of these people their last faith in the possibility of salvation, in a better future, and you will witness how these people suddenly come to view reduced rations as the most important thing in their lives. The more they are made conscious of the fact that they are mere objects of trade, mere prisoners of world politics, the more they will turn exclusively to material interests, like any prisoner. Conversely, the more you lead a people back to the sphere of ideal faith, the more it will come to regard material distress as a less exclusively determinant factor. The most tremendous proof of this has been our own German Volk. Surely we never want to forget that it waged religious wars for 150 years with an enormous sense of devotion, that hundreds of thousands of people once left their own plot of land and all their worldly goods for the sake of an ideal and a conviction! We never want to forget that for 150 years there arose not a single ounce of material interest! And then you will comprehend how tremendous the power of an idea, of an ideal, can be! And only in this light can one understand that today hundreds of thousands of young people in our Movement are willing to risk their lives to combat the opponent. I know very well, Gentlemen, that when National Socialists march through the streets, and the evening is suddenly pierced by commotion and racket, then citizens draw open their curtains, look out and say: “My night’s rest has been disturbed again and I can’t sleep. Why do the Nazis always have to agitate and run around at night?” Gentlemen, if everyone would think that way, then one would have one’s peace at night, but citizens would no longer be able to go out on the streets today. If everyone would think that way, if these young people had no ideal to motivate them and propel them forwards, then of course they would gladly manage without these nocturnal battles. But let us not forget that it is a sacrifice when today many hundreds of thousands of SA and SS men of the National Socialist Movement climb onto trucks every day, protect meetings, put on marches, sacrifice night after night and return only at daybreak-and then either back to the workshop and factory or out to collect their pittance as unemployed; when they buy their uniforms, their shirts, their badges, and even pay their own transportation from what little they have-believe me, that is already a sign of the power of an ideal, a great ideal! And if today the entire German nation had the same faith in its calling which these hundreds of thousands have, if the entire nation possessed this idealism-Germany would stand differently in the eyes of the world today! For our situation in the world results, in its devastating effects for us, only from the fact that we ourselves underrate German strength. Only when we have revised this disastrous assessment can Germany make use of the political possibilities of once more-if we look far into the future-placing German life on a natural and sound foundation: either new Lebensraum and the expansion of a large domestic market or the protection of German economy against the outside by deploying accumulated German strength. The labor resources of our Volk, the capabilities are there, no one can deny our industriousness. But first the political foundations must be laid anew: without them, industriousness, capability, diligence, and thrift would ultimately be of no avail. For an oppressed nation is not capable of allocating the profits accruing from its thrift to its own welfare; rather, it is forced to sacrifice them on the altar of blackmail and tribute.
Thus, in contrast to our official Government, I regard the vehicle for German recovery not as being the primacy of German foreign policy, but rather as being the primacy of the restoration of a healthy, national and powerful German body politic. It was in order to accomplish this task that I founded the National Socialist Movement thirteen years ago and have led it for the past twelve years; and I hope that it will also accomplish this task in days to come, that it will leave behind it the best reward for its struggle: a German body politic completely regenerated from within, intolerant against anyone who sins against the nation and its interests, intolerant against anyone who will not acknowledge its vital interests or opposes them, intolerant and relentless against anyone who endeavors to destroy and subvert this Volkskörper-and otherwise open to friendship and peace with anyone who wants friendship and peace! (Long applause)
January 27, 1932